7:00 PM, 31st May, 2014
Academy Award winner Russell Crowe stars in director Darren Aronofsky’s gritty and epic re-imagining of the hit 2007 film Evan Almighty… or something along those lines.
Despite being one of its best-known fables, Noah’s ark actually takes up only a very small section of the Bible. Aronofsky’s film naturally takes some liberties in order to flesh out the film’s running length, but true to its source, Noah (Crowe) remains an ordinary family man chosen by God for a great task when an apocalyptic flood threatens to destroy the world and all its sins. But it’s also impossible to neglect the clear parallels the film draws between Noah and environmentalists of today. Noah and his family are ostracised and intimidated by an army of locals led by an oppressive non-believer (Winstone), and he is ultimately forced to exact some Gladiator-style righteousness upon those who get in his way.
Crowe impresses with his usual rugged charisma and physicality, leading a stellar cast including his A Beautiful Mind co-star Connelly as Noah’s wife and Anthony Hopkins in his latest advice-giving old sage role as Noah’s grandfather. Make no mistake, however; this is Aronofsky’s film through and through. The director had been working on Noah for years even before the major successes of The Wrestler and Black Swan, and the dedication shows in the end result. From his unique stylings to the stellar cast he’s assembled, and the awe-inspiring visuals when the flood finally comes, your eyes won’t be able to leave the screen.
9:28 PM, 31st May, 2014
Nick (Broadbent) and Meg (Duncan) return to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. This film will appeal more to those ANU Film Group members who love Paris, are over 60 and have been married for a long time (yes, I plead guilty) but there is plenty in it to appeal to you younger people. It is so much more than a romantic comedy. It is ‘an insightful look at a lifelong commitment’ which ‘explores the wrinkles of marriage with humour and honesty’. The film has also been described as ‘hugely entertaining, utterly charming and emotionally engaging’.
Jim Broadbent continues to satisfy. Someone said of Duncan ‘her eyes alone could educate an entire drama school’. She is eerily reminiscent of Julie Delpy. The pedigree of Le Week-End includes writer Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette) and director Roger Michell (Notting Hill). In my opinion this film is superior to the Before Midnight / Before Sunrise / Before Sunset trilogy by Richard Linklater. It has also been favourably compared with the Woody Allen genre, especially Blue Jasmine.
Le Week-End is definitely worth 89 minutes (plus travel time) of your weekend. Beautiful views of Paris and French restaurants are a bonus.