On DVD & Blu-Ray: July 29, 2014

If there is one thing I've always admired and enjoyed about director Darren Aronofsky's films it is the ambition with which he constructs them and the innovation that he operates within the worlds he builds. With Noah, the much talked about adaptation of the Bible story, Aronofsky has crafted what is essentially a mythological epic where our familiarity with the story and characters only serve as the intrigue to why we might be interested in what more is going on in this version. There has been much discussion over the content and the liberties Aronofsky has taken with the story from the book of Genesis, but if anything has been added or changed it seems to only serve the purpose of filling in the gaps of the story that the Bible didn't find necessary to go into detail about. To say that Aronofsky and his frequent collaborator Ari Handel have come up with some interesting theories and ideas within their script is a bit of an understatement. The bad news concerning this is that these sparks of creativity, where the story is allowed to diverge from the beaten path, begin to wear thin after the first hour or so. That isn't to say that the final hour and twenty minutes or so is any less interesting or drags as much of the inherent drama from within the family unit comes into play in these later stages, but it is the aura of those early scenes that stay with you as you leave the theater and the inherent attitudes of the characters that draw us in and make us question their sanity as much as we do our own faith, for better or worse. Noah is one of those films where I expected to walk in feeling one way and walk out with a new perspective on the difference between literal interpretation and what more accurately seem to be these metaphorical stories with implied lessons that influence over seventy percent of the worlds population. My world wasn't changed, my eyes weren't necessarily opened to a new way of thinking as I exited the screening, but what I did have was a sense of that still fresh ambition within Aronofsky. It is clear from the opening moments of the film that the director is still very much in tune with who he is and what kinds of films he wants to make and with as divisive a subject matter as this it is nothing short of rewarding to see that singular voice still come through. Full review here. B

Given the bad rap that romantic comedies typically get it seems The Other Woman was bound and determined to make sure people didn't think of it as a film that fit squarely into that cardboard box. Instead, first time screenwriter Melissa Stack took cues from 9 to 5 and The First Wives Club and smashed them together into modern day giving us a comedy of errors in which three women, all scorned by the same man of course, get together and plot their revenge on the sick schlub. Thus, this is the antithesis of the rom-com, the movie not where some hopelessly romantic woman falls for a man who seems to be the perfect fit only to find out he isn't and that she has been blind to the real man of her dreams who's resided three cubicles down for years now, no, The Other Woman is out for revenge on the fanciful relationship and instead wanting to make sure everyone knows how the wrong kind of infatuation can lead nowhere and that it's only the healthy kind that might offer more meaningful fulfillment in our little time on this earth. That said, you don't really go into a movie that looks like what The Other Woman is going to be and expect much and maybe that is exactly why I had a pretty good time at this one. The film sports a pair of hilarious leading ladies with chemistry to burn and a solid guiding force in director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister's Keeper) who seems to have a taste for the eclectic and in trying his hand at straight-up comedy for the first time in his career, for the most part, lands on his feet only to stumble a few times in the area of slapstick and poop jokes that feel too immature for the subject matter the film is inherently taking on. Everything about The Other Woman screams that it should be easily shoved into the chick flick doldrums (shiny New York City setting, jobs for all that make life a breeze, cheesy pop soundtrack, several montages) but in a slight turn of hand we find that the film ultimately is able to divert the clich├ęs of this formula and show the growing and repairing of relationships between women rather than the more idiotic road of watching these sophisticated women fight over a man clearly below their standards only for one of them to fool themselves into thinking our central schlub is still the one, still worth keeping around, while never nailing down the entire male species as one stereotype. Full review here. C+

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