Natalie Portman week: Black Swan Lake

Well, Natalie is back. And with another star of “That ’70s Show”, this time Mila Kunis. So anyone who’s read my previous post, scratch that, Ashton Kutcher is not the only one from that show to get on big screen, although Mila Kunis maybe isn’t quite there yet, but definitely on her way.

This movie nothing like Rosemary’s Baby, yet I get a similar feeling watching it. And quite approriately so, goosebumps throughout the film (there’s no such thing as swanbumps is there?), that’s how good it is. And Natalie Portman is great. A lot of people would say perfect, for reasons I’m not getting into right now. But I don’t think she was perfect, just really great. To be perfect she’d have to have danced ballet since she was born and somehow led a double life out of body experience to get all the acting experience as well as I don’t think you can perfect both, there’s not enough time and talent in the world for that. But to be fair, she’s brilliant, amazing and dedicated to a degree most people would find impossible. So dancing aside, she’s deserving all the statues and prizes and the rest, and it’s oscars today so there we go, not sure she needs any luck with that one.

As far as films go, Black Swan is definitely something you should consider seeing. It’s probably not competing for the best film of the year with some other strong contestants out there, but Darren Aronofsky‘s latest is definitely one of the best of the decade, although the decade is surely very young still. Well shot, really cool special effects (maybe surprisingly), and amazingly intense acting from all parties, not forgetting that Natalie Portman alone is the one true star of Black Swan. I’m not sure about the cinematography at times, especially the graininess of it, but I’m not really complaining. Just saying that it’s not quite there with the likes of True Grit, but then again some might say Roger Deakings isn’t easy to beat.

Vincent Cassel is great as usual, his accent maybe suitable as well, although does annoy me a little bit. I know there’s been some criticism regarding his role and the realism of the whole dancing and coaching and all, but after all, it’s only a movie. Barbara Hershey is also amazingly good, Mila Kunis is ok, as well as Winona Ryder, and the rest of the dancer’s just deal with dancing really, as they should.

Black Swan is beautiful, the dancing and the music mesmerising, the story is gripping and everyone should see this film.

And after you’ve seen Black Swan, and definitely not before, check out these two links about visual effects in Black Swan. and I know it’s no Inception or Avatar 3D, or Black Swan 3D, but still.

Changeling Jolie

Clint Eastwood must be among the most reliable figures in the film making business.


And John Malkovich rarely appears in an uninteresting film. Angelina Jolie might not be quite as lucky with her choices of roles, but she has proved before that she can act as well and not just look pretty on screen. Changeling may be a true story, but makes an interesting film as well. Angelina Jolie delivers an excellent performance as the mother, John Malkovich is strange as ever, and there are a few other interesting characters involved as well. Everything looks polished and perfect, the sets, locations, acting and story line are all quite good. Apart from a few moments, the film relies on Angelina carrying the whole weight of the film and that she does. And she and the film did also get some Academy Awards Nominations as well. Maybe you can tell from the tone of this writing what I’m trying to say. However, what makes the film perhaps really worth watching is Jason Butler Harner‘s contribution. It even makes me want to investigate further the real story behind the film. Not bad, for Clint Eastwood. I do like his acting as well though. Maybe I should watch Gran Torino.

Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – That’s a great name for a film. Or a short  story. I haven’t read the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I’m sure it’s very good.

Although perhaps not like many of David Fincher‘s films, somehow the looks of the film is very much like many of his other films. Interestingly, the cinematography of Benjamin Button is by Claudio Miranda, who’s not shot Fincher’s previous films, but done the lighting on many of them. So that could explain why the cinematography is different but somehow looks similar.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Cinematography is Beautiful, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt (and the rest of the Benjamin actors) do an amazing job throughout, and probably the make up and special effects departments have created most amazing realistic effects for the film. Taraji P. Henson who plays Queenie must be one of my favourite actresses in the film.  And I was a little bit surprised to see Tilda Swinton in the film as well.

Any make up used, or 3D effects, or 3D camera systems used have worked perfectly for the film and it is amazing to watch how the passing on time shows on the cast’s faces.

I still cannot believe this movie has collected almost all the nominations possible for all possible awards. 13 Academy Awards nominations is quite an achievement, I think. And it is a good film. Maybe just the kind to get a load of Academy Awards. I didn’t think it’s anywhere near Fincher’s best film though. But perhaps this film is the kind to attract huge mainstream audiences and still prove to be a decent film and not just pointless waste of time. And let’s not forget Fincher’s not even directed that many films. Still, I’d say I’d easily prefer watching Fight Club or Se7en again rather then this Curious Case of  some Button.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you might also want to see Forrest Gump, another film written by Eric Roth. Forrest Gump seems to follow similar structure to Benjamin Button, for better or worse. Not surprising maybe, and to me it wasn’t obvious either, but I guess you could watch them both to compare. Or skip both and watch something else. But Benjamin Button is beautifully cinematographed.