Scott Marks 9 a.m., Dec. 18
Darren Aronofsky's take on the Great Flood asks the right question: Why did God pick this one guy (Russell Crowe) and his family to survive the deluge that wiped out the rest of humanity? It even takes a stab at an answer or two. (It's clear that man is the monkey wrench in the gears of creation, but then, what do you expect from a critter made in the image and likeness of his maker?) Aronofsky also strikes the right tone: it's a trying, terrible, and terrifying thing to be an agent of the Divine will - odds are, your story will be one of suffering and incomprehension. But he falters, badly, when it comes to the storytelling, letting closeups and exposition leech away the oddity from both the story and his vision of it. In the end, Noah manages to avoid the pious bloat of a Biblical epic, but doesn't quite succeed as personal drama. With Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone. 2014.