Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kam's Movie Kapsules for 8-8-14

Kam's Kapsules:      
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun         
by Kam Williams
For movies opening August 8, 2014


The Hundred-Foot Journey (PG for mature themes, mild epithets, violence and brief sensuality) Three-time Oscar-nominee Lass Hallstrom directed this adaptation of Rochard Morais’ best-seller about an immigrant family which opens a Indian restaurant in a quaint village in the South of France, much to the chagrin of the steely proprietor (Helen Mirren) of a trendy bistro right down the street. Cast includes Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon. (In English, French and Hindi with subtitles)

Into the Storm (PG-13 for profanity, sexual references, and scenes of intense peril and destruction) Found footage thriller about some storm chasers and thrill-seekers who get more than they bargained for when they decide to film a tornado bearing down on a tiny town in Middle America. Co-starring Matt Walsh, Arlen Escarpeta, Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies.  

Step Up All In (PG-13 for profanity and sensuality) 5th installment in the street dance franchise revolves around an L.A. crew which ventures to Vegas to enter a competition where the winning team lands a lucrative pro contract. Ensemble includes Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani and Stephen Boss. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PG-13 for violence) Reboot of the adaptation of the comic book franchise finds the anthropomorphic protagonists (Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard and Pete Ploszek) rising from NYC’s sewers to fight their archenemy (William Fichtner) and his army of ninjas, with the help of an intrepid, young reporter (Megan Fox). Cast includes Whoopi Goldberg and Will Arnett, with voicework by Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub.

What If (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and partial nudity) Romantic dramedy revolving around a med school dropout (Daniel Radcliffe) who develops feelings for his BFF (Zoe Kazan), despite the fact that she lives with her longtime boyfriend (Rafe Spall). With Megan Park, Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis.   


About Alex (R for profanity and drug use) Jason Ritter stars as the title character of this nostalgic drama about a group of college friends’ eventful reunion to care for a suicidal pal over the course of a three-day weekend. Cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Maggie Grace, Max Minghella and Nate Parker.

After (R for profanity) Skeleton-in-the-closet drama about a cash-strapped matriarch (Kathleen Quinlan) whose already-fragile family’s stability is further threatened by the
-revelation of her big secret. With John Doman, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Diane Neal and Pablo Schreiber (brother of Liev).  

The Dog (Unrated) Gender-bending biopic about John Wojtowicz (1945-2006), whose robbery of a Brooklyn bank to pay for his boyfriend’s sex change served as the inspiration for the film Dog Day Afternoon.

Fifi Howls from Happiness (Unrated) Celebrity to obscurity documentary tracing the trajectory of the career of Bahman Mohassess, the flamboyantly gay artist known as the Persian Picasso, who went from national icon to persona non grata following the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. (In Persian with subtitles)

James Cameron’s Deep Sea Challenge (PG for mild profanity and disaster images) 3D documentary chronicling the director of the Titanic’s submarine expedition to the ocean floor.

Keep on Keepin’ On (Unrated) Reverential biopic about 93 year-old jazz legend Clark Terry, trumpeter and flugelhorn pioneer who played with everyone from Duke Ellington to Count Basie to Dizzy Gillespie to Quincy Jones.

The Maid’s Room (Unrated) Paula Garces handles the title role in this psychological thriller, set in the Hamptons, as a summer season housekeeper for a rich couple (Annabelle Sciorra and Bill Camp) covering up their Princeton-bound son’s (Philip Ettinger) deadly hit-and-run car accident. With Remy Auberrjonois, John Brodsky and Stefanie Brown.  

Web Junkie (Unrated) Internet addiction is the subject of this expose’ examining a trio of adolescents undergoing treatment for the compulsive disorder at a rehabilitation center in Beijing, China. (In English and Mandarin with subtitles)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Behaving Badly (FILM REVIEW)

Behaving Badly
Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Selena Gomez and Star-Studded Cast Can’t Save Raunchy Teensploit

            Rick Stevens (Nat Wolff) is a socially-awkward virgin experiencing pangs of sexual awakenings. That explains why he is trying to summon up the courage to make a play for Nina Pennington (Selena Gomez), the cute, high school classmate he’s had a crush on since the 6th grade.
Trouble is she already has a boyfriend, Kevin Carpenter (Austin Stowell), a handsome hunk who’s very jealous and possessive. Moreover, Rick is so distracted by his dysfunctional family that it’s hard for him to even have time for dating.
He’s mercilessly teased and abused by his deadbeat dad (Cary Elwes), and his alcoholic mother (Mary-Louise Parker) is recovering in the hospital after recently trying to kill herself. And to add insult to injury, she only left a suicide note addressed to Lucy, her pet dog.
Rick’s siblings have their issues, too. His sister, Kristen (Ashley Rickards), has secretly started working as a stripper, and his closeted brother, Steven (Mitch Hewer), is gay and afraid to come out.
Nevertheless, Rick is determined to summon up the nerve to approach the girl of his dreams, and finally jumps at the chance when their Latin teacher (Charles C. Stevenson, Jr.) drops dead during class, ironically while conjugating “vivo,” the verb for live. Nina accepts his offer to drive her to the funeral which, in his mind at least, will be their first date.
So unfolds Behaving Badly, a screwball comedy directed by Tim Garrick that’s far more raunchy than it is funny. This tasteless teensploitation flick serves up generous helpings of gratuitous nudity and profanity but precious little that elicits any laughter.  
Director Garrick throws everything at the screen but the kitchen sink in an almost desperate attempt to shock, forgetting in the process to craft a plausible plotline that might hold the attention of anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature. Before Rick is allowed to win Nina’s heart, he acts out repeatedly, prematurely ejaculating with a stripper and sleeping with his best’s friend’s (Lachlan Buchanan) mom (Elisabeth Shue) en route to sharing an incestuous moment in a men’s room with his own mother’s seductive alter ego.
He also gets mixed up with Lithuanian mobsters and lands in jail along with most of his guests after throwing a wild party in the house while his folks are away. The bottom-feeding production squanders the services of a star-studded cast featuring Oscar-nominees Elisabeth Shue (for Leaving Las Vegas) and Gary Busey (for The Buddy Holly Story), pop icons Selena Gomez  and Justin Bieber, Dylan McDermott, Jason Lee, Heather Graham and Patrick Warburton.
            A misfiring misadventure not even recommended for diehard Selena Gomez fans. 

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for crude sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive profanity
Running time: 96 minutes
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment

To see a trailer for Behaving Badly, visit:    

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dollar Democracy (BOOK REVIEW)

Dollar Democracy:
With Liberty and Justice for Some
by Peter Mathews
Paperback, $24.99
368 pages
ISBN: 978-1-49605973-4

Book Review by Kam Williams
“Big corporations and their super wealthy owners have bought many American politicians through campaign contributions and lobbying. These politicians have voted to benefit their donors, not the American public… The Corporate dominated policies of these sponsored politicians have resulted in the greatest gap between the American rich and poor since the Great Depression…
They have made decisions that led to: outsourcing good middle-class jobs; dismantling our public education system; deteriorating health care that leaves Americans in danger, sick and broke; the destroying of our environment; the polluting of our food through deregulation of Big Agribusiness, pesticide use, and proliferation of Genetically-Modified Foods: the crash of Wall Street and the Great Recession, from which the bottom 99% of Americans have not yet recovered.” 
Excerpted from the Book Jacket

In recent years, the American Dream has proven to be increasingly elusive for most of us. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably working longer hours for less pay.
Meanwhile, millions of jobs are being outsourced to China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and other countries that don’t have decent child labor, minimum wage and/or occupational health and safety standards. Consequently, it’s no surprise that there have been several suicides at Apple factories by disgruntled peasants paid only pennies per hour to perform repetitive tasks for 10-12 hours, 7 days a week, with no compensation for overtime.  
What makes Third World nations so attractive to multinational corporations are the cheap labor and absence of consequences for human rights violations. Let’s face it, it’s impossible for unions operating in the U.S. to be as appealing to a company as a totally submissive labor force that’s easy to exploit with the help of a Communist government.
This is among the critical factors contributing to the current, domestic economic crisis discussed in detail in Dollar Democracy: With Liberty and Justice for Some. The insightful tome was written by Peter Mathews, political science professor, talk show host and former Democratic Party nominee for Congress in Long Beach, California.
Besides jobs, the author sets his sights on such hot button topics as education, health care, the environment, Wall Street vs. Main Street, and election finance reform. Invariably weighing in from a progressive perspective, Mathews is dismayed that, “An American child’s chance of acquiring a quality education depends more on the parents’ income than on almost anything else.”
Despite the country’s dire state of affairs, he remains optimistic, and closes the opus with some viable plan for the people to reclaim the American Dream. The literary equivalent of a one-man million-man march for equality and justice for every U.S. citizen.
To order a copy of Dollar Democracy, visit:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Brendan Gleeson (INTERVIEW)

Brendan Gleeson
The “Calvary” Interview
with Kam Williams

Headline: It’s Gleeson Season!

Dublin-born Brendan Gleeson is a former teacher who left the profession to pursue a career in acting, his first love. His rise to fame began when he appeared in Jim Sheridan's THE FIELD, followed by a number of small roles in such films as FAR AND AWAY and INTO THE WEST.
He landed his first starring role in I WENT DOWN, which was followed by an acclaimed outing in THE GENERAL. But it was his role as Hamish in BRAVEHEART that brought him to the attention of Hollywood. 

In 2009 Brendan was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for his work in Martin McDonagh's IN BRUGES opposite Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes. That same year, he won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the HBO movie "Into the Storm."


Here, he talks about his latest out as Father James Lavelle in Calvary, a modern morality play written and directed by John Michael McDonagh.

Kam Williams: Hi Brendan, thanks for the interview.
Brendan Gleeson: Not at all, Kam. How are you?

KW: Fine, thanks. I’ll be mixing in questions from fans with my own. Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: I have visited the South of Ireland and loved it, including the capital, Dublin. What does it mean to you to advocate for the Irish language, Gaelic?
BG: Yeah, people often ask, why are you interested in the Irish language when it’s dying? If your momma’s dying you wouldn’t want her to die alone. So, I think the Irish language is a great gift, and it’s still hanging in there, if people want it. It’s a connection to a long, rich, deep culture. There’s 2,000 years of it. And when it’s lost, it’ll be gone for good. Those doors are not going to be open anymore. I value it, and it’s up to everybody to wise up about it. It’s not something I necessarily want to revive as the spoken first language of the country. I just think it’s fantastic, and a great cultural gift to have.    

KW: Patricia also asks: What message do you want people to take away from the movie?
BG: I don’t know. I think everybody has their own relationship with this movie, which is the triumph of it, really. Different elements of it access different people in different ways. From my point of view, I would hope there’s a sense that the struggle is being carried on to maintain some life in the world in whatever way that manifests itself, whether religiously, spiritually, or just philanthropically, and that people are worth it in the end. But I don’t know. There’s an awful lot of pain. One of the achievements of this film is to make clear that child abuse is a life sentence. That it’s not something you can just get over and forget after receiving an apology. 

KW: What was the difference in being directed by John Michael McDonagh, whom you also worked with in The Guard, as opposed to being directed by his brother, Martin, who directed you in In Bruges?
BG: Not a whole lot, to be quite honest. They’re both very calm, very assured, very prepared, and very cinematic in their thinking. They’re also very actor-friendly and collaborative. So, I love working with either of them, frankly. That’s not to say that they’re simply two sides of the same coin. While they have similarities in their working style, their worlds are very different.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Brendan how hard was it to perfect that County Sligo accent?
BG: [LOL] I didn’t have to, because my character wasn’t from there.

KW: Patricia also asks: How would you describe your character in Calvary, Father James Lavelle?
BG: As somebody who believes the best, in spite of all the evidence. [Laughs heartily] I just came up with that one. He’s someone who’s committed to optimism, despite all evidence to the contrary. He insists on it. And I think people need to know that that kind of struggle, and that kind of beauty, and that kind of optimism is possible in the world, because we’ve got a lot of cynicism confronting us everyday making it easy to feel that there’s nothing worth believing in. 

KW: Environmental activist Grace Sinden says: Brendan, you have courageously tackled a controversial subject in Calvary. Are you concerned about any political blowback you might receive from the Catholic Church as a consequence?  
BG: No, not at all.

KW: Editor Lisa Loving says: This movie looks incredibly heavy. Irish people have suffered a lot throughout world history, have had front row seats to a lot of other peoples’ suffering – like the Irish mariners ensnared in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade – not to mention the Potato Famine, the Troubles, and the discrimination against Irish immigrants in the United States in the 19th and part of the 20th Century. There were also the horrible atrocities committed by Roman Catholic nuns who ran the “homes” for unwed mothers and the orphanages in Ireland, and the Church’s sex abuse silence. Do you feel that the Irish suffering serves as a symbol of a universal aspect of the human experience in a way which resonates with oppressed people of other cultures?
BG: I would hope so. I would hope that while we made a movie about faith, that it’s not necessarily only about Catholicism. And I’d also hope that the notion of disillusionment wouldn’t be seen as the exclusive province of the Irish. The context is the Irish landscape, and the Irish story of the moment, with all of the treachery in terms of the spiritual, economic and political leadership. There have been horrible shortcomings, with hurt and pain being inflicted upon people. But I don’t think that’s exclusive to the Irish. Many people find it difficult to believe in leadership anymore. What do you replace it with, though? That’s kind of what the movie’s all about. The idea of replacing flawed leadership with cynicism and despair isn’t a barrel of laughs, either. So, I hope the film is thought-provoking in a generalized way as opposed as to being read as simply specific to the Irish point-of-view. 

KW: Professor/Filmmaker/Author Hisani Dubose says: You have played so many rich characters. Which one has been your favorite?
BG: Comparisons are odious. So, I don’t really come out and put one against the other. But this one might have been the most challenging. This experience was certainly one of the top five in terms of recovery. It definitely stayed with me and took a little while to get over this one. So, I put Father Lavelle up there. 

KW: What actor did you admire growing up?
BG: I was very fond of Gene Hackman.

KW: Kate Newell says: Brendan, I loved Calvary. I hope you've written your acceptance speech for the Oscars.
BG: [Chuckles] No, I think we can leave that on the back burner. Those expectations are awful because, if it doesn’t happen, then you suddenly feel like a loser. By the same token, when you do happen to win something, I never question it. I just take it at face value. But I hate the notion that there would be losers associated with any production where great performances have been recognized. I’d be honored if it happened, but I ain’t looking that far down the road.

KW: Kate was also wondering whether you’ve been back to Belgium since playing a hit man in In Bruges? 
BG: Back to Belgium, yes, but not to Bruges. I think I might find it difficult to walk through Bruges without having to stop quite often. At some stage, I might like to go back since I had a great time there. But I think I have to let it sit for a little bit.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: Brendan, you’ve played extraordinary fantasy roles and amazing biographical roles—thank you for Mad-Eye Moody and Winston Churchill. 
BG: Cheers! Thank you, Harriet!

KW: She asks: What’s the difference in preparing to inhabit a role that doesn’t exist except in the fantasy world versus portraying an icon that is already so clear in everyone’s mind?
BG: Well, there’s a certain freedom in both that doesn’t accrue to the other. The freedom in playing an historical figure is that you don’t have to suspend disbelief. This stuff happened. As they say, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Otherwise, a lot of the time, you would have to work very hard to convince people. For instance, who would think that after the Battle of Dunkirk there could ever be a resurrection of the fortunes of the British in the Second World War? But the fact that it did happen releases you from having to prove it. It happened. And it can be incredibly interesting exploring how life can be so extraordinarily surprising in that way, turning expectations on their head, and trying to figure some version of how that might have happened, and how people may have responded in the face of overwhelming odds like that. With a fictional character, by contrast, you start with a blank canvas, you have the truth of the imagination to guide you. And you can bring it anywhere you want. They’re just different challenges, but they each have their own freedoms, as well as their own limitations, if you like. I try to find the freedom possible in each type of role, but in different ways.

KW: Harriet also asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?
BG: Does she mean a remake of one of my own films, or of other films? I generally don’t like to do remakes. I don’t really want to second guess any film that’s achieved what it set out to do. You need to have a legitimate reason beyond just wanting to make money from a remake, like a desire to bring a story to a broader audience. Regrettably, so many of them are ill-advised. I just did a remake of The Grand Seduction, which was a whimsical story set in Newfoundland. I made an exception for this one even though it was, beat for beat, the same story, because it was set in a different place where I’d never been, and I wanted to find out more about Newfoundland.

KW: Professor Dubose would like to know whether getting an independently-produced Irish film like Calvary wide distribution in the U.S. is dependent on having a prior connection to the Hollywood film industry.
BG: No, I don’t think there was any American money in this film to begin with. What happens is you make your film, and then take it somewhere like Sundance, where the distributors can discover it. Sometimes, it’s nicer to have money from the very beginning, because that makes things easier. But the path most independent films take is that they’re made first, and then they’re sold.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
BG: An autobiography of boxer named Joe Egan that somebody sent me. I read it very quickly because it was given to me. 
Another one was “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex,” which I read as part of my research for the upcoming Ron Howard film based on it.     

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
BG: It depends on who I’m playing. [Laughs heartily again]

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
BG: Oh, I prefer not to cook anything.

KW: What do you like to eat?
BG: Almost anything you can imagine.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
BG: Reading a little book that went, ”Mommy horse and daddy horse are proud as they can be, because they have a baby horse and baby horse makes three.” I remember saying, “That’s me!” I know I was three at the time.

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?
BG: Good roles, like this one in Calvary, and making important films with people who know more than I do. That’s what interests me now. I’ve done a lot of projects that need development where there’s been inexperience involved, which I loved, but at this point in my career, I want to work with people who allow me to learn.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
BG: Do it!

KW: Thanks again for the time, Brendan, and best of luck with the film.
BG: Okay, Kam. Cheers! Thanks a lot.

To see a trailer for Calvary, visit:

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Almost Man (FILM REVIEW)

The Almost Man
(Mir Eller Mindre Mann)
Film Review by Kam Williams

Unplanned Pregnancy Pressures Sophomoric Slacker to Mature in Scandinavian Social Satire

            Henrik Sandvik (Henrik Rafaelsen) is a slacker who’s never had to grow up. The 35 year-old underachiever is still doted on by a helicopter mom (Anne Ma Usterud) willing to wait on him hand-and-foot.
His equally-immature BFFs are the same guys he’s hung around since high school. Their boorish behavior ranges from snapping towels on each other in locker room showers, to getting wasted at parties where they proceed to pee off the balcony, flick their boogers, and engage in fistfights and homoerotic horseplay.
None of the above sits well with Henrik’s girlfriend, Tone (Janne Heltberg Haarseth), given how she recently learned that she’s expecting a baby. Her hope is that her beau will finally grow up, now that he’s on the brink of becoming a father. But that might prove easier said than done, considering that his favorite book is Peter Pan.  
The impending arrival of the couple’s bundle of joy lurks over the horizon in The Almost Man, a sublime social satire written and directed by Martin Lund. Unfolding against the backdrop of a variety of visually-captivating Norwegian settings, the film focuses mostly on Tone’s escalating frustrations with Henrik, even after he grudgingly takes a confining corporate job.
It’s not enough that he’s bringing home the bacon, when he blames a temptress he’s caught kissing for having seduced him. He even has the temerity to suggest that Tone have an abortion. But that ain’t happening.
And with only a few months to make over a philanderer who freely admits that “I’m not sure how to behave,” the mad mommy-to-be has her work cut out for her. Will Tone run out of patience before reluctant Henrik is ready to accept his responsibilities?
A droll dramedy examining the male metamorphosis from bachelor to family man.

Very Good (3 stars)
In Norwegian with subtitles
Running time: 77 minutes
Distributor: Big World Pictures

To see a trailer for The Almost Man, visit:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Half of a Yellow Sun (DVD REVIEW)

Half of a Yellow Sun
DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Romance Saga Set in Nigeria Released on DVD

            Twins Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) and Olanna (Thandie Newton) hail from a well-to-do Nigerian family well-enough connected to send them overseas to college where they majored in business and sociology, respectively. Ironically, while the sisters were acquiring a first-rate Western education in England, the independence movement back home was seeking to sever its ties with Great Britain.  
            After graduating in the early Sixties, they returned to Lagos to launch their careers, only to land in distracting love affairs. Attractive Olanna became the mistress of Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an outspoken college professor who’d caught the anti-colonial fever, whereas willful Kainene entertained the advances of Richard (Joseph Mawle), a white expatriate writing a book about African art.
            Sibling rivalry moves Kainene to tease her twin about the philanderer disdainfully referred to as “The Revolutionary.” Nevertheless, Olanna relocates to the bush to be with Odenigbo and his loyal manservant, Ugwu (John Boyega). However, upon subsequently learning that Odenigbo has been unfaithful, she readily rationalizes seducing her sister’s suitor for a one-night stand.
            The resulting strain on the siblings’ relationship leads to their drifting apart, a development dwarfed by the bloody, three-year civil war which erupts all around them when Biafra secedes from the union. All of the above elements add fuel to the fires of Half of a Yellow Sun, the highly-anticipated screen version of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s best-selling novel of the same name.
            The film marks the impressive directorial debut of Biyi Bandele, who also adapted the 543-page opus into a 113-minute saga that walks a fine line between romance drama and sprawling epic. That being said, the picture’s examination of the country’s explosive Christian-Muslim tribal tensions proves to be both timely and compelling, given how they’ve recently resurfaced during the radical group Boko Haram’s current reign of terror.
            A steamy soap opera unfolding against the backdrop of a cautionary history lesson reminding us that in Nigeria, the more things change, the more they stay insane.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for violence and sexuality
Running time: 113 minutes
Distributor: Monterey Video 
DVD extras: Interviews with the cast and crew; “On Location” documentaries; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “The Kiss,” a short film by Biyi Bandele.

To see a trailer for Half of a Yellow Sun, visit:  

To order a copy of Half of a Yellow Sun on DVD, visit: 

Top Ten DVD Releases for 7-29-14

This Week’s DVD Releases
by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for July 29, 2014                      

Next Goal Wins

The Amazing Catfish

Secret State


D-Day 360

Half of a Yellow Sun

Midsomer Murders: Set 24

The Big Chill [Criterion Collection]

Frontline: United States of Secrets

At War with the Army (Film Chest Restored Version)


Honorable Mention

Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Gone Wild

Five Dances

PBS Kids: Daniel Tries Something New


Bubble Guppies: Get Ready for School


My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic [Keys of Friendship]


Ambert Alert: Terror on the Highway

Tennessee Queer



DVD Review by Kam Williams

Russell Crowe Adaptation of Biblical Parable Arrives on DVD 

            Anybody with even a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible is undoubtedly familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark. That scriptural passage, found in Genesis, revolves around a righteous patriarch recruited by God to build a big boat before the arrival of a flood being meted out as divine punishment for man’s many wicked ways.
            Heeding the word of the Lord, he proceeded to construct the mammoth vessel before herding two of each species of animal into the hold. It subsequently rained for 40 days and 40 nights, with water covering the entire Earth’s surface, thereby drowning all of humanity except for his family.
            So, until now, the tale of Noah was basically a simple one about God’s decision to completely wipe the planet of sinners and start over. Leave it to Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan) to come up with a novel and intriguing reinterpretation of the popular parable recasting Noah as a complicated soul wrestling with inner demons during his quest to do the Lord’s bidding ahead of the impending deluge.    The movie also has an ecological angle, plus some computer-generated monsters ostensibly designed to holds the kids’ interest.    
            The film stars Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe (for Gladiator) in the title role, and features a talented supporting cast which includes fellow Oscar-winners Jennifer Connelly (for A Beautiful Mind) and Anthony Hopkins (for The Silence of the Lambs), three-time nominee Nick Nolte (for Warrior, Affliction and The Prince of Tides), as well as Emma Watson and Ray Winstone.
            The picture opens with what is essentially a Sunday school lesson, a refresher course about the creation of Adam (Adam Griffith) and Eve (Ariane Rinehart) who begat three sons: Cain, Abel and Seth. The evil one, Cain, slew his sibling Abel, and those descending from Cain’s demon seed continued to do the devil’s work by generally exploiting the planet’s natural resources.
            Noah, by contrast, as a son of Seth, learned how to live in harmony with nature. He and his wife (Connelly) raised their sons, Shem (Douglas Booth), Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll) and Ham (Logan Lerman), with the same eco-friendly philosophy.
            Eventually, of course, Noah gets his marching orders from God, and the plot thickens when the steady drizzle develops into a neverending downpour. Suddenly, his nosy neighbors no longer see constructing an ark as such a nutty idea anymore, and it’s going to take a miracle like an army of animatronic angels to keep the desperate hordes from climbing aboard.
            Meanwhile, a visibly-anguished Noah agonizes over what’s about to transpire, and consults his sage, berry-imbibing grandfather, Methuselah (Hopkins). But anticipatory survivor’s guilt ain’t about to alter God’s plan one iota.  
              An alternately introspective and breathtaking Biblical epic, every bit cerebral as it is panoramic!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, suggestive content and disturbing images
Running time: 138 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Extras: Iceland: Extreme Beauty; The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits; and The Ark Interior: Animals Two by Two.

To see a trailer for Noah, visit: