"And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him...". And the Lord on this occasion is Darren Aronofsky.
Hello all and welcome to another exciting week at the cinema. It's a busy one this week, so let's roll with it ....
… And the Hollywood stars came in two by two... or at least in the case of Russell Crowe as Noah, this retelling of the Biblical tale is most definitely an interpretation that get the attention this week.
There's much to look forward to, not least Darren Aronofsky's direction and vision for the film. This guy has real pedigree for playing at conventions (he doesn't care for them), a truly detailed eye as proven through brilliant films like the tough Requiem for a Dream, the moving The Wrestler and the excellent Black Swan.
He's also not the first choice you'd think who would want to do a big-budget Hollywood portrayal of the Biblical epic. To take on such a story though takes a certain kind of actor and I think Russell Crowe, when on form, can most definitely inhabit Noah and the universe he is in.
Much has been made in the pre-release publicity and the attempts of its director and main star to get Papal attention to the film and in essence receive a blessing of it. This was a similar trick to which gave The Passion of the Christ such a huge box office take, that despite the fact it was a non-mainstream piece of film-making.
Here's to hoping Noah doesn't get too washed down by the literary conventions of its source material and that Aronofsky can find an entertaining balance.
Another adaptation of another book aimed at teenage audiences, Divergent gets a big release this week. Just from the previews, ads and trailers, Divergent owes much to The Hunger Games and a bit to the likes of Ender's Game, and it will have to go quite a way to match up to how effectively The Hunger Games has been brought to the big screen.
Divergent is set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. The film's main character Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it's too late.
Got that? It sounds quite Hunger Games-ish, doesn't it! If it has a ounce of the sharp satire, characterisation and storytelling of THG then it might be onto something. The other thing is if it goes purely for the teen audience (like the Twiglet saga) and whether it tries to offer something of universal appeal to all age groups.
The Double (15)
Richard Ayoade returns to direct his second big feature, an adaptation of Dostoyevsky's The Double. Starring Jesse Eisenberg as Simon, a bit of a loner of a man who struggles at work, is scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Mia Wasikowska). The arrival of a new co-worker, James (also played by Eisenberg), is where the film's key themes of anxiety and paranoia play out. James is both Simon's exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women.
James starts to take over Simon's life … and darkness ensues. Ayoade is a massive talent and clearly takes his cues from a lot of classic film directors as is apparent in the trailers (a bit Coen-eseque, a touch of Gilliam etc) His debut feature Submarine was a firm comedy favourite from a few years ago with its subtle observations and hilarious performances.
Paranoia and dark humour should go together! The balance for the weird, nightmarish and flat out entertaining is a distinct possibility.
I am really looking forward to seeing this and what Ayoade has planned for his third feature.
Rio 2 (3D) (U)
It was an inevitability that the charming Rio would be be granted a sequel after the massive success of the original. Primed up for the Easter holiday season, Rio 2 sees our favourite group, Blu, Jewel and their three kids return as they find themselves on an adventure in the Amazon jungle.
This is a film for the little'uns and if this is anything like the original, with colourful characters and sing and dance routines a plenty, it has the making of something heart-warming and a sure fire bankable hit that event the parents will probably enjoy too.
The Electric returns with its Cult Film Friday, this time a 10.30pm showing of Saturday Night Fever. Don't forget to wear your white flares and stilettos.
Showing next Thursday at the mac is a special Q&A screening of Honour starring Paddy Considine. The plot centres around a British Asian family who conspire to hire a Bounty Hunter to hunt down and kill their runaway daughter. The Director Shan Khan, actor Faraz Ayub and young up-and-coming star Shubham Saraf will be coming to the screening to introduce the film and take part in Q&A chaired by Birmingham based Producer Sunandan Walia.
Join us next week for more #AtTheFlix. See you then.