The first look I’m gonna be talking about comes from my first movie in 2010, Martin Scorsese‘ Shutter Island. Yes, there’s Teddy Daniels’ (Leonardo di Caprio) wife (Michelle Williams) in yellow, but among many things we wonder why Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) has a better suit than Teddy, his supposed superior. Then Chuck stands there, his fake benevolence makes him seem sinister, and he reveals to Teddy and to the audience a pulpy ending we don’t want.
There’s also the literally punk ethos generations later. There’s gonna be another movie on this list that covers the same time period, the style The Runaways being the more stereotypical if you have to compare the two. But say, younger Cherie Curie (Dakota Fanning) taking style cues from David Bowie makes us all reminisce even if we’ve never been there.
It’s been known that Tilda Swinton can do anything, including wearing Jil Sander dresses and not look like a clueless model wearing a box. I am Love focuses on Emma Recchi’s (Swinton) facade of womanhood, or how lovers try to hide and find each other through cities and nature. And when Emma puts up her hair in a bun, it reminds me of Madeleine Elster. Emma Recchi (Swinton) is allowed little bits of freedom, but is she willing to risk it all?
Now we move on to chunky sweaters! Such as the staple in Never Let Me Go. The youth from Hailsham and the other special schools get to wear browns and greys while the people they watch on television are more wild and colourful. But I actually like this, since it shows the Armaniesque minimalism that was just as prevalent in the 70’s and 80’s. If you look Cher in Moonstruck, both films take the same approach in costume.
I’ll probably get hanged if I didn’t talk about Rodarte’s textural touches in Black Swan‘s costumes both onstage and off, the outer layers that ballerina Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) have to put on and peel off. I also like the scarves that both Nina and alternate Lilly (Mila Kunis) wear. Why are they dressing alike? What they wear outside reminds us that their season starts in winter, when hibernation (repression) is something that Nina can either adapt or rebel against.
One of the most painful cinematic experiences I’ve ever had is also one of my first in the newly erected Bell Lightbox. Fortunately, there’s the little moments of fashion in L.A. Zombie, and it helped that I knew that they were created by Bernard Wilhelm, one of the designers whose whole collections I wanna buy when I get rich enough. That and they’re worn by one fo the sexiest men to ever live, Francios Sagat. I hate this movie partly because of Catholic guilt. Are you happy I admitted that?
This year was the year of the blue dress, like the Balenciaga inspired ones in Attenberg and Amy Ryan’s ill-fitting yet fabulous dress in Jack Goes Boating, but the one that knocks it out of the park is Miriam’s (Rosamund Pike) in Barney’s Version. To be able to catch the eye of a just married man like the anti-hero Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) and come out like an angel doesn’t always have something to do with what’s inside a person.
Hey look, another hot guy in a suit. The titular hero of Carlos (Edgar Ramirez) audaciously wears white or light coloured suits while motorcycling through the streets of Beirut and other cities in the Middle East. He is smooth, a conundrum, presenting himself as a terrorist while looking like he’s spending money on a Saturday night. The film will also show him in Speedos and his birthday suit if that’s your thing.
There’s young Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) in a movie that might be the only one in this list to get an Oscar nomination for Best Costume, True Grit. Mattie chooses subtlety and fit, unlike the wild colours of the Ann Sheridan types or loose-fitting sloppiness of the men. She is the daughter of Frank Ross, a man of manageable wealth and assets. Although she dresses more ‘manly’ when she goes into Indian territory to find her dad’s murdered Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin).
Rosamund Pike reappears in this last entry but for another movie where her talent is better used – made in Dagenham. The red Biba dress that Sally Hawkins’ character is originally her characters’ anyway. The dress reminds me of how Britain had power in the garment industry before the Central Saint Martin school came along. And even female politicians will talk to each other about clothes. Make of that what you will.
Black Swan fits director Darren Aronofksy’s other work, with an obsession with the body and performance, close-ups of Nina’s (Natalie Portman) feet and ballet flats being warmed up. There’s CGI, grainy digital photography, and uncompromising close-ups of her face. Like other Aronofsky’s protagonists, she embraces quick success without anticipating her antagonists, like rival Lily (Mila Kunis), choreographer Thomas (Vincent Cassel) Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey), and all the voices in her head.
The actresses also do great work here. Portman interestingly interprets her character as a virginal girl without confidence, panting at every step, obeying Aronofsky’s pendulum swing vision of her character. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen Portman attack cruelty in its basic form, scratching and clawing away at herself, as if a demon is possessing her. Kunis is smooth and elastic as she dances and seduces everyone, deserving the Marcello Mastroianni award she got this past week.
The inconsistent characters, are my big complaint. I don’t mean the other dancers’ double pronged admiration and bitchitude, from what I heard normally directed to women from women. I’m talking about malleable Nina, mentally unready to become Swan Queen, despite having a ‘flash’ of it in her. Or how the ‘prick’ Thomas still has his job. We are perceiving them through Nina’s warped state of mind, but I’m not sure if that’s justifiable enough. The film’s ending feels invigorating, but still, 3/5.
p.s. Just realized that the douche-y blonde guy from Hot Tub Time Machine is one of Nina’s dancing partners.
- Black Swans’ difficult takeoff (theglobeandmail.com)
Via FlixChatter via Encore’s World of TV and Film via SortaThatGuy (can I use your first names if we’ve talked to each other on Twitter or commented on each other’s blog) is a 31 Day Movie Meme. I downloaded movies up to the eighth day, I spreadsheeted it, I mapped out all the movies I saw so that every period got representation in proportionate to how many I’ve seen in said era, or tried to anyway. But I had no time. Thankfully, FourofThem did it in short form and I decided to do the same.
Day 01 – Sequel that should not have been made
—American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002). I saw the ending and it was enough. Poor Mila Kunis.
Day 02 – Movie that you think more people should see
—Ballast (2008). I was alone in the theatre watching this. With a whopping 1000 votes from iMDb. See it, nerds, what are you waiting for?
Day 03 – Favorite Oscar-nominated movie from most recent ballot
— Bright Star (2009). Never changed my opinion on it once. Bu then I’m an English/Art History double major so this was up my alley.
Day 04 – Movie that makes you laugh every time
— In Bruges (2008). Someone should bar me from watching Harry Potter, because if I go and every time Voldemort comes on screen, I’ll scream “Don’t facking talk to me about my cunt facking keeds!”
Day 05 – Movie you loathe
—Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005). Fucking hate Tyler Perry and his sensationalism.
Day 06 – Movie that makes you cry every time
—A Star is Born ’54. Judy’s monologues make me remember that I have a soul.
Day 07 – Least favorite movie by a favorite actor or actress
—Revolutionary Road (2008) for Kate Winslet. Made her pretty only on the outside.
Day 08 – Movie that should be required high school viewing
—Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). Weird choice, but lets the freaks know that they can fight back. Also Mysterious Skin (2004).
Day 09 – Best scene ever
–The argument between the titular Malcolm X (1992) and his wife. Fences can’t be as good as that.
Day 10 – A movie you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
—Breaking and Entering (2006). Apparently Minghella’s worst film, but so emotionally resonant.
Day 11 – A movie that disappointed you
—Nine (2009), but as a good gay boy I had to haul my ass and my sister’s to see it anyway.
Day 12 – Best soundtrack/background music in a scene
—Vertigo (1958), especially the Prelude and Rooftop scene, judging by my iPod play count.
Day 13 – Favorite animated movie
—Up (2009), or if parts of Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) count. I’m not good at my animation after I turned 13.
Day 14 – Favorite film in black and white
—Waterloo Bridge. It has that one scene that does wonders for black and white cinematography, but what I care about is the content.
Day 15 – Best musical
—Chicago (2002), again, judging by my iPod count. And because it’s really slutty.
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure movie
—Clueless (1995). When you look at it, it’s really a movie about Rodney King and OJ.
Day 17 – Favorite series of related movies
—The Godfather (1972, 1974, 1990), because I’m boring, and because the last one’s cute.
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence
—Twelve Monkeys (1995), then the tapestry-like The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943).
Day 19 – Best movie cast
—Gosford Park (2001). Rarely do you see Kristin Scott Thomas and other great British actors and actresses together.
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
—Before Night Falls (2000), when a random man takes his glasses off and kisses the audience. Reminds me of many I’ve had.
Day 21 – Favorite romantic couple
–Woody and Diane in Annie Hall (1977). Woody’s disgusting, but their chemistry is ideal.
Day 22 – Favorite final scene/line
–“Adios,” by the Marlene Dietrich character in Touch of Evil. (1958) Fierceness.
Day 23 – Best explosion or action scene
—The Big Heat (1953). No fire, all camera movement. I could feel my walls shake.
Day 24 – Quote you use most often
–“My art has been considered vaginal by critics, which bothers some men. Vagina.” The Big Lebowski (1998). Imagine medium-sized gAsian say that, and then laugh before the next line.
Day 25 – A movie you plan on watching (old or new)
—Get Low (2010), a movie about a swan song, because I’ve seen a lot lately. If I stay in the country, that is.
Day 26 – Freakishly weird movie ending
—Fat Girl (2001). Doesn’t even prepare anyone.
Day 27 – Best villain
—Mieko Harada in Ran (1985), then Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate ’62.
Day 28 – Most over-hyped movie
—No Country for Old Men (2007). This started the iMDb thing of giving ten stars to any male centred movie that just came out.
Day 29 – Movie you have watched more than ten times
–The closest is Gone with the Wind (1939), with at least four.
Day 30 – Saddest death scene
—The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
Day 31 – Scene that made you stand up and cheer
–The explosion in The Thing (1982), aided by the crowd.