Archive for the ‘Molly Ringwald’ Category

Cowboy Up

16 Mar

Cowboy Up – Directed by Xavier Koller. Modern Western. Two bronco brothers bond and break up over romance and career conflicts. 105 minutes Color 2001

* * *

Acted and filmed so beautifully, it becomes obvious how badly written it is. The worst sort of conventional TV bunk, solid only in its colloquialisms. Everyone else deserves a hand. Melinda Dillon is just marvelous in keeping that mother from turning this into a weeper. She has one good line: when she is mad with her son and he comes down for breakfast and is off camera, she says, “Use a glass.” He was pouring milk into his mouth from the container. You watch Kiefer Sutherland say those lines and you have to admire his great craft in turning them into something possible, and not just the lines but the scenes themselves. Molly Ringwald is a strong actor in any part, and admiration follows her in any part because of her solidity of character and willingness to give it her all. Daryl Hannah is a little shaky as the travelling lady, true, but Pete Postlethwaite comes through in a brilliant single scene at the end as the long-lost father-from hell, in which his famous son tracks him down and the father does not know either that the son is famous or that he is his son. What you have here really is an inside story of bullriding, and it is inside because the camera rides right in there with it. From the opening sequences which are fascinating, to all the work at the arenas, it is marvelously filmed by Andrew Dintenfass. It takes you into a world. The bulls are monsters. Innocent monsters, but monsters. The boys that ride them are just innocent, if innocence can include a monstrous desire to make a name for oneself.




10 Mar

Tempest – directed by Paul Mazursky – Drama. Modernization of Shakespeare’s play but without his dialogue. 2 hours 24 minutes Color 1882

* * *

For our sins, we sit through the inept longeurs of this piece, and wonder how temperaments so disaffiliated with the underlying dramaturgy and voice of the original could have ventured into this teapot. It now has to do with a famous architect, whose wife finds him, in middle age, inadequate. So he takes his teen-aged daughter off to an isolated Greek island. There he twiddles his thumbs while his new girlfriend lusts for his now chaste form. I say no more. No one in the piece seems to know exactly what to do next, and John Cassavetes as the lead flounders in the part, to which he brings neither the magic nor the authority necessary to it. His mind seems elsewhere. Mazursky has a gift for lower class comedy, which category this material cannot be dragged down to. Scenes are allowed to be improvised, one senses, as actors loose grip on their characters and fall back on their generic brand. Chaos is not the same thing as a tempest. The exception to this might be Gena Rowlands, but with no script, even she cannot get out alive. Susan Sarandon, as the Ariel character, now a nightclub chanteuse, plays her character as awkward, which is perhaps meant to etherealize her titties and big hot brown eyes. The performance looks uncertain. Raul Julia is the only fully experienced Shakespearean in the bunch, but even he, as Caliban, is only improvising  in a mop closet. Vittorio Gassman is, of course, famous for his Hamlet, but he is not welcome as a hyped-up, hypchondriacal magnate. Indeed, the whole venture is artistically undignified for the actors, with one exception.  It does bring to the screen for the first time Sam Robards, in a hair-do fatal for a debut, but Mollie Ringwold alone holds her own in this sea of tripe. I don’t know whether she is in character, but she sure has character. She was to have a huge film career, and judging by this performance, she well deserved it, by way of retaliation.


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