Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Black Swan

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis

I don't want to say that every film I see is my new favourite, but since I saw this at the Venice Film Festival in summer, (I do love to drop that in...) it has had a firm grip on the title. I can't wait to see it again.

Far more disturbing than expected, it's the Machinist of the classical dance world: Aronofky's obsession with pushing actors and films to their limits comes off incredibly and Natalie Portman embraces the role pretty close to perfectly. Far from a twee ballet ballad, this is a labyrinth (but don't worry, not quite on the level of Inception) that leaves us all feeling slightly unstable and enormously impressed. It is, also, definitely not a girl film: if not just to ogle at Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in some fairly graphic scenes, males shouldn't reject it because of it's tutus. 

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The King's Speech

Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham-Carter

It lives up to the hype.

Colin Firth's struggle with his speech impediment is incredibly real, and pity for his character is well rounded off in the climactic 'King's Speech' the film takes it's name from. The combination of the personal relationship with the character and the national despair on the cusp of World War II round the film out into more than just a personal struggle. Geoffrey Rush's counterpart to Firth is a ballsy, impertinent speech therapist and one of the most likeable characters I've met on the screen in a while. Tom Hooper is definitely breaking out of obscurity. One of Bonham-Carter's less otherworldly roles, and she was a little disappointing, acting as nothing much more than a prop for Firth's performance. She plays a literal supporting role, but very well.

And, to top it all of, Timothy Spall plays Winston Churchill. Top notch casting.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

127 Hours

Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: James Franco, A Rock

I was intrigued when I heard that Boyle had decided to make a feature-length film out of Aron Ralston's autobiographical book 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place' (witty bugger), as 95% of the plot takes place in exactly the same place, with not that much happening save for the occasional flashback.

The film wasn't, however, a huge disappointment. James Franco's winning smile and perfect crow's feet may have had something to do with it, but the film was actually fairly gripping and appropriately soppy. Add a dash of ever beautiful, Clemence Poesy (of Gossip Girl and, more recently and perhaps more widely appreciated, Harry Potter fame) and it wasn't a bad film at all, despite the run-up to both of the film's key events comprising of somewhat agonising anticipation for said events. I'd not go and see it again, but I enjoyed it thoroughly, down to the rather-too-graphic penultimate moments.