The trailer for PERFECT SENSE had me fooled. The basic story is about a chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) who meet and fall in love just as a strange pandemic begins–a disease that robs people of their senses one by one over time, each loss preceded by a bout of emotion–loss, existential despair, intense rage, joy. The trailer makes the film appear to be a generic love story, and it is (some may even find it a bit sappy at times), but it’s so much more than that. It’s filled with bittersweet, heartfelt moments (and occasional montages) about how life soldiers on in the face of adversity, and how humans enjoy the world through every sense they have. The end of the world is accepted with something like grace. As an apocalyptic film, it’s one of the best out there, in my view.
I recently found this Korean gem on Netflix: THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, told in three stories by two directors, explores signs of the apocalypse. In the first story, which is told with a touch of humor, humanity’s capacity to waste and feed part of this waste to animals it in turn eats leads to a zombie virus that overruns the world. In the second story, which is told with great pathos, a robot serving in a Buddhist temple achieves enlightenment and is hailed as the Buddha, which threatens the soul of humanity. And in the third story, which is very funny, a little girl orders a pool ball off the Internet, not knowing the site is run by an alien intelligence, which results in a very strange meteor heading toward earth to destroy all life on the surface.
Each of the stories was great. The film is a lot of fun. Highly recommended.
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD was without a doubt one of the best films I watched in 2012. A strange, visual feast, the film tells the story of Hushpuppy, a six-year-old girl living in a bayou fishing community (the “Bathtub”) cut off from the rest of the world by a levee. The world falls out of balance, resulting in what is, to her, the end of the world; melting polar ice caps create storms that drown the bayou and release prehistoric beasts from the ice. Hushpuppy believes she must restore the balance of the world to save her dying father and disappearing home, while her father prepares her to survive without him. This is the end of the world seen through the imagination of a little girl, with enough oddball characters, striking imagery and incredible acting by Quvenzhané Wallis to keep you enthralled. Recommended for those seeking something different.
In SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, as an asteroid nears Earth, Dodge (Steve Carell) finds himself alone and decides to take a road trip to find “the one that got away”–his high school sweetheart. His free-spirited neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), who just went through her own breakup, goes with him. Along the way, with the clock ticking on Earth’s doom, Dodge finds more life and love than he’d experienced for most of his adult life. The movie is reminiscent of a similar earlier Canadian film, LAST NIGHT, but the similarity ends at the basic concept. The movie is quite funny as the people around Dodge engage in end-of-the-world sex and violence, everybody determined to go out with a bang, and Dodge just can’t go along with it, sticking with his old routines and even reporting every day to the insurance company where he works. It’s sweet, in that Dodge finally gets to experience rich, genuine human feeling he’s been denied for so long. And it’s sad, as everything ends. It’s a great movie on many levels, although some may find the almost abrupt switch from bittersweet joy to existential sadness jarring and even a little haunting. Recommended.
The movie of the week is IDIOCRACY, one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Joe, a perfectly average man and a soldier in the US Army, participates in a cryogenics experiment that goes wrong, resulting in him waking up 500 years in the future. Unfortunately, due to evolution, the average IQ has fallen so low everybody’s now a complete idiot, making Joe the smartest man in the world. The result is hilarious satire on the human condition and present-day society. If you missed this one, check it out now.
I recently enjoyed watching the film A SCANNER DARKLY again. Based on the classic novel by Philip K. Dick, it’s a fantastic adaptation by Richard Linklater–the only adaptation of a PKD book that was actually true to what Dick intended.
In this Dystopian world, one out of five people is hopelessly addicted to a drug that rapidly murders its victims, justifying a police state that eliminates any traces of liberty.
The film deals with powerful themes of mistrust, isolation/alienation, the permeation of death among life, and nothing being what it seems, with strong performances by its cast, interesting use of animation, and good dialog.