Black Swan — a dark flight of fancy indeed

Black Swan is the latest offering from director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler); it’s won a Golden Globe, amongst others, so yay that it’s finally reached Australia.

The buzz is warranted. It’s a gripping little drama, intensely personalised thanks to the bravura performance from Natalie Portman who handles her role with just the deftness required.

The story centres on a ballet dancer angling for the plum role of the Swan Queen in a new production of Swan Lake — Winona Ryder appears as the current prima ballerina. I went in knowing only that the movie was set in a ballet, and frankly, I was glad to not have read or heard any further information than that. The air of not quite knowing what was going on lasted right till the climax.

There were some delightful ‘ew’ moments, mostly from the simple realities of the physical toll of dancing, and some tasty little swipes at the industry as well.

Highly recommended.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Finally caught up with Scott Pilgrim, directed by Edgar Wright riffing hard on the original graphic novel, and really enjoyed the style. There’s a lot of graphic interplay to bring the fantasy home, ranging from unnecessary sound effects spelled out on screen to very cool sound waves and slow motion lines, and funky titles taken from computer games. But I can’t help thinking it’s time for the geeks to stop making wish-fulfilment movies. Michael Cera does a great job of portraying the title character, who must battle — arcade game style — the seven exes of the girl of his dreams (she’s smokin’ hot with dyed hair and aggressive sexuality, and she’s so into him because … well, it’s a fantasy, all right!). He also cheats on his current girlfriend, a 17-year-old virginal Asian school girl who proves adept with two swords, and has something of a history of being a cad, but you know, no harm no foul. Yes, I am old and cynical.

The Runaways

My liking for Joan Jett has been boosted by this biopic, which shows there’s more to Kristin Stewart than Twilight. Stewart takes the Jett role while the wonderful Dakota Fanning portrays troubled bandmate Cherie Currie. One is cut out for rock ‘n’ roll fame, the other ain’t. I enjoyed the ride of the all-girl band on the rise, and fall, but was a little miffed that the rest of the band didn’t score a ‘where are they now’ credit at the end, as the principals did. The soundtrack is, of course, rockin’.

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