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Natalie Portman

January 6, 2011 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
Few events straddle the glitz and grit of world cinema quite like the Palm Springs International Film Festival . That's thanks to the affair's wildly divergent aims ? to be the U.S.' definitive, highbrow showcase for international movies, and the Coachella Valley's starry, hard-partying answer to the Golden Globes. Both objectives will be served at the 22nd annual festival, which opens Thursday with a screening of "Potiche," a French screwball comedy starring Catherine Deneuve.
December 19, 2010 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
All actors, in some way, suffer for their craft, with the very act of losing oneself inside another being coming at a high price. All that pushing and prodding of one's pain, joy, love, loss and failure required by the craft is invasive by nature, demanding exposure that few of us would willingly suffer. But there are those roles where the physical extremes parallel, or outpace, the emotional ones; where art is found in extraordinary action, an "our body, ourselves" melding of the abstract of emotions with the concrete of bone and sinew.
December 6, 2010 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Big-city audiences are packing theaters for Hollywood's end-of-the-year flood of award contenders. Just a week after "The King's Speech" posted the best limited-release opening of the year, "The Black Swan" came in arguably even better. Director Darren Aronofsky's psychosexual drama about competitive ballet took in nearly $1.4 million from 18 theaters in eight cities, according to an estimate Sunday from distributor Fox Searchlight. Its per-theater average of $77,459 was slightly lower than that of "King's Speech," but "Black Swan," which stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, debuted at more than four times as many locations, making its start more impressive.
December 5, 2010 | By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
"Black Swan," director Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller set in the world of professional ballet, is a stylish treat. Not only does the film, which opened this weekend, boast exquisite, Rodarte-designed ballet costumes, it also showcases some striking makeup artistry by award-winning makeup designer Judy Chin. Chin has worked on dozens of films, including "The Tempest," which also opens this month, as well as "Frida," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Requiem for a Dream" and the "Sex and the City" films.
December 3, 2010 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
You won't be having a lot of fun at "Black Swan," but the less seriously you take this wildly melodramatic, unashamedly pulpy look at the blood sport that is New York City ballet, the better your chances are of enjoying yourself even a little. This tale of feathered ambition starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as dueling ballerinas is not just any kind of trash, it's high-art trash, a kind of "When Tutu Goes Psycho" that so prizes hysteria over sanity that it's worth your life to tell when its characters are hallucinating and when they're not. In fact, the only problem with calling "Black Swan" sensationalistic and over the top is that it makes this shameless shotgun marriage of "The Red Shoes" and Roger Corman sound like more fun than it is. The director here is the earnest Darren Aronofsky, and his trademark sledgehammer style makes any kind of enjoyment difficult.
November 28, 2010 | By Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times
After pirouetting for hours on the set of "Black Swan," Natalie Portman would sometimes remove her pointe shoes, towel the sweat off of her brow and be met by a disapproving critique from director Darren Aronofsky. "He'd say, 'Oh, Mila is doing really well on her stuff. She's so much better than you,'" the 29-year-old actress said, referring to her costar, Mila Kunis. "Darren would tell us things about each other to try to make us jealous. I think he was trying to create a rivalry in real life between us. " That Aronofsky may have tried to stoke competition between his lead actresses is understandable ?
November 18, 2010 | By Lisa Rosen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Director Darren Aronofsky's film "Black Swan" unfolds on pointe shoes, but it is not stepping lightly into the award field. The provocative film features a searing performance from Natalie Portman as Nina, a ballerina quite possibly driven to madness in her search for perfection. Ratcheting up the drama further is Barbara Hershey as matriarch Erica, a former corps ballerina who gave up everything to mother, and often smother, her talented, potentially unstable child. The two live in stifling quarters made even more oppressive by their dysfunctional relationship.
October 31, 2010 | By Tom Roston, Special to the Los Angeles Times
On the stage of the Performing Arts Center at SUNY's Purchase College, about 45 minutes north of here, Natalie Portman, wearing a tutu and a distressed mesh top, elegantly pirouettes and then dips into the arms of dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied. "That's it," director Darren Aronofsky calls out. "Very nice. " But something apparently is not quite right. Millepied, who stands not unlike the statue of David in tights, quietly confers with Portman and then, separately, with Aronofsky.
December 9, 2009
Tobey Maguire is armed with a bemused smile and perhaps the tallest espresso ever. But it turns out that's a ruse: It's actually the usual amount of espresso in a very tall cup. The youthful-looking Maguire is back to the usual amount of himself too after dropping more than 20 pounds to play a Marine officer captured in Afghanistan, who then faces a difficult homecoming in Jim Sheridan's "Brothers." The remake of the Danish "Brødre" also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Sam Shepard.
December 3, 2009 | By Geoff Boucher
No one does a better impression of Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan than his old friend Bono. On a recent crystal-blue afternoon in L.A., the rock star, who was in town for a concert at the Rose Bowl, lifted his shoulders, dropped his chin and scowled like Popeye. He slapped a palm to his forehead and began rubbing hard, like a man trying to sandpaper off an eyebrow. Then in a growled brogue, he muttered: "Do you want to have a look at the pitch-chur? It's a ting about brud-ders." Yes, the new Sheridan picture is "Brothers," and it's a thing about family, the nature of duty, war, guilt and calamity of the human heart.
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