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Sunday
Oct312010

I AM LOVE

Milan, Italy is a very intriguing and complicated city.   While it has the reputation as a center for style and fashion, it is usually disparaged by the fickle fashion flock who point out its flaws as compared to New York and Paris.  While anyone from Italy will tell you the comparison is not really fair.  New York, Paris, & London - they are all centers of culture and commerce for the countries they dominate as iconic cities.   Milan, however is more of an industrial center than cultural epicenter.    Rome would be the Italian city to hold its own as a global capital worthy of comparison with New York, Paris, & London.

I AM LOVE starring Tilda Swinton takes us inside the privileged lives of an industrial Milanese dynasty.    The emotional complexities of the Recchi family are as faceted and rich as the beautiful furnishings that fill their pre-war Villa.   Director Luca Guadagnino  takes you inside the house, but not the mind of our leading lady.   What is Emma Recchi hiding?  What torments her?   Is the seemingly perfect life not so perfect?  TILDA SWINTON

Fashion icon Marisa Berenson steals the scene as she delivers one of her strongest performances to date as Allegra Recchi.  The Matriarch of this "business by the boys only" family, Allegra holds the emotional power that can serenade - or we can imagine suffocate any member of the clan.   Ms. Berenson is a chameleon for sure, and she is almost unrecognizable due to her own physical transformation.    Grand-daughter of the legendary fashion designer Elsa Schiaperelli, Ms. Berenson oozes a sense of style that seems to be innate and "inimitable" as her grandmother liked to describe it herself.

While Ms. Swinton is known as much for her striking looks as her performances, I AM LOVE puts her on a beautiful pedestal that we rarely see.   Directors typically use her naturally androgynous looks to their advantage, however Mr. Guadagnino lets her blossom in her most feminine form.  Her grasp of the Italian language is also no small achievement.  Costume designer Antonella Cannarozzi could not have made better choices.   Her work is as important to the story as any detail could be.   For the trappings of success and luxury MARISA BERENSONare critical details and almost portray a character of their own.

Set Decoration under the direction of Monica Sironi is absolutely superb.   The luxurious yet claustrophobic sense of style and decor that is oh-so Milan is captured scene after scene.   Anyone who has spent time in Milan for work or pleasure will relate to the somber sense of beauty and function that dominates Milanese decor.    Music by John Adams takes you on an emotional roller coaster scene after scene.   One moment soothing like a lullaby and the next riveted on the edge of your seat with nerve wracking beats.

I AM LOVE is in select theaters now, and also available for purchase.  Rent or buy at Itunes - click -I AM LOVE icon.  This is definitely one to buy and watch again and again.   The perfect gift for anyone who spends time on planes, this is a hauntingly dreamy film that is only enhanced watching it while you are up in the clouds yourself.   Do not miss this one!  Watch the trailer below.

 

Wednesday
Aug042010

SEE SALT

The biggest action movie of Summer 2010 is SALTAngelina Jolie is back at the box office as agent Salt, an undercover CIA officer with a double life - or is that triple?   Directed by Philip Noyce,  this action / thriller keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat the entire time.   Just what you want from a summer blockbuster.   Jolie is one of the few actresses out there that can hold her own physically and emotionally every minute she is on screen.  

There is no escaping Jolie's beauty.  In fact, her looks are almost a detriment to her ability to shift from role to role.   She is just shy of being too beautiful to lose herself in a character.  The success of Salt should prove that she can do just about anything.  

The back story of SALT is that the role was originally written for Tom Cruise.   Cruise apparently thought the story was too similar to his Mission Impossible Role and turned down the project.   Let's all send a big thank you to Mr. Cruise.

I just got back from a summer holiday on the French Riviera.   SALT opened the week I was leaving, and everyone was rushing to see the film.   Jolie spends time with partner Brad Pitt in the South of France every summer, which has really grown her celebrity in France.  FRENCH RIVIERA CINEPLEX - ST. RAPHAEL The French love American movie stars - even if they still dub the films - which is a whole different conversation.   SALT has topped $100 Million in the U.S. and is about to hit $250 Million globally as this article goes to press.

To rent or own via itunes click- SALT.   You will enjoy it.   There is also bound to be a part two and probably part three.  See the first one on the big screen so you can enjoy summer blockbusters for a few years to come!  Visit the cool website for the film  www.WhoIsSalt.com


Watch the Salt Trailer below:

Thursday
Jun172010

JOAN RIVERS - A PIECE OF WORK

I like Joan Rivers.   I always have.   I grew up watching her appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson via my parents.  I remember being the only kid in my class in elementary school that stayed up that late.  Naturally I was full of stories for everyone at school the next day.   My parents didn't know they had an extra viewer , as I would sneak downstairs and tip toe into place to see the action from the next room.

I was a fan of Carson, but my favorite nights were later when Joan was guest hosting.   All these years later, I realize it was many of my friends favorite nights as well.   Why do we all love Joan?  The reason is Joan Rivers pushes buttons.   She says things you shouldn't say.   She says things you would never say.   This is exactly why she is here to stay, and at 77 is having a huge  success on the big screen. 

"Joan Rivers A Piece of Work" is a documentary film by Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg of Break Thru Films.    The movie follows Joan for one year as she travels the RICKI STERN & ANNE SUNDBERGworld at a pace that performers half her age would find hard to keep up with.    The movie is brilliant in the way it lifts the veil on what it means to be a celebrity.   People think of red carpets, limos, and mansions - but who really thinks about all the work that goes into creating the aura of a famous personality.   

Rivers is a hybrid when it comes to performers.   She started as an actress, became famous as a stand-up, invented the red-carpet interview, made millions selling jewelry on QVC, and is still on the road performing all year long.    Not only is Joan ground breaking in her comedy, she was the first major celebrity to embrace home shopping on QVC.   While others were looking down their noses at the thought of selling anything on television, Joan established herself as THE celebrity designer on QVC.   Twenty years later, she is the biggest selling resource on the network and is now joined by major fashion designers and celebrities that are clamoring to sell to viewers at home.  I almost forgot to mention that she also competed and won Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice at 75!  Last but not least, Joan hosts the hit show on TV Land Prime - "How'd You Get So Rich".  Work much?  

It is a cliche to use the phrase " when life gives you lemons".. but if you can think of anyone able to make sweeter lemonade than Rivers from the cancelled shows, bad reviews, and even the suicide of her husband -please tell me who it is?  

A Piece of Work was a huge hit at the Sundance film festival earlier this year and is now in theaters.   Anyone interested in show business should see this movie.   Take notes.   Listen and learn from the woman who wrote the book on creating a successful career on your own terms, at a time when women where still expected to be polite wall flowers.  It's no mystery why people like the film.   The directors clearly wanted to show you the struggle of what it means to be a star.   Joan Rivers lovable personality shines through all the negativity and hard knocks.   You see that at her core, Rivers is a big hearted woman who protects her own and doesn't know the word quit.  I'm going to buy this movie when it is available on DVD and watch it anytime I'm feeling wiped out or sorry for myself!   Joan's work ethic could kick all of us in the pants to get up and go!

Bottom line:   she is funny and people like her.

Watch the trailer now:

 


Sunday
Jun062010

GENTLEMEN (STILL) PREFER BLONDES

I recently watched the Hollywood classic - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, watching it for the first time in it's entirety and in HD.   I now have a whole new appreciation for this gem.  Released in 1953, it is amazing how well the film looks 57 years later (even in HD!).  Stunners - Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe star as best friend show-girls Dorothy Shaw & Lorelei Lee.   The two look more like cartoon dreams than real life flesh and blood!   This dynamic duo are basically singing and dancing good cop / bad cops.  DOROTHY & LORELEI HATCH A PLAN Russell plays the street smart Dorothy, a brunette with the tough exterior.   Monroe is the bubbly  Lorelei, a platinum blond who is sly like a fox when it comes to the bottom line.   The film is a study in fashion 101 for any aspiring designer or stylist.   Of course, even if you don't know the movie, MARILYN SINGS "DIAMONDS ARE A GIRLS BEST FRIEND"you know the most famous musical number from the movie " Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend".   Monroe's performance cemented her legend, and also influenced the most famous blond since Marilyn - Madonna.  (Madonna has payed homage to Monroe's style in so much of her work).   Russell and Monroe had the on-screen chemistry that movie makers dream of.  Think Lucy & Ethel.MARILYN TAKES THE CALL

Much of the wacky adventure takes place on the high seas, as the duo head to Paris aboard a luxury liner jam packed with millionaires, Olympic athletes, and the two sexiest troublemakers in musical history!    Things only go from kooky to crazy once the gals hit Paris.   First up, an all day shopping spree that is intoxicating.  Legendary French fashion houses  Schiaparelli, Dior, & Balenciaga all get a shout out.  (Talk about amazing marketing).  What follows has to be seen to be believed, but lets just say - the two take "singing for your supper" to an extreme! 

Of course the third co-star of the film is the amazing wardrobe.   Impeccably created and styled by Billy Travilla, both women take your breath away scene after scene.   It is no surprise, as Mr. Travilla left his thumbprint on countless Hollywood classics such as Flamingo Road starring Joan Crawford.  He also contributed to Dynasty, which was one of the most image conscious shows in television history.   Nolan Miller was officially the man in charge of creating that world of big shoulders and big color for the imaginary Carrington clan.   The show was known as much for fashion as it was for hair pulling drama!    

As for the title of this film, the allure of the platinum blond never ceases to amaze me.   Me and the rest of the world that is.   The film pokes fun at the hypnotic effect that golden tresses have on everyone of the male persuasion.   The courtroom scene is not to be missed!  Don't let the title fool you however,  there is a happy ending for most aboard this love boat!

JANE RUSSELL & THE ATHLETESJane Russell was also as famous for her figure as she was for her acting ability.   Her wide shoulders, generous endowment ( that later earned her a lucrative Cross Your Heart bra campaign) and legs that look longer than Marilyn's body, make her one co-star that's hard to upstage!   The pool scene with Russell and the U.S. Olympic athletes in speedos, that just happen to be on board, is one of a kind to say the least!   Russell was many things - but a great dancer was not one of them ( think Whitney Houston in any of her videos).  It is amusing to see her keep up with Monroe when they shake, shimmy, and high kick their way from NY to Paris!

Rent this classic today.   If you are a fan of Hollywood musicals, it will become one of your favorites.   If you work in the fashion industry - it should become one of your favorites!

Oh, and if it is any consolation to all the brunette readers out there- they made a follow up film two years later with Russell titled - "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes".   So there you have it!