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Black Swan

USA 2010
produced by
Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver, Jon Avnet (executive), Bradley J. Fischer (executive), Peter Fruchtman (executive), Ari Handel (executive), Jennifer Roth (executive), Rick Schwartz (executive), Tyler Thompson (executive), David Thwaites (executive) for Protozoa Pictures, Phoenix Pictures/20th Century Fox (Fox Searchlight)
directed by Darren Aronofsky
starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Kristina Anapau, Janet Montgomery, Sebastian Stan, Toby Hemingway, Sergio Torrado, Mark Margolis, Tina Sloan, Abraham Aronofsky, Charlotte Aronofsky, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Shaun O'Hagan, Chris Gartin, Deborah Offner, Stanley B. Herman, Michelle Rodriguez Nouel
story by Andres Heinz, screenplay by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin, music by Clint Mansell

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Nina (Natalie Portman) is pretty much the perfect dancer, knowing all of her routines by heart, hardly ever doing a wrong movement - and that's why choreographer Thomas (Vincent Cassel) at first refuses to give her the lead part in their performance of Swan Lake, simply because she lacks the emotionality to play the sinister and seductive black swan - and is only convinced otherwise when he tries to seduce her and she bites him in the lip to ward him off. However, the rehearsals are hell, Nina simply can't wrap her head around her role, as her life runs in much too regulated ways to leave much space to emotions, also thanks to her over-protective mother (Barbara Hershey), and Thomas' attempts to get her out of her shell sometimes border sexual harassment. Plus most other dancers hate her for having gotten the big break, first and foremost the ensemble's former primaballerina (Winona Ryder). There's only one girl in the ensemble who seems to care for her, and that's her understudy Lily (Mila Kunis), who's pretty much the polar opposite of Nina, she lives in the moment, shows almost too much emotion, and never bothers to think about consequences. And eventually, the night before the premiere, Lily manages to take out Nina for drinks, spikes Nina's drink (with her knowledge), and the two of them ... might party a bit too heavily, as they ultimately land in bed together - and the next day, Nina almost oversleeps and misses the premiere, and is in shock when she finds Lily in her costume. And now all the pent up rage unloads, which might be good for her performance, but bad for all the people around her and even herself ...


Now Black Swan looks very nice, it's decently directed, well filmed (even if given its ballet settings it could have done with a little more visual excess), and the acting is really top notch ... and yet it's not a very good film: The whole film is a bit too simplistic for its own good, and first and foremost due to its very flat lead character, who really seems to have only that one side to her, that she lacks emotionality, but there's no flesh on these bones, so it's very hard to feel with her. Likewise, the two other leads, Thomas and Lily, actually come across as clichés more than relatable persons. And the horror finale of the show is visually stunning and packs a punch, but could have been set up much better - well, at all, really. Really too bad, cast and direction would have deserved a better story.


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD