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Cloudy with a chance of Apocalypse



"That's right it starts with an earthquake..."

Only a fool believes the mainstream media these days and the alternative/Internet system is perforated with enough zealots to drive a person into six sublevels of deep paranoia. Hoaxes reign and the true whistleblowers are quickly strung up, locked down or shamed into exile. The only way to really know the truth is to see it for yourself but if the world really is ending (it certainly seems hot enough) more than a few pundits will point to the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown as the point of no return. We might still get away with that one or we might be skiing glowing pow this winter but there's no question the times they are a changin' so expect a surge in Sci-fi the next few years and get ready for more epic post-apocalypse movies. Life imitates art.

The trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road blew the roof off of Comic Con last weekend and is now readily available online. Fans of the original trilogy can rejoice that original writer-director, Australian George Miller, is back on board and Tom Hardy (Warrior, Inception) stars in the title role with Charlize Theron (Reindeer Games, The Road) as a badass road warrior in a film that appears to have many more female roles than most actioners these days. It also looks like a game-changer for car chase scenes but don't hold your breath because Mad Max 4 isn't scheduled for release until May of 2015. Can humanity hold things together till then?

Speaking of female roles, Scarlett Johansson won the box office last week with Lucy. This is great news because it helps offset the early summer damage Tammy did to the concept of female-driven blockbusters. Lucy catapults Miss Johansson into an orbit of estrogen-fueled ass-kickery usually only frequented by Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lawrence. Imagine one day in the future (if we make it) where Hollywood studios will bankroll, release and even promote all sorts of movies aimed at and starring women. I bet some of those movies would even appeal to dudes. You may say I'm a dreamer... but what dream isn't better with Scarlett Johansson in it and don't even get me started on Angelina.

On the other hand, four of The Guardians of the Galaxy are dudes (one is a dude raccoon) and that summer tentpole opens this Friday at the Village 8 in both 2 and 3D. As a fan of the grittier, bloodier Marvel comics like The Punisher I can honestly say I have no idea what this movie is about but it looks like a more expensive and slightly less derivative remake of Spaceballs. Huge stars like Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper (as the talking raccoon) should make for snappy humour and director James Gunn is the guy who made Slither so that is promising. I'm still not totally sold on this but it looks like fun and the 13-year-old version of me would be all over it. The real question is does Cooper's Guardians raccoon have anything as epic as John Candy's "Barf" character in Spaceballs — "I'm a Mog, Half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend."

The Download of the week is perfect for this heat wave. Snowpiercer, the latest from Korean director Bong Joon-Ho (The Host) takes the angle that global warming might not burn us all in a lake of fire like almost every honest scientist is claiming. Rather, we inject some chemical into the atmosphere to reverse it and get the recipe wrong, creating a sudden ice age. What few human survivors remain must ride a massive train around the world ad infinitum under the benevolent will of a creator/engineer named Gilliam.

The Snowpiercer train is set up kind of like the Hunger Games on rails— the poorest sector lives at the back and things get better the closer you get to the engine. Having all of humanity living in a closed system that's continuously circumnavigating a glaciated planet gives Bong Joon-Ho plenty opportunity for claustrophobic action sequences and cunning social commentary. Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton star as Snowpiercer sets up a slightly plausible future dystopia and fills it with enough detail and humanity to make it seem almost inevitable.

Happy Summer.