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Entries in Natalie Portman (23)

Friday
May062011

Movie Review: 'Thor'

AbleStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Virtually unknown here, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth takes on the role of the god of thunder, and it turns out to be an excellent piece of casting.

You see, Thor is a belligerent jerk, or as his father -- the Norse god Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins -- likes to call him, "a vain, greedy, cruel boy."  And Hemsworth seems as if he was born to play this role.

Thor's reactionary attack on the frost giants proves to be his undoing.  As punishment, Odin banishes Thor to Earth, where he meets an astrophysicist named Jane, played by Natalie Portman.  Back in Asgard, Thor's duplicitous brother Loki is quietly planning a coup of mythological proportions.

Thor feels epic while thematically balancing a comic book sensibility with a mesmerizing aesthetic -- most notably the design of Asgard, which is stunning.

Four out of five stars.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr182011

Natalie Portman's 'Black Swan' Ballet Double Insists Producers Are Lying

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Natalie Portman's ballet double in Black Swan won't back down from her claim that she performed the majority of the dancing for the Oscar-winner's character in the film. Though director Darren Aronofsky and studio Fox Searchlight have both denied Sarah Lane's accusations, Lane tells ABC's 20/20, "I'm just speaking because they're completely lying about the amount of dancing that Natalie did in the movie."

Lane, who says she didn't ask for onscreen credit for her participation in the film, was bothered by the fact that producers asked her before the Oscars to not take part in interviews until after the ceremony in order to protect their star.  She argues again that Portman couldn't have become as skilled at ballet during her training as Lane is. She says, "I've been doing this for 22 years, and to say that someone trained for a year and a half and did what I did is degrading not only to me but to the entire ballet world."

Black Swan editor Andy Weisblum has weighed in on the controversy now, telling 20/20 that there are about 35 full-body dance shots in the movie, only 12 of which depict Portman -- the rest are of Lane. However, he adds, "But over the overall film, Natalie did a lot more than that. I mean, she did most of the other shots. It was sometimes hard for me to tell the difference as the editor, it was so close."

Portman herself didn't directly address the accusations in a recent interview with E!, saying, "I had the chance to make something beautiful with this film and I don't want to give in to gossip."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

Movie Review: 'Your Highness'

Universal Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Your Highness is an unfiltered sci-fi fantasy parody starring Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman.  McBride is Prince Thadeous, a slacker prince jealous of his overachieving, quest-taking brother, Fabious, played by Franco.  When Fabious' true love is kidnapped by the warlock Lazaar, Thadeous is forced to go on his first quest with his brother.  Their journey is rife with F-bombs, gratuitous nudity, incongruous metaphors, more F-bombs, monster genitals and Natalie Portman.

Your Highness is, essentially, one very funny dirty joke told over and over again to maximum effect.  Three-and-a-half out of five stars.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Mar292011

Actress Mila Kunis Defends Natalie Portman

PRNewsFoto/Platinum Guild International(LOS ANGELES) -- Black Swan actress Mila Kunis joins the ranks of Natalie Portman defenders after dance-double Sarah Lane claimed that she did most of the fancy footwork in the movie.

"Natalie danced her [bleep] off," Kunis told Entertainment Weekly. "I think it's unfortunate that this is coming out and taking attention away from [the praise] Natalie deserved and got. It was more like a safety net. If Nat wasn't able to do something, you'd have a safety net. The same thing that I had -- I had a double as a safety net. We all did. No one ever denied it."

Kunis, who co-starred with Portman in the movie, has come out in support of Portma, along with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. Portman won an Oscar for her performance.

"Here is the reality," Aronofsky said in a statement released Monday through studio Fox Searchlight. "I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film -- 111 are Natalie Portman untouched, 28 are her dance-double Sarah Lane. If you do the math, that's 80 percent Natalie Portman."

Aronofsky went on to talk about the amount of time both were on screen. "The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second," he said. "There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement [for]. Even so, if we were judging by time, over 90 percent would be Natalie Portman."

Lane, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, told Entertainment Weekly Friday that the public had been misled about how much twirling Portman did in the film. She told The Wall Street Journal that she made $6,000 for about six weeks of work. The move has grossed $281.6 million worldwide.

"On the full-body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie," Lane said. "I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body. She's very stiff."

Aronofsky took issue with Lane's comment on pointe shoes.

"To be clear, Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes," the director said of the classical ballet technique calling for dancers to stay on the tips of their toes. "If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe. That is completely her without any digital magic."

Lane's comments were in response to an interview that Portman's fiance and choreographer Benjamin Millepied gave to the Los Angeles Times.

"There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work but, really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettes [whipping movements], and one diagonal in the studio," Millepied said. "Honestly, 85 percent of that movie was Natalie."

Portman has kept quiet since the war of words began last week, although she was candid about using a dance-double for the complicated routines in interviews before the Oscars.

Aronofsky, however, decided to speak up. "I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor," he said. "Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance.

"And I don't want anyone to think that's not her they are watching. It is."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

'Black Swan' Director Defends Natalie Portman

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has come out in support of star actress Natalie Portman after her dance-double, Sarah Lane, said she did most of the on-screen moves. 

"Here is the reality," Aronofsky said in a statement released Monday through studio Fox Searchlight. "I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that's 80 percent Natalie Portman."

He went on to talk about the amount of time both were on screen. "The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second," he said. "There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90 percent would be Natalie Portman."

Lane, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, told Entertainment Weekly Friday that the public has been misled about how much twirling Portman did in the film.

"On the full-body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie," Lane said. "I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body. She's very stiff."

Aronofsky took issue with Lane's comment on pointe shoes.

"To be clear, Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes," the director said of the classical ballet technique calling for dancers to stay on the tips of their toes. "If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe. That is completely her without any digital magic."

Lane's comments were in response to an interview that Portman's fiance and choreographer Benjamin Millepied gave to the Los Angeles Times.

"There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work but, really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettes, and one diagonal in the studio," Millepied said. "Honestly, 85 percent of that movie was Natalie."

Portman has kept quiet since the war of words began last week, although she was candid about using a dance-double for the complicated routines in interviews before the Oscars.

Aronofsky, however, decided to speak up. "I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor," he said. "Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance.

"And I don't want anyone to think that's not her they are watching. It is."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

'Black Swan' Dancer Slams Natalie Portman's Dancing

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Natalie Portman's dancing double for Black Swan, Sarah Lane, is setting the record straight.

Lane told Entertainment Weekly in an interview on Friday that the public has been mislead about Portman's dancing in the film.
 
"Of the full body shots, I would say five percent are Natalie," Lane said. "I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body; she's very stiff."

Portman, whose performance in the film earned her an Oscar for best actress -- her first Academy Award -- has said in interviews that she used a body double for certain scenes.

Her fiancé and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied recently responded to criticism regarding Portman's alleged lack of dancing in the film.
 
"There are articles now talking about her dance double [Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work," Millepied told the L.A. Times. "Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

'The King's Speech' Emerges as Big Winner at Oscars

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The big winner at Sunday's Academy Awards turned out to be The King's Speech, as the movie took home four awards on the night, including the award for best picture.

Natalie Portman won her first Oscar Sunday night, taking best actress honors for her role in Black Swan, while Colin Firth contributed to the tally for The King's Speech by winning the award for best actor.

In a self-deprecating and emotional speech, Firth joked, "I have a feeling my career has just peaked." With his typical British reserve, he said he was "experiencing stirrings" that were "threatening to turn into dance moves."

Firth thanked his wife, Livia, for the award and "everything good in my life," while the pregnant Portman thanked "my love," her fiancee and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millipied for giving "me my most important role of my life."

Tom Hooper, the director of The King's Speech, pulled off a surprising win over The Social Network director David Fincher. Speech, which led the number of nominations with 12, also won the award for best original screenplay, while The Social Network grabbed the gold statue for best adapted screenplay.

The Fighter co-stars Melissa Leo and Christian Bale were among the early winners, receiving Oscars for best supporting actress and best supporting actor.

Leo got the night off to a raucous beginning, when she dropped the F-bomb during her speech. When Bale accepted his award, he told the audience, "I'm not going to drop the F-bomb, like she did. I've done that plenty before." Both were expected to win after taking home the same awards at the Golden Globes. But some doubt had been cast on Leo, after the ads she took out in the Hollywood trades promoting herself backfired. Still, Leo pulled off the win in the end.

"This has been an extraordinary journey," Leo said about the award season. "It's about selling motion pictures and respecting the work."

Among those thanked by Bale in his acceptance speech was Dicky Ecklund, the washed-up fighter he played in The Fighter.

President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the Oscars. During an introduction for best song, he cited "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca as his favorite movie theme song.

Later in the telecast, Randy Newman, who has been nominated 20 times and won once previously, received the Oscar for "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3. Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland took home the first Oscar for art direction. Cinematographer Wally Pfister won his first Oscar for Inception, and gave credit to Christopher Nolan, who was snubbed for a best director nomination. Inception took home several technical awards, for sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects. Pfister beat out perpetual nominee Roger Deakins, the cinematographer on True Grit. Deakins has yet to win an Oscar.

Toy Story 3, which was also nominated for best picture, won best animated feature.

The following is a list of Sunday night's winners:

Best Picture: The King's Speech.
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech 
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan 
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter 
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter 
Best Achievement in Directing: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech 
Foreign Language Film: In a Better World (Denmark)
Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Original Screenplay: David Seidler, The King's Speech
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
Cinematography: Inception
Sound Mixing: Inception
Sound Editing: Inception
Original Score: The Social Network - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Original Song: "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 - Randy Newman
Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Documentary Feature: Inside Job
Documentary (short subject): Strangers No More
Film Editing: The Social Network
Makeup: The Wolfman
Animated Short Film: The Lost Thing
Live Action Short Film: God of Love
Visual Effects: Inception

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

The Oscars: 10 Best Backstage Moments

Photo Courtesy - Kevin Winter/Getty Images(HOLLYWOOD, Calif.) -- So we know who won the Oscars.  But what about the rest of the night?

The juiciest comments of the night were made not on blogs or Facebook or Twitter but in the press room behind the big show.

Backstage, Melissa Leo talked about her F-bomb drop, Colin Firth explained the matter that rushed him away from the mic, and Natalie Portman declared the name she almost certainly will not give her baby.

Here are the 10 best quotes from backstage:

Melissa Leo (winner: best supporting actress, The Fighter) on accidentally cursing during her acceptance speech: "I had no idea.  Those words, I apologize to anyone that they offend.  There's a great deal of the English language that's in my vernacular.  I really don't mean to offend and it was probably a very inappropriate place to use that particular word in particular."

Natalie Portman (winner: best actress, Black Swan) on whether or not she'll name her first child "Oscar:" "I think that's probably definitely out of the question."

Portman on how motherhood might change her career: "I really can't say what's going to happen.  I have no idea what to expect.  It's just accepting that I have no idea."

Colin Firth (winner: best actor, The King's Speech) on what he'll do now that awards season is over: "I think I'm going to cook a lot.  I'm not particularly good at it...but it's a good way to decompress.  I'll probably be the only one eating it."

Firth on the "impulse" that rushed him offstage after he accepted his Oscar: "I don't think that this is the appropriate forum to display that sort of thing and anyone who's seen Mamma Mia will know what I'm talking about."

Firth on shouting expletives in The King's Speech: "I don't take this stuff lightly, but in the context of this film, it could not be more edifying, more appropriate.  It's not vicious, it's not to do with insult...It's a bad man trying to free himself through the use of forbidden words."

Christian Bale (winner: best supporting actor, The Fighter) on almost missing the Oscars because he went drinking before the show and arrived late: "They wouldn't let me in.  I was literally banging on the door with Dickey [Ecklund, on whom The Fighter is based] saying, 'Let us in!'...Now I know in case I ever make it back here."

David Seidler (winner: best original screenplay, The King's Speech) on what the award means to him as a former stutterer: "A fairly high ranking person called me the other day and wanted to talk ex-stutterer to ex-stutterer ... I've been flooded with the most wonderful emails and text messages from my fellow sutterers.  Because, I'm still a stutterer...To have these people tell me their personal stories really moves me to tears."

Aaron Sorkin (winner: best adapted screenplay, The Social Network) on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: "Mark, I think he's been an awfully good sport about all this.  I don't think anyone here would want a movie made about the things that they did when they were 19-years-old."

Tom Hooper (winner: best director, The King's Speech) on how he plans celebrate: "Well I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight, I have to be on Oprah at 10 a.m...I don't want to be the first person to go on Oprah drunk so I'll try to control myself."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Independent Spirit Awards Pave the Way to Oscar Night

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Oscar nominees James Franco, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman and more stars hit the beach for the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday afternoon, which honors the best in indie film. Black Swan twirled away with the ceremony's top prize, best picture, while Portman and director Darren Aronofsky picked up trophies for best actress and best director.

Best actor went to 127 Hours star James Franco, who will host the Oscars with Anne Hathaway.

"I just went through film school at NYU and finished my thesis film," he said, "so independent film means a lot to me."

Franco is also up for best actor at the Oscars.

Emceeing the Independent Spirit Awards, Community star Joel McHale poked fun at the man of the hour, saying, "Someone is giving exposure to the criminally under-used James Franco."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

'No Strings Attached,' 'The Way Back' Open Nationwide

Photo Courtesy - Paramount Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Here's a look at the new movies opening nationwide Friday:

-- No Strings Attached: -- Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are friends who decide to have a sexual relationship without becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.  The film is rated R.

-- The Way Back: The drama, inspired by real events, focuses on soldiers who escape from a Siberian gulag in 1940, during World War Two.  Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris and Saoirse Ronan star in the PG-13 rated film.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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