Author: Shane Singletary

‘Black Swan’ Movie Review

Black Swan (2010) 108 mins. Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey. “I just want to be perfect”.  This line defines Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman).  Ballet is her work, her escape, but ultimately her obsession and undoing.  She is part of the New York City ballet company who is preparing for the production of Swan Lake.  This production is looking to cast a ballerina to play both the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan.  Nina is a perfect fit to play the innocent White Swan but does not have the dark edge to pull off the role of the Black Swan.  However newcomer ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis) is perfect for the role of the Black Swan.  This slow build of intense competition between the two ignites a fire within Nina to explore her darker side ultimately providing her the coveted roles of both the Black and White Swan. Once cast Nina begins to display several hallucinations, delusions and at times seeing visions of herself. All the while she is having  intense pressure onstage from ballet director Thomas Leroy (a very dominating Vincent Cassel) who does not think Nina can lose herself in the Black Swan role because she is too busy being “perfect”.  Offstage her relationship with Lily takes some interesting turns that eventually leads to a very intriguing and intense climax. This is very much Natalie Portman’s...

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‘The Social Network’ Film Review

  The Social Network (2010) 2 hrs. Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara. Director: David Fincher I have to admit when I first realized a movie about “Facebook” was in the works I was less than thrilled.  A couple weeks later when I discovered it was to be David Fincher’s (Benjamin Button) next directing vehicle my interest was piqued.  Even more so with the addition of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake to take the lead roles. The film opens up with our lead Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) having a drink with current girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara).  It is here we learn this is not your typical “college teen” film.  This is a serious film with serious dialogue, smart characters and an amazingly ominous score.  During the course of this opening scene Zuckerberg’s girlfriend dumps him and in a drunken state he goes back to his dorm room and begins to write a scathing blog entry about her.  He in turn creates an online site that rates the attractiveness of various women on campus.  These events are the catalyst that throws The Social Network into gear as you follow Zuckerberg and his business partner Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) on a journey that ends with the creation of one of the largest internet phenomenon ever. However it is not the actual creation of Facebook that this film concerns itself...

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The Hurt Locker Film Review

  The Hurt Locker (2009) 131 Mins. Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty. Director: Kathryn Bigelow ‘The Hurt Locker’ grabs hold of the audience within the first few frames and doesn’t let go until the credits start rolling. In these first few frames you are thrown directly into the middle of an Army bomb squad unit based in Iraq. These soldiers defuse bombs while under the extreme intensity and tension of an unrelenting war.  The hero of this film is Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) who is new to this particular unit but definitely not to bomb detection in general. When asked by a senior officer how many bombs he’s defused he responds with, “Uh, I’m not quite sure.”.  When pushed he finally admits, “873, sir.”. This isn’t something he cockily admits to prove his worth, this is just his job and he does it well. Sgt. James is accompanied by the other two members of his unit: Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty). These two soldiers provide cover fire, watch out for snipers and provide back up to Sgt. James. You are told this unit only has little over a month left and you get the feeling that they are happy to be done with their tour of duty.  Well, all except for Sgt. James.  He is reckless, compulsive and has one thing on...

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‘Up In The Air’ Film Review

Up In The Air (2009) 109 Mins. Starring: George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman. Director: Jason Reitman Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) describes himself as a “termination facilitator”.  He basically fires people for a living.  He travels throughout the country working for various companies, meeting fellow travelers and living practically out of his suitcase.  This accomodates his personality well.  He enjoys his time on the road as much as his time at home.  He is the quintessential “road warrior” in all sense of the phrase.  Bingham has two women in his life.  Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) who is on the road just as much as he is.  They meet in a hotel bar and quickly begin a tricky romantic relationship neither is willing to fully commit to.  Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) is a young graduate recently hired to revolutionize the industry.  Bingham takes her on the road to show her the ins and outs of being on the road. George Clooney displays an amazingly subtle yet commanding performance as the title character.  He portrays this character with a wide range of depth and emotion as he heads to an unlikely catharsis towards the climax of the film.  There is no doubt that Clooney will receive another Oscar nomination for his turn as the isolated “road warrior”. The two female leads (Farmiga and Kendrick) provide a nice balance to one another and...

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