Top 5 actresses that look like cats

We’ve all thought it. Well, er, some of us. Look at her eyes, so feline, so alluring, she can’t be human surely? Definitely some sort of alien. Well, whatever these ladies are, I like them. Those exotic creatures with the feline features.

So, for no reason at all really, other than I felt like sharing, here are my top five cat-like actresses in film and TV at the moment:

Olivia Wilde
The Change-Up, Alpha Dog, In Time, Her, Cowboys & Aliens, Tron: Legacy, House

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Amanda Seyfried
Alpha Dog, Chloe, Jennifer’s Body, Dear John, In Time, Lovelace

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Natalie Dormer
Game Of Thrones, Rush, Hunger Games, The Tudors

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Olivia Munn
Magic Mike, The Newsroom, Iron Man 2, X-Men: Apocalypse (out 2016)

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Mila Kunis
Friends With Benefits, Family Guy, Black Swan, Jupiter Ascending

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Whatever happened to ladies of the ’80s?

Hey Hollywood, what gives? I suppose young regularly replaces old, but some of the women from movies I loved growing up during this decade must still be acting. They can’t have all retired, right? Ladies like Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Kelly Lebrock (Weird Science), Molly Ringwald (The Breakfast Club), Elisabeth Shue (The Karate Kid) and Geena Davis (Beetlejuice).

Let’s dig a bit deeper.

Phoebe Cates
She made her film debut in 1981 and a year later landed a role in a Cameron Crowe movie, Fast Times At Ridgemont High – probably the high point of her career. She also had a modest part in both Gremlins movies. After that, very little, and she retired in 1994 to raise a family. Such a shame, from an acting point of view of course.

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Jennifer Jason Leigh
Another Fast Times alumni whose career was more substantial than her colleague. Following a strong performance in Fast Times in 1990 she received high praise for two films; Last Exit to Brooklyn and Miami Blues, although she got a slightly backhanded compliment at the time being called ‘the Meryl Streep of bimbos’. Five years later she put in another great performance in Georgia. Since then she’s worked steadily but in recent years focused more on the theatre.

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Kelly Lebrock
Born in New York but raised in England, Lebrock was always more of a model than an actress. Beyond Weird Science in 1985 she never really added much else to her filmography. And no, starring opposite your then-husband Steven Seagal in Hard to Kill in 1990 does not count. In recent years she’s moved away from acting to devote her time to the terminally ill.

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Molly Ringwald
Kicking her career off in expert fashion Ringwald appeared in no less than three John Hughes films in three consecutive years (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles), making her the go-to chick for teen angst in the ’80s. Allegedly she turned down the lead roles for both Pretty Woman and Ghost, after that her career never really reached the same heights.

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Elisabeth Shue
Shue made her debut with The Karate Kid in 1984 and has enjoyed a fairly robust and consistent career since then. She has starred in films like Leaving Las Vegas (1995) with Nic Cage – for which she received an Oscar nomination – and she’s worked with a host of credible actors throughout her career… but, sadly, she never really reclaimed the position she held in the mid ’90s following her Oscar nod.

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Geena Davis
Employing an ‘it’s better to fade away than burn out’ approach, Davis has had some meaty roles in her career which have garnered strong praise. In particular Beetlejuice in 1988, The Accidental Tourist in 1989 (a performance which won her a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award) and Thelma & Louise in 1991 (for which she received an Academy Best Actress nomination). She also gained critical acclaim for A League of Their Own (1992) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996). Since then she’s moved more into TV work.

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Ladies and fellas: Top 10 performances of 2014

Sometimes a film isn’t that great all the way through, but an individual performance stands out. Sometimes a film is carried along by that performance, by an actor knocking it out the park at the top of their game. And sometimes the film is great all the way through, but it goes up another level when buoyed by a stellar lead performance.

In 2014 there were a fair few of both of these. And in the interests of balance I’ve split them out into the fellas and the ladies. Where do you stand? Any missing you’d like to have seen?

THE LADIES
Rosamund Pike as Amy – Gone Girl
Scarlet Johansson as Laura – Under the Skin
Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jessica Chastain as Murph – Interstellar
Kiera Knightley as Joan Clarke – The Imitation Game

INTERSTELLAR

THE FELLAS
Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom – Nightcrawler
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort – The Wolf of Wall Street
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing – The Imitation Game
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof – Dallas Buyers Club
Iko Uwais as Rama – The Raid 2

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Ooh la la… my cinematic French fancies!

swimming-pool-2003-08-gThere’s a certain indefinable something about the modern-day French actress. Ok, sorry, it’s a lazy line even without saying it. However, the point stands. The appeal is hard to pinpoint but it’s undoubtedly there.

Is it just the sexy accent? Or the fact we’re – well, most of us – drawn to the exotic? We all like a bit of mystery. And acting wise, these ladies deliver that effortlessly, hypnotically luring us in like the sexy sirens they are. You have been warned.

Let’s start with the newcomers. The first two are both in the same film, yet really should get a special nod for their committed and naturalistic performances. Breakout performances too, as they’re both now on many people’s radars. Then we have another breakout performance, this time from Ms. Thierry in Terry Gilliam’s latest mind-bending dystopian offering.

Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopolous
Blue Is The Warmest Colour


Melanie Thierry

The Zero Theorem


Next up are the mid-range ladies. They pop up from time to time, often in scene stealing fashion. Either by being impossibly cute, seductive, beguiling, or all three rolled into one.

Ludivine Sagnier
Swimming Pool, Mesrine: Killer Instinct/Public Enemy #1


Clemence Poesy

In Bruges, Birdsong, Harry Potter


Melanie Laurent

Inglourious Basterds, Now You See Me


And then there’s the heavy hitters. In recent years two ladies have to share top spot; both are deadly, unpredictable, enchanting and really quite brilliant at what they do. Both hold the screen incredibly well and have film CVs that range from blockbusters to sweet little indies.

In terms of an impressive body of work over a longer time period, you’d have to give the title to Marion. However, there’s something enigmatic and downright dangerous about Eva and the way she portrays characters. As such, I’m calling this an admirable draw.

Eva Green
The Dreamers, Casino Royale, Cracks, Dark Shadows, 300: Rise of an Empire. Next up? Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Penny Dreadful.


Marion Cotillard

Taxi, La Vie En Rose, Public Enemies, Inception, Little White Lies, Midnight in Paris, Rust and Bone, The Dark Knight Rises. Next up? The Immigrant.


For my list I’ve really only looked at modern actresses, so no Bridget Bardot, Sophie Marceau, Beatrice Dalle and those of a similar time. So what do you think? Did I miss anyone? Thoughts on these ladies?

Until next time.

An ode to redheads

“All the action adventure girls have red hair,” he said. “Whenever it is an independent girl, not a sidekick person, when she has her own mind or does as good as the guys, she has red hair.” ― Marion Roach, Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair

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Ah… the elusive redhead. What started this love affair?

They draw me in like a moth to a flame. It’s not just me either. Do a quick online search and you’ll find loads of forums and articles discussing the appeal of these exotic beauties.

Perhaps it’s the fact that red hair, genuine red hair, is vary rare. In fact it only occurs in 1-2% of the world’s population (4% in Europe and 13% of the Scottish population, those lucky devils).

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There’s also the common belief that redheads are fiery, exotic and passionate: a study was even done in the 19th century which concluded that red hair was linked to ‘crimes of lust’. And speaking of lust, onto my list of ladies I consider to be flying the flag for the flame-haired minority.

With this list, some are genuine redheads – god bless ’em – and others have adopted the look on pretty much a permanent basis; perhaps for a character which put them on the map or simply to further their careers.

Amy Adams
I first saw this lady in Catch Me If You Can  as nurse Brenda Strong, opposite DiCaprio’s Frank Abagnale Jr. Since that point her career has skyrocketed, with about 2-3 films a year for the last few years, including playing Lois Lane in Man Of Steel and, most recently, teasing and seducing Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper’s characters in American Hustle.


Jessica Chastain
Take Shelter in 2011 launched Chastain’s career onto the A-list. That year she also turned up in The Help, The Tree Of Life and Coriolanus. Not bad. Then followed this in 2012 with the role she’s best known for, Maya, in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. This led film critic Richard Roeper to describe her as ‘one of the finest actors of her generation.’


Christina Hendricks
We all know her as Joan Harris from Mad Men (2007-2014). She’d had a few years knocking around in TV until that point, but this put her emphatically on the map. If Jessica Rabbit were real, she’d be Joan. Each day thousands of men must curse and cheer the fact that Joan doesn’t stalk around their office. Let’s face it, you’d get no work done at all, would you?


Deborah Ann Woll
Sweet little Jessica Hamby. At least, she was when she started out in True Blood (2008-2014), then slowly became more vamp-y with each season, yet retained the best qualities from her human life: compassion, empathy, vulnerability, love. She just added seduction, sex appeal, lust and animalistic hunger to the mix. One of my favourite characters from the show.


Julianne Moore
Nominated for four academy awards and with an impressive filmography, Moore is the thinking man’s redhead. That’s not to say she’s not sexy as hell too (see Chloe). With a career that started in 1984 it’s fair to say she’s had ups and downs. The ups, though, have been worth it; Boogie Nights, The End Of The Affair, Magnolia, Far From Heaven, The Hours, Children Of Men, A Single Man, The Kids Are All Right, Crazy Stupid Love… and many more.

Who are the top 20 most intense actors of recent times?

charlie bronson

I do like an intense character and performance when I’m watching a film. Someone who literally rivets and welds you to the screen, look away at your peril. Some people probably like their films bright and breezy. I don’t mind those too, but there’s something about intensity that leaves a lasting impression. You remember those performances.

As such I thought I’d offer a couple of lists of actors and actresses that have had me mesmerised, entranced and – at times – a little frightened. I’ve most likely left off a lot of vintage performances and characters, but this is MY list so I’m allowed. Let me know your thoughts. Who would you have liked to have seen included?

In these lists I’ve put links to clips from some performances you might not have seen before, or maybe just want to revisit. Remember though, best not watch alone though, these lot are intense!

The guys

  1. charlie bronsonDaniel Day Lewis (Bill ‘the Butcher’ Cutting, Gangs of New York; Daniel Plainview, There will be Blood)
  2. Heath Ledger (The Joker, The Dark Knight)
  3. Tom Hardy (Charles Bronson, Bronson)
  4. Christian Bale (Patrick Bateman, American Psycho; Batman, The Batman Trilogy)
  5. Kevin Spacey (John Doe, Seven)
  6. Christopher Walken (Vicenzo Carcotti, True Romance; Frank White, King of New York)
  7. Javier Bardem (Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men)
  8. Christopher Waltz (Col. Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds)
  9. Vincent Cassel (Jacques Mesrine, Mesrine)
  10. Liam Neeson (Bryan Mills, Taken)
  11. Jeremy Renner (Sergeant William James, The Hurt Locker; Jem Coughlin, The Town)
  12. Gary Oldman (Drexel, True Romance)

The gals

  1. helena bonham carter harry potterHelena Bonham Carter (Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland; Bellatrix Lestrange, Harry Potter)
  2. Cate Blanchett (Galadriel, Lord of the Rings)
  3. Marion Cotillard (Mal, Inception)
  4. Angelina Jolie (Lisa Rowe, Girl, Interrupted)
  5. Melanie Laurent (Shosanna Dreyfus, Inglourious Basterds)
  6. Charlize Theron (Aileen Wuornos, Monster)
  7. Famke Janssen (Xena Onotopp, Goldeneye; Jean Grey, Xmen: The Last Stand)
  8. Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

So, there’s my list. You’ll notice there’s more men than women, I’m not sure why. I think, perhaps, there’s a tendency – particularly in Hollywood – for studios to shy away from films with intense, female leads. I wonder if they are more of a risk commercially? I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s more to do with a lack of decent scripts for women, ones that don’t play to stereotypes.

One thing I’ve noticed is how top actors portray intensity – for me – it’s in the eyes. I think it’s what separates great actors and actresses from the rest. If you allow yourself to be drawn into their gaze, there’s so much depth there. Depending on the character they’re playing, it can be equally exciting, captivating and terrifying. Watch Pacino in The Godfather, making the decision to kill with his eyes. A lesson in intensity.

Right, I need to go watch some comedy now to level out. It’s all got too much. I’ll finish with artwork of Marion Cotillard, not because it’s intense, but because it’s simply beautiful – and that’s all the reason you need.

Marion Cotillard artwork