Tag Archives: film

In the winter…. The Fall

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Such a quiet time of year.  Recovering, for better or worse, from the holidays.  No news.  No new polish.  I’d like to hibernate for about six weeks.

Since I have nothing germane to the blog, I’ll ramble.  Quelle surprise.  If I can’t talk about polish, I’ll talk about color.  I’ve mentioned many times over the years about the use of color in movies, how it’s used for symbolism, for attention, and so forth.  It’s interesting to see how others use color and how we can use it ourselves in our polish and makeup.

One of my all-time favorite films — and my #1 favorite when it comes to use of color — is the little-known The Fall from 2006.  Starring Lee Pace as Roy, it’s set in a California hospital in the 1920s, and it introduces Catinca Untaru as the little girl, Alexandria.  Both Catinca and her character are Romanian and since her hospital scenes were shot in chronological order, you can literally see and hear her English improve.

Roy is confined to his bed…. but he wants something.  To get it, he convinces Alexandria to be an accomplice by telling her a fantastic story but parcels out the “chapters” to keep her on the hook, à la the tale of A Thousand and One Nights.  What’s fascinating is that what Roy says is not always what Alexandria understands.  For example, when he says “Indian” he means Native American but she pictures a person from India.

The dark, shadowy hospital scenes contrast perfectly with some of the brightest, most saturated colors you’ll ever see.  It’s the reason to have an HDTV and a Blu-ray player.

The Fall characters

The Fall woman

(Ooh, bright red polish!)

The Fall has some of the most gorgeous and striking scenes I’ve witnessed in any movie, any time.  Stills don’t do justice to them.  I was lucky to see the film in the theater, and bought it as soon as I could.  Here’s the trailer:

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/4YIEjqOzyP8

The Fall is rated R for violence and violent/frightening images, but there is no nudity or offensive language.

I’m No Angel

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Hey, it’s Christmas week!  Hope all my readers are doing well and aren’t stressed over weather, family, or anything else.  I’m pretty much burned out on blogging about nail polish — you may have noticed — and hope that the new year gives me a much-needed reboot.

So this week I’ll be talking Christmas, for an uplifting (I hope) break.  With all the shopping and spending and hustle and bustle, sometimes it’s nice to kick back with a funny movie.  Here’s one you may not be familiar with, 1955’s We’re No Angels.

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What?  Bogart did comedy?  He most certainly did, and I wish he’d done more (1941’s All Through the Night is another one).  This is a very dark comedy, to be sure.  You have to find humor in crime, thievery, and, um, arranged death.

Don’t confuse this We’re No Angels with the 1989 supposed remake.  The latter bears almost no resemblance to this one, which is based on a stage play.  Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Set in 1895, Joseph (Bogart), Albert (Ray), and Jules (Ustinov) are escaped convicts from Devil’s Island prison off the coast of French Guiana.  They plan to hide out in a store over Christmas Eve, kill and rob the owners, then make their permanent escape.  You know what they say about the best-laid plans.  The trio overhears conversations between the married owners — bumbling but kindly Felix Ducotel and his sensible wife Amelie — that highlight their many worries.  They’re in financial straits and dread the upcoming visit from Cousin André (Basil Rathbone at his most despicable) who holds the family pursestrings.  Also, their teenage daughter Isabelle is suffering from unrequited love.

Our three not-so-wise men decide to help the Ducotels just a little, THEN kill and rob them.  As Joseph says, “We came here to rob them and that’s what we’re gonna do — beat their heads in, gouge their eyes out, slash their throats.  Soon as we wash the dishes.”  Do I really need to tell you that the guys find better ways to use their criminal talents?

We’re No Angels has some of the best deadpan lines in moviedom, and the shot of tough guy Bogie in a pink frilly apron alone is worth the price of admission.  Then there’s the pineapple scene.

Well, I won’t go on and on.  If you’re in the mood for something different and, like me, loathe most Christmas comedies, give this one a try.

Extra, Extra!

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Movie clapper board

O Faithful and Patient Readers, I’m off on a tangent.  Several days ago I posted that I’d be scarce this week, as I had volunteered to be an extra in a movie being shot in our Montana valley.  It’s not a blockbuster with a world-famous director and a string of Oscar-winning actors, but neither is it a local mess of two stoned guys cruising around with a video camera.

News about this movie which stars Rami Malek is just starting to hit the webz.  The working title, which I don’t quite get, is Buster’s Mal Heart.  I know mal is French for bad, but…???  Anyway, for a very brief synopsis, read THIS.  Or THIS.  Doesn’t it sound cool?  Confusing and mind-bendy, but cool.  I like mind-bendy.

If you love movies, I highly recommend the experience of being an extra if you can get it.  Seeing how a movie set works is fascinating.  It can also be hours of boredom and sitting around waiting, followed by seconds if not entire minutes of fascination.  You might see famous actors.  You might not.  You might meet them.  Or not.

The movie is set in the 1990s, which we were informed of ahead of time and told to dress appropriately.  How sad is it that all I had to do was shop my closet?  I even had a coat with those humongous shoulder pads.  You remember those from the late ’80s/early ’90s, don’t you?  We all looked like linebackers for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Plus I had the most perfect ’90s long skirt that was both floral and paisley printed.

I saw several young ladies who were young enough that “the 1990s” didn’t mean anything to them so they obviously wore their best and most modern outfits.  It was amusing to see them dragged off to Wardrobe, re-emerging in the flowery frumpwear you may recall with varying degrees of fondness or loathing.  As another extra said to me of her own just-got-it-at-Goodwill dress, “I don’t know if this fabric was meant for a dress or a couch!”

But wait, it gets worse!  I mean funnier.  There was an energetic hair and makeup specialist running around fixing women’s hair in more appropriate ’90s styles.  She was wearing a killer utility belt holstered with the tools of the trade — brushes, hair spray, pins.  She barely glanced at me in passing and moved on to the next woman.  I suspected my hair had no modern style but now am pathetically positive.

The final funny was that…. well, let me just warn you that if you ever need to pull out a bunch of really old clothes either for a movie or for real life, make sure they, um, work.  Specifically, pantyhose.  You remember pantyhose, right?  When I was an office-working woman back in the ’80s and ’90s I had a whole drawer full of pantyhose.  We had to!  We often wore dresses and skirts to work and if we did, the Fashion Police dictated that pantyhose was a must.  Nowadays no one seems to wear it, even women whose legs ** cough cough ** would look waaaay better with it.

So I needed some black hose.  Eureka, found some in the back of my sock drawer.  Put it on, along with my fab ’90s skirt, a black turtleneck, a slip (another fashion fossil), a few other things, and off Mr. Silver Nail and I went to the shoot.

Guess what?  Pantyhose, unlike wine, does not age well.  Despite looking like new, the elastic had evaporated.  Sublimated.  Vanished.  I discovered this after walking around for more than a few steps.  Lower and lower the waistband crept.  When no one was looking and the cameras were off (I hope), I kept tugging at it.  Fortunately when you’re an extra there are more down times than action, so I kept penguin-walking off to the bathroom to hike it up.  Walking through a cemetery for a scene was agony — I could actually feel that the waistband was now completely south of my butt.

Amazingly, the Pantyhose of Purgatory and I made it through the entire long day somehow.  When I got home, though, as I stepped out of my car the hose gave a tiny nylon sigh and died completely in a wrinkled black puddle around my ankles.  RIP, hose, RIP.

Fashion faux pas aside, the days were great fun and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  Every scene I was in may hit the cutting room floor, but that would be all right, because I had the experience, and as the song goes, you can’t take that away from me.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Back from a spring break

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Sorry I’ve been mostly AWOL for a week or so.  No real excuse other than feeling burned out (but not unhappy) in general — weary of blogging, tired of going to the gym although I know it’s good for me, sick of the same ol’ news in the media.  I just plain have not felt like writing anything and don’t have any new stuff to for show ‘n’ tell.

But last night I watched a movie that lit a tiny fire under me again.  Long time readers will know of my love for movies, especially foreign ones.  I think if I wasn’t blogging about nail polish and such, I’d blog about films.  Some of the time I am!

The movie, available on Netflix streaming, is a Korean comedy-fantasy whose English title is Miss Granny (2014, no American rating, rated PG in Canada).  In a nutshell, 74-year-old Oh Mal-soon is a cantankerous, bitter woman whose family is getting ready to put her in a nursing home.  One day, rather depressed, she goes to a photography studio she’s never seen before for a nice portrait — actually for a portrait that can be used for her funeral when the time comes.  But hold the phone, she goes in 74 and comes out 20 years old.

Miss Granny poster

She hasn’t traveled back in time, as in movies like Peggy Sue Got Married.  No, she’s still in the present, and when she first catches a glimpse of herself she can’t believe it.  There she is, still wearing her dowdy clothes and with her hair in a tight perm, but she’s a beautiful young woman again.  Some of the first things she does are to get a new haircut, using a picture of Audrey Hepburn as inspiration, buy a ton of new clothes (which are still modest but in brighter colors), and tell people her name is Oh Doo-ri.  (Get it?  Audrey?  Oh-doo-ri?)

There are numerous laugh-out-loud moments, several songs (she wants to be a singer), more than a bit of gentle romance, and several scenes so sad that I could hear Mr. Silver Nail sniffling down there at the other end of the couch.  What it mostly made me think about, though, is why and how things change as we get older.  Mal-soon’s clothes are “dumpy” but Doo-ri’s are “vintage.”  Mal-soon wears the same hairstyle all the time but every time we see Doo-ri she’s trying something new.  Something Mal-soon does is annoying but when Doo-ri does it, it’s quirky and original.

A funny yet depressingly accurate preface to the movie is the analogy between women and various kinds of sports balls.

If you compare a woman to a ball, then a woman in her teens is a basketball. To get the ball high up in the air, every man reaches for it as hard as he can.

A woman in her 20s is like a rugby ball. Several men attack the ball like dogs trying to take possession of it.  This is the only time in life a man will risk his life for a ball.

A woman in her 30s is like a ping-pong ball. The number of men going after the ball is significantly reduced, but the amount of attention paid to the ball is still decent.

A middle-aged woman is a golf ball. There’s only one man for one ball. And that man tries to send the ball as far away as he can.

And beyond that, she’s a dodgeball.

Miss Granny is far from a perfect movie.  Plot holes, goes on a little too long, a few scenes that seem off to this non-Korean mind.  But fun overall.  And I love anything even remotely about time travel.

Sure got me thinking.  I’m as bad as or worse than the next person about calling a polish color a “grandma shade.”  Why do I do that?  Why do any of us do things like that?  It’s an inanimate thing; it doesn’t know or care who’s wearing it.  Why is one thing cute on a young person (Doo-ri’s wildly colored and flowery swim cap comes to mind) but an eye-rolling embarrassment on a old person?

I don’t have the answers.  But I’ll keep on recommending bright colors and fun cosmetics for people regardless of their age!

A little something for your Sunday morning

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Nothing polish- or makeup-related, though.  Just a lovely, touching little film that you may have never seen.

As I’ve mentioned too many times to count, I love movies, films, whatever you want to call them.  And I think the short film is an often an unappreciated subcategory.

If you’ve got twelve minutes today, here’s an animated short that won the Oscar in 2009, La Maison en Petits Cubes.  Despite its French name, it was made by a group of Japanese artists, and there is no spoken dialogue nor subtitles you have to read.  The soundtrack is simple yet hauntingly lovely.

Or a clickable link:  http://youtu.be/aY6-hXdjwpw

Some people wigged out, thinking this was a social commentary on global warming, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The water is symbolic — I think it symbolizes time.  The main character’s house, built of so many petits cubes, is his life.  Haven’t you ever felt like your life is a series of rooms or chapters or train cars or whatever, one after the other — connected yet separate?

And haven’t you ever been, say, looking at an old photo album and almost feel like you’re there, in the past?  Then you look up and are surprised to see you’re in the here and now.

The film is slow to start but really gets going at about the five-minute mark.  Still, you need the background the first few minutes provide.  And I cry every time I watch it.

Color in your life

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Oh, I talk about it so much.  Color.  Putting color in your life, finding color, enjoying color, wallowing in color.  I mean, of course, literal color (red, pink, silver, blue, etc.) and also interesting things that add a little spice.

I’ve posted about color before, here.  I mentioned some slide shows from The Weather Channel about yellow and purple.  Did you see their one about red?  I wanna be that bird swimming through the cranberries!

I also mentioned the symbolic use of color in movies.  An oft-overlooked form is the short film — good things come in small packages.  Do you ever seek out short films that have been nominated for or won Oscars?  Let me tell you about a very charming, funny one from 2006 called “Tanghi Argentini.”  It’s from Belgium and the spoken language is Dutch.  You can see it here on YouTube, with English subtitles.  It was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in the 2008 Oscars and won a boatload of other awards.

It’s brief (13 minutes, not counting the end credits) and utterly beguiling.  André is an older, nondescript office worker who meets a woman online.  He makes a date with her to go tango dancing.  Trouble is, he doesn’t know how to tango at all, so he begs his polished, urbane coworker Frans to help him.  What happens will charm your socks off.  It’s one of those films where you have to pay attention to every single thing that everyone says, and at the very end, it all comes together perfectly.

Look at this beautiful still from the film — the color, the framing.

Tanghi Argentini - Copy

A dark room, almost everyone wearing black or gray — how could you not focus on the woman in red?

And speaking of red, here’s a classic red polish from Zoya, America.  Their web site calls it cool-toned but if anything I think it has a slight orange tone and think anybody could wear it.  It’s from the summer 2009 collection called La-Di-Da — still available and still popular.

The formula was great and two coats gave good coverage.  Also, it’s very glossy and didn’t need a clear top coat to shine.  Under indirect sunshine:

America

That’s a firecracker!  So go on, be that woman in red.

A lovely rose, plus the best movie you never heard of

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I have a beautiful rose-colored polish to show today, but first I want to slobber over a movie that I bet most of you have never heard of.  I certainly hadn’t, and when Netflix recommended it for me, I thought, “Eh.”  From the description it sounded like a fluffy chick flick, so I thought I’d try watching it one evening when Mr. Silver Nail was busy.

It’s Populaire (released in 2012 in France, 2013 in the U.S. & Canada) and yes, it’s a romantic comedy, but it’s also a feel-good sports movie… the sport being competitive speed typing.  You read that right.  Speed typing.  On manual typewriters.  Some of us are old enough to remember the era when being a secretary was actually considered modern and glamorous.  This is that era.

Populaire is set in 1958-1959 and the whole film is a giant love letter to the time.  The music, clothes, hairstyles, shoes, hats, decor, and makeup are perfect.  I could swear I saw a few of my mother’s hats and dresses in there.  Nail polish even figures prominently!  You can see the English trailer here, but be warned that it gives away some key plot points:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6upoz9I7eg

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I want the soundtrack BADLY.  You can hear some clips here:  http://www.7digital.com/artist/rob/release/populaire-bande-originale-du-film  and I particularly love Le tango des illusions and the recurring song Forgotten Dreams.

The movie is in French with subtitles available in English and Spanish, so if subtitles bug you it might not be your cup of tea.  I found that the subtitles were much easier to read on my computer monitor as opposed to my TV, if that would help.  It’s rated R for one brief scene of sexuality but there are no f-words and only one “Merde!

After I watched it I immediately watched it all over again with my husband when he got home because I thought he’d like it too, and he did.  It’s got every sports movie cliché in the book — a rather clumsy protagonist who just wants approval, a disapproving parent, a driven coach, bitchy opponents, nail-biting competitions, the “athlete” training by jogging while the coach rides a bike or by riding a bike while the coach drives a car, you name it.  I expected the theme from “Rocky” to break out.  Instead we get a cha-cha song that’s still stuck in my head.  I loved seeing it a second time to really take in the music and clothes.

If you love the retro look of the late ’50s, I hope you can give it a whirl.  Now back to polish!

Here’s a dark rose-pink creme from Zoya (did I mention the main character in Populaire is named Rose?) named Dana, from the fantastic Flash Collection.  Dana can be both retro and modern-looking; in other words, it’s a classic.  Zoya calls it “an all-American rose.”  It’s more pink and less fuschia than Brie which I swatched earlier.

Formula was good, a bit thin, and it went on smoothly.  Three coats, no top coat, under indirect bright outdoor light:

Dana

I thought it looked fine in person but see some faint visible nail line in my photo, so perhaps another coat would have been better, or maybe I didn’t mix it up enough.  At any rate, I love it.

Cha cha cha!!

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