Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)
I am a huge Aronofsky fan, I would count Black Swan (2010) and The Fountain (2006) as two of my favorite movies ever. I really loved Noah but I did not find it as flawless as those other two films. The geeky parts, like the angels, are amazing and, in general, the actors are really good. The only things I disliked a bit were Ray Winstone's character and performance but it is a breathtaking movie that mixes art and spectacle very deftly. 4 and a half stars.
Alice Adams (George Stevens, 1935)
My boyfriend David and I are trying to have seen every performance nominated for an Oscar in the lead actress category. He is well ahead of me but I have already seen over half of them. Katharine Hepburn was nominated for playing the title character in Alice Adams and she is really astounding, conveying hope, sadness and disappointment in the most beautiful ways possible. The film is a smart look at class complexes as she tries to pass her working family for an upper class one. The plot may sound like a silly comedy but it is actually a heartbreaking story. 4 and a half stars.
Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)
Patricia Neal was not only nominated for Hud, she won the Oscar in 1963. Even though I think she should have gone supporting, it is undeniable that her performance is gold worthy. With her husky voice she perfectly shows how strong Alma is but how tired she is too. Her scenes with Newman, who is also excellent, are electric and when we last see her, getting on the bus, we know she'll keep fighting. It must have helped that the movie around her is as good as Hud is. It is so modern that in 1963 it had to be felt as a gamechanger. 5 stars.
Sugar & Spice (Francine McDougall, 2001)
This movie was not nominated for Best Actress but Marley Shelton would have been a worthier choice than the eventual winner of 2001, Halle Berry. This really short comedy is extremely funny not only because it is a very smart film but also because it is a very silly one. The moment where Shelton's Diane has to count how many guns they would need is already forever imprinted in my brain as is Melissa George's Cleo and her obsession with Conan O'Brien. 5 stars.
Baby Doll (Elia Kazan, 1956)
And finally, Carroll Baker's nomination for Baby Doll. The film is a Tennessee Williams adaptation (is there another writer who has lead so many actresses to Oscar nominations?) and it shows. It is steamy and sexy in that restricted and sweaty way that Williams does so well. Baker is really good too. She plays us as an audience as well as she plays the men in her life to do her bidding. If only she knew what she wanted, it might actually work for her. 4 stars.
And that's it! I'll try to be back on Sunday to post about my week on TV. See you!