Natalie Portman in Annihilation

Natalie Portman is always proving herself.

It’s not a conscious effort, not some desperate act of retribution. There’s nothing cloying or even necessarily deliberate about her methods of reinvention, if you can even call it that. She’s been a professional actress since she was 11 years old. She’s a Harvard graduate, a wife and mother, an Oscar winner. Her career is peppered with both high-caliber performances and less sexy – but certainly more impressive – scientific accolades. She’s a woman who’s starred in three Star Wars films and penned an academic study called “Frontal lobe activation during object permeance: data from near-infrared spectroscopy.”

And yet, she still feels under-appreciated, occasionally disregarded. Her new film, Annihilation, is a reminder that she’s one of the finest, and most interesting, actresses working right now.

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Annihilation differences

Alex Garland‘s weird, wonderful adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer‘s Annihilation hits theaters this week. Anyone who read the novel and watched the trailers could’ve guessed Garland took liberties with the source material. Below, we examine some of the major Annihilation differences between book and film. There are a lot of them.

Major spoilers for both book and film follow.

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annihilation early buzz

Annihilation promises to be a cerebral science-fiction tale that could rival the acclaim of last year’s Blade Runner 2049 or even 2016’s Oscar-nominated Arrival. But why — with merely three weeks until the star-studded movie’s release — have we heard so little about it?

Alex Garland‘s adaptation of the best-selling Jeff VanderMeer novel has been shrouded in mystery mostly out of necessity. But worryingly, the reviews for the ambitious sci-fi film will remain under lock and key until the day before the film’s release. Thank goodness, then, that social media reactions have started flooding in this week. So far, the critical reaction to Garland’s follow-up to his stunning directorial debut, Ex Machina, has been over the moon.

Below, we’ve rounded up the Annihilation early buzz.

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Jessica Chastain Xavier Dolan Movie

Don’t expect to see Jessica Chastain in Xavier Dolan‘s new movie. Donlan’s upcoming film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan has a phenomenal cast, but Jessica Chastain is no longer among them. Dolan recently revealed that after much deliberation, he’s has cut Chastain and her character out of the film.

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Natalie Portman Hosted Saturday Night Live

It’s been 12 years since Natalie Portman first hosted Saturday Night Live, but she finally returned to Studio 8H this past weekend to have fun with an almost entirely new cast.

The last time Portman hosted, Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island were making waves with SNL Digital Shorts, and Natalie Portman was part of one of the best in the form of a rap music video. Upon her return this weekednd, the writers were bold enough to delivering an all-new rap, and surprisingly enough, it delivered pretty damn well. Plus, Portman reprised her role as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and even played Eleven from Stranger Things.

Let’s run through the best and worst sketches from the Natalie Portman hosted Saturday Night Live.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

New ‘Annihilation’ Clip Goes Into The Shimmer

Annihilation clip

We’re less than a month away from the release of Alex Garland‘s mysterious new movie Annihilation, and a new clip from the film takes you inside the nightmarish world of The Shimmer – a strange, dangerous area that’s slowly expanding and altering everything in its path. It’s all very weird and intangible, but one thing is for sure: entering The Shimmer isn’t going to be pleasant. Watch the Annihilation clip below.

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Annihilation Featurette - Natalie Portman

Not too long ago, we released our collective list of /Film’s 25 Most Anticipated Films of 2018. Even though films like Avengers: Infinity War and The Incredibles 2 ended up near the top, our #1 film ended up being Alex Garland‘s new sci-fi thriller Annihilation.

Starring Natalie Portman, the film is based on Jeff VanderMeer’s first novel in the author’s Southern Reach Trilogy, and it follows a group of female scientists and scholars as they head into a strange phenomenon that has appeared on Earth known as The Shimmer. A new Annihilation featurette explains a little more what appears to be happening in The Shimmer, and it doesn’t sound great for the human race. Read More »

Natalie Portman Pale Blue Dot

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman is so frustrated at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for not nominating any female directors that she’s decided to leave this planet entirely. Fresh off her Golden Globes zinger about the all-male nominees in the Best Director category, Portman is now in talks to star in Pale Blue Dot, a film in which she’ll play a female astronaut for director Noah Hawley, the showrunner of shows like Fargo and Legion.
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Making of Annihilation - Jennifer Jason Leigh

Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh was on a Television Critics Association panel for her upcoming Showtime series Patrick Melrose (watch the trailer here). After the panel, we were able to speak to her about the upcoming Alex Garland film Annihilation. She could not talk about her character but described the experience of filming in “The Shimmer.”

Find out what Jennifer Jason Leigh had to say about the making of Annihilation below. Read More »

annihilation trailer

Annihilation is one of the smartest and creepiest science fiction books I’ve ever read. Ex Machina is one of the smartest and creepiest science fiction films I’ve ever seen. So naturally writer/director Alex Garland feels like a natural match for a film adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, a haunting and cerebral tale of an expedition gone terribly wrong. Natalie Portman, always wonderful in everything, taking on the lead role is another promising sign.

The new Annihilation trailer has arrived and it’s beautiful and unsettling and…looks and feels nothing like the source material. A trick of the marketing or a sign of an adaptation that wasn’t precious about the book it’s adapting? We shall see.

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