- The Silence of the Lambs
- The Double Life Of Veronique
- Thelma and Louise
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- Beauty And The Beast
- Raise The Red Lantern
- The Elementary School
- A Woman’s Tale
- Rhapsody In August
- The Suspended Step Of The Stork
Years of acting to modest acclaim (he was much more celebrated on stage and television, even getting a shout-out from Carol Burnett the time he was a member of her studio audience) schooled the great Anthony Hopkins in the finest points of acting for all media; it may have come a bit late, but when Jonathan Demme’s superb horror-thriller The Silence Of The Lambs was released to eager audiences and ecstatic critics, Hopkins officially became a star. You still can’t make that Fava Beans sucking sound without everyone knowing exactly what you’re talking about. He makes the soullessly evil, terrifying Hannibal Lecter someone with a beating heart and a sickening level of humanity; you cannot hate this monster, but goodness knows you’re glad not to know him personally.
The gorgeously ethereal Irene Jacob in Kieslowski’s masterpiece The Double Life Of Veronique gives the film so much of its heart. Enigma is the very soul of this experience, and Jacob’s constant availability to all the mystical things happening around her is no small part of why it is such a captivating watch. Her opening scene alone, where she reacts rapturously to the onset of rain during an outdoor concert performance, justifies her winning the Best Actress prize at Cannes and becoming an instant sensation. Kieslowski made a lot of wonderful films, but even if he hadn’t, this one would justify the reputation he made for himself as a world-class director before his tragically early death.
The wonderful Louis B. Mayer impersonation that Michael Lerner pulls off so beautifully is the best part of the Coen Brothers’ otherwise overrated Barton Fink. John Turturro arrives in Hollywood as a screenwriter trying to inject a little soul into his work, and Lerner’s studio head does everything he can to beat all the passion out of him. It’s a terrific send-up of Hollywood’s creative process without being mean about it, and were the film more focused on this character and not the empty quirkiness of the main character’s experiences, it would have been more memorable.
BIL’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I could never resist a feisty Southern matriarch. Diane Ladd rules over Rambling Rose with graceful, burning resentment for the unfair treatment of women in her society. She’s a darling flower of demure class when it gets started, but once the titular character (played by her real-life daughter Laura Dern) finds herself in danger of having her brain tampered with to deal with her sexual desires, Ladd turns on the power and it’s impossible to turn it off afterwards. A real jewel of a performance in a genuine charmer of a film.
Krzysztof Kieslowski, The Double Life Of Veronique