A nearby movie theater does $7 Mondays (as opposed to the $18 it normally costs to see at movie in Australia), so I've been catching up on the end of 2010 releases lately, just in time for Oscar season. Here's what I've seen lately:
Black Swan stars Nataline Portman as a young ballet dancer who wins her dream role as the lead in Swan Lake, but unravels under the pressure of playing both the innocent white swan and the sultry black swan. I thought it was creative and compelling and an excellent film overall. It's certainly not your typical dance movie and is essentially a dark psychological thriller. Highly recommended!
Blue Valentine is a brutal movie about the end of love, starting Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. We see both the beginning of their relationship, when they meet and fall in love, and the bitter end, as it becomes obvious that their marriage just isn't going to last. It's realistic and depressing as hell. Although I think Natalie Portman is a shoe-in for the Best Actress Oscar, I actually believe Michelle Williams would be a more worthy recipient, as she gave a completely believable performance of a character with real depth, both as a troubled teenage girl and an unhappy woman drowning in a failed marriage. All Natalie had to do was lose a lot of weight and act scared.
The Fighter- Sports movies and gritty Massachusetts families have been done before, but The Fighter turns a premise that could have been a cliche into a fresh and fantastic movie. Set in Lowell in the 1980s, Mark Wahlberg plays a Micky Ward, a boxer making a final run for the title and eager to step out of the shadow of his older brother Dicky, who rose to fame by knocking out Sugar Ray Leonard but now spends most of his time at a crack house. The casting was spot-on, and Christan Bale absolutely shines as Dicky. Kudos as well for being one of the few movies where the Boston accents sound realistic. I loved it- if you haven't seen it, go!
True Grit- I've always had a penchant for westerns, and when I heard that the Coen brothers were doing a remake of an old John Wayne film, I had high hopes. I was not disappointed- True Grit is great! Hailee Steinfeld stars as 14 year old Maddie Ross, who hires two lawmen to help her track down her father's murderer. Jeff Bridges provides the grit, and Matt Damon assists as the less gritty and more talkative Texas ranger. True Grit feels like an adventure story, full of wonderful dialogue, tense action, and beautiful scenery. Loved it! You know, I thought that 2010 was a weak year for movies, but Black Swan, The Fighter, and True Grit changed my mind.
Speaking of the Oscars, Kris' annual Oscar contest is up and running, and the prizes are SPECTACULAR...check it out for yourself!
Lastly, did everyone catch the triumphant return of Wayne and Garth on Saturday Night Live? I'll have you know that they totally stole my Winter's Bone joke. No lie, just ask Kelly McMahon.