Monday, February 08, 2010

No Blade of Grass (1970)

Directed by Hollywood actor-turned-filmmaker Cornel Wilde, and scripted by Wilde and Sean Forestal from John Christopher’s novel, No Blade of Grass is a distopic narrative of an ecological crisis that leads to the fall of civilization. A mysterious virus is destroying grass all around the world, causing a global panic over food shortage. Crops are in short supply. Cattle are drowned in rivers when there is nothing left for them to eat. Man-made pollution has contaminated rivers and poisoned fish. Bombs are being dropped on cities in order to deplete the population to sustainable levels. In London, citizens get word of the impending extermination and overthrow the government. In the midst of chaos, one-eyed veteran John Custance and scientist Roger Burnham flee with their families to the country in search of John’s brother’s farm, a haven that promises food, shelter, and hope.

Read my full review of No Blade of Grass here at Not Coming to a Theater Near You.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Taken (2008)

While the xenophobic anxiety of Americans abroad isn’t a new subject (even Alfred Hitchcock approached the topic in his 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much), it’s difficult to watch certain scenes in Taken without thinking of contemporary parallels. It is moments like these in which the politics of action heroism reveal their hidden complexity. With the line between “good guy” and “bad guy” blurred, we allow the action hero to cross certain moral boundaries that would otherwise be prohibited.

Read my full review of Taken here at Not Coming to a Theater Near You.