My Favorite Top Ten Actresses

I have noticed that in my posts regarding actors, I haven’t chosen many females, and as a feminist, it does not sit right with me. To that end, I decided to write a post dedicated to my favorite actresses. This is now a penis free realm. Hos before bros. Hos before bros. And I think you care about my opinion because…well let’s face it. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be reading my blog.

10. Amy Adams

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Best Role: Charlene Flemming in The Fighter

Amy Adams is on here because even though she hasn’t done as much work as some of the other women on this post, I think she has a large amount of potential. With just a few roles, she has shown more range than most actors have ever shown in their entire careers. I’m really looking forward to seeing the continued burgeoning of Adam’s talent.

9. Meryl Streep

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Best Role: Clarissa Vaughan from The Hours

Meryl Streep has become one of those actresses everyone thinks of when you mention Hollywood. When you watch one of her movies, it seems as if she slips into character as easily as a glove. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie in which she delivers a disappointing performance.

8. Judy Dench

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Best Role: Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love

So here is where I reveal what a history nerd I am by saying that I love the Elizabeth I performances of 3 of the actresses on this list. The other two are Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett. But anyway, Judy Dench is always a pleasure to watch on the screen. She always commands a lot of feeling in her voice, plus a hell of a lot of power.

7. Emma Thompson

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Best role: Karen Eiffel in Stranger than Fiction

I love Emma Thompson. She acts a wide range, and yet every character she does has this fire beneath it that always makes me come back for more. Although I do have to say I was very disappointed that she chose to act in Men in Black 3. Oh well, I gues she has bills too.

6. Natalie Portman

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Best Role: Nina Sayers in Black Swan

I will be very honest. When I saw Natalie Portman’s performance in Star Wars: Episode III, I thought she was a terrible actress. “Anaken, you’re breaking my heart!” She has since redeemed herself in a way I never thought possible. First, she did such a great job in Garden State. She delivered a remarkable performance in V for Vendetta, and kudos to her for still being able to look sexy with a shaven head. Then she was like a bolt of lightening in Black Swan. Her performance in that movie was some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. She really deserved the Oscar she received for it.

5. Helen Mirren

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Best Role: Elizabeth II in The Queen

When I saw The Queen, I saw Helen Mirren perform for the first time, and she captured my heart. She did such a powerful performance as Elizabeth II that now whenever I think of the Queen of England, I don’t think of Elizabeth Windsor, I think of Helen Mirren.

5. Angelina Jolie

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Best Role; Lisa Rowe in Girl Interrupted

Angelina Jolie is an actress with the remarkable ability to make the audience believe that she isn’t Angelia Jolie anymore, but her character. Say what you will about her being a home-wrecker or that her lips have all the collagen in the Western hemisphere, Jolie is a masterful actress.

4. Keira Knightly

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Best Role: Sabina Spielrein from A Dangerous Method

For a while, I had thought Keira Knightley had the potential to be a great actress. Then she did a great job as Elizabeth Benett in Pride and Prejudice, then was astounding in A Dangerous Method. I feel like her career can only keep going up, and I eagerly await her Anna Karenina.

3. Hillary Swank

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Best Role: Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels

I don’t kow what it is about Hillary Swank, but every movie I see her in I have to watch it either at a movie theater or alone to make sure no one talks during it so I can hear every word, because she commands so much power and passion. Everyone thinks of her performance in Million Dollar Baby, which was amazing to be sure, but in Iron Jawed Angels, she has a speech in which she explains her cause for women’s rights and even though I’ve seen the movie 20 times, I’m floored every time I hear it. As an actress, Swank has the entire package.

2. Kate Winslet

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Best Role: Hanna Schmitz in The Reader

I love Kate Winslet so much. Not only is she a great actress, she only takes roles in movies that she thinks are high in quality. And whenever she has photo shoots, she doesn’t allow post-touch-ups. And damn, can she act. There are so many movies that I love mainly because of her presence, and I will basically see any movie if I know she is in the cast. She is that great.

  1. Cate Blanchett
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Best Role: Daisy from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I’ll admit, I was going back and forth with Blachett and Winslet for a while as to who I’d pick as umber one, but I finally decided it needed to be Blanchett. She is a powder keg. She commits so much to every role that I feel whatever emotion she portrays. For example, if you’ve ever seen Babel, you know her character gets shot while she’s traveling with her husband in Morroco, and the nearest doctor is in a small village. She pleads with her huband not to let him operate on her, and her entire body, her every movement exudes terror. In that moment I was about to cry it was so tense. Her ability of transferring her emotions onto the audience made me put her as number 1. She is in my opinion the best actress.

Honorable Mention:

Kathy Bates

Maggie Smith

Julie Andrews

Jodie Foster

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The Tempest

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As an English major, I love Shakespeare. Just to explain what a nerd I am, in high school I use to memorize his soliloquies for fun. Yeah, I didn’t have many friends then. But I digress. Because of my love of Shakespeare, I really wanted to see this movie, based on the Bard’s famous play of the same name.

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In this 2010 rendition of the Tempest, directed by Julie Taymor, the Sorceress Prospera (Helen Mirren) attempts to exact her revenge on her brother Antonio (Chris Cooper) and the King of Naples (David Sthrathairn) for stealing her duchy of Milan from her. The King’s ship sails by the island Prospera inhabits with her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) and she uses her magic to create a tempest to sink the ship, washing the men to shore. Prospera doesn’t count on the King’s son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney) falling in love with her daughter.

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This movie received many mixed reviews, and I myself have pretty mixed feelings. There are some really awesome things about it, and other things that are less awesome.

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On the good side, if you are also a Shakespeare fan, or have ever read The Tempest, you know that in the original play, the main character is a man named Prospero. Changing the character into a woman, especially one played by the indomitable Helen Mirren, is an inspired choice that brings a whole new dynamic to the story. Who says old writing can’t be made new? And even if that isn’t recognized, I just love watching Helen Mirren act anyway. I am one of the only people I know who actually enjoyed the film The Queen, and I correctly predicted that she would win the Oscar for Best Actress. She also does an Elizabeth I that rivals Judie Dench and Cate Blanchett. And she does a mean Prospera. There are moments you can tell she is full of hatred and you know not to mess with her, and others that she is vulnerable and you want to reach out and hug her. Or maybe that’s just me having a weird Helen Mirren crush.

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As far as bad, I mainly did not like the score. This movie attempted using rock and roll, although at least it did a better job than Marie Antoinette. God awful movie. Anyway, the score was basically made up of steel guitars, and it sounded so out of place. I didn’t mind that the music was anachronistic, it just sounded wrong. I think the main problem was in quite a few scenes the guitars got really loud, and was more distracting than anything. It probably would have been a lot better if they were just quieter.

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Most critics had problems with the special effects. I honestly thought some of the special effects were beautiful and interesting and added to the story, but some of them were in the case of fiery dogs that chased after Caliban,  done so poorly that all you could do was laugh at them, or just so overdone that they were  distracting and detracted from the story by competing with it. However, I especially loved the special effects used for the spirit Ariel, one of Prospera’s slaves. The effects make Ariel seem weightless and constantly underwater. The images help you understand his character. As a spirit, he’s ethereal and not of the earth. But, I do agree with most of the critics that Taymor really needed to dial it back on most of the other CG elements. Less is more. Yes, I’m talking to you, Michael Bay.

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Since my feelings are very mixed, I give The Tempest a 5 out of 10. I would recommend any Helen Mirren fans and especially any Shakespeare fans to give it a try. It is a lot of fun.

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