As stuffed with soap-opera clichés as its cinematic precursors, but this is nevertheless a solid and diverting rescue procedural… and it’s somehow even more shocking for how mundane its disaster is.
Everything a monster movie needs: Monsters, natch. Cute kids who Know Things. Nerdy-hot scientists. Spectacular sci-fi visions. Humor but no cheese. Warmth but no schmaltz. And a superb green message.
The Disney paradigm is hard at play again here, its familiarity offset by its inspiration in Southeast Asian culture and mythology. Sweepingly told, gorgeously animated, and audaciously optimistic.
A same-old tale of apocalypse knows we’ve seen this all before, and so centers human drama over disaster porn. It has nothing new to say, but at least it says it well, with notes of horrific grace.
Attention, social justice warriors. French economist Thomas Piketty’s howl-of-rage academic treatise is now a hugely engaging documentary, eye-opening and brutally entertaining. Man the barricades!
My pick: “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” a tremendous ode to the power of sports to boost girls’ self-esteem and set them free from the shackles of the limited expectations.
This Michael Bay–esque love letter to China Rescue & Salvage may be propaganda, but its enjoyably bonkers melodrama and grippingly engaging action are a lot less obnoxious than any film Bay has made.
Inept post-EMP survival thriller is no more thrilling than it is plausible, and inexcusably casts its resourceful teen heroine as a victim constantly at the mercy of others and in need of rescuing.
Two intimate documentaries from inside the Syrian civil war, diaries of women who stayed to fight for their nation and help their people, pay tribute to human perseverance and chide Western apathy.
An absolute mess, and nowhere near enough monster action. Does not give good disaster. No fun at all. Makes me long for guys in rubber monster suits awkwardly sparring. At least you could see them.