March 27, 2017

TIFF ’10: Others weigh in on ‘Black Swan,’ Bardem’s ‘Biutiful’ performance

By Sean O’Connell Every once in a while, screenings have to be sacrificed to make way for writing time.

Today’s schedule drastically shifted following “Black Swan,” after Katey Rich of Cinema Blend warned me off one movie (thanks, Katie) and Drew McWeeny of HitFix directed me to toward another (thanks, Drew).

And that’s how I ended up on the phone with my Overture rep to make sure I could attend an afternoon screening of Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In” instead of the film I planned to see. (Let’s not name names. I heard something wasn’t good, so I avoided it. I can’t say for sure or not, so I’ll leave it at that.)

Much more on Reeves’ anticipated remake once I can get my fingers in synch with my brain. I will say that I wish I hadn’t seen the original film, “Let the Right One In,” because it does spoil a few of Reeves’ surprises. For those in the know, I will say there is a swimming pool, but there isn’t a stitched-together vagina. But Reeves’ worthy remake will act as a fine portal into John Ajvide Lindqvist’s vampire tale for those who’ve yet to see Tomas Alfredson’s stunning adaptation.

I have a bit of time before I run to my next screening, and I was curiosu to see what others thought of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” and other films that have played the first few days of the fest.

“Swan” is going over like gangbusters. Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere says the tremendous film “is immediately admitted into the Best of 2010 club. It stands head and shoulders over every previous Aronofsky film — it’s way in front of The Wrestler and don’t even mention Requiem for a Dream. It’s also cinched a Best Picture nomination (obviously) and totally locks in Natalie Portman as a Best Actress nominee. Done, settled, no arguments.”

High praise, indeed. Equally high praise is being thrust at Javier Bardem for his work in “Biutiful.” Using a unique system of recording himself on the elevator at the Scotiabank Theatre (seriously, reviews don’t come more fresh than that), David Poland raves about “Biutiful” and says Bardem “should be a long for an Academy Award nomination” but hedges on saying the film will get in the race because it is a “painful” sit.

I agree, on Bardem and the movie. So did ComingSoon’s Ed Douglas, who tweeted after the “Biutiful” screening that Bardem gives “an Oscar-worthy performance.” And yet I’ve run into a few people, notable James Rocchi, who didn’t care for the film when he saw it at Cannes. I understand. It is the type of film that divides audiences. But if it works for you, there is some heartwrenching material to embrace, and I’m anxious to see “Biutiful” again.

Did anyone go to “The King’s Speech” P&I screening on Friday, or was everyone at “Black Swan?” I’m digging around for reaction on the former and can’t seem to find it. Will keep looking. In the meantime, it’s off to another screening. And tomorrow, interviews!

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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