Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)
A fascinating time capsule of a sprawling, ever-changing city that is always printing the legend while letting less glamorous truths fade out. It wobbles along a fine line of genuine insightfulness and too-cool-for-school hipsterism, but certainly worth it for the many interesting revelations and the filmmaker's sardonic wit. I laughed out loud when he postulates a director is making the architecture of a Frank Lloyd Wright building the real focus during a soft-core sex scene in a trashy B-movie. Doesn't quite earn it's nearly three-hour run-time, but, especially as someone who has called "LA" home for almost seven years now, it was engaging.
Funny Face (1957)
What a delight! I realized I've actually scene very few Audrey Hepburn films even though she's an actor I adore. The roles I most remember are Breakfast at Tiffany's and Wait Until Dark, so seeing her sprightly and smiling here was a joy. Features two standout dance pieces - first, in the dark room with Astaire, and then her iconic performance in the Parisian cafe really is something else. Astaire is charming and fleet-footed as ever, and I loved Kay Thompson. I was completely distracted by her arms and hands. She seems to have the head and arms of a woman who is seven feet tall. Amazing this is her only major film role. The final scene was a head-scratcher and must have been down to a production issue. Everything comes to a head around 10:30pm at night and then the last scene takes place in broad daylight. Not even a nitpick, just an observation. Great way to start the year.
Also, I've come around, at least a little bit, on Cold War (Ha!). It struck me that it's very much in the vein of In the Realm of the Senses, a movie I love. It explores almost the opposite type of relationship - people who ultimately can't stand being together for very long versus people wholly consumed by their passion for one another. I still don't think it's entirely effective, and the ending feels like something you'd see in film school projects, but I've moved from intense dislike to ambivalence. Worth it for the shot of the three people standing in front of the mirror at the party.