Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: 127 Hours

I sort of have a love-dislike relationship with Danny Boyle. Shallow Grave, A Life Less Ordinary, 28 Days Later and Sunshine are some of my favorite films, but I haven't even bothered to watch Boyle's other films as they don't appeal to me at all.

Now here's his latest film, 127 Hours. On the one hand, we have an interesting story. On the other, James Franco. While I know very well that he is a good actor. I knew that long before I saw 127 Hours as I've been following his career for about a decade, since he became one to watch with roles in Freaks and Geeks and James Dean. Over the years, I just feel he's becoming more and more pretentious. Basically my love for James Franco the actor transformed into a strong dislike for the person these past 10 years.

So James Franco carrying an entire film? Oddly, it kinda works here. Let's face it, Aron was kinda stupid. Yes, go climbing without a buddy. Yes, go do that without letting anyone know where you're going. I sighed to my sister, so this is what people who don't have enough stress in their lives do? They are bored and seeking adventure and think they can just do it all. In that respect, James Franco is perfect for the role. And I swear, he gives a beautiful performance. But really, is it a better performance than Ryan Reynolds trapped in a box in Buried? In my opinion, no. I could feel Ryan's frustration and desperation. Franco's not so much. So why is James getting all the love and is Ryan overlooked? Probably because 127 Hours is based on a true story, it ended on a positive note and is helmed by an Academy Award-winning director.

As for the film, I wasn't fond of the use of splitscreens. I felt it was unnecessary. It's a simple film based on a true story. No splitscreens, this isn't 24. While I'm totally on board that this is a good film, I think an Oscar nomination for Best Picture is a bit too much. I don't think it's anywhere near as good as Boyle's other films I mentioned earlier. A 3/5.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jeremy Renner, awwww...

Despite all his recent success, I will always fondly remember Jeremy Renner as the guy in Pink's Trouble music video.

But wake me up in the middle of the night and ask me which movie I associate Renner with the most and I will say Dahmer. That's the first time I ever heard of Renner. I think all the success this guy had these past years is well deserved.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Black Swan

I've been thinking a lot about Black Swan these past few days. I finally saw the film with boyfriend on Valentine's Day (romantic choice, huh?) and we loved it. The 108 minute running time flew by.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of Darren Aronofsky or Natalie Portman. It's not that I dislike them, I just don't appreciate their work as much as others do. I've only seen Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, and while great, it simply made me want to kill myself. None of his other films have appealed to me. Portman, I always felt, peaked in her youth with wonderful performances in Léon and Beautiful Girls. And then made a career of taking things too seriously (except for the Star Wars films). While talented peers Kirsten Dunst and Anna Paquin (already an Academy Award winner) were off doing Bring It On and She's All That during the teen movie craze, Portman did Where the Heart Is, in which she played a pregnant 17-year-old. It makes me wanna tell her to lighten up (which she eventually did with No Strings Attached). But I guess that makes her seemingly perfect for the lead in Black Swan.

Now you might think I'm gonna bash her performance, but that's far from the truth. Portman's performance in Black Swan was, well, it was perfect. For someone as beautiful as she is, she really transformed herself from woman to girl. Her Nina was so fragile, not just her frame (so petite!), but also in her behavior and mental state. It made me forget I was watching Natalie Portman. All the praise and all the awards she's been getting, well, she deserves them. She deserves that Academy Award as well. So if this is the new era of Natalie Portman, then I'm welcoming it with open arms.

Supporting players Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey gave great performances as well. While I love Mila Kunis, I didn't think her performance was that special. Of course she was good and all the hard work on the ballet training is admirable, but I felt Hershey, with her complexer role, was more deserving of the Golden Globe nomination that Kunis received.

Black Swan is a beautiful film as a whole. I wasn't too crazy about the camerawork. I understand that it represents Nina's mental state, but especially in the beginning, I found it distracting. And it reminded me of why I gave up on Friday Night Lights and thus taking me out of the film for a moment. But overall, one of the best films of 2010. A 5/5.