Assessing the year's best films, according to my refined tastes and, as usual, in no particular order (except this one).
Despite my lament over this year's lack of firepower at the theater, there were some great films that came out this year. These are my picks if I had to put in a ballot for the Oscars.
Black Swan (R)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Director: Darren Aronofsky
I've been really excited about this movie and I got a chance to see it before it's nationwide release. I was completely blown away. What an amazing movie, it's near-perfect in execution. From the direction, to the acting and everything in between, Aronofsky has crafted his best film to date. Here is Natalie Portman's best performance to date, too. I think what I liked most about this movie is the layers of meaning you can uncover. It makes for a perfect repeat-viewing experience. The movie's themes involve psychological issues like sexual awakening, obsession and just going plain bat-shit crazy (a highly professorial term, I know). It's part thriller and part tragedy all rolled up in a nice package. The movie's metaphorical story within a story about the play Swan Lake, seamlessly glides along with the story arch of Portman's character. The movie ends on such a perfect note (and almost eerily similar to Aronofsky's previous film The Wrestler), it's hard not to stand up and applaud and immediately go back to the ticket booth to purchase a ticket for the next show. It's a movie that will elicit head-nods from everyone when you say it's good, something that transcends it's own genre and audience to become a classic.