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Black Swan (2010)
A gorgeous horror movie
If this movie looks attractive, it is. But don't go into it with a weak stomach. Darren Aronofsky weaves a subtle epic with Black Swan: the story of a fiercely dedicated ballerina and the trials and tribulations she endures while preparing for the role of the Swan Queen in her troupe's performance of Swan Lake.
Black Swan is horrifically terrifying, romantically evil, violently sexy and masterfully nuanced. The entire cast of characters are flawless, but Natalie Portman stands out in one of the best performances I've ever seen. But much of what makes Black Swan reverberate within me are the workings of director Darren Aronofsky.
There are so many positive things I could say here it's hard to narrow it down. The camera work is great. The closeups are effective, the steadicam shots are tantalizing and the dancing scenes are exquisite. The audience moves and breathes with Portman as the camera weaves and sways with her: graceful and misleadingly innocent amidst the true horror story of mental collapse.
The pace drives the film. At times it is slow to mislead the viewer and build the tension, and other times it feels like the film is an out of control car careening toward something we know is there but don't want to see, only to stop short and abruptly and fall back on the delicacy of its innate beauty.
Every scene is a marvel, every motion of Natalie Portman's face, every shimmer of her eyes builds upon her character and moves her psyche forward to insanity as the film goes on. But speaking of good acting, let's not forget about Mila Kunis, who is perfectly devious in her aptly named character of "Lily/ black swan." I would say Black Swan is a must see, but it isn't for everyone. That being said I still give it probably a 9/10. I've never seen a gorgeous horror movie before.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
Terrific movie! Hilarious, smart and interesting.
I just got back from seeing "The Men Who Stare at Goats" at the Woodstock Film Festival. I walked in knowing the main plot, and I expected it to be pretty good because of the great actors it has, the premise of the story and the music used in the soundtrack. My expectations weren't only met, but they were greatly exceeded.
The story follows a broken-hearted journalist (McGregor) who goes on the job to Iraq to prove to his ex-wife he isn't weak or frail. There, he meets Lyn Cassidy (Clooney) who is a "psychic" soldier for the US government, trained by his hippie instructor Billy (Bridges) to use his mind, peace and love to overcome hairy military situations. The story is the two mens' adventure together.
The movie is essentially broken down into I'd say 3 parts. The first part is the main story of the journalist and Lyn as they travel in Iraq on a special mission Lyn is on. The second is the very humorous back-story of the history of the creation and existence of the "psychic soldiers" of the military. When I say "back-story" and "history" I mean the main background to Lyn and Billy's character, as well as the main antagonist of the story, played by Kevin Spacey. The third part is the first person narration provided by Ewen McGregor about the things that are going on. He offers insight into his mind and opinions on the things he says and of himself and Lyn as the story progresses.
The Men Who Stare at Goats is a very hilarious movie, with many quotable lines and excellent acting by the entire cast. The story is very unique and the film uses that as a great advantage to itself in setting up the humor. The characters are very real and are taken to heart right away. The film is funny, intriguing, smart, witty, fast-paced, emotional, enjoyable and inspirational. I highly recommend it to any Ewen McGregor, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey or Jeff Bridges fan, for fans of those men will not be disappointed with the acting and mannerisms of the characters those actors portrayed.
The Men Who Stare at Goats is a very fun movie to see in theaters and everyone in my audience were cracking up laughing many, many times. It is a movie for casual movie goers and film aficionados alike. Go see it.