Tag Archives: Russell Crowe

Review: Noah

Noah PosterWhen 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.

Click here to read more.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Review: Winter’s Tale

Winters_Tale_Poster1“Winter’s Tale” is not a true story nor a love story, but rather, the comedy of the year.

Based on Mark Helprin’s 1983 novel, “Winter’s Tale” focuses on Colin Farrell’s Peter Lake. We meet Peter when he’s just a baby in 1895. His parents so desperately want to come to the United States, but because they’ve got heart conditions, they’re not allowed in. However, it doesn’t have to be that way for baby Peter. Instead of re-boarding their boat and heading back home together, they plop the infant into a tiny model boat, lower him down from their own and then watch as he presumably sails off to New York City.

That covers just about ten minutes of the movie, but right there you’ve already got two devastating problems. First off, this movie is one of magical realism. You’re not going to get a theater full of people to buy into that unless you establish it right from the start. This odd display of two parents risking their child’s life in an absurd effort to give him a better one does not do that in the least, making it even more difficult to adjust and accept when magic is thrown into the equation a little later on. And that brings us to detrimental issue #2, believability. There are countless scenes in this movie when characters are doing or saying something oh-so seriously that makes little to no sense and that turns out to be a highly successful formula for creating laugh-out-loud-worthy moments.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Review: Man of Steel

Man-of-Steel-Poster“Man of Steel” is like Superman taking a punch from a human; you feel nothing.

The film kicks off just as Krypton’s unstable core is about to decimate the planet. In an effort to ensure his race carries on, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) pops his newborn baby boy into a pod and ships him off to Earth. The pod lands in Kansas, right in the Kent’s backyard, and while Jonathan and Martha (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) raise the boy as their own, they’ve also always known he’s not from here. In order to keep his origin a secret, Clark goes through school as an outcast, constantly getting picked on but unable to unleash his unearthly strength to fight back.

Now a 33-year-old man, Clark (Henry Cavill) moves from place to place, trying to keep a low profile. Trouble is, when he sees someone in trouble, he just can’t help himself. Finally Clark seizes an opportunity to learn about his real parents and home planet, but accessing that information also unleashes an unspeakable evil upon Earth, one that only he can stop.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

‘Les Misérables’ Director and Cast Talk Snot, Tattoos & Singing Live

Les-MiserablesApparently, constantly being asked, “You do understand that a movie musical is something you could really fall flat on your face doing?,” was all the motivation director Tom Hooper needed, because he pulled it off; he made a film version of the much-beloved Les Misérables and it’ll likely go on to earn a number of award nods, if not wins.

While participating in press conferences in New York City, Hooper admits, “They were right about the risks.” He explains, “When I made The King’s Speech, no one had heard of The King’s Speech.” Hooper was able to make that film in total privacy and, clearly, that wasn’t the case when adapting a piece people all across the globe hold so near and dear. “I felt very aware of the fact that so many millions of people hold this close to their heart and will probably sit in the cinema in complete fear that we would f*** it up.”

However, Eric Fellner of Working Title, is quick to point out, “If we only appeal to the fans, then, with a budget like this, the film wouldn’t work, so it was really critical that we made a film that had the DNA of the show and worked absolutely for the fans – but also had the potential to break out and create a whole new audience for Les Misérables.”

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, Interviews

Review: Les Misérables

Les-Miserables-PosterI never cared much for “Les Misérables” back when every other girl in my class had to sing “Castle on a Cloud” at the school talent show and, it turns out, I don’t care all that much for it in movie form either, even when it’s an immensely impressive production.

In case you’re like me and never bothered to see the musical or read the book, “Les Misérables” focuses on Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a man enslaved for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew. After finally being released, Valjean violates his parole to start anew. Even though he really does turn over a new leaf, running an honest business and doing good whenever he can, the über by-the-book policeman, Javert (Russell Crowe), is determined to make Valjean pay.

Still, nothing stops Valjean from being a good man. As Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) life spins out of control, Valjean comes to her aid, agreeing to care for her young daughter, Cosette. Valjean rescues Cosette from her unloving and eccentric caretakers, Thénardier and Madame Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter), and raises her as his own until she catches the eye of the young Revolutionary, Marius (Eddie Redmayne).

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Interview: The Next Three Days Writer-Director Paul Haggis

Life is good for Paul Haggis. Not only does he have two Oscars sitting pretty on his shelf, but he’s got three other nominations in the bag and his career continues to flourish. Ever since his shift from TV to film Haggis has almost only delivered critically acclaimed work. First was Million Dollar Baby and then Crash followed by The Last KissCasino RoyaleIn the Valley of ElahQuantum of Solace and now The Next Three Days.

The film stars Russell Crowe as John Brennan, an English teacher who’s separated from his beloved wife (Elizabeth Banks) when she’s arrested for murder. Convinced she’s innocent, John devotes himself to getting her out. However, what starts out as a lawful venture turns into a daring plot to defy the system and help her escape.

The Next Three Days isn’t your typical thriller. It does offer a fair amount of action, but it’s really a character driven drama more than anything and that’s exactly what Haggis intended it to be. While promoting the film for its November 19th release, Haggis sat down to tell us all the details from developing his script from the original film, Pour Elle, to locking down locations, working with Crowe and Banks and much more. He even took the time to address the never ending Crash saga. Check out all of that and much more in the interview below.

Click here to read the interview.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviews

Review: The Next Three Days

It’s one thing to walk into a drama and get a little action, but when you opt to check out a thriller that winds up being more of a drama, it’s a bit too difficult to adjust. Making it harder to appreciate a drama with a thrilling twist is a lengthy presentation. There’s a lot that works inThe Next Three Days, if only director Paul Haggis had paid more attention to keeping a proper pace, perhaps that drama would have created more suspense and risen to the level of the film’s more exhilarating moments. Instead we’re left with something that isn’t quite dramatic or thrilling and doesn’t strike a chord as much as it could have.

Life is good for the Brennan family, but when Lara (Elizabeth Banks) is dragged out of her house by police officers as her young son looks on, they’re existence becomes anything but ideal. John (Russell Crowe) misses Lara terribly and Luke (Ty Simpkins) refuses to even look at his mother when they go to visit. Lara claims she didn’t commit the crime, but the evidence against her is overwhelming. John soon realizes there is no way to get Lara out of prison – legally.

The central plot of The Next Three Days is beautifully simple; a man’s wife is wrongly accused of a crime and the only way they can be a family again is by breaking her out. The problem is, it takes an awfully long time to get there. The opening sequence is fantastic. We get a very brief, but telling dinner scene during which Lara has a harsh yet amusing argument with her sister-in-law followed by a typical morning in the Brennan household. Unfortunately, breakfast doesn’t last long and a barrage of officers demolishes the serene setting. After Lara’s taken away, that’s about it in terms of action for quite a while.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews