Category: Review

Black Swan: A rare and beautiful thing – a perfect movie.

Saturday, Sep 4, 2010

(…) Similar too is the way that this film uses the star personae of its actors to enrich things, whilst also studying some of the same key issues: fear of aging and of being less than you once were. If Mickey Rourke’s own ups and downs were expressed in that last film, then Winona Ryder’s are mined here. Her aging dancer, Beth, was once a star. But now she finds herself no longer wanted and considered too old to play the main role. Portman is the upstart here: the new Winona Ryder.

Once upon a time, Ryder was the young and attractive female lead of Edward Scissorhands, whereas most recently she was Spock’s mum in the latest Star Trek. It is typically bleak of Aronofsky to make this statement, which implies a less than ideal future for Portman, but it certainly works and gives the drama an added dimension, aswell as a sense of hyper-reality amidst the madness and despair. Incidentally, Ryder is also very good in the role, and will certainly be hoping for a Rourke-style comeback of her own. (…)


Comeback alert: Winona Ryder in Natalie Portman’s ‘Black Swan’

Saturday, Sep 4, 2010

We normally leave awards show predictions and analysis to our brother blog Gold Derby, but we couldn’t help but notice the first round of reviews for Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.”

While lead Natalie Portman may generate awards buzz for her turn as a tortured ballerina, the early notices for Winona Ryder are what flagged our comeback radar.

Ryder, who makes a brief appearance as an aging dancer being shoved from the spotlight, brings “an almost frighteningly credible neurotic intensity” and “sets the bar high for Portman to match,” according to film critic Todd McCarthy.

This is precisely the kind of delicious, arty-but-campy turn that could propel Ryder back into the mainstream — which frankly she’s been on the margins of since 2002’s “Mr. Deeds,” released shortly after her arrest on shoplifting charges at a Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

We can’t wait to see for ourselves, but we’d love some Winona in the supporting actress category if she makes “Swan” dance.

— Matt Donnelly

5 “Black Swan” Reviews To Excitedly Wake Up To

Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010

Venice Festival started today (sadly, Winona didn’t attended but go here if you want to see the other cast member’s photocall), but there’s some reviews around.

Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter: The movie is so damn out-there in every way that you can’t help admiring Aronofsky for daring to be so very, very absurd. “Swan” is an instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what’s so good about it.

Peter DeBruge, Variety: A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer’s all-consuming ambition, “Black Swan” serves as a fascinating complement to Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” trading the grungy world of a broken-down fighter for the more upscale but no less brutal sphere of professional ballet. Winona Ryder is a crucial but barely-there part.

Mike Goodridge, Screen: Alternately disturbing and exhilarating, this dark study of a mentally fragile performer derailed by her obsession with perfection is one of the most exciting films to come out of the Hollywood system this year.

Guy Lodge, In Contention: “Black Swan” cements Aronofsky’s place as one of the biggest and most unruly thinkers working in the only notionally small aesthetic of American independent cinema.”

Todd McCarthy, Deep Focus: “When one star is born, however, a previous one must pass by the boards, in this case the aging Beth MacIntyre, played with an almost frighteningly credible neurotic intensity by Winona Ryder that sets the bar high for Portman to match.”

Story of Al-Anon founder has powerful moments

Thursday, Apr 22, 2010

In 1989, the Hallmark Hall of Fame television series told the story of the man who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous. James Woods won an Emmy playing Bill Wilson in “My Name Is Bill W.” JoBeth Williams played his long-suffering wife, Lois, and James Garner was AA co-founder “Dr. Bob” Smith.

This new Hallmark Hall of Fame focuses on “Bill W.’s” wife, Lois, played skillfully by Winona Ryder, who blames herself for her inability to keep her husband sober. As Bill W., Barry Pepper gives the role all he’s got. Their performances are reason enough to see the movie, which, despite some powerful moments, seems disjointed and too familiar.

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“Pippa Lee” review

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009

A grown-up love story that’s rambling, quirky and sharp-eyed about mid-life doldrums, Rebecca Miller’s cinematic adaptation of her own novel works largely because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. An across-the-board solid cast backs up Robin Wright Penn’s enjoyable central performance which, like much of the film, is believable without being entirely naturalistic. Still, this is not a sure-fire commercial prospect even on the independent circuit. It comes on like a woman’s take on a Philip Roth novel (except with a sense of humour), and despite its oddball tone and upbeat ending could end up placing in the same $5 million region as Roth adaptations like Elegy or The Human Stain in the US. It may have better luck in urban markets abroad, especially in Europe Continue reading “Pippa Lee” review

A Dynamic Duo

Friday, Aug 3, 2007

(…)“The Ten” is a bizarre tale of tales narrated by Paul Rudd, who also served as a co-producer. This film includes all Ten Commandments, with overlapping characters and stories.

For example, Adam Brody breaks the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” by becoming an idolized God-like figure and causes his wife, Kelly (Winona Ryder), to leave him.

Later in the film Kelly appears again. After separating from Brody, she then becomes infatuated over a ventriloquist’s wooden puppet, and steals it for her own love fest.

Though Ryder made headlines in December 2001 when she was caught on tape for allegedly stealing from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, the fact that she was asked to play out the commandment of “Thou shalt not steal” was a complete coincidence, Wain explained.

“It didn’t occur to me until I spoke to her on the phone and I said, ‘Your commandment is, “Thou shalt not steal,’” and she said, ‘Great,’” he said. “It was a great part for her. And she turned out to be just an amazing actress and completely committed to our silly material and raised it five levels.”
And that’s exactly what this film is — silly.

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