The Other Woman: Natalie Portman

Portman’s other film at TIFF last fall didn’t play to critics and fans as well as her current, Oscar contending project, Black Swan received. In fact apparently it was received rather negatively. “Love And Other Impossible Pursuits,” now being released to North American audiences as The Other Woman will already be upon us within the next few days. Personally, I hadn’t even heard of the film – maybe overshadowed by its Aronofsky directed older brother – but now it looks like the studio plans to latch on to the popularity of Black Swan and get this thing in theaters now while the buzz is still blazing.

Directed by Don Roos (”The Opposite Of Sex,” “Happy Endings”), the film revolves around Portman’s character who steals a man from his wife and then must bond with her new stepson while dealing with the loss of her own child. It looks like pretty heavy handed melo-drama but in this camp that isn’t always a deal breaker. In fact it’s quite often a selling point. It looks clear (from the trailer below) that Portman will continue her streak of awesome performances; co-starring with Lisa Kudrow, Lauren Ambrose and Scott Cohen.

We’re getting the film via on demand next week (Jan. 1) and then a theatrical distribution begins on February 4th. I don’t know, Portman alone is enough to get me to watch and I tend to enjoy gawking at others’ misery. So I may get my trusty ol’ PS3 downloading this asap. Is this your kind of thing? Will critics warm to it? Check out the trailer under the seats and sound off…

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2011 Independent Spirit Award Nominees

Equally meaningless, but arguably a whole lot more fun to watch than the Oscars. Better films/celebs nominated, more relaxed, more accurate and a lot more alcohol. This year’s awards will be given out live on Saturday, February 26th on IFC channel at 10pm ET.

The nominees this year are as follows…

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Kids Are All Right
Winter’s Bone

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone
John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Ronald Bronstein, Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole
James Franco, 127 Hours
John C. Reilly, Cyrus
Ben Stiller, Greenberg

Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone
Allison Janney, Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts, Mother and Child

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Samuel L. Jackson, Mother and Child
Bill Murray, Get Low
John Ortiz, Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

more categories/nominations under the seats…
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“No Strings Attached” Trailer

Like it or not, this has the potential to kill any chance of Portman being recognized for her work in Black Swan. I suppose a case could be made for Evolution, but otherwise it seems Reitman hasn’t really done anything worthy or 90 minutes of your time since Ghostbusters in 1984. So I’m not sure why I’m surprised; but this is lame – on so many levels.



Stunning Set of International Black Swan Posters

Darren Aronofsky’s dark ballerina tale Black Swan has been getting rave reviews on its initial festival screenings (review), which should put it in good stead for its December 1st theatrical release, not to mention prime buzz position in this year’s Oscar season. And today we find new international posters for the film that are among the most stunning artwork I’ve seen in recent years – all sharp edges and bright reds, blacks and whites, giving a good idea of the jagged and intense experience that the film promises. They look straight out of Russian propaganda or European art deco design, and as if I wasn’t already stoked enough to see the film, now I’m exactly 4x more excited.

The other three posters are tucked under the seats.

Hat tip Screenrant.

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Cinecast Episode 183 – The Jogging Gay Guys

Thanks to regular RowThree contributor and all around nice guy, Bob Turnbull for showing up once again on this week’s Cinecast to help us all digest the massive movie extravaganza known as this years edition Toronto International Filmfestival (aka TIFF10). Also, a hearty welcome to the longest Row Three Cinecast episode of all time. Bob and Kurt give some preview and insight into much anticipated films from Werner Herzog, Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle, Mike Leigh, Sion Sono, Errol Morris, John Carpenter, Sylvain Chomet, and the folks behind Not Quite Hollywood looking at the Drive-In cheapies shot in the Philippines. And then there is the really off-beat stuff like a post-apocalyptic-vampire-western-road movie, Stake Land (which is magnificent), a naughty DIY costumed hero flick from James Gun called Super and starring Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon, an Eva Green starring ethereal cloning drama from Hungary, but in English, called Womb, and a film that will make you completely reassess how you feel about Santa Claus and his elf posse when the jolly fat man is portrayed as a 25 meter tall horned demon encased in a block of ice under a Finnish mountain. But before all that, Andrew managed to catch Ben Affleck’s latest directorial effort, The Town as well as the much talked about I’m Still Here starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by the other Affleck, Casey. Easy A also available to the multiplex crowd has Bob and Kurt heap a fair bit of love onto the film in an effort to get Andrew to give it a chance. Yes, folks, it is that good. A few other movies we watched, DVD picks (we’re all a bit drunk at this point) and the odd tangent keep this podcast unspooling and unspooling.
We hope you enjoy this latest show and as always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):



Full show notes are under the seats…
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TIFF Review: Black Swan



“I kill myself for you people every night!” so the unspoken cry of the stage actor, or in this case the professional Ballerina, goes. Darren Aronofsky continues to examination of the psyches of performers, but comes at it from the opposite direction of from his previous picture, The Wrester. Here he charts the anxieties and temptations of a young ballerina, Nina (Natalie Portman,) as she gets her shot at the big-time in a production of “Swan Lake.” Nina has just been picked by legendary Ballet director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel, subdued and restrained) to replace his aging muse (Winona Ryder) and take the central dual role of the Swan Queen in his ‘visceral and real’ production of the most famous (or overdone) of ballet. Nina is young enough that she is still living at home with her mother, amongst her pink stuffies and white laced bedspreads. She is a perfectionist, but not yet an artist, naïve and a career surrogate for her mother who only made it so far in the dance world in her day before having children. It is nice to see Barbara Hershey in this film, but I wish she had a little more to do. That applies to pretty much the entire cast with the exception of Portman. Aronofsky keeps the camera on her face when things are happening to her, but also favours that ‘behind the head’ technique used frequently in The Wrestler. Something about that technique that takes some of the visceral out of the picture. It worked for the sad optimism of Randy The Ram, for the acute performance anxiety and burbling internal pressures of Nina, the more aggressive techniques he used in pi and Requiem for a Dream may have better served things. As it stands, there is something about Black Swan that feels muted. For the high melodrama of the story and the cliché feel of many of the scenes, not the least of which that ‘there is always someone younger and hungrier to replace the lead,’ ‘it’s lonely at the top,’ etc a little more bombast may have helped things along. This certainly is not a character study as the characters are all in total subservience to the metamorphosis angle of the story.
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Trailer: Black Swan

After much speculation and curiosity regarding Darren Aronofsky’s latest, we finally get a substantial peek by way of its first trailer, which hit the Apple site yesterday. And boy, does it give you a fair bit to chew on. It seems as though Aronofsky is plunging back into the mental breakdown territory that poked through in the later half of Requiem for a Dream, with more than a little of The Red Shoes thrown in. Plus, on top of the Portman-Kunis rivalry that (I’m guessing) makes up the bulk of the movie, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Vincent Cassel does in this flick. I’m certainly intrigued, and it looks like Black Swan may very well make Aronofsky five for five.

Check out the trailer at Apple here, then leave your thoughts below!

Go Get Tiger! Darren Aronofsky and Brad Pitt try (Again) to Make a Movie.


So, Brad Pitt backed out of Darren Aronofsky‘s The Fountain (but it still turned out OK, with a reduced budget and Hugh Jackman), then The Fighter (which fell completely into the ether), and so the pair attempt to re-unite for a supernatural thriller to be written by Guillermo Arriaga (Babel, Amores Perros.)

According to Variety, Arriaga will be adapting an as yet unpublished non-fiction novel from John Vaillant, “The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.” which is set on the “Siberian plain, where human development is encroaching on the tigers’ habitat — and one tiger turns on the intruders. With townspeople being tracked and hunted with an almost supernatural power, a conservationist game warden must face down the tiger.”

As per usual, I’m keen on seeing just about anything directed by Aronofsky, and given Pitt’s penchant for interesting and quality projects these days, I hope it all works out this time.

Remembering a Decade…2008

(prologue) As we can begin to hear the death rattle of the oughts, we in the third row decided to start on this continuing series throughout 2009 that will look back at our favorite films of each of the past ten years (2000-2009). This will ultimately culminate in a “ten best/favorites of the oughts” piece sometime in early 2010.

Well, this is just about it. Until our annual best of the year list arrives in early January that will account for all of the greatness that was 2009, this is pretty much the end of the decade. As we’ve looked back over the past 10 years it’s been fun to reminisce, discuss, bicker and compare. While this was maybe the easiest year in this series for all of the contributors to come to a consensus on, we had a little bit of trouble deciding between which of two films should be our fifth title on this list and which should be left off. In the end we decided that there is no absolute “rule” that says we have to have just five movies when remembering a year. So for our final bit of nostalgia (until our culminated list of top ten of the decade arrives), we give you six films from last year that really took our breath away – or at least gave us something to think about and remember. These six titles are how we remember 2008 taking shape.


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Casting Futon

Keira KnightleyBecause a couch is a little beyond our budget, I bring you the casting futon! There have been a couple of casting announcements that I wanted to mention but neither of them had me particularly excited for a full length post so instead, you get one post with two tidbits.

The first and oldest of the bunch is news that Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley have both joined the cast of London Boulevard. This is William Monahan’s first foray behind the camera though he’s not exactly new to the business having written Kingdom of Heaven and adapted The Departed and Body of Lies.

This project has Farrell as a London criminal newly released from prison who becomes involved with a reclusive actress played by Knightley. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff but I like both actors so it’s safe to say I’m on board.

For seconds, there’s also news that Darren Aronofsky’s next project is a thriller titled Black Swan. It’s the story of a ballerina in competition with a rival dancer except the rival is actually a ghost (or maybe she’s just delusional?).

The film was originally set up at Universal but it’s now being shopped around to some of the specialty divisions and according to THR, there seems to be a lot of interest. This may have something to do with the fact that it’s Aranofsky (his recent success is sure to help) and the fact that Natalie Portman has signed onto the project.

This one’s a definite thumbs up in my books. I hope production kicks off soon.