Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Written by Amanda Salazar

Three days left until the kick off of Sundance Film Festival 2009. Three days to soak in this beautiful Southern California weather. Three days to pack every warm piece of clothing I have, three days to catch up on sleep, and three days left to prepare my schedule of films.

This will be my first trip to the festival. If it is as crazy as everyone keeps telling me, I am slightly frightened, but definitely excited. I keep getting advice from anyone that has attended on what to expect, but even with all of this preparation, I am anxious to finally get to Park City.

Since I can remember, it has been a dream of mine to go to Sundance. It is hard to explain why, but as a film-school graduate and genuine lover of movies, it has become this engrained desire to make it to the small city to watch the films and mingle with filmgoers like myself.

With everything that I have been told, apparently this year it will be a different Sundance — reflecting our economic state. But then again, I have nothing to compare it to. Perhaps there will not be as many vendors, or free gifts, or fancy parties. But the films are there; in fact with over 3600 features submitted to the festival, the program will go on.

Last night’s Golden Globe ceremony proved that this might be another year for the independent filmmaker. Slumdog Millionaire won big, taking home four awards, including Best Dramatic Picture and Best Director for Danny Boyle. Another underdog picture and actor, Mickey Rourke won the award for Best Actor in a Drama for The Wrestler. With indies taking top awards, this could be foreshadowing for what is to come and what is to be picked up by the distributors, making Sundance even that more exciting.

Luckily, being that I will already be in Park City, I will also be attending films and events at Slamdance. This film festival will be in its 15th year and it is a festival that works with first-time independent filmmakers. Again this will be another first and I can’t wait to tell you more about my experiences at both.

Basically, I am so excited that I might pee myself. For the next few weeks, I will be writing about what it is really like from someone that has just entered the film industry, as a first-timer that simply wants to share with others that truly love this industry. Paired with reviews of films that I have seen, I hope to document everything that is Sundance and Slamdance- from films to parties to music and everything in between.

In my final days before I leave I would like to congratulate the filmmakers that are showing their films. For those that are attending, I will see you there. In just three days, my dream will come true. Man, that feels great.

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (Centennial Collection)

Written by Hombre Divertido

On January 13th Paramount will release Breakfast at Tiffany’s as part of its Centennial Collection, and it is certainly easy to see why this film is held in such high regard. One can only regret that they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore. A simple character and dialog-driven endeavor full of wonderful performances that make you want to rush out to the nearest coffee house in hopes of meeting someone new with a unique personality. Unfortunately, most of us don’t fall into relationships as easy as they did back then, or at least as easy as was depicted in the films of the era.

One could only hope to meet someone as full of life and yet innocently insecure hiding in the elegant beauty that was escort Holly Golightly portrayed with subtle elegance by Audrey Hepburn. The occasionally stiff George Peppard as the underachieving writer and kept man Paul, who falls quickly into a friendship and eventually in love with his new neighbor Holly, but it is his attempts to fit into her awkwardly paced world, summed up beautifully by director Blake Edwards’ legendary cocktail party, that makes the bulk of this film so enjoyable.

Holly and Paul walk through life with what appears to be an ease that we all long for, but the depth of the performances denotes the true guardedness of both characters, and how they grow together.

Recent character studies such as Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt or Nicholas Cage in The Weatherman give us well-crafted insight into the life of the main characters, but it’s not a life that most would be interested in experiencing. Breakfast at Tiffany’s gives us something we are looking to experience, or at the least, reminds us of people we used to know and or admired.

The new release is full of bonus material including commentary by producer Richard Shepherd, and numerous individual productions such as “Henry Mancini: More than Music,” an exceptional look at the life of this extremely talented man; “A Golightly Gathering,” which reunites the participants of the classic cocktail party and features fun and fact-filled interviews; “Behind the Gates: A Tour” is a far-too-short visit to Paramount Studios, “Brilliance in a Blue Box” is a brief history of the iconic jewelry store, “Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany’s,” “The Making of a Classic,” “It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon,” the original theatrical trailer, and photo galleries.

One of the most interesting pieces of bonus material is “Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective” which yields the reaction to Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of the over-the-top stereotype of Asians of that era. The participants in the feature certainly convey the feelings that existed then and now, and should be respected. From a purely comedic perspective, the performance and antics were far better suited to Edwards later Pink Panther projects. Breakfast at Tiffany’s has a charm and brilliance that was only dulled by the slapstick inclusion of such a caricature.

All the bonus material is enjoyable especially the look at the life of Mancini as poignantly conveyed by his family. Some material is a bit repetitive when packaged together, but watching it immediately after the film does manage to lengthen one’s enjoyment and appreciation of the original project. More material focused on the rest of the talented cast (Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, and Martin Balsam) would have enhanced the attractiveness of this new release, and certainly an interview with Mickey Rooney on the subject of his portrayal in the film would have made for a more well-rounded offering.

Recommendation: Definitely one of the rare movies that doesn’t disappoint after decades of hearing “What? You’ve never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” So, if you haven’t, here is the perfect opportunity.

As the original marketing material states: “It’s everything you’ve always wanted to do, and Audrey Hepburn’s the one you’ve always wanted to do it with.” Funny how true that will ring, even after almost fifty years, and most likely even for those who have never experienced the talent that was Audrey Hepburn.