Browsing Category

Movies

Movies

The Genius That Is-Tom Ford

February 9, 2017

nocturalheader

Tom Ford is undoubtedly a genius. This seems to be known to any woman or man whose crossed his clothing line in some capacity. If you live on the island of Manhattan, the look of Tom Ford might very well be the ultimate goal. Chicness to a level that I only wish I had one percent of. Do you think Tom would approve of my red Crocs?

I don’t think anyone would have the temerity to question that Tom Ford is one of the greats in the fashion world. Yet, I had no idea of his cinematic genius; until now.

I had seen A Single Man and quite enjoyed…but, that isn’t saying much. Put Colin Firth in a film and the minute I see those side burns and British bashfulness accompanied by his perfect elocution, I’m in love. However, it must be said, Nocturnal Animals is taking it to another level.

I watched this film days ago and it still haunts me. There is no garrulity in this movie, every shot, every scene is perfectly executed and tailored much like, dare I say it, a Tom Ford suit. The cinematography is so darkly wondrous it was as if each take was a perfectly-timed photograph. From one shot to the next, the way he interwove the story line, I can’t begin to imagine the story boards he must have created. And the acting! Oh what a tour de force from Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhall. I don’t want to name shame here, but it is a wonder that La La Land with it’s cookie-cutter acting and heavy-footed dancing is so highly lauded and in the spotlight. Where to me, Nocturnal Animals is this year’s true triumph.

It is not an easy film to watch, as opposed, yet again, to the lightness of La La Land. There was one particular roadside scene which literally left, for lack of a better cliché, my heart pounding out of my body. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is such a perfect hillbilly backwoods villain that I completely forgot that he is British. His smacking lips and taunting of Gyllenhall’s weakness left me paralyzed with fear on the couch.

But, it should be said, it is not a straight grab you by the throat kind of thriller. Nocturnal Animals deeply explores psychological elements of relationships, regrets, life choices and who we choose to become in life which can ultimately haunt us the most of all.  

It is a darkly-beautiful, visually stimulating, exquisitely executed film. Much like the ingenious imagination and originality that is, Tom Ford.

Movies

Finding Strength In Hidden Figures

January 31, 2017

These are turbulent times indeed. Almost daily, I’m left super confused not only about my own life, but about the state of the world. Yet, there is so much to admire in the united forces of others standing up for their convictions. To say I have been moved by protesting against the powers that be would be a gross understatement.

This movie isn’t about a protest but it is about standing up for yourself and having courage on a daily basis. It’s one of those movies where I didn’t have any preconceived expectations about it. I started watching thinking, oh, if I don’t like it, I’ll turn it off. Pretty much the exact opposite of La La Land or Manchester By The Sea, which were oversold to me and for which I had too high of expectations.

Hidden Figures is a just a beautiful little film. Never does it wax on too strongly with sentiment or violence; yet, it gets its point across with subtle acting that is both believable and inspiring. It is the incredible true story of three brilliant African-American women working for NASA in the 1960s. Not only do these women cross gender and race lines, but the tenacity they had simply in their day-to-day left me awestruck.

Throughout the entire film I kept saying, “I can’t believe I didn’t know about this,” and “it’s not that long ago.”

The movie is fitting for our times. Times where we might feel lost against the majority or alone against those who have more authority than we do. Not only does it remind us to have belief in ourselves, but also what just a few can accomplish for the betterment of the world. If you are needing motivation or to have your spirit enlivened, I highly recommend Hidden Figures.

MV5BMjQxOTkxODUyN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTU3NTM3OTE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_

Best Foreign Language Films, Movies

French Film-Marguerite

April 28, 2016

 

images

Simply put, I was utterly charmed by the film Marguerite. Set in 1920’s Paris, it is the story of Marguerite Dumont-a delightful aristocrat who loves to sing. The only problem is she is simply terrible. Tone deaf would be putting it lightly. Yet, her love and passion for song will not be dissuaded no matter how much she shrieks.

Played by the marvelously charismatic Catherine Frot, whom some of you might know from another lovely little movie called, Haute Cuisine. The entirety of the film lays heavily on her shoulders. I don’t think another actress could pull off the character with such likeability as she did.

While part of you winces, and almost wants to snicker at her truly comedic off-key crooning, the other half of you cheers for her and wants desperately to see her succeed. The sets are nothing short of sublime, as are the costumes. Who doesn’t like a movie set in 1920’s Paris heyday? There is romance, friendship and passion as well. It’s visually truly stimulating with impeccable cinematography and gorgeous stages are set throughout.

I know Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant are coming out with a film that has a very similar plot: yet, I have no doubt this French original will be much better. If you are looking for a sweet story, I highly suggest you check out Marguerite. It’s a beautiful little film with a heart of gold, and a voice that desperately wants to be heard.

Best Foreign Language Films, Movies

Movie Must: MUSTANG

February 22, 2016

la-et-cam-palm-springs-film-fest-mustang-deniz-001

I came to this movie full of expectations. The critics, the Twittersphere, everyone was buzzing about how “Mustang was one of the best films of the year.” So, of course, the small voice in my head thought it probably won’t be THAT good.

Every time a movie has a ton of recommendations or buzz, it always seems to fall flat for me. Yet, Mustang was a real tour de force.

It left me giggling on the couch, screaming at the television and, in an all out panic, at the end. Humorous, suspenseful, awakening; to name just a few.

Mustang is about five orphaned sisters, living a prison-like repressed life in a small Turkish village. The opening scene of the girls frolicking on the beach with some classmates leads to a chain of catastrophic events. It is a glimpse into a world and place I know nothing about. An eye-opening culture shock, and a testimony to the bonds of siblings and the courage and conviction of youth.

The youngest of the girls is a wild, you guessed it, Mustang, like creature who can not be tamed. She watches her elder sisters get married off like cattle at a farm sale. Nothing short of determined, this wild child with long untamed hair will not be bound to a similar fate. Watching her scheme, learn to drive a car, and plan to break free like a convict out of her cell, is both amusingly charming as it is ruthlessly thrilling for the viewer.

Hard as it may be to believe this is the first feature film directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven. It is truly one of the best films of the year.   Find it, watch it; go now.

Mustang Movie Site

Best Foreign Language Films, Movies

This Year’s Most Underrated Film-The Fencer

January 18, 2016

The-Fencer-II

“Oh Carol is so well shot.”

The Revenant, it’s so intense, so raw.”

“I sobbed all the way through Room.

These are the sound bites you’ll be hearing about “award season films.” Yet, these aren’t necessarily always the best movies of the year. For in fact, in my opinion, some of this year’s finest films are flying way under the radar. The Fencer is one such film. You’ve probably never heard of it, but I guarantee it’s worth your time.

The Fencer is a subtle film full of tension and emotion but never in a “Hollywood” way. It’s everything American big budget films aren’t. Quiet in its tenderness and powerful in its emotion. The Fencer is one of my favorite films of this year.

It reminded me quite a lot of the French film from a few years back called, The Chorus. Though different subject matters, the theme is the same. An outsider coming to a school and changing the children’s lives forever.

The Fencer is a co-production among Estonia, Germany and Finland. It is about a young man who flees Leningrad to come to Estonia to be a teacher. There in the repressed-desolate woods of the 1950’s Soviet Union he begins a Sports Club and starts coaching the young students in the sport of fencing.

The director, Klaus Härö, does an incredible job of showing the true isolation of Estonia during this time period. The darkness and chill of the nights there. The fear of a local Town Hall meeting amongst the villagers. Everything about where he has arrived is dim, depressed and ultimately living in darkness. He gives the children light and hope through fencing, and an escape.

I love films that can show how easily lives can be changed by something so seemingly small. If you can find The Fencer in a theater near you, I highly recommend you check it out. Just because the movie hasn’t had the press of some of the others, does not diminish its power in the art of filmmaking, and to me, is truly a wonderful film.

The Fencer Movie Website

Movies

Must See Film-The Danish Girl

January 7, 2016

The_Danish_Girl_(film)_poster

Certain movies I start with expectations, yet, with The Danish Girl, I had none. If anything, I went in thinking, though I love Eddie Redmayne, I doubt I’m going to love a movie about one of the first sex-change operations. Yet, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I loved loved loved this movie, and yes, I just wrote love three times in a row to really, annoyingly make my point.

Let’s begin with the directing and cinematography of this film. Not something I normally wax on about, but honestly, this is one of the most gorgeously shot movies I’ve ever seen. The director Tom Hooper and cinematographer, Danny Cohen, capture such beautiful light and perfectly framed takes, that each scene feels like a painting. Perhaps a wink to the central characters being both Danish artists. Never before have I viewed such scenic landscapes captured in such a remarkably beautiful way on film. It left me nothing short of gobsmacked staring at the screen, quite honestly and literally swooning at their artistry. The soft colors of Denmark playing against Eddie’s (Lili’s) smirking face and sanguine lips made each shot look like a single perfectly-softly-lit portrait. As for Eddie himself, this might very well be some of the most effortless acting to come about since well, since Eddie played Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. So subtle his femininity playing Lili, you believe everything about her and his struggle to be the person he feels he was born to be. The impish grin, looking from downcast eyes, it is spell-bounding. Your heart breaks as much as it cheers for Lili’s struggle. And with that heart beat is the pain you feel for his wife, Gerda, played by the direly underrated, yet soon to be huge star, Alicia Vikander. I have seen Alicia in some Swedish films, actually her “breakout role”, Pure (an excellent film too if you haven’t watched.) In her native tongue she was innocent and believable, and I thought to myself, there is a great young actress. But, here in, The Danish Girl, she really comes into her own, and if they don’t give the Oscar again to Eddie, Alicia certainly deserves her time. She is both fragile, yet strong, an ingénue and a seductress. Where Eddie (Lili) might be the face of The Danish Girl, Alicia (Gerda) is the soul. Her unwavering love and support for her husband is courageous as it is tragically agonizing.

I would call this movie a romance, a biography, and seriously one of the best films of the year. If you do anything this weekend, go see The Danish Girl.

Movies

Brooklyn-Fantastic Movie For the Holidays

December 18, 2015

 

 

images

Don’t you hate it when you get a book, love it so much you have no choice but to read it really quickly, and then at the end, you are like, crap, I plowed through that way too fast. The next night, you wished somehow you had paced yourself, now missing the great read. This was exactly what happened to me when I read Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín.

I distinctively remember, it wasn’t a book I had planned on getting out of the library. It was one of those last grabs, sort of like when you decide to buy chewing gum at the deli. I went through all the other books, not liking them, and finally turned to Brooklyn as my end resort. Immediately, I was swept away and engrossed by Mr. Tóibín’s writing. I read it in two days, and then urgently started Google-stalking the author afterwards. My infatuation grew when I realized that he taught at my alma mater, and I promptly read all the books of his I could get my hands on. However, Brooklyn was always by far and away my favorite.

You would think I would have been excited for the film adaptation. A joint production with BBC, a period piece, pretty much all the things that make up me. Yet, I felt pessimistic (huge surprise), movies are NEVER as good as the novel, that is until now. Call it what you want, a Christmas miracle perhaps? But honestly, Brooklyn (the movie) is just as good as the book, if not, dare I say it…in all that is English literature blasphemy…almost even better than the book!?!?!? I know, I pray my idol Colm isn’t reading this now.

So well shot, so well acted, Brooklyn, is simply a charming, heart-warming film. Saoirse Una Ronan carries the entire production. Perfectly cast as, Eilis, she is both innocent and strikingly beautiful in some shots. Watching her honest Irish eyes view of the world, and America, you get a real feeling for what it must have been like to be an immigrant coming to the United States. It’s also a lovely little history lesson into the city I now call home. A particularly poignant scene, played by Bridget Jones’s Dad, Jim Broadbent, discussing how these Irish men were the ones who built our cities bridges and really the backbone of Manhattan, truly struck me.

But, what will really strike you, is the cupid lightning bolt, the romance. A budding love affair between Saoirse Una Ronan (Eilis) and Emory Cohen (Tony) had my stone-cold heart a flutter. Real true-love, first-love romance we have here and I drank it up like a lush next to the spiked-punch bowl. Speaking of holidays, this is really a perfect holiday movie. I think it would be the ideal film to go see with your Mom, sister or friend this winter break. The sweeping landscapes of Ireland, the tug at your heart strings struggle of immigrants, the heart warming feelings of true love. Everything about Brooklyn will touch your heart in one way or the other, and isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Well, maybe that and eggnog, I say do both! Live the American dream;)

 

Best Foreign Language Films, Movies, TV

Scandinavian Crime Drama For the Season-Bron/The Bridge/Broen

December 11, 2015

70254188

I should forewarn, that they have made an “American version” of this, but like all things in life, the original is much better.

The Bridge is one of the most captivating series I have ever watched. The complexities of the characters, specifically the lead, Saga, as well as her partner, is that of a good Nordic noir novel.

In a nutshell, The Bridge, or, Broen in Danish and Bron in Swedish, is a Scandinavian crime drama. The focal point of the TV series is the Orseund Bridge which connects Sweden to Denmark. Often we see the shot of Saga racing down its curving road in her Porsche to a scene of another crime. The plot of each season is to solve the murder presented to you in episode one. Yet, each following episode leads you this way and that, never quite knowing if you are getting closer or further away from finding the killer. A true cat and mouse caper with a brooding Scandinavian backdrop. Though some can be gruesome, there is a lot of humanity and psychology working as the underlying pulse.   Saga is a completely desocialized, borderline-Aspergers detective and, therefore, a particularly uniquely portrayed character.

The thing that really resonates with me is the simple escapism with The Bridge. While I’m not one for necessarily “scary” television, there is someting in a suspenseful viewing that makes you not think about your own life at all. There’s no time to ponder and mull about your problems when you are on the edge of the couch with your heart in your throat wondering “who done it.” I know it’s not necessarily “holiday” viewing, but if you want what I deem one of the best crime dramas of the last few years, I highly suggest you check out The Bridge.

 

The Bridge-Netflix

Movies

Jane Eyre-Joy For the Weekend

November 13, 2015

 

 

MV5BNjU0Mjc0NzU3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTU4OTkwNA@@._V1_SX214_AL_

Downton Abbey is officially over, and I feel empty inside.

I loved that show more than I love cheese or white wine, combined.

I am sick, and the world feels like it is going to end, and this is the final straw I tell you! In fact, you should know that I have been so sick that if this blog post makes no sense, or I’ve already written about this before, I don’t even realize it, that’s how sick I am. Ok, but enough on that boring dribble. Back to period pieces and my undying love for them. With the finale of Downton looming like an ominous butler in the corner, (I can’t begin to think that I won’t see Carson again), it got me to thinking of period pieces I love. There are so many, I could write a whole encyclopedia on them, and then you’d realize how truly pathetic my social life is. But, the one I’m going to write about today is one of my favorite adaptations of, Jane Eyre.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved the BBC one too (obviously I love all BBC), but there is something about this in particular, and their chemistry that really resonated with me. Michael Fassbender is the perfect Rochester in all his brutish-unreachable gentleman. Whilst Mia Wasikowska, is a delicate Jane, with an underlying strength that holds her head up high and makes you as an audience root for her through the whole film. The landscapes and cinematography are sweeping, and I felt the director, Cary Fukunaga, did a great job of not dragging the story along, especially when we all know it so well. It never stayed too long on Jane as a sickling-sad-orphan child, or waxed on too long about her being in the service of Rochester. It had the perfect flow, for lack of better words, and left me, breathless. If you haven’t already seen this version, I think it’s the ideal movie for this weekend. I’d recommend curling up in your favorite leisure wear, with your favorite snacks and escaping into the world of romance and bonnets. Isn’t that what a good movie, and period piece is all about?

Netflix-Jane Eyre

Movies

Be Charmed By Danny Collins

September 11, 2015

images

I really loved this movie. Though, full disclosure, I loved the first half better than the second. But, that’s just me being my picky-pickle self. Danny Collins is in essence, a charming film, with an undercurrent of subtle humor that really worked. Al Pacino makes fun of himself and his character, with a wink and slyness that is both likeable, as well as amusing. I felt myself smiling at him, wanting to wink at the screen, while inwardly cringing.

In the movie, Al plays an aging rocker in the worst possible sense, with all the stereotypes that it entails. You know, the fake orange tan, guido clothing, skanky girlfriend. Then, one day he receives a birthday present from his manager, Christopher Plummer. Wait, I have to stop mid-sentence. Christopher Plummer. How do I count the ways I love this man? He could read out loud from the dictionary and I would listen to this like some Zen book on tape. He soothes me. Adelvice—adelvice. It never gets old. Circling back….

So, Mr. Pacino (Danny Collins) receives a gift from smooth-talking-manager Plummer on his birthday, which makes him rethink his whole life and start changing the way he lives. Like all my movie recommendations, I don’t want to give too much away. I think Danny Collins is a movie just about anyone could enjoy. It leaves you smiling, and sometimes we all just want to feel good. Yep, I just wrote that.

Danny Collins-Netflix

*If this post seems boring, or is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. Get over it, I’m tired.  So exhausted my hands are shaking whilst I write this, that is what I do for you! Ok, really though, watch the movie.