If it's Friday, it means that it's time to figure out what to see at the movies this weekend. And if it's a Friday in December, it means that your choices are at polar opposites, as they consist of either envelope-pushing awards bait or bombastic crowd-pleasers. This weekend sees a handful of releases in both categories. At the heavy-rotation end of the spectrum, there's the Asian action epic "The Warrior's Way," but if you're in the mood for something a little more challenging (and you live in the New York or Los Angeles areas), your cup runneth over. There's "All Good Things" (which features Ryan Gosling as a doomed real estate mogul), "I Love You Phillip Morris" (an unusual gay prison romance flick starring Jim Carrey), "Night Catches Us" (a '70s black power throwback) and "Bhutto" (a gripping documentary about Benazir Bhutto, the first woman elected as the head of a Muslim nation).
But if it's darkness, sex, dancing and psychological thrills you're looking for, there's only one place to turn. "Black Swan" is the hotly-anticipated and already critically-acclaimed new film directed by Darren Aronofsky (who is also responsible for such modern classics as "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Wrestler"). It stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as a pair of rival dancers who become involved in a manic, psycho-sexual thriller. It's a jaw-dropping film full of great performances and eye-popping visuals, and it will undoubtedly be nominated for many, many awards.
In order to prepare yourself for the intensity of "Black Swan," check out the playlist below. It's mostly full of homages to sex (tracks from Kings of Leon and Stone Temple Pilots) and various shades of black, but there's also Coheed and Cambria's "Feathers" for a swan tie-in. To kick things off, crank up the savage "Cry of the Black Birds" by Amon Amarth.