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NOAH (12A) DARREN Aronofsky's film is a curious beast - neither faithful Biblical story nor full-on action thriller. Instead it's an interpretation, with a sense of relevance to the current debate about scarce resources and global warming.

While the descendants of Cain spread greed and wickedness, the descendants of Seth - Cain's surviving brother - work the land.

The last of this righteous bloodline, Noah (Russell Crowe, above with Jennifer Connelly who plays his wife Naameh) believes in only taking what is really needed.

After visiting Noah's (Welsh!) grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) following his vision of a terrible flood, Noah accepts his task to build an ark that will save one pair of "all that creeps, all that crawls, all that slithers".

Whether you find the film trite or compelling, the score by West Midlands' maestro composer Clint Mansell is a seat-shaking aural tour de force with deep shades of foreboding.

DIVERGENT (12A) YOU'LL need good ears and quiet sweet wrappers to find your way around a futuristic Chicago divided into five factions - Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), right, with Four (Theo James) lives in Abnegation and is about to take a test that will mark her out as a Divergent - someone who must hide her non-specific status to remain safe from the no-nonsense Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet).

Opting to join Dauntless, and training with the muscle-bound Four, Beatrice finds fellow newcomer Peter (Miles Teller) is keen to get rid of her from the group.

Members of Dauntless are given a serum by Erudite so that they will attack Abnegation, but the Divergent are not affected.

While the set up is complicated this movie's exploration of human qualities such as selflessness, cordiality, honesty, intelligence and courage feels appropriate for our own modern world, never mind this post-apocalyptic one.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (12A) CHRIS EVANS again excels as Steve Rogers and Captain America, bringing an 'Ordinary Joe' persona to his athletic heroics in costume.

Sibling directors Joe and Anthony Russo have worked hard to create a 70s-style paranoia thriller, while giving action lovers endless hand to hand combat sequences which aren't always easy to follow.

The action is better when it's set the sky with giant aerial warships.

Co-stars include the voluptuous Scarlett Johansson as covert operative Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, with Anthony Mackie as the new flying ally The Falcon/Sam Wilson.

Both will be needed to battle the formidable Winter Soldier, or Bucky Barnes as he was known in World War Two when he was Steve Rogers' best pal.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 18, 2014
Words:426
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