Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hump Day Hottie: Natalie Portman

There's no clear acting leader yet in your entries for the psychotic psychic "Best Actress" Prediction Contest. Natalie Portman (aka Alice / Evey / Sam / Amidala / Marty / Mathilda) is neck and neck with just about all the other A-listers in the ballots I've received thus far.

...mmmm necks. Natalie's neck. Natalie necking --she's been linked to both Jake Gyllenhaal and Gael Garcia Bernal in the past. A pretty mental picture.

After mesmerizing in Closer and pulling heartstrings in Garden State, I've forgiven her for that hellaciously wooden stint as 'Princess Leia's Mom.' But she had already built up the goodwill. She first exploded cinematically as that deadly child in The Professional and was also super in Beautiful Girls. At 25 her face onscreen still packs a magical wallop. But ... I think the jury is out on her range as an actor -- or at least on her consistency. Do you?

She'll have ample opportunities to prove she's here to stay as an adult movie star (wait --that did not sound right) in three large roles this year. There's two costume dramas: In The Other Boleyn Girl she battles Scarlett Johansson for Eric Bana's heart (tough gig) and in Goya's Ghost she's caught between Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgaard. She manages a toyshop in Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium and to top off that quirky feat she might pop up in December again (release dates are so temperamental) in the new Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited . 2007's slate looks likely to require more range than she's been asked to provide before. Will she deliver? I'll rephrase once for the fans... How spectacularly will she deliver?


Arun said...

I was so happy in 04 cause I finally got why people raved about her for all those years. That 'Closer'/'Garden State' two-punch was mesmerizing. You are right about consistency, though. I just watched 'Paris, Je Taime' and I loved the film and her sequence but her perfomance was slightly 'off'.

PIPER said...

I love Portman, but felt dirty after seeing her in Closer. And that's dirty in a bad way.

Maybe it was because I was watching it with my wife.

Glad the trilogy of suck is over so she can be freed up to do better movies.

Matt Noller said...

"Natalie Portman... an adult movie star..."

Actually, that sounds so, so right. Mmmm...

Anyway, she's awesome. I always feel like I should loathe Garden State, and yet I consistently really like it - and I think it's mostly due to Portman's wonderful performance.

Anonymous said...

i love her but also agree with the consistency thing-- how can the same fantastic actress who gave us closer, garden state, and the professional be so blah in star wars and v for vendetta? pre-star wars though, i'd say not even her lesser adolescent performances were ever so 'off'-- so yes, i blame george lucas!

it seems she's been well cast for her upcoming films tho, so i have high hopes. and yes, good taste in men too (though alas, the jake thing was just a rumor)

Anonymous said...

Nat, Don't forget Portman will be in Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights too! Between that and The Darjeeling Limited I may implode from anticipation.

ubiquitous indeed.