Movie REviews REviews by scripture reviews by alphabet
About the CRitic links
                                    “Romance And Cigarettes”
The good news is that religious expression is important in this film.  Several scenes are in or outside a church.  In one, Susan Sarandon is singing enthusiastically with the choir, ably accompanied by the organist (of course, they’re pounding out “Piece Of My Heart,” popularized by Janis Joplin, which isn’t exactly a hymn).  In a very poignant scene, errant husband James Gandolfini is pouring out his soul to the priest…”It’s been 20 or 30 years since my last confession…I am a prideful and jealous man, but I love my wife…I have hurt her, and I am truly sorry”…but then, the priest pops out of the confessional and breaks out into song, as well, accompanied by a couple of altar boys in chasubles.  And then, when the repentant philanderer begs forgiveness of his indignant wife, it’s right outside the church door, where he has been waiting for her to emerge, all full of righteous anger.  He knows he’s dying (of lung cancer), and he wants desperately to reconcile, having told the overeager, shameless girlfriend (Kate Winslett) that now it really is over.  What feels right and true about this unusual musical is that it’s mature.  None of this tenny-bopper, saccharin, smarmy stuff, these are blue-collar, middle-aged, real people with rough edges to them.  On the other hand, great actors are not necessarily great musicians.  What passes for decent karaoke singing is hardly the stuff of a classic musical.  And sometimes it really is karaoke, or worse, singing along with a soundtrack.  And there are many genteel folks who would expect a musical to be G-rated, but this one enjoys wallowing in the raunchy side, as if all men are beasts and all women, well, learn how to tame the beasts.  This is a very quirky kind of film, almost a self-parody, practically an urban/suburban farce, but interspersed with some genuine moments, and revolving around some semblance of a plot.
“Blade Runner:  The Final Cut” features only one cigarette, and that’s at the beginning, and that guy dies right away, along with viewer interest in the movie.  Though it was made in 1982 (recently re-released with archival footage), it’s about the future, and it’s long, slow, dark, rainy, and depressing.  Los Angeles in 2019 is a wasteland, where many have fled for “otherworld” locations (like fleeing the inner city for the outer space suburbs?).  The ones left behind act like, well, those who are left behind at the rapture.  It’s no fun thinking that you’re stuck in Hell, but Heaven’s going on somewhere without you.  Harrison Ford is Rick Deckard in the “Blade Runner,” the one who hunts down the rebel robots who look like real humans, so they won’t use their superior strength to destroy the humans (they’re evil like demons, except they don’t even fear God).  Though difficult to stop (personal violence necessary), their lifespans are pre-programmed to be very short, and their emotions are underdeveloped, even when a memory chip is implanted to establish a false memory bank, complete with false nostalgia for a past that never was.  But that doesn’t stop our intrepid Han Solo from seeking to make love with a romantically challenged droid, anyway.  (“Say ‘Kiss me.’ ‘Kiss me.’”) If this is the future, the present is looking better all the time.


Questions For Discussion:
1)      What vision do you have for the immediate future?  Do you see the world moving toward the Kingdom of Heaven ?
2)       Do you think that we are capable of making robots with intelligence, who in turn would be smart enough to want to revolt from their slavery?


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas