Natalie Portman


by Alan Rapp on May 6, 2011

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Thor
  • IMDB: link

thor-posterThere are quite a few challenges and obstacles laid at the feet of Thor given its main character and choice for both leading man and director. Could Kenneth Branagh direct an action-heavy comic book film? Could Chris Hemsworth carry the movie? Would Thor look cool or ridiculous as a live-action character? Is there another important post-credit sequence? How large is Jeremy Renner‘s role in the film? Would the movie start out the summer season with a whimper or a bang?

We need not have worried. Yes, Hemsworth does a great job carrying the weight of the film. Yes, Branagh not only succeeds in the character-driven scenes but also with the film’s not inconsiderable amount of both humor and action. Yes, Thor looks good. Even the character’s more ridiculous features (such as spinning the hammer to create whirlwinds and tornadoes) come off as impressive and very, very cool.

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The Best Movies of 2010

by Alan Rapp on January 2, 2011

in Top Tens & Lists

This wasn’t a year to wow you. 2010 may have been somewhat of an off year for movies, but there are several quality films that hit theaters this year which are worth noting. A couple things struck me as I was putting together this list. First, how actresses stepped up huge this year. Whether in lead or supporting roles, it was a year dominated by the performances of the fairer sex. And second, 2010 was a year of raw emotion, almost visceral, brought to screen. You might argue that one or two of my choices didn’t have elaborate plots, but each delivered on an emotional level.

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Black Swan

by Alan Rapp on December 17, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Black Swan
  • IMDB: link

Darren Aronofsky is a weird dude. Talented, but weird. The latest from the director who has given us The Fountain, Pi, and Reqiuem for a Dream is a journey into madness. Black Swan, his companion piece to The Wrestler, examines the the insular world of ballet through the tormented mind of a rising star.

Nina (Natalie Portman), a sheltered but talented ballet dancer, is on the cusp of stardom after being chosen by a demanding director (Vincent Cassel) for the lead role in his new interpretation of Swan Lake. The pressure of the role added to the smothering affection of an over-attentive mother (Barbara Hershey), and the arrival of a talented new dancer (Mila Kunis) begin to fracture Nina’s world as she starts to have experiences that cannot be rationally explained. These include, but are not limited to, hallucinations of strange bird-like creatures, seeing herself on the street, a growing paranoia, and an odd rash on her back as well as fingers which bleed without cause. No one else notices what is happening to her.

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