'SNOWPIERCER' (June 27)
South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho wowed us with his creature feature The Host and sent chills up our spine with his spooky Oedipal neo-noir Mother, but this sci-fi actioner elevates him to visionary-director status. The year is 2031, and an experiment to counteract the effects of global warming has killed everyone on Earth—that is, except for the inhabitants of Snowpiercer, a perpetual-motion train on a track circling the globe. The train is divided by class, with the rich, led by Mason (Tilda Swinton, in fantastic aging makeup), occupying the front cars, and the poor, who subsist on a diet of disgusting protein blocks, in back. All that changes when Curtis (Chris Evans) leads the oppressed poor, which also includes Jamie Bell, John Hurt, and Octavia Spencer, in a revolt. The performances are stellar, the ideas are big, and the action sequences are some of the most elegantly-crafted you’ll see this year—including a five-minute hatchet-fight scene that will floor you. This is a sci-fi flick of epic proportions, and is unlike anything else you’ve seen.