Actors Birthdays

Nicole Kidman Turns 50 : My Top 5 Kidman Films

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Nicole recently celebrated a milestone birthday, the acclaimed Aussie actress turned 50! Belated birthday wishes to Nicole.

Nicole has long been one of my favourite actresses. I like how she always chooses such different and interesting roles. I can’t wait to see her reunite with Jane Campion in the second season of Top of the Lake.

Nicole makes her characters believable and makes you feel the sorrow, joy, fear etc that they are enduring. In honour of her reaching this special birthday, I’m listing five films in which I feel she gives her best screen performances.

1 – The Others (2001) Nicole plays Grace, a mother living alone on the Channel Islands with her two children. Grace tries to get to the bottom of the strange and frightening disturbances happening in her house. Nicole has to deliver a very emotional performance in this one. Grace is strong and in control at first, then she becomes frightened, then paranoid and finally emotionally devastated. One of the best horror films ever made. There is a gut punch of a twist at the end, that will leave you both open mouthed in shock and sobbing.

2- Rabbit Hole (2010) A raw film looking at how people cope with loss in their life. Nicole plays Becca, a woman whose son was killed in a car accident. Becca can’t even begin contemplating going back to normal daily life. She is angry and confused when her husband seemingly can begin to rebuild his life. Nicole captures the numbness you feel after a loss, and how the loss consumes you; everyday life becomes something you don’t want to endure. This features one of Nicole’s most powerful performances.

3- Moulin Rouge! (2001) Nicole is a modern day Marilyn Monroe in this dazzling musical. Nicole is Satine, the beautiful star attraction at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub. She is forced to choose between two very different men. Tragedy lies just around the corner. Nicole perfectly captures the joy Satine feels when faced with the possibility of a life away from her current one.  She longs to be valued for herself alone, not for her physical beauty and sexiness. Satine knows though, that the reality is she will never escape this life or perceived impression of her. Nicole has to portray a confident, sexy woman, who is also harbouring a sad secret which will bring heartbreak once revealed. An unforgettable and moving performance.

4- The Portrait of a Lady (1996) Nicole plays Isabel, a wealthy heiress who is nothing more than a beautiful ornament to most of the men in her life. Nicole captures the growing realisation of this in her character, and shows us how this character copes in her life with this knowledge. A lot of her performance is found in the eyes alone, it is a subtle and memorable performance. Your heart breaks for this woman who longs for happiness and freedom, in a restrictive era for women.

5- Dead Calm (1989) Nicole plays Rae, a young mother grieving for her dead son. She and her husband (Sam Neil) go out on their yacht to give themselves a break. They pick up an insane man (Billy Zane)and are soon fighting for their lives. Nicole starts out as fragile and depressed, but later transforms into a strong and determined woman fighting for her life, and that of her husband. I like the scenes where she tries to hide her disgust and fear of Zane’s character and take control of the situation. This is a cracking thriller with a Hitchcock feel.

Honorable mentions: The Hours, Birth, The Interpreter and To Die For

Which films do you consider to be Nicole’s best? Please leave your comments below.

 

Actors Birthdays

Remembering Audrey Hepburn

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On this day in 1929, Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium. Audrey would go on to become one of the most beloved of all the classic era film stars. Audrey would also become famous as a fashion icon, and for the great deal of charity work she undertook.

I like Audrey as an actress, but I like her more for who she was in real life; by all accounts(I have never heard or read a bad word about her)she was a kind, gentle and classy woman who treated everyone the same. There was nothing phoney about Audrey and it showed, she truly was someone who was beautiful inside and out.

If you want to know more about Audrey’s life, I highly recommend that you read this biography: Audrey Her Real Story by Alexander Walker. It is a thorough and moving account of her life and career, and features some beautiful personal and studio photos of Audrey.Photo0092

Despite her talent and fame, Audrey actually made very few films during her career, and I do find that a shame because she was a very good actress.

Here are my top five Audrey Hepburn film performances.

                              1- Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story.

                                 2- Holly in Breakfast At Tiffany’s .

                                 3-Princess Ann in Roman Holiday.

                   4- Suzy in Wait Until Dark.

          5- Sabrina in Sabrina.

Audrey passed away in 1993, following a battle with cancer. Happy Birthday, and R.I.P Audrey. Thank you for so many wonderful film memories.

Please share your thoughts on Audrey and her films below.

Actors Birthdays

Remembering Alan Rickman

Alan would have celebrated his 71st birthday today. We tragically lost this great actor(one of my all time favourites)in January last year. I miss him so much. One of the best actors of his generation. His rich, and instantly recognisable voice was a great asset to him. Perfectly at ease playing droll villains, romantic leads, or tragic characters he was always a welcome sight in any film.

I love him the most in the following films: Snow Cake, Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest,The Harry Potter series, Mesmer, Dogma, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Truly Madly Deeply, Die Hard and The Barchester Chronicles(TV series).

He is an actor who I will always miss, I grew up watching his films and he was someone who was always there. When I first heard that the Potter films were being made, I wished so hard that Alan would be cast as Snape; you cannot begin to imagine how happy I was when I read the news that he had actually joined the cast.

My all time favourite role of his will always be Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. He is heartbreaking as the gentle, kind and long suffering older love interest of Kate Winslet’s passionate, outgoing Marianne. I wish he had played the romantic lead more often.

R.I.P Alan. All sympathies to his family and friends. Happy Birthday, and thanks for so many wonderful film memories.

 

Actors Birthdays, Tributes To Classic Stars

Sidney Poitier At 90: In The Heat of the Night (1967)

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Tomorrow, February 20th, 2017, it will be the 90th birthday of American actor Sidney Poitier. Born in Miami, Florida on February 20th, 1927; Sidney would go on to become one of the finest actors of his generation. He would also become a pioneer for future generations of African American actors.

Sidney’s characters were substantial roles (sadly, pretty much a first for African American performers), often authority figures such as detectives or teachers. With his powerful and distinctive voice, and dramatic intensity he is an actor who has your attention every second he is on the screen.

From a small (but key role) in Blackboard Jungle, to lead roles in The Defiant Ones, A Patch of Blue, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and To Sir With Love; Poitier quickly made a name for himself and became one of the best actors of his generation . He made history by winning the Best Actor Oscar in 1964, for his role in The Lilies of the Field.

In one of my all time favourite films, he stars alongside Rod Steiger in 1967’s superb Detective drama In The Heat of the Night.

Set in the racist 1960’s South; Poitier plays Virgil Tibbs, a big city Detective brought into a small town Police Station on suspicion of murder, simply because he is a black man waiting to catch a train.

When it’s discovered he is not only innocent, but also a Detective, he slowly gains the trust of the local officers. Gum chewing Police Chief Gillespie(Rod Steiger)begins to rethink his prejudice as he spends more time with Tibbs, the two slowly develop a bond of trust, and mutual respect and even friendship begins to develop between them. They must put aside their differences to try and solve the murder, before the killer escapes justice.

As they spend more time together Tibbs and Gillespie find themselves coming to respect and like each other. Their growing bond hopefully put some hope on the horizon that their relationship could soon be happening on a wide scale in real life.

I can’t even begin to imagine how groundbreaking Poitier’s character and performance were back in 67. The scene where he stands up to the racist plantation owner is incredibly powerful, and shows us that he will no longer stand for that hatred/treatment, times are changing.  A gripping story, featuring both Poitier and Steiger at their best.

My favourite scenes are the following. The “no pity, thank you” scene at Gillespie’s house. Tibbs and Gillespie’s first meeting the chief’s office. Tibbs, Gillespie and Wood in the café when they’re retracing officer Wood’s movements on the night of the murder. The slap scene. The scene between Tibbs and Mrs. Colbert when she is disgusted by the others behaviour towards him.

Happy birthday, Sidney. Thank you for so many wonderful film performances. I hope you have a lovely day, and that you are in good health.