Posts Tagged ‘Natalie Portman’

In a nutshell: No Willow

Popcorn rating: 0.5/5

Remember Willow? Sweet natured farmer Willow (Warwick Davis) out of his depth battling to save a special baby from an evil queen. Remember crazy old Madmartigan (Val Kilmer hamming it up and loving every minute of it)? Good movie huh? Bit predictable and slushy, but one of the classics of your childhood really, when you think about it.

Your Highness is nothing like Willow. That’s probably okay really, in that its target audience isn’t kids. Unfortunately, that’s not what I mean. What makes Your Highness nothing like Willow is because sword and sorcery “comedy” Your Highness is irredeemable garbage no matter what age you are.

It is so bad, so boring, so pointless and predictable, in fact, that it has completely changed my mind about Danny McBride. I used to think his slobbish, drawling, southern idiot schtick was charmingly amusing. Now, I just can’t stand it. Or him. Or ever want to see anything as bad as this celluloid sh*t ever again.

Obviously going on the premise that swearing and lewdness in an unusual setting is utterly hilarious, Your Highness gives us an alternative fairy tale style story *insert rude word here* with bad words aplenty. It sees tubbster McBride playing Prince Thadeous, a lazy good for nothing royal constantly overshadowed by his charming and brave Prince Fabius sibling (James Franco) *insert sexy medieval lady in a bikini here*

In order to prove himself worthy of his daddy’s love,  Thadeus sets out on a mission to save his brother’s bride-to-be (doe-eyed Zoe Deschanel) along with his trusty servant (Rasmus Hardiker), his brother and sexy, foul mouthed heroine Isabel (Natalie Portman)  *insert crude, gross out slapstick scene here*. This unlikely gang face various dullard challenges, double entendres and dire jokes along the way. *insert general lewdness here*. And that’s it. End of.

If ever there was a movie to make you fret for the future of film, this is it. Don’t bother.

Reviewer: CurlyShirley

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In a nutshell: Camping it up with the gods of Asgard

Popcorn rating: 4/5

Some seriously dreadeful movies of late have, and I hate to admit it, made me  rather wary of the comic book based blockbuster. Sure, there’s been some good ones (Batman Begins, Dark Knight, X-Men Origins: Wolverine etc) – but amongst the jewels, there has also been a fair amount of shiny junk (Iron Man 2 anyone?). So, when I heard that Kenneth ‘Shakespeare’ Branagh was helming a new film based on the god of thunder and sometime super hero, the Mighty Thor (coupled with a frankly dreadful trailer) my hopes Thor was going to be worth the admission were low. And guess what? I was wrong.

Based on the Marvel comic story, Branagh’s Thor tells of a young and arrogant god prince (a bulked up Chris Hemsworth), who is banished to earth to learn humility by his kingly dad Odin (Anthony Hopkins) – leaving an opening for baddie brother Loki (a good turn from Tom Hiddleston) to step in and wreak some havoc. Can Thor save the day? Will his lady friend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) realise who he is? Will Thor take his top off again? Well, what do you think?

Let’s face it – can’t be easy to bring a golden haired, arrogant god-prince to the big screen. What with all that potential to be too serious, too stupid, too boring, too ridiculous, too complicated or just, simply, silly. It is a fine line and thankfully Branagh has achieved the right mix, injecting his Thor with some tongue in cheek humour, CGI which doesn’t look too CGI and a baddie with a nice tortured back story. He even gives a nod to Marvel’s old Iron Man himself, Tony Stark, when the giant Asgardian robot lands on earth to kill our hero (listen carefully folks).

That’s not to say Thor is without flaws – the love story is bit more miss than hit, The Warriors Three and Lady Sif look a tad too ludicrous when they land on earth and Thor doesn’t half find his humility and the love of his life quickly. All nit picking really. Sure, Thor won’t win any awards for its classic and intensely realistic tale of Norse mythology. It is what it is – a bit of camped up fun that may well remind you of the all out action blockbusters you enjoyed as a kid. Simply enjoy.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley

In a nutshell: Mummy’s girl jerks off in a bid for perfection.

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

Darren Aronofsky’s latest foray into the agitated mind of a perfectionist seems to have divided film goers. Some have lauded it as a top thriller/horror while others have deemed it more shlock than shock and a real let down after The Wrestler. This time, instead of Mickey Rourke’s ageing wrestler sacrificing body and mind to desperately cling onto fame, we have Natalie Portman’s ambitious-to-the-death ballerina’s descent into madness, all in the name of the spotlight.

Portman, who has visibly put herself through the paces to get into the skinny, taut body of a young ballerina, plays Nina Sayers – a mummy’s girl dancer who has put everything, friendships, boys, growing up, on hold to achieve her ambition of becoming principle dancer in her New York ballet company. Her dream comes within grasp when lead ballerina, the gorgeously deranged Beth (Winona Ryder) is put out to pasture and artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel on mean, moody Frenchman mode, as per) casts his net for someone to play the lead in a new production of Swan Lake.

That’s when the real fun begins. Angelic Beth-wannabe Nina seems to be a shoe-in for the role of the virginal White Swan – but does the mollycoddled little princess have the necessary darkness to play the evil Black Swan? Especially when new competition, bad girl dancer Lily (Mila Kunis hamming it up wonderfully as the femme fatale), arrives on the scene in a fog of sex and drugs and sultry looks.

From the beginning, Black Swan enjoys teasing the viewer, playing out its twists and turns with relish – from  Nina tearing at her own flesh in grisly detail through to the horror staple of having characters appear suddenly in a darkened corner. Yip, watching Nina unravel proves to be pretty compulsive viewing, even if you are trying to hide your eyes for the bloodier scenes. This Black Swan doesn’t pull her punches. She teases, she bites, she claws and slowly, uncertainly she loses her mind, bringing us along for the ride. She also, however; takes herself a little too seriously.

Portman obviously threw herself heart and soul into this role but intensity bedamned, Nina is just too twee to really engage with. All those teddies and pink and frilly cakes and mumsiness. No wonder none of the other dancers want to befriend her, she’s a right oddball, like a female version of Norman Bates. And not in an interesting way either. In fact, Nina’s so ill-makingly cutesy that when anything remotely sexual or untoward does happen, it’s giggle inducing – which doesn’t just reduce the tension, it deflates it. Like the scene where Nina is in bed and decides to follow her teacher’s advice only to get half way through and realise mummy’s asleep in the chair beside her? Titter, titter. Or that old guy groping himself on the subway? Urgh, titter, titter?

All in all, Black Swan isn’t a bad yarn; if anything it will certainly keep you guessing until its bittersweet end. You just probably won’t want to bother with it a second time.

*It gets an extra 0.5 point for the fantastic make-up job on the Black Swan.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley