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Archive for the ‘Diane Lane’ Category

The Cotton Club

18 Apr

The Cotton Club – Directed By Francis Ford Coppola. Musical. A jazz musician gets in Dutch with Dutch Schultz over his moll. 127 minutes Color 1984

* * * * *

Well, it’s terrific. It’s another Coppola masterpiece. What riches. What thoroughness. What a scene is Harlem in those bygone days. And the dancing Hines brothers are tops. Richard Gere is, as usual, cast as a badly spoken type and Diane Lane is perfectly cast as the moll – like Michelle Pfeiffer she only shines in lower class roles for some reason. They bring out the buzz in her.

And in me.

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A Little Romance

14 Apr

A Little Romance – Directed by George Roy Hill. Teen Romance. Two thirteen-year olds fall in love and take off for parts known. 110 minutes Color 1979.

* * * *

Diane Lane is 13 when she makes this, and the French boy is probably the same age, which is fun. Sally Kellerman plays her mother in a manner that is as obvious as the writing requires, and Arthur Hill plays her third husband, as subtlely as the writing requires. The only mystery is how he could have married such a rude, mean, shallow woman to begin with. David Dukes plays her oncoming boyfriend, a bad film director. The movie takes us to Paris, then to Verona in Italy and eventually to Venice. For me, the trouble with the film is that it is a Hollywoodization of a teenage elopement, and so the tone is all wrong. Sometimes the two children cut through the balderdash with their simple grace. And sometimes Laurence Olivier cuts through the slow pace with his virtuoso tricks, which are spellbinding, as always. He plays the children’s guardian devil, whose tedious charm and Fagan-like skills help propel them onto their adventure. Olivier was a master of Restoration farce, playing characters with names like Snipe, Wormwood, or Titter, and this is a performance perfectly suited to that genre, so it’s to be treasured as an example of his cold and cunning range and wit. Diane Lane is lovely in her role, and she also offers some reminiscences on the Special Features section about Olivier and the making of this film. It was her first film and it settled her fate, little did she know it at the time.

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Secretariat

23 Oct

Secretariat –– directed by Randall Wallace –– a horse picture in which an unpromising horse meets an unpromising owner who hires an unpromising trainer to win three unpromising races, The Triple Crown. 116 minutes color 2010

* * * *

Every time Margo Martindale as Miss Ham appears, the screen comes alive. She plays the woman who named Secretariat, and the female “support” to Miss Chenery, Secretariat’s owner, played by Diane Lane, who is sadly miscast in this part because she cannot play middle-class women well. A technical actress, she consistently fudges and softens emotion with half-grins and moues. See her in The Perfect Storm to see how great she can be, opposite Mark Walberg, an actor perfectly suited to her range. It’s like casting Brad Pitt as a society boy. He is a great actor, but only in lower class parts, and the same holds true of Lane. Secretariat is a Disneyfication of the saga of this remarkable animal, meaning that it is story-telling by the numbers. Everything is spelled out three times, as though no one in the audience knew how to read. But still, it’s a horse-picture and I am always stirred by horse-pictures and I was stirred by this one all the way through. Of course, we all know how it turns out, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting or suspenseful. That doesn’t mean my heart isn’t filled by this horse’s nobility, pride, élan, and talent. John Malkovich brings his usual perversity of affect to the proceedings, which supplies the sort of low brow comic zest in the old days supplied by William Demarest or Mickey Rooney or someone. The races also are poorly filmed, which is odd, isn’t it, for one sees either the feet of the animal or the top of the animal. It must be very difficult to actually film a horse while it is racing, but I missed the beauty of the creatures in full flight. The actual Preakness, the second of the three races is shown, probably from old color footage of that race, as a television event watched by Miss Chenery’s husband and children, which would have been more interesting had one been able to see it up close. But that’s all right. It was proper to tokenize the second race as a build-up to the last, The Belmont, in which Secretariat created records still unbroken. All of the settings and particularly the costumes, are fine, and so is the acting. especially when Margo Martindale is on screen. Oh, just watch that wonderful face. How right she is, particularly next to the, alas, consistent wrongness of Lane.

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