In Black Swan, Natalie Portman plays a prima ballerina with problems. She’s just been entrusted with a role she has no idea how to play. She lives with her mother, a bitter and broken-down control freak who comes on like Piper Laurie in Carrie. She’s scorned by her role model. She sees visions of her doppelgänger in mirrors, in construction walkways, and even in the bathroom. It’s possible that she’s growing wings. She may have an imaginary friend. She may be a virgin. She needs to get laid.
My review of The Other Boleyn Girl on Blu-ray Disc is online at filmfreakcentral.net:
and scandal, with [Jonathan] Rhys Meyers reliably chewing up the scenery. The Other Boleyn Girl
is just a soap opera without the suds, a melodrama without much drama.
Although the (cheesy, Photoshopped) video cover promises a
bodice-ripper, this is at best a skirt-tugger, a button-fiddler.
Skeptical viewers may suspect, with some reason,
that Wong Kar Wai has been making the same movie for a number of
years now – their subjects include displacement across time
and space, romantic yearning, color and light, loneliness and
reverie. When he changes up the formula, let’s say by making his
lovers two men (Happy Together) or by goosing the ennui with lavish
science-fiction inserts (2046), it only seems to intensify the
familiar feelings of gentle anxiety and punch-drunk desire. “We love what we
can’t have, and we can’t have what we love,” Wong once told an
interviewer, and over and over his films seem to find new approaches
to that same disconnect, traveling roads that wind through familiar
surroundings but offer a slightly different view of the landscape.
These days, seeing the new Woody Allen film is a little like spending some time with an old lover. Things just haven’t worked out. Those once-charming quirks and peccadillos have grown into irritating mannerisms, and while you can’t put your finger on what’s missing, it just seems like the magic is gone. You get the feeling that the two of you have nothing left in common. But when your ex makes unexpected overtures toward seduction (say, by announcing that his new film will be a musical comedy) you’re intrigued. Stumbling toward your rendezvous, you’re shot through with anticipation as well as the fear that you’ll only be let down once again — how do you get yourself into these things, anyway?