Black Swan (2010)

black-swan-movie-review-2010-posterDirector: Darren Aronofsky

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Horror

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Sebastian Stan

Plot: Nina is a young, talented ballerina who finds herself fighting for the position of the Swan Queen in her company’s latest production. She is pushed back initially for not being able to embody the Black Swan as well as the White Swan, but as she strives for perfection, her mental state suffers.

My Thoughts: My youngest brother is a huge fan of twisty movies like Inception, Shutter Island and Memento. Can you imagine my frustration when he refuses to watch Fight Club because “I don’t want to watch a movie about boxing”?! I think he’s avoiding it on purpose now, the argument has gone on for years. Anyway…I guess in a way I’m guilty of the same, I’ve avoided Black Swan because I’m not really a fan of ballet.

Yes, there is a lot of ballet in this movie. There is some incredible dancing, as well as some shots of the dancer’s injured feet that made me cringe – but it’s not surprising with how much time these talented people spend on their toes. Black Swan is so much more than this though, it’s the story of a beautiful, shy girl’s descent into madness, and it’s such a thrilling ride. I’ve seen criminally little of Natalie Portman’s work so I’m open to suggestions of where to turn next, and this is also the first serious role of Mila Kunis’ I’ve seen, she was brilliant too.

10 years later, I think I might be the only person who hasn’t seen this movie yet, but on the rare chance you haven’t, definitely add this to your watch list. It’s slow in places but the payoff is so worth it. Whilst you’re at it, help me convince my brother to watch Fight Club. When I tell him it isn’t about boxing, he says “what is it about then?” and looks less than impressed when I tell him the first rule of Fight Club.

black-swan-2010-ballet-natalie-portman

Best Bit: The ending was so wild. I won’t spoil anything of course but the last 10 minutes are adrenaline-fuelled and you find yourself needing to know if what you just saw was real. You do find out – and bam, what a final shot. Just stunning.

Worst Bit: It’s been 10 years and we don’t have a spin-off movie about what happened to Winona Ryder’s character? Come on Hollywood, sort it out!

Fun Trivia: Natalie Portman met her future husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of this film. Portman herself pointed out the irony that his character in the film scoffs when asked if he’d have sex with Nina, and joked that obviously, he was a good actor.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of the comfiest-looking slipper boots that I just want to hand out to everyone in this movie.

black-swan-2010-ballet-feet-slippers

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

the-spy-who-dumped-me-poster-movieDirector: Susanna Fogel

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj, Kev Adams, Gillian Anderson, Ivanna Sakhno

Plot: Best friends Audrey and Morgan find themselves in the middle of an international terrorist conspiracy when Audrey learns that her ex-boyfriend is, in fact, a spy.

My Thoughts: After watching the reboot of Ghostbusters I realised I would blindly follow Kate McKinnon into whatever movies she happened to star in afterward. That said, I didn’t need much convincing to see The Spy Who Dumped Me, it ticks all of my Comedy boxes!

It’s always a worry with Comedies when the trailer makes the movie look so darn funny. Is it a good sign of what’s to come, or is it a case that the only funny jokes have all been crammed into the trailer, leaving nothing good left to look forward to? I’d say this movie sits comfortably in the middle of those two scenarios. Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis gel so well together, and I would love to see them in another comedy, but this one won’t be in anyone’s Top 10 of the year.

It had plenty of laugh out loud moments, but it’s at least 20 minutes too long, so the laughs are spread out between a heck of a lot of plot. The twists come at you almost as quickly as the jokes do, most of them obvious but it did leave me guessing a few times. I think if you’re looking for a Comedy with a spy theme you’re better off watching Spy (2015), but I do still recommend The Spy Who Dumped Me!

the-spy-who-dumped-me-mila-kunis-kate-mckinnon

Best Bit: The scene with the Cab/Taxi/Uber driver Lukas. You know when you come out of the cinema after watching something like Mission: Impossible or Fast & Furious and you want to drive home like you’re in the movie? (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who feels like this) Lukas gets to live out that fantasy!

Worst Bit: Towards the end at the big flashy event, the scene with the trapeze act fell a bit flat, I thought. It was just a little too silly, and seemed to go on forever!

Fun Trivia: The movie “Red Sparrow” shot footage in the same Budapest café that was used in “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” After “Red Sparrow” finished filming, director Susanna Fogel said that there were plans to tear down the café in order to renovate the building, but they offered to let “The Spy Who Dumped Me” destroy it first.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 lipsticks from me. Don’t open them though…you might not like what you find inside. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

the-spy-who-dumped-me-review-rating