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Natalie Portman Says She "Done" With Marvel Movies


Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman’s time as part of the Marvel Universe may be over, according to the actress. Portman has starred as Thor’s love interest Jane Foster in two Marvel movies so far, but it had previously been confirmed that she wouldn't be returning for Thor: Ragnarok next year.

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman is unlikely to return as Jane Foster

But now it appears that fans who were hoping Jane Foster would be seen again, may have a long wait ahead. “As far as I know, I’m done,” the actress said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Continue reading: Natalie Portman Says She "Done" With Marvel Movies

Natalie Portman To Make TV Debut In HBO Mini-Series 'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves'


Natalie Portman HBO

Hollywood A-lister Natalie Portman is set to make her television debut in a new HBO mini-series ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’, adapted from the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel and executive produced by ‘Friends’ co-creator Marta Kauffman.

Outside of a guest spot on ‘The Simpsons’, the new drama series will be the first time that 35 year old Portman has starred in a TV show. Her decision to branch out into the small screen from Hollywood is reflective of a growing trend of major names making the same move.

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman will be starring in an HBO mini-series adaptation of 'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves'

Continue reading: Natalie Portman To Make TV Debut In HBO Mini-Series 'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves'

Jane Got A Gun Review

Good

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp the genre in intriguing ways. The first-rate cast adds plenty of depth to the usual roles, including a strong female point-of-view from Natalie Portman, who also produced the film. But some rather simplistic thematic touches undermine the originality, and the film never quite cracks through the surface to become something meaningful.

It's set in 1871 New Mexico, where Jane (Portman) lives on a hidden ranch with her outlaw husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) and their young daughter. But Bill's been badly injured, and the notorious scoundrel Bishop (Ewan McGregor) has vowed to track him down. For help Jane turns to her ex-fiance Dan (Joel Edgerton), an angry gunslinger who has never got over being abandoned by Jane all those years ago. He agrees to help her, and of course Bill isn't too happy about this, but he's too injured to protest. And Jane is so fiercely independent that she refuses to let her history with these two men define her future.

The premise is packed with all kinds of intriguing layers, but the script continually over-explains everything with a series of flashbacks to Jane's earlier encounters with Dan, Bishop, Bishop's hotheaded brother (Boyd Holbrook) and a particularly brutal desperado (Rodrigo Santoro). Not one of these people has even a hint of morality about them, which gives the actors a chance to inject a lot of complex texture into their performances. These are tough-minded men who never stop to think about the rule of law. And Portman's Jane is steelier than all of them, a woman who makes her own hard decisions in a place that doesn't let anyone off easily. Portman is terrific in the role, even if director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) undermines her with his rather straightforward approach. Even so, her scenes with Edgerton and McGregor crackle with subtext.

Continue reading: Jane Got A Gun Review

Knight Of Cups Trailer


Rick is one of the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood but after the death of his brother he finds himself becoming absorbed into a world of parties, drinking and excess. Parties are part of the norm for Rick but after the loss of his brother he finds himself evaluating his life and what it all means.

Spiralling uncontrollably his only real solace comes from short lived relationships with women, but each relationship actually brings Rick a little closer to the closure he seeks.

Knight Of Cups is the new film from Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life & The Thin Red Line)

Jane Got A Gun Trailer


Jane Hammond has always been an independent woman, but living in the developing West is precarious even for her. After a treacherous few years and constant aggravation from a nasty gang called The Bishop Boys, Jane marries a man by the name of Bill 'Ham' Hammond and things settle down.

However, when Hamm returns home badly injured after running into The Bishop Boys, Jane decides there's no other option but to face her past and take on the Colin McCann and the rest of the infamous gang. Jane contacts the only person she knows who she thinks will be able to help her, her ex-fiance and gunslinger Dan Frost. Recruiting Frost and returning to the family home, the three await the arrival of the gang. One way or another score will be settled.

Jane Got A Gun will be released in the UK from Spring 2016.

Despite Oscar, Natalie Portman Was "Woefully Underprepared" For Black Swan


Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman delivered her Harvard University keynote speech on Wednesday, reflecting on her time in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as her Academy Award winning career, which she says hasn't helped her feel any less insecure.

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman said she was unprepared for her Black Swan role

"Today I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard yard as a freshman in 1999. ... I felt like there had some mistake, that I wasn't smart enough to be in this company. And that every time I opened my mouth, I would have to prove that I wasn't just a dumb actress," she said. "So I start with an apology, this won't be very funny. I'm not a comedian and I didn't get a ghostwriter. But I am here to tell you today Harvard is giving you all diplomas tomorrow. You are here for a reason."

Continue reading: Despite Oscar, Natalie Portman Was "Woefully Underprepared" For Black Swan

Natalie Portman - Celebrities attends the premiere for "Knight of Cups" at the Berlinale Palaste for the 65th Berlin Film Festival - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 8th February 2015

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Christian Bale, Sibi Blazic and Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman - 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - Knight of Cups - premiere at Berlinale Palast - red carpet arrivals. at Berlinale Palast at Potsdamer Platz square - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 8th February 2015

Natalie Portman

Christian Bale and Natalie Portman - 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Knight of Cups' - Photocall at Grand Hyatt Hotel - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 8th February 2015

Christian Bale and Natalie Portman
Christian Bale and Natalie Portman
Christian Bale and Natalie Portman
Christian Bale and Natalie Portman
Christian Bale and Natalie Portman
Christian Bale and Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman Joins Likes Of Meryl Streep & Kevin Spacey In Paying Tribute To Mike Nichols


Natalie Portman Mike Nichols Meryl Streep Tom Hanks Ron Howard Steve Carell Al Pacino Kerry Washington Kevin Spacey

Natalie Portman has paid tribute to the late director Mike Nichols.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman at the Childrens' Hospital Gala in Los Angeles in October 2014.

Read More: The Life and Career of Late Director Mike Nichols.

Continue reading: Natalie Portman Joins Likes Of Meryl Streep & Kevin Spacey In Paying Tribute To Mike Nichols

Natalie Portman - A host of stars attended the Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Gala: Noche De Ninos which benefits thousands of children at the hospital in Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 11th October 2014

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Natalie Portman
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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman - Natalie Portman and husband Benjamin Millepied at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 9th September 2014

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Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied

Talented Actors With Surprisingly Good Rap Skills


Chris Pratt Gwyneth Paltrow Natalie Portman Sandra Bullock Emma Stone

Earlier this month, Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt surprised fans around the world with a memorable radio appearance in which he showcased his impressive rapping skills. Contact Music looks at some other talented actors who are surprisingly good at rap.

1) Chris Pratt

Chris PrattGuardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt

Continue reading: Talented Actors With Surprisingly Good Rap Skills

Natalie Portman - Actress Natalie Portman looking casual as she was spotted dropping off her son Aleph to school in Los Angeles. - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 9th July 2014

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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman and Aleph Portman-Millepied - Natalie Portman and her son Aleph Portman-Millepied arrive at Los ANgeles International Airptort (LAX) - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 4th July 2014

Natalie Portman and Aleph Portman-millepied
Natalie Portman and Aleph Portman-millepied

Benjamin Millepied and Aleph Portman-Millepied - Natalie Portman and husband Benjamin Millepied with their son Aleph Portman-Millepied at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 5th June 2014

Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied and Aleph Portman-millepied
Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied and Aleph Portman-millepied
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied and Aleph Portman-millepied

Natalie Portman - Natalie Portman arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on a flight from Paris - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 16th November 2013

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Tom Hiddleston Can't Get Enough Of Being The Guy You Love To Hate In 'Thor: The Dark World'


Tom Hiddleston Chris Hemsworth Natalie Portman

Tom Hiddleston stars as the God of Mischief, Loki, for the third time when he stars alongside Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in Thor: The Dark World. Despite his nefarious antics in the films, Loki has developed a cult among fans who can't get enough of his villainous deeds. Promoting the new Thor film, Hiddleston sat down with Entertainment Weekly to explain what he thinks makes Loki such a beloved character, despite his sinister antics.

Loki
Hiddleston steals the show as Loki

Thor: The Dark World opened in US cinemas on Friday, 8 November, after already making an impact in the international market, and already the film looks like a dead certain to finish as the weekend's top film, something that Hiddleston will have a considerable influence in. Already, the film has been given a mixed reception from critics, but most agree that it is Hiddleston who is the real star of the show, and it is he who has won most of the plaudits. In his interview with EW, he tried to explain what it was that made Loki such a well-loved character.

Continue reading: Tom Hiddleston Can't Get Enough Of Being The Guy You Love To Hate In 'Thor: The Dark World'

Thor The Dark World Is A Hit At The Box Office, But Not So Much With Critics


Chris Hemsworth Tom Hiddleston Natalie Portman Kat Dennings

Thor: The Dark World has been doing the rounds for the past few days and has been hammering in the big bucks – yeah, not all of the puns are going to make sense, deal with it. Thor has never exactly been the star of the Avengers franchise, but The Dark World is nevertheless approaching an impressive $100 million debut. While moviegoers flock to see the film, which is obviously and unabashedly intended as a crowd-pleaser (there’s a whole scene of nothing but Chris Hemsworth’s abs,) critics seem to be less than impressed.

Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Thor: The Dark World Still
Anthony Hopkins is another notch in favor of The Dark World.

The New York Times’ review is particularly harsh, with Jeannette Catsoulis writing criticizing the film’s pace, the all-over-the-place explosions, the tired jokes and pretty much everything else. She writes: "If the multiple idiocies on view strike you as neither here nor there, it's probably because your eyeballs are too busy recoiling from the onslaught of disorienting 3-D effects, or else too distracted by the title character's Popeye arms and really big mallet." Ouch.

Continue reading: Thor The Dark World Is A Hit At The Box Office, But Not So Much With Critics

Video - Natalie Portman Goes Monochrome On Arriving For 'Letterman'


'Black Swan' star Natalie Portman wears a simple monochrome dress as she arrives at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York for 'The Late Show With David Letterman'. She waves at fans and briefly stops to pose for photos before going inside. She doesn't stop on leaving the studio but simply rushes to her awaiting car.

Continue: Video - Natalie Portman Goes Monochrome On Arriving For 'Letterman'

Natalie Portman - Celebrities outside the Ed Sullivan Theater for the Late Show with David Letterman - New York, United States - Wednesday 6th November 2013

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Louis D Esposito, Tom Hiddleston, Alan Taylor, Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth and Kevin Feige - German premiere of 'Thor - The Dark Kingdom' at Cinestar am Potsdamer Platz movie theater. - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 27th October 2013

Louis D Esposito, Tom Hiddleston, Alan Taylor, Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth and Kevin Feige
Louis D Esposito, Tom Hiddleston, Alan Taylor, Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth and Kevin Feige
Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Alan Taylor, Natalie Portman, Louis D Esposito and Kevin Feige
Louis D'esposito and Kevin Feige
Kevin Feige
Kevin Feige

Critics Review 'Thor: The Dark World' - Cool Scenery, Cool Explosions, Cool Loki


Chris Hemsworth Natalie Portman Tom Hiddleston

We’ve done the months of tense anticipation and today marks the day – Thor 2 is finally out in cinemas in the UK. Sorry, US people, you’ll just have to wait a while. Of course, not everyone is going to be as excited about this release as this particular staff writer is, but let’s face it, if you paid to see a Marvel superhero movie and didn’t enjoy it, you probably don’t have a soul – that is, of course, a highly scientific fact. So with that in mind, let’s see what the critics have to say.

Thor: The Dark World Poster
Hemsworth is great, but not the only highlight of the movie.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Leslie Felperin is mostly smitten with Tom Hiddleston’s turn as Loki (aren’t we all) and describes the abundance of villains and CGI in the Loki-less scenes as wildly uneven. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is relegated to playing a benevolent, but ultimately less interesting “witless oaf” – Loki’s words – but if you’ve been leaning towards the Loki side of the fandom anyway, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

Continue reading: Critics Review 'Thor: The Dark World' - Cool Scenery, Cool Explosions, Cool Loki

Thor: The Dark World Reviews: Positive To Start, But The Big Hitters Are Yet To Wade In


Chris Hemsworth Natalie Portman

It’s all looking pretty rosy for Marvel’s latest phase two addition to the world of cinema Thor: The Dark World. With cutting edge special effects flowing vividly from the film’s every orifice – that’s a metaphor – the critics have been kind, but will the so-called ‘big hitters’ ruin the (at the time of writing) 80% Rotten Tomatoes score?

thorChris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins as Thor and Odin

Thor, the Mighty Avenger, enjoyed a relatively successful translation to the big screen back in 2011, despite Roger Ebert’s best efforts.

Continue reading: Thor: The Dark World Reviews: Positive To Start, But The Big Hitters Are Yet To Wade In

Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman - 'Thor: The Dark World' World premiere - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston

Natalie Portman - 'Thor: The Dark World' - World film premiere, held at the Odeon Leicester Square - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 22nd October 2013

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Natalie Portman
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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman - Natalie Portman pictured at the BBC - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 22nd October 2013

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Thor: The Dark World - Featurette


Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston talk about the upcoming 'Thor: The Dark World' in a short featurette revealing a snippet of what the film will bring to the Marvel film franchise on its release on October 30th 2013.

'Thor is the God of Thunder, he's from a place called Asgard which is within the nine realms in another universe', Chris explains, with Tom adding, 'Thor's brother, Loki, is this mischievous prince. At the end of 'Avengers', Thor takes them back to Asgard.' They explain that the movie picks up from events that happened in 'Avengers Assemble', but this time they are 'bound together on the same journey with the same goal'.

Click here to read: Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

Video - Natalie Portman Is Snapped With Husband Benjamin Millepied At NYC Ballet Gala - Part 3


'Black Swan' star Natalie Portman appeared with her choreographer and dancer husband Benjamin Millepied in an oddly crinkled but simple blue, yellow and black dress at the New York City Ballet 2013 Fall Gala held at the David H. Koch Theatre.

Continue: Video - Natalie Portman Is Snapped With Husband Benjamin Millepied At NYC Ballet Gala - Part 3

Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied - New York City Ballet 2013 Fall Gala at the David H Koch Theater - New York, NY, United States - Thursday 19th September 2013

Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied

Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied - New York City Ballet 2013 Fall Gala held at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center - New York, NY, United States - Thursday 19th September 2013

Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Marion Cotillard Lined-Up For Lady MacBeth Role In Upcoming Film Adaption


Marion Cotillard Michael Fassbender Kenneth Branagh Natalie Portman Terrence Malick James McAvoy

Marion Cotillard has been chosen to bring some Gallic glamour to one of Scotland's most malevolent (fictional) characters in the latest big screen adaption of William Shakespeare's MacBeth. The Oscar-winning actress is set to star along German/Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who will be taking on the titular role, under the direction of Snowtown's Justin Kurzel, The Hollywood Reporter first revealed.

Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard will replace fellow Oscar-winner Natalie Portman in the latest adaption of 'The Scottish Play'

Distributed through StudioCanal and Film4, the latest rendition of the classic Shakespearean tragedy is being produced by The King's Speech backers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, who run the production house See Saw. Which happens to be the same company that worked on the Fassbender-starring Shame. No further details of the film have been released just yet, so it is still unknown who Cotillard and Fassbender will be starring alongside when filming begins in January 2014.

Continue reading: Marion Cotillard Lined-Up For Lady MacBeth Role In Upcoming Film Adaption

A Week In Movies: Ford Joins The Expendables, Thor Strikes Back, And Get Ready For The Biopics


Harrison Ford Sylvester Stallone Bruce Willis Chris Hemsworth Natalie Portman Tom Hiddleston Anthony Hopkins Idris Elba Stellan Skarsgard Naomi Watts Naveen Andrews Ashton Kutcher Lee Daniels Forest Whitaker Jane Fonda Oprah Winfrey John Cusack Terrence Howard Ricky Gervais Ty Burrell Tina Fey

Harrison Ford

The big news this week was that Harrison Ford will join the Expendables for their third film adventure. Sylvester Stallone tweeted the announcement, then went on to mention that Bruce Willis won't be around this time, apparently because he asked for too much money. Stallone was also caught on camera poking fun at Arnold Schwarzenegger's "big ego". Before they re-team for the next Expendables movie, they're costarring in the prison-break thriller Escape Plan. Watch Sly talking about Arnie at Comic Con here.

The next big superhero blockbuster will be Thor: The Dark World, and we got a more detailed look at the film in a new trailer this week. Pretty much everyone is back, including Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgard. The movie looks like a huge-scale action adventure with a sense of humour about it. It opens in October. Watch the trailer for Thor: The Dark World here.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Ford Joins The Expendables, Thor Strikes Back, And Get Ready For The Biopics

Thor The Dark World Trailer Is All About Hiddleston's Loki [Trailer]


Tom Hiddleston Chris Hemsworth Natalie Portman

Marvel's new trailer for Thor: The Dark World premiered as part of YouTube's Geek Week, featuring Chris Hemsworth returning as the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder. This time, he faces off against Christopher Eccleston's villain Malekith and the Dark Elves, though his adoptive brother, Tom Hiddleston's Loki, is still around to confuse things.

Thor The Dark WorldThe Poster For Thor: The Dark World

Natalie Portman reprises her role as Jane Foster, while Idris Elba, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings and Zachary Levi form the supporting cast.

Continue reading: Thor The Dark World Trailer Is All About Hiddleston's Loki [Trailer]

Tom Hiddleston On 'Thor: The Dark World' Comic-Con 'Car Crash' [Video]


Tom Hiddleston Chris Hemsworth Christopher Eccleston Natalie Portman Idris Elba Anthony Hopkins Kat Dennings

Tom Hiddleston was one of the marquee names at this year's Comic Con: San Diego and we caught up with him on the red-carpet to talk about the amazing reception he received during the Thor: The Dark World press conference, at which new footage was screening.

In one of the most innovate and exciting panels from this year's event, Hiddleston appeared in full regalia as his villainous Loki character to unveil the new promo. The Marvel panel was plunged into darkness before the British actor addressed the gathered crowd in Hall H.

Continue reading: Tom Hiddleston On 'Thor: The Dark World' Comic-Con 'Car Crash' [Video]

How Lily Collins Saved Natalie Portman's 'Pride And Prejudice AND ZOMBIES'


Lily Collins Natalie Portman

Lily Collins, the young British star who rose to fame in Mirror Mirror, will play the lead in the big-screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's been a long road for the project, which began with producer Natalie Portman deciding she would play the list. Things soon changed when scheduling conflicts got in the way, while the intended director David O'Russell always left the project. A revolving door of lead actresses, reportedly including Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson, sniffed around the movie, though Collins was able to commit. Charlie St. Cloud director Burr Steers is reportedly in line to direct, according to Empire magazine.

The script - still credited to O'Russell - closely follows Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, though sees a dangerous conflict against a zombie apocalypse in late 18th century England. Lizzie Bennett (played by Collins) will be tasked with fighting the undead. 

Hollywood is hot for zombies at the moment, with recent flick 'Warm Bodies' seemingly coming from nowhere to make over $110 million worldwide. If World War Z proves to be as big a success as expected this summer, the team behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may well be rubbing their hands together. Collins has plenty of time to boost of profile and she next stars in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which hits theaters on August 23, 2013.

Continue reading: How Lily Collins Saved Natalie Portman's 'Pride And Prejudice AND ZOMBIES'

Lily Collins Replaces Natalie Portman In 'Pride And Prejudice And Zombies'


Lily Collins Natalie Portman

Lily Collins is attached to the movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's mash-up novel 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.' The movie was originally set up at Lionsgate with Oscar winner Natalie Portman to star, though the studio went through a revolving door of directors including David O'Russell, Mike White and Craig Gillespie before the project seemingly fell apart.

Following Portman's exit as the star, Scarlett Johansson, Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway flirted with starring in it, though Lily Collins appears to have snagged the role. The producers - which include Portman - have chosen '17 Again' director Burr Steers to helm the adaptation. 

Panorama will produce and finance the movie, which they intend to sell at the Cannes Film Festival, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The 2009 book is a mash-up of Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice with elements of modern zombie fiction, crediting Austen as a co-author. The story follows the plot of the original book, but places it in an alternative universe version of the Regency-era of Britain, where zombies, skunks and chipmunks roam the countryside. 

Continue reading: Lily Collins Replaces Natalie Portman In 'Pride And Prejudice And Zombies'

Gavin O’Connor Directing 'Jane Got A Gun' After Lynne Ramsay's No-Show


Natalie Portman

Gavin O’Connor will fill the boots of the absent Lynne Ramsey on the western drama, Jane Got A Gun, starring Natalie Portman, Deadline report.

Best known for his work on MMA drama Warrior, O’Connor will have to work quickly to get up to speed, considering the way in which Ramsey left the show (a rather unceremonious ‘not showing up on day one of shooting’ routine, if you didn’t remember). O’Connor – also the writer-director of Pride And Glory, Miracle and Tumbleweeds – will get the show back on the road on Thursday. “I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast,” Scott Steindorff – producer and financier of the show - told Deadline of Ramsey’s sudden departure: “I’m shocked and so disappointed someone would do this to 150 crew members who devoted so much time, energy, commitment and loyalty to a project, and then have the director not show up. It is insane somebody would do this to other people. I feel more for the crew and their families, but we are keeping the show going on, directors are flying in, and a replacement is imminent."

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman and Benjamin Millipied

Continue reading: Gavin O’Connor Directing 'Jane Got A Gun' After Lynne Ramsay's No-Show

Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied - 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 25th February 2013

Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied

Diane Kruger and Natalie Portman - 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower - Arrivals - West Hollywood, California, United States - Sunday 24th February 2013

Diane Kruger and Natalie Portman
Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson
Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson
Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson
Diane Kruger
Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson

Natalie Portman To Move To Paris With Benjamin Millepied For His New Job - Director Of Paris Opera Ballet


Natalie Portman

Benjamin Millepied became something of a household name when he choreographed the Oscar winning Natalie Portman / Mila Kunis movie, Black Swan. It was there that he first met Portman, and three years later they are married with a child. Life continues to move quickly for the talented couple as, in what has been described as a 'surprising move' been given the job of 'Director of the Paris Opera Ballet', meaning he and the family are relocating to the the most romantic city in the world, Paris, in 2014.

As Sarah Crompton, from the Telegraph, says, it was expected that someone already working at the company would fulfil the role. However, clearly no one is as good as Millepied so the role has been offered to him instead. The Paris Opera Ballet is one of the oldest and most esteemed of its kind in the world. 

Speaking to the New York Times he was clearly as surprised (if not more so) as the rest of us: "I certainly knew about the position, but I also knew that there were candidates from within the company," he said. "I was surprised, but I felt very quickly that the artistic dialogue between us was an exciting one. After a while I did feel there was a really good chance I might get the position. Which made my head spin." 

Continue reading: Natalie Portman To Move To Paris With Benjamin Millepied For His New Job - Director Of Paris Opera Ballet

Natalie Portman's Husband Benjamin Millepied Is New Director Of Paris Opera Ballet


Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman’s husband Benjamin Millepied has been named as the new director of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Millepied was the choreographer on Black Swan, the 2011 movie that won Natalie an Oscar. Millepied helped the actress to develop her role, for the obsessive, paranoid ballerina and eventually then went on to marry her, last year. The couple also have a son together.

Millepied, now 35, was formerly one of the principal dancers with the New York City Ballet. He left in 2011, in order to create his own dance company in Los Angeles, named the LA Dance Project. His role at the Paris ballet begins in October 2014, New York Post have reported, to take over from the current director Brigitte Lefevre, who will be retiring. There’s no word as yet whether or not Natalie and Benjamin will be moving permanently to Paris with their son Aleph Portman-Millepied.

Continue reading: Natalie Portman's Husband Benjamin Millepied Is New Director Of Paris Opera Ballet

Men Dominate Most Bankable Stars List, But Topped By Women.


Natalie Portman Kristen Stewart Robert Pattinson Daniel Radcliffe Taylor Lautner Bradley Cooper Eddie Murphy Kevin James Dwayne Johnson Amy Adams

Forbes has released their most bankable Hollywood stars list for 2012, and topping the list is Natalie Portman

Portman brings back $42.70 for every $1 she's paid which makes her a very lucrative investment for any film maker. Her first movie was Leon: The Professional way back in 1994, which was not only successful at the time but has gained something of a cult status. Her roles since have been diverse and interesting, including V for Vendetta, the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the multi-award winning Black Swan. However, as Forbes notes, it's that she's simply not being paid enough for her talents and appeal that push her to the top of the table. To put her numbers in perspective, the most overpaid actor in Hollywood is Eddie Murphy who brings back just $2.30 for every $1 he's paid. 

Following close behind in second place is Kristen Stewart largely for her starring role in the Twilight Saga, she makes film companies $40.60 for every dollar paid. In third is Shia LaBoeuf, perhaps a little surprising, but his roles in The Transformers movies - enormous summer blockbusters that have never failed to make millions upon millions of dollars- have pushed him into the top 5. He'll probably not be seen here again having said that he'll not be appearing in anymore movies of the franchise.

Continue reading: Men Dominate Most Bankable Stars List, But Topped By Women.

Natalie Portman Advert Banned For Exaggeration


Natalie Portman

 A Natalie Portman advert, which features the star selling some Christian Dior mascara, has been pulled off the airways for exaggerating the effect of the product on her lashes, Sky News reports.

The ad-breaks are full of them; beauty adverts and yogurt adverts full of what sound like made up chemicals and tests. One day, there will be a chemical in a product that will simply be called: moreofhappiness, if this current trend continues. There’s a fine line between making something sound better than it actually is, with a deceiving grip of the English language and the guile of some marketing exec, who would rather trick hungry consumers than show self respect and tact, and bare faced lying. Christian Dior are reportedly guilty of the latter, but it’s anyone’s guess how much of the former they were attempting. "The miracle of a nano brush for an unrivalled lash creator effect. It delivers spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash,” said the advert, which to be fair to it, sounds like very other make up advert out there. However, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated the ad after rival cosmetics firm L'Oréal complained that it misleadingly exaggerated the likely effects of the product.

Dior, while admitted some photoshopping had been done to Portman’s eyelashes, defended their ad campaign, saying the retouching was "primarily used to separate/increase the length and curve of a number of her lashes and to replace/fill a number of missing or damaged lashes". Anyway, it's been taken off the air and isn't allowed back on. 

False Lash Effect, Or Just False Lashes? Dior's Natalie Portman Mascara Campaign Banned


Natalie Portman

For years now many critics have complained about the way women are portrayed in the media,  particularly in magazines. While women are still represented in images of them that have been 'retouched' or even heavily edited, to make them slimmer, smoother, curvier, more toned and generally more attractive, the same treatment is given to eyelashes, to equal scrutiny and as a result Dior have had their 'DIORSHOW' mascara campaign banned. 

The campaign was fronted by Oscar winning Black Swan actress, Natalie Portman. Her lashes appear full, long and thick- the lashes all women are after, and are accompanied by the words; "Lash-multiplying effect volume and care mascara... It delivers spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash." However, L'Oreal noticed that the photograph had been retouched to make them appear fuller, longer and thicker. They made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), reports Sky News, which followed up the complaint with an investigation.

Dior admitted to altering the images, which was "primarily used to separate/increase the length and curve of a number of her lashes and to replace/fill a number of missing or damaged lashes". However, Dior still defended the ad, arguing that no customers have complained, and as the Independent reports, Dior considers consumers aware that the ad is "stylised" and "aspirational". Nevertheless, the ASA weren't impressed, no matter how sweetly Dior batted their eyelashes and smiled, and ruled that the advert may not be reproduced further in its current form. Other brands have had a similar treatment including Special K, American Apparel, Ryan Air and original complainant L'Oreal have all had adverts banned by ASA this year. The question remains though, if it's not okay for Dior to apply 'minor retouches' to lashes, then why are so many magazines allowed to alter images of women to an unrealistic level? 

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Will Lindsay Lohan Vote For Mitt Romney Or Barack Obama?


Lindsay Lohan Barack Obama Eva Longoria Brad Pitt Jamie Foxx Natalie Portman Scarlett Johansson

Will Lindsay Lohan really vote for Mitt Romney at the U.S. Presidential Elections in three weeks’ time? Granted, it’s probably not the question on everyone’s lips at the moment, though we thought we’d ask it anyway: just for the hell of it.

The troubled actress raised a couple of eyebrows last week when she revealed Mitt Romney was likely to get her vote at the election. During a frenzied red-carpet appearance, Lohan was asked everything from her current relationship status to her hair color, though it was her answer to a fairly innocuous question about the elections that made the headlines. No doubt the reporter anticipated that Lohan would pledge her allegiance to Obama and be done with it, though – shock horror – she threw her support behind Romney. Her reasons? “I just think unemployment is really important, so as of now I think it's Mitt Romney…As of now,” she said. So it looks as though there’s still time for President Obama to twist Lindsay’s arm, though we’re not sure if he’ll be too bothered. According to the New York Daily News, the actress isn’t even a registered voter, with Angie Comer of the Los Angeles County Registrar saying, “Her status is inactive. She did not vote. Her records would be there…She could go to her old voting place if she wants to vote in this election or there's an option to update her registration online.” So that’s that then.

President Obama seems to have the backing of pretty much everyone else in Hollywood – Brad Pitt, Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, you name it – though the election is likely to go down to the wire.


Natalie Portman - Natalie Portman, Cecelia Munoz, Valerie Jarrett Saturday 25th August 2012 Nevada Women's Summit, held at the Fifth Street School auditorium - Inside

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Natalie Portman
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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman Thursday 10th May 2012 2012 New York City Ballet Spring Gala: A La Francaise - Arrivals

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Thor Review


Very Good

This boisterous comic book movie benefits hugely from Branagh's steady hand as a director. Even though it's over-designed and far too loud, the characters are strong enough to hold our interest.

In the mythical realm of Asgard, King Odin (Hopkins) is about to hand his throne to cocky son Thor (Hemsworth). But Thor recklessly ignites a war with an old enemy, so is banished to earth without his powers. He adjusts to New Mexico life with help from scientists Jane and Erik (Portman and Skarsgard). As they fend off interest from SHIELD agent Coulson (Gregg), Thor's mischievous younger brother Loki (Hiddleston) is making moves to take over the kingdom. Then Thor's pals (Alexander, Stevenson, Asano and Dallas) arrive on earth to help.

Frankly this is more like a video game than a movie, as virtually every scene is painted extensively with digital trickery. But nothing looks lived in, from Asgard's shimmery bronze towers to the plasticky battle armour. At least New Mexico feels real until a giant killer robot appears. All of this looks extremely whizzy (the 3D is sharp but unnecessary), and will please fans of the genre, but the spectacle continually distracts us from a good story.

That said, the plot's complexities are continually ironed out, as the narrative must jump through various hoops to set things up for both a sequel and Marvel's Avengers movie. So a lot of this film feels requisite, establishing relationships, grudges and so on. Fortunately, Branagh brings a terrific sense of humour to the film, with offhanded moments that make us laugh and give us insights into the characters.

Hemsworth is terrific in the central role, using his imposing physicality and sunny personality to maximum effect. It's not difficult to see why Jane falls for him, although Portman doesn't get much to do beyond bat her eyes and say sciency things every now and then to remind us that she's not a bimbo. Many of the other actors are unrecognisable under layers of armour, hair or effects, although they do get moments to shine. And even if the film isn't hugely satisfying, at least it leaves us wanting more.

Your Highness Review


Weak
Pineapple Express team McBride, Franco and director Green reunite for another freewheeling comedy, but fail to recapture the deliriously silly tone. Neither a wacky spoof nor an ironic comedy, this is just pointlessly goofy.

Thadeous (McBride) is the second son of the King (Dance), living in the shadow of his golden boy big brother Fabious (Franco), who has just returned from a quest with a bride, Belladonna (Deschanel). But on their wedding day, the evil wizard Leezar (Theroux) kidnaps her to complete his nefarious world-conquering plan. So Fabius and his loyal knights, along with Thadeuos and his esquire (Hardiker), set off to rescue her. Along the way they face treachery from within their ranks and team up with the fierce Isabel (Portman).

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Your Highness Trailer


From the director of Pineapple Express comes a new fantasy comedy film 'Your Highness' from Entertainment One - in cinemas on April 8, 2011.

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No Strings Attached Review


Very Good
An intelligent script and smart direction help lift this romantic comedy above the fray. It doesn't tell us anything new, and the central gimmick isn't particularly insightful, but the cast keeps the tone sharp and funny.

Adam (Kutcher) and Emma (Portman) have spent 15 years flirting at the random points where their lives have crossed. Now living in Los Angeles, they meet again and decide what they really need is sex without a relationship. Adam's pals (Bridges and Johnson) are jealous, while Emma's colleague (Lawson) believes he's the right man for her instead. But things start getting complicated when Adam's ex (Lovibond) moves in with his star-writer dad (Kline), and Emma starts thinking about relationships as her sister (Thirlby) gets married.

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New York, I Love You Review


Very Good
There are 11 captivating short films in this anthology, the second in the Cities of Love series by producers Benbihy and Grasic. But this collection isn't quite as varied or engaging as Paris Je T'Aime.

All of these stories take place in Manhattan, with only one or two brief forays into other boroughs, and they all centre around relatively well-off people, mainly white or Asian. They're also quite serious and emotional, with only brief moments of humour dotted here and there, although some make us smile more than others. Each is about a male-female relationship--marriages, brief encounters, possibilities, life-long companionship. Most have a somewhat gimmicky twist, and a few are intriguingly oblique.

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Black Swan Review


Extraordinary
Aronofsky takes his usual bravura cinematic approach to this harrowing psychological thriller set in a New York ballet company. Not only is it unlike any film we've ever seen, but it leaves us shaken by its boldly evocative themes.

In a noted ballet company, Nina (Portman) is a rising star who's up for the lead in a new production of Swan Lake. She's fiercely aware of the fact that the previous lead ballerina (Ryder) has been casually discarded while younger newcomer Lilly (Kunis) is already threatening Nina's position. Or is Nina just being paranoid? As opening night approaches, Nina begins to clash with everyone around her, from Lilly to her mercurial director (Cassel) and domineering mother (Hershey). And reality starts slipping out of her grasp.

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Black Swan Trailer


Nina has always strived to be the best dancer in the New York City ballet company she belongs to, driven by the company director and her mother, Nina starts to feel like she's moving in the right direction. When the company decide they're going to perform Swan Lake, the director, Thomas Leroy, must choose a girl to play the innocent White Swan and one to play the Black Swan who's an altogether darker character.

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Brothers Review


Good
This remake of Susanne Bier's 2004 drama is an equally powerful story of family tensions and how violence affects more than just the victim. But the original Danish film's strained melodrama translates here as well.

Sam Cahill (Maguire) is a loyal Marine getting ready to head back to Afghanistan with his men. His wife Grace (Portman) is trying to be strong for their young daughters (Madison and Geare), but his stern father (Shepard) couldn't be prouder. Just before he ships out, Sam's black-sheep brother Tommy (Gyllenhaal) gets out of prison and, when Sam is reported killed in action, he rises to the challenge to help care for Grace and the girls. But several months later Sam is found, and what he experienced has left him dangerously paranoid.

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Brothers Trailer


Watch the trailer for Brothers

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My Blueberry Nights Review


Very Good
It's always a tightrope when foreign filmmakers, particularly those from the Hong Kong market, come to American shores to ply their trade. Though it doesn't appear that Wong Kar Wai is going to be setting up shop permanently in Hollywood (nobody's going to be after him to direct the next Die Hard installment), My Blueberry Nights marks his first English-language film, with an entirely American and British cast. It shows that the director is not just a foreign-language specialty, his gifts are quite apparent even when the veil of mystery is lifted for English-speaking audiences once the subtitles are gone. However, My Blueberry Nights also shows that for all Wong's rightly vaunted abilities and passionate sense of cinema, there are some glaringly obvious rough patches in his approach, brought into sharp relief by transplanting the action from the teeming streets of Hong Kong to the wide open spaces of America, where his instincts for actors seem less sure.

An odd road movie of sorts that spends most of its time hanging around in diners, bars, and casinos (and precious little of it on the road), My Blueberry Nights will be noted in many quarters for it being the feature film-acting debut of jazz chanteuse Norah Jones. To put it briefly: No actress is she. Playing a lovelorn young woman named Elizabeth, she first shows up in a Brooklyn diner run by Jeremy, a charming Manchester immigrant played with the expected lighthearted dash by Jude Law. In the middle of a breakup, Elizabeth moons about the café, eating the excellent pie (best in the city!) and chatting with Jeremy, winning his heart even as hers is breaking over somebody else. Then Elizabeth ups and skips out, landing next in Memphis, where she waitresses at a café and a bar, telling everyone she's working two jobs to save up for a car.

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The Other Boleyn Girl Review


Weak
If Shakespeare was writing the screenplay for The Other Boleyn Girl, he might have named it Much Ado About Nothing. In truth, a more fitting title would be Much Ado About Something Done Better Dozens of Times Before. The story of how Anne Boleyn seduced Henry VIII into breaking from Rome (and an affair with her sister, Mary) has been the stuff of several cinematic epics. But from the flawed casting choices (two Americans and an Australian play these important British figureheads) to the questionable historical accuracy here, Other is a Harlequin romance with none of the genre's steam or sizzle.

With his Queen unable to bear him a son, Henry VIII (Eric Bana) seeks solace in the beds of local noblewomen. When the Duke of Norfolk (David Morrissey) learns of this proclivity, he attempts to exploit it for his family's benefit. Calling on brother Sir Thomas Boleyn (Mark Rylance) and his wife, Lady Elizabeth (Kristin Scott Thomas), they come up with a devious plan. They will invite the King to their estate, and then parade daughter Anne (Natalie Portman) before him. Of course, his Majesty has his own designs, and after a hunting accident, he takes a fancy to the fairer, more compassionate Boleyn girl Mary (Scarlett Johansson). Immediately becoming his concubine, the entire family is whisked off to court. But Anne will not be vanquished, and will do anything to claim her royal reward.

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Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Review


Very Good
"Whimsy" is one of those things that's easier to write than to convincingly create. Several people are perfectly capable of scripting a scene where wide-eyed tots enter a room of perpetually bouncing balls, only to be chased out by a dodge ball the size of a Dodge truck. But precious few have the talent to bring said room to life for the good of a fantasy film.

Zach Helm, a gifted writer and director, unearths enough of those visual wizards for his debut picture Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, a production designer's dream that is wondrously stuffed with the type of creativity usually reserved for children's literature. Helm proved he can write whimsically with his clever Stranger than Fiction script, where tax agent Will Ferrell ignored a narrators running commentary in his head. Now Helm's charming Emporium shows he's able to construct whimsy on screen, as well.

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The Darjeeling Limited Trailer


Director Wes Anderson brings us, The Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, is an emotional comedy about three brothers re-forging family bonds. The eldest, played by Wilson, hopes to reconnect with his two younger siblings by taking them on a train trip across the vibrant and sensual landscape of India. 

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Goya's Ghosts Review


Bad
There are always clear-cut signs: a solid cast with no buzz, a good director but no release date, a topical film with a PR campaign that could best be described as non-existent. To say nothing of the fact that the first it was heard of was roughly a year ago, Milos Forman's Goya's Ghosts has its ineffectiveness in the bloodstream and appears to have been released solely on name cred.

Forman, the Czech madman, began his career with sublime studies in New Wave dynamics, most memorably with 1965's Loves of a Blonde and 1967's sublime The Fireman's Ball. Now, after Cuckoo's Nest, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and that ridiculous role in Keeping the Faith, Forman seems to have jettisoned over to the other side of the spectrum. While most of Forman's American fare at the very least holds the faintest whiff of provocation, Goya's Ghosts seems shackled to a supremely-uninteresting story without even a glimmer of spontaneity. Seriously, hasn't it already been proven that all art is inspired by women and all women are evil? Isn't it time to move on? Not according to Forman.

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Paris, Je T'aime Review


Good
One would like to think that there at least a few other cities in the world besides Paris that could have inspired a film as varied in the types of cinematic pleasure so ably delivered by the anthology piece Paris Je T'Aime -- but it seems unlikely. This isn't due to an unavailability of good stories or locations in many other great metropolises, but more because being able to dangle the possibility of shooting in Paris in front of the world's greatest directors is going to be so much more enticing. Also, there are few other cities besides Paris that come with such a powerful and multifarious wealth of preassociated images and emotions for both filmmaker and audience to both draw upon and react against. So what could have been a collection of short films with a few highs, several lows, and a lot of muddled in-betweens is in fact a remarkably and consistently imaginative body of work, practically giddy with energy, that only rarely touches the ground.

Project overseers Emmanuel Benbihy and Tristan Carné wanted to create a cinematic map of Paris, with each short film representing one of the city's 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods). They ended up with 18 films, none of them more than a few minutes long and directed by a glittering, international roster of filmmakers. While none of the films here are anything approaching masterpieces, hardly a one is in any way a chore to sit through, which has to be some sort of an accomplishment.

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Garden State Review


Excellent
Even before he finds out his mother has died, Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is depressed -- that much we can tell. His medicine cabinet is stocked with seemingly infinite amounts of antidepressants, which seem to mute his depression without addressing it. Although we are told he is an actor who has just finished a high-profile TV part (playing, as several characters recognize, "the retarded quarterback"), it's hard to picture him coming alive in his work; he barely says a word.

Garden State, an auspicious writing and directing debut from Braff (of TV's charming Scrubs), is about Largeman's return to his New Jersey hometown, and like Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, it's more about mood and moments than telling a single story (and like that film, it's about an actor feeling numb to the "real" world). Indeed, the plot feels very much out of short fiction -- and, we can't help but notice, possible autobiography; Braff is a young actor from Jersey, too.

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Free Zone Review


Good
At the beginning of Free Zone, Amos Gitai's latest incarnation of the Middle East and its misunderstood culture, we sit and watch Natalie Portman hysterically cry for, I shit you not, 15 minutes. If it had been silent, I would have called Gitai some sort of transcendentalist, but instead, we are listening to "Had Gadia," a traditional Israeli song that reeks just a tad of our current war culture. So, why is Gitai so interested in Portman crying, besides the fact that she is right outside the Wailing Wall and she is Natalie Portman? It's a bumpy start, but you've got to be impressed by a guy who studies the architecture of a face in the time it would usually take most filmmakers to initiate the film's plot.While Rebecca (Portman) is crying in back, Hanna (Hanna Laslo) barks from the front for her to get out of the car. They argue, Rebecca pleads, and eventually, Hanna agrees to bring Rebecca along with her on her journey to the Free Zone, an area where shady dealings can go down ungoverned. The journey goes from Jerusalem to Jordan, during which we learn that Rebecca has left her fiancé because of his mother's intolerance of her. They find Leila (Hiam Abbass), an assistant to The American (Makram Khoury), a businessman who owes Hanna a substantial sum of money for her injured husband. Their search for the American leads them to a garden compound, where houses and shacks are being set ablaze, and Rebecca ends up being the only one who meets and talks with the American.Gitai has a lot of original, strong ideas working here. Instead of playing the back story through normal flashbacks, he simultaneously shows the present and the past through superimposition. The effect runs the gamut as far as how convincing it is (it becomes annoying and grating with too long a take) but it's disorienting enough to conjure up the feeling of your mind being somewhere else while the present is happening. Also, Gitai employs long takes, and I mean long takes. After the first 20 to 25 minutes of Rebecca, we are stuck on Hanna for what seems like another 15 to 20. Israeli music being a bit annoying, this technique doesn't work well in the opening shot, but sometimes it has a calming, meditative effect and allows the actresses to really show off their talents.Portman, an actress who often finds herself saddled with trite dialogue (the Star Wars films, the overrated V for Vendetta), does well with her often intrusive close-ups, and though the music dulls the effect, her raging sadness in the opening is hard to shake. Hanna Laslo, who justly won the best actress award at last year's Cannes, is the film's bruised heart, and shows the grit and strength of Israeli women with humor and a certain grace. Though given the least time on screen, Abbass registers just as strongly as she did in last year's Paradise Now, and her dialogues with Laslo are expertly executed. What ultimately keeps the film in limbo is a lack of a third quarter. The film has a decent opening, a very good middle, and then ends on a somewhat ambiguous note (which can be good depending on the film's ultimate goal). In a film that is so concerned and in love with its female characters, Gitai sort of leaves them in a lovable sing-along and doesn't really think of the available reach and conclusion to these three extraordinary women.

V For Vendetta Review


Excellent
A handful of films released during the 2005 Oscar race raised important questions about the unchecked influence of government. Stephen Gaghan's Syriana probed the unholy marriage of business and politics in the Middle East. George Clooney's Best Picture nominee Good Night, and Good Luck examined the witch-hunting tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the media's subsequent response.

For a while, Hollywood had returned to the conspiracy-theory vibe of the 1970s, when political dialect and public paranoia drove plot lines and inspired the creative minds of Francis Ford Coppola, Alan J. Pakula, and Sidney Lumet. I'm happy to report that the conversations prompted by Gaghan and Clooney are carrying over into 2006 with James McTeigue's V for Vendetta, an open rebellion against society's close-mindedness that's based on Alan Moore's incendiary graphic novel (though the irritable author has renounced any cinematic version of his work).

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Where The Heart Is Review


Terrible
Long ago, films were constructed of strong dialogue, original characters, memorable plot points, and solid acting. One of the best examples that Hollywood now completely ignore these qualities is found in the new film Where the Heart Is.

This opus about the power of love and the redemption of family follows the tragic, and I mean tragic, life of Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman). Hitting the road with her hick, guitar-playing boyfriend in a rusted-out GM, Novalee dreams of the blue skies of Bakersfield and sipping chocolate milk beneath a plastic umbrella with her unborn baby, due in a month.

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Review


Very Good
Break out the R2-D2 costume, the Yoda puppet, and Jabba the Hutt: Star Wars is back, with Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

If this were any other movie, it would have had the most horrible, over-long, dumb-sounding title in history. If this were any other movie, I'd have been laughing at all the wrong places. If this were any other movie... well, this isn't any other movie, is it? Far from it. The most anticipated movie, some say, since Gone With the Wind, and when a screen of blue text reading "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." gets enormous applause, that's hard not to believe.

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Cold Mountain Review


Weak
Masterpiece Theater meets Mayberry in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, a stodgy and superfluous adaptation of Charles Frazier's Civil War romance novel that's every bit as unconvincing as it's meant to be epic. Frigid and detached to the point of numbness, the passionless period piece is too staged, too dry, and too silly to matter, though Minghella earns bonus points for staying consistently dishonest and uneven from start to finish.

Minghella tells Mountain in two parts that fail to complement each other. In one, wounded Civil War soldier Inman (Jude Law) reaches his breaking point on Virginia's blood-soaked battlefields and decides he can't spend another day without his true love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). So he puts down his rifle and begins the long walk back to Cold Mountain, N.C. Meanwhile, back home, Ada struggles to maintain her father's house after the man passes away in a disgustingly symbolic rainstorm. She accepts help from the town tomboy (Renée Zellweger) and learns a thing or two about patience, hope, and independence in the face of danger.

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Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith Review


Excellent
All good things must come to an end, and all sort-of mediocre things eventually peter out, too.

And so we're faced with the third Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith, simultaneously the most anticipated and dreaded film of the summer. Nearly a decade of hype, dashed expectations, and Jar-Jar Binks jokes have finally come down to this, Lucas's third Star Wars prequel and, by all accounts, the last Star Wars movie that will ever be made.

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Closer Review


Bad
Love and romance are tough stuff. Leave it to Mike Nichols and his adaptation of the callous play Closer to make it even tougher.

The setup holds promise: Four characters in dreary London couple and de-couple, falling in and out of relationships over a four year span. The story is told piecemeal, as it focuses on brief events in the couples' lives, separated by months or years. It begins as American stripper Alice (Natalie Portman) meets British obituary writer Dan (Jude Law) by happenstance. A year later, Dan encounters photographer Anna (Julia Roberts), whom he immediately begins to lust after. Later, Dan plays an internet prank on dermatologist Larry (Clive Owen), which unexpectedly sends him into the arms of Anna. They marry, and Anna promptly starts an affair with Dan. Dan confesses to Alice, she becomes a stripper again. Anna confesses to Larry, and she leaves him, sending Dan to Alice for the first time. And round and round we go until everyone's had a shot at everyone else.

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Anywhere But Here Review


Terrible
Anywhere But Here? A more apt title you will not find on a motion picture this decade.

After a witty lead like that, at this point in the movie review, I usually launch into a brief plot synopsis. So here goes: A down-to-earth teenage girl hates her crazy mother.

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Léon (The Professional) Review


Essential
It's ironic that the best films in cinema history are invariably the original director's cut of the film. Films such as Aliens, The Abyss, The Wild Bunch, Blade Runner, and Terminator 2 are all prime examples of a filmmaker's integrity, later chopped up or mucked with by the studio. The advent of the DVD format has provided a more accessible way to get these original cuts to the public and provide to film freaks like myself the ability to become further enraptured by the extension of such classic films.

The DVD release of the original international version of Luc Besson's 1995 masterpiece The Professional, which is known as Léon around the world, is a prime example of how a good film can become an instant classic as a director's cut. For years, I have heard of an "international" version available only in laserdisc format, which has eluded me for years. I even bought a laserdisc player from my uncle Don for 100 bucks just to watch certain directors' cuts - including Léon. But after countless searches in laserdisc stores, I could never find it. Until now.

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Mars Attacks! Review


Weak
We've already had three movies based on TV shows this year, plus a film based on a TV commercial, but I think it's a really bad omen when a film is based on a series of trading cards.

The film is Mars Attacks!, and with it Tim Burton serves up the worst production of his once-blossoming career, a movie wherein he indulges every excess of his demented psyche, pays no attention to entertaining the audience, and recycles every joke he can get his hands on.

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Better Living Through Circuitry Review


Extraordinary
Everywhere you turn these days, the techo-rave revolution is erupting. Feature articles in major magazines focusing on sound artists such as Moby, Crystal Method, and Goldie. Countless commercials fueled by throbbing electronic beats. My grandmother discussing the finer points of Fatboy Slim's mixing techniques with me. Art-house films keeping the plot moving with the soothing noise of Underworld and Bedrock. My ghetto superstar brother Crackbaby constructing beats at raves in Northern California every weekend. And a total of three new films coming out in the short span of two months dissecting this underground culture that's rising the eyes and ears of the masses.

For one to understand this musical phenomenon, the new documentary Better Living Through Circuitry is a solid foundation for converting the facelessness of its subculture to a human level of understanding. The documentary focuses upon many aspects of the scene - the participants, the promoters, the DJs, and the techno-artists/producers. The film provides insightful, candid interviews that clearly translate the determination and the passion of these individuals. And I was equally impressed by the collection of artists included in the production: Crystal Method, Moby, DJ Spooky, Carl Cox, Electric Skychurch, Wolfgang Flur of Kraftwerk, Frankie Bones, Meat Beat Manifesto, Juno Reactor, BT, Scanner, Atomic Babies, Roni Size, Superstar DJ Keoki, Lords of Acid, System 7, Death in Vegas.

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Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones Review


Good

Spider-Man's hype and box office may have stolen some of Episode II's thunder, but Attack of the Clones finally arrives, three years after its predecessor, The Phantom Menace, and picking up the story 10 years after that installment let off.

The story is considerably more convoluted this time out. Former Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) is now a senator in the Republic, and nefarious parties are repeatedly attempting to have her assassinated. Assigned to protect her are Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and a growing-up Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), now Obi-Wan's apprentice. Soon, Jedi bosses Yoda and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) split the two up: Obi-Wan is tasked with tracking down the bounty hunter who tried to kill Amidala (which turns out to be Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), father/clone of young Boba Fett). Anakin is tasked with serving as Amidala's bodyguard.

Obi-Wan scours a "secret" watery planet (there discovering a massing clone army allegedly purchased for the Republic ten years ago), and then tracks Jango to another planet, where he finds the opposition led by (try not to snicker) Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), who is amassing a droid army for war against the Republic.

Meanwhile, Amidala and Anakin fall in love (awwwwwwwwwwwww), but since she's a politician and he's a Jedi (bound to supress emotion -- which just ain't takin'), they have to keep their romance a secret (just like in The Bodyguard!).

Side stories galore take characters all over the galaxy far, far away... including the inevitable stop on Tatooine to help Anakin's mother and long spells on Coruscant, the 100%-urban capital planet.

On to the nagging questions: Foremost, Jar-Jar is back, and his part is not insubstantial; the character is as grating as ever. But all eyes are on Christensen, and he fills the shoes of Skywalker admirably, though he has apparently been given the sole direction to act like a really bratty teenager.

The use of CGI is on overload, and while many of the sets (real or digital) are quite successful, many of the backdrops are not -- notably the cheesy oceans on the clone planet and an especially flat cathedral-like hallway Yoda scoots through. When the CGI interacts with real-world elements (like when Anakin rides a fat sheep-like creature), the effect is about as believable as Barney being a real dinosaur.

Also out of place is the movie's silly patriotism, with frequent pontification about loving democracy (and this from a former queen -- albeit an "elected" queen... uh, okay) and the Republic. One speech actually includes the earnestly corny line, "The day we stop believing in democracy is the day we lose it!" I say the day Star Wars becomes nothing more than a political platform is the day we lose it.

At 2 1/2 hours in length, this installment is a bit long-winded and bladder-challenging (compared to 2:13 for Episode I and a little over 2 hours for A New Hope), but the decision to go "epic" at least makes room for lots of action when Amidala and Anakin aren't busy smooching. The action starts right at the beginning, with an impressive skycar chase through Coruscant, and ends with an equally smashing "big battle scene" that easily outdoes the one in Menace. Best of all, though, is the already famous Yoda light-saber battle, which is as funny as it is thrilling. That said, the pod race in Phantom is still probably the best action sequence in the series so far.

Less impressive are the talky parts, which haltingly attempt to create a romance between Amidala and Anakin. The love story just doesn't work and it's very awkward, maybe because George Lucas is simply out of touch with the realities of youthful romance, or maybe because the leads didn't have chemistry. I don't know for sure. I do know, however, that if Anakin Skywalker is going to play the cool outcast he shouldn't act like a baby around his would-be girlfriend. And Amidala's 11th hour confession of love comes completely out of left field, a necessary plot point because we know she has to eventually bear two kids by the guy.

In fact, much of Episode II feels like it's ticking off items to make sure we get to the appropriate state of the galaxy by the end of 2005's Episode III. There's still a long way to go -- Anakin has to turn evil and disfigured; Amidala has to have two kids, split them up, and have one become the princess of a planet still not introduced in the series; Yoda and Obi-Wan have to become hermits; and then there's the matter of the Death Star, which has to be built. Episode III is either going to be a complete disaster or a work of genius.

Altogether, the movie is enjoyable despite its nagging script inadequacies and crummy "down" scenes. The action is fun, the acting is good enough, and the direction is capable, if not inspired. If you're a die-hard Star Wars fan, you will like this better than Episode I (though I grade them roughly equal), but it still won't hold a candle to the earlier films.

But chances are when it's said and done, you aren't going to be talking about Episode II for its good things. An impromptu conversation with another filmcritic.com staffer set us off on a number of incongruities and simply baffling moments that might be pointing to Lucas's senility. For example: When did R2-D2 become able to fly? When did Obi-Wan become afraid of flying (or afraid of anything for that matter)? What's with Jimmy Smits and his Elizabethan collar? Since when does a Jedi Knight have to go to a library to figure out where a planet is? And why didn't Lucas get the hint about Jar-Jar Binks the first time around?

Mysteries of the universe, I tell ya.

The DVD answers few of these mysteries, with eight deleted scenes (see Natalie Portman lose her accent!) and various effects-oriented documentaries. There's even a trailer for a mockumentary about R2-D2. Amusing.

Teddy bears' picnic.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith Review


Very Good
Here's your "Revenge of the Sith" review in a nutshell: It may well be the best of all six "StarWars" movies -- with the caveat that you need to have seen the other five films to truly grasp its significance.

The cunning dexterity and gravitas with which George Lucas snaps into place every remaining puzzle piece in his epic 30-year storyarc is remarkable. The talent of Hayden Christensen will surprise his detractors as he portrays a complex, compounding crisis of conflicting loyalties thattear Anakin Skywalker apart, leading him to slip ever more rapidly toward the Dark Side of the Force. The potent sensations of betrayal and inevitabilitythat fuel the climactic duel between the young Jedi knight and his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi are positively goosepimpling, even though every "StarWars" fan knows the outcome and has been waiting for this moment for years.

These elements, coupled with much improved dialogue, far fewer scenes transparently designed to foster inevitable tie-in video games,and genuinely compelling emotions make up for the myriad of shortcomings that plagued the previoustwo"Star Wars" prequels.

Opening in the midst the Clone Wars between the crumbling galactic republic and an alliance of separatists that is really a frontfor the evil Sith Lords (all those villains called "Darth This" and "Darth That"), "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge ofthe Sith" is surprisingly character-driven. The plot revolves around the volatile, brash young Anakin being appointed by the increasingly powerfulChancellor Palpatine (soon to be revealed as Darth Sidious) to be his personal representative on the Jedi Council, which has for centuries tried to maintainpeace in this galaxy far, far away.

Continue reading: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith Review

Cold Mountain Review


Weak

From the very first words of its opening voice-over, inwhich a detectable trace of Aussie inflection invades Nicole Kidman's affectedSouthern accent, there's something amiss with "Cold Mountain,"a two-and-a-half-hour Civil War epic built around a lackluster love story,written and directed by an Englishman, starring half a dozen British actorsand shot in Romania.

Sweeping in scope, the picture's earnest intentions, periodatmosphere and cinematic beauty are above reproach as it portrays brutal,bloody, brother-against-brother battlefields and a North Carolina home-fronthamlet where prim, city-bred newcomer Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman) waitsfor the return of her soldier sweetheart while struggling to survive onher dead father's farm.

And yet, the emotional investment in the characters issomething less than sweeping. The passionless decorum of Ada's first-reelcourtship by the adoring but reticent Inman (Jude Law), the declarationof war which cuts short their time together, and the questionable castingof Kidman -- who at 36 is too old to be credible as a bashful unmarriedbelle in 1864 Dixie -- result in a lack of validity and vitality that isn'tremedied until the invigorating second-act arrival of Renee Zellweger.

Continue reading: Cold Mountain Review

Anywhere But Here Review


Good

With any lesser actresses than Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman in the lead roles, the turbulent mother-daughter relationship at the center of "Anywhere But Here" might be little more than fodder for another Lifetime Channel movie -- especially with such a pathetic title.

In fact, I can't imagine what drew director Wayne Wang ("Smoke," "The Joy Luck Club") to what on paper must have looked like a rather prosaic project about a middle-aged woman, desperate for a fresh start, dragging her inimical teenager from Wisconsin to Los Angeles in the hopes of creating a fulfilling and glamorous new life.

But Wang's ability to extract vitality and depth from even the most obvious female roles (a hooker in his "Chinese Box" became a symbol of Hong Kong at the end of English rule) begets such effortlessly extraordinary performances from his stars that this seemingly pedestrian story will ring true for anyone who is now or has ever been a teenage girl embarrassed and imposed upon by her mother. (Frankly, there isn't much here for guys, I'm afraid.)

Continue reading: Anywhere But Here Review

Closer Review


OK

A sexually charged drama of cross-pollinating infidelity from director Mike Nichols -- whose best work has always tapped into such raw and sensitive areas of the human psyche -- "Closer" derives all its fascination from the nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty character nuances brought to life with discomforting veracity by its foursome of fine actors.

Julia Roberts (as Anna, an aloof but respected photographer), Clive Owen (as Larry, a smarmy doctor), Jude Law (as Dan, an obituary writer and failed novelist) and Natalie Portman (as Alice, a punkette-lite stripper who blows with the wind) are all strangers as the film opens in modern-day London. But as the story leaps forward to pivotal episodes over several years, a series of dates, marriages, illicit liaisons, break-ups and jealous traps shape their boomeranging romantic lives.

The cunning direction of Nichols ("The Graduate," "Carnal Knowledge," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf") viscerally plugs into the emotional voltage of these edgy, passionate, dishonest, desperate, sometimes sweet but often brutally frank relationships in almost every scene. But the film begins deceptively like a romantic comedy as Dan charms the alluringly unfettered Alice on her first day in London, coming to her aid when she's hit by a taxi. "Please remember our traffic tends to come from the right," he glints with all this English panache after realizing her injuries aren't life-threatening.

Continue reading: Closer Review

Zoolander Review


Good

"The fashion industry has been behind every major assassination in the last 200 years," says a bearded and scruffy, conspiracy-mad David Duchovny in Ben Stiller's ludicrously amusing "Zoolander" -- and only the world's most vapid male model can break his brainwashing and to put a stop to it all.

No, not Fabio. "Too smart," says the Karl Lagerfeld-like leader of a shadowy international syndicate of couture designers, while picking "a beautiful self-absorbed simpleton who can be molded like Jell-O" to kill the prime minister of Malaysia. I mean, the man plans to end slave wages for sweatshop garment workers in his country. He simply must be stopped!

Enter pouty, super-superficial mannequin man Derek Zoolander (Stiller). Desperate to rescue his career after losing the Male Model of the Year Award (insert oh-so-VH-1 ceremony here) to his up-and-coming rival, the dreaded, sexy surfer stud Hansel (Owen Wilson), Derek is ripe for reprogramming. Hired by the industry's designer de jour -- played by Will Ferrell in a poodle wig, charcoal eyeliner and a leather corset -- Derek is brainwashed to snap at a runway show for a new line of homeless bum-inspired ready-to-wear, called Derelicte (that's derelict with an "e" on the end). Ferrell has invited the Third World leader to sit in the front row.

Continue reading: Zoolander Review

Where The Heart Is Review


Weak

Cast anyone but actress savant Natalie Portman as the pregnant, white trash teenager axis of "Where the Heart Is," and this warm-fuzzy soap opera of stock crises and Hallmark card moments would be pretty close to insufferable.

Propelled to the big screen only on the momentum of the novel's Oprah Winfrey book club endorsement, even with Portman -- who by carrying this movie proves absolutely her astounding talent -- in the lead, this low-impact unwed motherhood epic never gets any deeper than a pebble skipping across a pond.

That pebble is Novalee Nation (Portman), a near-illiterate 17-year-old abandon in the parking lot of a Sequoyah, Oklahoma, WalMart by her rat bastard boyfriend when they were supposed to be moving to California together in his $80 car.

Continue reading: Where The Heart Is Review

Garden State Review


Excellent

Affectionately wry yet disarmingly poignant, hilariously insightful yet accessibly awkward, infinitely quotable yet organic and unassuming, "Garden State" is a quarter-life-crisis comedy that may just be "The Graduate" for the arrested-development generation.

This merrily ironic tale of looming-maturity malaise has all the consternation of Mike Nichols' definitive touchstone of late-1960s coming-of-age. But in a surprise, triple-threat outburst of unforeseen talent and imagination, the film's writer, director and star -- Zach Braff from TV's "Scrubs" -- truly nails the psychological complexity and raised-on-MTV coercion that has pushed the pause button on coming to grips with adulthood. "Garden State" is, in part, a simile for how people in their 20s now try to extend the age of no responsibilities into their early 30s.

Braff gives a vulnerably acerbic performance as Andrew Largeman ("Large" to his friends), a droll, aimless Everymensch and long-frustrated actor (and sushi-bar waiter by day), who is taking two simultaneous big steps in his life: returning home to New Jersey after nine years to attend his mother's funeral, and doing so without his extensive private pharmacy of sense-dulling psychotropics.

Continue reading: Garden State Review

Natalie Portman

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Natalie Portman

Date of birth

9th June, 1981

Occupation

Actor

Sex

Female

Height

1.60


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Natalie Portman Movies

The Laws Of Nature Don't Apply In 'Annihilation'  Trailer

The Laws Of Nature Don't Apply In 'Annihilation' Trailer

When a biologist’s husband disappears his wife must undertake a dangerous mission into the unknown...

Song To Song Trailer

Song To Song Trailer

The music scene of Austin, Texas becomes tainted by lust and illict desires as two...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Jackie Trailer

Jackie Trailer

Jacqueline Bouvier was always a highly independent woman, even when she was a debutant; she...

A Tale Of Love And Darkness Trailer

A Tale Of Love And Darkness Trailer

For Natalie Portman's foray into directing, she's decided to turn Amos Oz's autobiographic book A...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Knight Of Cups Trailer

Knight Of Cups Trailer

Rick is one of the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood but after the death of his...

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Jane Got A Gun Trailer

Jane Got A Gun Trailer

Jane Hammond has always been an independent woman, but living in the developing West is...

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Trailer

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Trailer

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. A trade dispute on the...

Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith Trailer

Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith Trailer

After five long years, the Clone Wars are still raging across the galaxy. Count Dooku...

Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones Trailer

Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones Trailer

Discontent is spreading across the galaxy. A separatist movement, led by the fallen Jedi Count...

Star Wars: The Digital Collection Trailer

Star Wars: The Digital Collection Trailer

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The majestic order of honourable,...

Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

Marvel can't help itself: these movies have to get bigger and crazier. And this one...

Thor: The Dark World Trailer

Thor: The Dark World Trailer

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston talk about the upcoming 'Thor: The Dark World' in a...

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