Noah Directed by: Darren Aronofsky Written by: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Ray Winstone
Noah is a baffling movie on many levels, but rarely is it very interesting. Director Darren Aronofsky’s artistic sensibility either got lost in the material or the studio put too many restrictions for him to really run wild with it. The end result is an often absurdly straightforward installment of White People Reenact the Bible (with giant rock monster angels).
To the movie’s credit, Aronofsky makes no effort to subdue the torment a man like Noah (Russell Crowe) both faces and inflicts when tasked with keeping animals and his family alive while everyone else on Earth drowns. Crowe gives it his all as well, though he and the rest of the cast (except Anthony Hopkins) play the material with a self-seriousness that is often suffocating. When the movie was allowed to breathe visually, like in a couple of time-lapse tracking shots that follow animals as they fly and slither, it was briefly exhilarating.
Thor Directed by: Kenneth Branagh Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, & Don Payne (screenplay), Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, & Jack Kirby (comic) Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Hiddleston
It’s almost hard not to write off Thor as the beginning of an onslaught of mindless summer action movies. However, with its welcome injection of humor and a toned-down scale, it rises above that classification if only by a little bit.
The best moments of Thor occur outside Asgard, the homeworld of its hero, in a small town in New Mexico. He arrives there much like many movie aliens, and director Kenneth Branagh riffs off this aspect quite well. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) brings alien customs (which closely resembles stereotypical viking culture) to such places as small-town diners and hospital rooms. In one hilarious instance, he smashes a glass down on the floor and demands a refill.
Instead of a “Scariest movies for Halloween” list, we decided to go with another semi-standard list for this time of year: the best psychotics. We aren’t limiting it to horror movies: it’s an even playing field for these murderers and madmen. Let their tricks treat for years to come. (Entries are placed in no particular order, but feel free to name ones you would’ve picked instead.)
Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)– For three movies, no matter your opinion of the sequel and prequel, Anthony Hopkins held your gaze as the calm, collected cannibal. When you first see him, he stands raised as if he were honoring royalty entering the room, a maddening stillness and calm smirk across his face. He always appears collected, which makes the madness behind his motives all the more chilling.
Jack Torrance (The Shining)- One of many iconic roles for Jack Nicholson and one of many masterpieces for Stanley Kubrick, this villain stands at the center of a chilling send-up of the American family. Dad gets cabin fever and starts chasing mom and son around with an axe. Watching this character descend into madness after seeing him semi-normal is what makes him so effective.