Who else is, like me, in love with PJ Harvey and her new album?!
Who else is, like me, in love with PJ Harvey and her new album?!
I was rooting for Michelle Willams to win Best Actress.
However, as most predicted, Natalie Portman won the award for Black Swan. I watched the film and yes, I do praise Portman for her performance. I must say that the disturbed, insecure, paranoid and extremely perfectionist Nina is quite a character — must have been an effort to embody, and yet Portman pulled it off excellently. She also gained my admiration and respect for the fact that she rigorously trained and prepared for that role for a year. Now THAT, is total commitment.
However, I felt like all the grandiose elements in the movie collectively aided Natalie Portman in her portrayal of Nina’s character, and in turn, elevated the perception of the public of her performance. Look: the film itself had a unique and interesting concept/theme (one that has not been done as much before); it had beautiful art direction, luxurious costumes, popular designers (Mulleavy sisters) and top-of-the-line choreography/ers; and it had the talented Darren Aronofsky as a director. What could possibly go wrong, right? All of these over-hyped Natalie Portman as well, and made her performance appear better than it really was.
I watched Blue Valentine last night, and I will strongly say that Michelle WIlliams delivered a more Oscar-worthy performance. First, Williams showed such a range of emotions as she portrayed different facets of her character, Cindy Heller, as opposed to Natalie Portman who acted only one side of Nina, the ballerina: the insecure, delusional and obsessive side. Watch Black Swan again, and you’ll notice that there was only one expression on Portman’s face all throughout the movie. On the other hand, Williams dynamically portrayed both the younger, carefree, charming/charismatic Cindy Heller AND the older, tired, and grown-out-of-love Cindy Heller with such amazing contrast that I really saw the difference and the change in the character. Second, there was nothing fancy about the movie: Williams had minimal make-up, and there were no designer clothes, nor any awe-inducing cinematic effects; what I saw was just plain Michelle Williams and her poignant portrayal of the character, and nothing else. She was real and believable, and her performance was truly memorable (I mean, who would ever forget that song number + tap dance?!). For all of these, she should have won that Best Actress Award.
Watch the film, and you’ll definitely see what I mean.
[OH GOD. HILARIOUS.]
MY POSSE, all wearing The Row.
WHO IS THIS WOMAN?! I GOT IT, I GOT IT! It’s ELISA NALIN! According to The Selby, she is a stylist and a shoe designer.
She’s making me wanna do the whole colour-blocking trend even though I’m a fan of the all-black uniform. And that short, platinum-blonde hair?! SO GORGEOUS.
Now, off to Google…to google more pictures of her, of course.
I tend to be late on churning out these opinion/reflection pieces because I also tend to watch movies late — usually once their hype is over. I do this partly because I have school (yes, thaaat inevitable excuse), and also because watching it months (or even years!) after its release somewhat gives me permission to eschew reviews and critics’ opinions, and just have an uninfluenced opinion of it.
My heart is still aching as I write this piece, as I have just finished Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go. Watching this film was incredibly painful; I was clutching my right wrist with my left hand so hard whilst hugging a fluffy pillow, as if I was watching a thriller movie. Was this position my defense mechanism from the pain? From the inevitable sad ending of the movie? Or from the hurt caused by Kathy H.’s (Carey Mulligan) repressed love for Tommy D. (Andrew Garfield) [*heart melts*]? Well, it probably was from all of that.
I don’t exactly know what this movie is all about: is it about love? Is it a question of ethics? Or does it simply aim to highlight the fleeting/ephemeral nature of life? So many questions, but I’ve no answers, and no well-formed opinions…Just teary eyes, and a broken heart.
This is probably the most amusing and original concept/content I have seen so far. Miss Moss takes recent fashion and street style images and juxtaposes them with images of Old Masters, vintage posters and fabrics, photographs from another era, and basically any image that she can find that mimics a similar colour palette as the first photo that she posted. It really is interesting. She either has an exceptional visual memory, or an exceptional knack (and luck) for google-ing images. Either way, I am thoroughly impressed.
More “Colour Comparisons” on her blog.
The National Portrait Gallery (London) has on display Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s portrait of Isabella Blow — a stunningly grotesque piece that they just acquired late last year. The artists used stuffed animals such as birds, a rat and a snake as ‘materials’ to form a sculpture of Blow’s head. A spotlight is used to then recreate the silhouette of Isabella Blow’s face on a wall.
The piece really captures the avant-garde and eccentric nature of Isabella Blow. Her aesthetic reminds me of a tamer, more modern Marchesa Casati, minus the occult-like factor. Isabella Blow was a woman who was always impeccably dressed ("My style icon is anyone who makes a bloody effort”); and she always wore her trademark overtly decorative hats, that at times obscured half of her face. Her great “eye”, her undeniable creativity, infinite passion/support for fashion, the arts and culture, and her good heart was truly admirable. Read a wonderful snapshot portrait of her life (written by Amy Larocca, published by NY Magazine) of her here.
THE SAD HATTER Isabella Blow, discoverer of Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy (and — let me intrude — Stella Tennant), wearer of the extravagant, darling of the beau monde, loved fashion more than life. But by the end, even fashion couldn’t save her. By Amy Larocca, Published Jul 15, 2007.
Hats off to you, Ms Blow. You were one of the few true culture/taste-makers.
BLACK and WHITE (and BLUE). Never fails.
Dots/Stripes/Black/White [Paolo Reversi]
*More photos on Fashion Copious
This shot was my first introduction to Taylor Tomasi. I stared at this photograph for hours. I didn’t even know who she was, and I can’t quite remember when and where I found this photograph (probably at The Sartorialist, but I’m not entirely sure). All I can recall was, when I saw this photo, I was instantly drawn to her fiery red hair, and obsessively admired what she was wearing; particularly, the shape/proportions of her straight button-down shirt to to her semi-balloon-y skirt. I even tried to copy this outfit once, but failed. I wasn’t chic enough to pull it off.
I thought Taylor Tomasi was fashionable and chic before, but now her style has evolved, and she is slowly becoming my style saint (sorry Kate Lanphear).
*Photos from all over the Internet
There are lots of elements in her outfit that I already have, and would wear on a regular basis: that International Klein Blue Celine purse, the leopard print scarf, and the green utility jacket. I also love that she’s wearing this new longer skirt length because it suits her amazingly. She’s so edgy, yet she still remains feminine at the same time! How lovely!
Okay, call me late but I just listened to Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca today, in its entirety. I’ve listened to more than a couple of songs in the album two months ago (I think), but I have not yet experienced the whole album…until today. EMBARRASSING, considering it was released in 2009 (YIKES!) and received critical acclaim and tons and tons of praise and applause. By the way, by “critical acclaim”, I mean Pitchfork acclaim. Now, if you don’t consider Pitchfork a legitimate critic/musical taste-maker, well…I don’t know who else you consider as the musical taste-maker of this generation. Pitchfork gave the album a nine-point-two out of ten, and now I can definitely understand why they put this experimental, post-modern musical product on a pedestal.
For those who have not heard the album yet, this commentary is (partly) for you. For those who have heard it and have formed solid opinions about it, you can skip this very late commentary and give Bitte Orca a re-listen (just so that my efforts of writing this post would not go to waste).
This is one album you definitely have to be in the mood to listen to. It’s NOT one of those albums you put on while you’re reading your cultural theory book or the assigned novel for your Critical Thinking to Narrative course. If you ever attempt to give this a passive first listen, it will turn you off immediately — like that "WTF-IS-THIS?!" kind-of-turn-off (definitely did, the first time I listened to Remade Horizon). The album does not require hard concentration though; not the type of concentration you’d need to listen to Beethoven’s sonatas, but enough concentration to hear everything that is going on because there is a lot: the incredible textures and chaotic, shifting melodies will truly daze. It is conceptual and it will puzzle, but it grows on you HARD, and heck, all of it is satisfying.
There’s this one luscious track that is slowly catching up and becoming one of my favourites (apart from Cannibal Resource and No Intention): Temecula Sunrise. I like it because it’s like that song that can’t make up its mind; once you think you got the beat, the song switches gears, and plays with a different kind of melody, with a different tempo. The smooth, playful melody of the electric guitars, the sudden random blasts of drums, plus the touch of simplistic lyrics all add up to one eccentric, head-bobbing/finger-tapping track (albeit a complex beat). There is chaotic beauty all throughout the song, but for me, the most luscious parts are the start, and that instrumental part towards the end, approximately 20 seconds after the 3-minute mark. Anyway, give it a listen here, if you haven’t yet.
Also, listen to the whole album (if you haven’t yet), and for best, most satisfying, 9.2/10-worthy results, remember: NO PASSIVE LISTENING.