Sunday, January 16, 2011

Black Swan Review

Natalie Portman is dancing with Oscar in this film. If Natalie Portman doesn't win a best actress Oscar for her performance, she will have been nothing short of robbed. Her portrayal of a ballerina playing the lead role in the "Swan Lake" ballet, is nothing short of fantastic. Her character gets so wrapped up in her career and the role that the lines between real life and the role get blurred and she completely gets enveloped by the role. Of course, we shouldn't ignore the fact that this movie is great in other ways too.

This movie also stars Barbara Hershey (Erica Sayers), Portman's mother. She is a control freak and former ballerina herself. You end up feeling a love hate relationship with her. Winona Ryder, the ballerina Portman ousts for the lead role in "Black Swan", is powerful in her portrayal of a past-her-prime ballerina. Her character is so gruesome at times, I found myself covering my eyes in some scenes. Ryder is brilliant in her performance. It is good to see her back in movies. Vincent Cassel (Thomas Leroy) does a great job as the artistic director of the ballet company who has the power to make or break any career. His character is sexy and creepy at the same time. Mila Kunis (Lily) is the best friend/biggest threat to Portman's (Nina) character and she is magnetic in this movie. It is easy to see why Nina is drawn to her.

Last but not least, Darren Aronofsky delivers this fabulous story with his usual dark mood. As usual, Darren exhausts you. I found myself very wound up and tired at the same time after watching this movie. He has the wondrous ability to draw the viewer into his movies and you are both haunted and mesmerized at the same time for hours sometimes days. In the case of his movie, "Requiem for a Dream", I still shiver, squirm and feel downright uncomfortable years after I seeing it.

See "Black Swan" before it leaves the theater. This movie needs to be seen on the big screen because it was shot so brilliantly and the performances were so great. You will forget that you are watching a movie and you will feel like you were in the story.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jimmy King's review of the Kings speech

The Kings Speech
Directed by Tom Hooper
Written by David Seidler

(Colin Firth) is thrust into the position of King George VI after his father King George V (Michael Gambon) dies and his brother cannot hold the title as King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) The major responsibility of any King as that they speak for their entire country. The problem is that this King has a stammer problem that cripples his in his attempts to speak. The more important the topic the more he stammers.
His wife Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks a speech therapists to cure her husbands stammer. She finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) an Australian who takes on King George and demands that they both be equals for the therapy to work. Logue and the King develop a love hate relationship at the end proves to be unbreakable and ultimately successful in helping the King through his toughest challenge which is to address his country in a speech that will give confidence for entering into war with Germany.

The look and feel of the movie were smoky and dark as one would expect of britian in the early 1900's. Beautifully shot and well thought out. I thought I wouldn't like it but I was immediately drawn into the story and vicariously felt the fear and angst of not being able to speak his mind which his entire country needed for strength. The interaction between the King and Logue was executed in the way you would expect Geoffrey Rush to. A master class in acting from Mr Rush.

I raise my glass to this movie for turning me around.

The King's Speech

The King's Speech starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, is a great movie. My partner, Jimmy, didn't want to see this film because he loathed the movie, "The Queen" so much. I dragged him along and he ended up loving it! Colin Firth's performance as King George VI of England was awesome. Colin draws you into his performance so well you feel the tension in every part of your body as he struggles to speak. The story is well written and executed by all. You feel so sorry for King George once you know all that he has endured in his life. Turns out being royal isn't all that it is cracked up to be. With very little affection and very few true friends it is a wonder that all that was wrong with this King was a speech impediment. Helena Bonham Carter plays King George's Wife (a.k.a The Queen Mum). She truly was the embodiment of the Queen Mum, so sweet and supportive, just as you imagined her to be in real life. Geoffrey Rush's character, Lionel Logue is the King's speech therapist and loyal friend. His technique, tenacity and patience are wonderfully portrayed by Rush. I also have to comment on the way this film was shot. The camera work was very creative and definitely had a hand in enhancing the feelings of anxiety and rhythm of the movie. As the King struggles to find a rhythm of breathing in his speech therapy, the camera pans in and out of the shot like a diaphragm breathing, allowing for a truly unique transition between shots. Many people won't notice the subtle but brilliant camera angles and creative shots but if this movie had been shot not using those techniques, it wouldn't have had the same impact. Good job to the cinematographer, Danny Cohen. Brilliant work!