This week’s movie releases

Russell Crowe gets ark building in Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah' 'Breaking Bad's' Aaron Paul takes to the road in 'Need for Speed'

Shipbuilding: Russell Crowe (right) and Logan Lerman in 'Noah.'
Shipbuilding: Russell Crowe (right) and Logan Lerman in 'Noah.'Niko Tavernise / © Paramount Pictures and Regency Entertainment

Russell Crowe takes the animals in two-by-two in Noah, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s attempt to drag the Hollywood biblical epic into the 21st century. The film arrives on the back of glowing reviews praising its visionary storytelling, but is also surrounded by controversy after its banning in several countries for contravening Islamic teachings. Watch out for Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife, as well as Ray Winstone, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins, who plays Methuselah, Noah’s 969-year-old granddad.

Looking to take on the Fast and Furious franchise, Need for Speed stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul in an adaptation of the videogame series of the same name. Paul plays a mechanic and street racer putting pedal to the metal across country to take revenge against the businessman (Dominic Cooper) who framed him for the death of his friend.

Rio 2 is the sequel to Brazilian Ice Age director Carlos Saldanha’s digitally animated feature about an ultra-rare blue macaw who flies down to Rio to meet a female of his species he never knew existed. This time round the pair, now with three kids in tow, journey into the Amazon rainforest after hearing word of the existence of an entire flock of their kind. The voices come courtesy of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx and will.i.am.

Shot in black and white, indie movie darling Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha stars real-life partner Greta Gerwig as a 27-year-old New Yorker undergoing a kind of quarter-life crisis, fretting charmingly about her lack of career, boyfriend, money and apartment as she drifts from the Big Apple, to Sacramento, Paris and back again.

French twists

French director Alain Guiraudie took home the Best Director award in the Un Certain Regard section of last year’s Cannes Film Festival for his acclaimed erotic thriller Stranger by the Lake. Set in a gay cruising spot in rural France it concerns Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), who meets and falls in love with the mysterious Michel (Christophe Paou). After a man is discovered drowned, the pair fall under the police’s spotlight but continue their passionate relationship unabated.

Also from France, veteran filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier’s The French Minister is a satirical comedy following the exploits of a newly employed speechwriter (Raphael Personnaz) for the charismatic but incompetent Minister of Foreign Affairs (Thierry Lhermitte).

Pau Teixidor’s thriller Purgatorio stars Spanish Game of Thrones actress Oona Chaplin (daughter of Geraldine and granddaughter of Charlie) as a woman roped into babysitting her new neighbor’s little boy, who becomes convinced another youngster is hiding in the house.

Directed by American-based British director Lucy Mulloy, Cuba-set drama Una noche follows one man’s plans to make the dangerous 90-mile ocean crossing from Havana to Miami after he is accused of assault. But his arrangements are put to the test when his friend and proposed traveling companion starts worrying about protecting his twin sister.

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