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Tuesday
Jan102012

BLANCHE FURY - OF THE MANOR BORN?

For all those fans salivating for the second season of Dowton Abbey, I have a perfect movie to tide you over for just a little bit longer.   A brilliant classic from 1948, Blanche Fury has it all!  Romance, class struggle, adultery and a murder or two! VALERIE HOBSON AS BLANCHE FURY Add to that breathtaking cinematography of French director Marc Allegret, and this British classic set in the dark and brooding countryside of 1800's England will make you swoon!   Valerie Hobson plays Blanche, a young woman forced into a life of service following the death of her mother.  After several years of serving a mean old woman,  Blanche receives a letter from her wealthy uncle asking if she would come and be the governess on his estate.  You bet your pale, white, 19th century ass she does!   Blanche hightails it to the estate and that's where things really get interesting.STEWART GRANGER   Of course, there is a perfectly appropriate cousin to marry (fans of batman will find a familiar face here- Michael Gough aka Alfred) and guarantee her permanent place at the estate.   Do I have to mention there is a much hotter rebel, Philip- played by Stewart Granger.  Philip despises her uncle and lays claim to be the rightful owner of the estate?  Guess what happens next?   The acting is wonderful, but it is the costuming, cinematography, and sets that are brilliant.    Rent or buy yourself a copy today!

The British sensation Downton Abbey has taken the U.S.A. by storm!  The most successful British miniseries in recent history, the classic tale of upstairs / downstairs had everyone on the edge of their sofas all year long.   Elizabeth McGovern and the legendary Maggie Smith lead an impeccable team of actors.  The level of intrigue and dramaACTING LEGEND - MAGGIE SMITH is outrageous and instantly addictive!  Smith is at her best as the iron fisted, and out of touch dowager, Violet - Countess of Grantham.  Her delivery of already infamous lines such as "What are these weekends people speak of" or "put that in your pipe and smoke it".   If you haven't seen Downton Abbey - click the photo at right and start downloading episodes today!   Netflix customers you can also find it there. 

Incidentally, there was an indie rock band formed in the early 1990's in Dallas by the name Blanche Fury.   The all girl group had a cult following and the songs are available on iTunes.   Click Blache Fury Rocks to listen today.   CLICK BELOW TO WATCH ON YOUTUBE:


Saturday
Oct152011

UNDER ALMODOVAR'S SKIN 

The latest film from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar presents the ultimate fashion statement.   The Skin I Live In follows plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard,  on a mission that can only be described as - absolute.   Almodovar regular, Antonio Banderas is the man with an obsession, a brilliant mind, and a broken heart. ELENA ANAYA  Banderas is at his best in the trusted hands of the man that made him a star, back in the late 80's when the actor was a handsome unknown.  (Madonna is also credited with giving Banderas his first notoriety state side when she openly flirted with Antonio in her behind the scenes film -Truth of Dare back in 91).  Elena Anaya plays Vera, the object of Robert's obsession.  Almodovar alumni Marisa Peredes also joins Banderas in the cast as the strong female lead that so often holds his films together.

The Skin I Live In is a bit less comedic than most Almodovar films, but the laughs are there.  Black comedy runs throughout the story.   A film by Pedro Almodovar is always complicated and layered, just like real life.   His magic is the ability to present the most outrageous circumstances, MARISA PAREDESmaking them seem almost rational.  Without realizing it is happening, you are emotionally invested - sometimes to the least attractive characters.   It is hard to hate even the villain of an Almodovar film.

Telling the story as much as the characters themselves are the brilliant sets, interior decors, costumes, and individual styles of each character.  All central to the story, these choices are the silent members of the cast that shape the film.

The Skin I Live In is the perfect film for Halloween, or anytime.    See the film while still in theaters, as it is a visual pleasure to watch it on the big screen.   Watch the trailer below.


 

Tuesday
Jun142011

L'AMOUR FOU 

The French have an expression - L'amour fou which translates literally as it is meant - Crazy Love.   It describes the love you experience that becomes your life.   The one that gets under your skin and changes who you are as a person.  The documentary now playing in select theaters - L'Amour Fou tells the story of such a love.   The late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is one of a handful of people in the 20th century that changed the way women dress all over the world.   With his business and life partner Pierre Berge, the two men created an empire that is unrivaled to this day.  

The film opens with the press conference held by the late Yves Saint Laurent himself on the announcement of his retirement in 2002.  Told thereon from the point of view of Pierre Berge who stars in, and narrates the film.   Berge unfolds the story of Saint Laurent's rise to worldwide fame and great fortune.   Beginning with footage of the painfully shy and socially awkward YSL being named head couturier of the iconic house- Christian Dior.   The untimely death of Dior at the age of 52, left this 21 year old assistant as the heir apparent.   The youngest designer ever to design Couture, Saint Laurent would go on to set trend after trend as he blazed a fashion legacy for over 40 years.   Most of his greatest designs were also as political and controversial as they were creative.   Be it the androgynous look of women in tuxedos, being the first designer to use black models on the runway, or the naming of his fragrance Opium - each move sent shockwaves through the fashion world and the main stream media. Opium would go on to be one of the most successful fragrances every sold.   It would be this fragrance, and the creation of the concept of Ready-To-WearYVES SAINT LAURENT & PIERRE BERGE that would catapult the duo to a stratosphere of fame and fortune they had never known.

Pierre Berge was the man behind the scenes to the world, but known to all in-the-know as the mastermind behind the delicately creative YSL.   Without Berge there to make every business decision and champion his great love, clearly Saint Laurent would not have become the legend he was, or create the legend his body of work still is to this day.  

The documentary, directed by Pierre Thoretton, is set around the auction of Yves and Pierre's Art collection in 2009 by Christie's auction house.  Organized by Berge after Saint Laurent's death in 2008, the auction was a spectacle in its own right and was staged at the Grand Palais in Paris, France.BETTY CATROUX, YVES SAINT LAURENT, & LOULOU DE LA FALAISE CIRCA 1968   The astounding collection of over 733 works of art broke world records with final sales of the three day auction at over $480 Million dollars.   It is hard to think of an important artist the two had not collected.  Degas, Picasso, Brancusi, Warhol, Klee, and Matisse only scratch the surface, as hard as that is to imagine.  

What makes the documentary so entertaining and charming is that it is told by Berge himself and a small cast of Yves's supporters.   Famous friends and muses to the designer, Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Catroux give an inside look to the creative genius, the madness, and the friendship of Saint Laurent.   Berge is purely personal and partial - as only a great love could be.    The story is not sugar coated and Berge talks of Yves emotional battles, his addictions, and professional ups and downs.   While Berge does come off a bit too saint like in the telling, the documentary is a treat on so many levels.     

L'Amour Fou is a must see for any fan of the creative fields of Art, Fashion, and Interior design.   The DVD will make a most welcomed gift.

Watch a trailer from the film below.  -   For more information on the film - click- IFC

 

Sunday
Jun052011

THE GREEN LANTERN

This Summer - be ready to be GREEN with envy when you see Ryan Reynolds in his bright green super hero costume!  Mr. Reynolds clearly spent a great deal in the gym getting ready to play with every day man Hal Jordan turned super hero via the powerful ring and The Green Lantern!  Oh, the fact hisCO-STAR BLAKE LIVELY love interest is Blake Lively might make you a bit envious as well!  Diehard fans of The Green Lantern visit graphic novel versions now by clicking- iTUNES.

Watch a trailer below.   Oh, if you hurry - you can still make it to the gym before it closes!