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10 Greatest Female Performances of All Time………..page 7 6 Best Horror Performances of All Time…………………page 12 Entertainer of the Month………………………………….page 19 Breakthrough Young Actors……………………………..page 20 Movie Reviews……………………………………………...page 21
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10 Greatest Female Performances of All Time
Marlon Brando & Vivien Leigh in A Street Car Named Desire
After four intensive weeks, I’ve concluded on ten of the greatest film performances given by women. The performances that I chose are based by popularity in the United States and internationally. I’m eager to conclude the top ten best female performances of all time as you critique and criticize the list. – Javier Serrano, founder
A psychologicalthriller of great proportion, The
Silence of the Lambs had literally inspired women in the early 90’s to change their criminology major due to the intense fictitious character of Dr. Hannibal Lector. Jodie Foster portrays Clarice Starling, the greatest heroine in American cinema, and a young FBI trainee, who seeks the advice of Dr. Hannibal Lector, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, an incarcerated cannibal, for the help in capturing a serial killer known as “Buffalo Bill”. The Silence of the Lambs is currently the last film to win the top five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Actress, Actor, Director, and Screenplay. (1991).
Even if one does not recognize her name, one can surely recognize her images. Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s carries an oversized cigarette holder which is considered one the most important iconic images of the 20th century American cinema. Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly is one of her most memorable and identifiable performances of her career. Holly, a naïve and unconventional woman, is obsessed with Tiffany’s jewelry store in New York City. (1961).
Judy Garland’s performance
as Dorothy Gale, a 12-year-old Kansas farm girl, who is knocked unconscious during a tornado while she, her dog Toto, and the farmhouse is swept away and dropped into the magical Land of Oz, is regarded one of the most famous films of all time. Currently, the most-watched film in history by the Library of Congress, The Wizard of Oz is a musical-fantasy journey of Dorothy and her friends: Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion who set out to meet the wizard to send her back home. (1939).
Ingrid Bergman gives an impeccable, gorgeous, and stunning film performance in Gaslight. This mysterythriller film is centered on a murder of an opera singer, the perpetrator, and the singer’s niece Paula (Bergman). Paula is sent to Italy to be trained as an opera star. In her return to the theatre production, she meets and is infatuated with Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), and soon they fall in love and marry. As time progresses, Paula discovers her husband’s secrecy that leads to the murder of her aunt. (1944).
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Beauty, intelligence, and raw, Sophia Loren’s performance as Cesira in Two Women is by far the greatest female performance in a foreign language film. Sophia portrays Cesira, a woman trying to protect her teenage daughter from the horrors of the Second World War in Italy. The biggest climax of the film lasts for only 30 seconds, but in those 30 seconds the dramatization becomes too realistic as Sophia’s character and her daughter are raped.
After years of typecast from her performance as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, Vivien Leigh returns to the screen as Blanche DuBois in A Street Car Named Desire. The story unfolds as Blanche, a fading but attractive Southern belle, visits her sister Stella in New Orleans. Blanche, self repressed from reality, attempts to make her presence known and attract male suitors. (1951).
An American classic, Gone With The Wind is an epic of great proportion. With a stellar cast, brilliant direction, gorgeously photographed, Gone With The Wind was the enduring symbol of the golden age of Hollywood. However, the true star of Gone With the Wind is Vivien Leigh’s performance as Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern belle, who is infatuated with two bachelor brothers. The story conveys the American Civil War from a Southern point of view. (1939). BETTE DAVIS
Have you ever wondered, what happened to those silent era movie stars? Well, Sunset Boulevard is an exceptional example, however in a satirist way of those who’ve been forgotten. In this American film noir Sunset Boulevard, William Holden portrays an unsuccessful screenwriter and Gloria Swanson as a faded silent movie star, who lures him into her fantasy world, in which she dreams of making a triumphant return to the movie screen.
Bette Davis is the second greatest actress of all time (Katharine Hepburn being the first). Davis portrays Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star, in All About Eve. Margo hires Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) to insinuate herself into Channing’s life, eventually threatening Channing’s career and her personal relationships. All About Eve received a record of 14 Academy Awards nominations. (1950).
Without question, Meryl Streep is the greatest living actress in modern cinema. In this 1982 American drama film, the story unfolds of a Polish immigrant named Sophie and her lover Nathan (Kevin Kline), who occupies the same boarding house with a younger writer in Brooklyn, New York. The year is 1947, Stingo (Peter MacNicol), the film’s narrator, relocates to Brooklyn in order to write a novel. There, he befriends Sophie and Nathan and discovers that Sophie’s father and husband were killed in a German work camp. Eventually, Sophie reveals to Stingo that she survived the Auschwitz concentration camp only with repentance as she was forced to send either her son or daughter into the crematoria. Meryl Streep garnered an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1982 for her mesmerizing performance as Sophie. Moviegoers and critics alike have notably hailed Meryl Streep’s greatest performance.
Six Best Horror Performances of All time
Jack Nicholson in The Shining
If you’ve seen the movie Carrie, you have to admit, there is sympathy for her. Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is your unordinary American teenage girl, physically and mentally abused by her religious mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie), and is harassed by the girls at her school. Carrie suspects she may have a telekinetic gift, and researches the subject in the school library. Out of nowhere, Carrie is asked to the school prom by the most popular jock in school. Forbidden by her mother to attend the prom, Carrie is socially accepted by the student body until Chris (Nancy Allen), the cruelest of the girls, intervenes. (1976).
Freddy Krueger has been invading our dreams for 26 years and there is no contest that Robert Englund brings the sinister killer to a whole new level of disturbing with his dark humor. A Nightmare on Elm Street was the first film of the Freddy franchise and was recently reproduced for a 2010 updated remake. The formula for all the Freddy movies is simple, teens in an all-American town begin dying gruesome deaths in their nightmares by the dream stalker-Freddy and consequently die in real-life. When they investigate the occurrences they discover the vengeful dark secret of their parent’s, Freddy’s, and the town’s past. (1984).
Who knew a 12-year-old girl could be so frightening? Perhaps, if one is so-called possessed by the devil then it may be understood. Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) is a 12-year-old girl and the daughter of actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn). Regan is caught between her mother’s demanding schedule in Georgetown and her parent’s divorce. One night, Regan discovers a Ouija board game in the basement and expresses to her mother she has made contact with someone named Captain Howdy. Soon, unexplainable incidents begin to occur violently and physically. Incurable by doctors and psychiatrists, Regan had been possessed by an ancient demon known as Pazuzu. The Exorcist is regarded as the scariest film of all time! (1973).
Anthony Perkins’ portrayal as Norman Bates is nothing short than impeccable. Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock and adapted by Joseph Stefano explains Norman Bates emotional abuse as a child at the hands of his mother. When Norma Bates takes a lover, Norman is outraged with jealousy and murders them both in their sleep. Norman eventually is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, where he represses his mother’s death as a way to escape the guilt of murdering her. He inherits his mother’s house, keeps her corpse preserved in the basement, and runs the family’s motel business. When Norman becomes infatuated with a female customer, his mother immediately makes her presence known. Norman Bates was inspired by serial killer Ed Gein. (1960).
Even though One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) is not regarded as a horror/thriller film, however Jack Nicholson’s performance as Randle McMurphy inspired another great role as Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s The Shinning (1980). The film unfolds as a writer (Nicholson), his wife (Shelly Duvall) and young son (Fanny Lloyd) accept the job as off-season caretakers at an isolated hotel in Colorado. As the winter storm becomes violently aggressive, where the family is snowbound, Jack becomes influenced by a supernatural presence in the hotel and descends into madness attempting to kill his wife and son. (1980).
It’s hard to believe Anthony Hopkins is the second actor to portray Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the first being Brian Cox in Manhunter (1986). Despite an underrated performance by Brian Cox as the original Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs is by far the creepiest, spine-chilling, and impeccable horror performance in the history of cinema. Eventually this leads to the question: What makes Hannibal Lecter the most frightening fictitious character in movie history? It’s the fact that Hannibal Lecter is human; an individual who specializes in Forensic Psychiatry which means Hannibal Lecter can manipulate your consciousness. With a little over 16 minutes of screen time in The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins became the first Best Actor Oscar winner with the shortest screen time. (1991).
Laura Linney has established herself as one of the most important dramatic actresses in Hollywood. Her impressive resume has spanned two decades and over forty films and television shows. Most notably, The Truman Show (1998), You Can Count on Me (2000), Wild Iris (2001), Mystic River (2003), Love Actually (2003), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), and John Adams (2008), to name a few. Unlike traditional method acting, Laura Linney, who studied and trained at Julliard and the Arts Theatre School in Moscow, does not need to transform herself physically like most actresses in Hollywood for a particular role. Laura has garnered three Emmy Awards and has been nominated for three Academy Awards.
Max has been in such films as The Pacifier (2005), Nancy Drew (2007) and Jumper (2008), claiming status as a choice for smaller parts in younger movies. However in My Soul To Take (2010), Max broke out of the genre to take on psychological thriller/slasher in Wes Craven’s newest film. Sadly the film itself did not live up to the high expectations, however there is much to be said about the performances of the young cast, mainly Max as he portrays the skittish Adam “Bug” Heller. His performance rivaled Jake Gyllenhaal as the disturbed Donnie Darko (from the 2001 film of the same name). Bug suffers from memory loss, nightmares and undiagnosed schizophrenia leading to hallucinations. The parts of the movie that are most chilling are when Bug mimics his friend’s voices and movements so well it’s like they are looking into a mirror and the innocent tone of his voice when he is confronted with the question, “have you killed anyone?”, to which he honestly replies “not that I can remember”.
Jodelle Ferland has been playing the part of creepy little girl for most of her young life. Her most memorable performances can be seen in Tideland (2005) and Silent Hill (2006). Recently she appeared in Case 39 (2009) which premiered this year although it had been complete for several years. Once again she takes on the part of innocence surrounded by malice and deceit as the part of Lilith. When a social worker takes on her case in which it appears her parents are emotionally abusive, she discovers they intend to murder Lilith when she finds they have trapped her in a burning oven. The social worker soon takes-in the sweet Lilith only to realize the girl is more demonic than abused. Jodelle seems to play these characters with such ease one almost forgets how young she really is.
Breakthrough Young Actors
Chloë Moretz has mostly played small parts in TV shows but recently played the in-your-face Hit Girl in Kick Ass (2010) and lonely vampire Abby in Let Me In (2010). Portraying a very old vampire trapped in a twelve-year old’s body, Chloë, is able to convey the emotions of an adult, a child and a demon-voiced monster all at the same time. Abby’s naïve understanding of the world allows her to become quick friends with Owen, her twelve-year old neighbor, while he teaches her new things and she teaches him how to stand-up for himself. The film focuses on their relationship so much so that by the end we almost forget Abby is indeed a vampire, until she reveals her true nature, which Chloë is able to bring haunting realism as a young girl committing bloody violence.
THELMA & LOUISE
We don’t see it very often in American cinema for two female leads. However, in Thelma & Louise Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis convey the odds impeccably. The film centers around Thelma (Davis) and Louise (Sarandon), who escape from their caged lives and venture on a getaway road trip. Interrupted while at a pit stop, Thelma, intoxicated, is nearly raped and is rescued by Louise who kills the rapist. (1991).
THE ENGLISH PATIENT
Gorgeously photographed, The English Patient is set during the Second World War and depicts a critically burned man, known as “the English Patient,” who is cared for and nursed by Hana (Juliette Binoche) in an abandoned Italian monastery. The English patient is unwilling to disclose any personal information save only through a series of flashbacks. The story unveils secrecy and deception as he commits an affair with a married woman in the Sahara Desert. (1996).
CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD
In her acting debut in Children of a Lesser God, Marlee Matlin captivated audiences and critics alike as a troubled deaf student who falls in love with her instructor. Matlin won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress at the age of 21; she’s currently the youngest actress to have received a Best Actress Oscar. Even more so, Maltin, who in real-life is deaf, joined the list of three Best Actress Oscar winners for a non-speaking role. (1986).
You have to admit, Germany produces some of the best films such as Run Lola Run (1998), Goodbye Lenin (2003), Downfall (2004), Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005), The Lives of Others (2006), and The Counterfeiters (2007). Even though Germany is a youthful nation in terms of film producing, their films are provocative, captivating, and compelling that win over audiences and critics alike. For instance, Head-On surprisingly won the coveted Best Picture at the European Film Awards. The film centers around two lonely drifters in a psychiatric clinic: Cahit (Birol Unel), who battles cocaine addiction and alcoholism, and Sibel (Sibel Kekili), who tried to commit suicide. Out of some bizarre twist of fate, they marry unconditionally reveling their secrecy. (2004).
Thelma & Louise
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