Don’t worry about floods, earthquakes or burning to death in an apocalyptic fire. When the end comes, protect yourself with love. This is the message conveyed in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, writer-director Lorene Scafaria’s feature film debut. It’s an intriguing take on the apocalypse as a pragmatic tone poem, with comedian Steve Carell in his first deeply dramatic role (at least, the first one I’ve seen). He is very touching and unexpectedly appealing, and with co-star Keira Knightley he exhibits a romantic chemistry of which I never thought him capable.
It is often predicted that the world will no longer end with the whimper of a long, boring war, but with the scream of a fatal, incurable and fast-moving plague. Addressing that theme in time to scare the living daylights out of everybody, Contagion is a star-studded, apocalyptic wake-up call to the horrors that await mankind in a test tube. We’ve made so much progress in terms of immunology, technology, scientific research and medical miracles that the planet considers itself immune to everything from small pox to swine flu. But there’s still no cure for cancer or AIDS, and the canvas of new viruses gets broader every year. So the topicality in Contagion is dark and unquestionable, if not creepy and off-putting.
If the best way to critique a film is to make a film, then The Tree of Life officially has its soul-crushing rebuke. With this morning’s world premiere of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, the dour Dane punched a hole into the buoyant spirituality of Terrence Malick’s hymn to existence. Punched a hole? More like stuck Read More
Absolute Return -- To Hell
With fish and birds (sort of) mysteriously dying and 2012 a mere 358 days away, insurance companies are ratcheting up their bets that the end-times are upon us. The New York Times‘ Azam Ahmed reports that “catastrophe bonds,” securities that respond when disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes strike, are becoming increasingly popular: Read More