darren aronofsky

Review: Noah

Mar 28 // Matthew Razak
[embed]217520:41371:0[/embed] NoahDirector: Darren AronofskyRated: PG-13Release Date: March 28, 2013 Knowing the biblical story of Noah, as most of us do, really isn't going to give you the full idea of Noah's plot. While the basic gist of a god wiping the earth clean of sinful mankind by flooding it, and Noah (Russel Crowe) collecting all the animals still forms the structure of the plot the movie elaborates on, expands and removes certain parts. This is more of a telling of the story to focus on the themes of the Noah myth than to tell the story itself. In fact only half the film is dedicated to the part of the story that is usually focused on, the building of the ark, and the rest plays out as a more focused study on the characters, faith and mercy. It's this latter part that really works. The beginning of the film feels like some sort of post apocalyptic fantasy film as we find Noah, descendant of Adam's son Seth, living with his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), and three sons Ham, Shem and Japheth. They live alone, outside the cities of men, which are ruled by Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), descendant of Adam's son Cain.The cities have fallen out of favor with "The Creator" thanks to rampant sinning. When Noah dreams a dream of the world ending they family picks up everything to find Noah's grandfather Methusula (Anthony Hopkins) and on their way to him rescue Ila (Emma Watson). From here on out things unfold pretty much as you expect, except for some stone giants that are cursed fallen angels that aid Noah in the construction of the arc and its defense once Tubal-cain decides to lead his men in an attack. All that is the first half of the film, and it's a perfectly passable, big fantasy epic that entertains enough to keep it going and has just enough of that Aronofsky flair to feel like its a bit more than a Lord of the Rings knock off. It's the second half of the film that really stands out, though. As the floods rage we're confronted with the actual act of killing everyone on earth, and so are the characters. Noah becomes increasingly convinced that all of man, including his family, is meant to die, and the struggle between his faith in "The Creator" and his love for his family pulls forward. The internal struggles of the family are as old as the Bible itself as sons turn on their father and wives on husbands, but it's this in depth and powerful look that turns a mythic story into a heart wrenching family piece and finally makes the movie click.  Before the flood things seemed almost rushed, like Aronofsky just wants to get to the part of the film that he knows is good. The plot unfolds pretty matter-of-factly, and while the great battle to defend the ark is cool there's almost no emotional development. We spend an hour getting the characters where they need to be to be locked in a boat together. It's a pretty hour, but it never jives as a movie. The second hour gets intense and that's when the performances come out. Connelly is especially powerful as she falls apart because of her husband's actions and Crowe's stoicism throughout the film is a wonderful reflection of the faith that the movie addresses. It's interesting to watch this movie as a religious statement because at times, if you're not a believer, Noah's actions seem like the work of the bad guy. Many times you find yourself hearing lines the hero of a movie would usually yell about the strength of mankind coming from the bad guys mouth. It's an interesting role reversal that Aronofsky plays with well in order to confront our hubris and gluttony, but also to paint "The Creator" in a light that isn't all worship and glory. Of course the sinners must die so the thematic pull between these two ideas loses its thrust eventually, but Noah's inner struggle with his decisions makes up for that. However, Aronofsky can't always keep his own thematic struggles working. He's often caught between progressive religious ideals (he depicts the days of creation as evolution) and literal miracles (a forest grows over night). It's possible the idea was to have fantasy aspects while addressing religious ideas in the same film, but these two concepts often contradict each other and it's hard to get a bead on what the film is trying to say. Of course most of the fantasy aspects disappear once they enter the boat and thus the thematic incongruencies do as well. Another reason the second half of the film works better. What makes this even odder is that Aronofky's trademark visual tripiness (see Black Swan or The Fountain) are almost completely gone in the latter half too. The film is directed like the two aspects of his career. The opening half being his more visually metaphoric work and the latter being the in depth searching of a specific character's soul. It's odd that they're so separate when he melded them so well together in the likes of Black Swan.  None of this really eschews the fact that Noah is really a big budget fantasy film. That's what the studio paid for and that's what they got. There's action and huge set pieces and humor and all those things you expect from a tent pole film. The problem is that it works best when it's not being one of those. Noah works when its about Noah. 
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I'M ON A BOAT!
To preface this review I'd like to point you towards this article, which explains how I, as a DC film critic, finally got to see Noah ahead of time. Basically, Paramount for some reason thought it would be grand to scree...

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Noah SB Spot

Super Bowl TV spot for Noah


Feb 03
// Nick Valdez
Darren Aronofsky's upcoming Noah is going to look absolutely stunning. It may not be the best movie, or even the best representation of a biblical property, but it's going to look wonderful. This Super Bowl spot further ceme...

First trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Noah gets biblical

Nov 14 // Nick Valdez
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Forty days and nights of action
I'm not the most religious person. I have my beliefs and other folks have theirs, but there's no reason that I can't enjoy a film depicting one of the more famous stories from the Bible, Noah's Ark. This first trailer for Da...

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Aronofsky in fight with studio over Noah edits


Oct 16
// Matthew Razak
When you get a director like Darren Aronofsky you know he has an artistic vision for whatever he's working on, and you'd think a studio would trust that vision after the years of relentless praise heaped onto his movies. Not ...

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Noah has the most complicated rendering in ILM history


So much digital animal hair
Oct 09
// Matthew Razak
I don't think anyone will be surprised to find out that Darren Aronofsky's Noah will be quite heavy on the impressive visuals, but earning the tag of the most complicated rendering Industrial Light and Magic Has ever done mea...
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It's been a little while since we've heard about Noah, Darren Aronofsky's Biblical epic (by way of Mad Max with 11-foot-tall fallen angels). We previously had a picture of Noah's ark looking very ark-like, but now we have our...

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Concept art for Darren Aronofsky's Batman: Year One


Nananananana BATMENG
May 07
// Geoff Henao
Concept art from the scrapped Darren Aronofsky-led Batman: Year One adaptation were recently unearthed by the Comic Book Movie guys. The images (which are in the gallery below) show a much more realistic, down-to-ea...
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New York City First Time Fest focuses on filmmaker debuts


Feb 18
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
As cool as it is to be one of the first people to see the next thing by established filmmakers at film festivals, it's the new stuff that's really exciting. Debuts are rarely the most polished or effective efforts, but they s...
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Catch a glimpse of the ark being constructed for 'Noah'


Oct 16
// Thor Latham
It looks like Darren Aronofsky is going all out for his Biblical epic Noah, at least if photographer Dan Wagner's pictures are anything to go by. It's hard to judge scale initially, but going by Wagner's reaction it must be p...
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First pic from Darren Aronofsky's Noah is full of snakes


Sep 25
// Thor Latham
That's not a a clever quip or anything. The pic is literally full of hundreds of our limbless reptilian friends, as you can clearly see for yourself. The picture arrives courtesy of cinematographer Matty Libatique's...
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New info & set photo from Darren Aronofsky's Noah


Jul 12
// Hubert Vigilla
There's some new info about Darren Aronofsky's Noah, and it's sounding less like the Biblical tale and more like a harsh pre-apocalyptic epic. The Film Stage reports that the movie might focus more on the world before the gre...
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Ray Winstone offered role of God and/or rainfall in Noah


Jun 12
// Alex Katz
Veteran character actor and all-around badass Ray Winstone has officially been offered the role of the central villain in Darren Aronofsky's upcoming Noah starring Russel Crowe as the titular animal wrangler extraordinai...
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Darren Aronofsky is easily one of my favorite directors, so Noah is easily one of my most anticipated films of 2014. We know that Russell Crowe will be playing the title character, and some other, less-interesting castin...

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Prior talks culminated today as it was confirmed by Paramount and New Regency that Darren Aronofsky's forthcoming Biblical epic Noah has found its titular lead. While the fable famously features a raven and a dove, ...

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Russell Crowe takes lead role in Darren Aronofky's Noah


Mar 21
// Andres Bolivar
Last month there was word that Russell "Master & Motherf*cking Commander" Crowe was in talks for the lead role in Darren Aronofsky's Noah. Now we have official confirmation that the Crowester will indeed star in...
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Russell Crowe in talks for Darren Aronofsky's Noah


Feb 29
// Xander Markham
Darren Aronofsky's Noah has been in gestation for a long time - if in a pretentious mood, you might say it's positively antediluvian at this point - but it looks as though the project finally setting sail with confirmation th...

From Hell: Darren Aronofsky's Batman: Year One

Feb 28 // Hubert Vigilla
I told them I'd cast Clint Eastwood as the Dark Knight, and shoot it in Tokyo, doubling for Gotham City. That got their attention. -- Darren Aronofsky (quoted in Tales from Development Hell) This is such a radical, Elseworlds-like version of a bankable character. Do you think studios today are as open to these sorts of takes on characters? David Hughes: Well, they let him pitch it and paid him (handsomely) to write it, so I guess they were back in 1999/2000. Today? Yes, I think studios have woken up to the fact that a strong IP [intellectual property] has extraordinary potential for exploitation, and just because The Lion King is on stage doesn't mean you can't re-release the film in 3D, or make a belated sequel, or a TV cartoon series, or exploit the medium in countless different ways. And as long as some of them are aimed at me, and every once in a while you get a film like The Dark Knight, I'll take as many as they can make. Have Aronofsky or Miller considered altering their screenplay? By that I mean changing it from a Batman story to a story about an original vigilante character. I very much doubt it. I still have a hope that the script will be turned into an amazing prestige graphic novel. In fact, I bumped into Vertigo editor-in-chief Karen Berger one night in SoHo and pitched exactly that idea, but unfortunately it was late at night, I was halfway through a rather drunken poker game, and I think I might have scared her off with my inebriated pitch! (Darren gave the idea his blessing, though, so you never know.) Warner Bros. is going to reboot Batman once Christopher Nolan is done with his trilogy. Any ideas or predictions of what they'll do? None at all, although I suspect they will be torn between doing a massive about-turn from the fantastically successful Nolan -- like a reboot with a really young Batman, Harry Potter-style (I'm telling you, audiences would pay to see that) or sticking with the Nolan universe (Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, you know) but changing the actor and director (like the new Bourne). It would take a gutsy studio to start over -- Sony did it with Spider-Man, but now they're so far in the red they're pinning all their hopes on one film.   Previous tale from Hell: Lord of the Rings starring The Beatles more tales from Hell to come... *          *          * David Hughes is the author of Tales from Development Hell, The Greatest Sci-fi Movies Never Made, The Complete Kubrick, and The Complete Lynch. He is also co-author of Farscape: The Illustrated Companion with Paul Simpson, and has written about film for The Guardian, Empire, GQ, and numerous publications.
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[This week we'll be looking at a few movies mentioned in Tales from Development Hell by David Hughes (Titan Books). The book chronicles the arduous and at times absurd development process that films go through, often leading ...

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Darren Aronofsky's Noah: some release and villain info


Jan 27
// Hubert Vigilla
It's been a while since we've reported anything on Darren Aronofsky's Noah. After getting a glimpse of the European graphic novel of Noah and hearing that Christian Bale had dropped out of the project, it's been a bit silent,...
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Christian not Noah, Michael maybe


Dec 01
// Xander Markham
Christian Bale has been ruled out of contention for the title role in Darren Aronofsky's take on the Biblical tale of Noah. The actor was understood to be one of the favourites, even if nothing was ever officially signed, but...
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Darren Aronofsky directs four new anti-meth PSAs


Nov 09
// Matthew Razak
How many times have you been talking about Requiem for a Dream and someone has made the joke that if you want kids to stay off drugs you should just screen the movie in health class. Of course that's not really plausible for...
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Monday Movie Trivia: Aronofsky bought Perfect Blue rights


Oct 31
// Tom Fronczak
For those of you who have never heard this before, it's an issue that's been in constant debate for the past few years: just how much was Darren Aronofsky inspired by Perfect Blue when making the very similar film, Black Swan...
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Darren Aronofsky's Noah graphic novel released in Europe


Oct 21
// Hubert Vigilla
Before Noah was picked up by Paramount, Darren Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel began working on a graphic novel adaptation of their script with artist Niko Henrichon. (Henrichon is perhaps best known for illustrating Pride...
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Darren Aronofsky's Noah picked up by Paramount


Jun 28
// Jenika Katz
After the success of Black Swan, it was only a matter of time before Darren Aronofsky was able to make his passion project. Paramount will be teaming up with New Regency to pay the $150 million budget for Noah. Aronofksy has ...
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Christian Bale THIS close to lending his talent to Noah


Jun 14
// Sean Walsh
Christian Bale as the biblical Noah seems like a good choice. He's got plenty of practice being the savior of Gotham City in Christopher Nolan's Batman films and he also stepped into the shoes of the savior of ALL OF HUMANITY...
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Wolverine director search cut down to eight prospects


May 26
// Geoff Henao
We were devastated when Darren Aronofsky announced he wouldn't be directing The Wolverine. Following his successful swan song with Black Swan, The Wolverine would have been a great and interesting direction for Aronofsky to t...
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Darren Aronofsky courted for two new projects


May 21
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
Darren Aronofsky, director of the recent Black Swan, has reportedly been asked by Disney (what?) and Warner Bros. to direct their upcoming films Maleficant (what?) and Moses respectively. I'm not quite sur...
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Darren Aronofsky and George Clooney eyeing sci-fi flick


May 10
// Jenika Katz
After he dropped out of The Wolverine a couple of months ago due to production issues, many people were wondering what Darren Aronofsky's next project would be. Apparently, he's set his sights on a fifteen-year-old spec scrip...

Requiem for The Wolverine, Darren Aronofsky departs

Mar 17 // Glenn Morris
1. Batman: Year OneWritten by Frank Miller, Abandoned by Darren Aronofsky2. RoninWritten and Drawn by Frank Miller, Abandoned by Darren Aronofsky3. Lone Wolf and CubIntroductions and Covers by Frank Miller, Abandoned by Darren Aronofsky4. RobocopSecond two films and comic series Written by Frank Miller, Abandoned by Darren Aronofsky5. The WolverineMiniseries Drawn by Frank Miller, Abandoned by Darren Aronofsky
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As I sit here with tears streaming down my face trying to drink myself to death, I feel it is my responsibility to tell you: Darren Aronofsky will not direct The Wolverine.I know. I’m sorry. Please take a moment. The ad...

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Noah is Aronofsky's comic and unproduced film.


Feb 06
// Glenn Morris
Some time ago, word reached the internet of a Darren Aronofsky comicbook. Legend had it the Black Swan director was harvesting a movie idea that failed to get off the ground and planned to re-launch it as a comicbook first, ...

Review: Black Swan

Dec 03 // Matthew Razak
There is absolutely no denying that Darren Aronofsky is one of modern film's masters. He's only five films into his career and already he's established himself as one of the best filmmakers in Hollywood. While he can be hit or miss thanks to the fact that he likes to take big bites into the human psyche in his films, it's obvious that Aronofsky is one of the few directors out there who truly stands out. Black Swan, his latest film, may be his best yet and is easily the proof (if anyone still needed it) that he is a great director.{{page_break}} It's hard to explain what Black Swan is about because it's one of those films that is about so much, including film itself. However, it's easy to explain its plot as it is one of the most basic around. A young dancer, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) finally gets her big break when she is tapped to play both the White and Black Swans in Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake. She is, of course, perfect for the White Swan thanks to her technical skill and control, but her artistic director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), claims it is these attributes that make her Black Swan terrible. She must learn to let go of herself and feel in order to truly master the part. Meanwhile a newcomer to the dance troupe, Lily (Mila Kunis), seems to be constantly challenging Nina's spot as the prima ballerina. Of course this is just the plot of the film, and as with all Aronofsky movies, the plot is simply there to keep you watching, the true meaning is in the characters, the filming and the filmmaking itself. Black Swan's themes swirl around perfection and reality, teasing us with the lucid day dreams and psychosis of the crumbling Nina as she clamors to be the perfect ballerina. The metaphors and outcome may be obvious to anyone watching the film, especially when they are so blatantly and visual stated. However, Aronofsky's masterful development of everything that occurs in the film makes them all the more powerful so that by the time the end rolls around you're almost fully accepting that Nina's hallucinations are fact and that the movie's conclusion is the only way that it could ever truly end. Thankfully Aronofsky avoids most of the issues he ran into with The Fountain by keeping Black Swan grounded in the reality of his last film The Wrestle and his seminal masterpiece Requiem for a Dream. In Black Swan we see the perfect balance of the director's two sides: physical and metaphysical. Nina's decent into madness (or is it perfection?) is a watchers dream, and what better venue for a commentary on the audience as a voyeur than ballet -- one of the only forms of athletic pursuit where anything less than perfection is unacceptable. Aronofsky presents Nina on the path towards that impossible perfection and he presents her story to us as a way of showing the only true way perfection can take place. It's absolutely riveting. As is Portman. We've had a year filled with amazing male performances, but I was having trouble finding an actress who really and truly stood out this year. Portman has done just that in Black Swan. This is the type of performance that takes you from actor to thespian (not to sound too highbrow). Her conviction to a role that must have been beyond challenging is amazing, and her performance is only outshined by Aronofsky's fabulous, tight and revealing direction and camerawork. Complimenting her powerfully restrained performance is a masterful score from Clint Mansell that beautifully blends Tchaikovsky's original music into new pieces that sound familiar, but work far better than simply sampling the originals would have. What we have in Black Swan is simply one of the best films of the year. I am hard pressed to even find a moment of the film I didn't like, though I'm sure there are complaints you could find out there. With Aronofsky’s next film being the next Wolverine movie this might be our last chance to see the true Aronofsky before big budgets corrupt his vision. It's a rare breed that can maintain their skill while turning blockbuster, but if this is Aronofsky's final bow as the director we know now then what a way to go out. Black Swan is a lesson in great film making, acting, score and direction. From Aronofsky's opening to the stunning close it's hard to find fault in the film and even harder to not get sucked into its cerebral and enthralling story. 94 – Supreme. (We’re lucky if even one film a year scores between 9.00 and 9.50, and these instant classics will go down as some of the best movies we’ve ever seen in our lives.) Xander Markham: Supercharged by the performance of any actor's lifetime from Portman, Black Swan crackles with the lurid intensity of the greatest exploitation experiences. Should his voice be quashed by big-budget studio filmmaking, Aronofsky's fanbase can at least find great consolation that he has left them with an incontrovertible tour de force. Overall score: 90 - Supreme
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There is absolutely no denying that Darren Aronofsky is one of modern film's masters. He's only five films into his career and already he's established himself as one of the best filmmakers in Hollywood. While he can be hit o...


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