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Black Swan 15, 108mins The Dilemma 12A, 111mins Morning Glory 12A, 107 mins With the coveted Golden Globe Best Actress award under her tutu and a Bafta nomination for her role as an emotionally fragile ballerina, Natalie Portman is favourite for the Oscar next month.

And it would be richly deserved, with her portrayal of Nina Sayers being hailed as a career-defining performance.

The actress undertook 10 months of gruelling preparation before the cameras even started to roll.

Black Swan is a psychological drama, revolving around a production of Swan Lake by a prestigious New York ballet company. In a bid to turn the company's fortunes around, its artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) has sacked prima ballerina Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) and chosen Nina as the replacement to lead an erotically charged new staging of Swan Lake.

Nina is technically gifted but she struggles to express her emotions on stage, which causes friction with Thomas, who needs Nina to embrace her dark side if she is ever to play the Black Swan.

Soon after, sensual ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis) is cast as understudy and Nina feels threatened.

Pushed by her mother (Barbara Hershey), Nina wrestles with fear and paranoia, teetering on the brink of an emotional breakdown.

Definitely not one to miss.

In The Dilemma, college friends Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) work together at their company B&V Engine Design.

They are pitching their state-of-the-art electric engine to executives at a major company.

But while Nick works tirelessly on the design, Ronny frets about proposing to his girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connelly).

And to add to his concerns he finds out that Nick's wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) is cheating with a tattooed younger man.

Should he keep the truth from his best friend until the company has signed on the dotted line or tell Nick everything, aggravate his ulcer and plunge the project into chaos? Simplistic, sugar-coated escapism.

If it is more frothy comedy you are looking for, look no further than Morning Glory.

When producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is made redundant she lands a job at Daybreak, a badly-rated television breakfast show.

The co-anchors are at loggerheads, so Becky bravely fires one and manages to talk Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) into being the replacement. See our main feature on these pages for an interview with Ford.

Morning Glory is a real laugh out loud film with a brilliant performance from Ford.


Black Swan
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 21, 2011
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