Saturday, October 15, 2011

An Apocalyptic Appendix N, Part 3

The Mist - One of my favorites - Frank Darabont takes a good Stephen King story and takes it to the next level.  Some of the CGI was a bit dodgy, but the Two Disc Collectors Edition includes a black and white version of the film that looks MUCH better, and is, as Frank Darabont says in the introduction, the closest thing to a Director's Cut as you're likely to see.  Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden stand out, but the ending is one of the ballsiest that I've seen in modern cinema.  Even now, I can't believe that studio execs actually approved it.  I've never been able to listen to Dead Can Dance's The Host of Seraphim the same way since.

The Book of Eli - Denzel Washington wanders the highways and byways of a blasted America like a post apocalyptic Kwai Chang Caine.  Along the way, he encounters the always awesome Gary Oldman, setting the stage for a meditation on faith vs. religion and the moral neutrality of it all.  The movie wears its influences on its sleeve, and it's not too hard to see where it draws its inspiration from, but it is a great film nonetheless, with some fantastic fight choreography, and a twist at the end that makes you want to go back and rewatch the film. 

The Road - Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, The Road quickly disabuses you of any romantic notions of what post apocalyptic life would be like.  There are no Heroes of the Wastes here, no Bartertowns, no hope.  There is just a man and his son trying to survive in a world they don't belong in anymore.  Things start off bad, and get worse.  And worse.  And then a little worse again.  Forget Aragorn, this is Viggo Mortensen's defining performance.  And any opportunity to see Michael K. Williams (The Wire) act is worth the price of admission.

Panic In Year Zero! - A SciFi classic produced on a shoestring budget, this nonetheless is shocking for the time period it was made in (1962).  A family heads out on a vacation just before Los Angeles is destroyed by a nuclear blast.  This was one of the earliest movies to tackle the idea of social collapse in the wake of calamity, and it does so unflinchingly.  The survivors witness the depths of depravity that mankind can sink to when there is no social compact to protect them.

Logan's Run - This is another one of those films that I'm pretty sure you've seen if you're reading this blog, but it still bears mentioning.  Farah Fawcett was my first crush, and this was the movie that did it.  While as an adult I think the movie is inferior to the book, it nonetheless made quite an impression on my as a child.  Logan 5 is a Sandman, someone who hunts down people who try and escape a society that kills them when they reach 30.  The computer that runs this society charges him with tracking down Sanctuary, a place outside their bubble that the Runners supposedly go, and suddenly Logan is out of time.  A basically silly movie, but loads of fun, and there are some truly striking scenes.  If you haven't seen it already, do so. 

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