8:00 PM, 29th April, 2011
If Disney's The Swan Princess is at one end of the spectrum in portraying Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake" on film, then Black Swan is at the other end. Natalie Portman plays Nina, a ballerina cast in the lead role in "Swan Lake" when the lead dancer she hero-worships and whose role she covets is forcibly retired. The role requires Nina to dance as the White Swan and the Black Swan, but while perfect as the virginal white swan Odette, Nina lacks the passion to do justice to her alter ego Odile, the Black Swan. That's because Nina is like the White Swan in real life: naïve and innocent. She has to throw off this innocence and experience life as a bad girl to grasp the character of the Black Swan. This she does - aided and driven by understudy Lily (Kunis) - but there's mental anguish and great cost as she gradually succeeds.
An exciting psychological thriller, Black Swan allows Natalie Portman to play a more serious role than usual, and there are some challenging scenes as Nina struggles to grasp the bad-girl character of the Black Swan and to comprehend what is real and what is not.
It will help if you know a little bit about the ballet Swan Lake, but maybe hinder if you're a ballet purist.
10:03 PM, 29th April, 2011
DISCLAIMER: This film is not for the faint hearted.
127 Hours, Danny Boyle’s highly anticipated follow up to 2008’s smash-hit Oscar-gobbler Slumdog Millionaire, is based on the true story of mountain climber/adventurer Aron Ralston (Franco). Boyle has set out to create an all-encompassing cinematic survival experience with critics everywhere hailing Franco’s moving, life-affirming, Oscar-worthy performance.
Based on Ralston’s autobiography, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", the film charts his five day ordeal as his arm becomes permanently and agonisingly lodged by a boulder in a secluded canyon in Utah. To ensure authenticity, Boyle and his production crew used laser scanning technology to replicate every nook and cranny of the canyon and reproduce the actual boulder which caused Ralston to endure unimaginable physical and emotional trauma for the sake of survival. For all you adrenaline junkies out there, this is a gut-wrenching real-life "Man Vs Wild" drama: indeed, braving the elements and suffering a self-administered amputation beats Bear Grylls any day.
Despite the bleak premise, 127 Hours will have you on the edge of your seat, questioning the limits of human endurance. Predicted to achieve big things in the 2011 awards season, this film is an experience not to be missed.