Noah

March 29, 2014

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One would be tempted to ascribe the various factors that got Darren Aronofsky’s Noah made a quality of the miraculous, and they wouldn’t be far off.  A long-time passion project for the director, who’s last one, The Fountain, was a spectacular financial failure at less than a third of the budget for his latest, it’s existence owes to the phenomenal profitability (and awards fervour) that came with Black Swan as well as the studios ever-desperate attempts to tap into the Christian market, partly as a hangover from the seemingly-decades ago The Passion of the Christ as well as the organizing power of fundamentalist churches to bus their flocks in to see whatever Kirk Cameron-starring pabulum somebody patched together for the budget of a Hallmark Channel original.  The success of the History Channel’s series The Bible and its recent cynical theatrical cash-in, Son of God, might seem to bear the studios hopes out, but only if looked at from the perspective of someone who sees “Christianity” as a singular totality.  Of course, that last example had no real bearing on Noah getting made or its 100 million dollar price tag, but it’s probably instructive to understand the differences.  This is not to say that Noah will flop or become a failure – it’s big budget disaster fare with big name stars – but it’s hard not to get the feeling that Aronofsky pulled a fast one. Read the rest of this entry »

The Counselor

March 9, 2014

Note: I have seen the 20-odd-minute longer Extended Cut and not the Theatrical version. Also: More spoilers than usual. Not that it matters.  

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The Counselor doesn’t care what you think of it.  It just doesn’t.  It’s an admirable quality in this instance, and doubly so when you consider the pedigree: First screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy (who has entered the cinematic pantheon to some degree when his book No Country Old Men was adapted into a Best Picture winner), directed by Ridley Scott, supporting roles for Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz and a host of character actors to boot.  Despite all this, or maybe because of its gravitas-heavy position before a camera began to roll, it really just doesn’t give a damn what you think.  None of which is to say it’s a good movie, though it is certainly an interesting one, even in a somewhat limited “your mileage may vary” sort of way.  If you can handle (or, preferably, relish) the hard-bitten cynicism that dwarfs most modern noirs, this might be for you.  If you can handle long exchanges that probe the nature of existence to varying degrees of success, then it might be for you.  If you can appreciate that the McGuffin spends the entire film traveling in a septic truck – yes, the thing everyone wants is submerged in shit – then this might be the film for you. Read the rest of this entry »