Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Audrey Hepburn’s character was named Holly Golightly, but elsewhere I assumed she was named Tiffany. The jewelry store never occurred to me.

5-time oscar-nominated audrey/tiffany:
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I read that Holly is a “call girl” and that she’s a “socialite”. I prefer the latter. Audrey (who I barely remember from Charade) runs around with a buncha guys looking for a nice rich man to marry, but she sorta falls for boring lumpy novelist George Peppard (Hannibal from the A-Team!). He falls harder for her, for obvious reasons, and their relationship seems like an excuse for us to get to watch her for two hours, which is worth doing anyway.

Patricia Neal (Cookie in Cookie’s Fortune, and herself in Bright Leaves) is a neighbor, Buddy Ebsen (Barnaby Jones and Jed Clampett!) is Holly’s ex-husband, and Andy “Mickey Rooney” Hardy plays a surprisingly horrible Japanese caricature of an upstairs neighbor (“Miss Goriightryyy!!”). Audrey’s cat “Cat” is in almost every scene. Blake “Pink Panther / Peter Gunn” Edwards directs from a Truman Capote story (my second, after The Innocents (also from ’61)).

“the most distasteful thing I ever had to do on film”:
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won an honorary oscar:
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A good movie (when Rooney’s not onscreen), but not a romantic comedy like I thought it’d be… more of a drama / character exploration. Holly has a hidden past as a rural wife and homemaker with a dear brother who’s off at war (she renames Peppard “Fred” after her brother) and she doesn’t do relationships very well. It sometimes seems like a story of a modern liberated woman, but then Peppard will go into his spiel about how she belongs to him and people need to be together, and is he proven right at the end?

Katy suggested/liked it.

A better movie than Flags of Our Fathers? Yes.

Most Famous Current Japanese Actor In Hollywood Ken Watanabe is the new commander on Iwo Jima and commands the troops to entrench in the mountain instead of the beaches, so they can blast the Americans from above when they roll in, a decision that made the island much harder to capture (as seen in the hit film Flags of Our Fathers). His horse-riding bud Baron Nishi (star of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe) is in charge of the mountain while Ken is stationed elsewhere making big decisions.

But most of the story is told through the eyes of Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya from Pika*nchi Life Is Hard Dakedo Happy), a regular guy who gets drafted and has no particular allegiance to the war, just wants to survive and see his wife again. Saigo is the “regular guy just caught up by circumstance” who all the film critics are cheering for putting a human Japanese face on a Hollywood depiction of WWII. True dat, but his “war is hell” attitude of just wanting to get home is almost pro-American in how little he seems to care about his own side… would’ve been nice to get more of a balance within one character. I mean, the two elder traditionalists have both dealt with Americans before, and respect them, so there’s a little of that, but during the actual battle they are all-out willing to die for Japan, and our Saigo all-out refuses to die at any cost. So there’s little internal struggle.

It’s still a very good, well-done war movie, and an interesting twist for a Hollywood (Clint Eastwood!) flick. But as I was saying to Katy (who missed the whole Eastwood saga), after The Thin Red Line, it’s not enough to just make a capable war movie. That one set my standards unreasonably high.

Flavor-of-the-last-couple-years Paul Haggis (Million $ Baby, L.A. Crash, Walker Texas Ranger) helped write these flicks, Spielberg produced, and Tom Stern, Clint’s only cinematographer since Blood Work, shot ’em.

Famous Ken:
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Our hero:
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White man:
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From the writers of Planet of the Apes remake, Unfaithful remake, Casino Royale remake and The Last Kiss remake…

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An okay movie. Story of the guys who raised the flag on day five or six of the 30-40 day battle for Iwo Jima in WWII. Flashes back and forth at fucking random, but at least once it’s flashed, it stays on a single story for long enough to get a sense of what’s going on. Someone’s narrating about his dead father here in the present, the three surviving flag-raisers are out on a promotional tour, and meanwhile the war’s still on and they’re still in it. Oh and after the whole promo thing raises lots of money in war bonds, our guys are forgotten and left to crap jobs and suicide. But they were never heroes anyway, just some guys fighting for their buddies who got asked to put up a flag. War is stupid. And the US shits on american indians, that’s another theme.

This land is… my land?
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I never did figure out who’s who in the war scenes because all soldiers look the same, but maybe after Jesse Bradford (My Sassy Girl remake) and Adam Beach (Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things remake) get all famous, I’ll be able to watch this again and tell them apart from Ryan Phillippe.

Already famous: T-1000 formed his liquid metal body into the shape of a Colonel in the early scenes, I somehow missed recognizing Jamie Bell in any scene, Neal McDonough from Ravenous was Captain Severance (heh), and Barry Goodboy Pepper got blown up by friendly fire.

The high hat:
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Clint Eastwood wrote the music, which sounds a lot like “Hey Jude” and the cinematographer wants to remind us of the old photo at Iwo Jima by making the whole movie look like an old photo. Nice. Spielberg produced, whatever that means.

Katy didn’t watch it, but if she had, she probably would’ve paid better attention and then talked about stuff I missed and I’d pretend like I was following her.

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Rabbits! Eight episodes of rabbity nonsense, with Laura “Rita” Harring, Naomi “Betty” Watts, Scott “scenes deleted” Coffey, and Rebekah “Del” Rio.

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The rabbits seem to be having an actual conversation, but all the lines are out of order. So if you try to remember the dialogue in an episode, at the end you can piece it together, sort of. Or it probably doesn’t matter. And thrice there’s an episode where there’s just one person singing.

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And sometimes this happens.

Fantasia is exactly how I remember it. A drowsy opening, some pretty business, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, some more neat stuff, then the conductor announces the halfway point and I fall asleep, only waking up for the Night On Bald Mountain segment and the closing credits.

I guess the animation purists love it, but I just find it a pleasant excuse for a nap. Sorry!

Music video director Slade does a fine job here. He should be One To Look Out For in the future. Actually-18-yr-old Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde in X-men 3!) stars with Patrick Wilson (in his second movie featuring pedophilia and castration in a single year, jeez louise), and Sandra Oh has a single scene as a nosy neighbor.

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Great looking movie, candy-bright and colorful, lots of close-ups and private-ryan framing. About a predatory 14-yr-old girl who lets herself get picked up by an obvious pedophile online only to turn the tables, tie him up, torture him, and lead him to kill himself. The spoiler twist is that she’s done this before, and that he and another guy once kidnapped and killed another girl, who may have been our heroine’s friend.

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That’s pretty much the whole thing. A great first half gives way to a not-as-great second half. The ending doesn’t exactly kill the whole movie, but it comes close. I’ll blame the writer. Straightforward. She always seems to be in control, there’s never any question that he’s a pedophile, and he is never sympathetic. The girl calling his ex-girlfriend and pretending to be a cop is the only part that doesn’t quite fit – she’s a little too thorough in her psychological profiling for a 14-yr-old.

Next up for this director, writer and cinematographer: a Josh Hartnett vampire movie set in Alaska! Can’t wait.

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Movie 1 of the Key Sunday Cinema Club. The post-movie discussion really helped, made the movie more memorable, made its intentions and plot twists more clear. Thanks, Katy!

In West Berlin: Wiesler (meticulous rule-follower) works for Grubitz (ambitious, opportunistic dullard) works for Minister Hempf (fat awful bureaucrat). Georg Dreyman is a theater writer, Christa-Maria Sieland is Georg’s actress girlfriend, Albert Jerska is his blacklisted former director, and Paul Hauser is their anti-gov’t buddy.

Wiesler bugs Dreyman’s apartment to find proof that Dreyman is an anti-gov agent so he can be locked up and Hempf can be free to sleep with Sieland. But ever-loyal Wiesler learns the motivations for his operation, as he learns that Dreyman is not anti-gov at all, but becomes anti-gov as a result of all the spying, sleeping around and other rude behavior. Wiesler becomes unhealthily engrossed in “the lives of others” (oooh) and is eventually demoted after Dreyman is provoked to write an anti-gov scribe in a West German paper, and Sieland throws herself into traffic, remorseful for having informed on her boyfriend. Tragedy! All of this proves that Germans can never be trusted.

A neat movie and a story well told. AV Club says “von Donnersmarck largely keeps the emotion at a distance, preferring to intellectualize the action rather than letting the audience fully feel what Mühe and Koch are going through… makes the meaning of every moment thuddingly clear, and doesn’t move on until he’s sure everyone’s gotten it.” At least they agree that the actors and story are great. True the film’s a little dry and long, but it’s also in the head of the very formal Stasi cop Wiesler, so it only seems appropriate. And it had a lot to say about a system that I previously knew little about, so I found its straightforwardness helpful, but I guess I’m not clamoring to see it again anytime soon.

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Rabbit is an animated children’s book (complete with labels on everything) about a couple greedy, murderous kids getting their comeuppance via death by insects.

City Paradise is a cute Japanese girl learning English and wearing flippers – very nice look to it, reminds me of the Dave McKean short Neon.

Everything Will Be OK – good Hertzfeldt short, totally different style from the rest. More “mature” they’ll probably say. Too multilayered, sometimes hard to hear, gotta see again. Makes me a lot less apprehensive to see “The Meaning of Life” cuz even if it sucks I know he’s recovered since.
I watched this again a while later.

Collision – stars and stripes from flags colliding in neat ways. Pretty, short.

9 – awesome looking film of sock puppet guy with nightvision goggles, the ninth and last in a line of goggled puppets, using all his resources to defeat a giant rabbit monster. Soon to be a major motion picture by producer Tim Burton, who used up the only original ideas he’s had in a decade on “Big Fish”.

Eaux Forte – a light sketch sort of thing that I tuned out to recharge my mind’s batteries.

Overtime – funeral of a puppeteer given by the puppets, nice.

Dreams and Desires – funny, early plympton-looking drawn animation about a woman with dreams of being a great filmmaker making a horrible, drunken wedding video.

Game Over – video game scenes recreated with food, hilarious.

Guide Dog – surprisingly great plympton… I guess I like him again.

No Room For Gerold – CG animals sitting around a table having a confrontational roommate argument.

Versus – more CG, warlords on their own island castles fight over the tiny island between them, got big laffs.

TAS website says: “Versus” was directed by François Caffiaux, Romain Noel, and Thomas Salas from the French animation college Supinifocom. This is the same school that the film “Overtime” came out of. “Versus” has been one of the ‘hidden’ films in our current lineup but easily one of the better received audience favorites. More info on it soon!

Documentary about Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, pioneer in custom-cars, custom t-shirts, illustration and merchandising. Neat little movie with a fun Sadies score, but no big deal. The “talking cars” bit is just shots of Roth’s actual cars with the headlights pulsing and a celeb voiceover. Very little footage of Roth himself, just narrator and cars giving his story.

Roth’s take on Mickey Mouse in a custom car:
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Roth’s most famous creation (after Rat Fink):
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Roth:
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