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September 28: Happy Birthday Naomi Watts and Mira Sorvino


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Naomi Watts, who turns 48 today, was born in England but moved to Australia in her teens, so her acting career began in Australian film and television.  She began working in Hollywood in the 1990s, but much of her filmography during that decade is, many would agree, undistinguished.  She co-starred in the dystopian sci-fi comedy Tank Girl, which has at least some cult classic credibility, and her performance in Persons Unknown, a 1996 thriller, is worth noting (for reasons that will be clear before the end of this article).

It wasn’t until David Lynch cast her as Betty Elms in Mulholland Drive that Watts began to break out as a star.  A year later, she headlined Gore Verbinski’s horror film The Ring, a critical and commercial success, and then was cast in a central role in the first Hollywood film made by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu:

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Review: St. Vincent


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They say that there are no new stories, just variations on the same old ones. Sometimes the measure of true talent is how a group of artists is capable of elevating relatively predictable material to make it emotionally impactful and revelatory. The newest Bill Murray vehicle St. Vincent falls into this category of achievement.

St. Vincent is a very familiar story of redemption through opening up to the people around us and really learning who they are. There are many examples of these kinds of stories, especially with a child being the catalyst for bringing down carefully constructed walls against the outside world. Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy, which has been made into both a film and a TV show, comes to mind. These stories, especially in their movie forms, have a tendency to be a little treacly and simplistic, even in their best incarnations.
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