You haven't seen anything like Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan
in a long time—not since the era of early Brian De Palma films like Carrie
and Dressed to Kill
. The new demented and overly dramatic ballerina thriller starring Natalie Portman
as a prissy dancer who is about to have the sexual awakening of the century (look out for hallucinatory lesbian hate-sex) walks the fine line between thrilling and lunacy, just like many films by its director. Before you see Portman pirouette herself crazy, check out Aronofsky's other offerings on disc.
Aronofsky's directorial debut stars Sean Gullette as Max Cohen, a reclusive math genius who believes everything in nature can be explained by numbers. This also explains his cluster headaches, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and social-anxiety disorder. He spends much of the movie on the brink of madness as he tries to figure out a 216-digit number that might be the unspeakable name of God. This 1998 black-and-white psychological thriller is only available on DVD.
Requiem for a Dream:
This beyond depressing 2000 drama with the haunting soundtrack depicts different forms of addiction and how it results in its characters' imprisonment in a world of delusions and desperation. Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans are all heroin junkies who go to different lengths to get their fix, but it is Ellen Burstyn's Oscar-nominated performance as a lonely woman who accidentally becomes addicted to diet pills that will rip your heart out and pour salt on the open wound. Requiem for a Dream
is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Originally planned as a $70 million film starring Brad Pitt
and Cate Blanchett, The Fountain
got shut down by Warner Bros. when Pitt pulled out. Aronofsky resurrected the film on a smaller budget with Hugh Jackman
and Rachel Weisz in the lead roles. The two play different characters in three interwoven storylines about a present-day scientist and his cancer-stricken wife, a conquistador and his queen, and a space traveler with hallucinations of his lost love. This visually beautiful abstract odyssey is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
This acclaimed drama about a beaten-down professional wrestler entering the twilight of his career resurrected Mickey Rourke
on-screen and provided a meaty role for Marisa Tomei as his love interest. Both actors were nominated for Oscars for their efforts, and it is hard not to watch Rourke's emotionally raw performance and think about the parallels between the character and Rourke himself. Witness this role of a lifetime on either DVD or Blu-ray.