‘Furiosa’ Will Make Everyone Obsessed With Anya Taylor-Joy

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Warner Bros.
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Warner Bros.

There are roughly 47,000—oh, wait, a new Netflix Original just dropped; make that 47,001—TV shows and movies coming out each week. At Obsessed, we consider it our social duty to help you see the best and skip the rest.

We’ve already got a variety of in-depth, exclusive coverage on all of your streaming favorites and new releases, but sometimes what you’re looking for is a simple Do or Don’t. That’s why we created See/Skip, to tell you exactly what our writers think you should See and what you can Skip from the past week’s crowded entertainment landscape.

See: Furiosa

Furiosa is as enthralling and action-packed as fans of George Miller’s Mad Max saga would hope, but the Fury Road prequel’s introduction to a thrashing, revenge-driven Furiosa—played now with nimble, riveting vehemence by Anya Taylor-Joy—is one of this summer’s most breathtaking experiences.

Here’s Esther Zuckerman’s take:

“You don’t go to a George Miller movie for the expected. The Australian director is a master of the bizarre, and has spent his career making images that seem to come out of the deepest recesses of the human consciousness. In 2015, Miller did what many thought was unimaginable. He released Mad Max: Fury Road, his long-awaited, long-troubled continuation of the Mad Max series which he began in 1979. Fury Road defied all expectations with its wondrous symphony of action. But it also diverted attention away from the hero of the title, road warrior Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), and introduced this audience to a captivating new fighter: Imperator Furiosa, a bald woman with one arm played with ferociousness and a well of pain by Charlize Theron.

George Miller’s ‘Furiosa’ Is a Blast of Relentless, Often Brutal Mayhem

Now comes Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the story of that woman, now played as an adult by Anya Taylor-Joy, that premiered Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival. Of course, Miller has chosen not to play the same hits of Fury Road over again—though, make no mistake, there are astounding sequences of vehicular action. Instead of the streamlined story of Fury Road, essentially a race back and forth to freedom, he has made a picaresque story of Furiosa’s rise with a Dickensian flare. It harkens back to the more sprawling nature of the original Mad Max films, but it’s also a spiritual work that grapples with how humanity reacts to grief and loss— whether sorrow perverts you or makes you stronger—all while delivering on the visual spectacle you could hope for from Miller.”

Read more.

Jack O'Connell as Blake Fielder-Civil and Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse.

Jack O'Connell as Blake Fielder-Civil and Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse in Back to Black.

Dean Rogers/Focus Features

Skip: Back to Black

Back to Black is not as despicable as everyone dreading the Amy Winehouse biopic thought it may be, but it’s certainly not good either. The film lacks Winehouse’s determined, defiant spirit, reducing her bright star to little more than a dim shine.

Here’s Coleman Spilde’s take:

“For as much as has been said about director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Amy Winehouse biopic, Back to Black—it’s exploitative, it’s too tame, the on-set photos captured during filming were already disgracing its subject’s legacy—there is ironically not much to harp on about Johnson’s film at all. It’s not because Back to Black is surprisingly great or woefully awful, but because it lands firmly in the middle, struggling to say much about the iconic late singer that hasn’t already been mused on by her millions of fans.

They Tried to Make an Amy Winehouse Biopic. We Said ‘Zzz.’

Johnson and Back to Black’s writer Matt Greenhalgh surely knew they were facing a tough road to the film’s release—especially since the eponymous documentary made about Winehouse’s life, Amy, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2016. Why, then, they chose to pursue this unpointed and largely ineffective biopic is a mystery; Johnson’s claims about wanting to tell Winehouse’s story through her music don’t help clarify things.

While those songs enhance the movie’s thin screenplay, they were pre-existing works, already telling mythic stories of their writer’s life through her wit and heartbreaking candor. Replicating that personality onscreen is another matter entirely. Though the film’s star, Marisa Abela, is visibly dedicated to getting the role right, Winehouse’s shining supernova proves too bright to simulate, causing Back to Black to stay shrouded in darkness for far too long.”

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Madelaine Petsch in The Strangers.

Madelaine Petsch in The Strangers.

John Armour/Lionsgate

Skip: The Strangers: Chapter 1

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is a dilapidated prequel to 2008’s brilliant The Strangers, devoid of the suspense and intellect that made the first film such a beloved horror classic. Is there some moratorium on making smart horror movies that no one told us about?

Here’s Nick Schager’s take:

“Bryan Bertino’s 2008 The Strangers is one of the millennium’s finest horror films, and a large part of its success stems from the fact that it doesn’t cheat by making its main characters morons. Faced with a home-intrusion nightmare carried out by three silent fiends, two wearing old-timey masks and the other boasting a burlap bag over his head, its protagonists (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) routinely assess their situation logically and react accordingly, thereby eliciting urgent, nail-biting engagement with their plight. It’s a small-scale masterclass in orchestrating suspense through diligent plotting and staging, not to mention memorable imagery, highlighted by the repeated sight of its villains materializing in the background, their motionless muteness casting them as inexplicable and unnerving harbingers of doom.

‘The Strangers: Chapter 1’ Is a Whole New Level of Brainless Horror Movie

The same, alas, cannot be said about the sequel to Bertino’s gem, 2018’s clumsier The Strangers: Prey at Night, and that goes, double, triple, quadruple for The Strangers: Chapter 1, which hits theaters May 17. The first entry in a planned trilogy whose subsequent installments will be released in the coming year, Renny Harlin’s thriller is a de facto remix of the franchise’s first outing, the primary difference being that whereas Bertino’s original was sleek, sinister, and deft, this do-over is noisy, dull, and dumb as a bag of rocks. Managing to do a disservice to virtually every plot element that it borrows, it’s proof positive that horror-cinema components are far less important than the artists tasked with piecing them together.”

Read more.

Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton.

Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

See: Bridgerton Season 3

Bridgerton Season 3 finds the Netflix hit more romantic than ever, finally making good on the percolating heat between Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton. But Penelope's attempts to rekindle her friendship with Colin’s sister prove this season’s most gripping storyline.

Here’s Laura Bradley’s take:

“Since the very beginning of Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan’s outcast wallflower character Penelope Featherington has been the show’s beating, oh-so-vulnerable heart. Sure, she might midnight as the town gossip, Lady Whistledown, but at her core, all she wants is to find love and security—preferably, with her childhood friend and longtime crush, the clueless Bridgerton brother Colin (Luke Newton). For three seasons, we’ve watched Penelope cast furtive, longing looks in her would-be suitor’s direction, and his utter cluelessness has been absolute torture. Thank God that’s finally over.

‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Is More Enchanting and Sexier Than Ever

Bridgerton Season 3, which hit Netflix with its four-episode Part One on Thursday, repays our patience (or, in my case, deep lack thereof) by giving Penelope the show’s best romantic arc yet. And how could it not be so, after three years of build-up? But Colin’s not the only one who has Penelope’s attention: This season, a new suitor, the very rich, very eligible Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) enters the mix and captures Penelope’s interest. Lady Featherington (Polly Walker), might be dead set on getting one of Penelope’s dim-witted sisters pregnant so that they can inherit the family fortune, but as usual, she underestimates her shyest daughter at her own peril. (That said, Lady Featherington’s impromptu sex education session with her daughters might be the funniest moment of the season.)”

Read more.

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