REVIEW: Noah

NOAH

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.

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Ten to finish out ’10

With The Social Network and Let Me In giving movie-goers some anti-summer entertainment to look forward to this weekend, we thought it’d be a good idea to map out what the rest of 2010 will look like at the movies.  Here is our list of the 10 movies we think will matter the rest of the year.

Black Swan (Dec. 1)– Darren Aronofsky follows up The Wrestler with another behind the scenes plunge into the dark depths of competitive sports.  This time it’s Natalie Portman in the lead, playing a ballerina in a a gruelingly competitive production of Swan Lake. When Mila Kunis comes in as a the new kid on the block, the game is on.  That makes it sound like Step Up, but from trailer, which shows Portman sprouting feathers and red eyes, it will be decidedly weirder.  Aronofsky knows his way around pitch black, and has a knack for turning misery into beauty.  Expect nothing less here.

True Grit (Dec. 25)– What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a Coen Brothers movie?  They team up with Jeff Bridges again, this time to remake the western that won John Wayne his Oscar.  However, the brothers list the novel as their main source of inspiration because of its quick dialogue as well as the premise.  A daughter (newcomer Hailee Steinfield) sets out to apprehend her father’s killer with the help of a stubborn marshal (Bridges.)  The movie also features Matt Damon as a ranger accompanying the two and Josh Brolin as the killer.  With a remarkable cast like this, and the success they had adapting No Country for Old Men, it’s hard not to be excited about this one.

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REVIEW: Robin Hood

Robin Hood
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Russel Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, William Hurt

This happens just about every time an Academy Award winning team gets together to update a classic story into a big commercial success. It was the same sort of thing that happened with Alice in Wonderland earlier this year and the same sort of thing that will continue to happen when our favorite directors and actors take on a familiar unoriginal project. Disappointment. Continue reading