MOVIES TO WATCH DURING ISOLATION
words Filipe Phitzgerard
We all have been following the recent news developments regarding Covid-19 and how the governments around the world have been advising their citizens to stay in and stay safe while we fight against the coronavirus. While we try to fill our days with things that will help keep us sane; movies and series can take a pretty good share of our time. We can entertain ourselves while watching some classics of cinema for the third or fourth time or finally watch those titled we always said we would but didn't have the time to... well, now we do have the time.
At F Word we are committed to supporting our readers in this difficult time. We then bring to you a great offering with some of our favourite apocalyptic movies (all with a happy ending) just so we stay on topic while building up the stamina to fight zombies - should we get to that point.
Jokes aside, we hope you enjoy these movies as much as we do and find some interesting life-lessons in them; and, if not, at least you spent some time keeping your mind busy during the isolation period.
CAST AWAY (2001)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: William Broyles Jr.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama
This is perhaps one of the most famous titles starring Tom Hanks whose portrayal of a FEDEX employee stranded in a desert island has won him a Golden Globe for Best Actor and a nomination for the Academy Awards in the same category. The movie is an exploration of human survival and the instinct to keep on keeping on while in isolation. It depicts the impact of unexpected events in one's life when things go completely off plan and cannot be controlled. Much like the current coronavirus event.
Cast Away tells the story of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a Federal Express engineer who has devoted most of his life to his job. His girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) is very often neglected by Noland's dedication to his work and his compulsive personality which suggests he is a conflicted man. In other words, Chuck is just like any other average guy; but, things take a complete turn on Christmas Eve. Chuck proposes marriage to Kelly right before embarking on a large assignment. On the assignment, a plane crash strands Chuck on a remote island, and his fast-paced life is slowed to a crawl, as he is miles removed from any human contact.
Chuck goes through a hard yet very human process of adaptation and liberation which starts with him panicking about his current doom and the idea of never returning home then moving into adaptation to his new surroundings and found ways to make life in a desert island more comfortable. As the days go by, Chuck starts to struggle more and more with his situation and the desire to return home stirs in him a fire to get moving. Throughout his isolation, Chuck finds solace only in a volleyball that he befriends and names Wilson (the volleyball is by Wilson the sporting company) which he uses as an anchor for emotional release.
Chuck's story is one of someone learning to endure the emotional and physical stress of a new life, unsure of when he may return to the civilization he knew before. Cast Away reunites star Hanks with director Robert Zemeckis, their first film together since 1994's Oscar-winning Forrest Gump.
CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Screenplay: Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Fergus, David Arata, Timothy J. Sexton, Hawk Ostby
Starring: Clive Owen, Julienne Moore, Michael Cane, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Children of Men depicts a futuristic society that is facing extinction when the human race loses the ability to reproduce. Set in England, this thriller is deep and meaningful on its message of the human race descending into chaos, until an iron-handed warden is brought in to institute martial law. The warden's ability to keep order is threatened when a woman finds that she is pregnant with what would be the first child born in 27 years.
The film takes place in the year 2027 when two decades of human infertility have left society on the brink of collapse. Illegal immigrants seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom, where the last functioning government imposes oppressive immigration laws on refugees. Owen plays civil servant Theo Faron, who must help a refugee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) escape the chaos while protecting her and her unborn baby against the fanatics and overly rigid government officials. This is a great movie to watch at this time, whether this is your first or tenth time watching it as it makes you reflect on the real impact our decisions as people are making in the environment and how the decisions will impact the outcome of life in itself. It is said that cinema imitates life and perhaps this should be a place where we look and reflect on the possibilities of what's to come should we not start making better decisions when it comes to social, environmental, political and economic issues.
Children of Men was directed and co-written by the incomparable Alfonso Cuarón who is also known for Y Tu Mamá También, Roma and more recently, Gravity.
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (2019)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, David Callaham
Starring: Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Zoey Deutch
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Horror
Zombieland: Double Tap is the sequel from the globally famous first part Zombieland starring Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Now You See Me 1 and 2), Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers, True Detectives, Now You See Me 1 and 2, The Hunger Games), Emma Stone (LA LA Land, The Favourite, Crazy Stupid Love) and the gorgeous Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Signs, Rango) and sees the foursome getting into some pretty fun fights with zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.
A decade after Zombieland became a hit film and a cult classic, the lead cast reunites with director Ruben Fleischer (Venom) and the original writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick (Deadpool) for Zombieland: Double Tap. These four friends navigate through comic mayhem that stretches from the White House and Bill Murray's mansion through the heartland of America, these four slayers must face off against the many new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But most of all, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family.
Even though Zombieland is your typical zombie cult comedy it comes packed with that real sense of family and the need for adaptation amid disarray. It portrays family relationships and the desire for real human connections in a candid, light, and fun way. And if you are tired of the doom and gloom news out there, Zombieland: Double Tap is the perfect comedy to help lift your spirit.
THIS IS THE END (2013)
Director: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Writers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Horror
If you are looking for another doomsday comedy to lighten up your mood, This Is The End is a good shout. Set in Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those present at the bash are his best buddies Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson. All is well and fun until suddenly, an apocalypse of biblical proportions erupts, causing untold carnage among Tinseltown's elite and trapping Franco's party in his home. As the world they knew disintegrates outside, cabin fever and dwindling supplies threaten to tear the six friends apart (sounds familiar?) and they will need to venture into the fallen world outside to find ways to survive.
As you would expect from Rogen and his real-life entourage of actor friends, This is The End is another brilliant and witty stoner comedy but this time set during the Apocalypse. Known for their quick-burn outrageous humour Rogen and company portrayal of life in this movie begs the question that maybe, and just maybe, these guys are just like their characters in real life... but... who knows?. Franco appears in the film as himself, as do comedians Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jay Baruchel, all of whom are left behind when the righteous are raptured up to heaven.
Amidst the mayhem, some recognisable party-goers can be spotted: the pop star Rihanna plummets into hell’s fiery maw head-first, while Emma Watson escapes, only to return later in the film as a half-crazed survivor. Michael Cera (Superbad and Juno) subverts his nebbishy screen persona for perhaps the first time, playing himself as a sex-crazed, drug-snorting lout which if you think about it, is pretty funny. He is eventually speared through the lungs by a falling lamp-post - so... spoiler alert.
Outside, Lovecraftian horrors stalk the fiery landscape; indoors, Rogen and the others board up the windows and decide to wait it out in endgame-like seclusion. The cast’s own vanities and foibles are amiably sent up: Franco, for example, has decorated his home with his own artworks, and Baruchel’s relative lack of success becomes a key plot-point. This is The End is unquestionably a great option if you are looking for something funny and easy to watch during the isolation days.
I AM LEGEND (2007)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Mark Protosevich, Tracy Torme, John Logan, Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Will Smith, Willow Smith, Charlie Tahan, Alice Braga
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
I Am Legend is one of those underrated pictures from the early 2000s even though Will Smith's performance has made up for the weak special effects and has won a 70% approval rate from critics. The story is an adaptation from Richard Matheson's influential novelette of the same name. Directed by Francis Lawrence's (Constantine) I Am Legend follows the last man on Earth as he struggles to survive while fending off the infected survivors of a devastating vampiric plague. Yes, this is another apocalyptic story looking at mankind's deep need for survival.
Will Smith plays Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist who finds himself in a race to discover a cure for this man-made virus that has ended humanity as we know it. Humanity came crumbling down all around Neville who was inexplicably immune to the highly contagious superbug.
Set in New York City -- and perhaps the world -- the population of the city has been transformed into carnivorous bloodsuckers that fear the light and live solely to spread their contagion to any remaining living creature that crosses their path. It's been three years since civilization came to an end, and the loneliness has taken a devastating toll on Neville. However, Neville continues strong and confident that he will be able to turn the whole situation around and while he tries to find the cure, Robert engages on the day to day activities... or does he?
By day he scours the city for food and supplies while sending out desperate radio messages in hopes that someone might respond, and by night he attempts to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus by experimenting with his own blood. But just like any good Hollywood doomsday movie, time is running out for Neville as the legions of infected humans keep close watch of his every move from the safety of the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. They, too, long to learn the secret that lurks in Neville's blood, though they will have to take caution while attempting to procure it because Neville will sooner die attempting to slay every last one of them than willingly giving up a single drop.
Previously adapted for the screen in the 1964 Vincent Price frightener The Last Man on Earth and the 1971 Charlton Heston action film The Omega Man, Matheson's novelette also served as the inspiration for George A. Romero's groundbreaking zombie classic Night of the Living Dead.
PLANET TERROR (2007)
Director: Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Edgar Wright, Rob Zombie
Writers: Robert Rodriguez, Jeff Rendell
Starring: Rose McGowan, Quentin Tarantino, Marley Shelton, Bruce Willis, Fergie, Josh Brolin, Danny Trejo (Machete)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror
Planet Terror is without a doubt a classic of cinema, even though it was only released late 2007. This masterpiece has the maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) working alongside the one and only, Quentin Tarantino and as you would expect from these two contemporary heroes of cinema, Planet Terror brings together the best of raw raunchy horror with a hint of comedy with loads of unreal blood-splashing exaggerated killings.
The story details the violent struggle between a ravenous army of zombie-like humanoids who have taken control of the planet and the remaining survivors who refuse to go down without a fight, and, Lordy Lord, don't they put up a fight?! The world goes into shit once a dangerous government experiment has unleashed this abominable virus that infects humans turning them murderous mutants.
The story gets even better when a horde of frenzied psychotics flood the Texas plains, a dangerous outlaw named Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), a sexy stripper named Cherry (Rose McGowan), an unscrupulous smuggler named Abby (Naveen Andrews), and the curiously incapacitated Dr Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) must try and make their way to the helicopter that could provide their only means of escaping to a place untouched by this nightmarish scourge that threatens to wipe out all of humankind. This nonstop action-horror hybrid originally was released as part of Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's ambitious Grindhouse double bill and yet stands perfectly fine on its own as it is packed with grim scenes of bloody fights and unrealistic yet amusing Mexican standoffs.