Tag Archives: Bible

Rain Man

Russell Crowe stars in Biblical flood epic with splashes of sci-fi

NoahNoah

Blu-ray $39.99, DVD $29.99 (Paramount Home Media)

 

Russell Crowe stars as the Old Testament’s most famous survivalist in director Darren Aronofsky’s dazzling, big-screen adaptation of the Biblical flood epic, which deviates a bit from anything you might have studied in Sunday School—unless I somehow missed the Sundays we talked the giant talking rock angels. But it’s quite an eye-popping spectacle of drama, special effects and storytelling in its own right, and it offers plenty of food for thought. Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes, including an on-location look at filming in Iceland, and creating the movie’s thematic centerpiece—the colossal arc—inside and out.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Let It Rain

New take on Old Testament tale isn’t your familiar Sunday School fare

NOAH

 

Noah

Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson & Anthony Hopkins

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

PG-13, 138 min.

Is director Darren Aronofsky’s sprawling saga of Noah and the Great Flood a profane violation of a sacred story? Or is it a mind-blowing cinematic exploration of a character wrestling with faith, doubt, dreams, guilt, miracles and the fate of mankind itself, set in one of the most epic tales of all time?

You’ll have to see it to decide for yourself, but there’s ammunition for both camps.

Russell Crowe plays Noah as the last good man—literally—in a bleak, barren world that’s gone downhill after the good ol’ Adam & Eve days of yore in the Garden of Eden. He gets a message from “the creator” that mankind isn’t worth keeping around, and it’s time to wipe—or wash—the slate clean and start over. (“God” isn’t mentioned by name, which has apparently rankled some by-the-Book viewers.)

NOAHSo Noah builds a big boat, with a plan to take along only his wife (Jennifer Connelly), their three hunky sons, an orphaned girl who’ll grow up to become his daughter-in-law (Emma Watson)—and the only creatures on the planet that haven’t defiled and depleted it, the animals.

“Men are going to be punished for what they’ve done to this world,” Noah says. “The creator has chosen us to save the innocent.”

You probably know the rest of the story. But you probably don’t know the parts about Noah and his lineage being plant-loving, peaceful vegetarians, while the rest of mankind are bloodthirsty, meat-craving barbarians. (Take that, Earth-killing carnivores.) Or that Noah was pretty handy snapping necks or dispatching his enemies with an axe, or a knife, or whatever weapon was handy. Or that he had a pretty sizeable assist in putting the ark together by a group of stone giants, one of them voiced by Nick Nolte.

NOAH

Emma Watson

There are also subplots about teenage rebellion and young love—this is a big-budget, big-studio movie, after all—and a cool, artsy film-within-the-film when Noah explains the seven days of creation. (Cue even more controversy.) The flood itself is something awesome—and awful—to behold. And there are explosions.

Anthony Hopkins plays Noah’s father, Methuselah, and Ray Winstone is Tubal-Cain, a minor character barely noted in the Old Testament who gets elevated to his own subplot as a conniving thug of a king who threatens to derail Noah’s entire mission.

The sets—especially the locations filmed in Iceland—look spectacular. Some of the special effects have an over-the-top, sci-fi, Lord of the Rings feel that may be a bit jarring to some viewers, but hey, consider the magnitude of what the story is about, after all—a cataclysmic mega-event bigger than anything hobbit Bilbo Baggins ever faced in Middle Earth.

NOAH

It’s long, a lot to digest, and it certainly deviates from what you might have covered in Sunday School. But boy, is it ever interesting—and well worth seeing, especially if you’re open to a bold, trippy new interpretation of an old, old story, about miracles of varying size and shape, in which you still today might find some new inspiration.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Old Testament Twosome

Oscar-winning 1949 relic gets new Blu-ray shine

Samson and Delilah

Samson and Delilah

Blu-ray $22.98 (Paramount Home Media)

 

Available for the first time on hi-def Blu-ray, this 1949 epic tale one of the Old Testament’s most famous couples won two Academy Awards (for art direction and costumes) and starred Victor Mature and Hedy Lamar as the fabled Israelite strongman and the beautiful temptress who betrayed him—and gave him the most famous haircut in history. See: Samson subdue a lion! See: Samson slay an army of Philistines! See: Samson bring down the the temple! And see: Angela Lansbury as Delilah’s older sister, four decades before Murder, She Wrote!

 

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Honky Tonk Heaven

Country stars take a walk on the spiritual side

CountryFaith

Country Faith

Compiled by Deborah Evans Price

Hardcover, 128 pages ($12.99, Zondervan)

Country music has always walked on both sides of the line dividing the sacred and the secular, and this collection—with a host of country acts each expounding on a favorite Bible verse—digs deep into the format’s deep spiritual roots. As Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, Lee Greewood, Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell and more than 45 other superstars, veteran performers and hot newcomers each explain why one particular passage from the Old or New Testament has proven to be especially relevant to their lives and careers, you’re immersed in a uniquely all-star Nashville devotional—and might even come to see some well-known stars in a new heavenly light.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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