Wednesday, November 24, 2010

7 Word Reviews: Black Swan, Rabbit Hole, The King's Speech

What I've been up to: Wrote up a piece for Tribeca Film on the avalanche of screeners and the insanity of the holiday season inbetween rush of screenings. Also was buried in avalanche of screeners and rushed 'tween screenings whilst fretting about the holiday. Symmetry! Posting will be light for the rest of the week (it can't be helped: holidays, off-blog duties, etcetera) but December will be robust with excitement.

Until time frees up itty-bitty teeny-weeny reviews.



Black Swan
In which a ballerina loses her shit when she wins the lead role in Swan Lake.
7WR: Thrillingly fuses camp (?) horror and highbrow metaphor. A-

The King's Speech
A new king sees a speech therapist as WW II approaches.
7WR: Fussy but somewhat endearing. Unfortunately few surprises. B


Kawasaki's Rose
Czech Republic Oscar submission about a decorated psychiatrist who may or may not have been an informant during the Communist region.
7WR: Heavy novelistic depth buffered by nimble storytelling. A-/B+

Rabbit Hole
A married couple struggles as they approach the anniversary of their child's tragic death.
7WR: Refreshingly unhistrionic grief; Kidman superbly three-dimensional. A-/B+
*

44 comments:

dinasztie said...

Billion questions about Oscar chance: Is Natalie better than Annette? How is Nicole? Is Helena good enough to win the Oscar? How were Firth and Rush? Best Picture chances for all of them?

Clover said...

C'mon! We're dying to know... and you gotta be dying to tell us! What are these films Oscar chances? what about Best Actress? Are they film Bitch contenders?

Paolo said...

I'm probably the only contrarian who won't give this an A-, but I love that the word camp is in the 7 word review. Also, I imagine ballerinas ARE like that.

Mike F said...

any comments on the supporting roles in Black Swan? not even talking in relation to Oscar...

City_Of_Lights said...

Paolo, in college I lived in a dorm on the same floor as a dance major. Her roommate was a sweetheart and I felt so sorry for her because that girl could have snapped at any moment. She walked like she had a stick up her butt, no exaggeration. I would want to see how that plays out regardless of who was cast. Camp? YESSSS!!!!!

Nat, any chance for Wiest to get a nom? I've read some reviews of RH where Eckhart is mentioned as a contender but so far I don't see it. This is Nicole's/Dianne's film.

tesh said...

I'm so glad you liked Black Swan, Nathaniel!

Paul Outlaw said...

As a big fan of The King's Speech I like the judicious use of the word "few" in that review, Nat. ;-)

Michael Curd said...

I'm hoping Rabbit Hole will be Nicole's great comeback into the awards spotlight..!!! Can't wait to see it - shame it isn't coming out here in Australia till 17 February 2011! :-(

cal roth said...

Is Nicole Kidman too undenieably great to lose her second Oscar?

Stefano said...

Probably I'm gonna like this film very much, but if this one would prevent Annette Bening to win her much-deserved Oscar I know that I'll HATE it (I hope it's not the case!) :(

Will said...

I'm so excited to see The King's Speech and Black Swan!

troyhopper said...

"Black Swan" is probably THE film I am most excited to see this year, and I am relieved and happy that you enjoyed it. After reading Sasha Stone's high praise for the film, and Natalie Portman's performance, my anticipation level shot up tremendously.

jane said...

Rabbit Hole really seems to be a Best Picture possibility. Reviews are strong, it could get that 10th slot. If In the Bedroom could make it, why not Rabbit Hole ?

OtherRobert said...

Campy highbrow horror? I knew there was a reason I wanted to see Black Swan.

Good to hear that Rabbit Hole is another solid James Cameron Mitchell film. That's 3/3.

jbaker475 said...

Great to hear more about two of my most anticipated (Rabbit Hole and Black Swan). My parents got to see both last week and loved both, so my anticipation is sky high.

NATHANIEL R said...

I'm still completely torn as to how Black Swan will do with Oscar voters (a friend of mine made a compelling case to me as to why he thinks they'll totally embrace it. But i'm unsure)

I do think Portman is going to cause Bening Oscar trouble though. It's very showy and she is the exact age range / star level that Oscar loves to reward most in Best Actress.

Jeff said...

which performance did you prefer? Portman or Kidman? how they compare to Bening in your opinion? is one of the three your current gold medalist?

Stefano said...

Nat, do you think Portman could be a serious Oscar threat (although her film has been considered "weird" for the Academy) or is Annette Bening still the frontrunner to win Best Actress (it would be her fourth nomination)? Are we gonna have another match similar to Sean Penn (gay character in an acclaimed Best Picture nominee with social issues) vs Mickey Rourke (tour-de-force performance in a very peculiar film) in 2008?

Volvagia said...

Your top 5:

Black Swan (This could be so FUN. It's Aronofsky, the new Kubrick. And the people who compare Aronofsky to Lynch: He's never gotten THAT WEIRD. There's still an identifiable, if translucent, plot to The Fountain. We'll never know what exactly Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire is about, right?)
The Social Network (dialogue play. Fincher knows how to hit as many buttons as possible. He's done, in order, a sci-fi sequel, a straight thriller, a darkly comic epic thriller (how it didn't wind up a pure mess is a marvel), a sci-fi thriller, a single room thriller, the first true life masterpiece since the 1976 movie All The President's Men, a good try at an epic romantic weepy and then, out now, a dialogue play.)
I Am Love (erotic movie. Not a personal taste. As I've said before, give me Irreversible any day of the week.)
The Kids Are All Right (Just rented. Hoping it satisfies.)
and one of the following:

Toy Story 3 (my bet.)
Animal Kingdom
How to Train Your Dragon
Rabbit Hole
Kawaski's Rose

Volvagia said...

Off topic: Is episode 20 of Best Pictures from the Outside In actually coming in 2010? Or will it be a post Oscar Season Thing?

NATHANIEL R said...

volvagia -- i hope it's coming in December. but i can't be sure.

Jeff -- i can't reveal my lineups before the announcements. That'd be like Oscar announcing the nominees before nomination morning! Although i freely admit who i'm thinking about throughout the year. My top three is clear to me though the order is anything but but the fourth and fifth spots are hotly contested. Thank god i have another month to think on it.

NATHANIEL R said...

jane -- well In the Bedroom has more rangey appeal i think (since it's also kind of a crime thriller). I fear that Rabbit Hole will be too sedate for major Oscar play but I really liked it. I sometimes worry that people have no taste for nuance in movies anymore... they only seem to like that on television now. You can be slow and quiet on tv (see madmen) and win fanatical devotion but in movies people call you "boring".

it's a curious thing.

JA said...

If I hadn't have had to pee so bad when the movie ended last night Nat I would've come over and did a little pirouette of joy into your arms. LOVED IT SO MUCH.

eduardo said...

ok, i have 3 questions:

1. how's Eckhart? i've heard a lot of praise for his performance

2. Dianne Weist? oscar chances?

3. best sup. performance in Black swan?

NATHANIEL R said...

eduardo
1) great. he's such an undervalued actor
2) i have no idea. the supporting actress category is totally confusing me
3) Hershey but it's really the Aronofsky/Portman show.

JA -- yay. I wasn't sure at first (and don't think it's perfect) but it's definitely one of those movies that works like the roller coaster. long uphill climb followed by screaming 'i'm gonna die' gleeful insanity

Roark said...

Black Swan for the win!!!! My favorite film of the year thus far.

Paolo said...

City_Of_Lights - A guy who taught me in high school used to do ballet, like (unnamed) Company and he would talk about people in the national scene who are in documentaries/SYTYCDC and some of them are nice and some of the prima ballerinas would treat the other dancers like Vogue interns. And apparently ballerina parties are the weirdest parties anyone can ever go to. Ever.

Also, Mila Kunis was very good.

And I keep thinking of John Slattery in Rabbit Hole instead of Eckhart. At least Slattery's more level-headed and direct when he's angry.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, I saw Rabbit Hole, The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan and I'm not afraid to say between them the strongest perfomance is Kidman's. Then Portman and Bening in the last position. I don't understand all this love for her perfomance, she's good but not great.
Kidman is amazing a deserves to win. Do you think she has any possibility to win or will she be overlooked by an overrated perfomance like Bening's one?

Anonymous said...

If there's an actress in Hollywood I'd like to see clutch a 2nd oscar, it be Kidman. The fact that she isn't slavishly campaigning and is mre passionate about RABBIT HOLE itself than any accolades she or the film should recieve is also commendable. Sorry to overload on the questions Nat but did you enjoy Queen Dianne Weist as much as Nicole?

- Sean C.

Andrew R. said...

Black Swan-AAAAAAAHHHHH ONLY 9 MORE DAYS!!!! But I hope it's not TOO campy, because then I'll either love it (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) or hate it (Showgirls).

King's Speech-What did you think of the acting? Specifically Firth, Rush, and Bonham-Carter.

Kawasaki's Rose-I'm assuming you saw this on vacation in Iceland, so I don't think I'll be seeing it anytime soon.

Rabbit Hole-Very impressive. This one isn't very high on my list of films to see, though.

MikeyMike said...

Million dollar question: Can Helena Bonham Carter win the Oscar with that performance? Are you still confident in her chances of receiving a nomination?

cinephile said...

PLEASE, no second Oscar to Kidman before Moore has got her first! After 2002, when Kidman got Moore's Oscar, now she'll get Moore's nomination spot! :(

It's unfair, and, yes, I am biased, but Moore's loss in 2002 is still hurting, especially since Moore has been oscarless and even without another nomination ever since. Her chances are becoming slimmer and slimmer, considering her age, lack of great box-office-appeal and the general difficult state of financing independent movies. She had her bad years in 2004-2007 (like Kidman), but in 2008 she got her groove back... but no more nominations.

Anyway, good to see Kidman back on track.

Stefano said...

I presume they'll wait for another big dramatic performance (a la "Far from Heaven") to give Moore the Oscar she should have won for the Todd Haynes film (too bad she lost the Oscar that year, although I really liked "The Hours").
Nat, is "Black Swan" as weird as "Mulholland Drive"? Do you think Annette is still the frontrunner in the Best Actress race?

Gerry said...

God I can't wait to see Black Swan! I think this could be the one for Natalie Portman! And it's nice to read from those brief seven-word reviews that Black Swan, Rabbit Hole, and The King's Speech didn't disappoint.

Anthony Mai said...

Nathaniel's getting me excited...

NATHANIEL R said...

Stefano -- like with Pfeiffer, I've given up on Moore winning the Oscar. There comes a point in careers where once they past that point, the person will just have to wait for an honorary (which are also nearly impossible to get). For the women especially if they don't reward you in your 30s or early 40s, the chances are slim. It's sad but it's statistically how they play.

If Bening doesn't win this year, I think she'll have to stay Oscarless too.

I've spent my whole life trying to make peace with the huge number of awesome women that are denied the gold statues versus the lesser women who have them (it's MUCH worse than with the male actors for the talent to Oscar disparity) and I think i'm finally getting to the point where I'm like "okay, that's just how it is."

also Black Swan is significantly less weird than Mulholland Dr. ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

MikeyMike -- i don't think HBC is going to win. But I think the film's heat will definitely pull her to a nomination.

Sean C -- no but it's really Nicole Kidman's show. Dianne is just there for solid support :) It's the Kidman/Eckhart Show.

cinephile -- but Kidman in Rabbit Hole is > than Moore in The Kids Are All Right so it's not like she's stealing the spot ;) I'm still not totally convinced that Kidman is in (it seems like the media is finally forgiving her for the crimes she's never committed but we won't know until we see if she gets nominated or not.)

Stefano said...

Nat, don't give up on Moore (still)... while Pfeiffer seems to have retired from moviemaking (too bad), Moore is still very very busy in Hollywood and she often chooses great roles in interesting films. I suppose that, if she gets a fifth nomination, she'll have huge chances to win her long overdue Oscar (that's why, in my opinion, she didn't get the nod for "A Single Man", they knew she couldn't beat Mo'Nique). It's very very sad they don't reward more women in their 50s or 60s, but there's always some hope (just look at Helen Mirren or even Geraldine Page).

I'm desperate for Bening to win this year, I really hope this time will be the right time for her! We really don't need another shame (like the fact Glenn Close is still Oscarless). If she gets a fourth nomination, maybe some Oscar voters would remember she's highly overdue...

PS: I really don't see who could win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar this year, every contender seems to be vulnerable in some way. Maybe Amy Adams? Or maybe a lead actress contender (Lesley Manville?) will suddenly enter the race?

Ryan said...

hmmm, BLACK SWAN manages an A-... i was seriously biting my nails waiting for your grade Nat...

I'm still thinking it's gonna rule the Film Bitch nomination Tally ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

hmmm. i haven't thought that far yet. we;ll see. I am already desperate to see it again but i urge everyone to see it on opening night. it deserves a crowd. I'm so glad I avoided my screener and saw it in a packed house. It totally gets energy from the crowd watching it once it goes berserk.

NATHANIEL R said...

ANDREW R -- actually "kawasaki's rose" is playing in NYC right now.

Volvagia said...

I like "Nuance" but Mad Men is just boring. Not that nothing happens (I'm sure plenty does), but after three episodes I had no understanding of the characters. Give me The Wire any day of the week.

badmofo said...

@volvagia - I suggest you trudge through the remainder of the season and see what happens as I've found many people didn't LOVE the show until the second season began - myself included. It is terribly hard to get into at first but once you've caught the rhythm you won't regret it.

Sean Grey Hanson said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this film. I'm not really a huge fan of Portman, I just would love to see her as a ballerina.