Weekend Movie Preview: ‘Noah’ Stays Afloat But ‘Raid 2′ Soars

source: http://www.noahmovie.com/gallery

Source: http://www.noahmovie.com/gallery

Several big blockbusters opened with midnight showings on Thursday evening, so you have the response of both critics and audiences to help guide you if your weekend entails a trip to the movie theater. The biggest movie opening this weekend is Darren Aronofsky’s retelling of the Bible’s flood story, Noah. The film is tackling a pretty lofty story, but strong performances from Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly as well as a $125 million production budget for striking visual effects landed the movie a decent 78 percent fresh rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Venerable Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers said the film is something “no movie enthusiasts … would want to miss,” citing Crowe’s performance as particularly strong. While the movie relies heavily on digital effects, it also benefits from the unique vision of the man who directed Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. So what did audiences think? On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a 71 percent fresh score from the 53,435 viewers who took the time to rate it. The movie may face some backlash from Christian viewers for its liberal interpretation of a Biblical story, but overall it has the big stars, solid reviews, and promise of action to see a big opening weekend, something the movie definitely needs to make up for that huge budget.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sabotage also opened on Thursday night. This action-packed story about a Drug Enforcement Agency task force headed by Schwarzenegger has a paltry 20 percent fresh rating from critics, who said the movie’s violence was gratuitous and pointless. “Abrasive” and “ugly” were two of the most common words in critical reviews. Audiences also remained unimpressed, with 8,790 viewers rating the film at just 55 percent. While such a movie was destined to be poorly received by critics, this type of high-voltage action is sometimes embraced by audiences seeking mindless entertainment — unfortunately for the film, it doesn’t seem to have impressed even those looking for a cinematic thrill ride.

Luckily for action fans, The Raid 2 has gotten a solid reception from critics and audiences, who say the movie offers the same pleasures as the first installment and will appeal to fans of the over-the-top-violence martial arts genre. The story picks up where the first film left off, with a Jakarta cop named Rama realizing that his small victory over gangsters and crooked politicians that ended the first movie only attracted the attention of larger opponents. Critics gave The Raid 2 a 79 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes; audiences showered it with praise and a 93 percent rating, making it the highest-rated movie to come out this weekend.

“The Raid 2 lets its warriors rip for two and a half thrilling hours. With the precision of dance and the punch of a KO champion, Evans keeps the action coming like nobody’s business. The wow factor is off the charts,” Travers said, praising Gareth Evan’s directing.

As far as box office draw goes, Divergent will likely see another big weekend despite lukewarm reviews, as the whole young adult novel set in a dystopian world with a strong female lead thing has proven to be a popular formula, and the novels that the film is based on were gobbled up by readers. Most of the criticism of the movie centered on the fact that it’s just not original enough, but that hasn’t proven a problem for the teenage fan base it’s trying to reach, given that it made $54.8 million last weekend.

Other films opening this weekend include the Jason Bateman-starring raunchy comedy Bad Words and the poorly received documentary about the labor rights activist of the same name, Cesar Chavez.

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