July 11, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

On the Apocalypse Package
Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller says, ”I wanted to tell a linear story — a chase that starts as the movie begins and continues for 110 minutes.” I love that description! It also applies to one of my all-time favorite movies, The Terminator.” —STREPSI

”I don’t know about this one. The movie has had so many delays and so many production issues that its prospects seem rather bleak. That said, I hope I’m wrong because Tom Hardy should be a household name by now. He’s a terrific actor, and he is hot.” —MRSJAXTELLER

Snowpiercer is an astonishing film on so many levels. I saw it twice in a row, and it captured my attention so much more the second time around. Even though the premise sounds ridiculous, by the end you are totally wedded to the characters and emotionally invested in the outcome.” —NEVERLETMEGO

”The 1959 film On the Beach should be on the Ultimate Apocalyst. It shows that you can do an end-of-the-world movie without huge explosions and F/X. It’s just quiet desperation as lethal radiation from a world war slowly works its way to Australia.” —DICAZI

Warm Bodies, I Am Legend, and Dredd, but no Aliens, The Book of Eli, Pacific Rim, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, or Idiocracy?!” —BEN JABER

The editors respond… This list was drawn from a database, compiled by EW, of 200-plus films. The films with the highest combined Rotten Tomatoes/IMDb/EW scores made the top 52. Still, ”apocalypse films” is an incredibly broad category, so to define our terms, we winnowed the master list down based on the following rules:

1. We included only theatrical releases, which is why fantastic TV movies such as The Day After and the BBC’s Threads were omitted.

2. We eliminated films that don’t take place primarily on Earth (e.g., Aliens and Silent Running).

3. To distinguish post-apocalyptic films from general future-set dystopian films, we excluded movies in which there is no mention of a previous cataclysmic event. So A Clockwork Orange didn’t make the cut, but The Hunger Games did. Most of the films that readers wrote to us about were on the master list — their combined scores were simply not high enough for the Apocalyst. These included Escape From New York, Independence Day, Armageddon, On the Beach, The Book of Eli, and Idiocracy.

On ”Why Are Biopics So Hard?”
”Most biopics suffer from trying to cover the subject’s entire life, which inevitably leads to multiple actors playing the same role and/or someone ending up in embarrassing old-age makeup. In my opinion, the best ones focus on a particular period that lasts a few years at most.” —MADONNA AT 55

”Biopics don’t have to be a slave to the source material. It takes an artist to truly present another artist’s life. Consider Todd Haynes, who directed movies including Superstar (Karen Carpenter played by a Barbie doll), Velvet Goldmine (“Citizen Bowie”), and I’m Not There (Bob Dylan x 6).” —PAUL SMITH

”Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy was a biopic done right. It felt real, not too glorified, and had nothing to do with John Lennon’s rise to fame but rather a complicated time in his early life.” —KITTY

Corrections: The new HBO series The Leftovers was co-created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta (TV). The photograph of EW editor Matt Bean was taken by Miller Mobley (Editor’s Note).

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