Charlize Theron is the queen of action right now in Hollywood, which isn’t a bad title to attain after 20 years playing mostly deeply serious character roles. Theron, who is originally from South Africa, doesn’t have as deep a resume as some of the actresses from her generation, but it’s not lack of talent that prevents her, more a tendency to take on misguided “message” projects that fall flat. Additionally, if you look for Monster among her 10 Best, you won’t find it as it is one of the few films in my life I’ve walked out of because I found it so deeply unpleasant. Doesn’t mean that she wasn’t outstanding in her acting; just means that there’s only so much hooker/serial killer I can take (and from the eventual director of Wonder Woman….who knew?). She’s on a serious career upswing in the wake of stealing Mad Max: Fury Road (where’s our Furiosa spin-off?) and re-establishing her action dominance in Atomic Blonde. She looks 20 years younger than her actual age, and can beat you up, so it’s unlikely this actress is going to fall prey to the gender wall that eats so many careers. I’d like to see her do more comedy though. She has great timing, and that’s something you can’t teach.
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Based on the New York Times best-seller about the friendship between a family who takes in a homeless man, Same Kind of Different as Me definitely has the best cast of any Christian film that I can recall. With Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellwegger, Djimon Honsou, and Jon Voight they have four Oscar nominees or winners whereas most Christian films have….Kirk Cameron. I think faith-based films certainly have a place in cinema, and my only problem with them is that I’m still really waiting to see my first good one from an artistic standpoint. I’m sure the message of the film is uplifting and moving, but I can tell from the trailer (and from knowing that this film was finished two years ago) that while the acting may rise above, say, Nicholas Cage in Left Behind, the script is probably going to be about as subtle as a tack hammer to the head. That’s my real problem with Christian films. Not that they’re Christian. I have no beef with that. It’s that most cannot differentiate the narrative nuance of sermon versus a story. Stories are powerful and can stay with you for a lifetime. Sermons, in my experience, rarely do. Maybe I’m wrong and the quality of the actors they do have, which are stellar, will raise the material (which was a NYT best-seller for two years). We’ll find out when Same Kind of Different as Me opens on October 20, 2017.