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Movie Reviews: Noah, Caesar Chavez

 
Movie Reviews: Noah, Caesar Chavez

“Noah”

Like no other Bible story you’ve ever seen.

This is one weird movie. It’s an epic, thriller, family drama and even sci-fi’er . At times brutal and nail-bitingly tense, with dazzling special effects, this is an experience that will both amaze and frustrate.

Impeccably acted, Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, who won an Academy award for his playing wife in “A Beautiful Mind” are reunited as spouses with their sons played by the latest “Romeo & Juliet” star Douglas Booth , “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” star Logan Lerman and Dakota Goyo from “Thor”. Emma Watson is excellent as the adopted daughter. Sir Anthony Hopkins offers the only humor as Noah’s grandfather, the oldest man on Earth, Methuselah.

This is the Noah story told through the vision of director Darren Aronofksy, the man who gave us “The Black Swan”, “The Wrestler” and “The Fountain”. So yeah, wide liberties are taken. After all, the story of Noah only takes up a few pages in the Bible. Who knew Adam and Eve had a 3rd child, Seth?! Among the Aronofsky creations: these biblical figures didn’t wear robes and sandals. They wore jackets and boots (Noah’s wife sported what looked to be Uggs !!!) and the women wore pants. Pants!!! Then there are the guardian angel monsters that protect Noah and his family as they build the ark. And there’s the ark stowaway. Not to mention Noah and his family are die-hard vegetarians and that Noah almost became a two-time murderer plus the likelihood we’re all descendants of incest. Yeah- there’s a lot of weirdness in this film. By the way, the word “God” isn’t mentioned. It’s The Creator.

Some other asides: while Russell Crowe gets older and fatter (what on earth was he eating on that ark??!!), Jennifer Connelly never ages. And despite their time on the ark, Connelly and Watson’s hair is always perfect. Then there’s the very sophisticated weaponry.

Despite a close to 2-and-a-half hour running time, this movie flies by. The special effects are awesome with the best flooding since “Titanic”. The animal arrivals will blow your mind. The artsy asides to the story of creation are so Terence Malick-like, he will either be highly offended or complimented. Think “The Tree Of Life”.

Though you may be scratching your heads at times, this is one hell of an entertaining movie. It’s certainly the most creative big screen Bible story ever told.

3-and-a-half stars



“Caesar Chavez”

Playing more like a doc, this is the story of how Caesar Chavez organized the United Farmworkers Union.

This is a story that should be told, mainly as an important history lesson to the generation that didn’t live it. But outside of the history lesson, there’s little drama to the incredible story of ex-migrant worker Caesar Chavez, who returned to the fields in California to get a livable wage for migrant farm workers, ultimately winning the right to unionize. This was a non-violent battle with boycott the go-to strategy that ultimately won the war.

Michael Pena is the passionate Chavez with America Ferrara as his wife and Rosario Dawson as a fellow union organizer. The wonderful John Malkovich not only executive produced, but cast himself as a farm owner who fought but ultimately respected Caesar Chavez.

The only real tension, other than the union fight, comes from one of Chavez’s children who feel abandoned by his dad while fighting his own discrimination battles with bullies in school.

This film is too quiet, bordering on boring.

2 stars

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