British horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead is a scream in all senses of the word. Brain-hungry zombies shamble through the streets of London, but all unambitious electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) cares about is his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), who just dumped him. With the help of his slacker roommate Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun fights [...]
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Presenting a bleak, harrowing, and yet ultimately hopeful vision of humankind’s not-too-distant future, Children of Men is a riveting cautionary tale of potential things to come. Set in the crisis-ravaged future of 2027, and based on the atypical 1993 novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the anxiety-inducing, action-packed story is set in a dystopian [...]
If there’s been a zombie apocalypse and you’re road-tripping alone though the wasteland, you could do worse than run into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a bourbon-swilling bad-boy butt-kicker with a really cool car. This is where the careful hero of Zombieland, a kid nicknamed Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), finds himself early in the film, and you can [...]
What is it about director Richard Donner that Mel Gibson enjoys so much that he’s appeared in five of Donner’s films? Is it the on-set pranks? Could it be the big-budget perks and $20-million paychecks? Or is it just a well-stocked catering table? Whatever the case, the Lethal Weapon star and director teamed up again, [...]
One of the key films of the 1970s, John Boorman’s Deliverance is a nightmarish adaptation of poet-novelist James Dickey’s book about various kinds of survival in modern America. The story concerns four Atlanta businessmen of various male stripe: Jon Voight’s character is a reflective, civilized fellow, Burt Reynolds plays a strapping hunter-gatherer in urban clothes, [...]
Inspired by Chris Marker’s acclaimed short film LaJetée (which is included on the DVD Short 2: Dreams), 12 Monkeys combines intricate, intelligent storytelling with the uniquely imaginative vision of director Terry Gilliam. The story opens in the wintry wasteland of the year 2035, where a virulent plague has forced humans to live in a squalid, [...]
A strong candidate for the designation of most thrilling action movie ever made (the turbo-charged exhilaration of its full-throttle highway chases has never been equaled), the second part of George Miller’s post-apocalyptic trilogy is also a magnificently imagined movie myth. Like the Star Wars trilogy (by that other George) the Mad Max films draw their [...]
Get mindless for awhile with this 1997 disaster flick, starring the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles as a funky place for lava to spew, plus Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche as the brave souls who know how to shut off the spout. Director Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard) wastes no time getting to [...]
A great big rock hits the earth, and lots of people die. That’s pretty much all there is to it, and most of that was in the trailer. Can a major Hollywood movie really squeak by with such a slender excuse for a premise? The old disaster-movie king, cheese-meister Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake), [...]
Twister was a mega-million-dollar blockbuster–helmed by a director (Dutchman Jan de Bont) hot off another scorcher hit (Speed)–that flaunted state-of-the-art digital effects and featured a popular leading actress (Helen Hunt) who would win an Academy Award for her next film (As Good As It Gets). But ask anybody who’s seen it and they’ll tell you [...]
The first of 1997′s volcano disaster movies (the second being Volcano) was arguably the better of the two, but both of them made for passable entertainment with some spectacular special effects to serve as icing on the stale cake. After all, Dante’s Peak doesn’t pretend to be anything more than an updated variation on a [...]
Loud, violent, and proudly derivative, the post-apocalyptic action-thriller Doomsday is the latest from UK cult director Neil Marshall, who impressed horror fans with his previous efforts, Dog Soldiers and The Descent. Both pictures established Marshall as a director with a knack for reinventing well-worn genre pictures, but here, he seems more interested in stitching together [...]
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis belongs to legend as much as to cinema. It’s a milestone of sci-fi and German expressionism. Yet the story makes minimal sense, and the “theme” belongs in a fortune cookie; to experience the film’s pagan power, you have to see the movie. But for decades we couldn’t, not really–not with so many [...]
Nine small rag dolls, stitched together from burlap and clock workings and lenses, are all that stands in the way of the world being overtaken by the Machines. Actually, as 9 begins, it looks like the Machines have already had their way with Earth: this is one of those post-apocalyptic landscapes without life, hope, or [...]
The Postman Falling from the Oscar-winning glory of Dances with Wolves to the opposite end of the critical and box-office scale, Kevin Costner must have been deeply humbled when this three-hour postapocalyptic tale–his sophomore effort as a director–was greeted with a critical thrashing and tepid audience response.
Truly ridiculous but somehow moving, this right-wing paranoid fantasy by John Milius (The Wind and the Lion) from 1984 concerns a Soviet takeover of the United States and a band of ragtag adolescents who metamorphose into freedom fighters.