On DVD & Blu-Ray: September 1, 2015


I went into Mad Max: Fury Road knowing little to nothing about director George Miller's franchise. I attempted to watch his original 1979 film a couple of weeks prior, but found myself bored and unable to pay attention and so as much as that statement might be read as sacrilege in the film community, I gave up and decided not to move on. This didn't lessen my excitement for Miller's latest installment as I'm a fan of both Tom Hardy and the incredible trailers that were crafted for the film. My only hope was that the final product lived up to what we caught glimpses of in the trailers. And so, while I have no real frame of reference (and I know I need to go back and at least watch Road Warrior as I've read the words "action classic" tossed at it at least a dozen times over the past few months) I went into Fury Road with optimism and excitement, hoping that what was promised would be delivered and it was. The fact Miller, who is now seventy, was able to even pull off half of the stuff we see on screen here is amazing, but that he is able to subtly sneak in a compelling story underneath the mayhem is all the more reason to be fascinated by the highly saturated images we watch frenetically move across the screen. It almost goes without saying that the film is gorgeous and the action is superb, but as the opening moments play out it is clear one doesn't necessarily have to be familiar with the previous adventures of Max Rockatansky (Hardy). A brief overview by the titular character is given as he stands on the edge of a sand-drenched cliff, getting set for his "next adventure" as I'd like to see it. Into the frame creeps a two-headed lizard, quickly slithering its way closer to Max where he stomps on it with his boot heel and picks it up to gather protein. We know immediately this is not our world, not the one we know. We can see, even if we haven't before, that this is a land full of inhabitants who are full of desperation and that bubble of desperation is about to burst. For the full two-hour runtime of the film Fury Road barely has time to slow down and catch its breath and even less does it rely on dialogue to move it's story along. Miller firmly believes that actions speak louder than words and he puts that mantra on full display here as Mad Max: Fury Road is completely bonkers in every way; every good, entertaining way it can be. Full review here. B+

The D Train is an odd movie. It's an interesting one, don't get me wrong, but it's an odd one for sure. I'm a rather faithful comedy fan and have said many times on this site before that I carry a rather rabid affinity for the fan appointed "Frat Pack" that originally consisted of Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Owen and Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Any time any of these guys decided to head up a film there was a desperate hope they would include a couple of the others in the proceedings. Soon, Judd Apatow and his gang emerged and the universe has been expanding ever since. In the wake of this merger it always felt like Black was somewhat left behind. This was obviously unfortunate given Black is one of those guys who can make you laugh with a simple facial expression, but his output has become increasingly stale since hitting a high mark in 2008 with Tropic Thunder and Kung-Fu Panda. Looking back through his filmography it is almost alarming how little he has done in the past few years with his last out and out feature being the horribly marketed and little-seen The Big Year in 2011. With The D Train, Black seems to be making something of a statement in that, at the very least, he'd like to see his career go in a more mature way; one that puts him in the position of actually investing in his characters and developing his skills rather than simply cashing the quick check and making the same faces. We've seen this before from the comic, especially in the underrated Bernie, but here it is more of a concentrated effort than the seemingly haphazard way in which Black picked projects prior. Full review here. C

Boulevard is the last film completed by the late Robin Williams. For this reason alone I have been meaning to catch up with it, but it received rather lukewarm reviews and came and went quietly on VOD just a few months ago. It is rather depressing that this last bit of Williams we have to cling to will largely go unnoticed, but maybe that is for the best if the movie isn't really worth the trouble. I'd like to find out at some point, but am hesitant to tinge my idea of the comic any further as well. Only time will tell and maybe it will shape Boulevard into something that feels essential. We'll see.