In ANNIHILATION, the sophomore directorial work of Alex Garland (EX_MACHINA, also author of The Beach and screenwriter of 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, NEVER LET ME GO and DREDD), Natalie Portman (LEON THE PROFESSIONAL) takes a journey into the heart of weirdness. Her character Lena is a cell-loving ex-Army biology professor at Johns Hopkins University (also the alma mater of Gil Scott-Heron, Wes Craven and Wolf Blitzer) whose presumed-K.I.A. husband Kane (Oscar Isaac, SUCKER PUNCH, THE NATIVITY STORY) suddenly shows up alive and odd and unable to explain anything. Sort of like the also mourning Amy Adams character in the also brainy-adapted-from-an-acclaimed-novel-sci-fi-movie ARRIVAL, she’s taken to a site (Area X) where soldiers and scientists face an unexplained, unprecedented phenomenon. In this case it’s not a spaceship but a sort of slowly expanding spectral bubble they call “The Shimmer” that surrounds a chunk of land and no one who has entered it has ever come back out. Until Kane. (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘Natalie Portman’
programming note: I plan to do all six of these star warses, but I had to leave on a one week spiritual quest and cue these up to post… I’ll catch up on the second half of the series after I get back. thanks everybody
It looks like some time has passed since part 2. This time Hayden Christensen has been replaced by the much older Marc Singer as Anakin. That’s not true although it’s a good idea they probly considered. Actually it’s the same actor as last time but aging is implied because his hair got long, and he has a scar across his eye. He has that robot arm from the end of part 2 so he seems like a serious veteran of star war. Those clone soldiers that were fresh out of the oven in the Battle of Bug Planet are now the Jedis’s trusted allies and co-workers. The clone war, which is a type of star war, has spread out so far that alot of the Jedi Council have to holo-commute to their meetings.
Also, uh, Anakin’s secret wife Padme is knocked up. Shit is getting real.
Watching this right after the other two is cool because even though it’s the same director (George Lucas, AMERICAN GRAFFITI) it’s a huge leap forward in almost all respects. The pacing is much better, moving at a clip, hurtling through the best space battle and action setpieces of the series so far, pedal to the metal but with a solid grip on the wheel. Kenobi and Skywalker have a much better chemistry, their expert teamwork/bickering combo much more entertaining. Christensen’s acting is much more natural, his character more charismatic, even though he (spoiler) turns evil and murders a bunch of little kids. His romance rap is still a weak point, but goes by quicker and easier than in part 2, and by the time he’s using the Force (a magic thing that Jedis use, hard to explain but just roll with it) to do a Chris Brown on his pregnant wife you figure it’s dipshit passion more than genuine love anyway, no wonder it came off so dumb. (read the rest of this shit…)
please friends: it would be nice to play along with the no baggage concept in the comments instead of going over the same prequel discussion for the one thousand billionth time for chrissakes have some god damn respect, manners and honor thanks nerds
Remember in the opening of Star Wars part 1 there were two of these “Jedis” who were sent to intervene in a tax dispute or whatever and they got attacked by robots? Well, we learn in the opening of part 2 that these types of issues are popping off all over the galaxies now. Escalation. These “Separatists,” led by ex-Jedi turned nobleman Count Dooku (Christopher Lee, CIRCLE OF IRON), are trying to secede from the Republic and it’s getting to the point where there just aren’t enough Jedi to fly around and baby these fuckin whiners, so some of the people in the Senate are talking about finally making a “Grand Army of the Republic” to give them the smackdown. In other words, they’re saying “this means star war.”
Padme Amidala (still Natalie Portman from LEON) is no longer Queen of Naboo, but she’s become one of their Senators, and is the leader of the opposition to the army-making proposition, so some sneaky no-account motherfuckers are trying to kill her. In the first scene her ship gets blown up and she gets killed, except it turns out it’s one of her doubles and she was on a different ship with her new head of security Captain Typho (Jay Laga’aia, DAYBREAKERS). This was kinda cool because she had all those doubles in part 1 and she just used them for sneaking out and seeing the world, but this is the logical conclusion of that concept. They’re there to get assassinated in her place. That’s gotta be a hell of a feeling, that it’s somebody’s job to look like you and take an explosion for you, and then the poor girl apologizes. (They just leave her body on the landing platform. Bus your table, people.) (read the rest of this shit…)
technical note: I’m still pro-3D, but because THOR was 3D-ified after the fact instead of shot that way I sought out the “2D in select theaters” version.
THOR (directed by Kenneth Branagh, no joke) follows IRON MAN 2 as the latest in the Marvel Comics “setting things up for a movie we’re gonna do later” series. This one introduces the Norse god Thor (hairy blond muscleman with a magic sledge) who will later team with Iron Man when the world faces a threat that requires both a robot suit and a magic hammer, and specifically a case where they have to be used by two separate people. If I understand correctly Iron Man would not be able to use the magic hammer because only Thor has the power to lift it, but I see no reason why Thor couldn’t wear the robot suit. He might not need it because he has armor and can fly. But I guess if he wants to use missiles.
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These days Luc Besson is mostly thought of as a producer of action movies (DISTRICT B13, TAKEN, THE TRANSPORTER, UNLEASHED). But man, there was a time there a while back when his heart was in being a writer/director, and LEON aka THE PROFESSIONAL is a hell of a good action movie he did.
The year was 1994 and American crime movies were having sort of a resurgence. Young men with movie cameras were reading the Psalms of John Woo and rediscovering the joys of onscreen bullet discharge. It was the year of KILLING ZOE, THE LAST SEDUCTION, FRESH, the Alec Baldwin version of THE GETAWAY and of course DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH.
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D. Aranofsky’s BLACK SWAN is one of the best movies I saw last year. It’s a disturbing psychological thriller and a story about art and perfectionism. It’s spooky but I think freaking you out is only a side goal. I think it argues that pushing yourself to the limits of perfection can be painful and self-destructive, but maybe worth it. Striving for excellence ain’t easy.
Natalie Portman plays a New York ballet dancer who’s very good but still just does background parts. To her surprise her boss (Vincent Cassel from EASTERN PROMISES) gives her the lead role in Swan Lake. It’s a dual role and he thinks she’s perfect as the Swan Queen but not yet ready for its evil twin, the Black Swan. (It’s not like an Eddie Murphy dual role where you just wear a fat suit, she has to actually dance in a different style.) So the movie is about her struggle to please him, do a good job and not get replaced. She doesn’t want to end up like her mom (Barbara Hershey), a dancer who never really made it big, or her hero (Winona Ryder) who was forced to retire and seems to have snapped because of that betrayal.
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V FOR VENDETTA is a big exciting futuristic comic book movie, produced and written by the Wachowskis, starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman, playing in Imax in some towns, but not here. It’s a movie nerds are pretty excited for, but the talk is less about is he wearing the right cape, are his powers depicted in exactly the way I personally imagined them, etc., and more about the politics. Because although it features a guy in a cape and mask who fights bad guys in dark alleys, the story is more of a 1984 type deal than a spiderman. Apparently the comic strip book was written in England in the 1980s in response to the Margaret Thatcher administration.
I saw a review in Entertainment Weekly that talked about references to Bush and Bill O’Reilly and Abu Ghraib and what not, but I figure this is more like STAR WARS prequels: it’s about all the assholes throughout history, and the leaders we have now just so happen to be members. It’s like I always say, if your government is strikingly similar to the dystopian sci-fi stories of the past then you got a problem there, in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)
STAR WARS PART 3: REVENGE OF THE SITHS
Here’s a couple topics I never want to hear about ever again: Star Wars started the era of the blockbuster. Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw and made me fall in love with the films of Cinema. I camped in line for thirty two days to see Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back is the greatest sequel ever made, and also better than any non-sequel ever made. George Lucas earned ten billion dollars on merchandise. I hate Ewoks. I love Jawas. (or is it the other way around.) Originally there was a part where Hans Solo shot Jabba the Hutt with a harpoon but now they changed it so a robot bit Luke Skywalker on the leg. George Lucas ruined my life. I have a tattoo of Hans Solo. I had all the star wars dolls now they are worth one hundred and sixty two dollars on E-bay if somebody would buy them, which they wouldn’t. The first time I ever jerked off was to Princess Leah in a metal bikini. I have nightmares about the part where Jar Jar stepped in space shit. George Lucas touched my childhood in the bathing suit area. (read the rest of this shit…)