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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This episode was all about the main characters dealing with problems and how to trust even those closest to them, including family.
Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was having a grand old time in the opulent home of Charles Monroe (Xander Berkeley), a money launderer for the Detroit Mob. He had company: Alison (Amy Smart), who was Loretta McCready's (Kaitlyn Dever) case worker. They weren't discussing work. Givens got interrupted twice, once by his boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), who told him the case against Monroe was falling apart. The second interruption was a in the form of a rather large man named Henry Granger, outside with a baseball bat. Granger wasn't there to intimidate Givens: he may have been part of a plot to rob the Monroe house. It also turned out that Allison had planted evidence that wound up having Granger, who was a meth cook, lose custody of his child. Givens later visited Granger and set him straight and told him to never bother Alison again. Then, luck fell in their lap: Gloria, Monroe's 'maid'/girlfriend, came over and tried to open a hidden safe with bars of gold in it. It turned out the safe had been installed by Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). So they had Gloria plant the idea that Duffy was the one who stole the money from the safe. Monroe took the bait and tried to kill Duffy, but got shot by Duffy's goon with Givens and Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) present. That problem solved, Givens and Allison picked up where they left off, though the seed of doubt had been planted that she was another in a string of no-good women that Givens was turning a blind eye to.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) started off trying to figure out who had stolen his drug shipment in the last episode. Aft first he thought Duffy had double-crossed him. After the bushy-eyebrowed criminal disabused him of that notion, he had a drug dealer, Cyrus (Bill Tangradi) brought in. After Duffy terrorized him by shooting a BB gun at his face repeatedly. Cyrus blurted out that he had told a hooker who had a thing for ... ahem ... pleasuring men with candy like Pop Rocks. (These events with Duffy all took place before the shootout with Monroe at Duffy's bus.) Boyd visited his fiance, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), in jail to see if she knew who the hooker was, since she used to be a madam. Ava didn't seem too impressed by his efforts to spring her and they fought about why Ava was there, exactly. She did apparently did give him the name of the hooker, though. Of course, Boyd, being a career criminal, had multiple problems. Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), the man Boyd had beaten into a coma, was now awake and and wanted the sherriff, Mooney (William Gregory Lee) to kill him. Boyd, wanting to stay on this planet as long as he could, partnered with Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) and got her to get the jump on Mooney. Well, not exactly the jump ... she got a grip on him, if you know what I mean, while Boyd aimed a gun at his back. It looked like Mooney was Team Boyd again ... for now. They were going to have Mooney tell Lee that he had killed Boyd, and Mara was going to show him a picture of a dead man's hand with the same tattoo as Boyd's on it. That was an easy enough job, since Mara ran a funeral parlor and there would be no shortage of bodies. Boyd then brought had the hooker brought in a trunk. He took her cell phone and called a number and said, "Hello, cousin Johnny." It appeared that Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) was the traitor.
Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) had problems of his own. His cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport) was still there, despite his obvious displeasure. Darryl told him that he was being ripped off, since he should have been making more money than he was. He pointed to a hotel that cost half of what Dewey had paid Boyd for this whorehouse. Dewey ran to Boyd to get a refund but the silver-tongued Crowder told him to stand up for himself, which he did. After he chewed out Darryl and told him to hit the road, Darryl, who admired him for his stance, took him to a back room and showed him why he was making less than he should. His employee, Wade Messer (James Le Gros), was skimming on behalf of Boyd. Darryl told Dewey that he needed to kill Messer, since he had stolen from him.
Nobody died in this episode, though it doesn't look good for Messer. Givens also gave Granger quite the bloody nose and Monroe apparently pulled through despite being shot by Duffy's bodyguard, Mikey.
"You wanna tell me why you had Captain Fauxhawk drag me over here?" -- Cyrus to Boyd.
"If you take those headphones off again, I'm going to staple them to your g-----n head!" --Boyd to Ava's lawyer, who wore them during their jailhouse chat so as to not hear their illicit discussions.
State of Boyd/Ava
There are already cracks in the relationship. Ava was very dismissive of Boyd during her jailhouse chat and Boyd and Mara seemed to be very sexually charged the scene when she looked over his chest and arms for a tattoo. It doesn't look like there will be wedding bells.
State of Raylan Givens
Well, there wasn't mention of Mullen looking more into the Nicky Augustine murders, but there was the sense that his boss was going to keep treating him like a child. First, there were the phone calls while Givens was at Monroe's place and then he had Brooks babysit him after the first run-in with Granger. On top of that, nobody seems to believe that Givens has good taste in women and that Allison is not going to be another woman who steals a piece of him, either physically, spiritually or materially (Yes, a woman once absconded with his money).
State of Boyd Crowder
Boyd's in a bad place now, but that's usually the spot where the head of a criminal empire is. Everybody's gunning for him and he's dealing with them as quickly as his facile mind can. It's going to be interesting to see how he takes on Johnny. He seemed to take a step back from that edge of insanity that he had teetered on in the season premiere, but it's a short stumble away.
Teen Mom 2 star Leah Messer doesn't seem to be phased by the fact that her first marriage to Corey Simms failed after just six months. At the age of 19, Messer has married again. The reality star — who is mother to 2-year-old twin daughters Aliannah and Aleeah — said, "I do," to her fiance Jeremy Calvert on April 4 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky.
RELATED: 'Teen Mom' Star: Second Pregnancy or Publicity Stunt?
Of course, a MTV camera crew was on set to film the joyous occasion. Both Messer and Calvert's mothers attended the ceremony along with 15 other guests.
While it seems like Messer has finally found her happily ever after, it doesn't erase the fact that she is just 19 years old, is a divorcee and mother of two. Messer met Calvert just one month after her divorce from Simms was finalized in June 2011 — and Calvert proposed to her in December. Following their engagement, Messer faced a tragic miscarriage (she had been expecting her third child, but first with Calvert). Still, the couple decided to walk down the aisle.
Given Messer's past and the fact that she is so young, do you think that this is a marriage that is going to last?
[The Independent Online]
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