Movie Review: Black Swan

You may have heard or been a part of the Snowpocolypse a week and a half ago, I was. Luckily, movie theaters stayed open and thanks to that magical thing called “4-Wheel Drive” I was able to get out and be productive…depending on your definition of  “productive.”

I had the same make up for my senior prom.

Anyway, I went and saw Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel. The basic premise it that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are in the ballet, Vincent Cassel is the director and is getting ready to put on his new version of Swan Lake. Portman gets the lead, Kunis is her understudy, and then all hell breaks loose. It was surprising how trailers and commercials for the film make it seem like a whole other movie. I’m not going to give anything away, because that’s not my thing, and I hate people who give away plot twists in movies, but let’s just say it’s what you think, but it’s not what you think. Cryptic, I know.

Black Swan was very well directed, and actually pretty beautiful to watch even with all the nail trimming going on. Seriously, who trims their nails with scissors?! The actors were spot on, I’m shocked Mila Kunis didn’t get a supporting actress nomination.

I actually liked Black Swan more than I liked Inception, which I’ll have a review of that up soon, although it’ll be a lot like this one where I can’t give anything away. Frustrating.

Final thought: Ballerinas are self-mutilating, Natalie Portman could have used a prescription of Xanax.

One Sentence Review: Oscars 2011

Once again, Joe attempts to (completely distract himself from thinking about the Kansas/Kansas St. game from last night and) capture the basic feel for television shows, movies or music in one, brief and often-grammatically-disastrous sentence.   Next up:  the 10 films up for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars.

Inception – I was dreaming when I wrote this so forgive me if it goes astray…..or was I?

The King’s Speech – How Judy Dench was not nominated for (or, on further reflection, wasn’t even in) this movie is just beyond me.

Winter’s Bone – Hey, that meth looks like a good time, am I right?

The Social Network – Witty, artful and occasionally morose…just like any, random day on my Facebook news feed.

Black Swan – Apart from Natalie Portman and the stunning use of mirrors, I was self-hatingly un-wowed.

The Fighter - An altogether average story bolstered by dynamite performances from all fronts.

The Kids Are All Right – Lesbians are just like us…who knew?

127 Hours - James Franco delivers a powerful performance as a trapped hiker who cut his….wait…wasn’t he on General Hospital for a good chunk of last year?

True Grit – The Dude dons an eye patch and hunts down Streisand’s kid with the help of a little girl through a seemingly booze-stanked but stunning wilderness.

Toy Story 3 – The kid in me would have loved this if he hadn’t grown up and abandoned me…when I…needed….forget it, this review is over.

Oscar Nominations Are Out!

The nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were announced early yesterday morning, and as usual there are some surprises and some snubs. Here’s a quick run through of the major categories.

Best Picture:

The Social Network, Black Swan, True Grit, The King’s Speech, Inception…. pretty much all you need to know. The rest were just filler because the academy decided last year to expand the category from 5 films to 10 films.

Best Actor:

Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, Jesse Eisenberg, James Franco.

Where’s Leonardo DiCaprio? Why does the Academy hate him so much? And where’s Marky Mark?

Best Actress:

Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams

The Academy took out Halle Berry and placed in Golden Globe Best Actress in a Comedy/musical nominee Annette Bening. Other than that, it’s the nominees for Best Actress- Drama for the Golden Globes.

Best Director:

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan, The Coen Brothers – True Grit, David Fincher – The Social Network, Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech, David O. Russell –  The Fighter

Are you kidding me? No Christopher Nolan? Seriously?!

There’s your quick and dirty rundown of the main 4 categories for the 2011 Oscars. Check back for movie reviews of some of the Best Picture nominees, and see who the Jerks’ pick for the awards. Don’t forget to mark your calendars: Sunday February  27, 8/7 central, the awards will be handed out.

Natalie Portman To Be Stripped Of Golden Globe?

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has found itself in a difficult position.

Natalie Portman enjoys the highest point of her career...a mere 6 days before the lowest kicked in.

Less than a week after Natalie Portman, 29, snagged the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama award, the non-profit organization’stop brass are now faced with a unprecedented decision to possibly take the award away from Portman.

“It was not something that we premeditated,” an unnamed spokesperson revealed yesterday. “We just want to make sure that the award went to an actress that was truly deserving of it.”

When asked what aspect of her critically lauded performance in Darren Aronofsky’s dark-thriller Black Swan caused the concern, the spokesperson balked.  “Oh, no.  No, it has nothing to do with Black Swan.  We loved her in that.  It’s just that we…we screened No Strings Attached last night and, well, it just made us rethink some things.”

The HFPA has said that they won’t make a decision until they’ve had a chance to look at all of the data.  But, that early signs were not good.

“It was awful.  Certainly not Golden Globe caliber. I’m not sure we’ll be able to forget this one for a while.” The spokesperson said.  “Not, at least, until Friends With Benefits comes out this summer.”

More as this story develops.

“The Expendables” Pre-Release Questionnaire Recovered!

Get to the CHOPPA!!!

“The Expendables”, for the lucky populace who have yet to observe 2010′s biggest reason to give up on life, is a film directed by Sylvester Stallone that scored a generous 6.8 on and a 41% on the more accurate website of

The following is a recovered Public Opinion Survey given to individuals invited to see a sneak peak version of the film before it hit theatres, to better gauge how Sly Stallone and company could fine tune their movie for the public’s pleasure…..

“The Expendables” Pre-Release Questionnaire

Public Opinion Questionnaire Sampling Location Sites, to ensure a variety in public opinion:

- X Games competition in Philadelphia, PA
- UFC match in Cleveland, OH
- National Rifle Association convention in Detroit, MI

Part I, Termination Questions: weeding out the nOObs
Note to Interviewer: (“*” denotes automatic survey termination)

1) Are you male or female?
A. Male
B. Female *

2) How many guns do you own?
A. None *
B. between 1 and 4 *
C. 5 or more
D. including the rocket launcher I’ve got stored in the basement for when the zombies take over? (auto-entry)

3) Are you a PETA member?
A. Yes *
B. No *
C. I’m Team Mike Vick

Part 2, Film Related Questions:

4) Did you feel that the designated eye candy of the film, Giselle Itie, was attractive enough?
A. What girl? I was too focused on enjoying the explosions and blood splatterings
B. With the right stylist, she’d be gorgeous *
C. Thanks for the name. I know what I’m beating off to tonight.

5) Which of the following types of scenes do you think could have made the film even better?
A. Sylvester Stallone and Steve Austin engaging in an arm wrestling competition, in which Stallone is victorious, rips Austin’s arm off in the process, and devours it.
B. Some sort of small animals being grinded in giant gears in the background of plot developing scenes.  (Note: plot developing scenes will be added upon selection)
C. Jet Li gnawing somebody’s testicles out of their scrotum, strapping C-4 explosives to them, and throwing them into a nuclear power plant, destroying a city whose population is comprised mostly of black people.

6) Are you satisfied with the amount of explosions featured in this film?
A. No
B. Yes, just the correct amount of explosions
C. Yes, but there can never be too many explosions
D. There were far too many, and most contributed nothing to the content of the movie. *

Public Opinion Results Notes: All interviewees of a completed survey were given a complimentary cycle’s worth of anabolic steroids.

Blake Edwards Finally Able To Roll Over In His Grave

Renowned comedic director, Blake Edwards, passed away yesterday at the age of 88.  A master of heartfelt comedy and drama alike, Edwards was probably best known for his classic slapstick style, as showcased in the original Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers.

Edwards and Sellers made seven Pink Panther movies together:  The Pink Panther (1963), A Shot In the Dark (1964), Inspector Clouseau (1968), Return of the Pink Panther (1975), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976),  Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) and Trail of the Pink Panther* (1982).

Edwards went on to make Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) and Son of the Pink Panther (1993) after Sellers shuffled off to the great gymnasium reum in the sky.

Blake Edwards DID NOT, however, make the abortion that was the 2006 Steve Martin disaster or its completely unnecessary and equally unspeakable 2009 sequel.

Yeah, this guy made The Jerk and LA Story.

Edwards was given a writing credit for the both movies since he created the characters…but I’m sure, privately, he couldn’t have been sadder.

At press time, burial plans had not been made public for the man who gave us Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Victor/Victoria.  But, you can rest assured that as soon as he IS buried, Edwards will undoubtedly be able to end the 4 year wait and finally roll over in his grave.

RIP, Mr. Edwards.  Here’s hoping that Hollywood will let you.

*-Made after Sellers’ death with footage from The Pink Panther Strikes Again as a tribute to the iconic comedian.

Lamentations of a Baseball Fan

The MLB Postseason is in full swing (pardon the pun), but for this baseball fan the season has been over since last week.

I’ve been a Royals fan since birth, and except for those years in the early stages of my existence, it’s been a lifetime of calling a season where they lose less than 100 games “a good season.” Yet, I still cheer for them every year, and I think, “This is the year, were going to turn it around and at least contend.”

We need these guys

Every year I honestly believe that the Royals could be the real-life embodiment of the Cleveland Indians from the movie Major League.  I’m very serious that that possibility runs through my head every April.

The Royals come out every spring and start off decently well, but then in May the wheels fall off. They start losing series after series, I start ending my days with prayers that Luke Hochevar will morph into Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, or Jason Kendall will be a Jake Taylor-like inspirational veteran of the league that will lead the club to the postseason.

Just slap David Glass' face on her body.

It hasn’t happened, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t. Next year, Ned Yoast needs to have a cardboard cutout of David Glass with removable sections on it, I mean, it worked as motivation in the movie…. I don’t know if the possibility of David Glass in a thong would have the same effect though.  Oh well, I’ll still be spending the off-season wishing and hoping for Alex “Pedro Cerrano” Gordon to show up next spring.