Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rewind - 5 Favorite Films Featuring Natalie Portman

Five Favorite Films Featuring...

Natalie Portman

This list is in no particular order. These are just some of my favorite films that Natalie Portman, the actor and star of the new film No Strings Attached, has been in over the years that I enjoyed either solely because of her or it was a generally well made and enjoyable film. And just to clarify here, she played in a lot of big films in smaller roles or part of large ensemble casts before she hit it big. So some of these picks she didn't really star in but they are all still great films that she was a part of. And the less said about the prequels the better.


1.


I haven't seen this film in years, but I do remember it fairly well...I think I do anyway. This came out around the time when Natalie was just starting to get her own films, although this had a pretty diverse ensemble cast to it I suppose. I remember finding it unusually funny in some ways and rather dark in others. Natalie's character is pregnant and she gets abandoned at a Wal-Mart in the middle of nowhere by here boyfriend which led to her having a Wal-Mart baby! She did admirably in first starring role, especially given she was up against such heavy weights as Ashley Judd and Sally Field. It's tone is all over the place (characters are killed and/or maimed unexpectedly which is kind of jarring) but I remember really enjoying it, mostly due to Natalie Portman's performance.

Where the Heart Is


2.


OK, she is hardly in this film and to be honest she doesn't really add a whole lot to anything that happens in it. This was and still is THE movie to watch if you wanna see such legendary actors as Pacino and DeNiro going head to head. But Natalie held her own, while she doesn't have much screen time here, what she does have she gives it her all. Her character arc does have an effect on certain motivations though and is pretty grim. I can't recommend this based primarily on her, but if you want to see an amazing movie with one of the very few child performances of her career then give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

Heat [Blu-ray]


3.


This is it, the film that gave us that little actress that could in her breakout performance. The first time I saw this I remember thinking to myself "Wow, this little girl is gonna be a star someday". That moment when she comes home to her apartment and finds her family dead and the murderers still there was played brilliantly by her. Plus she had great chemistry with Jean Reno, their scenes together when he starts training her on how to assassinate people are priceless. And I have to recommend the extended edition because it only expands upon the awkward yet beautiful bond that the two of them make during the course of the film. Love those impersonations she does for Leon as well, fantastic stuff and still a classic.

Léon: The Professional (Theatrical and Extended Edition) [Blu-ray]


4.


This film gets shit on a lot and I am guessing that is mostly due to the liberties taken when adapting the graphic novel to the big screen. I could care less about any of that though because this film is just great and this was the first time I saw Natalie just completely lose herself in a role. I loved how she is this beautiful well dressed woman leading a respectable life that has her world turned upside down when she meets and befriends V. A lot of fuss was made about her bald head but I think that unfortunately overshadowed her amazing performance (those interrogations scenes are intense). I absolutely love the moment where she is freed and walks out into the rain, her reaction there to her new found life and freedom was amazing!


V for Vendetta [Blu-ray]


5.


And yet another film that she wasn't exactly prominently featured in, but man was she surrounded by some fantastic actors. She played the President of the United State's daughter, a kind of out of it and doesn't give a shit character. This is still one of my favorite Tim Burton films and I believe one of the last films that Natalie played a teenage girl in before moving on to grander things. This being a send up of the old Science Fiction films from the 50's there is a ton of cheesiness to the whole thing. Major film stars and some interesting cameos (Tom Jones?) make up the cast of characters that mostly all die by the end of the film. At least Natalie lives to see another day and decides to take charge of the country due to the untimely death of both her parents. Even though she is not in it much, she wins out at the end regardless, way to go Natalie.

Mars Attacks! [Blu-ray]

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