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So You Want an Apocalypse? Hollywood's Got You Covered

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
4:44 Last Day on Earth

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you're not dead yet. Probably. But don't worry -- if the plethora of recent murders, mutilations, and human-flesh binge eating isn't enough to assure you that the rapture is quickly approaching, then the slew of contemporary
films about the End of Days should be an indication that it might be time to start looking through your closet for appropriate apocalypse wear.

Discussing what will lead to the end of Planet Earth with friends over chips, salsa, and margaritas is one of the best ways to spend a chill Friday night. So naturally, Hollywood wants in on the fun, and lately has been piping in with some of its own suggestions.


Abel Ferrara's 4:44 Last Day on Earth, which played at the Miami Beach

Cinematheque a few weeks back, predicts that the dwindling ozone layer will lead to our undoing. As I look around at some of the tans on South Beach, I'm starting to

believe that Ferrara may not be too far off.

Later this month, the

romantic comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World comes to the

Regal South Beach. It stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, and tells

us that it'll be a giant asteroid that will wipe out civilization.

Personally, I've been convinced that it's Freightly Kneightly's acting

that would do that, but an asteroid is also a possibility.

Of course,

Rohland Emerich's mediocre disaster film 2012 suggests that this is

the very year that the earth goes bye-bye, and that the Mayan calendar is

proof. Never mind the fact that the Mayans weren't smart enough to

manage survival, let alone predict the world's ending -- or that it was just a

crappy movie.

The fact is, if we are indeed going the way of the

dinosaur this year, we might as well get ready. And what better

way to do so than watching the best films on the subject? While

there is a never-ending amount of movies that talk about Armageddon

disguised as a thriller or merely unapologetic disaster porn (including Armageddon, for starters), here's my

own brief list of some apocalyptic cinematic journeys with real gravitas. You shouldn't miss these films, so hurry up and see them while there's still time.



Dr. Strangelove succeeds at

being a masterful work of cinema in any genre, and a pretty kick-ass

satirical story about the world's end and how we ultimately may be

responsible for our own destruction. Made during the height of the Cold War, when the threat of a nuclear showdown seemed imminent, Stanley

Kubrick's vision seems just as relevant in our current landscape. In it,

we don't see the world's ultimate destruction -- but we do see that the megalomaniacal hunt for bigger, badder, and more dangerous weapons could lead to our own
end. As if the story weren't enough, the

flawless Peter Sellers under Kubrick's direction is reason enough to see

this film... and to sign a non-nuclear treaty.



In Children of Men,

the human race is slowly dying off due to a two-decade-long pandemic of

infertility. The end of the world is clearly in sight. The UK remains

the only place on earth with some semblance of normality, but even then

it's a dystopian society run as a police state dedicated to keeping

immigrants and those who support them underfoot. Clive Owen becomes the

unwilling accomplice to an African refugee who soon reveals she's

pregnant and needs help avoiding British forces. While a world that is

kids-free sounds delightfully appealing to me, I'm not sure I'd want it to go down quite like this. Alejandro Cuaron's Children of Men is an allegory rich with religious symbolism, strife, and hope -- one hell of a good movie.



Danish

bad boy Lars Von Trier's Melancholia is a film about family drama,

severe depression, and yes, the end of the world. Inspired by the filmmaker's

own struggles with bipolar disorder, Melancholia presents a world where only

the despondent are even-keeled enough to deal with doom. Kirsten Dunst

(in the first role she's ever been truly great in) is the only calm one

as the impending apocalypse approaches, courtesy of Melancholia, a star

that is on its way to crash into our world. Not that she has much to be sad about. As the film starts, she's just married hunky

Alexander Skarsgard at a palatial estate, and they end up fucking in the

gardens -- that's the best medicine for the blues I can think of. But I digress.

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes

Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Gainsbourg, this is a

film of epic proportions and startling visual beauty. It also makes

you hope that the world's end really will feature a soundtrack by

Wagner.

Though the cynical among us might nod their heads in

agreement when Kirsten Dunst declares, "The earth is evil; nobody will

miss it" in Melancholia, I, for one, am not sure. So here's hoping the

Mayans are wrong. I'd like to stick around at least a little longer -- if

not to see the newest crop of doomsday flicks, then to see what the

Magic City can do next to top our Zombie Cannibal. After all, we have a

reputation to uphold.

Kareem Tabsch is the co-founder and co-director of O Cinema.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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