A to Z in April 2015

U is for Uma Thurman

umathurmanNot 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).

T is for Emma Thompson

emmathompsonEmma 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.

S is for Marjane Satrapi

marjansatarpiMarjane 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.

R is for Michelle Rodriguez

michelle-rodriguez-2015-amfar-new-york-gala_1Michelle Rodriguez always ends up playing total badass characters that also have a good heart… and also ends up dying a fair bit in films.

I think (possibly obviously) the first film I saw her in was The Fast and the Furious (2001) as Letty and I love everything about her and that character as the series progresses. Letty is a great character who is just as good as the guys but also has her moments of vulnerability.

S.W.A.T. (2003) is not exactly a great film but I can’t help but like it. I mean it has some of my favourite actors in it like Michelle Rodriguez, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson and has some great action pieces. Michelle was also in Avatar (2009) and she was my favourite character in the film.

Michelle Rodriguez’s first film was Girlfight (2000) which I haven’t seen and only recently heard of it. It sounds like a great film full of different female characters and it’s both written and directed by a woman so I definitely want to watch it soon as it’ll go towards my go of watching more women-made films.

Q is for Quvenzhané Wallis

quvenzehawallisHow talented is this young woman?! Oscar nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role at age nine for her performance in The Beasts of the Southern Wild when she was just six years old. If you haven’t watched The Beasts of the Southern Wild, you really should – it’s a beautiful fable and Quvenzhané was phenomenal. Quvenzhané then went on to star in Annie as the lead and while many critics slated the film, I didn’t think it was as bad as everyone was saying and it was actually a lot of fun. Quvenzhané was brilliant and the best thing about the film.

In her short career she’s already had to put up with professional reporters who really should be able to use Google mispronounce her name or just instead decide to call her Annie since that’s her next role and easer to say. Nine year old Quvenzhané Wallis was awesome and self-assured as she replied, “My name is not Annie. It’s Quvenzhane.”

I’m interested to see where she goes from here in her career – she’s only eleven but I hope she continues to have a great career as she gets older.

P is for Penélope Cruz

art-353-Penelope-Cruz-1-300x0The best thing about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) was Penélope Cruz as Angelica Teach. I’ve only seen the film once but I loved everything about Angelica and her relationship with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

I think the first film I saw Penélope Cruz in was Vanilla Sky (2001) which is a kind of odd but great film and I really want to see Abre Los Ojos (1997), the original Spanish film it was based on that Penélope Cruz also stars in. I think she plays the same character in both so it’d be interesting to see how the portrayals differ between each film.

Volver (2006) is an amazing Spanish film by Pedro Almodóvar. Penélope Cruz plays Raimunda a mother who is trying to look after her teenage daughter as well as dealing with the rest of her family who manly compose of women and all the problems they all have to deal with. Volver is a great film that’s both funny and surprising and Penélope Cruz is brilliant and was rightly nominated for an Oscar for her role. I really want to watch more of Pedro Almodóvar’s work and especially his films featuring Penélope – they’ve made six films together and they all sound great.

O is for Octavia Spencer

octaviaspencerOctavia Spencer is so cool. I’ve seen quite a few of her films and I want to see so many more.

She made an amazing Minny Jackson in The Help (2011), she was brave and strong and sassy and she was such a great friend to Celia (Jessica Chastain). I think The Help was the first film I saw Octavia Spencer in to be honest.

I think my favourite performance from Octavia Spencer as in Fruitvale Station (2013) as Wanda, the mother of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan). Fruitvale Station is a great film that is seriously emotional and Spencer’s performance as a grieving mother is just heart-breaking.

Octavia Spencer is also in Snowpiercer (2013), a dystopian film with an amazing cast that STILL HASN’T GOT A UK RELEASE DATE!!! Not even just a DVD release date! I’m not one for illegally watching stuff online or downloading things but I’ve been wanting to watch Snowpiercer for two years now so I may have to compromise this once soon.

Also she’s going to play God in a film adaptation of The Shack by William P. Young! Who doesn’t want to see Octavia Spencer as God?!