Tags: movies

Thanks and a slight rant

First, I want to say thank you for all the encouraging words y'all have given me!  It makes me feel better.  You are truly a wonderful bunch of people.

I also want to let you know that I'm going to a reenactment this weekend in Kingston NY, and this time I actually will get pictures of 1) the fabulous, warm, beautiful mitts that the lovely quincy134 made for me, the new cloak, and the brown wool en forreau gown.  I actually DID manage to take lots of pictures when I went to Saratoga, but not a single one is of me.  Because...I don't know.  I'm forgetful?

Also, to cheer me up, Pete took me to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age on Tuesday night, and I am sad to say I was very disappointed.   It was just painfully inaccurate at times.  Admittedly, I did write my Thesis about the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, as well as the controversy surrounding her execution, so I am a little more informed than the general population.  Usually I can forgive a little historical inaccuracy because, you know, it's a freaking movie, but it was just too much for me. 

I mean, seriously:  WTF was up with Mary having a Scottish accent?  She was French!  And she never spoke English very well.   And why was she played by mousy little Samantha Morton?  We're talking about Mary Queen of Scots, one of the most majestic, beautiful people to ever walk the Earth!

By the end I was just getting sick of the painfully obvious metaphors they were cramming down our throat.  I get it, we're supposed to hate the Catholics and King Phillip.  Spain=Bad England=Good.  Enough with the white clothing and sunlight and the candles being blown out.

I was just...disappointed.  Especially because I love the first one so much.

When we were leaving Pete turned to me and said:  "Man, it is tough being a historian who wants to watch movies."

So very true.

Amazing Grace

I completely forgot to tell y'all that I saw Amazing Grace this weekend.  It was, without hesitation, one of the best movies I have ever seen.

First of all, let's just completely ignore the 18th-centuryness of it for a minute (but I will get to that, don't you worry!), so I can actually tell you about the movie itself.

1) The acting.  It is phenomenal.  And I mean that every. single. character. does an amazing, fabulous job.   Ioan Gryffud (which, oh my god, I think I am utterly in love.  don't tell pete) was mesmerizing and deserves to become much for famous than he is.  But you know how most movies will have one or two stellar actors and the rest just fade off in the background?  Not this one.  The supporting cast is just breathtaking.  Albert Finney, as always, was glorious, but I was especially surprised by the guy who played William Pitt, the Younger ( Benedict Cumberbatch).  Y'all keep an eye on him, he will be a force in the acting world. 
2) The story.  Compelling, heartbreaking, and so involving.  I think it is pretty safe to say that we, as a people, are pretty much in agreement that slavery was bad.  Terrible.  The most horrible thing  you can imagine happening to a human being.   But it really puts you in a world where slavery was accepted, and common, and hardly anyone fought against it as a crime against humanity.   And even though you know how it ends, and that slavery is eventually abolished, it is so heartbreakingly frustrating to have to watch people fight and fail and fight again to have it ended.  Granted, the slave trade is one of my favorite topics to study in history, but I was engrossed by the content of this movie. 

Now the historicalness:

PERFECT.  Well, almost.  The one issue that I have is that when it opens, and during parts of the movie, it is set in 1797, but most of the womens clothes are markedly 1785ish.  Mind you, they are excellent 1785ish, but a little out of date none the less.   That said, almost everything else is spot on.   Keep in mind, this is mostly a movie involving men and they are the primary characters, so don't expect Marie Antoinette fashion porn, but the costumes a so well done.  Understated, yes, but beautiful. 

The other thing that I couldn't get over:  the hair.  The wigs!  The hairstyles!  Best I've ever seen.  Across the board, the hair looks spectacular.  I know that seems really insignificant, but I find nothing pulls me out of historical "mood" quite like bad wigs.  They just ruin everything for me.  And what I kept noticing, and loving, was that when the men took off their wigs, like when they were sitting around playing cards and such, they had little powder shadows where their wigs met their forehead.   You could actually see the lines where they had their wigs powdered!  There was a very careful makeup artist here.

And speaking of makeup!  I was sorta nervous about this movie because it spans a long time, historically- from the 1770s into the early 1800s.  I knew they weren't using different actors, which means they were aging some of these people 30 years and more.  You know how that goes sometimes, with just unbelievably bad aging that always detracts from the movie (for me), but it was very well done.  And we are talking thisclose shots of characters and their age looks so real.  Nice touch.

Finally, they just do such an amazing job of creating the world of london in the late 18th-century.  You get glimpses into kitchens and alleys and gardens.  You go on ships and travel in carriages and meet beggars.  It's just so real.  You are literally lost in the era.  I've never seen a movie that so accurately and carefully examines so many different aspects of life in this time. 

Y'all need to go see it right now.  I mean it!  Right!  Now!

Marie Antoinette

Just got back.  And ya'll, it's porn.  It is costuming porn.  The silks!  The colors!  The Style!  The Hats!  The Jewels!  The Feathers!  The Pleating!  My God, the pleating.  I think I need to go take a shower...

The movie itself was nothing particularly special.  I'll be honest, I was bored.  If it hadn't been a magnificent feast for the eyes, I wouldn't have really liked it.  The story just wasn't compelling to me. 

That said, there were moments I adored.  I actually liked the music, which was surprising, and I loved Jason Schwartzman as Louis.   I don't know why, he just charmed me.  And Madame du Barry slayed me.  Oh, but Molly Shannon?  Really?  That took me by surprise.   Sofia Coppola certainly made some bold casting choices. 

There are two gowns that I can't stop thinking about.  The first was the one she was wearing after Count Fersen (and by the way, ROWRRR!) left; the beige one with the button front.  The second was the blue one she was wearing when she said goodbye to all her friends towards the end.  The one with the turquoise collar.  There is a partial image here.  Sadly, I can't seem to find any real images of either one of them.  Ah well, guess i'll have to wait for the DVD!

Happy Small Pox Victory Day!!!

...Or Columbus Day, whatever.  I'm making an effort to keep this journal rant-free, so I won't get into it.

I have watched two movies in the last few days that have some applicability to my little journal

1. The New World- I cant believe it has taken me so long to watch this movie, but I finally got around to it.  It bored me immensely.  I had the hardest time paying attention to it.  Visually, the movie was extremely beatufiul, but the story wasn't compelling.  The costumes, however, were great.  I don't know much about 17th century clothing, but it appeared to be good.  I especially like the clothing Rebecca wore once she got back to england, and that beautiful green dress was the only thing that kept me interested in the last 30 mintues.   She also had a lovely pink jacket at one point.  And Christian Bale? YUM!

2.  Plunkett and MacLeane - I loved this movie.  It was hilarious and witty and highly entertaining.  The women's costumes were interesting, to say they least.  They were at 18th century inspired, but certianly not accurate, although there were some excellent gowns on the extras.  And Liv Tyler walks around the whole time with her hair down and all messy.  Uh? What?  The men's costume was much better, with the exception of some dreadful wigs, a few incredibly awful hats, and some flagrant use of obvious synthetic materials.  There were some excellent fops and dandies, and Alan Cumming was brilliant as always.  Don't watch it looking for accurate costumes, but watch it anyway, it was great.   

The Illusionist

I went and saw The Illusionist last night.  It was incredible.  I highly recommend it to anyone.  I can't say much for the costuming, because A) I know nothing about 1900s Austrian costume, and B) it was very understated.  It mainly served as a back drop for the incredible performances of the actors.  Edward Norton (Man Candy!) was spectacular, as always.  I've long thought he was the best actor of our times, and this just solidified that.  Paul Giamatti was also mesmerizing.  I find him to be one of the most compelling actors to watch because he is so nuanced and natural.  Rufus Sewell (also Man Candy!) had a smaller role, but was equally good.  Jessica Biel was incredibly lovely.  She looks beautiful in the garments.  It's a good time era for tall women.  As for her acting? meh.  I think she would have been good with any other cast, but among such titans she just couldn't hold her own.  And she has almost no chemistry with Edward Norton, which is a shame.   It certainly didn't do anything to detract from the movie, which was magical and mysterious and captivating.  I should warn you, however, that it is a little bit slow, but still one of the best movies I've seen this year. 

And here is my favorite thing she wore.  Doesn't she look lovely? 

And because he is so handsome and dashing: