Tag Archive: Russell Crowe


Making people laugh isn’t easy, so you have to give props to any comedy that can generate big belly laughs. It usually takes a combination of comedic performances, clever writing, steady direction and focused editing to make audience laugh throughout a film’s entire runtime. Shane Black’s The Nice Guys is a great example of how all these elements can come together to form a stellar comedy. A buddy cop noir set in the groovy 1970s, it’s a great showcase for Black’s cool style and two great performances from Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. It may not be about superheroes or dinosaurs, but this is one movie that you definitely do not want to miss this summer.

The year is 1977. Jackson Healy (Crowe)is a tough enforcer who will take any job that comes his way, while Holland March (Gosling) is a bumbling private investigator who can only seem to get hired by lonely old women. When March is hired by a woman to find her missing niece (Margaret Qualley), the two men are put on a collision course with each other. And while their initial meeting ends with a disagreement (as well as some broken bones), these “nice guys” end up working together to find this young woman and protect her from a group of men who seem to be killing everyone in their path. Their investigation exposes corruption and conspiracy at some of the highest levels of power, but they’ll need to figure out how to work together without killing one another if they want to solve the case.

First and foremost, The Nice Guys is a comedy and in that regard, it’s a huge success. Funny from its opening minutes all the way to its final scene, the film’s humor hardly ever misses a beat. Whether it’s the broad humor of dumping a body over a cliff and onto a dinner table, clever one-liners or even some of the more bizarre moments, practically every joke sticks the landing. No doubt Shane Black had a big part in this, but the film wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if it wasn’t for his two lead performances. Crowe is excellent in the role, delivering one of his most natural performances in years. He may not get the most laughs, but he’s the perfect foil to Gosling’s high-strung character. After having focused on overly serious roles for the last few years, it’s great to see Gosling let his comedic chops fly. He’s truly hilarious in the film and he’s responsible for the majority of the film’s big laughs. Whether it’s him cutting his hand while breaking into a building or trying to scream after finding a corpse, Gosling elevates every joke that he’s attached to.

Recreating a noir in its feeling, location and story, Black’s third feature is intentionally hard to follow, filled with so many characters and twists that it practically begs for repeat viewings. This is perfectly fine because The Nice Guys is such a good time that you’ll want to see it again regardless. Crowe and Gosling are so great together that a sequel actually seems like a great idea. It would be great to revisit this strange and hilarious world of the 1970s with two actors who I could watch work together all day. They’re like sugar and spice and The Nice Guys is everything nice.

The Nice Guys receives 3.5/4

Noah – Movie Review

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With Darren Aronofsky at the helm, audiences should know not to expect their typical bible story with Noah. The film has generated controversy leading up to its release, due to the creative liberties that Aronofsky has taken with the classic story. But the story that is written in Genesis chapters 6-9 lacks the details that are required to make a quality film. Some religious groups may not approve of the changes that Aronofsky has made to the story, but these are the moments where the film excels the most. With these changes, Noah is a thought provoking character study; without them, the film would have been a dull, poorly paced biblical epic.

The film begins with a written out exposition describing the story of Adam and Eve and their sons Cain, Abel and Seth. Cain slew Abel and all the descendants of Cain had wickedness in their hearts. Only the descendants of Seth were truly good. The last living descendants of Seth include Noah (Russell Crowe), his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and their three sons. After receiving a vision from God telling him that the world is going to end and all of the descendants of Cain will be killed, Noah travels to visit his grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins). After visiting Methuselah, Noah becomes convinced that God will flood the world and that Noah needs to build an ark to save all of the animals and his family.

This first act of the film feels quite standard, setting up the bible story that we have all heard multiple times. It causes one to question why Darren Aronofsky, controversial director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, chose to adapt this tale. Initially, the only aspect of the film that could be considered even remotely controversial is the inclusion of The Watchers, fallen angels that have become encased in stone because of their attempt to help man. They’re well designed, but it feels like they were only added to give the film a more Lord of the Rings-esque feel.

Aside from this, the film’s first act is also poorly paced and sloppily edited. It lacks a certain flow that should enrapture the viewer in what is happening on screen. Scenes feel strangely detached from one another, perhaps because the film jumps into the action too quickly. Noah’s wife and sons are underdeveloped characters, so it is hard to empathize with the journey to Methuselah that they are making.

But once the film enters its second act, Aronofsky’s true vision begins to form. Noah realizes that there is wickedness in everybody and begins to question whether his family deserves to survive the flood. He becomes convinced that his family deserves to die as much as everyone else. Certain that this was God’s plan all along, he decides that he will even risk putting his family in danger in order to completely destroy the human race. This inner conflict is what makes the film truly interesting, but it will also anger religious groups who want Noah to be portrayed as a complete saint. In fact, in the film’s final hour, there are numerous instances where Noah’s strict adherence to faith makes him appear to be a villain. It’s a bold move to put a critique of religious faith in a biblical epic, but without it, Aronofsky’s Noah would have lacked a certain vigor.

Although most of the minor characters are underdeveloped, the film’s final hour is still very exciting because of strong direction and stunning visuals. It’s ultimately this final hour, where we get to explore Noah’s psyche and experience his troubles, that makes the film worthwhile. Despite a lack of characterization, practically every cast member shines: Ray Winstone is frightening but also surprisingly sympathetic as Tubal-cain, the film’s primary antagonist and Emma Watson successfully gives her character a feeling of sweetness and vulnerability that allows the audiences to fear for her safety and well-being in the film’s final hours. With a score from Clint Mansell that is suitably epic without becoming clichéd and arresting visuals from cinematographer Matthew Libatique, this is sure to be one of the most divisive biblical adaptations ever made. Aronofsky’s Noah may differ from the tale told in Genesis, but its ultimate message of universal love couldn’t be more biblical.

Noah receives 2.5/4

 

After hearing that the cast of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah would contain the star power of Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Ray Winstone, one would think that the large ensemble cast was almost complete. Surprisingly, there is still more casting information and this news is quite big, as it has been announced that legendary movie star Anthony Hopkins has signed on to the film. This was announced on Darren Aronofsky’s twitter where he officially announced that Hopkins will be joining the cast.

 

i’m honored to be working with the great sir anthony hopkins. we just added him to the stellar cast of ‪#Noah‪#methuselahlives.

 

Based on this tweet, it appears that Anthony Hopkins will be playing Methuselah, a biblical character who lived until the age of 969. He was also Noah’s grandfather and he died just before the flood began. I think that this casting makes a lot of sense; Hopkins is great at playing wise old men and I would assume that Methuselah will act as Noah’s mentor. Hopkins’ filmography has been fairly hit or miss lately, but hopefully this film will prove to be a success for him.

 

Noah will be released in US theaters in March of 2014.

 

After weeks of rumors, Jennifer Connelly has officially been offered a role in the upcoming epic Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky. She will be working with Russell Crowe, her costar on A Beautiful Mind, as she portrays the loyal wife to the prophet Noah. Just last week I reported that Emma Watson would be joining the cast of the film, along with Ray Winstone, who is expected to play the antagonist of the movie. Noah’s wife was the last major role to be cast and, according to Variety, Connelly has officially been offered the role.

 

Connelly had previously worked with Aronofsky on Requiem for a Dream and we are now finding out that she was involved with the project long before Russell Crowe had even jumped on board. Apparently she was involved with early table reads of the script, which basically confirms that this has been her role for a long time now. It will be interesting to see how Aronofsky interprets the Biblical tale and whether religious groups praise the film or condemn it.

 

Noah will set sail in US theaters in March of 2014.

Just several days ago, I reported that Emma Watson had joined the cast of Darren Aronofsky’s epic Noah. At the time, it was rumored that Liev Schreiber was going to play the antagonist of the film, a man who doubts Noah’s actions. Today we learned that the role will likely go to Ray Winstone. Winstone was offered the role and, while he has not officially accepted, he will most likely be joining the cast. According to Deadline, Winstone was offered the role because Aronofsky wanted someone with “grit and size” to go up against Noah. While Ray Winstone may not be a household name, he has had supporting roles in The Departed, Hugo and, most recently, Snow White and the Huntsman. Perhaps his most famous role was as the title character in 2007’s Beowulf.

Winstone will be joining an all-star cast that includes Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman and Emma Watson. The role of Noah’s wife has yet to be cast, but it is rumored that the part will go to Jennifer Connelly, who previously worked with Crowe on A Beautiful Mind. The budget for the film has been reported to be around $130 million, so this is sure to be a film of epic proportions. Production for the film begins this August and the film is set to be released in March of 2014.

Anybody that knows me well, knows that my favorite actress is Emma Watson. Because I am such a big fan of her, I consider any news regarding her to be breaking news. Well, today it was announced that Watson will be joining the cast of Noah, directed by Oscar nominee Darren Aronofsky. She joins an all-star cast that includes Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth.

Russell Crowe will play the prophet Noah, who is instructed to build an ark from God. It has been stated that Emma Watson’s character will be a young woman named Ila, who forms a relationship with Noah’s son Shem. Dakota Fanning was originally slated to play this character, but had to drop out due to scheduling issues.

It is also rumored that Liev Schreiber and Jennifer Connelly will join the cast. Connelly is in talks to play the role of Noah’s wife, reuniting her with A Beautiful Mind costar Russell Crowe. Schreiber is the front runner to play a character who doubts Noah’s actions. It has been stated that this will make him somewhat of an antagonist.

I’m a fan of Darren Aronofsky’s work, so I was already anticipating this film, but now that Emma Watson has joined the cast, my anticipation for the film has skyrocketed. The film is also being written by Ari Handel and John Logan, the latter of which received an Oscar nomination for his work on Hugo. With this much talent working on it, Noah has the potential to be one of the best films of next year. Production is slated to begin this August and it is set to be released in theaters in March of 2014.