Home' Nova West : February 2011 Contents 31
FILMS BY MARY O'DONOVAN ★★★★★ so good ★★★★ really good ★★★ pretty good ★★ not so good ★ no good
© NOVA FEBRUARY 2011
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wants -- she lives and breathes ballet to
the exclusion of all else. Her worldview
is confined to the rehearsal room and
the performance space and she keeps
her distance from the other dancers. The
artistic director Leroy (Vincent Cassel) is
impressed with Nina's technical abilities
and her personification of the white swan
for the lead in Swan Lake, but he is not
convinced she can do the Black Swan.
A newcomer to the company, Lily (Mila
Kunis) is sensuous and dances with an
abandon Nina cannot emulate.
This is not a film like Centrestage
where the rivalry of nice middle class
girls with a ballet interest is played out.
This is a hard, tough look at the realities
of calloused toes, bloodied feet, lettuce
lunches and where such obsession can
lead.Portman is extraordinary, not only
in conforming to the ballerina's body
type but in manifesting the gruelling
psychological challenge. Barbara Hershey
as an obsessed performance mama is a
revelation. Aronofsky proves once again
to be a compelling and disturbing
filmmaker. Do not take your teenage,
ballet obsessed daughters to see this. It
BLACK SWAN ★★★★
Director of Black Swan Darren Aronofsky
does not make that many films but when
he does he creates worlds where you find
yourself not just visiting, but staying for
quite a while. And for film critics who see
more films than most, Aronofsky's worlds
retain a resonance and singularity long
after others have faded from memory.
Requiem for a Dream is still one of the
most powerful films in the lexicon of
the last decade, as is The Wrestler. Black
Swan joins them as a truly disturbing
and compelling study of ambition.
Nina (Natalie Portman) is a senior
dancer with a large New York ballet
company waiting for the tap on the
shoulder that will catapult her to the prima
ballerina position. She is willing to do
anything, to sacrifice anything to attain
this goal. Her chance comes when the
current prima ballerina Beth (Winona
Ryder) is thrown over because of her
age, her inability to draw a crowd and a
substance abuse problem.
It's clear from the start what Nina
TRUE GRIT ★★★★
This is another story of a girl with her
eyes on a prize and the will to see it
through. It is also a story created by
singular filmmakers, the Coen Brothers.
Remaking a John Wayne classic seems
a brave thing to do, but if anyone was
going to pull it off, then the Coens would.
They are helped along by a strong cast.
Jeff Bridges plays it gruff as US Marshall
Rooster Cogburn and newcomer Hailee
Steinfeld as the young girl, Mattie Ross,
is just outstanding. I have not seen the
original True Grit but I understand that
the role of La Boeuf (played here by Matt
Damon and in the original by the singer
Glenn Campbell) is much richer and
more rounded in this version than in the
Mattie Ross is a girl on a mission, and
that mission is to avenge the death of her
father at the hands of the coward, Tom
Chaney. She is worried that Chaney will
get away, or, even worse, be hanged for
some of the other crimes he's committed,
rather than the crime of killing her father.
And that just won't do.
She enlists the drunken, cocky Cogburn
to get her man, but insists on joining him,
not the least because she doesn't trust
him to do the job and she doesn't want
to lose her money as well as her father.
Cogburn is none too pleased about this,
and neither is the smooth talking, sharp
dressing La Boeuf who wants Chaney for
a murder in Texas.
The first encounter between Mattie
and La Beouf is priceless. As they trade
insults it is clear that this kid has his
measure and is prepared to give as good
attracted to his good looks.
There is lots to enjoy in True Grit
not the least of which is the true grit of
Mattie Ross, her ability to ride hard and
to fight even harder; to stare adversity in
the face and just keep on trying. It is, you
imagine, the only type of woman who
could survive in the Wild West, which was
even tougher and meaner than portrayed
The only disappointment is that Jeff
Bridges' accent is at times so gruff and
"southern" that you can miss some of the
downright hilarious interchanges, and
that's a great pity.
A comic western? That just about
sums it up -- it is more Fargo than No
Country for Old Men.
There is no doubt that growing up is tough, and for young women today there are myriad challenges. These two films are a study of young womanhood, and
while one is set in the Wild American West and the other in the rarefied atmosphere of the New York ballet scene, both show what a steely determination and
a single minded drive can do. Sometimes it leads to triumph and sometimes it leads down the path of destruction.
NOVA MAGAZINE & WINDSOR CINEMA are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to
HEREAFTER (M). George is a blue-collar American whose special connection to the
afterlife has become a burden. Marie, a French journalist, has a near-death experience. And
Marcus, a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him. All are forever changed by
what they believe might exist in the hereafter. Mark you entry HEREAFTER
NOVA MAGAZINE & LUNA ON SX are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to RABBIT
HOLE (TBA). Becca and Howie Corbett are a happily married couple whose perfect world
is changed forever when their young son is killed. Becca tries to find her place among well-
meaning family and friends, while secretly reaching out to the teenage driver who caused
their pain. Mark your entry RABBIT HOLE
NOVA MAGAZINE & CINEMA PARADISO are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST (MA). Genius computer hacker Lisbeth
Salander is recovering in hospital before being taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for
three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Blomkvist, Lisbeth sets out to prove
her innocence. Mark your entry HORNET
NOVA MAGAZINE & LUNA LEEDERVILLE are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to
127 HOURS (MA). Academy Award winning filmmaker, Danny Boyle, tells the fascinating
true story of Aron Ralston's epic journey of survival when a massive boulder falls and pins
down his arm, trapping him for five days. Mark your entry 127 HOURS
NOVA MAGAZINE & MOVIES BY BURSWOOD AND MOVIES IN STIRLING are
giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to THE 2010/2011 SEASON. Relax in the beautiful
gardens at Burswood or Stirling Civic Gardens and watch your favourite movies under
the stars while enjoying a lovely picnic and a glass of wine. Movies by Burswood and
Stirling screens the latest release, contemporary and classic films in beautiful parks and
gardens. Pack a picnic, gather a group of friends and join us on the lawns. Mark your entry
To be in the draw for these great freebies write the tickets of your choice and
your daytime phone number on the back of an envelope and send with a s.s.a.e. to:
NOVA MAGAZINE FILM COMPETITION, Suite 2, 544 William Street, Mt Lawley WA 6050
DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 25
Answer the question on our homepage this month to be eligible for the draw.
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Visit www.novamagazine.com.au and click on the links.
PRESENTING THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN AND WORLD CINEMA.
COMMENCES FEBRUARY 10
at WINDSOR CINEMA
For sessions, check The West or go online to: www.lunapalace.com.au
From director CLINT EASTWOOD (Million Dollar Baby) and writer PETER MORGAN (The Queen)
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