• Lovers Ewan McGregor and Eva Green wear protection in Perfect Sense.

In this week’s long review, J.R. Jones points out the thematic similarities between the new Steve Carrell comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, but it’s worth noting that the apocalypse has taken place in a number of recent movies. Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse (which played at the Film Center last month), Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 Last Day on Earth (which has yet to receive a Chicago screening), and studio crap like the Transformers series offer fantasies about the end of our planet’s—or at least humanity’s—existence. This wave of movies strikes me as a cultural response to the threats posed by climate change, the exhaustion of nonrenewable energy sources, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It seems a distressing trend that many people find it easier to imagine the world ending than it getting any better. (One of the more provocative things about Adam Curtis’s 2011 essay series All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace—which I wrote about in January—is that it presented this defeatist attitude as a social construction rather than a rational conclusion.)