Kansas City Film Critics Name “Mad Max: Fury Road” the Best Film of 2015 During Presentation of 50th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards

Mad Max: Fury Road was chosen as the Best Film of 2015 by The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the 2nd oldest critics group in the country. The winners were announced this afternoon during a ceremony at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre in Kansas City. Among the voters were MediaMikes own Michael Smith and Jeremy Werner.

The film, which had been nominated in four categories by the group, also took home the Robert Altman Award for Best Director for George Miller and Best Actress for Charlize Theron. The film was the only multiple winner announced by the group. The directing award is named in honor of seven-time Academy Award nominee and Kansas City native Robert Altman.

Leonardo DiCaprio was named Best Actor for his work in The Revenant. In the supporting categories, Michael Shannon received the Best Supporting Actor prize for 99 Homes while Alicia Vikander was named Best Supporting Actress for Ex Machina. PIXAR’s Inside Out was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.

Below is a complete list of winners:

BEST PICTURE: Mad Max: Fury Road

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

BEST ACTRESS: Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Shannon – 99 Homes

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Inside Out

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Phoenix (Germany)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Amy

VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM: Ex Machina

Book Review “The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road”

Author: Abbie Bernstein
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is easily one of the best films to date for 2015. When you watch this film it is like watching a video game live action. You can also see in the film that there is very little visual effects in this film and a lot of practical effects were used. I couldn’t wait to dive into the making of book for this film. Kicked off with an amazing foreword by creator/director George Miller. This guy is extremely passionate about “Mad Max” and this intro really gets you in the mood for this.  “The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road” is another winner from Titan Books.

Official Film Premise: Max Rockatansky returns. Haunted by his turbulent past, the wandering Road Warrior becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. Seeking escape from the tyranny of Immortan Joe, what follows is a high-octane Road War – and a chance for redemption.

“The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road” is jam packed with super high res production stills, some really cool behind-the-scenes photos and my favorite concept art. You can tell that a lot of planning and details went into making this film and it is well represented here in this book. They deliver another winner. Author, Abbie Bernstein knows here making of books having worked on “Fantastic 4: The Making of the Movie”, “The Guild: The Official Companion” and “The Cabin in the woods: Official Visual Companion”. She really sums up what any reader is looking for after soaking in this crazy film. A must read for any “Mad Max” fan!

Film Review “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult
Directed By: George Miller
Rated: R
Running Time: 120 minutes
Warner Bros. Pictures

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

From smashing real life cars in the early 80’s to CGI spectacles of today, it’s been quite the road for vehicular mayhem on the big screen. One of those movies to pioneer heart racing chases and motorized feats that could decapitate a stuntman was “The Road Warrior”. In 2015, George Miller has come full circle with his “Mad Max” franchise. He’s stepped on the pedal and revved up some life into this old franchise. While the original “Mad Max” movies were the quintessential action movies of the 80’s, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is undoubtedly the quintessential action movie of the 21st century.

This isn’t your typical summer blockbuster that requires knowledge of the backstory to understand the current predicament of the characters. “Mad Max: Fury Road,” much like the other movies, follows our hero, Mad Max. Max opens the movie with a narrative that packs more words than he’ll say for the rest of the movie. And trust me, that opening narrative still isn’t that long. His gritty and heavily accented voice grumbles out, “I exist in this wasteland, hunted by scavengers.” And that’s all you need to know about this world.

Fans of the previous movies will know that we’re plopped down in the fierce unforgiving deserts of Australia, but a sandy wasteland speaks for itself in a post-apocalyptic world. The movie establishes very briefly that there’s been a shortage of oil, a resource richer than water, which has thrown the world into chaos. Wars have torn us apart and devolved us into a primal state of mind. We no longer remember have a sense of normalcy and some have been born into this rustic nightmare.

Max is imprisoned in a mountainous fortress known as the Citadel. The Citadel is under the tyrannical control of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). He dilutes the populace with promises of guiding them through these end times and delivering them to Valhalla, sometimes personally. His operation includes a variety of different slaves, including men who churn a monstrous machine that pumps water from the ground, an army of pasty lunatics, simply called the “War Boys”, a row of women who are constantly being pumped for their breast milk, and five wives who he impregnates. He sees everything around him as his property and especially covets the angelic women like Gollum lusts after the One Ring.

But under the sanity of Imperator Furiosa (Theron), the five wives have hope. They escape with the battle hardened woman who burns with a deep hatred for Immortan Joe. Furiosa is in a position of power though, as the driver for the rig that transports precious gasoline, from a lone oil refinery, to the Citadel. With this super fitted and armed to the teeth war rig, she takes off with Immortan Joe’s “property”, sending him into a blind rage. He gathers the war party and storms into the desert with altered vehicles that seem born out of a NASCAR race from Hell.

“Fury Road” is a hot, violent, fever dream in the dunes of despair. There’s so much insanity to cover, I wouldn’t even know where to even begin. The chase after Furiosa drags Max into the fray as he’s used like a sick front hitch ornament for a pursuing vehicle, with his blood literally being siphoned from him into the deranged driver. Then throughout the movie, our enemies, when facing certain death, kamikaze after inhaling what appears to be spray paint, like deranged suicidal junkies. Main villain after villain appears with some sort of disgusting physical complication. While Immortan Joe needs a breathing apparatus, one villain has the teeth of a meth addict and the blind fury of an insane asylum patient, while another appears to be a discount Bond villain with a golden nose, a chain hanging between his pierced nipples, and a severe case of diabetes. And I haven’t even talked about the faceless creature that’s shown constantly playing an electric guitar that shoots flames.

Then there’s the thing you will be hearing about all summer, the stunts and the action. Yes it is relentless and fierce, and yes it avoids CGI, most of the time. Once you hear the sounds of gears shifting and nitrous being kicked on, you’re hooked from scene one. There’s such an adrenaline rush from watching real metal being chewed up and spit out, you can’t take your eyes off the screen. It also helps that every weapon and vehicle is unique in its brutality, while the chase itself seems like structured pandemonium. After watching the green screen CGI, sequel after sequel, and superhero epics, it’s refreshing to watch a realistic circus of carnage.

For being such a grotesque visual spectacle, it manages to be a very thoughtful movie, speaking volumes visually, without uttering a single word. Even though his name is in the title, the movie focuses heavily on Furiosa, who provides the bulk of emotion. While Hardy’s notes must have been very bare, Theron must have had a lot to handle. The movie begins with her as a cold, calculating, man-eater, but as the movie goes on she becomes a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak landscape. But “Mad Max” movies, forego the first, aren’t really about Max. It’s about the world he inhabits along with the people he helps, despite his usual reluctance in the beginning. “Fury Road” is no different. Max joins Furiosa and the five brides on this journey, fraught with despair, but ultimately driving towards hope. It took nearly three decades for all of this to come together, and after an over 10,000 day wait, it was worth every millisecond of my time.

Product Review “Nike Air Max 2015”

 

The last time that I owned a pair of Nike Air Max sneakers, it was probably back in 2013. They were good shoes that latest me a very long time. Everyone knows the Nike brand. They are a trusted brand and very recognizable. The latest 2015 honestly to me aren’t a drastic update from what I remember in my last pair. I can say for sure that they have some really crazy color options this year.

I settled for typical black with the white swoosh but I was also quite found of the pair that blends “Black/Bright Crimson/Blue Lagoon/White”, which is quite the fashion statement for sure but look cool. Honestly for the price, I wouldn’t really think that these are the best shows on the market for running. I mean nearly $200 dollars seems a bit much for me.

Some of the specs for these sneakers are that they are come equipped with engineered mesh upper for light weight and breathability. One of the other features is the “Free-laying Dynamic Flywire”, which provides a very natural-motion feeling for the foot. I don’t have the best heel and these definitely assist in giving a bit of ease on both of that with the padded heel counters.

The rubber outsole with the BRS 1000 carbon rubber pods in the heel and forefoot work well for traction but honestly feel a little thin. I am wondering how long these are going to last. I walk over five miles a day and I will be revisiting these over time to see how they hold up. So for money, I will leave these up to your preference. I feel like if you have purchased Air Max before you should be happy with them.

Blu-ray Review “Mad Max Trilogy”

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Virginia Hey, Joanne Samuel, Syd Heylen, Tina Turner
Directors: George Miller, George Ogilvie
Number of discs: 3
MPAA Ratings: R / PG-13
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Run Time: 290 minutes

Trilogy: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Before Mel Gibson went all crazy on us, he was one bad son-bitch in “Mad Max”, which started him as an action mega star. This sci-fi franchise . This is the first time that the series is being released as Blu-ray collection and actually is the first time at all that “The Road Warrior” and “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” are available in this format. I am a big fan of this series, the first two films are awesome (the second slightly beating out the first) and the third film is…well fun! If you are a fan of this series, then this is a no-brainer purchase. It will easily hold you off while you await the 2014 release of “Mad Max: Fury Road” with Tom Hardy taking over the lead role.

“Mad Max” Official Premise: George Miller’s first entry in the trilogy, Mad Max packs brutal action and insane stunts as it follows the inevitable downfall of relentless cop Max Rockatansky (Gibson) in a world gone mad. Living on the edge of an apocalypse, Max is ready to run far away from it all with his family. But when he experiences an unfortunate encounter with a motorcycle gang and its menacing leader, the Toecutter, his retreat from the madness of the world is now a race to save his family’s life.

“The Road Warrior” Official Premise: The sequel to Mad Max, Mad Max Road Warrior provides action-packed, “automotive” entertainment, telling the story of a selfish-turned-selfless hero and his efforts to protect a small camp of desert survivors and defend an oil refinery under siege from a ferocious marauding horde that plunders the land for gasoline.

“Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” Official Premise: Mel Gibson returns for his third go-round as the title hero who takes on the barbarians of the post-nuclear future – and this time becomes the savior of a tribe of lost children. Music superstar Tina Turner co-stars as Aunty Entity, a power-mad dominatrix determined to use Max to tighten her stranglehold on Bartertown, where fresh water, clean food and gasoline are worth more than gold.

If having all three films together is not a thrill enough, fans are going to love the limited premium tin packaging that this comes in…and might I also add that it would make a super kick-ass gift for Father’s Day. If you don’t care about the time, already own “Max Max” from it’s 2010 Blu-ray releases, then “The Road Warrior” and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” will also be made available the same day/date solo, which out the snazzy case.

All three films are presented with amazing 1080p transfer within their respective 2.4:1 aspect ratios. “Mad Max” comes with its original “Australian English” audio with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. This is the way to watch this film for sure. There is also the terrible, yet funny American dub as well but only in a Dolby Digital Mono track. “The Road Warrior” and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” also feature powerful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks, which work well with the action!

The special features on this trilogy release are good but nothing to do back flips over. “Mad Max” includes a featurette called “Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon”. There is an ace commentary track from Jon Dowding, David Eggby, Chris Murray and (my personal buddy) Tim Ridge! You go Tim! “The Road Warrior” comes with another great commentary track from director George Miller and cinematographer Dean Semler. There is also an introduction from Leonard Maltin and a theatrical trailer included. Last but not least (well maybe) is “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”, which has zero special features. I guess their approach is that we are even including it in this collection.

The Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray™ Collection Debuts June 4 From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

THE MAD MAX TRILOGY

BLU-RAY™ COLLECTION DEBUTS JUNE 4

FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT 

Mel Gibson Stars in the Franchise that Made Him a Star 

Burbank, Calif. February 25, 2013 – Mad Max, the sci-fi franchise that introduced Mel Gibson to the world, will come together for the first time as a Blu-ray collection when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) debuts the Mad Max Trilogy on June 4th.

The three films – Mad Max (1979), Mad Max Road Warrior (1982) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – are all set in the near-future in Australia. From the very first film, Oscar® winner George Miller (Happy Feet, 2006) proved a master at creating the gritty, bleak dystopian world and staging the incredible car stunts and crashes in the era when stuntmen, not computers, achieved the effects. All three movies starred Mel Gibson, virtually unknown until after the second film, as Max Rockatansky, a highway cop traveling through the Outback in a society descending into chaos. The films started Gibson on his road to international superstardom, led to his signature Lethal Weapon series, and later two Academy Awards® for his roles as producer and director of Braveheart(1995).

This must-own collection for action fans is available in limited premium tin packaging and makes a perfect gift for Father’s Day. The collection will sell for $49.99 SRP on Blu-ray Disc™. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which is making its Blu-ray debut, will also be available as a single along with Mad Max Road Warrior. Order due date for all is April 30th.

About The Films

Mad Max (1979)

George Miller’s first entry in the trilogy, Mad Max packs brutal action and insane stunts as it follows the inevitable downfall of relentless cop Max Rockatansky (Gibson) in a world gone mad. Living on the edge of an apocalypse, Max is ready to run far away from it all with his family. But when he experiences an unfortunate encounter with a motorcycle gang and its menacing leader, the Toecutter, his retreat from the madness of the world is now a race to save his family’s life.

Mad Max Road Warrior (1982)

The sequel to Mad Max, Mad Max Road Warrior provides action-packed, “automotive” entertainment, telling the story of a selfish-turned-selfless hero and his efforts to protect a small camp of desert survivors and defend an oil refinery under siege from a ferocious marauding horde that plunders the land for gasoline.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Mel Gibson returns for his third go-round as the title hero who takes on the barbarians of the post-nuclear future – and this time becomes the savior of a tribe of lost children. Music superstar Tina Turner co-stars as Aunty Entity, a power-mad dominatrix determined to use Max to tighten her stranglehold on Bartertown, where fresh water, clean food and gasoline are worth more than gold.

THE MAD MAX TRILOGY ON BLU-RAY

Street Date: June 4, 2013

Order Due Date: April 30, 2013

Catalog/UPC #: 1000334058 / 883929266661

Pricing: $49.99 SRP

Mad Max Run Time: 94 minutes; Rated R

The Road Warrior Run Time: 91 minutes; Rated R

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Run Time: 107 minutes; Rated PG-13

Max Charles chats about playing Peter Parker in “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Max Charles is only 8-years old but is having on heck of busy year. He is co-starring in “The Three Stooges” and even playing the role of a young Peter Parker in this summer’s reboot “The Amazing Spider-Man”. He is also voicing Sherman in the upcoming animated film “My Peaboy & Sherman”. Max took our sometime to chat with Media Mikes about this busy year and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about experience on the film “The Three Stooges”, must have been a fun time?
Max Charles: “The Three Stooges” was so much fun to film. We were in Atlanta all summer and since my scenes are with Will (Sasso), Sean (Hayes) and Chris (Diamantopoulos), I got to hang out with them in the green room. They are so funny and we were always laughing even in between scenes.

MG: What did you enjoy most about playing the young orphan Peezer?
MC: Peezer is the Three Stooges little buddy so that was fun!! I really like the character because he seems like a nice and fun kid. He really cares about his friends especially his best friend Murph. Peezer also encourages the Stooges to do the right thing and try to save the orphanage.

MG: How was it working on the upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man” and playing a young Peter Parker?
MC: Amazing!! I still can’t believe I am Peter Parker and got to work on this film! The Amazing Spider-Man was my first feature film so it will always be REALLY special to me. Whenever I saw Andrew on set he would come over and sit with me and we would talk about the movie and acting. I thought that was really cool. When we were in New York filming we saw him riding his bike when we were walking in our hotel and when he saw me he rode over to talk to me. Nice is cool!

MG: Was it exciting to play such a notable superhero?
MC: Spider-Man has ALWAYS been my favorite superhero! When I was like three years old I was even Spider-Man for Halloween! I think I wore that costume ALL YEAR! I had NO idea I would EVER get to be Spider-Man in a movie!

MG: You are set to voice Sherman in the upcoming animated film “My Peaboy & Sherman”, tell us about that?
MC: Sherman is a GREAT character and SO much fun. He has a big heart but he seems to accidentally get in a ton of trouble. Mr. Ty Burrell plays Mr Peabody who is a very smart Dog who is always getting Sherman out of the trouble he makes. It’s awesome because they get to travel in a time machine and go to fun places. Sherman would be a fun kid to be friends with!

MG: What do you like most about voice work?
MC: Voice work is great because you can get crazy with your voice and acting. I like getting into the character when we are recording a session instead of just standing there saying the words. They said they are getting some pretty funny behind the scenes footage too.

MG: What other projects do you have planned upcoming?
MC: I play Max Weaver in an ABC comedy pilot called “Down To Earth”, so we hope that gets picked up for Fall. It’s a really funny show. I’m working on “Peabody and Sherman” right now and doing several voices for other tv shows like “Family Guy”, “American Dad” and “Robot Chicken”. I have a movie called “Unstable” coming out soon that I am one of the leads in and I did a guest spot on “Scent of The Missing” for TNT and I got to play the missing. I’m also working on some music with my brothers.

Max Landis talks about writing “Chronicle”

Max Landis is the writer of the recent found footage superhero film, “Chronicle”. Max is the son of John Landis (“An American Werewolf in London” & “The Blues Brothers”) and he is taking after his father for being extremely talented. The script for “Chronicle” is so original and fresh, which is really fresh in busy Hollywood of remakes and sequels. Max took some time to chat with Media Mikes to discuss the new film and what else he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Your script for “Chronicle” is so original, tell us about the evolution of the project?
Max Landis: Josh (Tranks) and I knew each other from high school. We didn’t talk for about 10 years and then I ran into him at a party and we started talking. He said he had directed a couple of shorts and I told him I had written some scripts. At this point I had a script on the radar and I was slowly becoming a writer people knew of. He had edited and directed second on a movie called “Big Fan”. I saw his shorts and I love them. He said he read my scripts and said they were amazing. He said “I have this idea for a viral web video about kids doing pranks with superpowers”. I said “What do you mean?”. He said that “They are viral web videos but as they go on they start to get darker as they begin to abuse the powers.” I said like a “POV superhero movie” and he said “Yeah!”. I said “Can it be a POV super villain movie?” and told him to give me two weeks. So I went home and made up Andrew, Matt and Steve and all their troubles and two weeks later I returned to him with a script. I told him that if I took this film to the studios that I wanted him to direct and he screamed “Holy Shit!”.

MG: You have written scripts for TV before, was it difficult to do a feature film?
ML: “Chronicle” was actually my 58th feature script. I started writing when I was 16 and I am up to 68 scripts right now, “Chronicle” was 10 scripts ago. So, lucky number 58. It started the streak that I have been on since then of selling everything. Googling me has been really fun recently [laughs].

MG: Any particular issue during writing this script for “Chronicle”?
ML: No, it was great. “Chronicle” was a really great experience for me. I wish I had more pathos about it. Writing the script was super fun. Figuring out how to write from the POV first perspective was a ball. Fox was really a dream working on the project. The development process did not go the way these things usually go. The movie you see is really Josh’s wonderful version of my original script. There were a few changes here and there but it is really a reflection of my script.

MG: When you wrote the script, tell us about the scale of the film you were planning?
ML: The game of “Chronicle” from day one…from the moment I opened my Final Draft document, I was going to trick people into thinking this movie was going to be small. I wanted it to be exactly what it is. I wanted it to be a character drama about friendship, trust and dealing with tragedy and loss…expect at the end we throw buses and destroy helicopters. So we get to that superhero level but I like to think that we take a more honest and compelling road. You know, I want to earn my flying bus.

MG: After seeing the film, there is definitely room for sequel, any plans?
ML: What do you think? [laughs]. YES! Yes of course! The way that movie ends, do you think there is not a sequel…come on. Hopefully the next one will have to do with aliens.

MG: What can you tell us about working with Shawn Levy’s “Frankenstein” project?
ML: Yeah “Frankenstein”! That was a pitch I sold to Fox that reinvents Frankenstein as a character drama. Again it makes it a story about trust, friendship and the isolating nature of genius.

MG: Tell us about working with Ron Howard on “Amnesty”?
ML: “Amnesty” is something the public hasn’t seen in a mainstream big movie before. It takes place in a modern fantasy world but I don’t want to get too far into what that means. But imagine if the wizards in “Harry Potter” weren’t secret [laughing] and it is set in the present, things would be pretty interesting for spies and secret agents…would they? A dragon fights a tank…it is pretty baller!

MG: Do you plan on following in your father’s path of both writing and directing films?
ML: That’s what people keep telling me…we’ll see!