22 January 2011

The Land of No Return

The next film in discussion is Black Swan. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), this film is the epitome of beauty and tension. Starting with the beautiful cast of Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and the driving force of the film, Vincent Cassel, and adding to that the beauty of Aronofsky's direction.

The story follows the timid perfectionist, Nina Sayers (Portman), in her quest to be the leading role in the annual production of the ballet, Swan Lake. Her aspiration to play the graceful white swan as well as the evil black swan is her ultimate goal. And with pressure from her mother (Barbara Hershey) and her director/choreographer (Cassel), Sayers performance of the rolls becomes perfect, all the while her life and her psyche begin to quickly and unpredictably unravel. However, the plot builds slowly and perfectly to a crescendo at which point the film ends.

This is another film that is worth the accolades and the hype. Each cast member delivers a near-perfect performance and Aronofsky's work behind the camera captures those performances wonderfully. If you have a light heart, however, you might want to approach this film with heavy caution. It is intense, dark and eerie in so many fantastic ways.

Returning Empty Handed

In the spirit of getting back on the saddle with the blog, it was decided to cover a series of recently released films. Starting with the Coen brothers' remake of the John Wayne classic, True Grit.

Now, how can one remake a John Wayne film and really nail it? Well, start with a cast or cinematic rockstars including Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and the brilliant newbie, Hailee Steinfeld. And throw in some expected and highly-enjoyable Coen whimsy and there you have it.

The film - set in the old south - provided the perfect backdrop for the story about a young girl seeking vindication for her father's murder and enlisting the help of the not-by-the-books US Marshall, Rooster Cogburn (Bridges). And the on-screen dynamic among each of the characters was nothing short of top tier.

To be brief, the film certainly deserves its accolade as the number one movie in America for weeks on end as well as its Golden Globe and Oscar awards/nods. This is one to see on the big screen, as well, if only for the sound of old rifles firing and bullets ricocheting all around.