Breakfast at Tiffany’s

A movie that is practically synonymous with Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffanys  provides beautiful images for your eyes to feast on- sparkling stones in shop-windows try to match Hepburn’s own giant, marble-sized, thickly-lashed green eyes (the stones have a disadvantage-they can’t match the expression in her eyes). Lovely early-morning city-streets, stone stairs and tall buildings form the background for her frame (that looks as if it were carved in one movement out of a monolith) and the beautiful, pronounced angles of her face. Doesn’t Audrey Hepburn look just like marble statuary brought to life?

The movie unfortunately has to depend on the idea of the emotionally uncontrolled eternal woman-child who can add two and two, but larger numbers confuse her. Isn’t that adorable? Also Audrey relies on that breathy-voiced style of acting in the old movies that I’ve never managed to find very credible, although women who made it their own voice were very charming and very impressive. Life seems to be lived on a higher register for such a character than for everyone else. You’re a heroine with a capital “H”. Imagine doing that sort of thing in more plain-spoken times! What we have is the cast of Girls and Lena Dunham! I do remember reading something about how …people thought that if you could suffer like Ingrid Bergman did in Gaslight then it was okay, to be unhappy in a romantic, high-toned way was the thing.

This a movie which won’t be too exasperating in its portrayal of Holly Golightly’s feyness, because she was ‘married’ at 14 to a middle-aged man, whom people keep calling her husband, until she says with the air of one who understands her responsibilities, that the ‘marriage’ was annulled. When a character is caught in such a cat’s cradle of societal norms and expectations, you really can’t quibble over how most women would realise that taking money from a famous drug-dealer may eventually end your dubious marriage prospects to a pompous Brazilian politician. Obviously, these are the sober thoughts of a more fortunately circumstanced person. Why are female protagonists always like that, though? The Shopaholic girl in the books is just as moronic, and we have to accept her mental vacuum as being representative of- get ready for it- niceness. All the nice people I ever met were also more than nominally intelligent. Just saying.

Speaking of her fey, precious, eccentricity:

oh cat BaT

How did they get the cat to refrain from biting her after she chucked him out in the rain? He’d only just found a dry box before she snatched him up and began squashing him like that. Maybe it was a double?

BaT Cat

According to someone on the internet:

“Orangey the Cat is the only cat in history that has won the Patsy Award twice. For those who do not know, the Patsy award is the animal kingdom’s equal of an Oscar. The Patsy Award is awarded by the American Humane Association”

http://www.everythingaudrey.com/breakfast-at-tiffanys-cat-orangey-cat/

Just talent then.

Mickey Rooney’s racist portrayal of the Japanese neighbor has been making people uncomfortable enough for a while now, so I won’t dwell on it. It was the reason I went rather off this movie for a while, before memories of Audrey’s eyes, and the actors’ expert modulations, and the Moonriver soundtrack reeled me back in. Patricia Neal was just wonderful as the wealthy woman who ‘kept’ Paul Varjak (played by a delightful looking George Peppard).  My favourite Audrey moment has always been the “How do I look?” scene, after fastening on one earring, large marble-like eyes framed by a enormous black hat. It’s as ineradicable from my mind as a song stuck in my head.

how do I look
Like you re-invented meaning.  That’s why you’re iconic.

 

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Something’s Gotta Give-the fuller review

This is a movie that goes well with french toast. The characters keep eating sweet things, Diane Keaton’s character Erica loves Paris, pancakes were prepped. Eggs are in her house, so I start feeling peckish and wonder what can be done with the ones in mine 😀 . Honestly, just starting this review made me start thinking of all the sweet things I’d like to eat while writing this.

french toast
I like mine with lots of honey.

 

Well, so the movie. Erica Barry is a successful, divorced, 50 something playwright. She has one adult daughter (Marin), a lovely beach house where the main action is set, and slightly younger sister (Zoe) who teaches Women’s Studies at an appropriately educated sounding university and “was in the Israeli army.” Marin invites Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) to the beach house and just when they’re about to have sex, Harry amusingly enough has a heart-attack. Well, it was funny in the movie. His relationship with Marin is toast, and having to admit to his doctor in front of her that he used viagra that night is just the cream cheese frosting on top of it. We move on from what might have been (predictable and controlling and negative) to a new relationship that emerges between the hapless Erica and Harry,  as he needs to recover in her home and can’t travel back to the city. She doesn’t “enjoy playing nurse to [his] bad-boy patient” and she doesn’t really. Instead, while chatting with him between times she goes out with the 36 year old doctor played by Keanu Reeves. #womensrights #weshouldallgooutwithkeanureeves #feminism

Keanu Reeves
Does the french toast look as good as Keanu? (I think it’s equal.) Also shout out to how he handles his role. He is just one long, evenly played, beautiful note all through out. 

 

Their relationship develops as Harry shows us unsuspected depth to his character and Erica discovers that charming is charming. Unfortunately, Harry Sanborn still plays to the old rules, and as per usual he dumps Erica after sleeping with her.  (It’s like he didn’t watch the new movies.) Of course, the dumping was with her permission which makes it worse. She doesn’t want to rock the boat so badly, that when he says he isn’t “good at monogamy” she just nods along, without wondering what she wanted. Which means – she falls for it too, right? Like the 30 year olds she was castigating.

ERICA

          You just like to travel light? Oh,
          please, what the hell does that mean?

                    HARRY

          Now see a thirty year old gets that.

                    ERICA

          You mean falls for that.

                    HARRY

          I mean, accepts it.

                    ERICA

          If that's what you want... a non
          threatening woman, who won't get your
          number, you get to run the show...

From there on Erica starts to own the story. She thinks she’s fine, runs into Harry out on the town with someone unrealistically (for him) good looking  and has an absolute melt down, which forces Harry to deal with her feelings over how she was treated, instead of conveniently brushing them aside. The first few times I saw this movie years ago, I didn’t understand why when she tells Harry that she “just wished it had lasted longer” and he responds “me too”, she says “that is a terrible thing to say.” And then I got it this time. If you pour your heart out to someone you deserve more than polite rejoinders. Erica then rushes off to the beach house to recuperate by writing her new play, and she makes it about Harry.

 

Nicholson’s muted indignation on receiving a literary-dramatic cutting down is chokingly funny.

KN9
Obfuscation

There are many lovely moments in this scene my own favourites are:

KN10
You tell ’im, Diane.
KN11
I loved her hissy-eyed, cobra-strike face here as she spat out that line.

It ends beautifully.

 

Watch it with some french toast on your plate. It ends happily once Harry realises all his flaws.

Spanglish

“Deborah Clasky: Mother, I need to say something to you…You were an alcoholic and wildly promiscuous woman during my formative years so I’m in this fix because of you

Evelyn Wright: You have a solid point dear, but just now the lessons of my life are coming in handy for you.”

Nearly everyone in Spanglish, even almost everyone with screen-time, has a backstory or at least a richly detailed, clearly delineated personality. The equations between the cast are finely modulated, through action and reaction etched into their faces (Evelyn Wright in the scene quoted above) or through the dialogue that prompts a fresh unlooked for response from the character such as this soft-spoken response from Adam Sandler’s John Clasky when talking to his daughter, Bernice:

Bernice Clasky (reading the review of her father’s restaurant aloud): Eating at this perfect, smaller, passionate restaurant inspires one’s own abandonment of caution. To wit…John Clasky is the best chef in the United States.

John Clasky: Look how great you read it.

The whole group seems to be thoroughly sympatico (that was a dialogue reference) with each other. A review I read somewhere took issue with the movie’s dependence on stereotypical characters (drunken mother-in-law, I think it said, and maybe problematic wife, attractive housekeeper?). On the other hand Roger Ebert seemed taken aback by the range of Tea Leoni’s Deborah, though Deborah seemed eminently understandable to me. Her emotions flare-up to delight and spiral downwards into self-absorption and personal misery that crushes every unfortunate in her vicinity, but especially her daughter and her husband. Inappropriate remarks tumble out her mouth every time she talks, and  she waits with a disarming vulnerability for a crushing put-down, because she’s aware of all the words,

John  Clasky: I think that’s a little…

Deborah Clasky: What? Insensitive? Elitist? Narcissistic? Irresponsible? Perverse? Dizzy? What?…

Open-handed and direct, she remains incapable of shifting her own perspective the slightest bit, paralyzed (one can only assume) by her own feelings and thereby unable to accommodate someone else’s. At one point she congratulates Flor (played by Paz Vega) on her daughter’s appearance, and tells her she could make a fortune at surrogate pregnancy. A joke between similarly situated people, but I was wondering if it could be casually flipped out like that to someone not as mainstream as one was oneself.

I did wonder if the movie set out to contrast two visions of womanhood, through Deborah and Flor’s characters. Each seemed to be beauty worked to the highest possible pitch from two different cultures. The movie does explicitly call out the contrast in the lines (and juxtaposed scenes of Flor and Deborah) about how “dieting, exercising American women” suppress desire for style and become afraid of “all that is good in life” including motherhood. With a lack of self-critique the movie personifies motherhood through the curvaceous Flor, economically vulnerable since her divorce, and now working as a housekeeper. Fortunately, Deborah Clasky’s character does not remain a catch-all for all that is bad in life. She is “infuriated” when John Clasky squeezes her breast to get her to stop talking (perhaps constantly and wrong-headedly, but also sincerely and expressively). Her angst, which if you ask me, is the angst of the contemporary woman terrified that accommodation might mean losing out,giving in or not existing on her own terms, unsure of herself because she has set herself a new, unperformed script to play. It’s hard to do what hasn’t been done before. If she has a chip on her shoulder it’s because it was placed there.

The movie swings more in favour of self-possessed and principled Flor, than the uncertain and destructive wreck that Deborah becomes, and so maybe it seems that women must choose between diametrically opposed paths. But fortunately it is also about other things. Communication is a key theme in a movie about family dynamics and employer-employee relations when the help can’t speak the language. Flor is always certain of herself, but as she experiences challenges she wasn’t expecting she remains sure-footed and even learns how to speak in a new language and take care of herself in a new culture. Three of the adults in the film, John, Deborah, and Flor are concerned with elaborately fine-tuning their communication. Deborah remains the most insistently reliant on vocabulary, expecting words to give new life to a relationship, yet Sandler’s and Paz Vega’s characters achieve the fullest comprehension, despite “communicating in apologies” and not having a large number of mutually understood words between them.

Spanglish packs in a great deal of perspective into two hours. It is a warm and credible look at cultural values, relationships and communication.

 

“Things are never what they seem with the women in this family”

Ha ha!! Rumour Has It is finally looking up. The best scene is the comic escalation of emotion between Shirley MacClane and Jennifer Aniston’s characters, when Aniston is back from her own tryst with the man who slept with her grandmother and her mother 30 years previously.

The next moment is equally golden with a screamed-out phone conversation conducted by Aniston’s grandmother and father, with Aniston a bubbling mess on one end and her sister an emotional, streaky-eyed mess, flipping out over being newly married on the other end of the line.

I thought Rumour Has It would be a dull homage to The Graduate’s misogyny towards women older than 40. It does begin with Aniston sleeping with a 30 years older Kevin Costner, who -despite not being exactly grizzled- doesn’t have a youthful spring in his step either. He surrounds himself with toys for adults -cool cars and personal planes- name drops through all his conversations, and has photos of himself meeting world leaders in his bedroom. A movie made today would’ve called that out for the obvious shtick that is. If I had met Castro and was proud of it, I wouldn’t decorate my bedroom with the photograph. Maybe an office space, to let people know it had happened. One could argue that because in general 50 to 60 year old men are not desirable to women decades younger,they need to be decked out to make it seem possible in a movie. But I saw zero chemistry between Costner and Aniston, and a lot more between her and the guy playing Costner’s son.

Which brings me to another sore point. Why does she have to freeze him out, like he’s a lower life form, like an amphibian in a dinner suit? I mean, why is Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner) glamourised while sleeping with three generation of women from the same family, and Aniston as the protagonist has to maintain a “Don’t touch me!” vibe when talking to a very cute man who turns out to be his son?  She is clearly portrayed (at exactly 10 years older, I checked their birth dates) to be vastly above this gorgeous man, sporting an identical brand of flippy-haired, blonde good looks. I mean, simply in terms of life experience, and of course there’s all that knowledge of the world garnered through her job of writing obituaries for news papers.

But when Shirley MacClane finally screeches out, cursing Burroughs for being a “horny bastard”, I finally laugh and laugh because something shifts and the perspective changes. The minor meltdown of the sisters on either end of the phone, and the collective family effort to hold things together is the crystallising moment where the movie  departs from The Graduate. I guess that movie was other things too, but too many reviews and short summaries sum it up as “vampy, predatory older woman sleeps with college graduate”. Where is Costner’s vampiness?See!? You find it hard to associate the word with him! No shots gliding up and down his legs and focusing on a toned, glistening torso, I see. When he is attractive, his attractiveness has strength, it does not make him vulnerable to censure or consumable, the way I remember Anne Bancroft. So f- off Mr.Costner, because I do not believe you for one second.

I have watched this movie before, and I think I remember him being dumped. I hope that’s what happens. I think this movie would’ve been interesting if he got back with Shirley MacClane. Why should she be beyond romantic illusion? But women (non-heroines) begin with hope and end with cynicism . The heroine begins with prudence and thus keepth her balance dancing on the edge of sanction just above the descent into censure, in this world. Ha!

Edit: I guess I can forgive Beau Burrough after all, because of the proactive karma that led the father character to be the one who accidentally rendered him sterile in a football game 40 years prior. Also, the movie makes space for MacClane’s angst over being passed over by a younger person, when she was “13 years younger” then he is currently in the movie when she faces up to him. All the same, do you think life has that finality to it? Do you think people IRL feel dateable until they meet their Beau Burroughs, and then read the writing on the wall? It seems to me that there is a range of taste that can be accommodated, though not portrayed. What I mean is, I think you can feed on stereotype after stereotype, and listen to instruction every day, and then surprisingly enough your own mind will betray you. Like I read somewhere, about the force of a blade of grass pushing its head through a slab of concrete, you discover an untaught reaction. You know something else.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Watching the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice is a bit like watching the Twilight version of Jane Austen. If you’ve ever wondered how bad it was possible to make a movie I recommend watching 1) Twilight movies 2) The Harry Potter movies 3) The 2005 Pride and Prejudice.

This movie has apparently been directed by one Joe Wright, a man who was either very optimistic or very opportunistic. An hour and 10 minutes now into this movie and I think perhaps he was both. When I had first watched this ridiculous movie I really did appreciate the interesting take on the Bennets’ home. It was more wealthy farm house than country house. But both then and now what I couldn’t stand was the dullness of the casting and the direction and the incredible wrongness of everything. How am I an expert on early 19th century mannerisms in Britain? Good question, but at least I read the book. Many, many times over the past (jeez) 20 years. I think Joe Wright could have at least looked through it himself, and then if he was going to get the dialogue changed because the original did not sparkle enough, he could have got some kind of language and protocol expert to tell him what could be said by whom and how. I really don’t think that the first thing Elizabeth Bennet would have said to Mr.Darcy during a formal introductory visit would have been, “What are you doing here?”. Like she ran in to him at the mall.

Anachronistic conversations aside you also have to endure Elizabeth Bennet running hither and thither all over the landscape, occasionally through the rain, when to add to the excitement Mr. Darcy follows her and proposes to her before we (or she) have had time to recover from her whispered conversation in church. In the book she was playful but never undignified, and whispering in church was probably right up there with talking about boys when the waiter was still serving you at the inn in the year 1813. Colonel Fitzwilliam had just her told it was indeed Mr.Darcy who drove away Jane’s lover. Elizabeth is horrified and runs out into the rain. We don’t know what prompted Darcy to follow her, maybe he was just …out for a walk and his feelings overcame him. Very unlike book Darcy who knows there is a time and a place for everything. He proposed in a living room, set aside time to do it, and was rejected, eventually got over it, and it is true he did propose on a walk the second time, but the weather was clement.

Sigh. The BBC series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is available on Youtube. You can watch it anytime. You can even buy it and expunge the memory of all the untidy hairstyles (limp bangs abound), lack of punchy dialogue,wide open startled eyes (cliche) and the absence of Colin Firth.

The Vampire Diaries-S8Ep16- Finale

Tears and then more tears. I think we (all the fans) all turned into running faucets and spilling over bath tubs – oceans of salt water was slopping around.  I loved the finale. I knew that the internet was not a safe place for me until I watched it . Spoilers would lurk everywhere, especially on social media. I now know All. And I think that I can die pretty peacefully. Bury me with my set of TVD please.

TVD marathons will forever be a bitter-sweet experience now, keeping in mind the last and final TVD death. It was a big one, and how can I survive this? Courage, if Bonnie can “figure out the witch thing” after so many set backs I too can be mighty and um, learn to live life after and without TVD. Bonnie really emerges as the hero of the series for me now. I votes for a new series following the young Bennet witch on her search for adventure and fulfillment.

There were so many amazing nods and call backs to previous episodes and also bit but significant characters, remember that random but awesome Bennet witch from S2 who helped Bonnie trap Katherine in the tomb?  And the cheerleader’s grandfather from S1 who recognised Stefan from the 1950s and told Elena about who he was?It was delicious seeing them again. Bonnie’s Grams came back to help her too, it was amazing, my favourite scene with Grams was when Bonnie was getting over Jeremy and trying to destroy the Original witch’s locket and Grams shows up from dead, holds her hand and tells her “You are stronger than all of this.” She was a totally brilliant character!

I was so glad that Stefan saw Lexi again! Although exactly how did he manage to pick her up and swing her around? She looks about 6’2″ (maybe it’s the heels) and is a 500 year old vampire (albeit dead), and he looks about 5’10” and he’s human! The magic of TV 😀

Everything was brilliant. I’m very happy. And also very sad. But my favourite characters all seem to have closure and ….. KLAUS WROTE CAROLINE A LETTTTTERRRRR !!!! AHHHHHHHH!  My heart exploded. And then eviscerated. It’s kind of beginning to function again.

At least I can still follow the actors (and writers). Who will forever keep these guys alive for me. That’s not creepy at all.  😀 Hmm, may be they will actually stay alive if… there is a TVD universe!! Julie Plec said there might be. Somehow these guys really do have a life of their own. They don’t seem to disappear at all, even when the series is over.

TVD 4Evr

I couldn’t help a small,tiny, and very bleak chuckle as I wrote that title. The Vampire Diaries really does not let go even when it hit its low plot-less point.Kind of like a bad relationship, you just hung on to it and hoped your hopes would be rewarded when it got back to what you know and love (it just HAS to!).Seasons 1- 4 were the best years of TVD. I say that with a sigh because as we all know (tho we do not admit the faults of a well beloved) the show just never recovered after Klaus was no longer the the Original Evil whose cantankerous tyranny drove everything and after Delena was accomplished as end game. S4 is way to early to achieve your goals people. And now it’s all ending.Sob. I can’t believe it. Yes, I watched those Youtube TVD mixes with the montages of all the cast. I am that ridiculous over this show. I was distancing myself from the fact that this was the end, but I read the spoiler for Episode 11 and *SPOILER*

BOOM!

STEFAN’S HUMAN!!! AHHHHH!

That was a huge shock, he’s wanted it since Season 4. I couldn’t believe it at all, so I had to see how it all went down. That magic blast Bonnie releases after Enzo dies? Wow. I haven’t been watching this season so the music feels off, kind of standard ominous Devil music, coz of I guess the Cade character. “The Devil” plot line is soo odd. If there’s a devil, there should be God?Maybe God turns out to be that sweet, pedantic, omniscient kid. hee hee hee.

Never will there be villain so villainous as Klaus. The rest were just boring. And they came in ill-connected, poorly fitting bits and pieces. Who cared about them? Also they were not engaging.The Salvatore’s weird mother?Oh please. It was strange that anyone would choose to act so stiff and uninteresting. Give me something to think about lady! At least Tessa came with a cool backstory about how the dopplegangers always find each other.

The poster for the new season looks a little better than the last season. The S7 poster was just hilarious with the Salvatores heading aimlessly off into some unspecified horizon like no one knew what to do with them, even though Plec and Williamson swore the show was really about *cough* brotherly love. Yeah right. It was the love triangle, plus the way all the characters’ stories were embedded in the town’s history that made it work.Why did you spoil the magic formula and ruin TVD time for me :/.

Season 5 onward has just been a hailstorm of happenings to keep our gang busy on the treadmill. But they never went anywhere. Sometimes dark is just boring. I need more sweet and intense romance, please. Serve it up!

P.S. Now is when Klaroline should feel free to happen. Also Stelena 😀 . And don’t kill Bonnie or Damon. Personally, I think Damon has to learn how to live without pining over a girl. He needs some Me time.ha ha. 😀 😀

epically klaroline
Soo beautiful together.

PS2: I forgot I have a history of writing posts about TVD. Here’s one , and t’other and the first. I seem to switch between Stefan and Damon just as much Elena did.  Also, for the unforgivably ignorant the oft repeated couple above is Klaus and Caroline.

Suffragette

Very restrained telling of the fight by British women for the right to vote. Meryl Streep has a bit role as Emmeline Plankhurst. Carey Mulligan plays a laundry woman whose gradual  political awakening occurs alongside the daily abuse she faces at the laundry, and the growing understanding that she has no legal rights over her son. Meryl Streep is brilliant as usual even with less screen time. Mulligan graces her character with a portrayal of grit and hopefulness.

Thoughts on Leo in the times of The Revenant

Leo DiCaprio doesn’t die this time. I think the man suffers from some kind of complex of grandeur. Why does he keep choosing roles that die encompassed by pointedly humble magnitude? He certainly seems to be under the impression that he can more than support the part of vulnerable, unlovable greatness. Think of his movie choices: He begins with  Jack (well in global terms that’s where he began, no?) and stole that role yes, but he dies. And don’t forget Romeo+Juliet before that, where he died again. Basketball Diaries. Extremely troubled. Frank W Abnagale in Catch Me if You Can does NOT die but I’m sure that wasn’t DiCaprio’s idea. I notice he hasn’t done another Steven Spielberg movie.The Aviator. Is very miserable all through. Blood Diamond.Dies most beautifully on the African continent.Just like the Atlantic, an all out monument to our Leo that is most befitting.J.Edgar. Dead.His passing is marked by his own voice over giving him a send off worthy of such an actor, er sorry, I meant character. The Great Gatsby. Well I loved the movie,also Leo. He fit in with no fireworks and with easy, perfect, perfection. But guess what? Leo bites it. Again, there was no choice, but by now our suspicions are confirmed. Leo D. – Oscar winner and quintessential drama queen.

He was appropriately hateful in Django Unchained though.And Katy was allowed the death scene in Revolutionary Road, trapped in a little room in a suburban house.(Where else do women die? And how else, but- essentially- of boredom, heh heh heh :D). Let’s see Gangs of New York he (supposedly) just dies like everyone else of his generation, but he  – he gets to be the voice of the whole damn concern. Of New York. Of an era. Of an entire phase of history. Really Leo. A little modesty would be more becoming.Wolf of Wall Street. He lives! But is unpleased when accepting the Globe for a comic role if memory serves me right.

The Revenant. He lives! We will call this his mature period.Aren’t so many DiCaprio movies action movies in dramatic clothing? Was just thinking that when I watched The Revenant. So. much.action. He jumps on his horse, and falls off a cliff, a beautiful woman is lurking all dead in the background, giving him sustenance (as women are wont to do. Very sustaining creatures, us ladies. Well not me. I’m lazy and work only under the pressure of terror … but I know what I’m supposed to be. I need to be a sustaining, ethereal, horizontal, goddess). I basically just really liked the last scene where the camera work and the chase scene unglamourises the revenge between the two men. It looks meaningless against the big empty backdrop of landscape. Also when the Native Americans don’t kill him and he seems to be undergoing some tremendous thought transformation. You wonder what he is thinking. And that’s acting.

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