Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Let me start by saying that I went into this movie with very mixed feelings about what I was going to see. For one of all the biblical stories to interpret Noah’s ark has one of the most straight forward plots. God (The Creator) gets mad at man for all the sin and decides to drown out the world and start over with Noah, his family, and two of every animal. On the other hand this cast is star studded and the film is directed by Mr. Aronofsky who directed one of my favorite movies of all time, Black Swan. With that in mind I decided to see Noah. I was not disappointed.
The plot of Noah is absolutely not the plot you would expect. Does God flood the earth? Yes. Does Noah get two of every animal? Yes. But in no way does the movie stick strictly to the biblical story, and by going off script Noah becomes that much better. It incorporates more into the story about what life was like, why was God flooding the Earth and exactly how Noah did get all the animals and all the wood to build such a massive ship. Where this movie really succeeds is in its acting. Russell Crowe is one of my favorite actors onscreen and he does not disappoint as the titular Noah. However the cast surrounding him is equally as good. Jennifer Connelly plays a very loving and caring wife, Emma Watson a daughter who loves her children, and Anthony Hopkins as a happy-go-lucky Methuselah. The antagonist played by Ray Winstone is also spot on. What really brought the characters to life was the conflicts between them. I really found myself loving the film when thematically I found myself agreeing with the bad guy, why was Noah allowed to let all those innocent people die, who is he to judge who is good and who is evil? In fact it is the themes of the movie that really make it great. The characters serve as great vehicles that bring these things to life. Obviously the visuals in the film are outstanding. While it is impressive to see a giant ship filled with animals, and amazing fight scenes between giants and people, I found the landscapes themselves to be the most impressive. The sound is also quite impressive, but once again I found the smaller scale songs such as the one sung by Crowe and Watson to be the true emotional linchpins. As for the unexpected, almost everything was better than I expected. The scope of the plot, the variations it made on the original story, the emotional investment I ended up having with the characters, the beautiful landscapes, the amazing soundtrack, and the thematic moral questions the film raises. All of it was unexpected and all of it was amazing. I highly recommend this film. Granted any people who follow the bible to the letter will find the film to be sacrilegious and any hardcore atheists will find the film promotes a higher being too much, but for everyone else in the middle this is a highly enjoyable film.
Last week I saw the movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman. (review here) If you have time go see it. But more importantly the movie has a great soundtrack. One of the songs is really catchy much like the Lego movie. This song plays during the credits and it had me sitting through almost the entire length of the credits which is something I only do during Marvel movies. I have had this song on repeat almost nonstop since first hearing it. I hope you guys like it as much as I do.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
Starring: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
This so far, to me, seems to be the year of the kids’ movie. Sure there have been such critical success as; Need for Speed (23% on Rotten Tomatoes) or 300 Rise of an Empire (42% on Rotten Tomatoes). But with the Lego movie which has been a success globally and now Mr. Peabody and Sherman I think that the kids are so far winning in terms of films. Now this film is in no ways the Lego movie. While the Lego movie (check out my review here) reminded me of my childhood this film did something that many good kids movies do, it hinted at more adult humor. Sure there was the occasional sex innuendo but there was also some high brow humor one joke being about Oedipus. While this movie is based on characters from a children series I never read the stories and therefore found the characters all new and I very much enjoyed them. The characters played brilliantly off one another and really made the story a much more enjoyable experience. The main story was nothing new, boy falls for girl, does dumb things for girl, has to fix those things. But at its center this film is about a father/son relationship and the lengths parents will go to protect their children. It even has some things to say about adoption which struck a chord for me personally. The visuals of the film are on par with any other Dreamworks film which is to say they are very well done. The soundtrack is absolutely spectacular and really works well with the film. As for the unexpected the film starts and ends where one would expect. However, the route to get there is not at all the path I would have thought they would go. I definitely recommend seeing this movie. It will have both kids and adults laughing and at the end you might even find yourself feeling something.
Lego Movie (2014)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell
Directed by: Phil Lord
Some people might think that this is a kids movie and they would be very wrong. Don’t get me wrong this movie is for kids but I like to think that it brings out the kid in all of us. I grew up with Legos, acting out crazy scenes, basically making movies in my head. The Lego movie is that brought to life. The plot is a little out there but it all comes together in the end. In fact this movie will even appeal to older kids by the end. At the start of the movie I found it hard to laugh at the jokes but I lost myself in the wonder that is Legos. The voice acting is amazing in this film and casted perfectly. Each character brings Legos to life in way that I thought was impossible. It is like watching your imagination played out on the big screen. Obviously the special effects in the film are out of this world. I would love to see how this film was made. I have heard that it took over 3 billion bricks to make this movie. This movie was all unexpected for me. I thought I was just going to watch a kids movie but instead I found myself truly enjoying this movie. I highly recommend seeing this movie. It will make everything awesome.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix & Scarlett Johansson
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Her is a very interesting movie. It has a lot to say about technology and where it is going without being too heavy handed. The movie definitely has its moments that really make you think but it does also have some moments that are incredibly awkward. The idea of a man falling in love with a robot is not new it is however framed in such a way that it resonates much more with the audience. I do not think we are too far away from artificially intelligent or semi-intelligent operating systems and, if so, it is just a short jump until someone falls in love with them. Her relies heavily on the acting ability of Joaquin Phoenix and his on screen compatibility with Scarlett Johansson and it is definitely there. The two truly feel like a real couple. Their conversations have an element of truth to them, they sound like conversations that two people would have. It seems so real that for moments you forget that one of them is a computer. The secondary characters do a good job but do not add much to the film and could be cut without losing much, if any of the story. Her utilizes a lot of interesting camera angles and color schemes to play with the emotional level of the film. It really adds another layer to the film and is brilliantly done. I would say that it is not at all what I expected when I walked into the theater. It took what I thought was an interesting, albeit odd concept and really gave it a backbone. I definitely recommend seeing this movie although I don’t know if it is deserving of all this best picture buzz surrounding it.
That’s all folks. The BCS era has ended and with it, maybe SEC dominance. The ACC has asserted itself as a true power conference through its strongest member, Florida State. Not only did the SEC fail to win another National Championship but its flagship program, Alabama, also failed to win their BCS bowl game. It is possible that the end of the BCS era may usher in more parity for college football as a whole. It is also possible we, the fans, have created a new problem.
Do not get me wrong, I am very excited for the playoff system now, but I have a feeling that it is not going to actually solve any problems. This year the argument was there were plenty of one loss teams that deserved a shot at a National Championship. Why was Alabama punished for losing late in the season while Auburn was given time to recover from losing early? Why do Michigan State and Stanford not deserve a shot at the title, are their conferences really that much worse than the SEC? A huge complaint of the BCS system was that it left out too many teams and favored the SEC over other conferences. Who is to say that this committee of people will not suffer the same fate? Sure, there might be four teams in the playoffs now but, that is not a solution. I think that the top 6 teams this year deserve a shot at the National Championship. We know now that FSU is a force to reckoned with. But before the title game FSU, Auburn, Stanford, Michigan State, Alabama, and Baylor all deserved a shot. Even a team like Ohio State was right on the outside looking in. Why is a committee any more equipped than some odd system of humans and computers? If anything we have only added in more human error.
Did the BCS need to go? Yes, without a doubt. Is the new playoff committee a better solution? We will see, but college football is moving on and I cannot wait to see what happens.
American Hustle (2013)
Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner
Directed by: David Russell
American Hustle is one of those films for which I had high hopes for. It has an amazing cast and a very interesting concept. I was worried that it would suffer from too many good actors, each one trying to get the most spotlight. That is not the case here, each character builds brilliantly off the others; even the point of view of the film changes throughout, leading to better character development. The film is very light hearted and whimsical, which is good for a movie that is technically not a comedy. While the film is definitely worth seeing, I am not sure that it is worth all the Oscar buzz it has been receiving. I definitely recommend seeing this movie if you are looking for a good time but want something a little more substantial than a broad comedy.