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Screener Squad: The Great Lillian Hall

The Great Lillian Hall Movie Review


Broadway actress Lillian Hall is ready to go full showtime with Ivan Chekhov’s stage play “The Cherry Orchard” but a bad diagnosis from her doctor sets her up to have the standard biopic ‘long life lived’ reflections before the final curtain call. The Great Lillian Hall stars Jessica Lange as the acclaimed broadway actress Lillian Hall, who is struggling with her memory, and thus having difficulty remembering her lines. Her live-in assistant Edith Wilson (Kathy Bates) helps her juggle the memories of her past and the life she’ll be living as her condition rips up her existence like so many cherry trees cut down by the new owner of the orchard. Her daughter Margaret (Lily Rabe) is kept in the dark about her mother’s ailment as is director of her final performance David Flemming (Jesse Williams). But Lillian is ready as she’ll ever be to bring down the house before her sense of self and identity is brought down all around her. Bradly, Frank, and Melina discuss the great Jessica Lange and how a performance can elevate even the most standard of bio-pics, discuss illnesses in tv and film that takes away the identity of a person, how this film stacks up to other great performances, and discuss Chekov and all his smoking guns through time and history, be it on stage, tv or film.


DIRECTED BY: Michael Cristofer

STARRING: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Lily Rabe, Jesse Williams, Pierce Brosnan




Bradly Martin (Screener Squad, Eye on the Prize, Breakfast Pub)

Bradly Martin was born in the united states and grew up on a healthy diet of sports, films, and books. A rather shy lad who kept to himself, Bradly soon discovered the best way to know a person was to know what people liked. Throughout the years Bradly became a fan of many things and a fanatic of none. From Doctor Dre, to Doctor Strange and the who’s who of Whos. From Playstation to the Dreamcast and Marvel to DC. From LeBron James to James Bond and Lord of the Rings to Lord Palmerston (or Pitt the Elder if you agree with Wade Boggs) and is a huge fan of dad jokes and randomly obscure Simpsons references. Armed with a vast knowledge of comics, films, and pop culture. Bradly traveled the world making friends and sharing takes. As a young man Bradly married the love of his life young and grew older every year with each new child brought into the brood. If trends continue, Scientists predict that .2% of Canada (where Bradly and family reside) will be populated by Bradly’s children by the year 2029. You can hear him leading and listening to his favorite critics on the Screener Squad and Eye on the prize and maybe even provide some comments of his own.



Frank Calvillo (Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad)

Born and raised in South Texas, Frank currently lives in Austin and has been in love with movies ever since his father showed him some Three Stooges shorts when he was five years old. Today he loves all kinds of film, regardless of era, country, budget or genre. He believes every film has an audience and is at least one person’s favorite movie. After writing for Sight & Sound and Slackerwood, he now writes for Cinapse where his increasingly random taste in all flavors of cinema (from Rashomon to Mars Attacks!) continues to thrive. His ultimate goal is to write a script for his boyhood crush, Michelle Pfeiffer.



Melina Eames (Screener Squad)

Melina first discovered that she carried the nerd gene at the tender age of four following her exposure to a little film called A New Hope. In the twenty-some years that followed, Melina continued to grow into her geek identity through the discovery of Batman, Mst3k, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and The Mandalorian. But perhaps her most significant discovery came at the age of fourteen when a night of YouTube mining led her to the review site of Melina became a devoted follower whose fandom did not end with the site’s demise. By then, it had worked its dark magic and left her with a love and appreciation for film criticism that she has yet to shrug.



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