Unordered List

Monday, 25 February 2013

Les Miserables: Seriously, Javert? Seriously??

At the very end of its theatrical release schedule, I have finally gone to see Les Miserables. To be honest, I'm pretty impressed with myself because I managed to remain completely information-free about the whole thing. As in, I knew nothing whatsoever about the book, the musical or the movie prior to actually watching it. In fact, here is the sum total of my Les Mis background knowledge as of this morning.
  • It's a musical.
  • It's set in France.
  • Anne Hathaway plays a prostitute who gets her hair cut off for some reason
  • There are some cute young guys that Tumblr seems excited about. They might be revolutionaries?
Also, I sort of assumed that because it was categorised in my head as "a musical", there would be a) some spoken dialogue, and b) dancing. Wrong on both counts, but NBD.
Anyway, it was definitely the movie to watch if you like your onscreen emotions turned up to 11 on the Overwrought-o-meter, and are OK with the camera being rammed up Hugh Jackman's nose at all times. Like seriously, chill out with the close-ups. People had actually warned me about this beforehand and I was all, "No, what do I know about cinematography? I won't notice." But no, I noticed. It was like someone's parents were there with a camcorder, trying to zoom in on every important moment of their kid's school play. ZOOM IN MORE ON ANNE HATHAWAY'S SNOTTY NOSE WHILE SHE'S CRYING!! ZOOM IN MORE ON HUGH JACKMAN'S FACE WHILE HE'S EMOTING ABOUT GOD!! ZOOM IN MORE ON THIS TRAGIC STARVING KID WHO DOESN'T HAVE ANY FACIAL SORES LIKE THE OTHER KIDS, BECAUSE SHE'S THE STAR! etc etc.
The main thing I got from Les Mis, though, was that Russell Crowe's Javert is A+++ hilarious. Like, every time he came onscreen I started laughing uncontrollably because he was 100% straight-up doing an impression of when Harry was obsessively stalking Draco in Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince. JAVERT JUST REALLY WANTS TO CHAIN UP THAT TALL, SWEATY, MUSCULAR CRIMINAL, OK? HE WANTS TO CHAIN HIM UP AND CONTROL HIM AND PUNISH HIM FOR HIS SINS

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Threeasfour, Fall 2013: The 13th sign of the zodiac.

Thirteen outfits long, this collection was based on the signs of the Zodiac. Technically Ophiucus, the so-called thirteenth Zodiac sign, is actually a Zodiac constellation and therefore not directly connected to the exacting and fact-based science that is astrology, but whatevs. The combination of mysticism and stargazing made for an intriguing mix, resulting in some excellent sci-fi priestess outfits: one for each sign.
pics from
Sadly I couldn't work out which was which. The first was Ophiucus, but where did it go from there? Perhaps there's someone out there with some more astrology expertise who can help me out. But I don't think the designs are very literal. There certainly wasn't any single outfit out there that reminded me specifically of a bull, a ram, or a pair of twins.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Person Of Interest: The man in the suit.

Person Of Interest is three different genre shows stuck together. For Detectives Carter and Fusco it's a police procedural drama, whereas John Reese lives in a spy thriller and Harold Finch's story is gradually edging towards being a full-on dystopian cyberpunk sci-fi. Overall it's marketed as a crime show, more or less, which is what it mostly looks like on the outside. Like the majority of characters in procedural cop shows Carter and Fusco have very boring dress-sense, for practical and professional reasons. In costume design terms, the real interest lies with Finch and Reese.
Before I even saw the show, Reese had been described to me as a man who wears his clothes like a uniform. When he first appears he has nothing: no home, presumably no money, no real identity... until Finch comes along and sets him up with his very own apartment and a wardrobe full of identical black suits. Mysterious benefactors are a popular theme in fiction -- who doesn't wish a nameless billionaire would show up and randomly gift you with a new house? -- but Person Of Interest has a refreshing way of tackling the subject. Rather than twisting himself up in knots about receiving so much help from a total stranger, Reese just takes it.

Teen Wolf creator answers fan questions about season 3.

Jeff Davis, Teen Wolf's creator and lead writer, was answering fan questions on Tumblr last night! He's given a whole bunch of hints about season 3, as well skillfully dodging most of the Sterek-related questions. ;) Click here to read the highlights.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Secret Avengers #1

Previously: The costumes and characters of The Avengers: Black Widow and Hawkeye.

As someone who has quite happily been using fanfic to cut through the Gordian Knot of Marvel comics canon for years, I found Secret Avengers #1 very easy to understand because it basically is Avengers fanfic. Clint and Natasha are bros, a reasonably Clark Gregg-looking Coulson shows up, and the story focuses on the mysterious Budapest incident Joss Whedon namedropped in last year's Avengers movie. There's even an explanation as to why Clint and Natasha might remember the incident in different ways, but that doesn't necessarily mean this comic locks in perfectly with movie canon. For one thing, Nick Fury is a field agent.
Images from Secret Avengers #1, which can be bought here.
Following Battle Scars (yes, another comic I read because Coulson was in it, shut up), we know that "this" Nick Fury is the illegitemate son of "original" Nick Fury, and was recruited to SHIELD at the same time as old army buddy Coulson. Apparently some Marvel fans are butthurt about the Fury switcheroo, but I'm tempted to attribute that to boring old racism -- particularly since I remember people complaining about this exact same "problem" a couple of years ago. The thing is, superhero comics canon is already such utter chaos that updating Nick Fury from David Hasselhoff to Samuel L Jackson almost makes things seem less complicated. Secret Avengers is aimed pretty solidly at fans who were introduced to the characters via the Avengers franchise, so why bother reintroducing 1980s white Nick Fury when we already know the other guy from like four different movies?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Womenswear and The Hour.

Previously:  Bel Rowley and Freddie Lyon & Menswear and The Hour.

As a kind of doomed swansong for The Hour's recent cancellation, here's the third and final part of my series of costume posts.

Marnie is absolutely the classic stereotype of 1950s womanhood. In season 1 she doesn't get much to do, but by season 2 Hector's terrible behaviour has shaken her up enough that she transforms into what I can only really describe as a 2010s-style ultra-femme liberated woman. Probably my favourite detail of this was the fact that she clearly had an affair at some point, but it was so subtle that we'll never really know who with. With any other character I'd dismiss this as meaning they didn't have enough time to include it onscreen, but with Marnie you know that it's because she's just so damn discreet -- unlike Hector, whose affairs are all an unmitigated disaster and end up splashed all over the tabloids.
Marnie dresses like confectionary every day of her life. She's terrifyingly put-together, at first because she's a rich young aristocrat and has nothing else to do except look good, and later because she'll be damned if she'll let things slide just because she's done the unthinkable and got herself a career. I particularly loved her super-coordinated pink swirling skirts and aprons for when she was appearing on television -- in black and white. In some ways Marnie can look a little cartoonish because of her permanent glossy smile and carefully arranged layers of brightly-coloured skirts and petticoats, but the fact is that the fashionable colour palette in the 1950s was a lot brighter than nowadays. Meaning that oddly enough, Marnie's candy-coloured costumes are actually more realistic than Bel's skin-tight businesswear.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fall 2013: Thom Browne Womenswear.

Previously on Thom Browne. 

Amazingly, this is Thom Browne's Ready-To-Wear collection. If you've heard of Thom Browne, chances are it's either because of his rather eccentric menswear or because Michelle Obama wore one of his designs to this year's Inauguration -- you know, the dress that made her look kind of like a Vulcan. This collection drew far more from his menswear than from his more sedate womenswear designs, however. Not because it was remotely masculine in appearance, but more because of the exaggerated proportions and Browne's unique ability to make grey look like the loudest colour on the spectrum.
Many of the outfits on display this week reminded me of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, not just because of the red rose imagery but because the styling seemed so in tune with Helena Bonham Carter's hair and makeup as the Queen of Hearts -- and her personal appearance in real life. The overall themes, however, were not particularly gothic. This wasn't so much a Twilight rose with sharp thorns as the image of a rose taken from girlish embroidery or cake decorations.

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Youtube guide to New York Fashion Week.

Thanks to the snow storm that buried New York this weekend, watching Fashion Week from the comfort of your laptop is suddenly seeming a lot more appealing than being among the models and movie stars who have to freeze their extremities on the red carpet.
Not every Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek show is available online (this season, anyway), but there are still many to watch each day, including such big names as Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta. If you don’t have time in your schedule for livestream viewings, we already have a few recommendations from the first couple of days of shows...


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Elementary: "M", "The Red Team" and "The Deductionist", Part 2.

Previously: "M", "The Red Team" and "The Deductionist, Part 1.

I hope everyone else was as invested in Clyde the turtle as I was. Sherlock used him as a paperweight. He said he was going to make him into soup. If you don't find this unspeakably, twistedly adorable then I despair of you. SHERLOCK FAILS THE VOIGHT-KAMPFF TEST. SHERLOCK IS A REPLICANT. IF SHERLOCK SAW A TURTLE ON ITS BACK IN THE DESERT, HE'D MAKE IT INTO SOUP.
On top of the introduction of this vitally important new supporting character, "The Deductionist" was another legitimately good episode all round -- except, perhaps, for the opening scene. Man, could you lay on the whole "we're pandering to the Superbowl audience" thing any thicker? There were a few seconds where I was like, "wow, has Sherlock seriously hired a couple of hookers to do a criminal roleplay striptease for him?" but no, it was pretty much just a gratuitous girls-in-underwear scene. I can't be bothered getting all angry feminist about that, but I will say that right now, Holmes' sexuality seems like the weak point in some otherwise very solidly-written characterisation. Some moments, such as when Holmes is being up-front about his sex life to the point of social awkwardness (ie, when he's talking to Watson about the profiler in "The Deductionist") seem very in-character, but other things just don't ring true. One scene that comes to mind was when Holmes was waving off a couple of hot blonde twins at the beginning of one of the earlier episodes. That brought me right out of the show because it just seemed like such a cheap shot: "I AM MAN".

Friday, 8 February 2013

Elementary: "M", "The Red Team", and "The Deductionist" -- Part 1.

Previously on Elementary

After the unexpected excellence of the Moriarty-reveal episode, "M", I was kind of expecting last week's Elementary to be a return to form. "M" was everything I'd been hoping from this show: interesting crime-writing as well as the typically adorable and intelligently-written Holmes/Watson dynamic. So I was pleasantly surprised when "The Red Team" was similarly free of the weird tangents and embarrassing cop-show detective work we'd seen in most of the first 11 episodes of the season.
I haven't seen this week's episode, but right now it feels like Elementary has taken a real turn for the better. Between "The Red Team" and the extra Superbowl episode, "The Deductionist", it's beginning to seem like Elementary has done away with weird-ass storylines like the child psychopath episode that literally left me saying "what are you talking about??" out loud to the screen. Anyhow, I think the M/Red Team/Deductionist arc has worked really well for a couple of reasons:

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Fall 2013 Menswear: Alexander McQueen.

Previously on Alexander McQueen.

The backdrop for this show was more like a movie set than a traditional catwalk, with models traveling between wood-panelled rooms that had the look and feel of vintage train compartments. But while the decor was old-fashioned, the clothes were all about extreme, disturbing smoothness. Every outfit focused in on classic tailoring (a nod to McQueen's recently-opened Savile Row menswear store), with an overtly creepy tinge thanks to the smooth, almost android-like appearance of the models. Some even wore transparent masks, giving their faces a glassily inhuman appearance to match the sculpted  Brylcreem hair.
pics from unless captioned otherwise.
These outfits are proof that it's entirely possible to make a supposedly sombre black pinstripe suit look loud and weird. McQueen wisely kept the tailoring slim and subtle while experimenting with pattern work, meaning that almost every suit was a recognisable one-off without looking too out-there. The main on-trend detail was the lack of tie, which in this instance actually worked quite well. First of all, a full suit, buttoned to the neck but without a necktie, is traditionally the outfit of nebbish weirdos -- which fits in perfectly with the unsettling, serial-killerish vibe of this collection. Secondly,  these suits are far more mature than the typical buttoned-to-the-collar shirt outfits we've been seeing on the catwalks (and on hipster guys. And Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes.) for the past year or so.