Friday, March 18, 2011

The End of the World: In 5 Days in 5 Ways: Part 5

# 5: "A.I."

Or "Artificial Intelligence" by Steven Spielberg, is a different sort of End of the World movie. The polar ice caps have melted and much of the coastal US is underwater. The humans left have created robots called mechas as servants. One company produces a little boy robot called David (perfectly played by Haley Joel Osment) who is adopted by a couple whose own son is in a state of cryogenic sleep until a cure for his illness is discovered. When David is activated he bonds completely with Monica, his adopted mother, who returns his affection. Happy Ending? Not in this movie. The real son, Martin, wakes up when a cure is found and he turns out to be the equivalent of  Eddie Haskell on "Leave it to Beaver", and is not very nice to poor, sweet David. One thing he does is get their Mom to read Pinocchio to them so that David gets the idea that with the help of a blue fairy, he, too could be a real boy. Not long after there is an accident at the swimming pool where David is condemned for trying to drown Martin, and his Dad insists David be returned to the company to be destroyed.  Monica can't go through with this and instead abandons David in the woods with an animatronic teddy bear. From there on, A.I. becomes an incredible journey as David meets other mechas, including Jude Law, and some dastardly humans on his quest to become a real boy and return to Monica. This is a gorgeous, haunting, heartbreaking work which features a look at the end of the world and a possible new one and not to be missed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The End of the World: In 5 days in 5 Ways : Part 4

Part 4: 28 Days Later
There have been many movies dealing with End of the World by Zombie Apocalypse. "Night of the Living Dead" is, of course, a classic, and then all those sequels.  "28 Days Later" is a more contemporary classic so I am using it here as an example of creepy virus infected zombies. Rage infected lab chimps are released by animal activists which then attack them and infect everyone. 28 days after this... a guy, Jim, (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma in the hospital, but ...where is everybody? There's no one to celebrate his recovery from whatever. He wanders out only to be chased by horrible zombies. He meets up with some other survivors. Eventually...they hope to get to a military protection area. Is there anything WORSE than zombies? This is a must see movie. The sequel "28 Weeks Later" is also terrific.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The End of the World: In 5 days in 5 Ways Pt. 3

# 3: Cloverfield
 New York has probably been destroyed in more end of the world movies than anyplace. It's always great to see those landmarks buried in sand or underwater. And, because I find it disconcerting to have Hollywood stars surviving (like Will Smith or Charleton Heston) I like the world to end with unknowns (to me, anyway). Like "Day the Earth Caught Fire" I originally saw "Cloverfield" in the movies (and you can catch it on Netflix) and found it riveting. The film starts very realistically with film recovered by the government in a location called Cloverfield... formerly CENTRAL PARK!!! First you see scenes from April 27.Twenty something Rob is filming a girl, Beth, as they plan to go to Coney Island. The film switches to May 22, Rob's brother, Jason, is using Rob's camera to capture testimonials from friends for a going away party for Rob. There Hud, a friend, grabs the camera to film. Interviews, interviews, Beth arrives ...OH, NO, with another guy!  Rob and Beth argue and she leaves with her date. Suddenly, there's an explosion, the Statue of Liberty's head is lying in the street. What to do? Journey through the scary stuff going down with Rob and friends as they make their way through devasted streets and subways in search of Beth trapped at her Dad's apartment uptown. And what IS going on?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The End of the World: In 5 days in 5 Ways Pt. 2

#2 Day the Earth Caught Fire
Oh, that cold war. Russia and the US have been messing around with nuclear testing. The earth has been thrown off its axis and is veering dangerously close to the sun. Things are heating up. Our favorite UK end of the world gal, Janet Munro is back, after dealing with those crawling eyes. Can she help a newspaper journalist get a great scoop and save the earth from frying? This is another movie that sticks with you, many years after seeing it. It's eerily plausible, what with global warming and deteriorating ozone layers.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The End of the World: in 5 Days in 5 Ways

For some odd reason, probably because I grew up under the threat of nuclear annihilation, I am addicted to end of the world movies. I have seen the destruction of the world via take-over from radiated mutated creatures of every description and a variety of things from outer-space as well as natural disasters like meteors. This week we will explore 5 ways the earth might end.
#1. The Crawling Eye

This is one of those low budget movies that have a lingering effect... I can still never look at mist the same way, or mountains and mist or ski-lifts and mist. Crawling eyes from outer space have landed in Switzerland hiding in clouds of mist. The horror! Climbers disappear. Heads are ripped off. Two Brit sisters (Janet Munro and Jennifer Jayne) (one's a psychic) a professor (Warren Mitchell) and Forest Tucker as a UN investigator do battle with these creepy crawlies. Could the earth end this way? Anything is possible in movie land.