It’s the end of the world as we know it, and Roland Emmerich feels fine. In fact, he feels better than fine – the apocalyptic German director has been churning out movies about the end of the world since the beginning of the world, and this week sees the release of his biggest one yet. Also playing, Wes Anderson’s latest inexplicable boondoggle, and some pretty fine indies. Let’s get in our seats and turn off our cell phones.
2012 – We’ve already thoroughly discredited the whole “the planet Earth is going to blow up in 2012” thing, so what is it that makes people believe it? I like Earth! I like living here! I like tacos! If we blow up the Earth, who the hell is going to make us tacos, ALF? Roland Emmerich‘s latest movie hypothesizes that, at the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, a massive ecological cataclysm will wipe out all human life on Earth. One note: there are no more Mayans. At all. And it’s not because they were so smart that they rocketed off into space on crystal pyramids. They died from smallpox and bullets. So that’s sort of like predicting the end of the world from when you tear off the last page on your Dilbert desk calendar.
Pirate Radio – This is a British flick that was called The Boat That Rocked over there, but America already used that name for six pornos so they had to change it. It’s about a fictional pirate radio station operating off of a boat in the 1960s, which was a good time to do stuff like that. The cast is pretty great – Phillip Seymour Hoffman, January Jones, Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh – so this could be a sleeper hit, assuming anybody still remembers what radio is.
The Fantastic Mister Fox – This is the year of adapting tiny books into huge movies – first Where The Wild Things Are morphed some 339 words into two hours, and now Wes Anderson is taking Roald Dahls’ fable of a felonious fox into the antiquated world of stop-motion animation, with voices by George Clooney, Meryl Streep and (of course) Bill Murray. I’m sure it’ll be very twee and clever and have some British rock tunes on the soundtrack. I dunno. I think I’d like Wes Anderson more if I didn’t have the sneaking suspicion he had a vortex where his testicles should be.
The Messenger – This indie drama is about a guy who tells people that their relatives are dead as a result of Army-related activities. Man, that’s a pretty harsh job. Why can’t they build a robot to do that? Anyways, very highly praised indie drama starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson, who is having one of the best years of his life, acting-wise. Double feature this with The Hurt Locker and you’ll think it was Veteran’s Day.