SPOTLIGHT: Naomi Watts

Few actresses in Hollywood that are this attractive get famous for their talent.  That’s just how the business works, unless you’re Naomi Watts.  Her career was launched by a David Lynch movie early in the 2000’s, and she’s been on an almost perfect hot streak ever since.  Sure, she does venture into the mainstream (King Kong), but it isn’t because she’s looking for a paycheck.  She is an actress who does movies she cares about.  In 2010, after a couple years out of the spotlight, she makes a return in the new Woody Allen movie and takes the starring role in a thriller about the outed spy Valerie Plame.  On her way to becoming one of the endearing performers of modern movies, let’s hope Watts continues to send volts through the system for years to come.

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SPOTLIGHT: Laura Linney

Few actresses stay under the radar and still garner as much acclaim as Laura Linney.  She hit her hot streak in the 2000’s with rich, respectable roles in small movies.  However, she has transcended the “indie darling,” label with struts onto the small screen in John Adams and her new headlining act on Showtime on The Big C.  Linney doesn’t just pick movies to make bank.  She does projects where the female characters she plays aren’t jokes, even if they tell them.  She has a knack for both comedy and drama, but her real gift lies in the middle ground (The Squid and the Whale, The Savages).  Few actresses can garner a chuckle and gasp in the same scene, but she does it expertly.  Though she often shares the spotlight with gifted male counterparts like Liam Neeson or Phillip Seymour Hoffman, she never lets them steal it.  She’s that rare actress that doesn’t try to steal scenes but still ends up doing it quite often.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Julia

Julia
Directed by: Erick Zonca
Written by: Roger Bohbot & Michael Collins
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Aidan Gould, Saul Rubinek, and Kate de Castillo

Make no ifs, ands, or buts about it: Tilda Swinton is one of the finest actresses of her generation.  So sublime and brilliant is her technique, that even in a dud like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe she manages to give you something to watch.  And then there is Julia, a movie that is actually good, where she inhabits the heart and soul of her character, leaving you stunned, disgusted, and many other things by the time the credits roll.

As the title character, Swinton plays an alcoholic nothing hired by a neurotic Mexican neighbor (Kate de Castillo) to kidnap her son and reunite them across the border.  This plot seems like something you’d see in a glitzy Hollywood caper, and the characters in Roger Bohbot and Michael Collins’ screenplay seem conscious of it.  When Julia tries to explain the scheme to some of her confidants, they look at her like she’s a fool, which she is.

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