That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, these ones revolve mostly around films.)

Black Swan & 127 Hours (teasers)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 2:56 pm—Film

Black Swan (USA 2010, Drama/Thriller), Writers: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin; Director: Darren Aronofsky

127 Hours (USA/UK 2010, Adventure/Biography/Drama), Writers: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy; Director: Danny Boyle

Two movies are coming down the pipes that I’m VERY excited about… and that make me think I should put more effort into getting to film festivals so that I won’t be forced to wait so long before seeing works like these. The movies are Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. You can see the trailer for Black Swan here and for 127 Hours here. Both gave me shivers the first time I watched them.

Aronofsky’s films always intrigue me. After glancing back at what I wrote about his fantastic 2008 film The Wrestler, I’m reminded of the director’s penchant for exploring the depths of human misery, and how far obsession and the need for acceptance can drive people to spiral completely out of control. That may not make Black Swan sound like an appealing holiday flick, but if you’re interested in human psychology and pathology—as well as artful filmmaking—I think Black Swan is a very safe bet.

The film is set in the highly competitive, and evidently toxic, world of the New York City Ballet. When sweet Nina (Natalie Portman) is cast as the lead dancer in Swan Lake, her struggle to summon the darker, more sultry side of the role takes her to some very dangerous places. Everything about this movie entices me, from the tone to the subject matter to the cast. Portman is one of the most captivating and impressive people in the film industry. And I look forward to seeing what tricks of the imagination Aronofsky will pull this time around.

My reasons for wanting to see 127 Hours are similar, although the movies appear to be completely different. I hadn’t heard of 127 Hours until I saw its trailer before Howl, both of which star the outstanding James Franco. The energy and excitement of 127 Hours came across immediately. It’s based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston’s (Franco) real-life account of his experience getting caught between a rock (a boulder) and a hard place (a canyon wall) in Canyonlands, Utah, and having to choose whether to perish alone or amputate himself.

Given the performances Franco has been giving lately, he’s reason enough to get in line for 127 Hours. Milk, Howl, even Pineapple Express—all showcase his talent, range and fearlessness. Then there’s director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire). He has all the creativity and cojones needed to take a book about a guy trapped alone in a canyon and make it an engaging movie. Boyle has proven he takes no prisoners when it comes to filmmaking, which both draws me to his latest effort and guarantees that I’ll be closing my eyes when it’s decision time for Aron. (People have reportedly been vomiting or passing out during the movie’s most intense moments.)

There’s a really interesting article by Peter Debruge in Creative Screenwriting Magazine about the evolution of 127 Hours. I can’t find it online, but it’s worth tracking down if you want to read more about how Boyle adapted the book for the screen, and how the challenges of the medium necessitated climbing even farther into Ralston’s psyche and personal life.

So, I’ll almost certainly be writing about these two films in the coming weeks, and will most definitely be watching them. Even without having seen the films, I can say with complete confidence that you should go; they will be worth the price of admission.

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