Mrs. BDB and I headed to the cinema for a Sunday afternoon break. We chose to see the multi-Oscar nominated “Black Swan”, a tale of the obsessive world of ballet performers, and the pain and suffering (physical and emotional) they put themselves through to reach the top of their chosen profession.
Regal Cinemas have “upgraded” their food at our local outlet, choosing to go with familiar brand names in the hope of boosting sales. Among the options were a variety of choices from Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, including a black Angus dog, mini slider dogs, and corn dog bites. Also available were personal-sized pizzas bearing the Freschetta brand, Peter’s Pretzels, and a few other choices.
Curious to me that Regal would choose this route when most theaters are truly upgrading food – like made to order entrees, sandwiches, snacks and cocktails.
Apparently Regal thinks they can minimize the risk and up the profits by utilizing ‘heat and eat’ options. And I mean that literally, as Mrs BDB opted for the corn dog bites and was informed they would take 8 minutes to cook (warm). Her having more patience than I on all scores, she opted to go ahead with the purchase, while I remained steadfast in my old-timey mode and paid $6 for a quarter’s worth of popcorn. I fail to see how the concessions folks could serve multiple heat and eat customers simultaneously.
I had to scour the internet for a pic of the corn dog bites, for if I had taken a photo of the ones that we were served, you would have lost whatever meal you had just prior to reading this post. They truly looked awful, and didn’t even resemble the beautiful photo posted above the snack counter, which showed some nicely nestled pups surrounded by ramekins of ketchup and mustard. When Mrs. BDB inquired as to the ‘sauce’ she was pointed towards a nearby counter than had the pre-measured packets of ketchup, mustard,and sweet relish. We grabbed a handful and headed towards our seats.
After enduring the 30 minutes of commercials and previews, the movie started – playing to a house of about 10 customers on a Sunday afternoon, but then, these (and we) are the people who said “hmm, better see that, lots of award nominations). The bulk of the domestic box offices is already in for this offering, bringing in over a hundred million so far on a production budget less than the cost of most headliners these days (only $13 mil to make this sucker).
Natalie Portman, in the lead, supported by her friend Mila Kunis (from “That 70’s Show), and the always-dazzling Vincent Cassel (Oceans 12, 13, and Birthday Girl, with Nicole Kidman) as the dance company leader – all were spectacular and deserving of kudos for their parts. Portman is nominated for Best Actress for her effort, and both Portman and Kunis did most of their own dance scenes.
Haunted by both her own demons of wanting to be perfect, and driven to be so by her obsessive mother (70’s sex symbol Barbara Hershey), Portman shines in this role, and finally breaks away from her typical cutsey-girl parts.
Director Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”) gets the most of his cast and his DP, producing a beautifully shot epic of angst, anxiety, and ardor in capturing this behind the scenes look at the competitive world of professional ballet.
There are a few scenes not for the squeamish, but otherwise, most movie goers that enjoy dark subject matter will like this film.
See the movie. Pass on the corn dog bites.