Sergio Leone Web Board

Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: PowerRR on August 17, 2010, 07:39:24 PM



Title: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: PowerRR on August 17, 2010, 07:39:24 PM
One of my 3 most anticipated films of the year alongside Malick's The Tree of Life and Coens' True Grit. Trailer just came out - looks great. A potential follow-up masterpiece to Aronofsky's The Wrestler, one of my favorite films ever.

TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jaI1XOB-bs


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: cigar joe on August 18, 2010, 03:21:42 AM
yea it looks good  O0


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on August 18, 2010, 06:24:33 AM
Somebody on YouTube nailed it: "natalie portman + mila kunis + girl on girl action = must see"


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: dave jenkins on August 18, 2010, 02:38:17 PM
Could be good, here's hoping.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: titoli on August 18, 2010, 03:50:54 PM
yea it looks good  O0

You're joking, aren't you?


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: cigar joe on August 23, 2010, 05:03:01 PM
You're joking, aren't you?

A bit  ;)


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: PowerRR on August 23, 2010, 07:59:58 PM
replace "Aronofsky" with "Leone", "Ford", or "Peckinpah" and put some cowboy hats on those ballerinas and you guys would be creaming yourselves.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Whalestoe on August 23, 2010, 11:28:49 PM
The trailer gives off a vibe nearing that of a corny thriller. I'm hoping for the opposite since I enjoy most of Aronofsky's work.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Groggy on August 24, 2010, 06:51:49 AM
It takes more than girl-on-girl action to make me want to see a film. There are websites for that sort of thing.

replace "Aronofsky" with "Leone", "Ford", or "Peckinpah" and put some cowboy hats on those ballerinas and you guys would be creaming yourselves.

The argument of the intellectually bankrupt. None of those directors would make this film so your asinine comment is completely moot.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on August 24, 2010, 07:21:58 AM
It takes more than girl-on-girl action to make me want to see a film. There are websites for that sort of thing.
With Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis? Where, where?!

I like Requem for a Dream a lot and The Fountain and The Wrestler are ok. I'm waiting for reviews.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: dave jenkins on December 04, 2010, 04:06:16 PM
Black Swan (2010) - 7/10. Here is the movie exactly: The Red Shoes meets Repulsion, with a bit of Cronenberg body horror tossed in for good measure. Once you realize the theme is--for the thousandth time--the confusion of art and life (which in the film takes about 2 minutes to make itself known) the ending is predictable. Still, the film is hella entertaining; Tchaikovsky's music is used both onstage and off, providing cover for scenes and performances that would otherwise be risible. Aronofsky has successfully re-launched old-fashioned mellodrama (why such a thing should be desirable is another matter,  but the 11am. crowd I saw it with was appreciative). Emerging from the Lincoln Center Plaza cinemas after the show, I was able to look across the street at Lincoln Center where much of the film was set. For a movie in which doubling is such an important technique, this was the best way to conclude.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2010, 05:10:21 PM
All I've heard about it concerns lesbian sex, so I'll probably give it a pass.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on December 04, 2010, 05:33:11 PM
All I've heard about it concerns lesbian sex, so I'll probably give it a pass.
I've heard that the US Army has used the question "Do you watch lesbian porn?" to rule out gays out of their applicants.  ;D

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I had to post that here though I haven't watched a movie for five days; I've spent my time making 'em.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: dave jenkins on December 05, 2010, 11:49:27 AM
All I've heard about it concerns lesbian sex, so I'll probably give it a pass.
A very small part of the movie is about lesbian sex specifically; a lot of the film is about sex generally, as the Natalie Portman character, like the Catherine Deneuve character in Repulsion, is sexually repressed. That repression causes her to hallucinate (again, as did the heroine in Repulsion), but ultimately she is able to channel the fruit of her hallucinations into her art.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: The Firecracker on December 05, 2010, 12:17:44 PM
I don't like Natalie Portman and the director's taste are not my own (I like his initial film and parts of Wrestler) but I'm very intrigued by this.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: dave jenkins on December 05, 2010, 02:22:24 PM
I generally don't like Portman either, but here she is very good casting. She certainly looks like a dancer, and she knows enough about it to sell me on the idea that her character is a professional in a world-class company.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: dave jenkins on December 08, 2010, 02:28:57 PM
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/swan-breaks-studio-record-prestige-56492

Quote
The weekend went swimmingly for Fox Searchlight's Natalie Portman starrer Black Swan and other adult-targeting art films and prestige pictures.

An atmospheric suspense thriller about ballet dancers directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), Swan dove into 18 theaters in eight markets and came up roses with $1.4 million, or a Searchlight-record $77,459 per venue. One of the holiday season's key platform pictures, Swan is set for an incremental expansion during the next few weeks and will reach at least 60 locations next weekend.

"We may increase that further, based on the weekend," Searchlight senior vp Sheila DeLoach said. "But this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. So we don't want to just blow it out, but we may do a few more theaters than we had planned next weekend."


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: PowerRR on December 18, 2010, 06:30:45 PM
Definitely a great movie. I still consider The Wrestler to be Aronofsky's true masterpiece and one of my all-time favorites, though Black Swan is pretty good stuff. Pretty much agree with everything dave jenkins said, though maybe I'd go a point higher and probably did like it a bit more. Definitely wouldn't recommend it for anyone on this board though, I feel most people would hate it for reasons I can't comprehend.

Compared to the rest of Aronofsky's its probably the best besides The Wrestler, the only one that may be better is Requiem but I'd have to see both again.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Whalestoe on December 19, 2010, 06:56:11 PM
Definitely a great movie. I still consider The Wrestler to be Aronofsky's true masterpiece and one of my all-time favorites, though Black Swan is pretty good stuff. Pretty much agree with everything dave jenkins said, though maybe I'd go a point higher and probably did like it a bit more. Definitely wouldn't recommend it for anyone on this board though, I feel most people would hate it for reasons I can't comprehend.

Compared to the rest of Aronofsky's its probably the best besides The Wrestler, the only one that may be better is Requiem but I'd have to see both again.

Wow! I am certainly glad to have been proven wrong. Honestly, I found Black Swan to be a lot more enjoyable than The Wrestler, although the films without a doubt share many similarities. The last 20 minutes or so, specifically the ballet itself, are wonderfully surreal and captivating. Portman does a fantastic job throughout as Nina. Easily her best performance. 8-9/10

The sex scene in question looks like child's play compared to the masturbation scene that proceeds it. Either way, neither are detrimental to the film nor reasons to write it off.

Seeing as how Jenkins mentioned Cronenberg, did any of you find the scene where Nina plucked the "feather" from her back to be reminiscent of a scene from The Fly? I'm almost certain Brundle does that same thing. Maybe I'm mistaken.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: PowerRR on December 19, 2010, 10:52:19 PM
Wow! I am certainly glad to have been proven wrong. Honestly, I found Black Swan to be a lot more enjoyable than The Wrestler, although the films without a doubt share many similarities. The last 20 minutes or so, specifically the ballet itself, are wonderfully surreal and captivating. Portman does a fantastic job throughout as Nina. Easily her best performance. 8-9/10

The sex scene in question looks like child's play compared to the masturbation scene that proceeds it. Either way, neither are detrimental to the film nor reasons to write it off.

Seeing as how Jenkins mentioned Cronenberg, did any of you find the scene where Nina plucked the "feather" from her back to be reminiscent of a scene from The Fly? I'm almost certain Brundle does that same thing. Maybe I'm mistaken.
Both the masturbation scene and the sex scene are fuckin awesome. Finger-fuck scene ends funny with the mom


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on December 23, 2010, 04:03:03 PM
I will see it and will probably like it better than the Wrestler (which is a good 7/10 to me).
They shot the metro scenes on a DSLR, by the way: the Canon 7D.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on December 23, 2010, 04:46:57 PM
I will see it and will probably like it better than the Wrestler (which is a good 7/10 to me).
They shot the metro scenes on a DSLR, by the way: the Canon 7D.
Interesting O0 My school has a 7D. Now I'm eager to see the movie on big screen.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Groggy on January 15, 2011, 11:09:05 AM
I knocked the rating down to a 4/10 for my full length review. To wit:

Quote
Well, if I needed further proof that critics rarely know what the fuck they're talking about, here's Exhibit X. Black Swan, the latest Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) film, is a pile of derivative, feverishly-melodramatic drek. It will fill most people's quota for graphic lesbian sex, gratuitous gore and over-the-top silliness, but those desiring quality should look elsewhere.

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a seasoned ballet dancer who yearns for the big time. She lands the lead in a production of Swan Lake, ousting aging prima donna Beth (Winona Ryder) but her director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) fears she doesn't have the passion to play the seductive Black Swan. An additional problem surfaces when talented neophyte Lily (Mila Kunis) catches Thomas's eye, and Nina's success precipitates a rift with her overprotective mother (Barbara Hershey). Finally, Nina goes out of her mind and breaks down, her life becoming intermingled with the character she plays onstage. This not being The Diary of Anne Frank, rest assured this isn't a good thing.

Black Swan is a melange of ideas borrowed from better films. It uses every show biz cliche in existence, with scenes, characters and thematic conceits lifted wholesale from 42nd Street, All About Eve and The Red Shoes: the overly-friendly, scheming neophyte, the demanding director, the interweaving of a performer's life with their character. For some variety and questionable shock value, Aronofsky throws in giallo-esque body horror, weirdo fantasy scenes and some graphic sex. Yawn.

This would be fine had Aronofsky done something interesting with these cliches. After all, there are only so many original ideas under the sun, and a skilled artist can make old elements seem new. Black Swan, however, commits a double sin: not only does it regurgitate bits of other movies, it doesn't even have fun with its material. Everything is in deadly earnest, which is frankly stupid when the story and style is so feverishly overwrought and melodramatic. The sophomoric screenplay supplies mouthfuls of godawful dialogue: "Look how pretty!" says Nina, gaping moronically at a grapefruit. Character development is nonexistent, but to be fair it's hard to develop nonexistent characters to begin with. You can claim it's deliberately campy if you wish, but Aronofsky plays things absolutely straight, resulting in a movie that's nowhere near as fun, clever or dramatically powerful as it thinks it is.

Aronofsky's direction is equally uninspired. A few interesting concepts - Nina transforming into the swan onstage, Nina's mirror-bedecked foyer - are undermined by uninspired camera work, boring blocking and overuse of CGI. Visual ideas pilfered from Dario Argento and Mario Bava flicks (the talking paintings, Nina's mutilation fantasies) come off cheesy and overwrought. It doesn't help that Aronofsky resorts to the most cartoonish symbolism imaginable: ooh, Nina put a black top over her white one! Look her throw her stuffed animals in the garbage! Gag. And what the hell is with the goddamned shaky cam!?! Powell and Pressburger didn't need no shaky cam for their ballet movie!

Natalie Portman is the film's saving grace. Hers is a demanding performance, and Portman manages her character's monstrous personality change and descent into madness, even if the script doesn't. The supporting cast, however, is weak. Vincent Cassel shines in the Anton Walbrook role as the obsessive, sleazy director, but Mila Kunis is a one-note bad girl, Winona Ryder has nothing to do and Barbara Hershey's (The Stunt Man) character is ridiculous.

So yes, Black Swan isn't very good. It's not good horror, it's not good camp and it's not good melodrama. However, it just might make good fertilizer.

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/01/black-swan.html (http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/01/black-swan.html)

Jinkies, I'm well aware I didn't mention the music. It's fucking Tchaikovsky, how could it be bad?


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 15, 2011, 11:50:01 AM
Jinkies, I'm well aware I didn't mention the music. It's fucking Tchaikovsky, how could it be bad?
Well, more than that, it's what saves the movie. All you say is true. Nonetheless, I liked the film, and the reason is: melodrama, even shop-worn melodrama, can be revitalized with the use of music, and no music is better suited to melodrama than Tschaikovsky's. Interestingly, I don't much care for his music usually, and probably, with other music, the film would have been a disaster. But the combination of the two here really worked for me.

Sure, The Red Shoes did this sort of thing better, and Aronofsky shouldn't get any credit for using tricks that were old 60 years ago. But as in opera, when the right music matches up with the appropriate images, something alchemical happens, and dross is converted, if not into gold, than at least into something shiny. Something with sequins, perhaps?


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Dust Devil on February 08, 2011, 11:24:25 PM
BLACK SWAN(2011)

Didn't think this would be my thing with the ballet and all that but i have to say this is the best new film i've  seen recently .Even though i find it's very "evil winning over good" vibe quite depressing, i found the lead ballerina's performance and conversion from the sweet vulnerable White Swan to  frighteningly possessed Black Swan disturbing but somehow very moving.A downbeat ending nearly as upsetting as THE GREAT SILENCE.

9/10

Yeah, baby, Banjo and ballerinas, fight that. I might even watch it after all.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: cigar joe on February 09, 2011, 03:06:24 AM
Yea yea yea, all very nice, but what about the gratuitous "tongue in groove action" ??????

That would be a big selling point ;)  8)


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: titoli on February 09, 2011, 04:39:06 AM
...what about the gratuitous "tongue in groove action" ??????

 You mean "the" groove? Gosh, what kind of movie is this?


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Banjo on February 09, 2011, 05:29:04 AM
but what about the gratuitous "tongue in groove action" ??????


Oh yeah the lesbian action! :P

Maybe they'll be more of this on the dvd.  :D


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: Groggy on February 09, 2011, 09:04:42 AM
Yea yea yea, all very nice, but what about the gratuitous "tongue in groove action" ??????

That would be a big selling point ;)  8)

RR adequately covers that.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 12, 2011, 05:23:54 AM
Seen it yesterday just after I missed (only by 2 minutes) the avant-premiere of Road To Nowhere attended by Monte Hellman himself.

Quote
Very well done. Appart from:
- Portman's character at the begining a bit cliché (you can be a white swan without living in a pink bedroom and without that ennoying little voice)
- Vincent Cassel's french lines (ok, he only has like 6 french lines, but they really sound terrible. Whereas he is amazingly good the rest of the time. I'm sticking with my opinion: I still have to see ONE director able to direct an actor in a langage he (the director) doesn't know)
- The whole adolescent feeling. Aronofsky is a great filmmaker, but while Pie and Requiem For A Dream needed this kind of candid adolescent that tries so hard to be a disturbing artist feeling, it doesn't work with The Fontain, The Wrestler and Black Swan. You can say that the guy isn't very mature, and that's a problem for these 3 movies to reach the magnitude/amplitude they try to get to. Not sure I'm clear. In Black Swan, for instance, a more open ending and a less cliché character would have been great for the movie.
The rest is great.
The subway scenes, shot on Canon 7D, perfectly fit in the film, even if the image is a bit noisy: the whole film is noisy. I knew about them so I thought they felt a bit video, but I wouldn't have noticed if I had not paid attention.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on February 12, 2011, 09:42:21 AM
I'll be seeing it in a week from now. I'm a bit sceptic about combining 16mm with 7D... Plus, I can't quite see why they went with the grainy 16mm look in the first place. It was great for The Wrestler but I'd imagine Black Swan to be a film that I'd like to see in 35mm.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 12, 2011, 10:50:47 AM
They chose 16mm for the dirty atmosphere I think. They're in basements all the time. Works pretty well, it gives a 70s look to the movie. Very organic.
That's also Why 7D footage is well integrated: the noise generated by these DSLRs is very organic, not video like.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: stanton on February 13, 2011, 03:04:51 AM
So it was shot on 16 mm? And then blown up to 35 mm?

Which is indeed the way it looks.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 13, 2011, 03:46:19 AM
Yes I'm pretty sure that's what they did. As you say that's the way it looks.

@MS: the movie doesn't have the atmosphere if the trailer. It's not that big classy masterpiece-wannabe with loud Tchaikovsky music it looks to be. The 16mm grain has its reasons. And they sure don't film Portman as they would film, say, Kidman.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on February 13, 2011, 03:53:26 AM
@MS: the movie doesn't have the atmosphere if the trailer. It's not that big classy masterpiece-wannabe with loud Tchaikovsky music it looks to be. The 16mm grain has its reasons. And they sure don't film Portman as they would film, say, Kidman.
Oh, ok. The trailer sure made it look like a big classy masterpiece-wannabe with loud Tchaikovsky music.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: stanton on February 13, 2011, 04:24:12 AM
Yes I'm pretty sure that's what they did. As you say that's the way it looks.


Question is if they still do it this way, or if they use 35 mm and reprocess it to get the grainy look.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 13, 2011, 04:37:56 AM
Oh, ok. The trailer sure made it look like a big classy masterpiece-wannabe with loud Tchaikovsky music.

It's actually a bit more Rosemary's Baby than that, if you see what I mean.

Question is if they still do it this way, or if they use 35 mm and reprocess it to get the grainy look.

I'd shoot 35mm and reprocess. But you always have purist telling you that you cannot get that organic feeling by reprocessing. DOP are usually purist. And know better than I do :)


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on February 13, 2011, 05:31:14 AM
It's actually a bit more Rosemary's Baby than that, if you see what I mean.

I'd shoot 35mm and reprocess. But you always have purist telling you that you cannot get that organic feeling by reprocessing. DOP are usually purist. And know better than I do :)

Gotcha!

But why waste money on 35mm if you're gonna lower the quality anyway?

Yeah, I'm a purist ;D


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 13, 2011, 05:34:00 AM
Gotcha!

But why waste money on 35mm if you're gonna lower the quality anyway?

Yeah, I'm a purist ;D

If you have the money (and Aronofsky can have the money to shoot 35mm), the point is always the same: CONTROL. That's why when they shoot a feature, they put the contrast of the camera all the way down, for instance. They'll fix it with grading. It's always better, if you can, to record as much information as possible. You'll alway be able to downgrad everything exactly the way you want. The other way around, it doesn't work very well :)


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on February 20, 2011, 07:15:53 AM
OK, I gave it 8/10 on the RTLMYS-thread but now I think 7/10 would be more fitting. Anyway, Black Swan's a handsome but empty movie. I have nothing to add to the comments presented earlier in this thread except that I really couldn't see a difference between the 16mm and 7D (there was maybe a half-second during which the image felt a bit video-like but that's it).


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 21, 2011, 11:09:39 AM
Good interview of the cinematographer:
http://www.alexandrosmaragos.com/2010/12/black-swan-canon-7d.html


The part about 16mm:

Quote
Libatique: Darren likes 16mm because it’s small, he can do handheld, and he doesn’t have to wait around for camera setups. We were using real locations, so it helped in that regard, too. The apartment Nina shares with her mother was right next to Prospect Park, and we moved the camera in as though we were documenting real people’s lives. We made it a point to travel from kitchen to hallway to foyer to bedroom to bathroom, but the space really dictated the kinds of moves we could make. I think 16mm creates interesting texture, especially if you expose it correctly. Harris Savides [ASC] is probably the master of it; he’s always pushing the negative so you can see it in a perfect way. One of my goals was to show the grain in a way that was craftsmanlike. I didn’t want it to look underexposed; I wanted it to look like it was a choice, and I think that comes across.
I considered shooting on Kodak [Vision2 200T] 7217 with a rating of 400, but after tests I opted to go with Fuji Eterna Vivid 500 [8647] and 160 [8643]. I liked how both stocks looked at their box rating in terms of grain and color separation. I had used Fuji on My Own Love Song, and I liked its color properties, so it was really my first choice, but I just had to find out what it would look like in 16mm. Every movie is different, and Fuji just worked better for this one because of the costume colors and our overall palette, which included green, pink, white and black.

And about Canon cameras:

Quote
It was a single-camera shoot except for maybe one day, and our main camera was an Arri 416, which we used with Arri Ultra Prime 16 lenses. We used a Canon 7D or 1D Mark IV for all the subway scenes; I could just carry a 7D and shoot on the subway all day with a very small crew. I did some tests with my wife beforehand to figure out my ASA, my stop, and how I was going to deal with the focus. I didn’t use any rigs with it because I wasn’t trying to shoot in the traditional way. I tested a bunch of different exposures and then brought the footage to Charlie Hertzfeld at Technicolor, who put it in the system so I could look at the highlights, the moiré and the resolution. Then I went back to the drawing board to do more tests. The 7D has more depth of field than the 5D, but I needed that because I didn’t have a follow-focus unit and needed to work really fast. I shot everything documentary-style. I did all the focus pulls by hand, and we’d just look at it on the camera’s monitor. I ended up shooting on a Canon 24mm lens at 1,600 ASA to get as much depth of field as possible at a stop of T81⁄2.


Title: Re: Black Swan (2010)
Post by: moviesceleton on February 21, 2011, 01:57:26 PM
Good interview of the cinematographer:
http://www.alexandrosmaragos.com/2010/12/black-swan-canon-7d.html
Thanks  O0