Movie Review: “Noah”
Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins
Just as the Bible speaks in many ways to many people, so does Darren Aronofsky’s epic “Noah,” a story about a man, his giant ark and the lengths a family will go to when facing the world’s first apocalypse.
Tackling a story of pre-apocalyptic earth in the before and after stages is nothing new, but Aronofsky knew that he had to pull out all the stops in dealing with the planet’s first biblical disaster. Luckily, he had Russell Crowe to work with. After a brief but eye-catching history lesson (via fast motion) from the time of creation through the questionable dietary choices in the Garden of Eden, to the slaying of Abel by Cain, we arrive at the tenth generation of man, where a young Noah (Dakota Goyo) witnesses his father being killed just as he is about to bestow his birthright, a glowing snakeskin sleeve, upon him.
Years later, an adult Noah (Crowe) is living a happy but isolated life with his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) and three sons, Ham (Logan Lerman), Shem (Douglas Booth) and Japheth (Leo Carroll). But if life (and Twitter 3:16) has taught us anything, it’s that you can avoid people, but not their mistakes. Noah receives a vision, one of great death by flooding. The Creator (The “G-word” is never said in the film) has decided that his experiment with mankind has gone completely off the rails, as everyone is a poster child for the worse sins imaginable against the planet and themselves.
Unfortunately, visions aren’t the same as having a phone call, Skype or even text messages, so Noah seeks out clarification from his granddad Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins). Thanks to his guidance, and getting slipped a mickey, Noah gets a clearer vision: the planet is about to be destroyed by a flood. He is to construct a giant ark with a sample of the planet’s animals and witness the first-ever heavenly version of a reboot. Aiding him in his quest is Ila (Emma Watson), an injured orphan girl who becomes his adopted daughter and love interest of Shem. He’s also greatly assisted by fallen angels turned giant stone creatures called the Watchers, who also sinned against the Creator and seek redemption.
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A chat with Mickey Rourke (“Immortals”)
“9 1/2 Weeks” director Adrian Lyne is supposed to have said that if Mickey Rourke had died in 1986, his legend might have surpassed James Dean’s. Maybe so. The problem was that, after a series of usually superb but always entertaining performances, Rourke didn’t die. Instead, as the man himself explains, artistic hubris and psychological issues got the better of him. He developed probably the worst reputation of any actor in Hollywood before quitting show business for a time to become a boxer at age 39. Though the resulting injuries and reconstructive surgery permanently altered Rourke’s appearance, years of public fence mending and consistently strong work in small but memorable roles have finally paid off in the afterglow of a sympathetic, engaging, and just plain damn brilliant Oscar nominated performance in Darren Aronofsky’s 2008 indie hit, “The Wrestler.”
A former amateur boxer from Schenectady, New York, the actor first got short-listed for the A-list with his charismatic turn in Barry Levinson’s 1982 ensemble classic about masculine immaturity, “Diner.” That was followed by a series of memorable films that didn’t impress at the box office but live on in home video: “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” Francis Ford Coppola‘s tragically underrated “Rumblefish,” Michael Cimino’s “Year of the Dragon,” Alan Parker’s “Angel Heart,” and Barbet Schroeder’s charming 1987 Charles Bukowski adaptation, “Barfly.” Prior to “The Wrestler,” Rourke was probably best known for 2005’s “Sin City” and 1987’s “9 1/2 Weeks,” which also did a lot to popularize co-star Kim Basinger and the erotic use of ice cubes.
I spoke to Rourke via phone about 24 hours prior to the press junket for “Immortals,” Relativity Media’s hyper-violent mythological fantasy film directed by visual stylist Tarsem Singh (“The Cell,” “The Fall”). When I cheerfully asked the star how he was, his response was a weary, “Oh, that depends.” What else should I have expected from one of acting’s most respected loose cannons?
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