Top 5 Slow-Apocalypse Films

It's the end of the world as we know it

A major problem with being the dominant movie exporter in the world is that every paranoia and fear that is explored in your fictional output is exported around the world as well. America has a reputation for projecting an explosive and powerful exterior – something that features heavily in the comic book/action hero explosion of the last few decades. This is also present in its real-life military industrial complex and fictional intelligence agencies of its action-adventure TV series (X-Files / 24 / Homeland etc.)

The apocalypse genre shows the cracks in this exterior. It shows the inherent fear that Americans feel towards nuclear / chemical / biological warfare; immigration and loss of identity; environmental apocalypse and religious eschatology… so many threats. Unsurprisingly in the years after 9/11 there was a wave of films showing cities and landmarks exploding, yet this trend seems to have slowed slightly.
The more interesting films for me are the more realistic ‘slow apocalypse’ films that show a dying earth fading out with a whimper as opposed to an explosive bang. These films show the fragility of the human race and the inevitable decline of our genetic global empire… these are my favourites:

SunshineThe sun is fading out so a crew is sent up to launch a city-sized nuclear device into the star to regenerate it. Whilst aboard the mission there is a philosophical and aggressive debate (resolved through action and not words) about whether the human race deserves to be saved.

Children of Men
Children of MenSet in London in the near future, all of the world’s (human) female population has unexpectedly become infertile. This has led to extreme nationalism and fascist border controls as people try to live the rest of their lives in as much luxury as they can. An interesting subplot is the world has deified the youngest person alive and as he dies a new youngest person is raised to global fame – an interesting satire on what we would cling to in our final days: reality TV and racism.

Another Earth
Another EarthNot so much an anthropological apocalypse but a cultural apocalypse – as in, the earth does not die but our relationship with it does. An intelligent young woman aspiring to go to M.I.T is driving home listening to the radio announce the discovery of a new local planet. Distracted by this she crashes her car and kills someone, ending up in jail. As she is released the planet has grown to be visible to the naked eye in daylight. Humans make contact with the planet and discover that there is intelligent life – the world has to slowly adapt to this radical information.

MelancholiaA young depressed bride-to-be decides during her wedding party that she is not in love with her partner and has to stay with her rich older sister. In the days after the wedding there is a rare celestial event where a planet is circling the Earth much to the enjoyment of the older sister’s husband and son who want to witness the event. It becomes clear that the world’s scientists have miscalculated the trajectory and the planets are going to collide. The inevitability of the astronomical tragedy allows the characters to prepare for the end of their worlds.

The Road
The RoadAn unidentified catastrophe has led to an environmental apocalypse in North America leaving only a handful of humans left to live their final days as hunter-gatherers. The film follows a father and son as they navigate the bleak, post-urban landscape as they head west in search of… something.

For more from Ollie visit his blog Crispy Sharp Film

Top 20 Films of 2011

As 2011 comes to a close is it my obligation as a film blogger to put together my pick of 2011’s releases. I’ve gone for my top twenty as narrowing it down to just ten would be too harrowing a task and my only rule is that they must have been released in UK cinemas during 2011. This takes us from The Next Three Days (absolutely not in the list) to The Lady and The Artist and is only limited to films I have seen. I’ve also chosen not to speak to the wider Mild Concern team, mostly due to laziness, barring watching Waste Land at Kat’s insistence. This was a decision I have come to regret considering the rambling you will find below.

The scene properly set, let’s get onto the list. Looking back 2011 has been a great year for cinema, here are my top 20 releases of 2011:

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Out Now – 30th September 2011

What’s Your Number?
Romantic(?) comedy(?) starring(?) Anna Faris as a woman revisiting her exes to find true love but most likely falls for Chris Evans instead. On the positive side we have Chris Evans, Martin Freeman, Chris Pratt, Joel McHale and Ed Bagley Jr. On the negative side it looks crap.

Forget all that Cannes controversy, even if they are plugging it on the posters, and get excited about a quality art film instead. It’s a relationship drama set at the end of the world, what more do you need?

The Debt
A spy thriller set way back in the late nineties starring Mirren, Wilkinson and Worthington. It promises “startling action and surprising revelations” so be careful out there.

Shark Night 3D
Not nearly as exploitative as the title suggest this Jaws wannabe won’t be nearly as good as the Spielberg classic, nor as fun as Piranha 3D.

Red State
Kevin Smith’s latest is finally with us, bringing a tale of teens kidnapped by fundamentalists. Opinions are split; it is either a return to form or a continued fall from grace. I don’t know, we haven’t seen it. Obviously.

“The film is an action love story of a renegade cop who believes that the only way to eradicate crime is to give criminals the bullet – not handcuffs.” Something tells me he doesn’t play by the rules.

Guilty of Romance (limited release)
Three interlinking stories of women seeking sexual pleasure. Gotta love Japanese cinema.

La Piscine (limited release)
A love triangle leads to disaster in this re-release of late sixties French cinema. POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: Someone probably gets murdered at some point. Also, nudity.

Muran (limited release)
Essentially an Indian remake of Strangers on a Train. Don’t know about you but I’d rather see the Hitchcock version.

Cane Toads: The Conquest (limited release)
“A documentary horror film about the environmental devastation left in the wake of the giant toads’ unstoppable march across Australia.” Documentary horror film? You won’t be able to get to sleep for fear of a toad slowly moving across your bedroom.

The Green Wave (limited release)
“A documentary on Iran’s 2010 Green Revolution.” I have nothing more to add.

Broken Lines (limited release)
Despite being engaged to Olivia Williams, a young man embarks on an affair after losing his father, with a waitress who in turn has a paralysed boyfriend. Sounds angst heavy.

Red White & Blue (limited release)
The lovely Noah Taylor takes a dramatic turn as a violent man who gets involved in the life of Erica, a troubled young lady. Billed as a revenge thriller, don’t expect a happy ending.

The Woman (limited release)
A lawyer decides to try to civilise the last remaining member of a violent tribe not realising this will lead to brutal events including “strong bloody violence, gore and sexual violence”.

The Story of Lovers Rock (limited release)
This documentary about how Lovers Rock music defined a generation in the late 70s and 80s doesn’t even have an IMDb page. How do they expect me to work in these conditions?