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Posted 11/25/2009

Breakfast At Tiffany's

Forget that onscreen squeezes Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard give technically terrific performances but, curiously, give off few romantic sparks. Or that Truman Capote never considered high-born Hepburn right for the role of amoral hayseed-turned-bohemian glamour gal Holly Golightly--he had modeled the character on Marilyn Monroe. (That was only the beginning of the liberties director Blake Edwards and screenwriter George Axelrod took with Capote's novella.) And the less said about Mickey Rooney's oafish, flagrantly inappropriate turn as Holly's irascible Japanese-American landlord, the better. Instead, focus on the good stuff: Henry Mancini's lilting score, one of the most beautiful in cinema history (and the source of the classic "Moon River"). Or the movie's striking hipness and timelessness, and its seemingly boundless capacity to surprise. Hepburn's Holly is a neurotic, Givenchy-clad stunner who's naively frank about everything (like the affections she swaps for "tips for the powder room") except her mysterious, remarkable past; Peppard is Paul, her downstairs neighbor, a struggling writer who's reluctantly subsidized by his married mistress (Patricia Neal). Their relationship heats up, but the messy complexity of emotional intimacy proves to be a danger to them both, leading to a memorable, heart-wrenching climax (involving a cat, of all things) that's impossible to forget. (Adele Marley) At the Charles Theatre at noon Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. Nov. 30, and 9 p.m. Dec. 3.

Henry V

Writer/director/star Kenneth Branagh swung for the fence with his directorial debut, adapting the Shakespeare play that none other than Laurence Olivier ingeniously mounted in 1944 and became almost an immediate iconic version. But Branagh goes small and dark where Olivier went grand and pomp, and the result is a gritty, antic Henry V that showcases the then-28-year-old Branagh's command of the role. Branagh the director doesn't have the visual sharpness he would graduate to in 1996's Hamlet, but his king feels combat-ready and -worn, making this Henry V a gripping and stirring experience. At Towson University's Van Bokkelen Hall Auditorium Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Old Dogs

John Travolta and Robin Williams team up in this Disney-produced, Walt Becker (Wild Hogs) directed family flick about two businessmen stuck with a pair of twins. Opens Nov. 25.

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