Another film that answers questions we didn’t ask, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is a prequel showing how the magical land over the rainbow got its formidable-but-all-too-fallible wizard. Director Sam Raimi makes his 3D debut in this big-budget project, recruiting James Franco as his soon-too-be Oz, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams as a trio of witches good and wicked, and Zach Braff and Joey King voicing some of the kingdom’s more magical inhabitants: a flying monkey and a China girl. Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons bought a round-trip ticket to this fantasy world, and are back to discuss whether the newer actors live up to their original counterparts in 1939’s THE WIZARD OF OZ, if the CG-enhanced visuals add new grandeur to the predecessor’s production design, and if the entire experience is more like a wild ride into a tornado or a soporific stroll through a field of poppies.
Also: Steve gives his opinion of THE ABCS OF DEATH, and what’s coming to theaters next week.
Darran Aronofsky is well known for filling his movies with a mixture of the tragic (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) and the fantastic (THE FOUNTAIN). Now he brings his vision to the thriller genre with his next release BLACK SWAN. The trailer was released recently and, though a bit confusing, will intrigue nonetheless. We suggest reading the plot summary first before viewing. Enjoy!
BLACK SWAN follows the story of Nina (Natalie Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her retired ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who zealously supports her daughter’s professional ambition. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.