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)


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]


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]



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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Turbo Kid (2015)


It’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” meets “Mad Max” with what is one of the most entertaining and fantastic indie films of the year. The trio of François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell channels the magic of nostalgia to create a world that’s both perilous but compelling. “Turbo Kid” is painted as a love letter to all things eighties and nineties, but thankfully never loses itself in the winks and nods. It implements pop culture to create a well rounded world and they succeed beautifully. Through and through it’s a soulful and very exciting coming of age tale set in the post apocalypse.

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Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2015) [Blu-Ray]


With the glut of zombie entertainment choking pop culture right now, it’s rare you get to come across a zombie film that’s genuinely good. “Wyrmwood” wasn’t a win for me when I first sat through it, but watching it a second time I can safely say it really is worth a shot for open minded horror buffs. Not only is it a really damn good zombie movie, but it’s a new and fresh approach to the zombie sub-genre. It invents its own rules, it creates its own world, and it’s a lot of fun to boot. Of course I have a soft spot for post apocalyptic horror films of most kinds, but “Wyrmwood” really thrives on being an absurd and wonky take on the horror genre.

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Crumbs (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]



It’s amazing how a film like “Crumbs” is only an hour or so in length and can feel like an eternity. Goodness knows how much I love post apocalyptic films, but “Crumbs” ventures for surrealism and often too strange for its own good. Judging by the research I’ve performed online, the confusing material and disjointed story is intentional and director Miguel Llanso really had no answers for the symbolism in the film any more than the audience.

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“Drained World” Pilot


The apocalypse is the big order for the day, and there’s no sign of entertainment in that sub-genre dying down any time soon. Even Web Series are approaching the sub-genre, and the newest is “Drained World.” Normally I’m rough on web series and demand unique content, and “Drained World” seems to fit my needs so far. The twelve minute pilot is filled with a lot of questions and some healthy ambiguity that I hope gets settled with more episodes in the future.

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