Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The White Sister (1923)
Silent epic has its moments, namely Ronald Coleman
Really beautiful cinematography keeps you tuned in to this melodrama, a would-be epic that has its moments. Lillian Gish and Ronald Coleman are strong place-holders for the silent movie archetypes they play. Ronald Coleman's amazing voice has always mesmerized and moved me, and I wondered how he would come across in a silent. Surprisingly, his depth of character and presence comes through sometimes even here.
The Catholic overtones are laid on heavily, and yet, for this ex-Catholic, manage to evoke a rich sense of purity of devotion and love of the Divine. The visuals in the beautifully overwrought scene where Lillian Gish 'marries' God and becomes a nun honor the Catholic Church in its own terms, with the Bishop (?) as the channel of divine mystery and the novice-becoming-nun the recipient of the holy energy.
The end of the film is a hysterical melange of flood, volcano, death, contrition, and religious fervor. It's obvious the flood is in the film only because of the difficulty of filming lava running through the streets.
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Altman vegetable soup
Robert Altman likes to take a group of actors, a story, a place, and then let it all stew. He doesn't believe in stirring the soup too much. PHC is a lot like a vegetable soup - some interesting chunks in a rather bland meal. You don't get to know any of the characters well.
The movie time is the length of a PHC radio show. Except for a brief prologue and epilogue, all the action takes place on stage or behind the scenes during the very last PHC broadcast. The show (or the building, or both?) were just purchased by a Texas corporation and the whole place is about to become a parking lot. Garrison Keillor, who wrote the movie script, the show's script,and most of the songs, is a detached presence, the eye of the rather low-grade hurricane of this 'last' performance. Though the songs and jokes are often funny and sometimes sentimental, Keillor's presence rarely leaves neutral. Is he profoundly ironic, or just camera-shy? The Garrison Keillor he plays avoids commenting on, or reacting to, the show's impending demise, the death of a beloved cast member during the performance, Meryl Streep's offer to rekindle what once was apparently a relationship, or even telling a joke to an angel. The Garrison Keillor who wrote the script has, of course, underlined these moments of loss, even bringing in that Angel of Death, who wanders the building taking care of her implacable business.
Although Kevin Kline off-handedly and affectingly sings a one-verse Gather ye Rosebuds, Keillor's songs lean in another direction, towards a sentimentality that somehow borders on numbness as it brushes lightly up to memory, longing, loss, and death.
Two Days (2003)
Unexpected great film
I stumbled across this movie on TV last night and was intrigued from the moment I remoted across it. It's a deep and humble movie. You want to call it a 'little' movie, but it has a big presence, despite a premise that teeters on the edge of self indulgence, and an ending that doesn't live up to the rest of the film. You keep hoping they'll come up with an ingenious but positive resolution to the question, is he going to kill himself or not, even though you know it has to be one or the other, but they don't. Paul Rudd's performance is amazing. I've liked him in Clueless and Friends but here more is demanded of him, including an audition scene that easily challenges Naomi Watts'sin Mullholland Drive. Highly recommend.