Zoe Saldana was originally a ballet dancer before her interest in theater drew her into films. She has been part of, perhaps, three of the best action/adventure films of this millennium in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Between reinventing Uhura in Star Trek, portraying Gamora in the MCU, and Avatar (and its upcoming four sequels), Saldana has taken the torch from Sigourney Weaver in becoming science fiction’s action queen. Her dance background makes her extremely gifted with fight choreography and in motion capture, and her acting skills don’t require make-up. She’s held her own with Tom Hanks in The Terminal, Mark Ruffalo in Infinitely Polar Bear, and Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace. I hope the grind of the Ava-sequel shoot doesn’t prevent her wholly from doing other films, because she’s always an outstanding addition to any ensemble she joins. Continue reading Zoe Saldana’s 10 Best Movies→
Rachel McAdams will probably spend the rest of her career trying to shed The Notebook, but she’s doing a pretty good job. The film that made her a star also gave her a slight reputation as a serious actress; the kind the gets consigned to rom coms for the rest of their career (Meg Ryan Syndrome). McAdams has bucked hard against that preconception of her, turning in excellent dramatic work in State of Play, True Detective, and her Oscar-nominated turn in Spotlight. She’s a gifted comedienne and extremely likable in films like Game Night and Morning Glory. Those dual gifts are on full display i my favorite film of her’s (Spotlight is better, but you don’t really watch it on a lark): the very underrated About Time. She’s also joined Doctor Strange’s corner of the MCU and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes franchises in recurring roles. Continue reading Rachel McAdams’s 10 Best Movies→
Emma Stone broke into films using her wit and comedic timing in films like Superbad, Zombieland and Easy A. As she’s matured (and she’ll only turn 30 this year), Stone has shown she also has dramatic chops (The Help), the ability to do deep character work (Battle of the Sexes), amazing versatility (Maniac) and a talent for song and dance that won her an Oscar for La La Land. Stone doesn’t work as much as other actresses of her generation, but following her Oscar success she is now the highest-paid actress in Hollywood and whatever projects lie in her future she has an almost unmatched power for someone her age in picking and choosing the films that will fill out her career’s filmography.
Octavia Spencer was primarily a career TV guest star for the first 20 years of her career. There aren’t many dramas or comedies from the late 1990s to early 2000s that don’t have a guest appearance from Spencer. She picked up the odd role in films, but it wasn’t until her Oscar-winning turn in The Help that he exploded into one of the best character actresses in Hollywood. Spencer is almost never the star, but any film is immediately elevated by her presence, versatility, and strength as an actress. Equally comfortable with drama or comedy, Spencer has a deceptive intensity. When she fixes her gaze on the target of her character’s focus, she commands not only their attention, but transfixes the audience as well. With multiple Oscar nominations since breaking out in The Help, Spencer has become one of the most sought after additions to any ensemble cast. Continue reading Octavia Spencer’s 10 Best Movies→
Jessica Chastain is one of the most underutilized leading ladies in Hollywood. I’m not sure why Chastain doesn’t get more vehicles, but when she does, she’s absolutely riveting. She’s creating strong, complex characters in films like Molly’s Game, Zero Dark Thirty, and Miss Sloane. She’s also been a critical part of some of the best ensembles in recent memory in The Martian, The Help, and Interstellar. Chastain excels at creating layered characters that exude strength and vitality and her presence on the screen is the equal to any actress of her generation, so hopefully more quality opportunities will come her way as her career continues to progress. Continue reading Jessica Chastain’s 10 Best Movies→