New mum Megan Fox has headed back to work just seven weeks after giving birth to her second child. The actress was photographed back on the Los Angeles set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Tuesday (01Apr14) for re-shoots after completing filming on the forthcoming movie in New York last summer (13). Fox and her husband Brian Austin Green welcomed son Bodhi Ransom on 12 February (14), a brother for 18-month-old Noah Shannon.
Darren Aronofsky passed up the chance to direct Hugh Jackman in last year's (13) The Wolverine, because he was more interested in focusing on turning Biblical tale Noah into a big screen epic. The Black Swan filmmaker was attached to the X-Men spin-off movie in 2010, but cited personal reasons for his decision to step down from the job the following year (11), not long after parting ways with his fiancee, actress Rachel Weisz.
Aronofsky has now opened up further about his decision, revealing part of the reason why he quit The Wolverine was to realise his dream of making a movie version of Noah.
He tells MTV, "I loved the script (for The Wolverine) and I thought the film came out great. I just had... it was a hard time in my life. It was complicated. I couldn't leave New York for that long an amount of time.
"And, to be honest, the possibility of Noah had started to emerge, and here was something I'd been thinking about for years. I was really excited by that."
Walk the Line director James Mangold ended up replacing Aronofsky for The Wolverine.
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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Actor Russell Crowe has publicly praised Noah director Darren Aronofsky for deciding against using real animals for the Biblical epic. The filmmaker was turned off the idea of working with animals again after hiring acting apes for 2006's The Fountain.
Aronofsky has admitted he was appalled by the conditions the primates lived in, so he chose to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) for Noah's menagerie.
Crowe admits he was a little disappointed at first, because he was looking forward to mingling with so many different types of animals on the New York set, but it didn't take him long to realise that Aronofsky had made the right move.
He explains, "I thought one of the reasons why Darren wanted me to do the role is because I'm kind of famously close to animals... and I love animals.
"So I get to the set and I'm kinda like, 'Cool, where's the animals?' and Darren's like, 'Oh, er, I'm not gonna use any'. And I went, 'What am I doing here then, man?' because I thought there was going to be some animal husbandry sort of aspect of it...
"But the decision, when you stand back from it, it's the most humane decision. And he's very much an animal lover himself, and he's a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) activist and so to have live animals in that studio, in Williamsburg, day after day would have put them under a lot of pressure so it's kinda cool that he didn't actually (use real animals)."
Aronofsky's stance has already earned him the inaugural Humane Filmmaker Award from activists at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who have officially given their support to the Noah movie.
Director Darren Aronofsky shone the spotlight on his seventh-grade English teacher by asking her to read a poem in front of a star-studded audience at the New York premiere of his new movie Noah. The Black Swan moviemaker gave a small role in the biblical epic to Vera Fried, the teacher he credits with inspiring his creative career, and she is seen onscreen playing a one-eyed crone opposite the movie's star Russell Crowe.
Aronofsky invited her to walk the red carpet when the film was screened in New York on Wednesday night (26Mar14), and he asked her to read a poem about Noah to the audience at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan as he introduced the movie, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.
The poem she read was written by Aronofsky when he was under her tuition at school.
Fried told reporters at the event that she failed to remember the director when he first got in touch with her after so many years, adding, "I had no idea. I taught 2,000 kids! I Googled him. He wrote in his email, 'I never became a real writer, just a filmmaker.' He's the master of understatement... (On set) everyone said, 'You're the person who put us to work.' I felt like I put more people to work than (Barack) Obama that year."
"It was right in the middle of our shoot actually that Hurricane Sandy hit and it was just incredibly surreal to be pretending that there was a big flood coming and then a big flood came. It was a bit confusing." Actress Emma Watson found it ironic that Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012 while she was filming Biblical epic Noah.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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British actor Ray Winstone struggled with soaring temperatures while shooting biblical epic Noah and almost fell down some stairs after he was overcome on set. The film - in which Winstone stars as Noah's nemesis Tubal-Cain - was shot in New York at the height of summer and he suffered through the heat in a heavy costume and make-up.
His co-star Emma Watson describes his ordeal to Wonderland magazine, "We started filming in the summer in New York. It was so hot that Ray Winstone at one point, who wore a beard and heavy make-up, nearly fell down a flight of stairs. His make-up was literally melting off his face."
Director Darren Aronofsky is curating a new exhibition of artworks based on the Biblical tale of Noah in celebration of his new movie. The filmmaker's epic drama Noah, starring Russell Crowe in the title role, is based on the Bible story and Aronofsky is putting together a special show of artworks inspired by the tale to mark the film's upcoming release.
The exhibition, tiled Fountains of the Deep: Visions of Noah and the Flood, will feature 50 artists, including Ugo Rondinone and Karen Kilimnik, and will launch at a gallery in New York City in March (14).
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Endless Love has awakened something in me. Not a long dormant passion for an introverted high school classmate, or a sudden desire to break into the zoo after dark. A question about movies — more accurately, about movie criticism. The same question you would ask yourself if you fell drowsy in the middle of Citizen Kane, or welled up during the emotional climax of Just Friends. The question I ask myself now, as I recount the 103 straight minutes of asphyxiating laughter that I endured during a screening of Shana Feste’s would-be romantic drama: What makes a good movie?
We assign deference to some films, disgust to others — a lucky few of us make a living this way. But what, precisely, are we reviewing? A film’s mission or its execution? The product onscreen or the experience of watching it? All factors come into play when considering whether or not a movie “works.” But on rare occasions you’ll get a film that offers no common ground in its meeting of these standards. You’ll get Endless Love, which strives for dramatic sincerity, winds up with underwritten idiocy, and provokes in its viewers an unrestrained, absurdist revelry — the kind of joy you’d otherwise be forced to seek in a third viewing of The Lego Movie. Laughter at the ill-conceived antics and befuddling dialectical patterns of our central teen couple — a Mars native Gabrielle Wilde and her gaping mouthed beau Alex Pettyfer. Elated bemusement at the younger generation’s propensity for chaotic disrobing and didactically organized dance parties. Unprecedented ecstasy at the Mafia movie intimidation tactics of an overprotective dad (Bruce Greenwood) and the brain-dead disregard of a supportive one (Robert Patrick). As a comedy, Endless Love is unstoppable.
I can only hypothesize that it was not Feste’s intention to roll us in the aisles. I have no cold proof that her resolution in paving every nook in her Georgia-set remake with another farcical stone — Wilde’s instantaneous evolution from wordless ingénue to sexually aggressive spirit walker, Patrick’s loving caution-to-the-wind attitude regarding any situation that has to do with a girl, Rhys Wakefield’s “black sheep” character forming an odd amalgamation of Pauly Shore and Charlie St. Cloud — was not one of Wolf of Wall Street-like satire, or reappropriation in the vein of Spring Breakers. Here are two movies that earned scorn from viewers who read them literally, and in turn vehement defense from those who peered through the exaltation of cocaine and firearms into the filmmakers’ ironic intentions.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
To the latter community, one to which I subscribe, I ask: if we’re readily willing to dive deeper for Martin Scorsese and Harmony Korine, shouldn’t we grant Feste this benefit? If we’d defend the authenticity of the splendor we recognized in their movies, why am I inclined to write off the very same when present in this year’s Valentine’s Day cannonball? Why do I eagerly laud the merit in Leonardo DiCaprio directing Quaalude-charged tribal chants and relinquishing subhuman treatment upon anyone short a Y-chromosome, while instinctively shafting the invaluable merriment in Pettyfer’s goofily deliberate declaration that he likes to read into the category of happy accident?
But an even more precise question (one I was challenged to entertain by a friend and film critic far wiser than I am), and this time to the former community: does it matter? Did it matter to all those offended by gunplay and intrusive nudity that Korine set out to demonize youth culture and its omnipresent hedonism? Did considering his intentions make the endgame any less a visceral nightmare? If not, does it matter if Feste poured her soul into the machination of a timeless love story, only to produce a riotous cinematic episode that treads genre parody as expertly as anything from the golden age of the Zucker brothers? Does it matter that she didn’t intend for Wilde and Pettyfer’s sex scene to come off as super-hoke, for every mention of cancer to feel like soap opera send-up, or for Robert Patrick’s vindication of his son’s passion for menagerie trespassing to elicit the biggest laugh of a movie yet in 2014?
So long as I consider the power of cinema, I’ll never be sure if it matters. I’ll never be sure of the answers to any of these questions. But no matter where I find myself standing on this issue down the line, I had far too much fun at Endless Love — and entertained far too many questions on the nature of cinema and the way we react to it — to call it a movie that people shouldn’t see.
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