Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Hershey’

Insidious

Posted 13 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott MartinInsidious Film Poster

Insidious, USA, 2010

Directed by James Wan

There’s a sense of familiarity in a movie like Insidious. Horror movies these days are a dime a dozen, but Insidious‘s familiarity comes from a deeper place; it comes from true classics like Poltergeist (1982) or even Paranormal Activity (2007), whose producers helped get this film done. Those films work because they have a handle on their atmosphere, something every good horror film has. If you can’t control the tone of your film, how can you hope to control the tone of your audience? The answer to that seems easy – that’s why films like John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980) get remade, and films like Boogeyman (2005) are conceived every day. Tell some audiences to be afraid, and naturally they will be. An example of making your audience afraid, rather than simply suggesting their fear, is a Japanese film called Ju-on (2002), later remade in 2004 as The Grudge to, arguably, the same effect. An even better example is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).

Screenwriter Leigh Whannell is similar to a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat; the effect comes from left field and the audience was probably told not to expect a rabbit in the first place. I remember watching the first Saw film (2004) and being blind-sided by the ending. After rewatching the film, I remember being blind-sided by the conditions under which the ending works. Twist endings, by nature, aren’t organic, but they can feel that way even if they are dependent on the rest of the film and a bit of smoke and mirrors. There is a twist here that some might see coming. The trickiest part to pulling off a twist ending is to get the audience too wrapped up in what’s going on to even remember that there’s an end. Good horror films with big finishes can do that; most of those get ruined with a sequel or a remake. Read More

Black Swan – Sinks In Its Own Shallow Lake

Posted 31 Dec 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Jason A. Hill

Black Swan, USA, 2010

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

black swan ballerina natalie portman movies i didnt getBlack Swan has to be one of the most talked-about films of 2010. You might enjoy this film, but it may be for different reasons than you expect. I give director Darren Aronofsky credit for creating such a provocative and alluring spectacle; it’s all his doing. I don’t think the ballet is any more popular than it was before; the subject matter doesn’t seem to be catching any sort of momentum in pop culture, so why does this film seem to find its way into the middle of so many film conversations?

Aronofsky is known for his psychologically damaged characters, from Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) in Pi (1998) to Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) in The Wrestler (2008), these characters equally recognize their faults and fight to regain their sense of importance as much as they fail and self-destruct. Aronofsky has become the leading director of character destructive descent, but with his latest doomed protagonist, he’s stepped away from the reasonable situations that lead people into their own destruction and settled for pure insanity. Read More

Black Swan

Posted 13 Dec 2010 — by contributor
Category Member Movie Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

black swan Natalie Portman movies i didnt getBlack Swan, USA, 2010

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

The latest film from visionary director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) continues to show his versatility and determination to not make the same film twice. Originally slated to direct the upcoming David O. Russell film The Fighter, Aronofsky understandably considered the project too similar to his previous film, 2008’s The Wrestler, and opted instead to make the intense, hallucinatory madhouse that is Black Swan.

Natalie Portman stars as Nina Sayers, an up-and-coming ballet dancer in New York City who finds herself in the lead role of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. She is initially chosen for the role as a replacement for veteran dancer Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) because she embodies the qualities of the White Swan – grace and beauty. Her technical perfection is clear, but her lusty French director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel, in his best English-language role to date), insists that she find her dark side, the Black Swan representing cunning and sensuality. Read More