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Entries in Costume Design (190)

Saturday
Aug132016

Review: Meryl Streep as "Florence Foster Jenkins"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

It takes a gifted singer to sing this horribly. Every other note is wrong. No phrasing goes unmangled by shortness of breath. No lovely moment meant to soar cannot be shattered by a flat ear-piercing decibel. The central conceit of Stephen Frears new comedy Florence Foster Jenkins is that Florence, a considerably wealthy patron of the arts played by Meryl Streep, lives for music but is ghastly at it. The inside joke, given the casting, is that we all know La Streep can sing with the best of them. She followed the "is there nothing she can't do?" revelation of Ironweed's tragic showstopper "He's Me Pal" (1987, Oscar-Nominated) with transcendent country crooner feeling in Postcards From the Edge (1990, Oscar-Nominated), and just kept on singing whenever a movie gave her the opportunity all the way up through last year's Ricki and the Flash which was practically a concert film there were so many scenes of Streep at the mic, rocking out.

Florence Foster Jenkins doesn't rock out. Florence is not that kind of girl and Florence, also, is not the kind of movie...

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Wednesday
Aug102016

Best Shot/Best Costume: "Les Girls"

For this week's episode of our cinematography series Hit Me With Your Best Shot we wanted a slight curveball as a way to celebrate the release of the Costume Design documentary Women He's Undressed. It's now available to rent on iTunes or purchase on other digital platforms. (Jose's interview with the director here). The film is about the legendary Orry-Kelly, who designed a truckload of classic Hollywood features and stars, and won three Oscars in the 1950s for An American in Paris, Les Girls  and Some Like It Hot.  So those playing "Best Shot" this week could choose any of those three. I watched Les Girls since it gets the least attention and they even use its image for the documentary's poster (left).

Les Girls  (George Cukor, 1957) is not well remembered today but curiously it reminds us yet again that mainstream Hollywood in the 50s and 60s paid a lot of attention to foreign auteurs and absorbed (or ripped off - you be the judge) their styles and conceits. The semi-musical (a few dance numbers mainly) concerns a libel lawsuit involving a former showbiz act "Barry Nichols and Les Girls" and in the courtroom we hear three different versions of the group's break up in Paris. In each of the stories Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly) gets mixed up romantically with a different girl (America's Mitzi Gaynor, Britain's Kay Kendall, and Finland's Taina Elg) and their musical act eventually implodes. It's clearly modelled on Akira Kurosawa's Rashômon (1950) which had taken an Honorary Oscar from the Academy earlier that decade.

Taina Elg quits dancing in Les Girls (1957)

So let's choose a best shot and a best costume after the jump. Happily my three favorite shots come from each of the film's three acts...

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Tuesday
Jul262016

Doc Corner: 'Women He's Undressed' Reveals Hollywood Couture

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand.

Gillian Armstrong is nearly as prolific as a documentarian as she is a dramatic filmmaker. While the likes of her “Seven Years On” series (an Australian 7 Up), her Bob Dylan concert doc Hard to Handle, or the true crime murder mystery of an interior design queen in Unfolding Florence aren’t as well-known as her collaborations with Judy Davis, Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, and Winona Ryder, they are eclectic and passionate works nonetheless. As she said in her interview with Jose last year at Toronto, “there’s a different art to making documentaries” and unlike many other directors who split their time between mediums, her documentaries do feel distinctly unique from her other work and yet equally essential.

Her latest non-fiction work is Women He’s Undressed, a peek behind the velvet curtain at Orry-Kelly, a costume designer from Hollywood’s golden age. Armstrong posits that he is a virtual unknown – a claim a deliciously acidic Ann Roth, one of the doc’s more entertaining talking heads, doesn’t have a bar of – including in his home country of Australia. What we do know is that he was gay, secretly dated Cary Grant, Bette Davis was fiercely loyal to him, and that he had a hand in some the greatest films of all time from Casablanca to 42nd Street, An American in Paris to The Letter and many more. You don’t win three Academy Awards without being a little bit special!

[Jane Fonda, Marilyn Monroe's breasts and more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul182016

Oscar Chart Updates: Visuals, Sound, Animation & Documentary

Mos of the Oscar charts are now updated but for foreign film and the acting categories. We'll get to them soon enough but otherwise we've finished the July shifts. 

Things to wonder about right at this moment... (discuss in the comments, plz)

• If The Legend of Tarzan can make any headway towards a Costume Design consideration for Ruth Myers since there's so few "showy" period or fantasy costume films this year outside of the many competing works of Colleen Atwood?
• When we will get our first look at images or footage from the WW II drama Allied (with Brad Pitt) or the sci-fi drama Arrival (with Amy Adams)?
• If Florence Foster Jenkins has any strength in it beyond Meryl? (Costumes? Hair and Makeup? Score?)
• If Marvel Studios will finally break through in tech categories (like Batman films sometimes do) or if they'll continue to snag just one or MAX two nominations for their most popular films like Civil War?
• If Fences, The Founder, and Loving, which all take place across roughly the same time period will be too "muted" in terms of visuals to snag craft nominations or if Oscar will love their possibly modest naturalism?
• Why we've heard so little about How to Talk to Girls at Parties release strategy? Is it going to be pushed back?
• Will Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton goodwill get him an Oscar for Moana despite what sounds like strong competition in the song category? 
• If Finding Dory's massive box office haul we'll be enough to edge smaller originals out of the animation race even though they're sometimes stingy with sequels?

NEW CHARTS
INDEXPICTURE | DIRECTOR | SCREENPLAYS |
VISUALS | AURALS | ANIMATION & DOCUMENTARY 

Sunday
Jul032016

Idris Elba is The Gunslinger in "The Dark Tower"

The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King's novel series (though not apparently a direct adaptation of any particular one of them) is currently filming for an early 2017 release. Here's Idris Elba in costume as The Gunslinger. [More Photos here]

Nice to see his face again after all those computer generated pixels or alien prosthetics (Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Star Trek Beyond). Matthew McConaughey is the villain 'the Man in Black' (set photos). The post apocalyptic drama also features Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon) in the principle female role, Whedonite and nerd-hottie Fran Kranz as the villain's henchmen. Plus: Jackie Earle Haley, Katheryn Winnick, and Claudia Kim.

The costumes are by stylish Trish Summerville. Her work is always so pleasingly modern. She previously did David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Have you read this book series?

Thursday
Jun162016

Olivia @ 100: The Adventures of Robin Hood

We're counting down to Olivia de Havilland's historic 100th birthday (July 1st!). Team Experience will be looking at highlights and curiosities from her career. Here's Dancin Dan...

Has Olivia de Havilland ever looked more beautiful than in 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood? Surely her apple-cheeked, wide-eyed beauty was never set off better than in the fabulous succession of head scarves she wore as Maid Marian

And the costumes themselves are just gorgeous, too. Why modern-day Renaissance Faires aren't full to bursting with ladies busting out Olivia-as-Marian cosplay, I'll never know. Except for the fact that maybe Milo Anderson's costumes are too uniquely fabulous to ever be copied well. (Sadly, there were no Oscars for costumes until the late 1940s else he might have won for this)

More beauty after the jump...

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Sunday
May082016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.1: Buster Crabbe's Loincloth

New Miniseries! As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we'll be ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes each weekend like we're going to an old timey matinee.


We begin with Buster Crabbe as Tarzan the Fearless (1933) who looks much better in this movie than implied on the poster which imagines him from maxi-challenge workroom outtakes from RuPaul's Drag Race. Blend, man, blend!

This next image is more flattering I promise...

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