Women in dance, in New York and in peril: this week’s movies

Due to a slightly crazy last weekend, everything I watched was what TYG was viewing while doing some non-demanding work:

FLASHDANCE (1983) stars Jennifer Beals as a hard-hat/dancer who dreams of crashing the ballet, but hasn’t yet found the courage to audition of even take classes; can sexy boss-man Michael Nouri give her a dose of badly-needed confidence? This didn’t work for me first-run and hasn’t improved, mostly because Beals, while pretty, has no screen presence, can’t act and can’t dance — seriously, why not just hire a dancer? This would make a logical double bill with Coyote Ugly for Piper Perabo’s similar struggling dreamer, but that movie was more fun and Perabo’s a better actor.  “You loved her once, didn’t you?”

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961) adapts Truman Capote’s novella to give us Audrey Hepburn as free-spirited but shallow Holly Golightly, with George Peppard as the novelist come gigolo (he’s being kept by Patricia Neal) who falls hard for her but can’t seem to catch the elfin adventuress. This has a good cast including Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam and John McGiver but for some reason it’s never worked for me, neither as a light-hearted rom-com or the dramedy some of its fans argue it is. And of course, Mickey Rooney is painful to watch as a yellowface comic-relief Japanese neighbor (about on a level with Sixteen Candles for cringeable racism). “I’m not his wife, he just thinks I am.”

THE BIRD BOX (2018) has Sandra Bullock and two small children boating down a river blindfolded, then flashes back to explain they’re among the survivors of an apocalypse brought on by an unseen horror that either kills those who see it or turns them into fanatical acolytes (“You must look!”). Not a horror classic (and I’m told it’s a knockoff of an earlier film, The Quiet Place), but I thought it was good. John Malkovich plays a ruthless survivor. “It taught me there are two kinds of people — assholes and the dead.”

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