Wellesfan - i was going to say he should have written books instead of movies, but i decided some people may be fans and best not provoke conflict. Literary is more to the point. And i know what you mean about Tableaux. 2001 has the same value, except i love watching that. Each visual is like a beautiful slightly moving photograph. A lot of Kubrick is like this - quite stationary. Revealing his roots as a photographer. Unlike Griffith, i think, he doesn't over-use dialogue/titles, and his images combine much better. Also, while watching Road to Perdition recently i noticed that any movie based on a graphic novel plays out in ultra-slow motion, because each scene originated in an image, and the filmmakers have only found the scene magical when it resembled that image, so they hold on it! I was quite surprised at how well Hanks played that character (the only other time i liked him was Carl Hanratty).
Like both of you, Wellesfan and Blunted, Broken Blossoms was the only Griffith I, too, could see all of in one sitting. Like i said, i thought it was pretty good, but i certainly wouldn't call it groundbreaking cinematically. I think Chaplin was much more groundbreaking in his minimal use of title cards (though the emotions he expressed were seldom as complex as you'll find in Murnau's Last Laugh, for example).
Jeff - you'll never guess where i saw Modern Times just recently. I've been on a holiday in Europe and just happened to be in Lyon (where they have the Lumiere Institute). I was only to be there for one night - and they just happened to be having a cine-concert of Modern Times on (where a live orchestra plays the music along to the movie). I thought: there's no way there'll be tickets left... I tried calling early, but the place didn't open till just before the show. And by the time i got in there the only tickets left were sans visibilite! I thought: oh well, i love Charlie's music, so i'll go just to hear the orchestra play smile and the rest of the beautiful soundtrack. I got in there, there was a French announcement (all French to me), and the curtain and baton were raised. The opening titles came on, and images started to come - i could see! I was so thrilled i almost wet my pants. I'd never seen it before, and it was an absolute joy and marvel in that particular situation. One of the best things i've ever done.
Personally, Jeff, i loved Lost in Translation. I thought its beauty was in the seemingly accidental combination of its scenes, rendering such a subtle, funny story. I think like anything, (Lord of the Rings or Matrix for me) if you're annoyed by the hype something gets, you can never see the reason people thought it was great before there was hype. I don't think Bill Murray deserves the Oscar, however. I think Sean Penn for Mystic River. It'll be his Chance the Gardener - yes it was his greatest performance, but no it probably wasn't the best performance of the year.
You may remember me from such sites as imdb, amazon and criterionforum as Ben Cheshire.