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What to Netflix: Worthwhile Renee Zellweger Movies

Earlier this week I posted a preview for Renee Zellweger's latest project, Miss Potter, and it got me thinking about Zellweger and her career. She seems to be a very hit-or-miss actress, veering between funny and likeable and silly or one-dimensional. While I'll have to see Miss Potter to decide whether she's right for that part, I know for sure that there are some movies in which Zellweger truly shines. Check out my picks for some of her best work, and let me know your thoughts.

Empire Records
Zellweger is young and endearing in this teenage angst-y dramedy about an independent record store in danger of being absorbed by a large chain. The motley crew of misfits who work at the store must think of ways to raise enough money for Empire Records to remain independent. Zellweger gives a spot-on performance as the promiscuous Gina, contrasting hilariously with the sweet, lovestruck Corey (played by a nubile Liv Tyler). Best part: Gina and Corey's fabulously screechy teen girl fight.

To see the other two movies, so

In this film version of the hit Broadway musical, Zellweger plays Roxie Hart, a fame-hungry woman who ends up in jail for killing her boyfriend when he won't make her a star. Catherine Zeta-Jones co-stars as Velma Kelly, imprisoned for having murdered her husband and sister after finding them in bed together. Velma's slick lawyer Billy Flynn (played smugly by Richard Gere) makes the duo into a tabloid sensation, and they cattily compete for the public spotlight. To me, Renee Zellweger epitomizes Roxie Hart: proud, greedy, girlish, beautiful and insecure, and the film is completely entertaining from beginning to end.

Cold Mountain
I went to see Cold Mountain for two reasons: Jude Law's hotness and Anthony Minghella's directing. This cinematic take on The Odyssey follows a soldier (Law) as he makes the long journey home back to his beloved (Kidman), who is struggling to keep the family farm going with the help of a spunky young wanderer played by Zellweger. At first, I was afraid that Zellweger might distract from an otherwise stunning film, but her polished performance and flawless Southern accent were two of the best things about the movie.

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