‘Sorry to Bother You’ Is Boldly Anti-Imperialistic
Sorry to Bother You, an explicitly left-wing surrealist satire written, directed and produced by Oakland-based rapper Boots Riley has become one of the surprise box-office hits of 2018. Kicking off the year as one of the darlings of the Sundance Film Festival, the indie flick had one of 2018’s... Read more
The Fictional Nuke Film That Won the Oscar for Best Documentary
This story originally appeared on May 29, 2015. It’s a little after 2:00 p.m. in Kent — an English county east of London — and the doctor is making an emergency visit. He’s escorted by two Civil Defense volunteers, a man and a woman. He checks in on his... Read more
‘Threads’ Is One of the Most Horrifying Films I’ve Ever Seen
This story first appeared on May 5, 2015. In the basement, a few days after the bombs dropped, Ruth Beckett’s parents try to make her eat. She’s pregnant and eating for two. It’s not just about her anymore, her mother reminds her. “I don’t care about this baby anymore,”... Read more
Texas Megachurch Preaches the Power of Drones
This story originally appeared on Aug. 25, 2014. The video opens on a birds-eye view of a city through a green tinted lens. An electronic user interface lights up the screen, an homage to the robot vision from The Terminator. The camera pulls out to reveal the surveiller—an armed... Read more
In ‘The Sheriff of Babylon,’ Iraq Is a Crime Scene
There’s a corpse in the street and no one wants to claim it. The body rots under the Hands of Victory in Baghdad, Iraq. It’s 2004 and, according to Pres. George W. Bush, America has achieved victory. The body was once an Iraqi named Ali Al Fahar who worked... Read more
‘Akira’ Is Afraid of Nukes
Looking up from a highway toward Tokyo on a clear, sunny day, a half globe of light appears. It grows larger and larger until it consumes the city. A blast like a nuclear explosion. Thirty-one years later, the city has rebuilt itself. Neo Tokyo is a bustling metropolis. The... Read more
‘Mission: Impossible Fallout’ Missed its Chance to Tell a Good Nuclear War Story
This story includes spoilers for Mission: Impossible Fallout. You’ve seen this movie before. Mission: Impossible Fallout is the sixth film in the franchise starring Tom Cruise as American superspy Ethan Hunt. Like all M:I movies, it begins with Hunt playing a tape that offers him a mission and conveniently... Read more
For South Africa’s Wartime Censors, ‘The Stick’ Was Too Dangerous to Release
Between 1966 and 1990, South Africa fought a brutal, bloody war along its northern border. In 1988, South African writer-director Darrell Roodt released his movie The Stick. The government promptly banned it. The Stick is a horror film about South African soldiers fighting a pointless war far from home.... Read more
The Cartoonist, the Historian and Their War
This story first appeared on Dec. 29, 2013. While working on his classic World War I serial It Was the War of the Trenches, celebrated French cartoonist Jacques Tardi was approached by collector and historian Jean-Pierre Verney, who offered to correct some minor errors in War of the Trenches.... Read more
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