Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Fashion World

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun by picking three films that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

Lights, camera.... FASHION!

Yes, darlings, this week on Thursday Movie Picks we are going to that place where everyone is beautiful on the outside and usually ugly on the inside: The World of Fashion.

Fashion has always played a part in the movies - in the early days, there would often be a fashion show just inserted into the middle of the film for no reason at all other than to offer the audience something beautiful to look at. Since then, there have been many films that have taken place in the world of clothing designers, models, and photographers (and their long-suffering assistants). These are three of my favorites.

Funny Face (Stanley Donen, 1957) Think Pink! Say what you will, but Kay Thompson is the REAL star of the show here, despite my love for headliners Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Thompson is the publisher and editor of a fashion magazine, and Astaire a famous photographer. Wanting new models who can "think as well as they look", they go downtown to Greenwich Village and coerce intellectual Hepburn to model for them, with a trip to Paris as bait. Well, I mean, who WOULDN'T take them up on that offer?!? Audrey's go-go dance in the club is maybe my favorite thing she's ever done, and really all the musical numbers here are superb.

The First Monday in May (Andrew Rossi, 2016) Every year, on the first Monday in May, there is a Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for the new Costume Institute exhibition. The Met Ball, as it has become known, is one of the biggest events of the fashion world, and this is your insider's view into what goes into making it all happen. I'll admit: I had flashes of PTSD watching this, because a large part of my job for five years was planning the Gala for the theater company where I worked. That was stressful enough. THIS is on a WHOLE other level. That the film also sparks conversations on what is "art" and what is controversial, and what is beautiful, is just icing on the cake.

The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 2016) The Fashion World Meets The Backwoods. Myrtle "Tilly" Dunnage was ran out of her backwoods Australian town years ago for something unspeakable. Somehow, she ended up becoming one of the world's foremost designers, and she has finally returned home, ready to win over the townsfolk who drove her out and cast her mother aside... WITH FASHION! So much of The Dressmaker is ridiculous, but it is one of my favorite movies of the year for how purely enjoyable it is. Kate Winslet is just fabulous beyond words as Tilly, Judy Davis is a hoot as her aging crone of a mother, and Liam Hemsworth has never been more swoon-worthy as the town hunk. And, of course, the fashions are just BEYOND.

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And, just in case you wondering, my picks for last week's Legal Thrillers theme would have been: The tense, forgotten Fracture, starring Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins; and the Laura Linney double feature Primal Fear (with a never-better Richard Gere and tremendous debut from Ed Norton) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (which is FAR smarter and better than it has any right to be).

22 comments:

  1. We match with Funny Face which I love and agree about Kay Thompson. I haven't seen the other 2 but they are now on my list to watch.

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  2. Haven't seen any of the three. I want to see them, but most certainly want to start with Funny Face.

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    1. It's certainly a good place to start!

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  3. I also chose Funny Face! I haven't seen the other two. FYI, I love that you would've went with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, that was a very good movie.

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    1. Funny Face is so good.

      As is Exorcism of Emily Rose, although for completely different reasons, lol.

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  4. The First Monday in May is on my watchlist but I haven't gotten too it yet but you're other two are terrific choices.

    Funny Face along with The Devil Wears Prada are the titles of the week. Audrey and Fred are tough acts to upstage but Kay Thompson does so handily but they manage to wrest the focus back to themselves when necessary. A delightful picture.

    I just saw The Dressmaker within the last two weeks and yes Kate is fab, Judy a hoot and Liam not only drool worthy but charming. I was disappointed though that it took that dark turn towards the end although the actual end was near perfect.

    I went with a doc myself which was a weird pastiche of reenactments and interviews but full of terrific info and then I turned to fashion's dark side.

    Women He Undressed (2015)-Mix of documentary and reenactments tells the story of Australian born Hollywood wardrobe designer Orry-Kelly. THE major Warner Brothers designer throughout much of the Golden Age and a favorite of Bette Davis among others he also designed for films ranging from Some Like it Hot to Les Girls and Casablanca. Covers his often rocky early life-he was seriously involved with Cary Grant before either were famous, working in mob controlled nightclubs etc. though his successes and later struggles with alcohol laced throughout with interviews with those who knew and worked with him including Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury. Directed by Gillian Armstrong.

    The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)-High fashion photography Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is much in demand for her provocative layouts that have a violent often blood splattered tinge. She is climbing ever higher until she suddenly starts seeing actual murders through the eyes of the killer and he seems to be moving closer and closer to her. Stylish, with a theme song sung by Barbra Streisand, but rather sick this provided an early spotlight role for Tommy Lee Jones.

    Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)-Italian giallo film of a leather clad and motorcycle helmeted killer who is wreaking havoc within the Albatross modeling agency systemically knocking off nearly everyone associated with it. Unsurprisingly based on the title full to the brim with nudity both female and to a lesser degree male as well grisly knife killings all in gaudily lit 70’s colors. A definite precursor to the slasher film craze that swept American films a few years later this bloodbath is set to a striking jazz score.

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    1. First Monday in May is quite good. I personally can't abide Anna Wintour, and this doc didn't REALLY change that, but it's definitely a good look at what it takes to pull off an event of this scale.

      Delightful is a perfect word to describe Funny Face.

      Yeah, the dark turn that begins the last act of The Dressmaker is weird and really grinds the movie to a halt, but it recovers nicely. The best Liam Hemsworth has ever been.

      I'm watching Women He's Undressed this weekend - it's been on my list ever since it came out. I also REALLY want to see Eyes of Laura Mars.

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    2. I'd love to hear what you think of Women He Undressed.

      Laura Mars is far from perfect but considering the cast and position in Faye's filmography, it was her first after winning the Oscar for Network, it's sort of a must see in that respect.

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  5. About your picks for last week, Fracture wasn't as forgotten as you think. It turned out to be the title of the week! I saw it in at least five lists. The Exorcism of Emily Rose made an appearance or two as well.

    I chose Primal Fear, love that film. I agree that it's probably Gere's best work and Norton is extraordinary. On top of that you get Frances McDormand, Alfre Woodard, John Mahoney, Andre Braugher and the lovely Laura Linney...by the way did you realize you have a Linney double feature! We need more of those.

    I also chose the Charles Laughton/Marlene Dietrich Witness for the Prosecution and Cher's Suspect, a film I love and seems to be forgotten as well.

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    1. I totally did the Laura Linney double feature on purpose. LOVE that people went with Fracture - I know it's not great but the performances are quite delicious. LOVE Witness for the Prosecution!

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  6. If someone offered me a modeling contract and a trip to Paris I'd reject with the assumption its a trap. I am not model material haha. I've heard of your second pick, but haven't seen it (as with the others). Second pick for Funny Face though.

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  7. Haven't watched the first two, but omg, how come I forgot about The Dressmaker. I watched it recently and I was stunned by Kate Winslet's performance. Glad you liked her too hence this pick!

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    1. I thought Kate was SO fab in The Dressmaker.

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  8. I haven't seen any of these, but Funny Face seems fun. I remember I wanted to watch The Dressmaker when it came out but then I forgot about it.

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    1. Funny Face is very fun. The Dressmaker is worth the watch.

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  9. Dressmaker is so good! I'm definitely gonna list this one in costume category for my awards for 2016

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    1. OMG THOSE COSTUMES! So deliciously, perfectly over the top!

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  10. Love The Dressmaker, such a great film! Kate is superb in it. Beautiful dresses along with a haunted mystery memory makes it even better.

    I wanted to see the doc but went with The September Issue this time.

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    1. I know! Love pretty much everything about The Dressmaker. I actually haven't seen The September Issue yet, but it's on my list.

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  11. The Dressmaker is one I want to see most because I've read the book. It had a lot of dark humor and I wonder if the the film would follow it's rather tragic end as well.

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