When you’ve got Darren Aronofsky bringing a Biblical tale to screen, expectations are through the roof. “Noah” may not meet those expectations, but the film does nestle in just a few notches below. It isn’t a mind-blowing epic, but it’s certainly a riveting and worthy retelling of this story.
The film kicks off with a partial recap of creation, specifically what went down with Adam and Eve, and what became of their children, Cain, Abel and Seth. From there we cut to one of Seth’s descendant’s, Noah (Dakota Goyo), who’s just a boy at the time, but watches his father murdered right before his eyes. Years later, Noah (Russell Crowe) has a wife, Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), and three boys of his own, Shem, Ham and Japheth. After having a vision of man’s demise, Noah sets out to save the innocent – the animals – with the help of his family and The Watchers while Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) and his followers threaten to claim their work, the ark.
As someone with limited knowledge of scripture, Aronofsky had a significant amount of breathing room with this and he didn’t let an inch of it go to waste. Whereas early memories of Noah’s ark involve a lecture or pages in a book, Aronofsky’s take is cinematic through and through. The performances are bold and engaging, most visuals are downright stunning, and they’re both featured within the context of an enthralling narrative. However, even though Aronofsky does deliver a worthy big screen Bible story, by going big in certain respects, he is forced to tiptoe around a number of potential pitfalls.
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“Dark Skies” is far from a haunting masterpiece, but the February debut, lack of pre-release screenings and rather weak promotional effort gave the film a much poorer reputation than it deserves.
The Barretts are struggling with some financial issues, but otherwise, live a nice life in a quaint suburban neighborhood – that is until their home becomes the focal point of inexplicable, disturbing events. Lacy and Daniel (Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton) are able to dismiss the first few bumps in the night as alarm malfunctions and bad dreams, but when the threats become even more devastating and increasingly violent, they have no choice, but to address the fact that something might be after them.
In an industry oversaturated with paranormal entities, the E.T.-related scares in “Dark Skies” are rather refreshing. There are some outrageous and almost silly moments like the tower of kitchen condiments and Lacy being forced to bash her head against a window, but we’ve also got a few big winners, namely things that can give you the creeps in a movie or in real life. The sound of the house alarm going off is endlessly unnerving as are the assortment of violent blemishes on the family’s bodies.
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This is a movie about futuristic robot boxing that’s eager to please the widest audience possible. As long as you don’t walk into Real Steel with your fingers crossed for something that feels as real and gritty as, let’s say The Fighter or Warrior, it’s impossible not to enjoy it.
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer turned robot fighter. In the near future, when human boxing isn’t brutal enough for spectators, the sport displaces those fighters with massive and ruthless robots, offering unrelenting destruction. When Charlie’s ex passes away, leaving their son, Max (Dakota Goyo), homeless, Charlie takes advantage of his aunt’s (Hope Davis) desperation to adopt him and gets her wealthy husband (James Rebhorn) to give him a hefty chunk of cash in exchange for Max. The only catch is that Charlie has to keep an eye on Max himself until they return from a European excursion at the end of the summer.
Charlie uses the money to buy a new robot, Noisy Boy, but his desperation to make the big bucks causes him to make a hasty decision that results in Noisy Boy’s destruction. With no money, Charlie has no choice but to visit a scrap yard to find the parts to build a new fighter. However, while there, Max spots something better, Atom. Atom’s an old sparring bot, making him far less capable in the ring, but Max insists that together, they can turn him into a champion.
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Night at the Museum, Date Night, Cheaper by the Dozen. See a trend? Director Shawn Levy has a knack for making movies with a particularly wide appeal and his latest, Real Steel, is no different.
The film stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a former boxer forced to change with the times, hang up his gloves and get behind the controls of a robot that will do the fighting for him. A series of brash decisions leaves Charlie without a robot and nearly out of the business. Complicating matters further, Charlie’s ex passes away, leaving him with their young son Max (Dakota Goyo). However, what Charlie first sees as a major inconvenience not only helps him turn around his career, but his life too, as Max’s heart and enthusiasm is infectious.
And that’s not only in reference to Max’s effect on his father. In true Levy fashion, he brings us a child actor who’s wonderfully animated and impossible not to love. Combine that with the visual spectacle of massive robots going at it in the ring and you get Levy’s specialty, a film that aims to wow via incredible effects and wild scenarios, but not without infusing a great deal of heart.
In honor of Real Steel‘s October 7th release, Levy took the time to talk about bringing his robots to life, tracking down the ideal young actor to portray Max and much more. Check it all out in the interview below.
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