Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mila Kunis in Black Swan

This year, I have chosen Mila Kunis as Lily/The Black Swan in Black Swan as my Supporting Actress of 2010. Before reading any further into this post I have to warn you that their will be spoilers here, and so if you have not seen the film, I HIGHLY recommend you go out and watch it immediately/you stop reading this post until you do.

I have to admit, I have been taken with Kunis for quite some time, and so when I first heard that she was teaming with Darren Aronofsky, you could say I was a little bit ecstatic. I've always thought Kunis had a lot of charisma, likability and charm, so I was happy to see that Aronofsky had used all of her natural abilities to their fullest extent.

What I liked most about this performance was the way that Kunis chose to express the character's physicality. A simple smile or flicker of her eyes (and what eyes they are!) are evocative enough to represent Lily's sexuality and dark side. Lily's movements and her expressions all call forth a seductive darkness that plays in direct contrast to Natalie Portman's Nina/The White Swan. It was vital to the story that the character Lily is sensual enough to rival Nina's purity and draw her into trying to express that sensuality herself in her dancing. I would argue that Kunis leaves more of an impression with her body language than Portman does. In a few scenes we can already tell what the character of Lily is like though her general demeanor around the company and especially through her dancing (which I think would have come across even without Vincent Cassel's voice telling us so).

Lily is a free spirit, willing to do what she wants and say what she feels, I mean she goes out to a restaurant and orders a cheeseburger! In the world of ballet where the upkeep of bodies is so important what kind of ballerina would do that? Lily of course. Kunis makes these kinds of choices believable which is why we are so drawn to the character, and why Nina is so bewitched yet jealous of her. She somehow possesses the freedom to make her own choices and essentially live her own life outside of the ballet company, and that is all due to the fact that Kunis has created a character layered with so many interesting subtleties that it is easy to imagine a whole world outside of the film in which Lily is living her own life. Just watch the scene at the restaurant, where Kunis goes everywhere from concerned to devilish in mere moments. I must say all of that work is pretty impressive given the fact that the film is really the Natalie Portman show.

It would have been easy to make this character a one-note cliché, but to Kunis' credit, she ground Lily in reality. Much like her dancing in the film, Kunis brings a fresh sense of naturalism to the role, making it look effortless and thus making her fascinating to watch in contrast to Portman. Another thing that I loved about Kunis was the real levity she brought to the work that she did in the film. She delivers all of the films best and most memorable lines does with such wit and good humour ("Was I good?"). It offers a nice counterpoint to all of the film's difficult and heavy scenes, which I think is essential.

Kunis understands that Lily is the catalyst for Nina's ultimate transformation, and she plays her so well that when Nina delivers her performance the audience can clearly see that Lily has left her mark on Nina as well as ourselves. I think that is what the job called for, and Kunis has clearly delivered on all fronts. The is why she is my choice for the best Supporting Actress of 2010, and my entry into StinkyLulu's 2010 blog-a-thon.


[This post is part of the Supporting Actress Class of 2010 blog-a-thon happening over at StinkyLulu. You should head on over there if you haven't already and check out more of the entries from all the other bloggers.]


Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon 2010!

Hey everyone! (If there is any still left out there...) This is an announcement that Popcorn and Cigarettes is coming out of semi-retirement in order to participate in StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon. If you have a blog of your own (it doesn't matter what the usual subject of your blog is) you can find out all of the details on how to submit your own entry right here!

So if you are as excited as I am, come back to the blog tomorrow and read who I picked for my Supporting Actress of 2010!

You can also find my past entries for 2009 (here) and 2008 (here). Whoever my choice is tomorrow, she will definitely be in good company.

On a sidenote, I thought that this was an interesting tidbit, both Rinko Kikuchi and Julianne Moore, my two choices for previous Supporting Actress Blog-a-thons were both muses to Tom Ford and both walked the catwalk in his latest women's wear collection. The video is below if you are interested!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Eat Pray Love

So, I know I've been a bad blogger but I am back with a poster update! More of a passing commentary really... anyways, first up (as you can see above) is Eat Pray Love. It is written and directed by Ryan Murphy (Running With Scissors, Glee) starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. It's also has Viola Davis, James Franco, Billy Crudup and Richard Jenkins but let's not kid ourselves, this is totally going to be the Julia show.

I actually have no problem with that at all, in fact I miss Julia. I thought she was good in Duplicity, not enough to warrant a Golden Globe nomination mind you, but I thought she did a decent job, and I thought the film was enjoyable enough. I was actually on the fence about Eat Pray Love until I saw the poster above. It's not the design of it that sold me, but rather it was the combination of Julia Roberts + Foriegn Country + What I am assuming is gelato. Although this formula has been done before in Under the Tuscan Sun, I actually enjoyed it, so I am hoping that this will run along a similar vein, while hopefully being better.

I actually saw a video with the novel's author Elizabeth Gilbert discussing the nature of creativity and how she dealt with her surprise success. I watched this talk on a fantastic website called TED. Since it directly relates to her life after the success of her book, I thought it fit in perfectly with this post, you can watch it below.

[Source IMP Awards]


Monday, February 8, 2010

Films of the 2000s

I just saw a really great montage video, capturing the films of the past decade over at Thomson on Hollywood, and I thought I would share it here. I know it misses some great films, but you can't have everything right?



[Source Thompson on Hollywood]


Friday, February 5, 2010

Uma Thurman In...

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

I have no real intention of watching this movie, but I thought the look on Uma Thurman's face in the above picture was both delightful and amusing, so I thought I would share.

The picture also reminded me that... someone needs to give her a role she can really do something with! She hasn't really been in anything worth watching since... Kill Bill!

Hopefully Bel Ami will change all of that.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Looking Forward to 2010!

Instead of trying to do a breakdown of films coming out in 2010 (which I totally failed at last year), I came across this astonishing and comprehensive list of notable films coming out in 2010 over at Dark Horizons. The list is broken down into eleven sections, so it is quite a long read, but well worth it if you have time to spare. Also, each entry comes with a picture of the film/behind the scenes of the film, which is always nice.

You should definitely check it out! The link to the first part is here. Enjoy!


[Source Dark Horizons]


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Julianne Moore in A Single Man

Julianne Moore's Charley from Tom Ford's A Single Man is my choice for StinkyLulu's annual Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon. Now I realize that the goal is to paint a portrait of the supporting actresses of 2009 that is both broad and diverse, but I couldn't help myself and I ended up choosing a rather popular choice. I contemplated many actresses who could have taken this spot, but I found myself always coming back to this performance as my favourite supporting actress of the past year.

One of the reasons I picked Julianne's performance is because her character Charley has no idea what movie she is in. Now, I realize that sounds like a terrible reason to chose a supporting actress but hear me out. Normally, I would think that a performance that plays on another level than any of the other characters would be terrible and totally detrimental to a film. However, this is a special circumstance because not only is Charley in the hands of Julianne Moore, but also because Charley also doesn't fit in with the world around her. She is loud, boisterous, and absolutely charming. As far as Charley is concerned, the world revolves around HER.

A Single Man (if you couldn't already figure it out by the title) is a story centered around Colin Firth's character George, and Charley is George's best friend. Charley does get some minor screen time during the first half of the film; her reaction to George sobbing at her door, or a phone call to George asking him to bring gin to her dinner party, but it is during the second half of the film (more specifically the aforementioned dinner party scene) that Charley really gets her chance to shine.

As the scene unfolds in front of you, it is obvious that these two friends have been comforting each other for a long time. George because of his lover's death, and Charley because of her failed marriage. What separates this party from all of the others these two must have shared over the many years they have known each other, is that Charley reveals how lonely and desperate she truly is, she reveals a hidden part of herself to George. Charley is not one to be dismissed easily, being the center of attention is where she is the most comfortable. However, the years of being ignored by both her ex-husband and her children, have created a deep desire to be loved and noticed. When George does not reciprocate the feelings that Charley lays down, Charley lets loose.

This whole dinner sequence is Moore's to chew, and she does just that. Between the laughs, the smoke, the booze, and the hair, Moore creates a window into the life of Charley in just mere moments. It is amazing that Moore can tap into this woman's loneliness and sadness, but also into her magnetic charisma and natural good humor. It is during these moments that I forgot that the film was about George, because when Moore was onscreen it was ALL about Charley (and to be honest I wouldn't have it any other way).

I don't want to spoil any more of the film than I have to, so that's all I am going to say about this performance. Hopefully reading this entry gives some incentive to those of you reading this post who have yet to watch A Single Man, to get out there and support this film.


[This post is part of the Supporting Actress Class of 2009 blog-a-thon happening over at StinkyLulu. You should head on over there if you haven't already and check out more of the entries from all the other bloggers.]