Relativity Media via Everett Collection
Scarlett Johansson is one of the best actresses in Hollywood today. She plays an alien in her next film, the highly anticipated Under the Skin, and her performance is said to be daring, artistic, and unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the movie star. In celebration of this, below are Johansson’s best performances ranked from least memorable to most memorable. For brevity’s sake, the list is limited to 10 of Johansson’s roles, and we can only imagine that this is just the beginning of a remarkable career in the movies.
10. Rebecca in Ghost World
To Johansson enthusiasts, it’s this 2001 comedy that represents her cinematic breakthrough. Johansson is hysterical as a droll teenager who hates the world, and she perfectly captures the apathetic, indifferent disposition that represents 1990s emo culture.
9. Sondra Pransky in Scoop
Johansson and Woody Allen co-star in this offbeat murder mystery that should remind Allen fans of his earlier films like Manhattan Murder Mystery and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Scoop isn’t as good as other Johansson/Allen collaborations, but it offers enough laughs and insights to hold the audience’s attention for 90 minutes.
8. Alex Forman in In Good Company
In Good Company is a charming romantic comedy in which Johansson plays the love interest. There isn’t anything groundbreaking here about the film, Johansson’s character, or her performance, and that’s okay. Johansson proves that less is more, and her work is pure delight in a film that reminds us why she’s a movie star.
7. Griet in Girl with a Pearl Earring
Johansson tries out the costume drama as she plays Griet, the model in Vermeer’s famous paintings. Girl with a Pearl Earring isn’t as good as it strives to be, but Johansson carries the film with her quiet performance.
6. Christina in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Cristina finds Johansson flexing an acting muscle she thus far hadn't shown off to his degree: namely, her comic timing. She’s extremely funny as she recites dialogue from a typically brilliant script by Woody Allen, her third collaboration with the New York filmmaker.
5. Pursy Will in A Love Song For Bobby Long
Though it never gained a huge fan bade, Johansson delivers a powerful performance as a young woman coming to terms with her past in this film. This is a sad, tender story about heartbreak and disappointment, and Johansson shines in one of her first major roles.
4. Nola Rice in Match Point
No one writes sexy neurotic women like Woody Allen, and few actresses are able to bring them to life as well as Johansson. Match Point is her first collaboration with the master filmmaker, and she commands the screen as Nola Rice, a beautiful young woman who becomes involved with a married man. Johansson clearly illustrates Nola’s sex appeal, but underneath that are insecurities, doubts, and fears that consume her and stifle her satisfaction.
3. Barbara Sugarman in Don Jon
Johansson is hilarious as Barbara Sugarman, a vapid Jersey girl with a ton of sex appeal but not much brains. Don Jon is a satire, and Johansson’s characterization of shallow materialism is pitch perfect. She’s the kind of young woman interested in the idea of love... so long as it will elevate her status. We’ve all encountered people like Barbara, and Johansson finds a way to make her both obnoxious and endearing.
2. Samantha in Her
If my operating system came with the voice of Johansson, I’d have a hard time not falling in love with it. It’s a testament to her daringly brilliant work as Samantha, Theodore’s (Joaquin Phoenix) artificially intelligent computer, that we actually believe he would form a romantic relationship with the machine in Spike Jonze's timely Her. But we do believe it, precisely because Samantha seduces us with her every syllable, making us wonder what life would be like if her voice was the first sound we heard when we woke up in the morning and the last sound we heard before we went to bed at night. What a soothing sound it is, full of sweet longing and soulful tenderness. Make no mistake: Johansson’s vocal performance in Her is film acting of the highest order.
1. Charlotte in Lost in Translation
Johansson's star-making performance in Lost in Translation remains her greatest artistic achievement. Charlotte's ennui and isolation rings true, as does her inability to communicate with her husband John (Giovanni Ribisi). When she meets Bill Murray's character Bob, another lost soul who is much older, she is confronted with the sad reality of her future if she doesn't make a change in her life. She admires and respects Bob, but she doesn’t want to end up as miserable as he is. What transpires is a beautiful film about 21st century angst, and Johansson is transcendent in her role.
British singer Kerry Katona feels "ashamed and embarrassed" about her latest bankruptcy bid, according to her fiance. The Atomic Kitten filed her petition at Wigan County Court in England on 2 July (13), five years after her last bankruptcy drama, when she was left unable to pay a $133,300 (£86,000) tax bill.
Katona took to Twitter.com to declare, "Hold your head high and be proud, never be ashamed!" - but her fiance George Kay reveals the singer is "struggling" to cope with her latest financial crisis.
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Mirror, he says, "What Kerry's going through has hit her hard and I'm there for her. Her mind is always racing - thinking about 101 things.
"She can step outside the house and be all bright and bubbly. She puts on a brave face to take the kids to school, and for work. But what people see and how Kerry actually is are two different things. She's struggling. I can tell she's depressed because she curls up on the couch and falls asleep in the afternoon - she's very lethargic at home.
"When I go to bed she stays up watching the telly (TV) to try to switch off from all her thoughts. She feels ashamed and embarrassed of being bankrupt again. She'll eventually come to bed but then she's up again in the middle of the night. Four hours is a good night for Kerry but, at the moment, we're lucky if she's getting two."
Katona's young children are also rallying to boost their mother's spirits, with Kay adding, "When Kerry told the kids she was bankrupt our Lilly-Sue (the star's daughter by ex-husband Brian McFadden) took out all the money she's ever saved and said: 'You can have my £100 mummy'. It was heartbreaking. We both cried about it. But I say, 'Everything's going to be alright. We'll get through it.'"
British singer/reality TV star Kerry Katona has been forced to put her wedding on hold after declaring herself bankrupt for the second time. The Atomic Kitten star filed a petition in Wigan County Court in England on Tuesday (02Jul13) after struggling with money problems for the past 10 months. She previously filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after she was left unable to pay a $133,300 (£86,000) tax bill.
Katona announced her engagement to personal trainer George Kay earlier this year (Apr13) but their plans to walk down the aisle have been postponed after her financial troubles spiralled out of control.
A source tells the Sunday Mirror, "Kerry decided she could not afford the wedding. She is also keen not to be seen living it up and is aware that hosting a wedding where celebrities would be quaffing champagne would look outrageous after the bankruptcy.
"So they have decide to wait until things improve and they are likely to get married next year... Then she spoke to George who was gutted (upset) but understood and has been really supportive."
The wedding will be Katona's third - she was previously married to former Westlife singer Brian McFadden, who she divorced in 2006, and taxi driver Mark Croft, who she officially split from in 2009.
Music's been such a huge part of President Obama's reelection bid. He went on tour with opening act Bruce Springsteen, serenaded one lucky audience at a campaign stop with an impromptu rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," earned endorsements from Bob Dylan, Dave Grohl, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and even got a lyrical assist from Jay-Z who altered his famous "99 Problems" to "I've got 99 problems but a Mitt ain't one." So it should be no surprise that Obama's victory celebration last night at Chicago's McCormick Place would feature some killer tunes.
But who knew it would become an 18,000-person dance party? Mark Ronson, half a world away in a hotel room in Dubai, even tweeted, "Seriously, who is dj'ing OBAMA HQ? incredible. Teena Marie, MAZE etc....every global news station is blastin Frankie Crocker classics," referring to the legendary New York disc jockey and Studio 54 demigod who died in 2000. Well, Crocker wasn't pulling any kind of Lazarus act last night. For maximum hip factor, the Obama campaign brought in Austin-based mixmaster Mel Cavaricci, better known in the dance music scene as DJ Mel. And he put together one helluva victory playlist. Still basking in the glow of Election Day? Recapture the moment with these 22 songs that DJ Mel played Tuesday night, a playlist that he put together with a little input from the Obama campaign itself.
President Obama's Official 2012 Victory Celebration Playlist
Al Green—“Let’s Stay Together” (Not the Obama cover, I'm afraid)
Bill Withers— “Lovely Day”
Marvin Gaye— “Got to Give It Up”
Michael Jackson—“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”
McFadden & Whitehead—“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”
The Heavy—"How You Like Me Now"
Doris Troy—"Just One Look"
Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions—"Keep on Pushing"
The Supremes—"Come See About Me" and "You Can't Hurry Love"
Contours—"Do You Love Me"
Ray Charles—"What'd I Say, Part 1"
Shalamar—"The Second Time Around"
The Four Seasons—"December 1963 (Oh What a Night)"
KC and the Sunshine Band—“Boogie Shoes”
Jean Knight—“Mr. Big Stuff”
Maze—“Before I Let Go”
Teena Marie—“Black Cool” (Marie, who died in 2010, actually wrote "Black Cool" about Obama before her death.)
The Beatles—“Twist and Shout” (played right after it was announced Obama had won the election, because nothing conveys joy like John Lennon's throat-shredding vocals on the 1963 cover)
Stevie Wonder—“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” (Obama's entrance music before his victory speech)
Bruce Springsteen—“We Take Care of Our Own” (which the especially witty Brian Williams noted at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning has been widely misinterpreted, much like Springsteen's "Born in the USA" before it, as a pat-yourself-on-the-back anthem rather than a critique of laissez-faire domestic policy)
Democrats really do know how to party, don't they?
[Photo Credit: Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images]
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.