Dunkirk

From the desk of The Movie Snob.

Dunkirk  (B+).  Having recently read a newish history of WWII, I definitely wanted to see Christopher Nolan’s movie about the 1940 evacuation of 338,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France.  It’s a pretty effective ground-and-ocean-eye view (except for a few scenes involving a heroic RAF fighter pilot played by Tom Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road) of those events.  Much of the movie follows a nameless British soldier who is desperate to escape back to England and is not entirely scrupulous about how to do it.  860 civilian vessels took part in the evacuation, and so we also get to follow one of them, a smallish boat called Moonstone captained by an older gent named Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies).  Things get tense fast when Dawson picks up a lone soldier from a wrecked ship, and the shell-shocked soldier (Cillian Murphy, The Dark Knight) freaks out when he realizes the boat is heading towards Dunkirk instead of England.  Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) pops up in a few scenes as a high-ranking British guy stuck on the beach with his army.  I enjoyed it.  For another view, calling it an “astonishing filmmaking achievement and an epic narrative failure,” you can click here.

Mad Max: Fury Road

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Mad Max: Fury Road  (B).  Does anybody else find it remarkable (or strange) that Mad Max director George Miller also wrote Babe and directed Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, and Happy Feet 2?  Anyhoo, I haven’t seen any of the other Mad Max films, but I was all geared up for a two-hour-long car chase through the Australian desert.  The movie did not disappoint.  It is visually stunning (even in the 2D incarnation I saw), and stuffed to the gills with insane flourishes that I found very entertaining.  There’s not much plot.  In a post-apocalyptic desert, a hideous tyrant named Immortan Joe keeps a largish population in thrall by controlling the water, the food, and an army of albino-mutant “war boys.”  Max (Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises) is a lost soul who gets captured by Joe’s goons, but he gets a chance to escape when one of Joe’s top lieutenants, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron, Prometheus) makes a break for freedom with Joe’s five beautiful and lightly clothed “breeders” in tow.  The rest of the movie is a car chase involving the most ridiculously tricked-out, armed, and armored cars and trucks you can imagine.  My special favorite was the giant truck that seemed to carry nothing but giant bongo drums (and drummers) and a heavy metal guitarist whose double-necked guitar doubled as a flamethrower.  For a delirious, demented ride, Fury Road is this year’s movie to beat.  (But be advised, it is rated R for “intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images.  It’s not for the kiddies!)