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JULY 29TH, 2014

NOAH // Visually stunning and equally captivating, “Noah”, at its core, is the story we all know from the Bible. As most people would roll their eyes at a big budgeted, Hollywood adaptation of an Old Testament saga, Darren Aronofsky take his patented darkness and flair from his previous works like “The Fountain” and “Black Swan” and carries them into his biggest, most successful undertaking yet. After hearing that Aronofsky had to fight the studio to get his complete, untampered vision on-screen, I knew the film was going to be a masterpiece. When a prolific director is willing to stick their neck out for what they believe, it often means they are doing their best work and are unwilling to compromise. That notion is mirrored perfectly in the film itself, with themes of faith guiding the narrative throughout the course of the film.

Russell Crowe plays Noah, a modest man with a small family, who has reoccurring visions, one of which includes a great flood. With confirmation from his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), who gives him a special seed to plant, Noah proceeds in building an ark that will shelter two of every species of animal and insect from the oncoming devastation. Introduced next, to much controversy, are the Watchers, which are fallen angels in the form of walking, talking stone creatures. Confined to Earth as punishment, these massive beasts offer their help to Noah after seeing the forest that Methuselah’s seed provides. Harnessing the characteristics of Ents from “The Lord Of The Rings” and the visual style of Rockbiter from “The Neverending Story”, many critics believed these creatures felt out of place in this re-imagining of Noah’s Ark. Although I wonder what the film would have been like without them, there is still a majestic quality to these characters that adds to the film quite nicely, and again, these characters were apart of Aronofsky’s ultimate vision.

With the help of the Watchers and his family, including his wife (Jennifer Connolly), their sons Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman), and Japeth (Leo McHugh Carroll), and their daughter-in-law, Ila (Emma Watson), the massive Ark is eventually completed. With most of the cast falling in the shadow of Crowe, besides Emma Watson, who provides a much needed gentleness to her role and the film as a whole, one actor who refuses to be overshadowed is Ray Winstone as Tubal-Cain, the antagonist of the film. Turned away from Noah’s camp, Tubal-Cain sends his people to fight for the Ark when the rain begins to fall. Along with this pending war, Noah also faces struggles in securing the animals in the Ark, tending to his family as they worry about their future, and even venturing out in attempt to find wives for his sons. Crowe handles the role with a calm reserve, personifying the legend of Noah. Complimenting Winstone perfectly, you can almost envision a promotional poster with these two perfect adversaries facing off with the Ark between them in the background. Topped off with strong emotion and some of the best visual effects of the year, both of which come out in full force when the flood occurs, “Noah” is one of the most fully realized life action Biblical films to come out of the last few decades and one of the best films of the year.

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THE OTHER WOMAN // If I wanted to see Kate Upton running in a skimpy bikini, I would just Google it. When it comes to most romantic comedies, I can get on board. Despite almost all of these films having the same plot and story structure, there can be a sincerity brought out by stellar actors and actresses. “The Other Woman” is not one of those films. When we meet Cameron Diaz’s character Carly, she has a great job and the perfect boyfriend in Mark, played by “Game Of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. As she considers giving up her philandering for this guy, she drops by his house unexpected, only to find out that he is actually married to the mousy Kate (Leslie Mann), whose suspicions of her husband cheating are finally solidified. Of course, since this is a romantic comedy, the two women become best friends and find out Mark is actually cheating on both of them, to whom they discover the clueless Amber (Kate Upton), the second mistress. And like a busty Russian nesting doll, there is another mistress after that. Together, these women plot to destroy Mark by any means necessary.

As I ponder why this film was even made, a conclusion I keep coming to is that someone thought Kate Upton belonged on the big screen. Although I cannot completely disagree, my response comes from all the wrong reasons. Admittedly, the female camaraderie on-screen is a nice change of pace for this type of film, bringing to mind “John Tucker Must Die”, but with low brow humor and even lower brow performances. Diaz is talented in her own right, and with films like “The Counselor”, she proves just how far she can stretch away from this romantic comedy typecast. Kudos to Leslie Mann, who commits to the role and carries it as best she can, proving she has lasting power outside of her husband’s (Judd Apatow) shadow. Do not let me forget that pop star Nicki Minaj is also in the film for some reason or another, proving to be a worse actress than even Kate Upton. When it comes down to it, however, this really does feel like a vehicle to launch Upton and what a sad attempt at that, complete with cardboard acting and monotonous deliveries, as she relies on her adorable looks and banging body. Perhaps the female revenge comedy appeals more to women, but for the boyfriends or husbands being dragged to “The Other Woman”, I am completely apologetic. Now if you will excuse me, I have some Googling to do.

New Releases
Bad Johnson 2-denied2-small
Cuban Fury
Half A Yellow Sun 2-denied2-small
Noah (2014)
The Other Woman
The Protector 2 2-denied2-small

TV Box Set

  • Midsomer Murders: Set 24
  • Teen Titans Go: Couch Crusaders: Season One: Part Two
  • Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery

Special Editions/Other Releases

  • Adventure Time: Princess Day
  • Aloha, Bobby and Rose
  • The Amazing Catfish  2-denied2-small
  • Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Gone Wild
  • Big Losers
  • Cold Turkey  2-denied2-small
  • Daisy: A Hen in the Wild
  • Den, The  
  • Dragonwolf
  • Finding Vivian Maier  
  • Five Dances  2-denied2-small
  • French Minister  2-denied2-small
  • Frontline: United States of Secrets
  • Grace Kelly Collection
  • Human Trafficking
  • It Felt Like Love  
  • Jungle Book: Bird-Day Bash
  • Legendary
  • Lullaby  
  • Master of the World
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
  • Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior
  • On My Way
  • Paris Blues
  • Separate Tables
  • Shirin In Love  2-denied2-small
  • Tennessee Queer
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