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Mitch Cyrus


My “losing” streak is over, as I have finally seen a 2011 released movie that didn’t induce nausea.

“Hanna” isn’t a great movie by a long shot, but it doesn’t stink, and it kept me entertained throughout, which is saying something given the incredible amount of crap we’ve seen so far this year.  That may not be much of a rousing endorsement, but you’ll have to give me a minute to shake off my cynicism before I get into the positives of this interesting and disturbing little action thriller.

The most unusual part of this film is that “Hanna” is at its best when it’s not a “thriller”.  Don’t get me wrong, the action parts are exciting, if not exactly original.  But the true heart of this film is the character study of a young girl/woman as she discovers the real world for the first time in her life.


Mitch Cyrus


I think I picked the right month to go on a bit of a break.  The movies were better this month, but being “better” than what we saw in January and February is a bit like saying someone is taller than your average jockey…

 Last week finally saw the first movie cross the $100 million mark.  “Rango” has the honors, but in the five years I’ve been writing this column, this is the longest I’ve ever seen it take for the first new release of the year to accomplish this.  And it’s all because of the completely mediocre offerings we’ve been given.

Now March did finally provide us with a few decent movies that will be worth watching at home on DVD, but nothing has come anywhere close to capturing the imagination of the public.  Will it happen this month?  Probably not.  There are two movies that may end up surprising us by being very buzz worthy, but my money is on another “bleh” month…and then things will explode in May with “Thor” coming out the first weekend of the month, heralding in the Summer of the Superhero (and the Sequel…but that unfortunately describes almost every summer).


Mitch Cyrus


Hopefully, our long and painful nightmare of Winter is just about over.  And while I know we’re still going to be seeing some crappy weather for the next four weeks here and there, at least there are finally some movies being released that are worth seeing.

We’re a week late on the posting of this month’s column.  I’m sure you were all majorly disappointed in that.

News and Rumors

~ A quick follow-up on my Oscar predictions.  I hit my usual 6 for 8 on the major categories, only missing Best Director and Best Supporting Actress.  That was the highlight for me, as this had to be one of the most boring Oscar presentations I’ve ever witnessed.  Not just for the predictability of the winners and the lameness of the speeches, but mostly for the god-awful job James Franco did as the host.  Was he stoned backstage?  The worst part was his refusal to act even slightly interested meant that Anne Hathaway, whom I love, went as hyper as a six year old after a half pound bag of Skittles in her attempt to bring something to the proceedings.  The only good thing for Franco is that Charlie Sheen quickly pushed him out of the public’s eyesight.


Mitch Cyrus


The Oscars are tonight; news that makes grown men shrug all around the world.  But since it’s my job to report on movies, thatmeans it’s a pretty big night for me and the tens of people on our boards that realize that you can be addicted to sports and still get into movies as well.

This will be the second year of having ten pictures nominated for Best Picture, but it will be very different.  Last year, there was a wide open field, and any one of five films were considered possibilities for the win (“Avatar”, “The Hurt Locker”, “Inglourious Basterds”, “Up In the Air”, and “A Serious Man”).  This year?  It’s a two horse race.

There also seems to be a lot less drama this year.  The acting categories have prohibitive favorites in three of the four categories, and there is no 800 pound gorilla in the room this year similar to “Avatar” and the 800 pound ego of James Cameron going up against his ex-wife Katherine Bigelow for Best Director.

So let’s look at what’s going to be happening tonight.  As always, I’ll make my predictions on who will win, as well as give my feelings on who SHOULD win…often they aren’t the same.  It was an OK record last year, with me hitting 5 out of the 8 major categories correctly…but that’s below my average, so hopefully I’ll be a little better this year.


Mitch Cyrus



For the last of our look at this year’s films nominated for Best Picture, we turn our attention to “Black Swan”.  In a year where many of the films nominated are dark and intense, this one is the darkest and the most intense.  I never really considered ballet a contact sport, but in Darren Aronofsky’s fascinating character study, it is as physically and mentally taxing as professional football.

Natalie Portman shines as Nina Sayers, a long time member of a prestigious New York ballet company.  For years, she has been just on the cusp of breaking through to stardom, but she is the type of dancer who is so focused on her technique that she lacks passion.  She is mechanically flawless but a bit robotic on the stage.

 Fate steps in, however, as the prima ballerina of the company (played by Winona Ryder) has suffered the worst fate in her field; she has grown too old.  So a new season is upon the company, and director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) has to move on.  He has chosen to open the season with the old chestnut “Swan Lake”, but as you might expect in a movie like this, Thomas is a “visionary”, and he wants his version to be different; more intense.

To the shock of the entire company, he chooses Nina as the lead role as the Swan Queen, but he begins to immediately challenge her.  She has the perfect technique to dance the part of the White Swan; all frills and prettiness.  But the role also requires her to assume the persona of the Black Swan, and dance with a passion and recklessness that she has never been able to summon before due to her being such a perfectionist.


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