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229. Mad Max: Fury Road (#206)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Grace Duffy and Deirdre Molumby, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

Through the ruin of the world stalks the ruin of the man. In a world that has descended into anarchy and chaos, a lone nomad finds himself embroiled in a brutal chase sequence across the wasteland. However, the characters quickly discover that the past is the one thing that they can’t outrun.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 206th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Video! On “Mad Max: Fury Road” and the Arbitrary Lines Between High and Low Culture…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with the Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film channel – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, with the renewed and ongoing debate between “high” and “low” culture, between “art” and “content”, it seemed like a good time to take a look at one of the more fascinating films to straddle that line. Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth entry in a long-running franchise, a film essentially built around a long car chase and explosions. However it’s also as pure a piece of cinema that has ever been made. It demonstrates the fungibility of those perceived boundaries.

New Escapist Column! On “Mad Max: Fury Road”, and the Elastic Boundaries Between “High” and “Low” Culture…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. There’s been a lot of debate recently about the boundaries between “art” and “content”, which can frequently sound like a debate about “high” and “low” culture, so I thought it was worth taking a look at how porous those boundaries can be.

On paper, Mad Max: Fury Road should be a standard franchise film. It’s the fourth film in the Mad Max franchise, serving as a vague sequel or even reboot to one of Australia’s most successful movie franchises. It cost a lot of money. It features a lot of special effects. It has very little dialogue. However, in spire of that, it is arguably as pure an expression of cinema as an artform as has every existed, and demonstrates how elastic and how illusory arguments about “high” and “low” culture truly are.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Finding Hope Amid the Apocalypse…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine last week. There’s understandably been a lot of talk about the end of the world lately, understandably, but I thought it was worth unpacking Mad Max: Fury Road.

Fury Road is one of the best blockbusters of the past decade, appearing on countless lists of the best films of the 2010s. However, what distinguishes it from a lot of apocalyptic cinema is that it embraces hope in a very meaningful and practical way. Fury Road is largely about the impulse to retreat from horror and from untenable situations, to abandon a world that appears to be fallen. However, the film argues that such an impulse is ultimately self-destructive, as eventually such a retreat runs out of road. Instead, Fury Road contends that the proper response to a broken world is to turn around and face it head on, to fix it from the inside. It’s a brave and empowering message, and a large part of the film’s appeal.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: Mad Max – Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road is a live action cartoon in the best possible sense.

It is a movie that seems like an incredible gamble. Warner Brothers essentially gave director George miller $150m and let him loose in the Namib Desert to make a belated follow-up to his cult Mad Max trilogy. There is precious little sanitation here, no sense of order. It seems like Mad Max: Fury Road was never screened in front of focus groups, as if Miller never really received any studio notes that weren’t ringing endorsements or encouragement. Mad Max: Fury Road would be a strange film under any circumstances, but it’s a particularly strange summer blockbuster.

Just deserts...

Just deserts…

But it works.

Mad Max: Fury Road is gloriously gonzo, an extended two-hour car chase across a desert wasteland where it seems like dialogue is a commodity as scarce as oil or water. The script is surprisingly light on exposition, trusting the audience to pick up everything that it needs from descriptive nouns like “the Bullet Farmer” or “the People Eater.” The film makes no real nods towards conventional popcorn film-making, but is all the more effective for it. It is a movie that is utterly unashamed of its pulpy sensibilities, offering a live action post-apocalyptic Wacky Races.

Front and centre...

Front and centre…

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Counting Your Chickens… Green Lighting Sequels Before the Original is Released

I would have thought that the mess that was caused by The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded would have killed the notion of greenlighting several films at once – those two movies, following up to the science-fiction phenomenon which was The Matrix, represented a jumble of ideas from the film makers, without the counterbalance or mass appeal which defined the original. The Wachowski Brothers, allowed free reign, proceeded to produce two extremely dense discourses on abstract philosophy lacking in any real heart and populated with awkwardly assembled set pieces and grand-sounding ideas. I would have assumed that the poor reception and somewhat negative impact the two films have had on their iconic predecessor would have dissuaded studios from allowing such free reign again. However, it seems that the trend might be coming back into vogue – with rumours of a green-lit Green Lantern 2 before the original is released and not one but two Mad Max reimaginings on the way.

Join me, Luke, I have a six picture deal...

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