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Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman

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Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman

Old 12-21-10, 11:13 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

You'll be surprised how many people download and watch "these films".
Actually way way way more than the people that pay to see them in theaters or buy the eventual dvd/bd releases.
Way way way way way way way way more.
Old 12-22-10, 01:30 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by Throwing Copper View Post
I doubt there are that many people that download these films. Sure, there are some, but I don't think it's as widespread as some people think.

I am always stunned that people can watch all of these Oscar-caliber films from a perfect DVD rip of the screener that's sent to critics.

Make the critics attend a screening.
The "critics" or the Academy voters are made up of a lot of senior citizens who barely make it outside much less the movie theater.
Old 12-22-10, 11:37 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

I wonder what the "old academy" members think of this movie. I'm actually surprised by the awards consideration for it -- I found it extremely enjoyable, but it really is a ridiculously over-the-top production, the acting by Portman, Kunis and Cassel keep it grounded just enough.
Old 12-22-10, 01:25 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

I didn't love it as much as I hoped that I would. The movie certainty gets better as it goes, but it was just missing something for me to totally love it, like I did with the Wrestler.
Old 12-22-10, 05:23 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
I wonder what the "old academy" members think of this movie. I'm actually surprised by the awards consideration for it -- I found it extremely enjoyable, but it really is a ridiculously over-the-top production, the acting by Portman, Kunis and Cassel keep it grounded just enough.
They are airing a few short commercials that are even more "over the top", hyping the "single white female ballerina" angle to the hilt. They are amusing to someone who has already seen "Black Swan".
Old 12-22-10, 06:32 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

This apparently opened back home in what is pretty much the personification of Middle America. I can only imagine how they will react. Most will probably walk out disgusted wishing they had gone to see Little Fockers.
Old 12-22-10, 10:55 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by Sessa17 View Post
He films the entire movie obsessed with the close-up (even in the ballet sequences) which I normally can't stand but works with the feeling of gradual insanity.
I saw this last night and this was the thing I really didn't like about the film. The constant close ups mixed with the shaky camera work. I don't mind hand held camera work(in fact,it can be awesome when done right), but when it seems forced and the shaking becomes excessive, it does become annoying and dizzy to view. At the very least, he restrained from using the excessive shaky camera movement with random zoom ins(Hurt Locker is just one of many examples that use that awful 'style').

The film itself was interesting and did creep me out and mess with my perception on what I thought was going on. But the camera work really turned me off and pulled me out of the film instead of into it. So I doubt I'll bother seeing it again, but it was an OK one time experience.
Old 12-23-10, 12:36 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

The camera work had the exact opposite reaction with me. Aronofsky's decision, along with his usual DP Matthew Libatique, to shoot hand-held I feel was an ideal strategy for the story being told.

Hand-held cinematography can at times be nothing more than lazy shorthand, but I felt it was entirely appropriate in this particular instance because of the lurid intimacy it creates between the viewer and main protagonist. If anything, it pulled me in even further and emotionally upped the ente as it brings the audience within breathing distance of Nina and we are forced to bear close witness to her character's sanity rapidly collapsing under the crushing weight of self-doubt, repression, expectation, and paranoia.

While many aspects are certain to divide the audience. For me, it worked beautifully.

Last edited by meritocracy; 12-23-10 at 12:42 AM.
Old 12-23-10, 12:53 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Also, did anyone else notice the excessive amount of mirrors and reflections in the film? I thought that fit the theme of the movie real well.
Old 12-23-10, 01:02 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Oh yeah. Aronofsky packed the frame with potent objects and images. Notice how everything in her room was white except for a single stuffed black swan doll?
Old 12-23-10, 02:26 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Saw this tonight. Solid 8/10.

We didn't see as much of the ballet world as I'd have expected, but this isn't a movie about ballet. It's about Nina discovering a dark side of herself for the sake of her ballet performance.
Old 12-23-10, 04:41 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

I saw this a few nights ago and really was bored to tears. When it comes to some directors i am willing to go along with almost any subject matter they wish to display because i know they are great directors, and i will admit i had reservations when i first heard about this movie being about ballet...but i knew i would still give it every chance as i know Aronofsky can do great things. This movie was so damn pretentious though and i am still wondering why everyone is raving about Natalie Portmans acting job. Its like watching her do a Roger Moore impression from start to finish...all eyebrow work and nothing else. She just has a pained expression and does almost nothing. The story was not complex in the slightest and it just did not go anywhere for me at all. In fact at times it felt like it was in a perpetual loop and scenes seemed to be continually repeating. This movie really does not deserve to win any awards (but i am sure it will) and this will not be getting a repeat viewing from me again any time soon.
Old 12-23-10, 01:22 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

That's definitely the first time I've seen Natalie Portman compared to Roger Moore(?!?).
Old 12-23-10, 03:34 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by meritocracy View Post
The camera work had the exact opposite reaction with me. Aronofsky's decision, along with his usual DP Matthew Libatique, to shoot hand-held I feel was an ideal strategy for the story being told.
That was my reaction, as I pointed out in my original post. I'm normally the first guy to bitch and moan about close-ups and shaky camera, but it was utilized perfectly in this film.
Old 12-23-10, 03:36 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by james2025a View Post
This movie was so damn pretentious though and i am still wondering why everyone is raving about Natalie Portmans acting job.
Aside from being the go-to word here whenever somone doesn't understand something, can you please explain how this movie is "pretentious"?
Old 12-23-10, 03:51 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by Sessa17 View Post
Aside from being the go-to word here whenever somone doesn't understand something, can you please explain how this movie is "pretentious"?
I've heard this as well... would love an explanation. I found all of Aronofsky's choices to add something and have a purpose.
Old 12-23-10, 04:04 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

I'll agree with this one, nothing really stood out as pretentious here. The movie was borderline trashy exploitation in spots, but I don't see how that really qualifies. Nothing really came off as overtly "showy".
Old 12-23-10, 08:30 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

While not really pretentitious, I have to say this was a simplistic movie with a one note explanation for all of Natalie Portmans character's odd existence. I was expecting a much better story. This was not it. It was fantastically photographed with great style, but the story was not good and Portman was not that great.
Old 12-23-10, 08:35 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Its a film translation of a ballet – and as such i thought all the operatic, over-the-top dramatization was spot on. Everything from the paranoia to the behavioural extremes was heightened by necessity. Aronofsky did an incredible job here with his direction.
Old 12-23-10, 09:00 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

I thought Natalie did an exceptional job in the film. Her transformation from the timid perfectionist to the sultry, sensual black swan was mercifully good. It was that scene, where she was gliding around stage possessed that I knew her performance was a transcending one.
Old 12-23-10, 09:08 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by g View Post
What I really could not understand as since her mother was aware of the situation why The Natalie Prtman character was not sent to a psychiatrist. There was no mention of her ever being on medicines especially with a history of scratching herself. This was not realistic as a probable schizophrenic that she was never treated for mental illness and spoiled the movie for me. It was not realistic that she could go untreated. Was she a scientologist and not believe in medication? Of course there would be nomovie if was medicated.
I think her mother's caring was limited to her daughter's ballet career. She was living her own career through her. It was clear she didn't really care about anything else but that when it came to her daughter.

Plus the mom had her own mental issues. The cake scene alone let us see that...
Old 12-23-10, 09:49 PM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by hardercore View Post
Its a film translation of a ballet and as such i thought all the operatic, over-the-top dramatization was spot on. Everything from the paranoia to the behavioural extremes was heightened by necessity. Aronofsky did an incredible job here with his direction.
Old 12-24-10, 01:02 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

just saw it.

Holy fuck...that was a damn strong control of direction from DA. Portman and Kunis were top notch. Cassel was...Cassel...in other words...always with that...vibe he gives off...either way he was good. I thought it was a damn fine film. Horrifying due to the obsession created in the film. I loved it.

My primary fault is that that I hated Portman's characater in a way. I just don't like those adult characters that are still very much children to their parents. Those aren't my favorite characters...BUT...I didn't mind it for this film. Just a personal bias. Damn fine film, I can't wait to see wtf gets on the BD. Hopefully a commentary but...it's been a while since DA has done one.
Old 12-24-10, 02:20 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

I don't believe it's as simple as saying that Nina's a child to her mother. You can dislike and have a personal bias towards such a character, but don't for a minute fail to recognize that she's been reared by her mother to behave in just such a manner. There's also an intense jealously/rivalry/competition factor between them that's unmistakable.

Nina's actions are also very similar to anyone in a position of authority, i.e. her interactions with Thomas. Her docile manner of speaking, the fact that she's constantly attempting to please, to be perfect, perpetually saying, "I'm, sorry". It doesn't take a Ph.D in psychology to assume she had a predisposition to mental illness. The environment created by her mother, if anything, just exacerbated an already present condition.

Let's be honest here, Barbara Hershey's character isn't exactly a case study in saneness. She's shown weeping while drawing scores of pictorial's of Nina (as if she can't rest unless she creates one that's perfect). She's not so far removed from the mother Piper Lauri played in Carrie. She's passive aggressive towards her daughter and infantilises her. She rejects Nina's desire to undress herself and has to remove her clothing and jewelry as if she's a little girl. Her room is decorated like that of a child. She's dressed in whites and pinks. Calls her a Sweet Girl, an appellation not unlike Thomas' diminutive use of the phrase, "My little Princess". She disallows privacy by not allowing a lock on her bedroom door, and at one point is shown as having fallen asleep there while watching over her.

Her passive aggressive nature manifests at several points beginning with her belittling Nina about how she's been there so long and failed to be featured. In another scene, she says it wouldn't make a difference one way or the other in mentioning to Thomas that she finished the coda after her initial failed audition. She then immediately follows this by stating how reliant Nina was on her early on and how she would have been lost if she wasn't always there to take her to class. There's the aggressive clipping of her nails. The cake incident which Giantrobo mentioned. There's also the act of telling her no one was at the door when Lily had come to apologize, the removing of the door handle so that Nina would be forced to stay in her room and miss the opening etc. It's blatantly implied that she's attempted to dominate all aspects of her life like this since birth.

It's a screwed up environment to be brought up in. No wonder she looses it.

Last edited by meritocracy; 12-24-10 at 03:24 AM.
Old 12-24-10, 05:26 AM
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Re: Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010): Natalie Portman in supernatural thriller

Originally Posted by Sessa17 View Post
Aside from being the go-to word here whenever somone doesn't understand something, can you please explain how this movie is "pretentious"?
First of all, please do not assume that everyone that uses this word "doesn't understand something." I am an educated individual who has been a movie fan for the past 30 years and i can clearly see what works (for me) and what doesn't. Black Swan to me was this years "Benjamin Button," a movie that is critically applauded, but which i find simplistic and dull at best. I found the story to be unsatisfying, the acting all round to be poor and the direction to be moribund. The individual elements of this movie should have added up to something greater than its total. Instead i found that everything was lacking. I was with a group of people when i watched this movie and as we usually do we discussed our thoughts afterwards. Everyone that was with me felt the same way, that we had been excited to see it and that in the end we were met with nothing but sheer disappointment. I think that the movie was pretentious due to its subject matter and the way it dealt with it, the attempt to try and create a genre defying movie...where i feel it failed horribly (never did i feel anything or care for any of the characters) and the fact that the movie has steam rolled over peoples tongues because of a lesbian scene which i felt could easily have been left out and in the end felt incredibly tacky.

Oh, and the Roger Moore comparison was only in acting style, but sure she wears a Safari Suit better than Rog.

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