It’s Kansas in 1905 and Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a magician in a traveling circus who is busy juggling women, a mediocre act, and a vague desire for greatness. In spite of his shifting moral compass Oscar does have a loyal assistant Frank (Zach Braff) and the love of the good-hearted, small town girl Annie (Michelle Williams) who sees a potential for meaning in Oscar’s life beyond his transparently charming façade. But, before he has a chance to fulfill that promise he’s forced to escape in a hot air balloon after one too many transgressions and is caught up in a powerful tornado that whisks him away to the Land of Oz.

Oz is a visually rich land teeming with vibrant colors; flowers that pop open, water fairies and the beautiful witch Theodora (Mila Kunis). It is Theodora who first sees Oscar fall out of the sky and welcomes him to Oz, innocently believing he is the wizard prophesied to save Oz from the evil witch who has killed the benevolent king. Oscar is happy to play the role of wizard when he learns there is a throne and scepter of gold that goes along with the title. Of course, he soon finds Oz is a darker place than it first appears. The yellow brick road to the emerald city is paved with danger, ominous flying creatures and live snapping tree branches.

Along the way to the emerald city Oz saves the life of a flying monkey Finley (voiced by Zach Braff), picks up China Girl (Joey King) and charms Theodora who falls in love with him and imagines she will be his queen. Once he arrives in the emerald city, Oz meets Theodora’s older sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who sends him on a mission to kill the “evil” witch Glinda (Michelle Williams who also plays Annie) but he soon discovers that Evanora is the wicked one. Continue reading »

I’m going to admit right off the bat that I don’t completely understand the ending of Black Swan, although I do have ideas about what may have happened and what it means. The fact is though, it doesn’t bother me that I don’t quite know. Although there are certain movies, actually most, where you want or expect a concrete ending, this isn’t one of them. If you’ve seen the previews, you go in knowing that it’s a psychological thriller about a ballerina who is experiencing a nervous breakdown. Already the stage is set for a struggle between reality and fantasy in the mind of Natalie Portman’s uptight ballet dancer, Nina Sayers who slowly unravels after she gains the lead in Swan Lake. Continue reading »

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