Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Here's a feat: taking what is likely the oldest, most well-known story in the world, and making a retelling feel inventive. Over the course of its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Darren Aronofsky's Noah takes many forms — Tolkien-esque fantasy, trippy psychological thriller, merciless dissection of the dark points of abject faith — never feeling too rigidly confined to the parameters of the familiar tale that we've all experienced in the form of bedtime stories, religious education lessons, and vegetable-laden cartoons. As many forms as the parable has taken over the past few thousand years, Aronofsky manages to find a few new takes.
The director's thumbprint is branded boldly on Russell Crowe's Noah, a man who begins his journey as a simple pawn of God and evolves into a dimensional human as tortured as Natalie Portman's ballerina or Jared Leto's smack head. Noah's obsession and crisis: his faith. The peak of the righteous descendant of Seth (that's Adam and Eve's third son — the one who didn't die or bash his brother's head in with a rock), Noah is determined to carry out the heavenly mission imparted upon him via ambiguous, psychedelic visions. God wants him to do something — spoilers: build an ark — and he will do it. No matter what.
No matter what it means to his family, to his lineage, to his fellow man, to the world. He's going to do it. No matter what. The depths to which Aronofsky explores this simple concept — the nature of unmitigated devotion — makes what we all knew as a simplistic A-to-B children's story so gripping. While the throughline is not a far cry from the themes explored in his previous works, the application of his Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan ideas in this movie does not feel like a rehashing. Experiencing such modern, humane ideas in biblical epic is, in fact, a thrill-ride.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Although Aronofsky accesses some highly guttural stuff inside of his title character, he lets whimsy and imagination take hold of the world outside of him. Jumping headfirst into the fantastical, the director lines his magical realm with rock monsters — "Watcher" angels encased in Earth-anchored prisons as punishment for their betrayal of God — and a variety of fauna that range in innovation from your traditional white dove to some kind of horned, scaled dog bastardization.
But the most winning elements of Noah, and easily the most surprising, come when Aronofsky goes cosmic. He jumps beyond the literal to send us coursing through eons to watch the creation of God's universe, matter exploding from oblivion, a line of creatures evolving (in earnest) into one another as the planet progresses to the point at which we meet our tortured seafarer. Aronofsky's imagination, his aptitude as a cinematic magician, peak (not just in terms of the film, but in terms of his career) in these scenes.
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With all this propped against the stark humanity of his story — not just in terms of Crowe's existential spiral, but in character beats like grandfather Methuselah's relationship with the youngsters, in little Ham's playful teasing of his new rock monster pet — Aronofsky manages something we never could have anticipated from Noah. It's scientific, cathartic, humane. Impressively, this age-old tale, here, is new. And beyond that feat, it's a pretty winning spin.
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Life is hard if your name is Taylor Swift. Because being a Taylor Swift means that you're perpetually lovelorn and that, immediately upon each break up you endure, a wise old crone chains you to a recording studio and forces you to sing for your supper (and to help pay her bills — Time Warner is expensive!). Oh, and you have to sing for your fans. And that cat of yours named after a Grey's Anatomy whiner. So it's no surprise that Swift is constantly seen out and about, dating whichever male celebrity crosses her path. She doesn't want to live her life out through songs, you guys! They're crazy-popular, Grammy-nominated songs that win all of the awards, sure, but they're also still a product of her failings as a woman who needs a man to be happy, duh.
RELATED: Taylor Swift is a Sad Disney Princess, For Real
With the Grammy Awards only a few days away (Sunday), and Swifty nominated thrice herself, it seems logical that she'd want a dude by her side to share in the magical and all-too-surprising moment of winning a golden gramophone on music's biggest (and increasingly less-relevant) night. So we've taken a look at her past dating history and figured if anyone knows who this perky princess of country music should date, it's definitely a 27-year-old writer on the Internet. So without further ado, we present, for your consideration, Taylor Swift's potential dates for the Grammy Awards.
He's a hot Hollywood commodity and recently single. This one is definitely on Swifty's radar, we're sure. Hope her BFF Jennifer Lawrence doesn't live by the ovaries before brovaries code.
After dating Harry Styles from One Direction, dating an entire boyband at the same time feels like the next logical step. That'll really show that wee meat pie who's boss. (Meat pies are super-British, right?)
Well, he wasn't nominated, but he'll be all anyone talks about if you bring him! Plus, f**king with beliebers is sort of fun, admit it!
RELATED: Sad Taylor Swift On A Boat Gets Some Company Post-Harry Styles Split — PHOTO
The Wanted's Max George
Just to show Lindsay who's boss. Plus, everybody knows you can always trust a man with two first names.
Is this what a "rebound from John Mayer" looks like?
...or is THIS what a "rebound from John Mayer" looks like?
I mean, Scientology is looking for its new queen...
Ryan Lochte may actually be Taylor Swift's soulmate.
RELATED: Taylor Swift vs. Michael J. Fox: Swift Weighs In About Feud
Sorry, Michael J. You know she's going to do it.
So who would YOU pick for Taylor Swift to bring as her date? Pick your favorite in the poll below, and sound off in the comments on someone we may have missed!
&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6884141/"&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Who Should Be Taylor Swift's Date to the Grammy Awards?&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
[Photo Credit: FameFlynet; WENN (8); FOX]
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Though ostensibly successful 2009’s The Final Destination represented to many a horror franchise on its last hackneyed legs. Rote uninspired and humorless it scored a (modest) hit only by virtue of the novelty -- and added ticket price -- of its 3D transfer. Two years later Final Destination 5 arrives with a slightly tweaked formula a beefed-up storyline actors you might actually recognize and genuine honest-to-goodness 3D. It’s still schlock mind you -- but artful schlock and a marked improvement over the preceding entry.
The story begins in familiar fashion with a cursory introduction to the characters followed by a grisly premonition that sees them perish wholesale. An assortment of cubicle-dwellers at a paper factory are being bused to a corporate retreat when one of them Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto perpetually bug-eyed) dreams of a massive bridge collapse in which he and his co-workers are impaled beheaded bisected crushed by cars singed by tar -- however many ways a suspension bridge can kill a person the film’s opening set-piece explores it gruesome detail. Sam awakens duly horrified and demands the bus be evacuated. Seconds later the employees watch in horror from the sidelines as Sam’s vision comes to fruition.
You know what happens next. One-by-one death stalks the survivors who meet their fate in a series of elaborately-staged incidents. Some are relatively straightforward; others involve fiendish head-fakes and red herrings. The range of victims is older and more colorful than in previous Final Destination films in which death preyed exclusively on attractive nubile teenagers but the end result is invariably the same. (Not to give anything away but those considering acupuncture or laser eye surgery would be wise to avoid the film entirely.) As death’s scheme becomes achingly evident Sam his lachrymose girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) and his increasingly unhinged buddy Peter (Miles Fisher) become increasingly desperate. Enter the ever-ominous Tony Todd returning to the franchise after (wisely) taking the previous film off offering a potential way out. But is it genuine or just another of death’s cruel tricks?
Director Steven Quale a James Cameron protege hired principally for his 3D expertise takes full advantage of the added dimension delivering some of the most vivid and immersive 3D sequences in recent memory. Unlike The Final Destination which seemed little more than a amalgam of crude one-liners Final Destination 5 feels like a real movie one with a discernible plot an element of suspense and a handful characters who are more than just punchlines. Most of the actors are surprisingly competent save for Fisher a credible doppelganger for Tom Cruise (he parodied him 2008’s Superhero Movie) who imbues every line with couch-jumping intensity.
Final Destination 5 ends with a twist that while genuinely unexpected feels like a Hail Mary for a franchise that can’t forestall its inexorable descent into stale irrelevance despite the best of efforts from Quale. Its trademark formula has simply lost its potency -- a problem no amount of cosmetic upgrades however welcome can fix. That the film is bracketed by two pointless and time-consuming montages -- the first an animated sequence that hurtles various hazardous objects at the audience the second a greatest hits compilation of memorable kills from previous Final Destination films -- is a telltale sign that the saga’s creativity is on life support. Perhaps it’s time to pull the plug.