I realised I never did this for the previous times I took part and completed the A to Z in April Challenge so now while I’m getting ready to sign up for the 2016 edition, I thought I’d be organised and finally put this all together in a Masterpost.
When I did the challenge in 2015 I had a theme which was women in film. Each day I talked about an actress or director and shared my favourite films of theirs and why I like them a lot. I really enjoyed showing a spotlight on women of different ages and backgrounds who work in the film industry and while I haven’t really figured out what my theme with be for 2016, I think it’ll feature awesome women. So without further ado, here are all 26 posts (plus the sign up and wrap up post) I wrote for the A to Z in April Blogging Challenge 2015.
Sign Up Post
A – Angelina Jolie
B – Cate Blanchett
C – Jessica Chastain
D – Ava Duvernay
E – Ellen Page
F – Jodie Foster
G – Whoopi Goldberg
H – Anne Hathaway
I – Imelda Staunton
J – Judi Dench
K – Rinko Kikuchi
L – Lexi Alexander
M – Michelle Monaghan
N – Lupita Nyong’o
O – Octavia Spencer
P – Penelope Cruz
Q – Quvenzhané Wallis
R – Michelle Rodriguez
S – Marjane Satrapi
T – Emma Thompson
U – Uma Thurman
V – Viola Davis
W – Rachel Weisz
X – X-tras
Y – Michelle Yeoh
Z – Zoe Saldana
Reflections on the Challenge
That’s another April over and I’ve completed the A-Z challenge for the second year in a row! This year was much more focused as it was all about women in film and I did my best to include women of colour and the more “older woman”. You can see all my posts by clicking here.
My most popular ones were B is for Cate Blanchett (possibly due to a discussion on actresses, fashion and the sorts of questions they’re asked on the red carpet in the comments) and L is for Lexi Alexander. Lexi Alexander herself actually came across the post and shared it with her thousands of Twitter followers and was very positive about it. She now follows me on Twitter and we talk about women and diversity in the media and it’s great!
Only today I got some hits on my blog which I’m pretty sure came about after someone googled “What’s so great about Rinko Kikuchi” I hope my post shed some light on how awesome she is.
I did my best to visit lots of other blogs and the start of the month I did well. Maybe I couldn’t check out blogs during the week due to work but on Friday, Saturday and Sunday I did visit a lot. Unfortunately the later half of April was quite busy for me so I didn’t visit as many blogs then. I did always reply to people’s comments on my posts and go and check out people’s blogs who’d commented on or liked one of my posts and returned the favour.
I’ve really enjoyed the A-Z in April Challenge this year. Some days I was quickly writing and posting a blog before the clock struck midnight but everyday I posted a blog when I should.
How did the challenge go for you?
Zoe Saldana is the new Queen of sci-fi. She’s been a blue alien in Avatar (2009), Uhura in the Star Trek reboots and most recently the assassin Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2013). I think she’s great in all those roles – obviously some are more developed than others but she does a great job with hat she’s given.
Zoe Saldana can do comedy – as seen in Death at a Funeral (2010) which isn’t exactly a great film but it is a lot of fun and she can do action and drama, as seen in the (seriously underrated in my opinion) Colombiana (2011).
My favourite film starring Zoe Saldana is The Losers (2010) – I could wax poetically about The Losers because I love the film and the comic a ridiculous amount. Zoe Saldana plays Aisha, the daughter of a drug lord who is a total badass and can take on the Losers and the bad guys and come out on top.
Infinitely Polar Bear (2014) is released later this year in the UK and I can’t wait to see it. It looks funny and sweet yet also possibly heart-breaking. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it when it has been shown at film festivals.
Michelle Yeoh has been in so many cool films in so many different genres, many of which I haven’t had a chance to see yet.
Sunshine (2007) is my favourite Danny Boyle film and stars a talented and diverse cast. Michelle Yeoh plays Corazon, the biologist who looks after the ships “oxygen garden”. She was definitely my favourite character (closely followed by Chris Evan’s Mace) because she was smart and brave and tried to keep the team together. She was also in the dystopian film Babylon A.D. (2008) where she played a pretty badass nun who could totally hold her own against Vin Diesel.
I watched Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) years ago when I was about ten so I can’t remember much of it – and I haven’t got to it yet as a part of my Bondathon yet – but I’m sure Michelle Yeoh was an awesome Bond Girl in it.
I watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) ages ago when I was about thirteen, I remember it looking really great but I don’t think I cared about it much because it had subtitles. I definitely want to watch it again soon and so I can appreciate it properly.
OK, I’m cheating on this one a bit. After much googling I realised that while there were a few actresses whose name does begin with “X” I hadn’t seen any of their work. I also looked into whether there was a female led production company or anything like that but I couldn’t find anything. So today I’m going to write a line or two about some of the actresses who narrowly missed out on being featured in my April A-Z challenge.
Anna Kendrick – Anna Kendrick is just lovely isn’t she? She’s funny and pretty and smart. I’ve liked every film I’ve seen her in – or in the case of the Twilight films, I really liked her performance, the films not so much. My favourite film of hers is probably Drinking Buddies (2013).
Sandra Bullock – Sandra Bullock is great at both comedy and drama. I know some of her films aren’t that great, like Premonition (2007) for example but then there’s a film like The Heat (2013) or The Blind Side (2009) and which are amazing.
Kat Dennings – Kat’s just gorgeous and I’ve loved everything she’s been in, especially Daydream Nation (2010) and Thor (2011) – Darcy Lewis is a brilliant and realistic character.
Julia Roberts – I grew up watching Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (1990) and it’s one of those films that Ii can watch over and over and quote all the lines. The most recent thing I’ve seen Julia Roberts in that I loved was The Normal Heart (2014), she and the entire cast was amazing in it.
Noomi Rapace – Noomi Rapace is incredibly talented. I’ve only watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) out of the trilogy – I’ve read all the books and am looking forward to watching the rest of the films. I wasn’t over keen on Prometheus (2012) but Noomi was great in it.
Paula Patton – I’m really gutted that it appears that Paula Patton won’t be in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation because I loved her so much in Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011). I know nothing about World of Warcraft but I am looking forward to the film adaptation next year because Paula Patton and a lot of other actors I like are in it.
I love Rachel Weisz. The first film I ever saw her in was The Mummy (1999) and it is one of my favourite films. Thanks to her performance as Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy and its sequel The Mummy Returns (2001) I want to call my hypothetical future daughter Evelyn. I just love the character so much, she’s a librarian who’s smart and brave and totally saved the day.
The Fountain (2006) is an odd film, it’s from Darren Aronofsky so of course it’ll be at least a bit strange, but I can’t help but like it and the love story between Rachel Weisz’s Isabel and Hugh Jackman’s Tom is quite beautiful really.
Recently Rachel Weisz was honoured at Variety’s Power of Women event which is an event which honours women who do work to help others and further women’s causes. She was honoured due to her work with the charity Opportunity Network which helps lower-income children go to college and to go on to graduate.
Viola Davis is an incredibly talented actress and I love the things she says about women and people of colour in the film industry and how tough it can be for them. Women standing up for other women is my favourite thing.
I’ve realised that I’ve talked about The Help (2011) a lot during this A-Z challenge because a few of the women I’ve chosen to talk about have been in that film. Viola Davis played Aibileen Clark a strong woman whose mantra of “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” to young Mae Mobley are words to live by. Prisoners (2013) is a great, suspenseful film and Viola Davis is brilliant as a worried mother about her children – everyone is great in that film and while Viola has a smaller part compared to some of the others in the cast, she makes every moment on screen count.
As I’ve said before I’m terrible at watching TV shows but I’ve heard nothing but great things about How to Get Away with Murder and Viola Davis’s performance. One day I will get around to watching it.
Viola Davis is going to be in DC’s Suicide Squad (2016) and I know nothing about the characters but her (and Will Smith’s) involvement has definitely got me interested.
Not going to lie, Uma Thurman was the only woman in film that I could think of whose name begins with “U”. Luckily I’ve seen a few of her films so I have some thoughts.
The Bride in the Kill Bill films might be Uma Thurman’s most famous role but I haven’t actually seen those films – can’t say I’m enamoured by Quentin Tarantino like a lot of other film fans are. I have seen Pulp Fiction (1994) though which is certainly a weird and funny film.
Uma Thurman has certainly been in a wide range of films, and a fair few of them haven’t been that great, for example The Avengers (1998) and Batman & Robin (1997). Apparently Gattaca (1997) walks the fine line between being terrible and wonderful – I’ve yet to see it but one friend of mine loves it completely unironically.
My favourite film of Uma Thurman’s is The Producers (2005) where she plays Ulla. The Producers is hilarious and everyone is brilliant in it. Ulla is a ditzy Swedish girl who wants to be a star and gets roped into the schemes of Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick).
Emma Thompson is just so funny and cool – not only is she a great actress and writer but she’s incredibly down to earth and fun. I’ve liked just about everything I’ve seen her in and there’s so many more films of hers I want to see. The only film I wasn’t a huge fan of was Love Actually (2003), mainly because I have a deep dislike of Hugh Grant, but I did love Emma’s character and she played it so well.
Emma Thompson is one of those elite British actors who were in the Harry Potter series – she played Professor Sybil Trelawney and in my mind she was perfect for the role. She was both weird and sensitive and also pretty awesome.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013) might be my favourite film of Emma Thompson’s. It’s heartfelt and sweet and I loved finding more about the history of Mary Poppins. I’m super excited about the live-action Beauty and the Beast film coming out in a few years and Emma Thompson is going to play Mrs. Potts, the tea pot – who was my favourite character from the Disney animated film.
Marjane Satrapi is a director and writer and has made four films so far.
The only film I’ve seen of hers so far is The Voices (2014) which is a dark horror comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick. I saw it a couple of months ago and I loved it. It’s seriously weird and funny and walks a fine line between being clever or offensive.
I recently bought the graphic novel Persepolis which she wrote and is about her early life and own experience in Iran during and after the Iranian revolution. I know nothing about the Iranian revolution so I think reading Persepolis would be a great way to learn more about it and at the same time I’d be reading a graphic novel that is critically acclaimed. Marjane Satrapi also directed the animated film adaptation of the book and it got nominated for an Oscar so once I’ve read it I’ll definitely be checking out the film.
I actually met Marjane Satrapi quite recently through my work. She was hilarious and such a nice, fun and happy person and seemed to really love her films and was happy to talk to the “little people” which made me like her instantly.