Review: Jurassic World

Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson

Review: Entourage

Starring Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon

Review: San Andreas

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino

Review: Ex Machina

Starring Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, and Domhnall Gleeson

Review: Pitch Perfect 2

The Pitch is Back!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Lawless

Prohibition era stories have been done quite a bit by Hollywood.  Gangsters in suits with semi-automatics in hand, bullets and blood lining the streets of New York and Chicago, and square-jawed lawmen chasing down thugs from speak-easies to back alleys.  There has almost been a romantic quality that has underlined these movies, which most often are marked with severe brutality.  Filmmakers and moviegoers alike have held an affinity for these stories and have watched with different rooting interests as the system and its laws crash down on the men peddling their bootleg moonshine.  

Lawless is the latest entry into this sub genre although it takes the conventions of this kind of narrative and flips it on its head.  Like Jessica Chastain’s Maggie Beauford, the story escapes the mean streets of the inner city for the rural rolling hills of Virginia to a town run by the immortal Bondurant brothers.  When the state sends crooked lawmen to town to take control of the bootlegging, a back woods brouhaha begins to brew.

What makes this unique from its brethren is the matter of role reversal.  The system and its laws – mechanisms of the big city and its judicial system – have been handed to the Bondurant brothers by way of their legendary hold over this small town in Virginia.  Thus, the lawbreakers are cast as the lawmakers in this rural community and their reputations give them the authority to wield such power.  So when Guy Pearce’s Rakes comes to town with his special detective’s badge and threatens to disrupt the status quo, it is up to the Bondurants to enforce nature rules. 

Tom Hardy plays Forrest Bondurant – the leader of the pack and the muscle of the group.  While Shia LaBeouf's Jack Bondurant is the narrator of the film and is framed as the lead, Hardy’s character is the most pivotal to the film.  And as usual, he delivers.  Hardy is quickly establishing himself as a tremendous actor who makes good choices and his stunning record remains intact with this film.  He once again brings a strong physical presence to the role while hinting at a deeper sentiment and drives his brute force.

And as for the rest of his cast members, it is a bit of a mixed bag.  Jason Clarke as Howard Bondurant does a nice job playing the bridge between the three brothers.  On the one hand he brings a physical edge to the role while on the other he exudes the foolhardy demeanor one would expect from a middling sibling underling.  Joining him in the plus column is Guy Pearce, whose Charlie Rakes is an exemplary villain, dispensing acts of crooked punishment without an ounce of remorse.  Pearce does a good job of fashioning a creepy persona that is both vile and threatening.  Rounding out the superlatives are Dane DeHaan as Cricket Pate and Mia Wasikowska as Bertha Minnix.  The two do a fine job of portraying good-natured sympathetic characters that find themselves swimming in a pool with sharks.  In a movie with varying shades of gray, their performances establish the light end of the scale between good and bad.

As for Jessica Chastain and Gary Oldman, two of the major talents featured in this film, I was left some what unimpressed.  Chastain is a very good actress who has done very good work (as recognized by numerous awards nominations), but I found her performance to be vanilla and run of the mill.  As the most prominent woman in a male dominated cast, there was an opportunity for her to deliver a standout performance and to steal the show.  Unfortunately, nothing about her stood out and consequently she is relegated to “also-ran” status in this film.  As for Oldman, his presence is window dressing in the same manner as I described Liam Neeson’s in Battleship. As he does nothing whatsoever to legitimately advance the plot, I would guess that any number of actors could have easily filled his shoes and probably have done so with a bit more verve.

And last and most certainly least is Shia LaBeouf.  The man simply is not a third of the actor he thinks he is and the harder he tries to distance himself from the Transformers movies that made him so wealthy, the more his limitations as an actor get exposed.  He’s a one trick pony in the same way Taylor Kitsch is, but was just more fortunate to be attached to a Hasbro property that actually translates to a movie.  LaBeouf has one gear and that is of a petulant beta male with a dour disposition.  Even when cast in this role, his ability to channel this onscreen is questionable at best.  In a movie that features decent story telling and some good acting, he is the lone black mark.

LaBeouf however does not completely derail this movie.  There is enough here at work to keep you entertained.  I won't call this a must see movie, bu I would have no problem recommending it for the holiday weekend.  The character acting is just strong enough to engage viewers and get them to emotionally invest and the action sequences are robust enough to pick up the pace of the film when required.  It won’t get your adrenaline pumping the way Premium Rush did last weekend, but it will provide you an interesting story.

Standout Performance: Tom Hardy is quickly becoming one of most solid performers in Hollywood by combining legitimate character acting with a strong physical presence.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Battleship

Well, it’s official.  Taylor Kitsch has absolutely no range as an actor.  I thought I would announce that here because it’s probably not a well known fact since according to theatrical box office numbers, most of you have not seen any of his movies.  Having just completed the third leg of the Year of the Kitsch (John CarterSavages, Battleship), I can tell you that he delivered the same performance in each of the movies and that of the three, his work in Battleship was the most onerous. 

When the creative team pitched this film, they probably convinced the fine folks at Universal that they had the winning formula – an amalgamation of ArmageddonFriday Night LightsPearl HarborIndependence Day, and believe it or not – just a tiny bit of Titanic; action director Peter Berg to go along with the long-haired dude from Friday Night Lights; and Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker to provide some eye candy for the young male audience.  And as if all this were not enough to ensure a successful summer popcorn flick, this movie would be based off of Hasbro’s board game, Battleship

Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the powers-that-be that the core members of this target demographic probably have never played a board game – let alone Battleship, and those old enough to remember the game would probably consider the premise downright silly.  Still with Peter Berg, director of HancockThe KingdomFriday Nights Lights, and The Rundown, attached to the project and an astronomical budget (upwards of $210M), I had some hope that a entertaining film could rise from the rubble.  Sadly, I was wrong.

Forget the silly association to Battleship and the requisite tedious steps taken to tie back to that Hasbro property, because this is a nuts-and-bolts alien invasion movie set out on the ocean.  There’s nothing new about the premise and unfortunately no acting, no action choreography, and no set design is able to compensate for this banality.  It truly feels like a case of "been there; done that."  Many of the scenes in the film remind you of something you’ve seen somewhere only done better, and if any of your hopes for this movie were pinned to the presence of Liam Neeson, then forget about it.  He’s pure window dressing.

As for the cast, Kitsch is his usual low rumbling monotone self, exuding very little presence.  He doesn’t have the shoulders to carry a movie let alone a big budget blockbuster, but given the right role he can be of value to a cast (as in Savages).  Also along for the ride are Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna, two women who are not known for their acting chops and it doesn’t take long to be reminded of that in this film.  Alexander SkarsgardJesse PlemonsPeter MacNicol, et al are adequate at best and do not do enough to warrant much more than a passing mention, and my best guess is that Liam Neeson probably put in a few days of work at most on this set.

But really, this movie isn’t about the cast.  It’s about the spectacle and of course the silly association with Hasbro.  And while it is very mediocre, it certainly is not the worst movie of the year.  I can’t in good faith recommend it, but I am not vehemently against it.  If I were still living up in the northeast and it was a miserable winter night at the end of a long week, I could see the value in mindlessly watching this film.  But really, if you want an alien invasion film, there are so many better choices.  Ditto, if you are looking for a war epic or even a nautical thriller.  There is no shortage of replacements.  What you have then in Battleship is a movie not bad enough to despise but not good enough to remember.  At the end of the day this kind of cinematic mediocrity is relegated to that figurative place where forgotten movies go while Universal execs are left to lament a $200M investment in Taylor Kitsch (though they can take comfort in knowing that they have company in Disney).

Standout Performance: Tadanobu Asano gets a participation award for having to carry the scene that most tediously tries to evoke memories of the board game and for his attempt to sell that scene with such conviction.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Priest

I was on the Paul Bettany bandwagon for a little bit.  He had a nice run with A Knight’sTaleA Beautiful MindMaster and Commander, and Wimbledon.  Those were movies with varying degrees of merit and success, but Bettany usually stood out as a solid performer.  His career seemed to get derailed with The Da Vinci Code and this launched a long string on unremarkable performances in mediocre films.  To me, the best work he has done in the past six years is as the voice of Jarvis in the Iron Man and The Avengers films.  So I really expected very little when I sat down to watch Priest – a movie that’s been sitting on my Netflix queue for months.  Despite these diminished expectations, I still found the movie to be incredibly underwhelming.

The premise of film rests on a war between humans and vampires for control of a post apocalyptic Earth where a special order of Priests is the key weapon against the blood sucking fiends from beyond.  So when Karl Uban’s Black Hat leads the vampires in a revolt against humankind, Paul Bettany’s Priest is forced out of retirement to spring into action.

Besides a few recognizable names, everything in this movie feels 2nd and 3rd rate.  There’s not anything inherently wrong with that as there are a slew of B-level movies that are incredibly entertaining, however that kind of success is born from a willingness on the part of the cast and crew to bask in the inherent shortcomings of such a project.  In Priest, the production value feels like a bunch of cinematic concessions executed by individuals going through the motions and that makes it difficult to emotionally invest in a fanciful narrative when the performers themselves don’t seem fully vested.

As the lead, relatively little is asked of Paul Bettany beyond reprising the visual appearance of his character from the Da Vinci Code.  His lines are sparse and much of the physical action in the movie is provided by stunt doubles and computer graphics engineers.  Still Bettany manages to deliver a performance that is completely void of any charisma and while some of this is due to the nature of the character, at the heart of any good story there must be a protagonist that the viewer can empathize with and this, he fails to provide.

As for his supporting cast, Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Black Hat is plain boring.  This is a disappointing turn as Urban has shown himself to be a strong participant in a number of action movies.  There’s just not a lot of meat on the bones of this role, but Urban does nothing to compensate for this shortcoming.  Likewise, Maggie Q as the priestess, Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) as Lucy Pace, and Cam Gigandet as a green sheriff, are utterly drab in their respective portrayals of paper-thin characters and fail to add any entertainment value to the film.  And as for how they got Christopher Plummer to appear in this movie, I have no idea.  Needless to say, not even he is able to rise above the morass.

So in the end, what you get with this movie is exactly what you would expect from the one-sheet or DVD cover - lots of darkness, guns, knives, and church iconography.  And what you don’t get from Priest is also exactly what you probably expected not to get – which is a good movie.  Obviously I do not recommend this movie as a rental or on television, unless you are incredibly bored and the only other options staring you in the face are Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or Sex and the City 2.  In that case, you have my blessing to proceed.

Standout Performance: None.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

September 2012 Movie Guide

Starring: Bradley CooperZoe SaldanaOlivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons
Why You Should See It: Because there was enough buzz around this movie that CBS Films was interested in acquiring it before Sundance.
Why You Should Avoid It: Because the whole struggling author narrative has been done so many times before.
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  There’s a reason why certain movies get released in early September (a time of the year dominated by television season premieres).  This one is probably a rental at best.

Other theatrical releases for 9/7:  BacheloretteThe Cold Light of Day


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Kevin Durand
Why You Should See It: Because you miss the summer action series that is May to August at the cinema.
Why You Should Avoid It: Because it’s a Resident Evil movie.
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  Wait for Resident Evil 6 in October.  The games offer a more robust and engaging narrative than the films.

Other theatrical releases for 9/14:  ArbitrageFinding Nemo (3D)Liberal ArtsThe Master


Starring: Karl Urban, Lena Heady, Olivia Thirlby
Why You Should See It: One last bit of summer fun as the first day of autumn rolls around.
Why You Should Avoid It: Because you can’t shake the memory of Sylvester Stallone playing this role in 1995.
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  This is a yes, but greatly aided by the dearth of other September theatrical options.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Michael Pena, Frank Grillo
Why You Should See It: Because it looks like a gritty, fast-paced, cop movie.
Why You Should Avoid It: Because unsteady camera work might make you feel nauseous. 
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  Game time decision.

Starring: Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard
Why You Should See It: To scout out Lois Lane (Amy Adams).
Why You Should Avoid It: Because Justin Timberlake hasn’t been able to deliver in a dramatic role.
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  Could go either way – though it helps that someone else besides Clint is sitting in the big chair.  His last two directorial efforts are Hereafter and J. Edgar.  Ouch.

Starring: Emma WatsonLogan LermanPaul Rudd, Nina Dobrev
Why You Should See It: To see if Emma Watson can make people forget her ten years as Hermione Granger.
Why You Should Avoid It: Because Logan Lerman – of Percy Jackson and The Three Musketeers infamy – gets top billing.
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  Probably best saved for the Netflix queue.

Other theatrical releases for  9/21:
 House at the End of the Street


Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels
Why You Should See It: Because the premise is interesting, the production values look slick, and because Gordon-Levitt rarely disappoints.
Why You Should Avoid It: Because Bruce Willis has become little more than a caricature of his former self.
And the Magic 8 Ball Says:  A good way to close out the month of September.

Other theatrical releases for 9/28:  Hotel TransylvaniaWon’t Back Down

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Premium Rush

I love what technology has done for films.  The advancement of computer graphics has allowed directors to take us to worlds previously reserved for the imagination like the planet Pandora in Avatar and to realize characters like The Avengers on a scale that was previously relegated to the funny pages.  And because of this, the bar for action movies keeps getting set higher and higher.  But as much as I love this escalation of scale and scope, I have to admit that Premium Rush is a refreshing change of pace from this trend, as the plot is taut, the scope is narrow, and the live action feels incredibly real.  The finished product then plays like a narrative that is adrenaline fueled and in a perpetual state of motion.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fresh off his impressive performance in The Dark Knight Rises, keeps the ball rolling as Wilee, a law student turned bike messenger who shreds the pavement of NYC with reckless abandon.  When a premium rush job ends up in his bag, he finds himself on the run from Michael Shannon’s, Bobby Monday – a man with questionable intentions.

While most action movies incorporate one great chase scene to serve as its signature action sequence, Premium Rush in its totality is in fact one great chase.  Normally this might not be dynamic enough to drive the plot of an entire film, but writer/director David Koepp builds sub layers to this great pursuit – a chase within a chase within a chase – that involves a symphony of moving pieces while never losing sight of the ultimate end game.

New York City serves as a perfect backdrop to the game that is afoot.  The film expertly showcases the city in a way that seems very organic.  From Columbus Circle to the Chelsea Pier, the traffic, the milling pedestrians, and the urban bustle become as much a part of the supporting cast as anyone not receiving top billing.  The director manages to frame the city in such a way that it made me nostalgic for my time in New York (which is no easy feat) in much the same way that To Rome with Love and Midnight in Paris made me fondly reminisce.

As for the cast, Gordon-Levitt is very good at making a difficult character likeable and in this way he does a great job of portraying an anti-establishment bike messenger.  More importantly he completely takes on the physicality of the role and carries himself in a way that makes his command of the bicycle highly credible – even when it is in fact a stunt double.  This is significant because  bike action dominates the film and any break in that illusion would critically derail the narrative.

As for the supporting cast, Michael Shannon delivers yet another good villainous performance.  He is an expert at making characters feel authentically creepy while incorporating elements of menace, and this makes his performance stand out.  Likewise, Dania Ramirez does a good job playing opposite Gordon-Levitt as a fellow bike messenger and a love interest, though the romantic aspect of this movie is merely a subplot.  Premium Rush is about the chase, and Ramirez is up to the task of keeping pace.  As for Jamie ChungAasif Mandvi, and Wole Parks, they do decent work as mechanism to add color and to build depth into the plot and its characters, most of whom rarely stay in one place long enough for anyone to get a good look. 

The caveat in a film like this is that because it is almost perpetually in a state of action, there is little room for substance.  However, the cast and crew do enough to ensure that in those rare instances where the proceedings pause to take a breath, there is ample exposition to keep the audience emotionally invested.  So while the plot is not super sophisticated, the protagonists are engaging, the pacing exhilarating, and the payoff very satisfying.  Thus, I would definitely recommend this movie and would recommend a theatrical viewing as the stunts are top notch and the cityscape is well framed.  As you walk out of the cinema, you will definitely feel entertained and you just might feel the urge to get your bike out of storage.

Standout Performance: It probably should go to Gordon-Levitt, but I am giving the nod to Christopher Place.  Mostly known for stunt work, Place brings a nice bit of comedic relief to the proceedings as a beleaguered bike cop.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: The Three Stooges (2012)

Before losing all credibility for watching The Three Stooges (2012), I want to point out that the movie was directed by the Farrelly Brothers – Bobby and Peter; the two men responsible for Dumb & DumberKingpinThere’s Something About Mary, and Stuck On You.  Sure, it seems as though they might have lost a few miles per hour off the proverbial fastball given their last few outings (Hall PassThe Heartbreak Kid), but doesn’t there previous track record warrant the benefit of the doubt?  I sure thought so, and boy was I wrong.  The movie is an abomination.  There, I just laid it out for you right off the bat with no misdirection, no slight of hand, and no hidden agenda because sometimes you have to call a spade a spade (and this spade flat out stinks).

The plot of the movie follows Moe, Larry, and Curly on a journey to raise enough money to save the orphanage from whence they came.  I am going to make the assumption that you know something about The Three Stooges as previously portrayed by Moe HowardLarry Fine, and Joe DeRita.  So I don’t think I am spoiling anything by telling you that 90% of the movie involves slapping, hair pulling, and eye poking against the backdrop of some seriously nonsensical misadventures.

But here is the first problem.  This brand of comedy is dated.  A choreographed schtick of juvenile physical abuse can generate a round of laughter as a change-of-pace sight gag, but today’s audience cannot be engaged by this brand of camp for the full length of a feature film.  If the Farrelly brothers' intent was to introduce this shtick to a youthful generation, then their creative team badly misjudged the market.  It just doesn’t play anymore as a viable comedic vehicle.

And if their intention was to reach out to the demographic old enough to remember the original three by playing the nostalgia card, then they completely missed the boat in an entirely different manner, because as a respectful homage to the past, this movie is an even greater fail.  There are no big reveals, no new insights, and very little respect paid to the original work in this movie.  The nuts and bolts of this film are three low rent (sorry, Sean Hayes) unreasonable facsimiles doing crappy impressions for ninety minutes while everyone around them tries their best to underwhelm.  It is all so poorly contrived that you get the impression that the plan for this film was hatched under the influence of Patron shots.  Noticeably absent from this misguided update is the chemistry and camaraderie that defined the original three, and this serves as a stark reminder that some things simply cannot be imitated and replicated.

I am not going to go too far into the supporting cast as for the most part, no one in the movie did any real acting.  To highlight this point, I will say that Kate Upton’s portrayal of Sister Bernice (yes, a nun) was one of the more compelling performances.  I suspect that some day (if not already) Jane Lynch, Sean Hayes, Will SassoSofia VergaraLarry DavidCraig Bierko, and Jennifer Hudson will wish they could wipe this one from their IMDB pages.  And by the way, did I mention that the cast of Jersey Shore makes an appearance as well?

So to be fair, I will admit that I can foresee exactly one reason that someone should watch this movie, and that is if said person were to find that they didn’t have enough regrets in their life and were desperately in need of another.  In any other circumstance, everyone else should steer clear of this one at all costs, because it just might make you want to cancel your Netflix account and tear up your AMC Stubs rewards card.  As for the Farrelly Brothers going forward, they have on the horizon  the sequel to Dumb & Dumber starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels .  Anyone else feeling slightly less enthused about this now?

Standout Performance: Kate Upton gets the nod here because she is not an actress so she has nothing to be ashamed of with this movie.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: We Bought a Zoo

Cameron Crowe, where have you been?  That was the first thought that crossed my mind when I realized We Bought a Zoo was directed by the man responsible for some truly great movies including Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, and Say Anything.  When last I saw his name in the credits it was attached to the incredibly forgettable Elizabethtown back in 2005 – a movie so mediocre that it would not have surprised me to learn that that filmmaking experience had pushed him into retirement.  Well, having seen his latest film starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, I am happy to say that it is definitely a step in the right direction for the re-emergent filmmaker.

The film, based on a true story, follows the life of Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) – a recent widower who buys a dilapidated zoo in hopes of healing familial wounds and building a better life for his children.  Along the way he learns a lot about himself, the zoo staff, and the animals residing on his land.

With this project, Crowe does a nice job of delivering Aline Brosh McKenna’s script to the big screen.  This film is not as retro hip as Almost Famous or as highly stylized as Vanilla Sky, but what Crowe showcases in this movie is a mature approach to storytelling developed by paying special attention to the details that define the various relationships in the film.  In turn, all these details come together to created layered characters who act in ways consistent with the tribulations from which their scars have been born.

Another aspect of the movie that helps Crowe improve upon his Elizabethtown debacle (where he worked with Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst) is the quality of talent headlining this cast.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that Matt Damon is good in this film.  He is a very accomplished actor who continually proves that he can do more than command the unsteady-camera world of Jason Bourne.  Seeing Damon take on a paternal role - that of a man haunted by the memory of his deceased wife and struggling with single parenthood – provides a window into the kind of roles he could transition to as he grows long in the tooth (though Liam Neeson continues to challenge the conventions of age in film).

Playing opposite Damon is Scarlett Johansson as zookeeper Kelly Foster.   As an actress Johansson is hit or miss and many a film pundit has wondered what you’d be left with if you robbed Johansson of pronounced cosmetics, push-up bras, and forgiving lighting.  The answer to this question in We Bought a Zoo is a good performance (and possibly her best since Lost in Translation).  She not only more than holds her own in and around the zoo and develops great chemistry with Damon, but also her character's emotional I.Q. becomes one of the driving cathartic force in the movie; and that is largely due to Johansson’s performance. 

As for the rest of the cast, Thomas Haden Church is his usual dry sarcastic self and adds a nice subtle comedic touch to the film as do Angus Macfadyen and John Michael HigginsMaggie Elizabeth Jones and Colin Ford are solid as Damon’s children and do as good a job as any other recent child actor - not named Chloe Moretz - that immediately comes to mind.  Lastly, Patrick Fugit (who is hardly recognizable) reunites with his Almost Famous director to round out a supporting cast that as a whole does a commendable job of balancing out the film.

So what we're left with is a movie that has a good plot, a good director, and a good cast, so it should surprise no one that the finished product is very solid.  The movie won’t blow you away for being exceptional in any one area, but it feels authentic and should resonate with viewers of all ages.  It is not going to land on any of my favorites lists, but I definitely walked away from the film feeling entertained.  I recommend it as a very solid rental.  And for you Matt Damon fans out there, next up is the much anticipated Elysium due for a theatrical release in 2013.

Standout Performance: The nod goes to Scarlett Johansson for delivering a solid performance while going somewhat against the grain in terms of what the public has come to expect from her.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012 Vanity Post, Part 2

How does Ted not make this list?  I have no idea, but I digress.  As promised and in the interest of fairness, I have followed up The Vanity Post, Part 1 with a Part 2 that this time around features actors from the past 12 months.  To aid me in this list, I have solicited the help of some fellow cinephiles who are much more inclined than me to take notice of a good-looking man onscreen.  So without further ado, I defer to their expertise.


Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer in Crazy Stupid Love




Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston in Safe House

Justin Timberlake as Dylan Harper in Friends with Benefits

Taylor Kitsch as Chon in Savages

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton in The Avengers

Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012 Vanity Post, Part 1

I have recently had requests to do a vanity blog post looking at some of the actors and actresses that rate highly in regards to pulchritude.  As a writer, I find the attractiveness of an actress is tied greatly to the character they are playing onscreen.  For instance, I really like Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in Iron Man and am ambivalent to her in pretty much everything else.  I have just recently passed the one year mark for so I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the one hundred movies I have reviewed in the last year and highlight the ten female characters I found most attractive/compelling.  In the interest of equality, I will with the help of some friends come up with a list of actors. 


Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in The Avengers


Zoe Saldana at Cataleya in Colombiana

Mila Kunis as Jamie Rellis in Friends with Benefits

Zooey Deschanel as Natalie Rochlin in Our Idiot Brother

Amber Heard as Chenault in The Rum Diary