REVIEW: “ATOMIC BLONDE” (2017) Universal Pictures

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Ever since Mad Max: Fury Road, I felt as though Charlize Theron could really do no wrong at playing a kick-ass, strong female character – as let’s face it, she should have been nominated for that role. With “Atomic Blonde”, it feels as though what I thought is correct. Theron’s character, Lorraine Broughton is a concoction of James Bond shaken (not stirred) with a bit of John Wick and perhaps even a little Bourne as an added twist of sour lemon. That is of course except for the simple fact that she could probably kick all their asses while barely mussing up her hair.

“Atomic Blonde” isn’t all sex and violence, though yes, it’s what drives the film, as there is a story in here, though I will say it’s not the most well written one. It’s a 80’s spy flick turned upside down as it’s lead character takes us on a thriller of a ride, done mostly in flashbacks during an investigation being conducted by Eric Gray (Toby Jones), and our own CIA exec Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman), who seem to be trying to work together here..sort of. With some fantastic 80’s fashion and a soundtrack that is in and of itself, it’s own character, as every song fits perfectly into it’s scene and makes a huge impression on the audience by making you want to stand up and dance, but instead, you sit because you’re being transfixed by some crazy fun, fantastic action scenes.

The setup: Lorraine is an undercover MI6 agent sent to Berlin in the days before the Wall comes down to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a important list that asylum seeking agent code-named Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), which contains the names of double agents that’s fallen into the wrong hands of Aleksander Bremovych (Roland Møller). James McAvoy plays David Percival, a fellow agent who’s probably been in Berlin a little too long as he’s clearly running a black market on the side and doesn’t really seem to be on the up and up agent-wise. Berlin is at the point of time where there are protests every day with the East & West sides wanting the downfall of the infamous Berlin Wall that separates them. So of course with all that going on, it’s in a complete state of chaos which predicates the plot here. Things are changing and changing fast with Lorraine being basically sent into an impossible situation, which in order to stay alive, she’s needs to not only be one step ahead, but going to have to fight like hell just to survive and get herself out, let alone fulfill the mission.

All in all, it’s the action that makes this film and leaves the storyline in the dust, with Theron truly being an “Atomic Blonde”. The acting beyond the action, isn’t really there. Sofia Boutella, whom usually is the one doing all the ass-kicking, is really in her first role here that she doesn’t, and honestly, you could have left her French agent character Delphine Lasalle out and no one would have missed her, unless of course the sex scene between her and Charlize are important to you, but it’s truly not an addition or would it be a subtraction that would be missed to the plot. Lastly, you know how picky I am with accents but I do give a hush-hush wink-wink to Theron’s playing a British one here. 😉

Grade: B-
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Media Review Screening: Monday, July 24, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures
“Atomic Blonde” will be released in theatres nationwide on Friday, July 28, 2017

REVIEW: “MAD MAX:FURY ROAD” (2015) Warner Bros.

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From the moment you hear Tom Hardy’sMax Rockatansky” croak out the words ‘My world is fire and blood’ you know you are in for a monumental whirlwind of a ride as the world of ‘Max Max:Fury Road’ unfolds on the screen before you. What follows will have you feeling as though you’ve been sucker punched in the gut, but in all the right ways. I left the theatre breathless and two hours later I still don’t think I was breathing properly.

It’s been three decades, 1985 to be exact, since we last saw the Road Warrior known as Mad Max, then being played by Mel Gibson, and from minute one-this film is a methane-fueled thrill ride that only gives you a minute or two to breathe in between the non-stop, rollercoaster post-apocalyptic relentless action of this return trip to the world of George Miller’s MAD MAX.
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And yes, Charlize Theron as one-armed “Imperator Furiosa” just absolutely kills it.
She’s the immovable object AND the irresistible force at the same time. I mean when was the last time you had a such a woman of action, and one armed to boot. Never. Her death-stare is truly like a thousand war-engines revving up. Axle grease used as war paint. Every man’s doom as her and Hardy have one of the screen’s most powerful man-on-woman fights and at no moment does one ever think that Theron/Furiosa is at a disadvantage against him as her opponent.
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Max’s inner demons are what haunts him this time round. He’s lost his wife and young daughter and it’s that little girl’s flashbacks accusing him of failing to save them that keeps appearing to haunt this guilt-feeling Max to the point that he lets his guard down just enough to get captured by “Immortan Joe” (Hugh Keays-Byrne) the over-lord of the citadel in this futuristic bleak wasteland, who dispenses precious water to his followers (quick shoutout to the California drought here ha!) all the while raising a troupe of ghoulish young men called the “War Boys.” The Boys, thinking Valhalla awaits them when they die so they can commit heinous crimes on Joe’s behalf.
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What drives this films plot is when Furiosa decides to go off course with an Immortans War truck along with his best five breeders aka wives “Toast the Knowing” (Zoe Kravitz), “The Splendid Angharad” (Rosie Huntington Whiteley), “Capable” (Riley Keough), “The Dag” (Abbey Lee) & “Cheedo the Fragile” (Courtney Eaton) to make it back to her childhood home ‘The Green Place’. Joe sends his War Boys after her including “Nux” (Nicholas Hoult) who just happens to have his ‘human blood bag’ aka Max strapped to the front of his vehicle in a chase scene that can only be described as sheer motor madness.
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There is not one but three different factions chasing them at times in the the most crazy of action sequences as we go from car chases to fist fights to foot pursuits and then we go back and do it all over again. It’s like the spin cycle of the washing machine is going full blast and giving us with perfect timing, a few moments here and there to catch our breath.

Neither Hardy nor Theron speak much through the first 30 minutes as they are to focused on just surviving. Hardy in yet another voice not his own, only really gives us a few grunts in the first hour, so Theron’s Imperator Furiosa seems almost chatty patty in comparison.
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As I don’t want to give away the whole plot as what I’ve described is really only the first 15 minutes or so of the film and it’s something that just must be seen spoiler free for yourself. And not on DVD or your laptop or your phone..you NEED to watch this in all it’s glory as it’s meant to be seen, on the biggest screen available to you with loud booming sound or you will miss even the crazy maniacal guitarist that would make even the biggest speed metal fan need earplugs as he plows along the desert in pursuit with Joe. Trust me on this one.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two things to end with here. One: the #GirlPower in this film is truly something to behold. Every single female character holds their own and I give huge kudos on this. Two: George Miller with this film simply raises the bar on everything cinematic being released thus far this year. CGI might be great for the Marvel or X-Men and it IS all fun and good, but there is NOTHING like the mastery brilliance that can take the place of watching live action human element of feeling as one – riding along with chainsaw wielding madman sliding across car hoods, crawling on the outside of fast moving vehicles or fear of being plucked out of said moving vehicles by crazed maniacs swinging from high velocity poles. It’s absolutely brilliant and made me giddy throughout the whole movie.

As Nux so aptly puts it “What a Lovely Day”

Grade: A+
@pegsatthemovies
Screening at the Arclight Theatre, Hollywood Wednesday, May 13th,2015
MAD MAX:FURY ROAD WORLDWIDE RELEASE DATE: FRIDAY, MAY 15TH, 2015

RATINGS SCALE: A = OSCAR-WORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE; C = AVERAGE; D = NOT RECOMMENDED; F = SKIP IT ENTIRELY (+ OR – GIVES IT AN EDGE UP OR DOWN)

REVIEW OF ~ “A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST” ~ (One word: Funny!)

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If you are not a Seth MacFarlane fan..I would ask you WHY NOT?  The man is funny..”Family Guy” is funny.. “Ted” was hysterical!! And “A Million Ways to Die in the West” follows suit.  But I will warn you, if you don’t like his humour, you might not like this movie as it’s ALL him.  It’s his first ‘acting’ gig and we all know usually he is ‘animated’ or the ‘voice of’ etc etc.. But here he is the lead playing “Albert Stark” a sort of cowboy who is a sheep farmer (yes, be prepared for the bad, but funny sheep jokes/skits) and what he thinks is the love of his life, Louise “Amanda Seyfried” has just left him for Mr.Mustache as I call him, Foy “Neil Patrick Harris”.  In order to win her back he calls Foy out for a ‘duel’ even though he is basically the town oaf and can’t even shoot a gun.  Well step in Anna “Charlize Theron” to help save the day and teach him how to shoot and not exactly tell him who she is, which is the wife of the baddest gunfighter in the West, Clinch Leatherwood “Liam Neeson”  

Basically the plot is nothing to write home about as it’s 1882 in the West and of course their are a Million Ways to Die, snakes, disease, gunfights, or even the doctor can kill you..with a nail in the ear or a Bluejay!! 🙂  And they mostly speak in terms we use today, only the real ‘cowboys’ use old West lingo and there are so many innuendos to be made which make it really funny so pay attention to catch them all and the cameos!!! 

So bottom line, of course Albert and Anna fall in love while she is helping him learn to shoot as she is a crack shot ~ but of course and blah blah blah with that part of the plot. Though it completely sticks to form when he’s counting out the ‘Millions of Ways to Die in the West” in a fun scene with Edward “Giovanni Ribisi” and his ‘girlfriend’ Ruth “Sarah Silverman” ~ who is really a prostitute though they can’t have sex as they are saving themselves for marriage which in of itself makes for some funny one-liners. The movie has a some really beautiful scenic shots and few serious moments that I didn’t expect, but then it also majorly delivers some downright raunchy, gross out scenes that we’ve come to expect from Seth MacFarlane and right smack in the middle of it, one of the BEST scenes EVER will bring you back to the future.. 😀

Oh yeah..and if you’re looking for it to not offend and be perfectly PC..then again, you don’t know MacFarlane’s style because he is NEVER either of those. Seth’s acting is okay..it’s not great by any means but as we all found out one day a few years back that he is so damn cute it’s hard not to like him.  Charlize does okay in a comedic turn, as much as I love her, nothing to write home about in this performance but definitely nice to see her doing some fun stuff as you can tell she’s having a good time! Liam Neeson with his deadpan and yes, accented character is spot on. And for those that say, how can he have his Irish accent in a Western.. well..Hellloooo.. back then more people had accents as in case we forgot our history, we are a country of immigrants so it fits perfectly in.  Also, if you are quick enough to spot a very famous Scotsman in a cameo about a 1/4 of the way through, and a few other good cameos in between, and of course at the end..well..I say good job Seth. 

I realize this movie isn’t getting rave reviews because the critics love to bash his brand of comedy because it’s not the norm..I love things that are not the norm and this movie is funny..much funnier than it’s comedic predecessor “Neighbors” in my opinion. Let’s put it this way, It’s definitely worth paying to see. 

Grade: B-

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