Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Joaquin Phoenix Gets His Stoner Detective Groove On In Trailer For Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ Watch: Joaquin Phoenix Gets His Stoner Detective Groove On In Trailer For Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ David Fincher Will Direct The Entire First Season Of HBO's 'Utopia' In 2015 David Fincher Will Direct The Entire First Season Of HBO's 'Utopia' In 2015 Brad Pitt Says 'Fury' Co-Star Shia LaBeouf Is "One Of The Best Actors I've Ever Seen" Brad Pitt Says 'Fury' Co-Star Shia LaBeouf Is "One Of The Best Actors I've Ever Seen" First Look: Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult In Drake Doremus’ Sci-Fi Film ‘Equals’ First Look: Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult In Drake Doremus’ Sci-Fi Film ‘Equals’ John Cusack Says Hollywood Is A "Whorehouse" That "Eats Young Actors Up And Spits Them Out" John Cusack Says Hollywood Is A "Whorehouse" That "Eats Young Actors Up And Spits Them Out" New Image From 'Inherent Vice,' Paul Thomas Anderson Completely Changed The Ending From Thomas Pynchon's Book New Image From 'Inherent Vice,' Paul Thomas Anderson Completely Changed The Ending From Thomas Pynchon's Book Why 'You're The Worst' Turned Out To Be The Best TV Show Of The Summer Why 'You're The Worst' Turned Out To Be The Best TV Show Of The Summer Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody New Look: Reese Witherspoon And Joaquin Phoenix In Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' New Look: Reese Witherspoon And Joaquin Phoenix In Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Review: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens & More Review: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens & More 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" While You're Waiting For 'Interstellar,' Here's Over 100 Behind-The-Scenes Photos From 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy While You're Waiting For 'Interstellar,' Here's Over 100 Behind-The-Scenes Photos From 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

5 Underseen Apocalypse Movies To Accompany 'Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 22, 2012 at 1:12PM

Apocalypse is an ever-popular idea in cinema. After all, what could be more dramatic than the possibility -- or even the actuality -- of the end of everyone and everything that you've ever known. It's an all purpose metaphor, and can be used to tell all kinds of stories, in all kinds of tones, as this week's comedy-drama "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World," which sees Steve Carell and Keira Knightley brought together by the impending end of civilization.
7
Seeking A Friend Quad

Apocalypse is an ever-popular idea in cinema. After all, what could be more dramatic than the possibility -- or even the actuality -- of the end of everyone and everything that you've ever known. It's an all purpose metaphor, and can be used to tell all kinds of stories, in all kinds of tones, as highlighted by this weekend's comedy-drama "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World," which sees Steve Carell and Keira Knightley brought together by the impending end of civilization.

The film's only semi-successful at melding romantic comedy with the end of days, as you'll find from our review, but there's plenty in the film to recommend it as well. And if you're still looking for a little more end-of-the-world drama, we've picked out five lesser-known examples that are worth seeking out ASAP. Check out our selections below, and let us know your own favorites in the comments section.

Kairo

"Kairo" (2001)
On the surface, "Kairo" (or "Pulse," to use the English title, and that of the spectacularly inferior U.S. remake, which starred Kristen Bell, Christina Milian and Samm Levine, of all people) looks like just another J-horror picture of the kind that were so popular in the early 00s. It has eerie spirits appearing on screens, grisly deaths, and an overwhelming mood of dread. But director Kiyoshi Kurosawa has bigger things on his mind than the relatively small scope of "The Ring" and "The Grudge," talking about the way in which technology isolates us, and bringing it to apocalpytic ends. It starts with two parallel storylines: Kudo Michi (Kumiko Aso), whose colleague kills himself after discovering a ghostly face on his monitor, and Ryosuke (Haruhiko Kato) a student whose computer starts asking him "Do you want to see a ghost?" Both segments are terrifying, full of imagery that will haunt you for weeks, but as more and more people around them disappear (red tape over their apartment doors signifying this), and society starts to crumble (including a plane crashing from the skies, which are turning black), the existential dread -- caused, it would seem, by nothing more complex than extreme loneliness -- becomes almost unbearable. Even surviving everything else isn't necessarily enough; at the end, escaping to Latin America, Ryosuke loses the will to live, and crumbles into ash. It's not entirely narratively coherent, to an almost Lynchian degree (backed up by the spectacular use of sound design), but you always feel that the opaque quality of the picture is to its advantage. Buried by the Weinsteins in favor of the remake, the film's finally beginning to get the critical respect it deserves (Slate named it as the greatest horror film of the century so far in a poll last year), and cinephiles are finally discovering one of the most terrifying celluloid apocalypses ever put on screen.

Last Night

"Last Night" (1998)
An obvious inspiration for "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World," Don McKellar's "Last Night" arrived in the same year as megabudget apocalyptic asteroid movies "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon," and felt all the better for its quiet, character driven approach compared with their bombastic, sentimental nature. The directorial debut of actor and screenwriter McKellar ("Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould," "The Red Violin"), it's set on the eve of an unnamed event that will cause the death of the planet, and everyone on it, and follows a stalwart group of Canadian cinema's finest, including David Cronenberg as the owner of a power company, Sandra Oh as his wife, McKellar as a widower who enters into a suicide pact with her, Callum Keith Rennie as a man sworn to go out fucking, and Sarah Polley as McKellar's sister. For the most part, the director brings a lovely sense of detail and specificity to it; this is, you suspect, how the world will go out, not so much with a whimper, but more with just a sudden stop. It does feel a little sprawling and unfocused, but not distractingly so, because most of the people it touches on, from Cronenberg's meticulous, dedicated public servant to Genevieve Bujold's high school teacher finally giving in to her attraction to Rennie's character, a former pupil, are worth spending time with. It increasingly feels like a definitive take on the end-of-the-world flick, and it's only a shame that McKellar couldn't bring the same humanity and humor to his script for a later apocalypse film, Fernando Mereilles' "Blindness."

This article is related to: Features


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates