NOAH: Radio Film Review

Noah (2014)I take a few moments at the beginning of this week’s segment for WBAI 99.5FM’s Hour of the Wolf to address host Jim Freund’s calling me out for my pronunciation of the word “erudite” during last week’s review of DIVERGENT. Nothing contentious, mind, just a clarification.
Then, it’s time to let the flood commence. A literal flood, yes, since we’re talking about Darren Aronofsky’s new epic fantasy film, NOAH . But also a flood of praise, since this mix of visionary filmmaking and insightful drama, courtesy of Aronofsky’s iconoclastic instincts, takes mainstream film to places where most big-budget releases fear to tread. Click on the player to hear the review.

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Noah: Spotlight Podcast 5-13.1

The strengths of Darren Aronofsky's NOAH go beyond mere spectacle.
The strengths of Darren Aronofsky's NOAH go beyond mere spectacle.

Sooner or later, it had to happen. Three months into 2014, we finally move beyond the execrable and the mediocre, to something imaginative, exciting, and just flat-out worthy of praise. NOAH allows director Darren Arnofosky to apply his characteristically iconoclastic vision to the classic Bible tale, transforming the historic setting into a fantastic world where fallen angels walk the earth in the form of lumbering rock monsters, technology has advanced enough for bear traps and projectile weapons, and the humble, pious man charged with ferrying the world’s beasts and birds safely through the watery manifestation of the Lord’s wrath becomes, courtesy of Russell Crowe’s performance and Aranofsky’s incisive read of the material, a conflicted hero tasked with determining how much of God’s judgement the Creator expects him to fulfill by his own hand.
Theofantastique.com’s John W. Morehead joins Spotlight regulars Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and Dan Persons as they discuss Aranofsky’s visionary approach to the story, explore what the film has to say about the nature and demands of faith, and look into the political controversies the film has stirred up. Click on the player to hear the show.

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'The Wolverine' Faces Rewrites

WOLVERINE_J_webVariety reports that  20th Century Fox has brought in Mark Bomback (LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD) to rewrite Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay  for THE WOLVERINE.
Hugh Jackman will be back both to play the Marvel Comics superhero and to Executive Produce the film, now slated to be directed by James Mangold. Mangold who helmed Jackman’s KATE AND LEOPOLD , replaces the departed Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN). 
This film entry will be set in Japan, and filmed there and in Vancouver, B.C.
Mark Bomback also did rewites on Bryan Singer’s upcoming  (X-MEN) JACK THE GIANT KILLER and TOTAL RECALL “re-imagining”.

Aronofsky Leaves 'The Wolverine'

darren AronofskyDarren Aronofsky announced he was leaving Twentieth Century Fox’s Marvel superhero movie THE WOLVERINE.
Aronofsky explained his decision:

“As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of ‘The Wolverine’ would keep me out of the country for almost a year. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time.
I am sad that I won’t be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again.”

The film, with a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie was set to take place in Japan, based on one of the comic book mini-series storylines.
Twentieth Century Fox made the following statement:

 “While we are of course disappointed that Darren can’t do ‘The Wolverine’, we also understand and respect his reasons. Having done both ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Black Swan’ with Darren, we know he is an extraordinary talent and we look forward to working with him on other projects in the future.
Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making ‘The Wolverine’. We will regroup and move forward aggressively.”

(via Superherohype)

Black Swan & Warriors Way: CFQ Post-Mortem Podcast 1:42.1

black-swan-review
Having delved into the fairy tale world of Walt Disney Pictures’ TANGLED early this week, the CFQ Podcast crew returns with a post-mortem detailing the two other genre films now in theatres: BLACK SWAN and THE WARRIORS WAY. One is about ballet; the other is a martial arts Western. The former is Darren Aronofsky’s study of a neurotic ballerina (Natalie Portman), which turns into a horror movie in its third act (think what would happen if Roman Polanski’s REPULSION were mashed up with Dario Argento’s OPERA). The latter is a high-flying martial arts fantasy set in the Old West. So saddle up your horse or strap on your tutu, and check out the weird and wonderful delights on view.


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New Title for New Wolverine Film

WOLVERINE_J_webAccording to  Hitflix, director Darren Aronofsky (PI) says that his Wolverine film is not a sequel to X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.
His film will apparently be called THE WOLVERINE, with no number or subtitle. Though it still stars Hugh Jackman, Aronofsky calls it a “one-off”, and the article implies that the intent is the seperate the production from what has come before.
My general impression was that the film was more in the line of a prequel, or falling between events shown in the last film. Its reported Japanese setting, and various plot hints suggest to comic fans  that it will be inspired by the 1982 Wolverine  limited series by Chris Claremont and  Frank Miller.

Jackman: Aronofsky Directing 'Wolverine 2'

WOLVERINE_J_webNYmag.com reports that Hugh Jackman seems to have confirmed that Darren Aronofsky will be directing  WOLVERINE 2.
Regarding Aronofky’s darker approach to filmmaking Jackman said:

  “This is Wolverine, this is not Popeye. He’s kind of dark.  But, you know, this is a change of pace. Chris McQuarrie, who wrote THE USUAL SUSPECTS, has written the script, so that’ll give you a good clue…  There’s going to be some meat on the bones. There will be something to think about as you leave the theater, for sure.
This is, hopefully for me, going to be out of the box. It’s going to be the best one, I hope. Well, I would say that, but I really do feel that, and I feel this is going to be very different.”
 

Interviewed at a function for Elton John’s Enduring Vision Foundation, the actor also spoke about getting into training for the film, saying he’ll be back to eating six meals a day to bulk up.

'Superman' Rumors Update

Portman_AmadaliaAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, Darren Aronofsky (PI, THE FOUNTAIN) has had some discussions about the possiblity of directing the Superman reboot.
Moviehole echoes this report, and adds that Natalie Portman (STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE), in Aronofsky’s horror fantasy BLACK SWAN has been mentioned as a possible Lois Lane.
At one point, Darren Aronofsky had a development deal in place to make a BATMAN: YEAR ONE movie, inspired by the comic book series. Warner Brothers eventually cooled on that idea (already in pre-production), and went with Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN BEGINS reboot, instead.