Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Food For Thought

Can you name a song by Jason Mraz that isn't "I'm Yours"?

Neither can I.

They really need to stop overplaying that song on the radio...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti Hitting Close to Home...

Though I by no means wish to make my situation seem even remotely as bad as those down on Hispaniola, the earthquake in Haiti struck a nerve very close to my heart. Both my father and mother work for the State Department, and both of my parents have recently taken assignments to Port-au-Prince. My father moved there in October and my mother planned to go down this summer with my little sister, Marie. I can only be thankful that my dad was back here in the US visiting me over Christmas when the quake hit. The house where my mother was going to live is now in ruins, as is their future in Haiti. My father has been working on a task force in DC for the past week - I'm not complaining, he's doing very good work.

I guess I just don't know how I feel about all of this. My entire family could have died in that quake. I could be an orphan right now... All I know now is that clearly they were meant to be helping the people of Haiti. I want to go and help but I don't know when or how that will happen.

It's also really made me think about living in a city like San Francisco, where an earthquake like the one in Haiti is a serious possibility. What would I do in a situation like that? I don't mean in terms of behavior during the earthquake, that sort of thing I know, it's more in terms of the aftermath. Would my school be intact? Would I be going to classes? Would I move back to VA with my mother? Would I stay in SF and help clear the rubble or pass out food? Would I even be alive? Would my friends?

It's a lot to think about.

Nostalgically Yours

Food For Thought

Two questions:

1) Why is Rob Blagojevich on "Celebrity Apprentice" and not in prison?

2) Why does Mel Gibson have enough credibility to not only still have a career, but also to present at the Gloden Globes?

Think about it.

Nostalgically Yours

"Avatar" Review (No Spoilers)

I'd like to start out by saying that this movie has honestly changed my life. It's touched me on such a deeply personal level... It was incredible.

Second, I highly recommend you see this movie in 3-D. Even if you've seen it flat already, go back and see it in 3-D - you will not regret it. Unlike most 3-D films, it doesn't abuse the medium (there aren't any of those gimmicks where they throw stuff at the camera, etc.), and James Cameron's fictional world seems all the more real in three dimensions.

So, the movie is set in a dystopic 2154, and though we don't actually see the earth in the film, we get the idea we've pretty much ruined everything. Anyway, we are exploiting a planet called Pandora for a coveted mineral, "UnObtainium" (stupid name, I know. Get over it). Ex-marine Jake Sully is sent to Pandora to take his dead twin brother's place in the "Avatar" program. Humans use complex machinery to inhabit test-tube replicas of the Pandora natives, the Na'vi, in order to study the local tribe and head diplomacy to move them from their Home Tree, which happens to be located over the largest existing source of unobtainium.

Some of you may notice similarities to the story of "Pocahontas". This is "Pocahontas" on steroids, and though the spiritual and ecological sentiments are a major part of the film, there is no lack of danger and adrenaline to keep the audience going - no singing birdies in this film.

The ecosystem James Cameron creates in this movie is rich and complex, and an absolute delight to the eyes. Not only that, but the thruline of the mother tree and the way the Na'vi are so deeply connected to their world. It's fascinating not just from the story perspective, but also in that it gives insight into the ways in which we affect our ecosystem, and vice versa.

Viewers with extreme agoraphobia might want to avoid the 3-D version of the film, as the extensive flight sequences may be distressing to those sensitive enough to heights. Some of you may already know that "barracks talk" is another euphemism for 'bad' language. This movie being centered around ex-marines, you can imagine that there is a lot of barracks talk. The violence isn't terrible, but the scenes of distress might be too much for some - if you couldn't stand to see "Titanic", there is an equal amount of human tragedy in this film.

If you're able to go see the film, do. This is this year's absolute must-see. This is a movie you will be telling your children and grandchildren about. DON'T MISS IT!

Nostalgically Yours

PS: I mentioned before that I feel it's changed my life, I'm actually going to start work on a Tarot deck based on the characters from the story. I'll keep you all posted as I work on it.
PPS: Did you know? When writing more than one "Post Script", the proper thing to do is to add another 'P' not another 'S' - as in, "Post post script"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Project Runway - New Season! (Thoughts, no spoilers)

Okay, how many babies is Heidi Klum going to have? I can barely remember a season where she's not bursting with baby happiness...!

(On a related side note, I assume you've all seen the previews for the "Pregnancy Pact" Lifetime movie. Is there anything that can't be turned into a TV movie?)

Seems to be a pretty good group of designers so far, but it's hard to say so early into the season - not to mention the episode.

Why are the designers always so judgmental of unusual methods of creation? So Ping's trying to see the motion of the fabric on herself; stop staring at her like she's an alien. They're probably just jealous because she's the same size as her model...

I thought Anthony would be annoying, but he's actually rather charming!

Lots of West Coasters this season - represent!

It's interesting to note that I believe anyone with experience in costume will have a distinct advantage. Think about it: costume designers have to do the most with the fewest resources and in the shortest time frames. They'll also know tons of shortcuts to getting similar effects with less work. (Just look at Emilio's work)

There's also always one designer who is never seen sewing, and is always seen wandering around the workroom giving advice to the other contestants. What's with that?

How do models not go bald? With all the sheer torture their hair goes through, it's incredible to think they can go from gig to gig without completely destroying their hair.

Why is Nicole Richie starting her own clothing line?

I also wasn't convinced by Anthony's fabric choice, but he surprised me again! :)

Overall this seems to be building up to a pretty decent season for PR. I won't give away what happened, but the winner totally deserved it - and in hindsight the "loser" was pretty obvious.

Go watch it now!!

Nostalgically Yours!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pop Culture Comparison

It's interesting to note the similarities between Lady Gaga and Marchesa Luisa Casati.

Both are major celebrities and fashion icons

Both are considered eccentrics

Okay, Casati didn't have a singing career, but she did enjoy nude walks through her gardens, so both feel the liberty of going without pants!

I really believe that at the end of this century Lady Gaga will be remembered in a similar way to how we remember Casati.

Think about it

Nostalgically Yours

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's Funny the Way Things Work

My father was assigned to work in Port-au-Prince, Haiti this past fall. He decided to come visit me over winter - not over Chritmas, mind you, but over the next few weeks. So, he was here safe and sound when we heard about the earthquake... It's amazing how life can surprise you when things turn out for the best.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Prop 8

How is it that anyone can defend the idea that a homosexual-parent household is detrimental to a child's upbringing?
If the logic is that a child needs a mother and a father to be happy and healthy, then single parents should not be allowed their children.
If the logic is that children of same-sex parents would be unhappy because of ridicule in school and such... well it isn't the same-sex couples' fault that children are uneducated, and it should be the school's responsibility to see that all children are treated equally.

Some will say that this isn't the basis of the argument, that it's a matter of principle that "marriage" is between a man and a woman. Well, if there's a secular argument for that, I'm willing to listen. The problem is the only things I've heard people explaining is that "that's what god intended". Well that's fine and dandy for religious marriages. The legal union of man and man or woman and woman will not affect how you run weddings in your church. That's the church's business - as outlined in the Constitution.

Speaking of the Constitution, I seem to remember something about all men being created equal (the term "men" here including all of mankind), but the inability to marry whom I wish actually makes me a second-class citizen. If I'm not treated equally under law, why should I pay taxes? It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, if you're reading my blog, you already know most of this. I just felt it had to be said.

Nostalgically yours

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Classic Film Review - "Singin' In the Rain" (No Spoilers)

I have to say this is one of my favorite movies, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time!

First I'll just get the anachronisms and such out of the way. The film opens with a premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood in early what I guestimate to be February of 1927. The problem is, Grauman's didn't open until May of 1927. In terms of costumes, it is rather amusing to see bobby-soxers running around Roaring Twenties Hollywood. These - among others - are really just technical things that only bother me, but as you know I must mention them. Moving on...

A good example of a jukebox musical, this was probably the "Moulin Rouge" of its time. It took songs from old black-and-white musicals of the 20's and 30's and did a wonderful job of entwining it throughout the plot. The numbers are well balanced, but small children may lose interest during parts of the "Broadway Melody Ballet" toward the end of the film.

Kelly and Reynolds share great chemistry on screen, despite problems teaching her how to dance (she had trained mostly in gymnastics). O'Connor brings slapstick and sarcasm, but I have to say my favorite actor in this film is Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont. It takes a lot of talent to pretend to be bad well, and she goes all the way. Lina is just one of those characters you love to hate, and her oblivious musings make for some of the most charming humor throughout the movie.

Needless to say the dancing is phenomenal.

This is the ultimate feel-good movie. You can't go wrong with "Singin' In The Rain"

Nostalgically Yours

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Food For Thought

If people go to heaven after they die, does that mean they're not allowed to worry about us anymore? Think about it: "heaven" to most is a place of rest and relaxation where earthly troubles are no more. So, does that mean our ancestors aren't watching over us? Because, if they were, wouldn't they be at least a bit worried? Or do they have insight into the future, or into the deeper meanings of what we as mortals barely grasp?

I like to think that loved ones who have passed on are watching over us, keeping us out of harm's way, but is that selfish? Is my attachment to my dead ancestors keeping them in the physical plane too long? I don't feel like any of us would have that much power of what goes on, though. I feel like any lingering attachment would have to come from them.

Just some thoughts on the afterlife. I think it would be cool to watch over my descendants :)

Think about it.

Nostalgically Yours

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

People's Choice Awards - Food for Thought

I watched the awards show tonight, and it occurred to me that much of the musical talent we have these days doesn't sound good live (please note: this is not in reference to Mary J. Blige). Isn't the point of being a famous musical artist to sound good live? I think it says a lot about us as a society that we rely so much on technology that we're willing to overlook talent, or a lack thereof.

Just some food for thought...

Nostalgically Yours

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Nine" Review - No Spoilers

Knowing that Rob Marshall directed "Chicago", I was expecting something fast-paced and exciting. I hate to say I was disappointed, because that would imply I did not enjoy the film. I did, it just ended up surprising me. "Nine" tells the tale of brooding director Guido Contini and the many women who influence his life and his career: his muse, his mother, his mistress, and his wife among them. It's based on the 1982 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn gets its inspiration from Federico Fellini's "Otto e Mezzo" or "Eight and a Half". Viewers will note the similarities between Fellini and the fictional Contini, which was completely intentional on Fellini's part, who wrote the original film during a bout of 'director's block' of his own.

The pace of the movie may seem odd - as it did to me - to viewers, but it's important to remember that it's made to mimic the "Art Film" style.

Viewers will note many stylistic similarities to Marshall's earlier "Chicago". All of "Nine's" musical numbers occur in imagination of the characters. Most of the songs are set on one stage - the sound stage of Contini's next film. Also, viewers will recognize the quick cutting between fantasy musical numbers and the actual plot-related scenes.

I enjoyed the use of both black-and-white and color throughout the film, as it consistently blurred the line between the Contini's real life and the life he "lives" through his films.

Content-wise, all I can say is it's rated R for a reason! Scantily-clad women and unapologetic sexuality are just some of the delights you'll find inside.

The film is set between 1965-1967. I have to say it's difficult to see how accurate the movie was, considering the 60's are so very 'in' right now. I could say that Kate Hudson's - who plays an American reporter for Vogue - skirts may have been a touch short for 1965, but then again considering her fashion-driven career, she would have been among the first to wear such short skirts, and it in Italy it wouldn't have been such a huge deal. I will complain that the hair was a bit flat, but I think that's more a matter of design than realism.

Finally, I will say that Marion Cotillard's performance was stunning - especially her second song, "Take It All". I'll be rooting for her at the Golden Globes (and maybe the Oscars, who knows?)!

If you're expecting another "Chicago", do not go see this film. The fact that Rob Marshall directed both these musicals on film is just about where the similarities end. One is a Kander and Ebb romp through the Roaring Twenties, the other is a moody Maury Yeston (composer and lyricist of Titanic and Grand Hotel) look at the underbelly of the creative process. If you are willing to delve into this style, however, I promise you will get a real treat out of this excellent film.

Nostalgically Yours

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We Are on Twitter!

Now you can follow me wherever I go! I'll probably post little tidbits I don't post here, or give teasers of full articles over there. If you have a Twitter Account, follow the link in the sidebar :D

Nostalgically Yours

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Princess and the Frog - Movie Review

Unless otherwise noted, my reviews will contain NO SPOILERS

This was an excellent film! I truly hope this - like "The Little Mermaid" of 1989 - will be the start of a long string of wonderful animated musicals from the family movie king.

I unfortunately missed the first few minutes of the film due to a momentary loss of my normally keen sense of direction, and came in during what I think is the first song: "I'm Almost There". I was instantly hooked! In the number, Tiana describes her dream - owning a successful restaurant on the banks of the Mississippi* River in New Orleans. The art in this song is sumptuous, keeping in mind my completely biased POV as a total Costume History nerd, really showing off Art Deco with a colorful NoLA twist. Though there are a few rushed spots in the storyline, character development and enjoyment of the film do not suffer.

I honestly wasn't expecting much from a Randy Newman score, but I was pleasantly surprised! Unlike a compilation of his assorted works in other movies, the songs didn't all sound the same, except for the Cajun through-line. The songs helped build the characters' different personalities, which I always love!

As to historical accuracy**, this movie does a very good job at staying true to the times. The costume design in this film is excellent. Interesting side note: this may be the only animated Disney wedding sequence to date featuring paparazzi! (If that was a spoiler than you've never seen a Disney movie)

Here are some important warnings for sensitive viewers. This film contains various snakes and reptiles, which may frighten some audience members. Insects are also included, but didn't bother me. Young children may be frightened by certain segments in the film - if they couldn't sit through the "Snow White" tree sequence or the headless horseman's part in "Ichabod Crane" you may need to cover their eyes or wait for the DVD. These were the only things I noticed, but if you have specific questions, feel free to comment with them!

Go see this movie!
Nostalgically Yours

*The reason I will always know how to spell Mississippi? A little orphan named Annie :D "M-I-doubleS-I-doubleS-I-doubleP-I"

**I will always talk about this when discussing a period film.

Friday, January 1, 2010

First Post - Happy New Year!

Hello all,

It seems a bit pointless to be writing when I know I haven't any readers just yet, but maybe writing a post will actually draw in a few readers - who knows?

I suppose I should explain a little about what this blog is; it's really a public diary. I want to write out my thoughts on my life and just about anything else that's running through my head, whether it be politics, classic film, celebrity gossip, literature... literally anything. My interests are widely varied.

I also want to make a point to post at least once a day, maybe more if I find the time...

Anyway, have fun reading! :D

Nostalgically Yours