Reaching the mountain top of our careers requires hard work, drive, and sacrifice. But the question begs, how much sacrifice is needed to get to that peak?
In the 2010 film, Black Swan, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a ballet dancer living and working in New York City. Dance is everything to her, she has no life outside of it. After her company’s former prima ballerina Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) is pushed out of the company, the door opens for Nina to play the title role in The Black Swan. Pushed by her former ballet dancer mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), and her artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) to succeed, Nina pushes herself to breaking point. Adding to the pressure is competition from the newest member of the company, Lily (Mila Kunis). Will Nina get to play the part and if she does, what will it cost her?
This film is absolutely fantastic. The performances are compelling and powerful. The duress that Nina is under radiates from the screen. I felt the urge to pull Nina out of the film, hug her, and tell her that everything will be fine, regardless of the outcome. The screenplay has a delicious Alfred Hitchcock undertone, grabbing the audience by the throat and refusing to let go until the screen go black.
During her heyday, Day was on of the most recognized performers in the world. A triple threat, she could act, sing and dance like nobody’s business. Looking back, her image was emblematic of the period. With her blue eyes and blonde hair, she was the all-American women. Day’s most notable parts were as the sexualized virgin: smart, sassy, romantic and convincing her leading man to fall in love with her, marry her and take her to bed without directly saying so.
My favorite Doris Day film is Pillow Talk. Playing opposite her long time friend and collaborator, Rock Hudson. While there are certain elements of the film that are very dated, the comedy and the double entendres still hold up to this day.
My favorite song of her’s is her most famous: Que Sera Sera from the Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. It’s one of those songs that I think still hold up to this day.
Wherever you are in heaven, Doris Day, RIP. May your memory be a blessing.
Flying has become a routine of our modern lives. It can also create an opportunity for blackmail.
In the 2005 movie Red Eye, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates flying with a passion. On a flight to Miami, she sits next to Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy). The conversation starts off as regular small talk until Jackson reveals that he has ulterior motives. If Lisa does not help Jackson assassinate a politician, her father will be killed.
This movie is brilliant. If there was one film to describe as a thriller, this film would be it. Murphy is truly terrifying, reaching the limits that only a villain in an Alfred Hitchcock film would reach. For her part, McAdams fear of flying is only heightened by the very difficult decision that she knows she has to make.
Desperate times often calls for desperate measures. The questions are, what are we willing to give up in the process and how does that process change us?
In the new movie, Lady Macbeth (which has no connection to William Shakespeare character other than the title of the film), Katherine (Florence Pugh) is a young woman sold in the name of marriage to an older man. Forbidden from doing much of anything, Katherine is left alone with only her servants for company while her husband and father in law go out into the world. She starts sleeping with Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), one of her husband’s groomsman. The affair quickly becomes an affair of the heart. But things get messy when her husband and father in law return home. Katherine and Sebastian try to clean up the mess they have created. But the more they try to clean it up, the messier it becomes.
The best way to describe this film is that it is a hybrid of the psychology of an Alfred Hitchcock film with the imagery and narrative of a Wuthering Heights adaptation. It also speaks truth to power about what a woman will do when she has no direct power and must use other means to get what she wants. The three things that stand out for me are a) the diverse cast b) the lack of music and how background sounds play a role in telling the story and c) how I felt as an audience member when the film was done. I disliked Katherine for her actions, but in understanding her motivation, it made for a very well done film.
Behind every great man is a great woman who is loyal and hardworking & Alfred Hitchcock was no exception.
The movie Hitchcock details the making of the horror classic Psycho while allowing the audience a glimpse into the life of the movie’s iconic director, Alfred Hitchock (Anthony Hopkins) and his marriage to Alma Reville (Helen Mirren).
Alfred Hitchcock may have been public face of his movie and tv empire, but his wife, Alma was the brains behind the face, working tirelessly from begginning to end to help her husband maintain his success.
The supporting cast is well chosen: Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), star of the movie, Peggy Robertson (Toni Collette), Hitch’s assistant, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), a writer friend of Alma’s with and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), an actress who worked with Hitch in the past, but gave up part of her career to start a family.
The movie is entertaining and well done and an interesting view of a very iconic man whose personal life has been overshadowed by his work.