Go North (2017)

A potentially apocalyptic even wiped out all adults from the country, leaving kids to take care of younger kids.  In this situation, some became leaders, some teachers, while others thrived in chaos.  As things are looking bleaker and bleaker, Josh decides to do something and heads North with a friend.  Soon, some of those in charge go after them.  Through this, all will discover more about the world and themselves. Directed by Matt Ogens who co-wrote with Kyle Lierman, the film takes the post-apocalyptic approach that is being seen more and more again and removes all adults from the picture, leaving it to a Lord of the Flies situation with kids being left to their own devices and some knowing better how to keep going while others look for escape.

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)/Fury Road Black & Chrome Double Feature [2 Disc Blu-ray]

There’s a lot to be said for how movies can change dramatically when the color is taken away. Most famously Frank Darabont unleashed a black and white version of “The Mist” which many fans insist amped up the film’s inherent terror, and folks have also testified that “Dawn of the Dead” is much scarier in black and white like its big brother “Night of the Living Dead.” To date there are four editions of “Mad Max: Fury Road” in what is a now ever expanding series of movies and merchandise for the George Miller apocalyptic franchise. Not that I’m complaining minde you, but the studios know where the money is, and people still love “Fury Road.”

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The Last Man on Earth (1964)

LastManonEarthCurrently on the public domain hit list, “The Last Man on Earth” is one of the first and finest adaptations of “I Am Legend” that while not perfect, is infinitely better than most of the successors to follow. Set in 1968, Robert Morgan is a doctor who finds society at the mercy of a mysterious plague. Everyone in the world is gradually dying out from this disease, and he soon discovers that those who die inevitably return from the dead. Unless burned, the bodies will re-animate and look for the closest blood source. Cue director Ubaldo Ragona’s awfully gruesome imagery of a humongous pit of fire where bodies of the recently deceased have been dumped to burn.

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The Noah (1975)

ThenoahThe shockingly obscure masterpiece “The Noah” is an exploration of grief through a man named Noah’s solitude as he realizes he’s the only person left on the planet. Set on a desolate island where supplies are cumbersome but humanity has diminished, our character Noah drifts by a life raft to the shore, and makes it his home. Even though he’s realized that humanity has become extinct due to the war, he makes it his mission to turn the island into his domain and keep himself occupied. He now sees a responsibility in staying alive to preserve his race for all time. He is literally the only person on the planet, thus he must engage in a battle against isolation, and loneliness.

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Novaseed (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

NovaseedDirector Nick DiLiberto’s animated science fiction epic could be considered a part of a new “Heavy Metal” anthology if we ever get a remake any time soon. DiLiberto’s animated epic owes a lot to Ralph Bakshi and the sensibilities of the original animated movie, except without any of the exploitative and misogynist overtones. “Novaseed” is a classic hero journey tale of a mastermind rising to power in a post apocalyptic wasteland and one hero stepping up to stop him and save someone very special. When the world is threatened by the maniacal Dr. Mindskull, the government begins looking for champions to step up and challenge him.

DiLiberto pulls a switcheroo on us and a clever turning of the cliché, as he features a gladiator match with a lion-man who automatically becomes the film’s hero once he manages to step forward and prove his courage against his sword wielding foe. From there, hero Nac claims the enigmatic prize that everyone in the world is searching for, and is confronted with Mindskull who challenges Nac’s opposition. DiLiberto’s animation is very low budget and apparently seemed to be based around rotoscoping much in the way Ralph Bakshi exercised for his epics. While the apparent style is hard to discern at first glance, it becomes apparent and tends to elevate the material well.

Due to the low budget our hero Nac is, for the most part, mute for his time on film. Through this drawback, his character presents an action speaking louder than words movement with his character exposition until the very end. “Novaseed” is a strong and unique science fiction animated adventure that relies a lot on simplicity and recognizing its own limitations during the narrative. It has a very “Mad Max” and Bill Plympton sensibility to it with massive desert wastelands and futuristic warriors roaming the land and plundering while Nac seeks to escape the clutches of the government and battle Mindskull. All in all, it’s very much a tribute to the eighties underground animated films and one that I enjoyed, simply for its understanding of why Bakshi’s films stand out among the other animation in the medium.

If you love briskly paced, action packed, violent post apocalyptic sagas and with a rough around the edges sincerity, “Novaseed” will win you over as it did me.

Refuge (2016)

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Andrew Robertson’s post apocalyptic drama is quite the accomplishment. it’s almost like a zombie film without the zombies, focusing primarily on the threat of mankind and how ugly we can be when the resources run low. Robertson’s film presents a villain in every person that the family we center on meets, and how vile people can be when they’re hungry and dehydrated. “Refuge” is set directly after a pandemic involving a plague that is untreatable with any known antibiotics. After most of the population is wiped out, the rest of mankind is left foraging for food and trying to maintain some sense of humanity.

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

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It’s been thirty years since George Miller made his visit to Mad Max’s apocalyptic tundra, and with “Fury Road,” it’s almost as if he never left. The newest “Mad Max” is a spectacle of pure raw filmmaking, while also brilliantly carving out a new chapter in the world of Mad Max. In a time where most post apocalyptic films are more dread soaked than anything, Mad Max storms the gates once again as the hero of the end of the world that we need, and the man who unwittingly plays a huge role in a massive war, once again. “Fury Road” is an accomplishment on the part of Miller from beginning to end, exploring a world where Mad Max is a hero whose entire persona is carved out by his character and less by the person playing him. This makes it very easy for Tom Hardy to take on the role that Mel Gibson once made iconic.

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Turbo Kid (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

In a very ‘80s post-apocalyptic world, The Kid is a scavenger surviving on his own gathering goods while out on his BMX and exchanging the finds at the local watering hole. One day, as he’s gone on another of his rides, he meets Apple who is mourning the recent loss of her friend and desperately needs a new one. Apple imprints on The Kid like a baby duck, following him around and insisting on them becoming best of friends. Her insistence and bubbliness gets The Kid to accept her friendship and constant presence in this lonely world. He shows her some of what he knows, including his favorite comic book and his ViewMaster. As they become closer, disaster strikes and Apple is kidnapped by Zeus’ men to be brought to the representation of evil that is Zeus. The Kid must find his inner hero and save his best friend from the clutches of evil and maybe save the world in the process.

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