Monday, January 31, 2011

SAG Awards: My 6 Favorite Looks

Let's celebrate some pretty, yes?  Overall the SAG Red Carpet last night was pretty blah, but for me these 6 ladies really showed that they can show up looking perfect (or nearly).

6. 
Nicole Kidman
in Nina Ricci

This look to me is classic Nicole Kidman and I love it.  It's glamorous in a very chic way.  I don't love this look but I love Nicole in it.  I only wish that since they went with that big random necklace they'd chosen something that complimented the gothic drama of the dress a bit more.  It clashes a bit too much for my taste, but I just love her in it.  I wish the hair was a little more put-together.

5.
Helena Bonham Carter
in Marc Jacobs

I just love HBC's style and this works SO well for her!  It's almost safe for her, which scares me because I love when she brings the crazy, but it fits so well and is so pretty!  Her hair looks pretty great (especially after how gross it looked at the Globes) and the accessories are perfect and understated.  Go Helena!  But please bring sometime crack-tastic to the Oscars because you're the only one I can count on.

4.
Kyra Sedgwick
in vintage Thierry Mugler

This dress is GORGEOUS.  I love how simple and chic it is, love that it's velvet, and I love the detail around the bustline.  If Angelina had worn this she'd look like a ridiculous Morticia Adams, but she brings such fun and class to the dress.  Hair, make-up, jewelry, are all perfection.  And it should be noted that I normally detest Kyra Sedgwick and find her style boring, so this is hard for me to admit.

3.
Mila Kunis
in Alexander McQueen

Oh how I love Mila Kunis.  She is beautiful, but frequently wears interesting gowns to these sort of events.  I like that she doesn't always knock it out of the park but always tries taking some sort of risk whether it be with silhouette, print, etc.  This McQueen is stunningly beautiful, and the print is so mesmerizing.  I love that the silhouette is different from everything else that was worn last night and feels fresh, youthful, and exactly what a young starlet should be wearing to this event.

2.
Hailee Steinfeld
in Prada

SO FUN.  The girl is 14 and nominated for an Oscar.  This dress is exuberant and so young and fresh and absolutely perfect for her!  The hair is exactly what a 14 year old should be doing.  I find that when young actresses try and glam like an A-list 40 year old it just looks so terrible and in poor taste.  Yay to Hailee for bringing a fun print, bright color, and an appropriate youthfulness to her clothes last night.

1.
January Jones!
in Carolina Herrera

PERFECTION.  Look at how stunning she is.  The hair is beautiful and a reference to Betty Draper's 60s housewife without being derivative.  The dress is very traditional in silhouette and material but looks so on-trend with the sheer panels and the gorgeous gold lace.  I love the risks that January takes with her looks and how at each awards show I never know what she's going to do.  THAT is what red carpets are all about.  I love how just one week ago she wore the hula-girl red Versace with gorgeous hair but questionable taste and then she can turn around and bring a completely different look to the SAG awards.  Girl, I appreciate you keeping me on my toes.  And also thank you for NOT wearing Versace for once.  I love the fashion house, but it's good to see you playing around.  (Also, your ads for Versace are GORGEOUS).  

There you have it!  My favorite from SAG!  A boring red carpet but these 6 lovelies kept me in rapt attention.

Yummy News: Superman Casting!

I'm a day late on this, I know, but how exciting is the news that Henry Cavill has been cast as Zack Snyder's Superman?! Despite my preferences for many of the other names that they'd been throwing around (I still think John Hamm would make a great older Superman and Matthew Goode=HOT, Armie Hammer=ADORABLE, and Joe Manganiello=ZOMG) I do believe that Henry Cavill was a great choice.  Also:





He's gorgeous. So let's all raise a glass to a future of seeing this man fly through the skies in spandex. Oh, he's also a very talented actor. He's most known for his work as Charles Brandon in Showtime's The Tudors, the lead in Matthew Vaughn's Stardust (love that film), and he's in Tarsem's (The Fall, The Cell) next film: Immortals, in which he plays Theseus. That film is very reminiscent of Clash of the Titans but will certainly have more visual panache with Tarsem at the helm. Anyway, I'm happy with the casting and it seems most fanboys are as well, so good job Zack Snyder!

Yummy news indeedy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stuck-in-my-Head Sundays: Robyn - 'Stars 4-Ever'

So every Sunday I'm going to feature a song that has spent the entire week dominating my musical thoughts.  This week the song is Robyn's 'Stars 4-Ever'.



If anyone is a fan of pop music and has not heard any of Robyn's 3-part Body Talk album, they cannot call themselves a true fan of the genre.  My favorite song of the year--'Dancing on My Own'--is on Body Talk Pt. 1 and between the three EPs there are tons more super fun and instant-classic hits (i.e. 'Dancehall Queen,' 'Fembot,' 'None of Dem,' 'Cry When You Get Older,' 'Hang with Me,' 'Indestructible,' 'Love Kills,' 'Call Your Girlfriend,').  However, off Body Talk, Pt. 3 which I just got last weekend I realized that although 'Call Your Girlfriend' is perhaps my favorite, it's 'Stars 4-Ever' that will not leave my brain.  That chorus is so damn catchy!  So enjoy, and if you haven't checked out Robyn yet, now's your chance!

Ladies and Gentlemen:

NOW PRESENTING:

Your New Best Picture Front-runner...

(Drumroll please)



Ok, Ok.  I know that nobody really agrees that this is the Best Film of the year.  I do think that it's a great film with populist leanings that manages to be both a classy, enlightening, and rousing affair.  But after it's won the PGA (Producer's Guild of America) award, 12 Oscar nominations, a sure winner in the Best Actor field of the race, a ton of other Guild nominations and...most importantly...last night's win of the DGA (Director's Guild of America) award by director Tom Hooper in an upset that just a few award prognosticators were predicting, and coupled with this evening's SAG win for Best Ensemble, it's official: we have a new front-runner.  Move over, The Social Network!  

I should add, though, that in my gut I still think The Social Network will win come Oscar night.  That may change before February 27th, but I highly doubt it.  It just feels like the winner, and my gut hasn't been wrong yet...even when I wish it was (I'm looking at you, Crash).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Admiration: Joaquin Phoenix in I'm Still Here (dir. Affleck, 2010)

In which I explain why Joaquin Phoenix is a genius:


Now, I'm a fairly big fan of Joaquin Phoenix's work.  I think that between James Gray's Two Lovers and James Mangold's Walk the Line he's proven himself very capable of doing more than his arguably one-note bad-assery in Gladiator.  I did not think him capable of such a performance that he gives in brother-in-law Casey Affleck's mockumentary I'm Still Here (2010).

I'm not going to actually review the film or debate its merits as a mockumentary, but I will say that since it's been revealed as a hoax I think it makes it not only that much more watchable, but also that much more effective.  This is a performance on the level of Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat or Bruno characters, in the sense that it consumed 2 years of Phoenix's life.  Baron Cohen is notorious for staying in character through the filming period of his films, but Phoenix spent years possibly ruining his actual career and the public's opinion of him.  That, my friends, is a feat.  And to have a character so fully realized in his delusion and opinions.  I can only assume that's what happens when you live inside a character for so long. 

Look at Diddy's face.  YUP.

When it comes to critically-acclaimed roles it's become a joke how often 'lack of vanity' can net attention and admiration.  Charlize Theron in Monster, Nicole Kidman in The Hours, Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose, and Christian Bale in Everything-he's-ever-done have all contorted their faces, bodies, and hairlines for roles that have won them Oscars (in Bale's case it'll be Feb. 27) and placed them among the upper-echelon of acting talent in Hollywood.  Now I agree that vanity or no vanity those performances are all stellar and some of the best I've seen on film, but what about a role like Phoenix's which is so vanity-free that it could DESTROY YOUR CAREER?!  I highly doubt any of those four actors would take such a risk.  He not only shits all over the entire studio system but over the press system, the filmmaking system, the red carpet, and the awards season!  The amount of destruction he creates is stunningly hilarious and much like a car crash, impossible to turn away from.  And it's really a credit to Phoenix's talents as an actor. 

This photo does look quite set-up. 

This whole situation was questioned as a hoax from the day of its inception, so I find it interesting that Phoenix was able to fool America so adeptly.  I think the moment that really dispelled the hoax idea from most people's minds is his appearance on David Letterman when he was supposed to be promoting Two Lovers.  Phoenix appears so genuinely averse to the situation and discouraged at Letterman's attempts to poke fun that you want to laugh and yet as an audience member you're suddently jolted into realizing this man may not be faking after all.  Here's the appearance for your viewing pleasure:



What a performance, right?!  I recommend everyone watch the film despite the defecation, language, and constant drug use which I hope to god is all just part of the act because it is NOT classy. 

Film Grade: B- (It's really a mesmerizing character study...as I said, it's like watching a car crash)
Joaquin's Performance: A (For truly duping all of America and almost ruining your career with a fully-realized character.)

A Letter to Michelle Williams

My Dear Michelle:

It should go without saying that I adore you both as an actress and as a fashionista. I frequently find your sense of style to be very 'twee' but in a chic, simple, and fabulous way. You love bows, I love bows. You like the occasional sparkle, I like the sparkle 24/7 (so you indulge me). But this almost depressed me as much as the 70 some-odd inches of snow we've gotten in the past month:

(That's Valentino.  Yes, I know.  Disgraceful.)

YIKES.  Listen, I love you, but please leave my grandmother's retirement community shower curtain alone!  Meme needs her privacy!  I think you gave an incredible performance in Blue Valentine that you were thankfully nominated for, but I want you to also show up to the Oscars reminding everyone that you're the actress who wore this iconic yellow gown just a few years ago:
(Oh Heath, how we miss you!)

So some advice from a fellow Valentino-lover.  I'm going to showcase 3 gowns.  ALL of which play to what I believe is the personal style you've shown over the past year from Sundance 2010 onwards, and I hope to goodness that if you don't select one for the Oscars you'll select another fabulous designer and a dress that makes you look like the future Oscar-winner you are (not this year, of course, because that naked gold man is all Natalie Portman's, and you know what happened when Lily tried to usurp Nina's role in Black Swan!).  Here we go:

Twee, but chic. You to a T.  Not exactly Oscars-appropriate, but it's an improvement.

I absolutely adore the 70's vibe of the ruffles on the bodice.  And it's different, which you like.

I LOVE this silhouette and it's simplicity.

All of these looks would work for you, but if you were to choose look #2 or #3, you better make them dye it a different color because beige will look so boring and bland on you and as we all learned from the Globes' red carpet: red and green are the IN colors for evening at the moment.  Maybe one of them dyed a signature Valentino red?

Please.  Listen.

Love,
Matt


[photo credit: style.com, elle.com]

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thoughts and Grade: Frida (2002)

Where I discuss Julie Taymor's 2002 biopic of Frida Kahlo, entitled 'Frida':



Let's begin with some talk of Julie Taymor.  Her and I have a tumultuous relationship.  I think her work is inconsistently sophisticated and very poorly edited.  I find her to be someone who has never met an idea, image, or theme she didn't love (very neo-Tim Burton, which I detest), and her films tend to feel bloated and spectacular in a way that leaves little room for true storytelling and character-development to shine through.  I love her adaptation of Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus," Titus, but despite enjoying some songs in Across the Universe most of her work falls short.  Her ambition is to be admired, sure, but she needs to self-edit.  I'd like to see her really pull-back on a project.

With all that said, one of the most arresting images I've ever seen on film (hyperbole, I know) is in the first 20 minutes.  It's when a young Frida Kahlo (Selma Hayek) is in a train accident with her lover (a very young-looking Diego Luna).  The accident happens in slow motion, and it's a montage of stunning moments, but the camera lingers on Frida after the fracas is all over in this shot:

The little flecks of gold flitter down upon her as she lays bloodied and broken, and I can't explain how stunning that is to watch.  So despite my misgivings about Taymor when she does an image right, she really does it right.

I'm not sure slogging through the rest of this average paint-by-numbers was worth it though.  The music was fantastic, as was the cinematography and Selma Hayek's performance, but other than that it's 122 minutes that I never have to revisit, as the train scene is on youtube!

Grade: C+ (for the score, the camera work, and not being a complete debacle)

And for you to enjoy, the train accident:


Wilkommen!

Hello whomever may be lonely and curious enough to find this blog!

Welcome to the just-begun 'Cinephilia  & Sass'!  This blog will cover mostly film news (and my own reviews/thoughts) as well as pop culture news, fashion, and some literature as well since anyone reading this site will hopefully have class.

Class?!

Well, yes.  I am going to assume that if you're reading this site you have an above-average IQ, you love Film (take note of the capital F), and are an avid reader.  If you are none of these things, we probably would never be true friends in real life, but thank you for visiting nonetheless!  And if you find me abrasive, GREAT!  Just what my intention was.  

I hope that you'll stick with me as I embark on this very exciting venture!  We may see guest contributors, podcasts, special weekly series', top 10 lists, and etc. on this site in the near future!  

Stick around kittens!

-Matt