George Miller

May 15, 2015 | 12:07 p.m.

‘Downer from Down Under’: Read the original ‘Mad Max’ review in L.A. Times

Mel Gibson in 1979's "Mad Max." (MGM)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is revving into theaters this weekend, accompanied by rave reviews and high box office predictions. But when the original “Mad Max” film arrived in the U.S. in 1980, film critic Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it “a textbook example of how not to make a film.” Champlin criticized nearly everything about the movie, including young lead Mel Gibson (“boyishly bland”), the villains (“indistinguishable vrooming beings”), the set, the supporting characters and the “inappropriate” soundtrack. “You are left with a lot of burnt rubber and bent metal and little evidence of creative imagination,” Champlin wrote. Champlin certainly wasn’t the only critic who wasn’t impressed by George Miller’s low-budget, post-apocalyptic action flick. The New York Times’ Tom Buckley criticized its “flimsy” plot and said the film was “ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at […]
May 14, 2015 | 1:33 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: Original ‘Mad Max’ kickstarted a cult classic franchise

Mel Gibson in 1979's "Mad Max." (MGM)
With “Mad Max: Fury Road” crashing into theaters Thursday evening, this week’s Throwback Thursday column recalls the first installment in the “Mad Max” series. Australian director George Miller’s dystopian tale starred Aussie actor Mel Gibson as protagonist Max Rockatansky, a widower on a quest for vengeance, and introduced the young actor to an international audience. “Mad Max” made its debut Down Under on April 12, 1979; American audiences had to wait until May 2, 1980. Though critics were split, public reception was positive and the film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide and earned a nomination for best original screenplay (by Miller and James McCausland) from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The film was also nominated for best film and direction and won for editing, original music score and sound. Not everyone was impressed. Los Angeles Times movie […]
April 24, 2015 | 8:30 a.m.

In ‘Fury Road,’ a new ‘Mad Max’ hurtles into familiar mythology

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky in "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Jasin Boland / Warner Bros.)
AUSTIN, Texas — The three films in the “Mad Max” trilogy have always felt like primal epics, as if they were fables handed down for generations by word of mouth. Former police patrolman Max Rockatansky, who lost his family at the hands of a marauding motorcycle gang, drives the wasteland on the run from everyone, perhaps most of all himself. The first two films, “Mad Max” and “The Road Warrior,” helped make an international superstar of Mel Gibson and announced Australian filmmaker George Miller, onetime emergency room doctor turned high-impact visionary, as a force to be reckoned with. Thirty years after the third film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Miller is unveiling a new Max and a world he describes as “uniquely familiar” with “Mad Max: Fury Road.” FULL COVERAGE: Summer Movie Sneaks Max is now played by Tom Hardy, best known […]
April 04, 2015 | 5:55 p.m.

WonderCon 2015: Warner Bros. shows off ‘San Andreas,’ ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

From left, Riley Keough as Capable (Brainy), Courtney Eaton as Fragile (Cheedo), Charlize Theron as Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux, PHS-4, and Abbey Lee as Dag (Smiley), in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Jason Boland / Warner Bros.)
The Rock was missing, but explosions were plentiful at Warner Bros. WonderCon presentation, which kicked off Saturday’s lineup in the Anaheim Convention Center’s 9,100-seat arena. The studio showed footage from the upcoming Dwayne Johnson disaster flick “San Andreas” as well as George Miller’s much anticipated “Mad Max: Fury Road.” “San Andreas” director Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”) was on hand to discuss the film, along with cast members Carla Gugino (“Watchmen,” “Sin City”) and Alexandra Daddario (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians”). Absent was Johnson — a force of nature in his own right — who stars as a rescue helicopter pilot who sets out to save his ex-wife (Gugino) and daughter (Daddario) after a massive earthquake and resulting tidal wave leave the California coast decimated. It’s a big-budget action movie, but during the panel, Peyton emphasized the film’s […]
March 31, 2015 | 1:40 p.m.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ trailer: Tom Hardy on the run

Tom Hardy in "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Warner Bros.)
The new trailer for George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” is out, and it finds Tom Hardy in a bind. “In this wasteland, I’m the one who runs from both the living and the dead” opens the voiceover as Hardy’s Mad Max Rockatansky is doing just that. “A man reduced to a single instinct: survive.” “Fury Road,” set for a May 15 release, marks the relaunch of the post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” franchise that kicked off with Mel Gibson as the titular hero in 1979. Unlike most recent reboots, “Fury Road” marks director Miller returning to the franchise for the fourth time to revisit the world he started over 35 years ago. The trailer, viewable above, reveals more of the post-apocalyptic desert wasteland the film is set in, as well as a better glimpse of Hugh Keays-Byrne as the villainous warlord […]
July 27, 2014 | 8:03 p.m.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ trailer: Tom Hardy’s world of fire and blood [video]

Tom Hardy as Max in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." 
(Jason Boland / Warner Bros)
Only one day after making a splash at San Diego’s Comic-Con International, Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” makes a play for a wider audience, with the first trailer for George Miller’s action vehicle showcasing the intensity of star Tom Hardy and the movie’s chase scenes. Watch it below. Set for release May 15, 2015, the film, which also stars Charlize Theron, sees Hardy step into the role originated by Mel Gibson in “Mad Max,” the high-octane post-apocalyptic action film that spawned two hit sequels. In an interview with Hero Complex this weekend in San Diego, Miller said that he never could have imagined retuning to the franchise that launched his career so many years later. ” ‘Mad Max,’ was my very first film,” Miller said. It was made for $350,000, which even back then was very low-budget. I’d hardly ever been […]
July 27, 2014 | 10:14 a.m.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: George Miller on car crashes, Tom Hardy’s animal magnetism

Tom Hardy as Max in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." 
(Jason Boland / Warner Bros)
In the 35 years since Australian director George Miller made his debut with a gritty, high-octane post-apocalyptic action film called “Mad Max,” his road has taken many a twist and turn. The shoestring-budgeted “Mad Max” launched its star, Mel Gibson, to worldwide fame and spawned two hit sequels — 1981’s “The Road Warrior” and 1985’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” — and Miller went on to make such varied films as “The Witches of Eastwick,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Babe: Pig in the City” and “Happy Feet.” Now, much to his surprise, Miller’s road has led him back to the “Mad Max” franchise, which he is rebooting with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” starring Tom Hardy — in the role Gibson originated — along with Charlize Theron. Hero Complex caught up with Miller just hours after footage from the film, which opens May 15, 2015, was greeted with raucous applause at Warner Bros.’ Comic-Con International panel. Hero […]
July 26, 2014 | 2:47 p.m.

Comic-Con: Peter Jackson takes a bow, George Miller shows off ‘Fury Road’

Benedict Cumberbatch, from left, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom attend the Warner Bros. Pictures panel for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" on Day 3 of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in San Diego. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Zack Snyder’s early peek at “Batman v. Superman” kicked off the Warner Bros. Comic-Con International panel with some serious fanboy firepower, but the studio still had three other highly anticipated films in store for the 6,500-odd fans gathered in Hall H: Andy and Lana Wachowski’s sci-fi epic “Jupiter Ascending,” George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action reboot “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and the final installment in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster “Hobbit” trilogy, subtitled “The Battle of Five Armies.” Neither the Wachowskis nor “Jupiter Ascending” co-star Mila Kunis were on hand at the panel, so it fell to Channing Tatum to introduce footage from the space opera, in which he plays a genetically engineered warrior who comes to Earth to reveal to Kunis’ Jupiter Jones that she is interstellar royalty. “We really try to do something different, something you’ve never seen before,” Tatum told the crowd, calling the Wachowskis “absolutely out of their […]
July 08, 2014 | 12:19 p.m.

Comic-Con: Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit,’ George Miller’s ‘Mad Max,’ more

Peter Jackson is leaving Middle-earth long enough to stop by Comic-Con International in San Diego. The Oscar-winning filmmaker will appear in the pop-culture expo’s grandest arena, Hall H, to tout the Dec. 17 release of the final chapter of his second J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Warner Bros. announced Tuesday. As you might have judged from the more-dramatic-than-“There and Back Again” title, it promises to be the most action-packed of the “Hobbit” films, with the Benedict Cumberbatch-voiced dragon Smaug on the loose, and Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen’s Gandalf caught up in a multi-way struggle for the treasure of Erebor. That presentation, scheduled for July 26 at 10 a.m., also includes more from the studio’s upcoming slate. Postapocalyptic visionary director George Miller will show the crowd an early look at “Mad Max: […]
Dec. 21, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.

Mel Gibson returns: ‘Mad Max’ marathon will include onstage Q&A

Mel Gibson (featured image)
Mel Gibson is going back into the Thunderdome of public opinion. The actor, filmmaker and polarizing persona will appear onstage on Jan. 21 for a “Mad Max” triple feature at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Gibson will sit for a Q&A at the American Cinematheque event that will include screenings of “Mad Max,” “The Road Warrior” and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” the post-apocalyptic action trilogy that helped launch Gibson’s star in America. The films were directed by George Miller (the third one had George Ogilvie as co-director) and he has plans now to return to the brand with a fourth film, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” this time starring British actor Tom Hardy, who is also playing the villain Bane in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” For Gibson, who turns 56 next month, the event is a way to focus on his silver-screen glory. But […]
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