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Mad Max: Fury Road Review

MM coverMad Max: Fury Road

Released: May 15, 2015

Rated: R

Runtime: 120 Minutes

*Review by Contributor Austin Winkler

Mad Max: Fury Road is an action film directed by George Miller and stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Hugh Keays-Byrne. The story revolves around the title character formally known as Max (Hardy), who gets captured by this group of people who follow a cult leader (Keays-Byrne). Meanwhile, a woman named Furiosa (Theron) is trying to help these women who belong to the cult leader escape. Her’s and Max’s lives intertwine with each other and they try to bring order to the chaotic desert wasteland.

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“Mad” is definitely the word.

I will admit, I haven’t seen any of the Mad Max films prior to this one. I recognize they are very influential to the action film making world, but I never got around to watching them. Nevertheless, this was one of my most anticipated films of the year. The trailers really caught my attention with all the crazy action sequences and energetic camera work. Also, the last time I checked, this film held a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. All of the film critics I follow on youtube had nothing but great things to say about the film as well. Now that I have seen it for myself, I can tell you right now that it really lives up to the hype. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of crazy action sequences in this film. All of them are shot to perfection and it kind of reminded me of Raiders of the Lost Ark, an action film way ahead of its time. Not only do you have people inside moving vehicles fighting each other, but you also have people outside of the car, jumping from car to car, punching people in the face and shooting them…this movie is pretty bizarre. However, the action isn’t the only thing holding this movie down, the film also tells an engaging story with a surprising amount of heart to it. True, your eyes are fixated on the marvelous action scenes, but deep down, this movie tells an awesome story with interesting characters that people can relate to, and this is exactly what film lovers like me look for when they go to the movies. What’s crazy is George Miller is in his 70s, yet he can make a film so energetic and fast paced. I don’t mean to offend the older people who might be reading this, but it’s beyond me how someone of his age can bring that much energy to making a film. The direction here is just fantastic.

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She’s bad to the bone.

Everything in the acting department is spot on as well. Tom Hardy is great as Max, but Charlize Theron and Hugh Keays-Byrne as their characters are spot on. I love it when this happens because I personally don’t know too much about Theron and Keays-Byrne as actors, and I don’t think a whole lot of people know about them either. It’s always awesome to see directors bringing on genuinely talented actors who aren’t well known, and making them known through a great script and a masterful performance. The only complaint I have towards this film is I just think the story could have been a tad bit more developed. But right now, I’m just nit-picking. This is one minor flaw in an otherwise flawless picture. Bottom line, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best action films to come out this year. Please check it out in theaters whenever you can and I will strongly recommend picking it up on Blu-Ray. This is not a film you should miss.


4.5 out of 5


Faith Advisory:

     -This film is rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and disturbing images (according to the MPAA)

-No sex scenes, but there is one brief scene containing female nudity

-Women are shown being used to harvest breast milk. Nudity isn’t shown here, but it is very uncomfortable to watch.

-A very disturbing scene showing a doctor performing a C-section on a pregnant woman. Mostly happens off-screen, but it’s not for the squeamish.

-Tons of fight sequences. People are beaten, shot, and a few scenes show cars blowing up. Most scenes aren’t too bloody, but they’re all very intense.

-Minimal swearing throughout. The F-word is used once and there is some name calling scattered throughout the film. Milder language is also sparingly used.

-The main villain views himself as a God and there are many people who faithfully follow him.

-I would not recommend taking young children to see this.

Faith Verdict:

1.5 out of 5

Bite-Sized Review: Locke

Locke Cover Blu RayLocke

Released: April 25, 2014

Rated: R

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Locke takes place in a car for 85 minutes. Yes, a confined car. Tom Hardy is the sole actor, apart from a few others who we only hear voices via cell phone. Talk about a minimalist approach. Steven Knight is writer and director. This unique gem flew under the radar in 2014. But, let me make it clear, you must see this movie at least once. It is a showcase for Hardy’s impeccable acting skill and offers a fresh take on filmmaking. Ivan Locke is having marital issues on the night before a huge career breakthrough. On the same night, he receives a life-changing phone call. Switching back and forth from call to call, with fellow work employees, his wife and the “mystery” caller (spoiler-free), Ivan must discover what is most important to him and find a way to balance all of these different things taking place.

Locke Scene
Tom Hardy is masterful in Locke.


The film boasts style and substance. The dialogue and acting are what make this film great and consistently entertaining. Hardy is masterful and the audience feels his every word and emotion. Locke makes you think what you would do in Ivan’s position. The unique premise is definitely given justice with excellent directing and fundamentals. Some viewers may be turned off by Locke’s dark and “different” approach to film, but one can’t deny it is some impeccable work. Personally, I was not a fan of the ending, as it was a little frustrating. I wanted a bit more closure. Regardless, give it a chance, just once.


4 out of 5


Faith Advisory:

-Lots of coarse language and dialogue throughout

-Sex outside of marriage is spoken about

-Some drinking

Faith Verdict:

1.5 out of 5

Edge of Tomorrow Review

Edge of Tomorrow CoverIn Edge of Tomorrow, Officer Cage (Tom Cruise) becomes the centerpiece in an alien war when he finds himself caught inside a time loop. After becoming infected by the head honcho alien leader, he discovers he can relive the same day over and over again. He must fight to save humanity from the brink of extinction. This all comes with the help of Rita (Emily Blunt), an iconic and beautiful warrior chick. Since Cage continues to relive one significant day on the battlefield, his abilities and awareness vastly increase, which also aid his cause. The main weapon used by Cage and Rita are mech suits which they can climb into. They boast all kinds of sweet and destructive weaponry. The performances in Edge of Tomorrow are spot-on. Cruise shows profound humanity, grit and determination while Blunt is the ultimate strong-willed, gorgeous, tough-as-nails tomboy. Their on-screen chemistry is magnificent. This film proves Tom Cruise can still do action movies well, even at his age. The supporting cast consists of names such as Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson, who are both excellent in their own respects.

Cruise and Blunt are exceptional in Edge of Tomorrow
Cruise and Blunt are exceptional in Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow’s premise is super fresh and makes for one heck of a good story. This movie is highly entertaining and will keep your eyes glued to the screen until the end credits roll. It’s so good in fact, you won’t want to see the credits! This is saying a lot because the film is almost 2 hours long. You would think since Cage relives the same day over and over, things would get stale, but I’m happy to say, it actually adds to the fun. Along with this unique storytelling aspect comes plenty of laughs. I bet you weren’t expecting that, were you? Yes, Edge of Tomorrow, a full-blown action movie is also hilarious. I found myself laughing more than I did in many comedies I’ve seen. This sort of gives you a break from the action. It’s like salt and pepper, something to spice things up. Speaking of action, it is packed with it. There’s vicious aliens, huge guns, explosions, mechs and more. In other words, it’s awesome. The special effects are excellent to boot. Overall, it’s just an incredible film. I can’t believe just how surprised I was when I walked out of the theater. I’m happy to say that Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best sci-fi action films I’ve ever seen. It’s potent, exciting, action-packed, funny, unique and very well-executed. Go see this movie! I highly recommend it as a future Blu-Ray purchase.

4.5 out of 5

Faith Advisory:

There’s some blood and war violence, but nothing too crazy. No sexual content. No religious content either. There is some foul language here and there.

Saving Mr. Banks Review

saving mr banks cover blu rayDisney’s Saving Mr. Banks stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers. The supporting cast includes the likes of Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell and Jason Schwartzman, among others. As we have come to expect, Tom Hanks gives a great performance here. But surprisingly, Emma Thompson outdoes him, giving an exceptional one. At first, her “hard as nails” personality and snappy attitude will annoy the living heck out of you. But once the peppy folks at Disney get her out of her shell, she loosens up. Thompson’s acting abilities are on full display, as she demands your attention. Hanks does a wonderful job mimicking the great Walt Disney. He has a strong, but sensitive aura about him. Giamatti brings certain light to the film, as well as Travers herself. I particularly enjoyed every moment he was on screen. Colin Farrell is the main star in the flashback sequences. These scenes tie the story together. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of them as I thought it disrupted everything that was going on in the current moment. However, these scenes were necessary as far as the plot goes. I was surprisingly shocked at how much the film touched me in the latter stages. This is one thing I can’t deny. It tugs at your heartstrings in the end, adding some much needed emotion.

saving banks scene 1
Thompson and Hanks carry the load in Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks does a decent job of capturing snippets of the Disney charm, with several easter eggs scattered throughout along with old Disney movie posters and figures in Walt’s office.We also see parts of Disney World as Walt and Travers stroll through during a chat. Even though this film has a talented cast who give strong performances and a charming story, it falls short in other vicinities. For one, it simply lacks sheer entertainment value. It’s not the most enjoyable movie to watch because there’s not much to get excited about. Travers doesn’t want a film adaption made from her book, so it’s a constant struggle between her and Mr. Disney. She’s in it for the money and the money alone. It’s nice to see her eventually come around towards the end, but I can’t deny the fact that the movie can be slightly boring. Secondly, the script is nothing special. Don’t expect any clever or witty dialogue here. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s nothing to write home about. Lastly, the pacing is an issue. This is one of those movies you’ll have to exercise patience with. It takes a while for it to gain a head of steam. Even when it does, it’s a scattered affair, especially when you take into account the flashbacks. It’s simply disjointed. Oh, and the movie is simply too darn long!

Saving Mr. Banks has some nice music, but there’s just not very much of it.

Okay, Saving Mr. Banks has its pros and cons. You can’t refute the fact that the film has some glaring flaws and inconsistencies. If not for the strong performances, Disney charm and surprising emotional tug, this movie would be pretty terrible. As far as movie fundamentals go, it just doesn’t hit on all cylinders. However, Saving Mr. Banks is still a mildly enjoyable tale for those interested in P.L. Travers, her story and Mary Poppins fans.

3 out of 5

Faith Advisory:

The film is pretty clean for the most part. There are a couple curses. We see Mr. Disney put out a cigar in one scene. No sexual content whatsoever. There’s not much spirituality or anything to do with God. It’s perfectly acceptable for children and Christians to watch.

Captain Phillips Review

Go ahead and pencil in Captain Phillips as a serious Oscar contender. This is an incredibly exciting and intense movie that displays Tom Hanks in top form. It’s easily one of his best performances to date. He is the captain of a container ship that gets raided by pirates. The leader of the group is played by Barkhad Abdi, who gives a surprisingly haunting and excellent performance as well. The movie is based on a true story and is directed by Paul Greengrass and written by Billy Ray. In this brilliantly crafted drama we get many frightening moments and usually it’s consistent. Rarely will you feel lethargic or disinterested with what is transpiring onscreen. Abdi’s portrayal as the main antagonist is one of epic proportions as the band of thieves hold Captain Phillips hostage. Hanks just doesn’t get any better. You feel what he feels: dread, anger, frustration, fear. It’s truly a spectacular performance.

There are some incredibly intense moments in Captain Phillips.

Captain Phillips explodes with action, intensity and dread. It defines the drama genre. The script is finely written and includes some of the most profound and realistic dialogue I’ve seen or heard in recent memory. There’s also a relatively good amount of emotional depth here. One of my few complaints is that there’s no character development, but it’s mostly forgivable because of Hanks’ elite acting chops. You genuinely care about this guy, regardless of his background. To be concise, this is a spectacular film, from start to finish. There’s drama, action, great writing and acting, solid pacing and tons of excitement. This is easily one of the best films of 2013, if not the best.

5 out of 5

Review: This Means War

This Means War

Released February 17, 2012

Rated PG-13

Directed By McG

Starring Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, and Chris Pine

97 Minutes

This Means War is a thrill ride, from start to finish. It’s highest achievement is being able to capture the audience’s attention, and more importantly, keeping it for a substantial amount of time, two hours to be exact. It rides on a wave of momentum throughout, providing laughs, action and substance. Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon and company all do great jobs and make the affair very entertaining.

This Means War is sheer entertainment, and a good time. The film has it’s downfalls, and sadly, it’s weaknesses are important factors in making a film great. It’s silly premise translates into a far-fetched story and many downright silly moments, taking away from the action and laughter. It’s plot lacks depth and ultimately comes off as a joke. Audiences will appreciate it’s fun nature, regardless of it’s weaknesses. The film provides it’s fair share of comedy and hard knuckles action, with an entire base founded on a romantic counterpart. The chemistry between all three leads is outstanding, making matters fun and exciting. Overall, This Means War doesn’t deliver the raw emotion and sappy romance some enjoy, it makes up for it using good production values, a great cast, action and many funny moments.


3 out of 5