Mad Max: Fury Road | Frasier, Season 8
Fast cars and faster talking
MOVIE REVIEW // Mad Max: Fury Road
Movie summary: In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search for her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max. (IMDb)
I have literally one criticism of Mad Max: Fury Road that stops it just short of top marks for me, although I really don't want to start off this review negatively, because this movie was even better than I remembered and I already liked it a hell of a lot. I can't remember what other issues I may have had with it before, but - whatever they were - they didn't bother me this time around.
So, that sole negative... This is going to sound as petty as fuck, plus it might not be something that will affect most viewers, in which case, feel free to bump that score below up by one. This is a movie that balances extravagance and excess almost perfectly from start to finish, but the handful of moments where it does tip over into the 'excess' side of things are jarring enough to take me out of the film.
There were literally only three moments that suffered from this (not bad for a 2 hour movie!), but it did just break that sense of immersion that the entire rest of Mad Max: Fury Road had proved so masterful at crafting the rest of the time. I can't point out those moments without spoiling the story, especially as one happens very near the end and they only really stood out to me as everything else is so damn good.
I've always thought this movie looked and sounded fantastic, and that sentiment was dialled up to eleven after watching it again for this review. Barring one night-time scene that was very obviously shot during the day and altered digitally to resemble night (although not convincingly in the slightest - one of the moments mentioned above), this film is one of the best-looking I've ever seen, with an incredible array of colours for what may seem like a boring environment.
The production design, costuming and make-up work are all incredible too, meaning that 'boring' is quite honestly the last word that you could say about the feast for the eyes that is this film. It's not just the obvious stuff either, the details are incredible when you notice them, all helping to create a very physical feel for a fictional world that constantly pushes at the very edges of what can be absorbed without breaking immersion.
Mad Max: Fury Road sounds great too, and I'm talking sound design as much as the excellent score. The latter really comes into play in the second half of the movie, helping to drive everything towards the explosive finale, but it's all the other sound work that is truly impressive, doubly so when taking into account how much of the sound is motor-generated and explosive yet never once approaches becoming tedious.
I suppose there should also be some mention of the cast too, with Tom Hardy exceptional as Max. I know that most people jump straight to Charlize Theron's Furiosa as the standout - and she is truly excellent in the role, make no mistake about that! - but Hardy acts much like Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa in Black Panther, anchoring the movie and allowing the other characters to stand out and grab the audience's attention.
If you can overlook the moments that took me out of the movie, then Mad Max: Fury Road might well be approaching a perfect film and I really wish that those brief slips didn't bug me so much, but I'd be lying if I said otherwise. They're certainly not enough to spoil the movie by any means - I'll certainly watch this again and again - and they might not bother you at all, so enjoy this otherwise incredible movie!
Mad Max: Fury Road is a truly great movie, that looks and sounds just incredible, with some amazing performances backed up by wonderful design and a non-stop plot that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. The world-building is amazing too, really making you want to spend more time finding out about the state of things, with only a few moments of over-excess deflating proceedings ever so slightly.
TV REVIEW // Frasier, Season 8
Season summary: Niles and Daphne face the music of their jilted lovers, neither of whom handle the news of their newfound love well. Shortly after this, Daphne gains considerable weight, which everyone seems to notice except for Niles until it is too late. (Frasier Wiki)
With Daphne and Niles declaring their love for each other at the end of the previous season, you'd expect that to be the main long-running story arc of this eighth season of Frasier and you'd be mostly correct. I say 'mostly' because it's pretty much the only long-term plot this season, leaving Frasier, Roz and Martin to do little more than watch on, getting the occasional moment here and there to shine.
This season was also affected by Jane Leeves getting pregnant, requiring a lot of writing around the issue and essentially just having Daphne get fat. You can hardly blame Leeves for having her own life outside of the show and it's simply unfortunate for the show that it happened at a crucial point for her character, with there not being a great deal of truly fun material to be mined from various fat jokes.
With Daphne also having to leave the show for a while - Leeves to give birth, Daphne to stay at a spa to help with her weight loss - it only adds to the upheaval caused by Niles and Daphne getting together in the first place. Even if Leeves had been available for the entire season, I don't think the show would've excelled to its usual high standards based on what we do get regarding the pair's relationship.
Still, this is Frasier and its quality is such that, while this is a poor season relative to what's come before, it remains enjoyable to watch. It's the show's more serious moments that are the highlights this time though, with Niles standing up to Mel and Martin attending the parole hearing of the man who shot him being two of the best moments - again, there aren't any true standout episodes, although "Hooping Cranes" does come close with Niles achieving some brief fame due to a lucky basketball shot.
Frasier's eighth season is easily its weakest so far, unfortunately suffering from a huge change to the status quo and also needing to write around a pregnancy for one of the people central to that change. It's still Frasier though, so it's still not exactly mediocre and still has some excellent moments other sitcoms would kill to have in an entire run - it's just falling below its own high standards.