Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Heart Sanaa Lathan

A few months back I watched a surprisingly smart romantic drama/comedy called Something New. I vaguely remember the trailer from its release—black woman, white man, they meet, resist the sparks between them, give in, resist some more and ultimately give in. It could have been complete formula but thanks to a strong performance from the female lead and an intelligent script, the movie rose out of the mire to become a winning little film that I don’t think many people saw.

That female lead was Sanaa Lathan. I’ve spent the last couple of months going through some of her films via Netflix and have discovered someone who delivers a lot of sharp performances. Lathan seems drawn to strong willed, independent and lively characters and for women these days—particularly African American actresses—those kinds of roles are difficult to find. Although, to be honest, I didn’t watch Lathan in Alien vs. Predator in 2004 so I don’t know if that role had those same characteristics.

I did watch her in Out of Time (okay), Disappearing Acts (not so good) and Love & Basketball (pretty good actually, Lathan dons a variety of basketball sweats and has to play a little hoop). In the latter two movies Lathan is the heart of the movie, the anchor that the story revolves around and she provides that backbone quite nicely. I’d love to see her in lighter material or something outside the romantic drama genre (again, I did NOT see Alien vs. Predator so maybe Lathan delivered the performance of a lifetime and that was definitely not a romantic drama unless the film takes a surprising turn between one of these killing machines. Do you get the notion I loathe the idea of putting these two horror/action villains in the same movie trying to kill one another?).

Okay, I was distracted from doling out compliments for Lathan there by a tangent about a silly idea by a greedy Hollywood. Back to Lathan—she’s quite easy on the eyes (I dig the tiny scar on her cheek) as well as being a good actress. I’ve got more films in my queue and look forward to seeing Lathan in what she does in the future.

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