Karen Russell's Imaginary Nonprofit Saves The World But Costs Your Soul

There's been a wave of fiction about an insomnia epidemic, as if some collective anxiety is bubbling up. Most recently, Kenneth Calhoun's Black Moon freaked us out. But Karen Russell's new novella "Sleep Donation" is still something pretty unique: a look at people in the nonprofit sector, struggling with insoluble… » 4/18/14 4:37pm Yesterday 4:37pm

The Most Fascinating Media Memes In The Wake of Divergent's Success

Divergent had a respectable opening weekend box office — not as high as some had predicted, but high enough to justify a sequel. And everybody had to have their own take on the cultural significance of this film, from the Hillary Clinton factor to its role as capitalist propaganda. » 3/24/14 4:11pm 3/24/14 4:11pm

Divergent Is A Ridiculously Fun Story Of Social Engineering Gone Mad

At first glance, Divergent sounds like a more contrived version of Hunger Games. In a dark dystopian future, everybody is required to have just one personality trait. Like Smurfs. Or the Seven Dwarfs. But the film version does a good job of revealing how this story is actually about social engineering. Plus, it's… » 3/21/14 9:00am 3/21/14 9:00am

Get ready to fall in love with Veronica Mars all over again

Veronica Mars was a teen sleuth whose superpower was storytelling. She was adroit at making up clever lies and crafting fake identities, but it was always in the service of piecing together the truth — which was another story she constructed. Now she's starring in a big crowd-funded movie, which turns out to be about… » 3/14/14 9:00am 3/14/14 9:00am

The Purge could be this year's most hamfisted political movie

In The Purge, a suburban family is put through hell because right wingers came up with a plan to eliminate the poor and the sick. And we all come face to face with how broken the American dream really is. Yadda yadda. Basically, it's like this year's Atlas Shrugged or Now: a clunky and implausible political screed in… » 6/07/13 9:00am 6/07/13 9:00am

What's the most stylish dystopia of all time?

Everybody knows that dystopias have the best fashions and the coolest designs. Whether it's the stark paleness of THX-1138, the totalitarian chic of Nineteen Eighty Four, the orgy cool of Brave New World or the priests-on-prozac aesthetic of Equilibrium... dystopias are always fashionable. So what's the most stylish… » 5/10/13 4:10pm 5/10/13 4:10pm

Elysium's Neill Blomkamp shares the secrets of designing a dystopia

Now that you've seen the first stunning trailer for Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and picked apart the screencaps, you can start to see a few similarites to Blomkamp's first movie, District 9. The politics, the cool gear, and the massive object floating in the sky. We caught up with Blomkamp a while ago, and he told us the… » 4/11/13 5:50pm 4/11/13 5:50pm

The Host is the most terrible movie you'll ever fall in love with

Everybody loves dystopias right now. And we're in the middle of a huge boom in movies about sexy young people who are struggling to figure out their identities and which hottie they want to boink. Both of these trends are inherently absurd, so it's a pleasure to encounter a movie that embraces the absurdity as joyously … » 3/29/13 9:00am 3/29/13 9:00am

This Tea Party science fiction movie trailer is better than both Atlas …

This fake trailer for a conservative science-fiction movie just premiered at CPAC, the big right-wing confab, and... it's a thing of true beauty. It contains more awesome scenes of socialist oppression, and a few heroic people fighting back, than both Atlas Shrugged movies. And the acting is truly epic as well,… » 3/15/13 3:20pm 3/15/13 3:20pm

Why is it so hard to create a good science fiction movie romance?

Some of the coolest science fiction movies of all time are love storiesEternal Sunshine, Brazil, and plenty of others. Combining big ideas with an epic passion just makes sense. But why do so many films fail to pull off this combination? Watching the new movie Upside Down, which fails so spectacularly as a love… » 3/15/13 9:00am 3/15/13 9:00am

You'll take this poster for George Lucas' THX-1138 if you know what's…

Right now, everywhere you go in downtown San Francisco, you'll see this poster. Full of pills, with an ominous message about the future, the poster invites you to learn about something called THX-1138. But what kind of medicine is this? I can only imagine the kind of conversations this is sparking around town. » 2/05/13 5:00pm 2/05/13 5:00pm

Even if you're sick of teenage dystopias, this paranoid mind-wiping…

There is something vertiginous about a great British dystopia. Perhaps it's just that extra layer of distance between Americans and Brits. Perhaps it's just being culturally closer to seminal works like George Orwell's 1984 or, more recently, Alan Moore's V for Vendetta. Or perhaps it has something to do with… » 1/24/13 4:30pm 1/24/13 4:30pm

Fringe is the story of a family doomed to tragedy

Last night's episode of Fringe contained a major callback to the show's very first season — and yet, it underscored just how much Fringe has changed since then. By now, the story of Walter Bishop and his son from another universe, Peter, has become a byzantine tragedy. And last night's episode made it pretty clear that … » 11/10/12 10:00am 11/10/12 10:00am