All posts by fortengard

A Review Of Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”: Tell Your Grandma To Bring The Car Around, She Might Not Like This One

Noah is a movie directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for A Dream), and is about the Old Testament Bible story of Noah. You know the one. No, not the “let my people go” guy, the one with the big partyboat with all the animals.

Just hangin' out, hangin' out, hangin' out with my family, having ourselves a paaaaaaaar-taaaaaaaay

The trailers for this movie were sort of deceiving. I wouldn’t say they lied to you about anything but they did kind of omit a lot of the more interesting parts of the story. It looked like one of those epic history movies but with Bible people and for some reason there was a firesword powered by god in the trailer. Well… Those are part of the movie, alright, but I would like to point at the director again. Darren Aronofsky scoffs at the idea of making a normal movie.

I’m not a religious person but I do have a fascination with religious mythology and the Old Testament is a well of all sorts of weird and kind of cool mythical lore that hasn’t been plundered as much as others, and Aronofsky seems to hold the same view on it.

Most direct adaptations of Bible stories are usually made by Christian filmmakers for Christian film audiences, so they usually range from inoffensive but boring to audiences that are not devout Christians to mildly offensive conservative propaganda to snuff films made by crazy drunk religious psychopaths.

Mel Gibson can't believe I said that and now believes I'm in alliance with the Jewish mafia

Oh yes, Road Warrior, this movie is… Actually, even though it does have it’s fair share of Old Testament-level violence it’s nowhere near as violent as Passion of the Christ.

Honestly this movie isn’t even that insane if you think about it, it’s actually all and all a pretty faithful adaptation of the story and tone of the Old Testament, it tackles pretty much all the focal points of the story. Cain’s descendants are dickbags who don’t care about who or what they destroy, which has led to ruination of God’s green earth, so God wants to drown them all in a flood. Noah and his children are the last from the line of Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve, the one that wasn’t a dickbag but didn’t get ganked), who are a bunch of nomads and one day Noah gets visions of the flood, which leads to the revelation of building the arc to shelter the creatures free of sin.

Really, the movie delves deeper in to the myth than most religious adaptations of it, it brings in things like the Nephelim who helped Noah as a way to redeem themselves to god and also things like how everyone is kind of related already because creationism but people still need to bone to continue the line and how the closer you are in generation to the first of men the more superhuman things you can do like crazy longevity and strength and even some supernatural things.

The acting in the movie is pretty good.  Russel Crowe is really good as Noah, he’s tough and isn’t afraid to shank Cainites who want to get on his godboat but does show that he’s still a man with a conscience and he doesn’t take his choices lightly.

Jennifer Connelly plays his wife and looks super haggard and old throughout the movie. She’s pretty good but there is one scene in the movie with her crying and begging Noah to reconsider a choice where she does go in to kind of funny diva acting territory.

Emma Watson plays Ila, an orphan girl that Noah adopts who becomes the wife of one of Noah’s sons, and as far as the younger actors in the movie she is hands down the best one. Hell, the only good one.

Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham (lel) and Japheth are pretty mediocre actors and spend most of the movie in the background doing nothing of note. Except for Ham. Ham’s substory is kinda funny because it’s him spending half the movie crying about how there aren’t any girls for him to stick his dinger in to and then the other half is him being “fuck you dad! [impotent crying intensifies]”

Mickey Rourke plays Tubal-Cain, the king of the Cainites and the sort of antagonist of the movie. He’s good, makes for a solid villain.

And Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah and longest living man according to the Bible. I wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be a villain at first because this is Hannibal Lecter but instead he’s more like my grandpa if he was a mountain hermit with some jesuspowers of the first men.

That’s pretty much it for the actors.

The movie’s visuals are pretty interesting. The CG isn’t realistic but it sort of tries to be, but I don’t think this is bad effects work (like a Shayamalan movie) as the effects do actually have some beautiful shots. I think the idea was to create a sort of storybook aesthetic as these are stories retold through generations. It’s a weird comparison but it’s kind of like the 2013 Riddick movie where the effects aren’t what you would consider top of the line but they do sort of create the aesthetic of paintings in some shots.

The movie has the Nephelim, who in this are these malformed rock giants who were once angels that god was disappointed in, and they are great to look at, as they look both strong and horrifying but also very sad and pitiful. They’re not CG on the level of Transformers but they’re designed and animated in a way that creates way more sympathy for these creatures than the highest resolution renders exhaust flaps on identical flipping robots destroying Chicago.

And this movie also incorporates actual science in to it, which probably makes fundamentalists way madder than the shanking and talks of boning in this movie.

Noah Movie By Darren Aronofsky - Nephilem - Giant Monster - Poster / Concept Art

The best sequence in the movie is when Noah tells the myth of creation where the days are a metaphor for billions of years, starting with the big bang, the forming of stars and solar systems, the forming of earth, the origins of life in the ocean to dinosaurs all the way to man and even in the time of Noah it’s implied that evolution still has a way to go because there’s stuff like dogs with armadillo skins.

So, overall,  I really liked this movie. I don’t think it’s even all that offensive to Christian audiences if they’re not the kind that takes the Bible’s word as scientific fact.  I came to see the movie because I heard of all the weird things in it but it ended up being a movie where I actually got invested in what’s happening.

“The Raid 2 : Berandal” Review – A Bigger And Better Martial Arts Experience

This movie, man.  This movie.

The Raid : Redemption was a 2012 martial arts movie filmed in the Philippines and directed by Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans. And it was one of the best movies of that year and one of the best action movies made in at least the past 10 years. And now The Raid : Redemption looks pretty quaint in comparison to it’s sequel.

This movie is much bigger and improves upon every aspect of the previous one. The first one had a pretty simplistic plot and characters, the second one has a more complicated plot and stronger characterization. The level of acting was completely fine in the first one but in the second one there are stronger performances by the returning actors as well as several new ones including Takashi Miike regular Kenichi Endo and the Nightmare Detective, Ryuhei Matsuda as members of a yakuza family in Jakarta. And with the larger cast and resources, you a lot more action scenes in a large variety of locations and circumstances.

While I don’t want to give away too much of the story, because it has a lot of frequent twists, the basic premise is this: The main character of the previous movie is sent deep undercover in the criminal underworld of Jakarta to find evidence of the link between organized crime and corruption in the higher ranks of the police force and ends up being sucked in to a highly destructive gang war caused by a conspiracy.

Iko Uwais, who plays Rama, the main character, was a pretty generic boyscout-ish good cop who also happened to be some kind of god of fighting. In the second one he’s still the least corrupt person but he does show more acting chops. He makes a pretty convincing thug and throughout the events of the movie his performance does show that Rama is getting tired of the constant fighting not just physically but also mentally because it’s now consuming his whole life.

Arifin Putra plays Uco, the son of the mob boss Rama works for, and is really good at playing this slimy, arrogant spoiled idiot who you want to punch in the face and is a pretty effective villain alongside Bejo,  a mysterious crippled gangster with a small army of assassins at his disposal.

But that’s not what you want to hear about? You want to hear about the awesome fighting, right? Yeah!!

Oh man. This movie has some of the best fights I’ve ever seen in a martial arts movie. Like, the hallway fight and the last fight between the brothers and Mad Dog in the first movie were great fights but pretty much every fight in this movie is like those but better. You have Iko Uwais versus dozens of angry thugs armed with anything pointy or heavy enough in tight spaces, large rooms and open areas. You have several one on one fights with crazy and awesome assassin characters, with the final one on one being the most brutal kitchen fight since Riki-Oh.

Yayan Ruhian, who played Mad Dog in the first movie, returns as a different but very similar character and has two amazing action scenes. Julie Estelle and Very Tri Yulisman play two assassin siblings credited as Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man, who are insane and awesome murder machines and Cecep Arif Rahman as “The Assassin”, who I won’t say anything about besides “oh my god I can’t this fight is too good oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit yooooooooooooooo”.

There’s also a really great car chase with cars flipping and crashing and people shooting each other  that is destructive enough but doesn’t turn in to a boring car spectacle like in A Good Day to Die Hard or the new Need for Speed movie.

So yeah. I think you should watch the first one and then find the nearest place where they’re showing The Raid 2 : Berandal and watch it. Several times. It’s the best martial arts movie in decades and shows what actual talent behind and in front of the camera with actual work ethic can do and puts the mediocre results of bloated budgets and overproduced focus tests of Hollywood to shame.

The Raid 2 : Berandal official poster

The Raid 2 : Berandal is in theaters now and you need to pay real cash money to see it because I don’t think you’ll see a better martial arts explosion on the big screen in a long time.