October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher release edgier “No Strings” trailer

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Though it’s only four days old, we’re going ahead and declaring 2011 “The Year of Natalie Portman.”

The actress has four films reaching theaters this year, including the anticipated stoner comedy “Your Highness” and the summer blockbuster “Thor.” Off screen, she announced that she’s engaged to be married … and expecting her first child. Oh yeah, and she’s more than likely about to nominated for an Oscar thanks to her mesmerizing performance in Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.”

Something tells me we’ll be writing a lot about Portman as the year progresses, starting today. We’re getting a good look at Portman’s next film, “No Strings Attached,” a romantic comedy co-starring Ashton Kutcher that hits theaters on Jan. 21. Initially, I feared that a sappy rom-com released right before the Academy cast its votes could hurt Portman’s chances (the way “Norbit” allegedly hurt Eddie Murphy’s Oscar prospects for “Dreamgirls”).

But a new restricted trailer over on WorstPreviews suggests something else: a bawdy, edgy comedy that shows different sides of Portman’s humor that we knew were there (thanks to films like “Garden State” and “Closer”) but often are kept in check.

The new clip, which features plenty of vulgar sex humor, also shows Ivan Reitman’s influence. Of course, the “No Strings” director helmed such comedy classics as “Ghostbusters,” “Meatballs,” “Stripes” and “Twins.” Then again, he also directed “Junior” and “Six Days, Seven Nights.”

This could be either. But the new, rowdy “No Strings” trailer at least gives me hope that this won’t be another run-of-the-mill romantic comedy that panders to date-night couples.

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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 FilmCritic.com, 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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