Style Icon: Jennifer Lawrence

We all know I love Jennifer Lawrence. And so does the rest of the world apparently. The media has been inundated with articles about why women love Jennifer Lawrence and hate Anne Hathaway. I’m not getting involved with any of that. I just want to look at some pretty clothes she’s worn.

Wearing Calvin Klein at the 2011 Academy Awards.

Wearing Calvin Klein at the 2011 Academy Awards.

This was one of the first dresses that got Lawrence noticed on the red carpet – but when you’re Oscar-nominate you’re going to be noticed anyway really. She was praised for her elegant choice. Calvin Klein is known for simply cut beautiful dresses and this is no different. The dress is perfectly shaped, floor length with a slightly scooped neckline; but not overly revealing. The colour is beautiful and she has next to no accessories to clutter the look. Everything is simple, classic and elegant.

Wearing Calvin Klein at the Vanity Fair Party after the 2013 Academy Awards.

Wearing Calvin Klein at the Vanity Fair Party after the 2013 Academy Awards.

So you win an Oscar and have to change for the Vanity Fair after party? Why not go back to Calvin Klein for a simple dress. Well, simple in cut. Not in fabric or effect. The dress is the perfect shape for her and she’s kept the rest of the look simple to compensate for the silver fabric. It’s one of my favourite Lawrence dresses.

Wearing Lanvin at the Weinstein Company Academy Award Party in 2013.

Wearing Lanvin at the Weinstein Company Academy Award Party in 2013.

This is another great look for Lawrence. Of course I’m going to love it – it’s tailoring with an edge. The sleeveless tuxedo jacket worn on its own is sexy without being fitted. The trousers are slim tailored and work well to balance out the jacket – I’m glad they’re not super skinny though. The one white lapel is brilliantly done and adds a great flash of contrast, especially with only one lapel.

Wearing Roland Mouret at the Vanity Fair Hollywood Party in 2013.

Wearing Roland Mouret at the Vanity Fair Hollywood Party in 2013.

This monochrome dress is a brilliant example of Mouret’s talent as a designer. His dresses stand out with the simplest of design shaping. Interesting asymmetrical lines, pointed darts, beautiful draping. The dress fits her perfectly and, as with the earlier outfits, she keeps her accessories basic and undistracting.

Wearing Valentino for The Hollywood Reporter Nominee Party in 2013.

Wearing Valentino for The Hollywood Reporter Nominee Party in 2013.

The high level of embellishment on this dress contrasts greatly with the other dresses. The neckline is also much sexier than the others, but the midi-length and wide skirt balance it all. Again we have little to no accessories because what could compare to that dress?

Wearing L'Wren Scott at the 2011 Critics' Choice Awards.

Wearing L’Wren Scott at the 2011 Critics’ Choice Awards.

To celebrate her Best Actress nomination for Winter’s Bone, Lawrence upped the glamour. (This was before the Oscars so we have glitz before classic.) The dress is top-to-toe sequins with a dip-dye effect for the hem. But the cut of the dress is fairly conservative, particularly the midi-length. Yet again, simple to no accessories.

Wearing Dior at the 2013 Academy Awards.

Wearing Dior at the 2013 Academy Awards.

I think I was having Internet problems or the like for the Oscars this year so I didn’t rave about Lawrence’s dress. I mean, it’s not my favourite from the red carpet but I am a fan. The drama of this dress is all about the skirt – from the hip line the amount of fabric and the flare is incredible. The bodice is very simply shaped and the pale colour means that the skirt structure isn’t too overpowering. Another example of simple accessories – a very fine necklace that hangs at Lawrence’s back rather than at the front.

'The Hunger Games' Cast at LA Premiere

‘The Hunger Games’ Cast at LA Premiere

Wearing Prabal Gurung at the LA Premiere of 'The Hunger Games'  in March 2012.

Wearing Prabal Gurung at the LA Premiere of ‘The Hunger Games’ in March 2012.

Lots of gold. So much gold. This is one of the most revealing dresses that Lawrence has worn. The side cut outs leading to the near backless back. Then there’s the dress that is close fitting until just at the hip when the skirt flares out. The texture of the fabric means that your eye is quite distracted but you can see the various seams that allow the dress to flow the way it does if you look closely enough!

Wearing Ralph Lauren at the London Premiere of 'The Hunger Games' in March 2012.

Wearing Ralph Lauren at the London Premiere of ‘The Hunger Games’ in March 2012.

More gold. But this one is a little more restrained, despite looking like gold crocodile texture, because the gold is a lighter tone and the dress shape is simpler. The front neckline is similar to the halter-neck of the previous gold dress but that is where the similarities end. The floor length straight shape is great with a black belt just to emphasise the waist. Effortless.

Wearing Tom Ford at the Paris Premiere of 'The Hunger Games' in March 2012.

Wearing Tom Ford at the Paris Premiere of ‘The Hunger Games’ in March 2012.

Another sexy dress. When you see the back. From the front this looks just like a basic little black dress with a gold zip feature on the left side. Then you see the back. The non-existent “zipped” back. But this is balanced with the full-length sleeves, the completely covered up front and below knee-length skirt.

Wearing Christian Dior

Wearing Christian Dior at
‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Cannes Film Festival Party in May
2013.

A plain white dress with some embroidery detail at the waist? I love it. And worn with neon pink heels. I don’t really have anything else to add. (Well, maybe the dress could’ve been a little shorter – embrace the youth!)

Wearing Christian Dior

Wearing Christian Dior at
the ‘Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)’ Premiere at the
Cannes Film Festival in May 2013.

More Dior (as Lawrence is the face of Dior). And this dress is clearly from the same collection as the previous dress – the waist feature is the main hint. It is another fairly simply structured dress. It is beautiful but it might be nice for Lawrence to take some more risks. Let’s hope she goes for broke for the Catching Fire promotional tour. S x

Advertisements

DTSFT Are Crawling To You For Help

No, we’re not abusing KickStarter for a vanity project, we’re leaving that up to Zach “I’m still here” Braff.

What we want is your help in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards!  We’ve had so much fun writing over the last ten months, and we’d love your help to win.  You can nominate us by clicking on this button…

nominate me

Read more: http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/enter-the-2013-cosmopolitan-blog-awards-nominate-now#ixzz2Un43X8Iz

You’ll need to enter your email address, and our URL – http://www.dtsft.wordpress.com.  We would like you to vote for us in “LIFESTYLE”.  We ARE under a year old, so click ‘yes’ there.  The newcomer bit comes next…

There’s an external link to vote that we’re less than a year old on the Next website – which is true, seeing as we’re celebrating our first birthday later this year!  We are so grateful for all the views we get on this site, and would love to win, so please vote for us and remember to click on the link that establishes that we are less than a year old.

If we win, we will love you forever – even though we’ll do that anyway…

And thanks to Niomi for bringing this to our attention!

‘The Hunger Games’: Translating a Post-Apocolyptic World from Page to Screen (Part Two)

This is a little late but here comes part two – costumes that have been moderately changed. These ones are still noticeably similar to their descriptions but not fully accurate. A lot of the time costumes need to be altered for the actors comfort (like Katniss’s hunting jacket), or to fit more comfortably in the setting. Film is a completely different medium to books and a little wiggle room is always needed.

Katniss and Peeta's Parade Suits

The first important costume in the book is arguably Katniss and Peeta’s opening ceremony suits. ‘I’m in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it’s the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow and red and the matching headpiece that define this costume.’ (p. 81) The suits are later set on fire and instantly set up the ‘Girl on Fire’ nickname that becomes so important to the rest of the book series.

And that’s an instance where things don’t always translate [from book to film]. Boys don’t look good in what girls wear. So [we were] trying to have a similar look, but cut them differently so that Katniss has this beautiful figure and Peeta looks manly. It’s very hard in a chariot costume. So we tried to make it even a little bit more special than the book.

Katniss and Peeta Parade Suit2

The costumes are not wildly different from their description but are much “tougher” than unitards. They have the same basic shape but look like leather which is definitely more threatening/dangerous than lycra. The main change comes from the cape and headdress description. This is missing completely from the film costumes. The flames were computer generated to look as real and magical as possible, if a floaty cape and headdress had been included as well it would all have looked a ittle too fancy dress and child like. Yes, the characters are “children” but they’re also essentially being sent into battle. The description works in the book because it establishes a mood and the specifics can be set by the reader’s imagination – this is something that cannot be afforded with the film.

Katniss and Peeta's Training Suits

Then there are the practice costumes. In the book this is another instance where Katniss and Peeta ‘wearing exactly the same outfit’ (p. 107) is used to separate them from the other tributes. None of the other tributes are dressed the same – this continues the link that was set up by Cinna and Portia at the opening ceremony. In the book Katniss describes her training uniform: ‘Tight black trousers, a long-sleeved burgundy tunic and leather shoes.’ (p. 106) The training uniforms worn by all the tributes are not too dissimilar from this, colour wise at least – black “workout” trousers and tops with burgundy flashes. These costumes work much better for shooting – short sleeves mean greater flexibility for actors, short length tops have the same benefit. The decision to have all the tributes dressed the same I think is used to illustrate their helplessness in this situation and maybe to compensate for the differences in their arena gear (more on that later).

Katniss's Interview Dress2

Then there’s THE dress. The true ‘Girl on Fire’ dress. (A dress I’ve been requested to make for a friend!) ‘My dress is entirely covered in reflective precious gems, red and yellow and white with bits of blue that accent the tips of the flame design… The dress hangs in such a way that I don’t have to lift the skirt when I walk.’ (p. 146)

In the book, it’s described as being covered in flame-like jewels,” she says. ”Well, to me, that’s very dangerous, because it could be like a Dancing With the Stars dress, or it could be extremely heavy so she won’t be able to twirl. Certainly, the bottom of the dress is covered in Swarovski crystals. It’s got all this stuff, but when you first see her, I just wanted this image of what I call ‘the Gypsy moment,’ when Natalie Wood comes out in the blue dress in Gypsy. She’s only been in these boys’ clothes before that, and you go, ‘Oh my God, she’s actually gorgeous.’ And that was the moment I wanted [for Katniss].

Katniss's Interview Dress

The dress was Makovsky’s biggest problem to recreate from the descriptions given by Collins and I think she did an amazing job. They knew from the start that the flames on the dress were going to be created via computer generation so the twirling flames are already sorted. Then there’s the dress when Katniss first sits down. The feeling of flames is given through the sheen on the red fabric – fabric that looks like a mixture of red and orange depending on the light. Then there are the panels of sheer fabric at the back, the jewels stuck to her skin and the ruffle effect at the hem of the skirt. There is a feeling of a flame before the CG is shown. The shine and “feel” of the dress is there without it being so big that she seems ridiculous to the audience; particularly when compared to those living in the Capitol.

Then we come to a perfect example of a costume description being slightly altered to allow for visual communication.

Katniss's Arena Gear

In the book, [the Tributes] all wear exactly the same thing in exactly the same color [in the arena], says Makovsky. For film, that wasn’t gonna work well. You couldn’t tell who is who. Gary was very specific. He wanted each district to have their own color jacket and then they would all have the same color trousers. It was my problem to find a look that looked good on boys and girls, and from kids that are age 12 to age 18. That was a big problem. What looks good on all of these people and how do we create that? All the jackets were specifically dyed — that took forever just to find colors that would read in the woods.

The Careers in the Arena

Above you can see the Career tributes with their different coloured jackets. District 1 have dark khaki with yellow elements worn with a green t-shirt and District 2 have deep burgundy with red t-shirts. As Cato is the final challenge to winning The Hunger Games that red will highlight the contrast. Their final battle scene takes place at nighttime and Cato needs to stand out and be intimidating for Katniss and Peeta.

We hear the description of Katniss’ arena outfit – ‘simple tawny trousers, light green blouse, sturdy brown belt, and thin, hooded black jacket that falls to my thighs… The boots, worn over skintight socks…soft leather’ (p. 175 – 176) In the film this description isn’t too far removed from what Katniss and Peeta wear.

Katniss and Peeta Arena Gear

You can see from the photo that Katniss and Peeta are wearing dark khaki trousers rather than tawny, black t-shirts rather than a light green blouse/shirt and the black jacket isn’t quite thigh length because that would’ve been a little difficult for filming by restricting movement a little. So although the arena costumes have been slightly changed from their description, it is all perfectly understandable for a visual medium.

So part two is finally done and I will make a move on part three. Maybe it’ll come out before Catching Fire. That gives me six months so should be good.

S x

52 Books in 2013 Challenge: May Update

I fared a little better this month with the reading challenge, although I’m not quite on track (according to Goodreads, anyway – I think I’m doing okay!).

Book 14: HHhH by Laurent Binet

HHhH-Laurent-Binet This was the April title for the book club which I run, and I have to admit that I did not finish it in time for our discussion of it; I struggled with the structure and style of the book, and thought that this was going to be one of those rare occasions where I abandon a book, which is something I didn’t want to do.  So when the weather was suddenly beautiful at the start of the month, I stepped outside and persevered with ‘HHhH’…

I’m glad I did!  When I started this book, the author’s unique writing style seriously irritated me, but by the end I understood why he chose to write this book the way he did.  Firstly, the title stands for Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich which in German means”Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”.  Essentially the book starts off alternating between chapters in a general non-fiction, historical, informative style which tells the story of Operation Anthropoid, and chapters that describe Binet’s research and writing process (with superfluous mentions of whichever beautiful woman he is spending his time with at that moment).  These self-indulgent chapters initially focused on Binet’s appreciation of the architecture, culture and food in the cities he visited for research, and his own anxiety about taking on such a momentous task as writing about an actual assassination of a Nazi leader, Reinhard Heydrich, by two soldiers.  I am sure that I’m not the only one who is intrigued to learn about Nazis, and I was irritated at having the story interrupted constantly by this author telling us about the books he’d read on the subject rather than just using the knowledge he’d gleaned from those books to give us the whole story.  But as the book goes on, it became clear that Binet’s biggest fear is that neither he nor any other writer would ever be able to give the whole story; lives, deaths, romances, grudges, retaliations – people were connected in so many different ways and all had their own role in the stories of the three men at the heart of this book, and Binet seemed to want to tell everyone’s tale, but knew that he had to stick to telling the story of Operation Anthropoid and not digress too much.  Likewise, conjecture was a big problem for him, and one that he addressed at practically every instance that it came up.  It was interesting to read his own evaluation of his writing, and I think that by adding what I would describe as a writing journal alongside the actual subject of the book, it gave me a really good idea of the difficulties that arise in writing about real people and real events; when the author’s instinct is to create drama and punchy dialogue, Binet was always reminded that he must respect the memories of these people (well, maybe not Heydrich) and thus stick to their story without falsifying information to seem more heroic than they were – their true story does that for itself.  One additional observation that threw me and many of my book-club pals was that the book has no page numbers… there’s got to be a reason for it, but I have no idea what that reason is!

Book 15: A Lotus Grows In The Mud by Goldie Hawn

x10166I’ve recently been committing the worst crime known to man – judging books by their covers.  So sue me!  I bought this book as a present for my mum after she specifically asked for it; I don’t know where she heard about it, but she was really keen to get it as a book to take on holiday with her, and I just can’t resist my mum’s smooshy face.  When she finished it, the book sat on the shelf in our living room for about a year before I picked it up, and I was just as keen as she was about it – because I bloody love Goldie Hawn.  Laugh it up, I don’t give a shit, Goldie Hawn is freakin’ awesome.  And the cover of the book is her face, and the writing is all fancy, and… well, that’s basically it.

This is one of the few biographies I have read, as I generally am not interested in learning about the lives of celebrities (I know that it isn’t just celebrities who write autobiographies, but you know what I mean), however after my mum’s recommendation, I was excited about reading Goldie’s.  I have always got the impression from seeing her in interviews that she has this kind of glow about her, and as weird as this sounds that actually could also be said about the book.  Her writing style is nothing special, in fact it is quite simple and straightforward, with the occasional bout of excited description during her travels to India or Russia; on these occasions, she does a great job of taking her sensory experiences and laying them all out to give a thorough picture of where she went.  Her wide-eyed interest in other people is clear from the journeys she made, and she speaks honestly about her relationships, both professional and personal.  This is a book about a woman who has had highs and lows in her career and her personal life, and she is obviously grateful for the opportunities she has had – there is such a strong feeling of happiness and acceptance here.  She mentions the times in her life where things didn’t quite go as planned, including a horrible experience of abuse at the hands of a family friend as a child and numerous other occasions where her looks have got her into difficult and potentially dangerous situations.  But she writes about these experiences without self-pity, and at the end of every single chapter she reflects on the anecdote she has just told or the period of her life which she has just described.  She uses these moments in her life to assess how things got to be the way they are, and kind of turns each one into a lesson for how to move forward.

I’ll admit, there are some kind of hokey bits in there – Goldie is really into spiritual experiences, and she does things like regression therapy that I think are total nonsense, but I didn’t let it change my overall opinion of her.  I still love you, GH!

Book 16: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

9850443Another book-club title here, as chosen by DTSFT’s very own delightful Sarah.  All I knew about this book was that it had a bloody cool cover, but a great story too? COULD IT BE POSSIBLE?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer?  Depends.  I enjoyed this book very much; one of the reasons that I tend to struggle with epic novels (which to me is anything over 400 pages – goodbye, attention span) is that I can’t keep up with the numerous characters that come and go and reappear at random times, where we’re expected to remember details about every single one of them.  The Sisters Brothers manages to use that template of a character – or in this case, a pair of brothers – going on a long journey and encountering a range of diverse and amusing characters on their way, but without getting the reader bogged down in useless information.  Sure, the characters are in turns weird, hilarious, terrifying and tragic – there’s a man who seems to be distraught about something, a boy awaiting his father’s unlikely return, and a strange lady who appears to place a curse on Eli’s head.  At the heart of the book, deWitt tells us the story of Eli and Charlie Sisters, the infamous Sisters Brothers; they are contract killers, but after the violent and unnecessary death of his horse, Eli begins to worry about his future, while Charlie seems unfazed by his brother’s existential crisis, and the two drift apart while still relying on each other to complete this assignment.

The language was particularly interesting to me; a simplistic style that never strays too far into the metaphorical, and dialogue which reflects the direct and plain nature of the two brothers.  Tender moments are treated without too much sentimentality, nor are they give an ironic treatment.  Having read a handful of western books that I borrowed from my grandpa many years ago, I enjoyed the gunslinger moments as well as the more personal thoughts of Eli, and I found that the blunt, first-person descriptions of the more gruesome moments was a good reflection of how, despite having this growing existential crisis, Eli has become accustomed to this life as a violent outlaw after all these years.  I’ll be interested to see what my fellow book-club members will think of this one!

Book 17: if nobody speaks of remarkable things by Jon McGregor

if_nobody_speaksThis is a book that I actually picked up at the book swap I organised last month, and had it recommended to me by one of the lovely regulars.  Another one with alternating chapters, the book concerns one afternoon on a street in Northern England (although as far as I can tell this detail doesn’t really have much to do with the story, but I may have overlooked something), where a tragic event takes place.  I have this bad habit of flicking through a book when I first get it, hoping but also not hoping to catch a glimpse of the turning point in the book, thus ruining it. I know, stupid right?  Anyway, I did that with this book and luckily didn’t stumble across anything that could ruin it for me – because the chapters which describe the day of the event do, well, just that.  The author describes everything in great detail, without giving names to the characters – just house numbers and distinctive descriptions for them to become known by, such as the woman with the red hair, the man with the neatly combed moustache, and so on.  I have read other reviews about this book, and they all seemed quite divided; some loved the poetic prose and praised the way that little recognisable details of every day life took on significance with his descriptions, whereas others found it to be a drag to have every second broken down for them in excruciating detail.  I find myself somewhere in the middle with this book.  The alternate chapters are set in the current day and focus on one of the people present at the tragic event which is said to have happened three years before, a young student who discovers that she is pregnant, and deals with her relationship with her mother as well as her memory of the events that took place.

I was underwhelmed by the actual event, which is more of a comment on my own expectations than anything else I suppose.  I don’t think the purpose of this book is to tell a particularly spectacular story; the woman who discovers her pregnancy finds herself combing over every last detail of what happened on the day of the event, and trying to figure out if there was any way that anyone could have foreseen that event, but all she can do is look back – and this is what McGregor allows us to do, look back at every possible detail with the knowledge that something is going to happen.  That fact that we can’t figure it out until it is just about to happen impacts on how we read both the story lines.

Book 18: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

oldmanandtheseaMy last May title is a book I have wanted to read for a long time, largely because it is a modern classic and also because (don’t judge me) it’s parodied in a Simpsons episode.  I don’t care what you think of me by now, you should already know that.  I have never read any Hemingway, and I guess this is as good a place to start as any, especially since it is relatively short and I already have it on my Kindle software on my Mac…

This is the story of Santiago, an old man (no shit?!) who has had an unlucky streak of 84 days without catching a fish.  In fact, his apprentice has been warned by his family to stop going out with Santiago on his boat because the man himself is considered to be bad luck, but this doesn’t stop him from spending time with him.  Santiago goes out to sea on the 85th day, intent on catching something, and that’s just what he does – he hooks a fish that is so big and strong that he can’t reel it in, and ends up allowing it to tow his boat for more than a day.  They end up far out at sea, engaged in a sort of battle of wits, and while Santiago struggles determinedly to keep a hold of this fish and resolves to kill it, he speaks aloud to himself of his respect for the creature.

I don’t know much about Hemingway’s writing, and I feel like that’s a crime for some reason.  The simplicity of the story was endearing, particularly what happens in the last third of the book, which had me (much like Santiago) saying out loud to no-one in particular “NOOOO!” when the sharks arrive at his boat.  As in The Sisters Brothers, I appreciated the directness of the language, and the occasional allusion to bigger things.  There’s a phrase in the book where Hemingway describes a noise that Santiago makes, as “ just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling the nail go through his hands and into the wood.” I loved that line, and though it was quite a glaring biblical reference that seemed sort of shoe-horned in to the text, it stuck with me.

So that’s my May update – I’m catching up to my target and making up for lost time, so hopefully I’ll have another good reading month in June!

The Apprentice, Episode 5 – DTSFT Roundup

b0071b63

This week’s The Apprentice lost 900,000 viewers according Digital Spy.  That’s because it was on Tuesday night rather than Wednesday (which is today as I type this), so presumably many people will have missed it accidentally.  The episode saw the remaining contestants heading to Dubai for the scavenger hunt task; these tasks normally bore me, and this episode was no exception.  Even the twist of having the group do the task abroad didn’t make things more interesting.   But the gang packed their bags for beautiful Dubai, where it became clear that hardly any of the remaining people (aside from perhaps Zeeshaan) had any idea of how to speak to someone of a different nationality without being totally and utterly patronising. I’ve always been annoyed by this kind of behaviour, having seen it in most of my jobs; the slightest hint of an accent from a customer and the shop assistant immediately starts to act as if this is the biggest hassle in the world, and that the person they are speaking to is some kind of cretinous idiot.  In this instance, the teams were the customers speaking down to the staff/locals, oh except, excuse me, in this case they were ‘sourcing items’ rather than shopping.  Grrrrr.  This episode also highlighted something else – Zeeshaan’s attitude to the girls on his team.  As you’ll see in the task, he isn’t open to suggestions from Natalie or Leah, and they find themselves struggling to be heard in the meetings and phonecalls.  That kind of behaviour isn’t likely to go unnoticed, and tempers flare in the boardroom – seriously, Twitter blew up when Natalie did.  And with Lord Sugar’s recent(ish) problems with a former Apprentice winner accusing him of all sorts of negligent and horrible behaviour in the workplace, I think he knew that as soon as this kind of problem arose, it needed to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

So here it comes, the DTSFT roundup of arguably one of this series’ less interesting episodes…

“Pack your camels, we’re going to Dubai” Jason sounding like Daddy Warbucks

More gratuitous abs from Myles

More gratuitous abs from Myles

Alex wearing a Gatsby swimming suit...okay, it COULD be a vest and shorts, I suppose

Alex wearing a Gatsby swimming suit…okay, it COULD be a vest and shorts, I suppose

This stupid face by Luisa

This stupid face by Luisa

The repeated mentions of Zeeshaan having lived in Dubai, which we all know counts as foreshadowing, right?

The way the narrator said “DOO-BYE”

This lonely pink woman, obviously wondering to herself,

This lonely pink woman, obviously wondering to herself, “WHAT DOTH LIFE?”

The weird moment when Lord Sugar appeared on a TV screen like the Wizard of Oz, held up by what looks like a shoddily constructed Argos flat-pack pedestal

The weird moment when Lord Sugar appeared on a TV screen like the Wizard of Oz, held up by what looks like a shoddily constructed Argos flat-pack pedestal

Zee checking his watch while Leah put herself forward for Project Manager.  RUDE!

Myles bragging about his glamorous lifestyle and living in Monaco – I can live with that, Myles baby!

Zee educating his team on what the more confusing items on the list were – and getting them wrong…

Luisa’s joyful “Let’s go shoppiiiing!” as if it were a girly trip.

I’m sure that most of the time, Kurt is sleeping with eyes open.

I’m sure that most of the time, Kurt is sleeping with eyes open.

The moment that I realised Jordan was actually wearing bright green trousers out in public

When Leah defied Zee’s instructions, and told their driver to take them to the mall instead… TENSION

How I cringed every time Jason opened his mouth – seriously, it was embarrassing.

Likewise, Luisa’s drawling “Thhhhaaaaank yeeeewwwww” JUST GROW UP, WOMAN!

The inches to centimetres disaster – it’s a simple mistake to make, I suppose, but one that messed things up for their team big time!

Karren Brady’s facial expressions throughout were priceless in this episode

Karren Brady’s facial expressions throughout were priceless in this episode

Doesn’t anyone around these people get irritated by them using their phones on loud speaker all the bloody time?

Leah’s pronunciation of “ounce” confusing the locals – ayyyuuuunssssss

Alex being offered a good price on ‘fresh viagra’ and replying “I don’t need any of that – I’m from Wales!”

Jason’s speaking to the man about the falcon, in the most dumbed down English, complete with actions – oh god, how I cringed!

Nick’s facial expression after the other team walk past out of the same flag shop…

Nick’s facial expression after the other team walk past out of the same flag shop…

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 16.37.29

…and his facial expression at the boys when their mistake became clear…

The 6 foot flag...

…the mistake being this, the ‘6 foot’ flag.

Zeeshaan’s “Let’s head out boys” to Kurt and, er, Natalie

Neil :“I’m in a very very rush”

When Myles said “What if it’s miles away from being finished?” I wondered if he felt weird using his own name in a sentence without it referring to himself.

Nick looking like a PIMP in his hat

Nick looking like a PIMP in his hat

Kurt is either very sick or very evil

Kurt is either very sick or very evil

More gratuitous Myles shots - he’s a banger, what can I say?

More gratuitous Myles shots – he’s a banger, what can I say?

Jason, Luisa and Jordan thinking that this word is the same as ‘Oud’

Jason, Luisa and Jordan thinking that this word is the same as ‘Oud’.  They got a ‘looking’ task wrong.

Jason saying “You’re a generous people” then bowing hahaha

The way the lovely David Walliams lookalike in the shop demonstrated what an oud actually is

The way the lovely David Walliams lookalike in the shop demonstrated what an oud actually is

Leah’s miserable face, pouting every few seconds

Leah’s miserable face, pouting every few seconds

When this man could have just written “WRONG” instead

When this man could have just written “WRONG” instead

Alex and Zee looking annoyed because they turned up to the boardroom party wearing the same thing

Alex and Zee looking annoyed because they turned up to the boardroom party wearing the same thing

Zee’s team not missing a beat when asked if he was a good boss or not – “Terrible!”

Nick: “In fact Alex, you raised one of those… eyebrows of yours…” brilliant

Lord Sugar messing up his joke.  He meant to say “Thank god I didn’t send you out for 20 camels, you’d have come back with a packet of fags”, but instead he said “camems” You ruined your own joke, Al.

Nick (about the little flag): “It would look like a pimple on an elephant, Alan – this hotel is three times the size of the Kremlin!”

Seriously…

Seriously…

…what is wrong…

…what is wrong…

…with Kurt’s eyes?

…with Kurt’s eyes?

I’m not even planning those screen shots. I press pause and that’s what he looks like.

Lord Sugar: “Anyway, Myles… Kurt would call you kilometres, most probably” See, you CAN do a joke right!

Kurt not getting the joke straight away

Kurt not getting the joke straight away

A masterpiece, “The Painted Misery Guts”

A masterpiece, “The Painted Misery Guts”

This cocktail wanker wearing a neckerchief - there’s no excuse, mate

This cocktail wanker wearing a neckerchief – there’s no excuse, mate

Good business sense dictates that when you know you’re going home, get as much as you can from the establishment - that includes free sugar. It's a good thing Leah's a doctor...

Good business sense dictates that when you know you’re going home, get as much as you can from the establishment – that includes free sugar. It’s a good thing Leah’s a doctor…

When Leah and Alex sat perfectly still for a few seconds and looked like a pair of creepy dolls in a house of horror

When Leah and Alex sat perfectly still for a few seconds and looked like a pair of creepy dolls in a house of horrors

The lesser-spotted receptionist appears on screen!

Her computer isn’t even on, lazy bitch

Her computer isn’t even on, lazy bitch

Neil’s manky neck beard - spellcheck keeps trying to change ‘manky’ into ‘manly’, which is wrong. Maybe there is a time and a place for a neckerchief… that time is now, Neil.

Neil’s manky neck beard – spellcheck keeps trying to change ‘manky’ into ‘manly’, which is wrong. Maybe there is a time and a place for a neckerchief… that time is now, Neil.

Cheering at the screen when Natalie let loose about how Zeeshaan treated the girls on his team – I think that it was a little bit shoe-horned in, but it wasn’t completely untrue.  You’ll see it if you watch it back.

Like I said, this was one of the less interesting episodes of the series so far, so here’s hoping that next week will be better – the teams will have to organise a corporate away-day, you know those stupid team-building things? Yeah, that kind of thing.  Looks like it could be a good one!  Let us know your thoughts on this episode…

Liked ‘Pitch Perfect’? 5 Other Great “Teen Flicks” You Should Revisit

pitch-perfect-thumb-550x285-51915

Over the past few weeks on Twitter I have been raving about Pitch Perfect. I went to see the film early on in the year and enjoyed it much more than I’d anticipated. (I attended an afternoon showing and was surrounded by groups of teenagers. My own personal hell.) The trailer for Pitch Perfect was first released in late 2012 and did show some very basic similarities to Glee – modern songs being sung differently. (This can be said of Moulin Rouge! but I digress.) From the trailer it could clearly be seen that there was more snark in Pitch Perfect. I have nothing against Glee really but the trailer was making it very clear that this wasn’t a high school film. Yes it was a group of girls singing acapella, but they were at college. Very important difference…

After encouraging a friend to watch the film (he loved it) I started thinking about other “teen” films that can be elevated above “teen fodder”.

Last year/beginning of this year, Ultra Culture launched a kickstarter project to fund a documentary ‘Beyond Clueless’ looking at teen cinema from 1995 – 2004. This is worth keeping an eye out for, but this is just me talking about five teen films that I have particularly enjoyed over the past…nearly twenty years.

Clueless (1995)

When this film came out I was six or seven so, needless to say, I didn’t watch it at the cinema. This was one of those films that I remember recording on VHS from BBC2. Pretty sure I watched it obsessively for quite a while and probably before the BBFC recommended age of 12. The film created a world that was completely different for me. It is such a highly stylised vision of Beverly Hills – very wealthy Beverly Hills. It had its own language (way before Juno), specific style features and it seemed like the most fun place you could live.

The dialogue was specific to the era and the surroundings and is one of the defining features of the film – you can get t-shirts from truffleshuffle or go to a Quote Along at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. There was even a celebrated Clueless reunion by Entertainment Weekly late last year.

I think this was also the beginning of updates of classic fiction, at least for a teen audience. Unless you’ve read the novel you would have to be told that Clueless is an adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen.

0930-clueless-landscape

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Here is another teen update but this time tackling Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It worked for Kiss Me Kate so it was worth another try. The film gave us a great soundtrack with pop songs mixed with rock and American classics. Heath Ledger had a full leading role and Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a mid-3rd Rock from the Sun film outing. There was Julia Stiles (pre-Bourne and… Dexter), Larisa Oleynik post-The Secret Life of Alex Mack and the wonderful Allison Janney before she became forevermore C.J. Cregg. The inclusion of Janney in the cast signifies, for me, an aspect that helps to raise many of these films from the stereotypical teen films – they have great adult characters played by incredible actors. (Who wasn’t slightly terrified but in awe of Dan Hedaya as Cher’s dad in Clueless, or the adorableness of Wallace Shawn and Twink Caplan as Mr Hall and Miss Geist?)

[One of my first memories of watching this film was at school, because we were studying The Taming of the Shrew. They thought it would help. But then skipped past any ‘risque’ bits. We were all over 12 and I’m sure we could’ve coped with seeing a penis being drawn on David Krumholtz’s face. Especially as most people had already seen it. But that’s more of a lame anecdote than discussions of the film.]

These films are just so much fun. The characters are sparky, the dialogue ranges from insipid and childish to highly intelligent. Although the characters are quite…specific, there are aspects to each of them that you can relate to. Then there’s the poem. Both cringeworthy and heartbreaking depending on your mood. And who doesn’t leave the film singing ‘I Want You To Want Me’?

10-things-i-hate-about-you-1-1

Bring It On (2000)

Bear with me for this one. This might be because I have affection for a film I saw and was obsessed with when I was 12. It is definitely on the chick flick side of the teen film genre and I might be seeing this film through the eyes of my 12-year-old self… But I can see a lot of similarities between this film and Pitch Perfect. Not the “love interest” bit, but the competitiveness between teams and the dialogue, particularly the dialogue.

You are being a cheer-tator Torrance

Vs.

A-ca-sucse me?

Or

“Cheer sex” v. “toner” (may only make sense if you’ve seen the films)

This combination of real words with film specific words seems unique to these two films. (This is probably not true but I don’t know the other films/can’t think of them right now.)

But besides the seeming similarities to Pitch Perfect I can also appreciate moments throughout the film. Yes I quite like Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku (I knew her from Buffy so, of course) and Jesse Bradford is cute. So I like the leads but I also really like the ‘set pieces’. The difference here being that these set pieces are cheering – be they rehearsals, football/basketball matches or competitions. And I also really like a lot of the music. So, yes, I may be viewing the film through the eyes of someone who grew up obsessed with it, but what’s wrong with that?

Bring-It-On-movies-8700294-1500-983

Mean Girls (2004)

This is the film that seemed to give Tina Fey the push she needed to be seen beyond Saturday Night Live, before 30 Rock. And this was back when Lindsay Lohan could sell a decent film and no-one really knew who Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried were. Now McAdams and Seyfried can sell a film and Lohan… Well? Let’s not go there.

This film works by focusing on the cliques that exist in high school – possibly much more in evidence in US schools than UK… My school didn’t have that many people. And was single-sex school… The cliques have been updated since Clueless (explained to Tai by Cher) and 10 Things I Hate About You (explained to Cameron by Michael) because that’s true of society. This is another more female based comedy. I’m sure you don’t have to be a girl to enjoy it but it is definitely more relatable, just like Brave is more relatable for mothers and daughters (in my opinion).

The other interesting aspect of the film is the narration and animal kingdom metaphor. The constant ‘girl world’ versus ‘animal world’ discussions can be a little annoying but at least there’s a point there.

And let’s not forget the great adult characters. They may be a little on the periphery, but the inclusion of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Tim Meadows just add some gravitas to the proceedings. Even when Poehler acts as the worst mother ever.

image

Easy A (2010)

This is possibly my favourite of the lot and this is mostly due to the cast. The cast is incredible. Emma Stone owns the film (and garnered a Golden Globe nomination – the only nomination for any of these films) and is ably supported by her perfect parents Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. Then there’s Thomas Haden Church, Malcolm McDowell, Penn Badgley and Lisa Kudrow.

The story is sort of loosely (very loosely) based on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but this is very self-aware and mentioned throughout in comparison to 10 Things I Hate About You and Clueless. The self-awareness of this aspect leads to a greater understanding of the nature of the rest of the film.

There is also a wonderful fondness for 80s films, particularly of the John Hughes ouvre. (Making the reverence for The Breakfast Club in Pitch Perfect feel a little ‘been there, done that’ but I’m okay with that.)

The dialogue, as with all of these films, is great with many standout moments that I don’t want to step on here. Just watch it. And ignore the awful American pronunciation of the ‘British slang’. You’ll see/hear when you get there. But don’t forget the ‘worst song ever’ that WILL get stuck in your head.

Emma Stone as "Olive Penderghast" in Screen Gems' EASY A.

Those are my picks. I’m realising that a lot of these are more female-oriented but I’m slightly gender biased anyway… And I haven’t chosen any classic films – maybe an 80s post will come later.

S x

The Apprentice, Episode 4 – DTSFT Roundup

b0071b63

Yes folks, it’s that time of the week again where I ramble on about The Apprentice and post it on the internet for nobody to read. If you guys knew that I watched the episode as soon as it goes up on iPlayer in order to get some good screenshots… I’m sure it’d make no difference.

This week, the morons were set to a task of setting up a farm shop, which involved deciding what produce they were going to sell and then doing all that other business stuff that no-one REALLY cares about.  We just wanted to see the stuck-up ‘entrepreneurs’ getting muddy and struggling to milk cows, right? There was ever more picking on Jason – he needs to start sticking up for himself a little more, I think.  It’s not fair for them to keep singling out his weakness (which is his politeness and class, something that many of the others are lacking in) but he needs to man up a little bit and stand up for himself.  Surprise behaviour of the week though came from Neil and his shocking attitude toward his team – cutting them off and cutting them down, this man was abrasive throughout the episode and I know that he’s tussled for control in the tasks where he hasn’t been project manager, but his conduct tonight showed that he’s more of a dictator than anything else.  Luisa, however…. well, she’s all eyelashes and lipgloss, really, let’s be honest.  She’s got a bitchy way of talking to people, but can turn in a second into a flirty little nymph – the boys seem to be hip to it now though.

These tasks where they have to spend a lot of time in another world are always fun to watch – how many times do you reckon these lollipops in expensive suits have mucked in and actually done physical work like milking cows?  Although as ever, Alex stood out for me this week; he might have some dodgy eyebrows, but the man gets involved and gives every task all the enthusiasm he has.  Big respect for you, A-Dawg!

Anyhoo, let’s move onto the roundup, our favourite bits in no particular order:

“I don’t know what’s worse - getting woken up or getting woken up by Luisa”

“I don’t know what’s worse – getting woken up or getting woken up by Luisa”

When Kurt’s head became an elbow

When Kurt’s head became an elbow

The teams naming their shops…

Buffalocal

Buffalocal

Fruity Cow

Fruity Cow

Luisa’s arrogance throughout the entire task – which I assume will extend to the entire series. Luisa, you’re cruisin’ for a bruising’ – I’m sick of her!

Jordan’s bizarre boardroom behaviour before and after the results

Myles referring to Jason as a trickless pony – I mean, I love Jason but that was funny!

The moment I was convinced that Lord Sugar was going to scream “CAN YOU DIG IT?” and then all hell would break loose

The moment I was convinced that Lord Sugar was going to scream “CAN YOU DIG IT?” and then all hell would break loose

How Luisa and Chinny McForehead aren’t even bothering to hide their alliance, as shown by their matching accessories - bitches stick together until things falls apart, girls, remember that. I can’t wait until they’re forced to sell one another out.

How Luisa and Chinny McForehead aren’t even bothering to hide their alliance, as shown by their matching accessories – bitches stick together until things falls apart, girls, remember that. I can’t wait until they’re forced to sell one another out.

Uzma getting embarrassed at having to talk to PEOPLE on the STREETS!  “Blackberries, sir? Hehehe… this is not cool” Bless her.

Poor little Jason, in the role as a kitchen worker – like I said, I’m getting a bit tired of how rude the team members are towards him

Rebecca getting shut down in her request to be Project Manager – not just by pussy-whipped Jordan but MYLES.  You’re supposed to be a knight in shining, washboard-abs uh I mean armour.

Kurt looking ever closer to death

Kurt looking ever closer to death

Neil’s team hitting up a supermarket for apple-juice in the middle of a task centred around farm produce.

The fact that there is such a thing as an apple-juice specialist…

The dirty facial hair brought to the table by Neil and Kurt

Myles grabbing some sweet ass, giving it to Jordan reeeeal good

Myles grabbing some sweet ass, giving it to Jordan reeeeal good

Alex’s idea that the team should sell cheese on toast

This delightful find on Youtube:


The lip action from all the ladies on this task, some seriously ugly pouting!

Natalie mistaking a cow for a horse, then a dog… She will never live that moment down

The frolicking animals that didn’t give a damn about who Lord Sugar was or how much money he has – they’re having a great time and they know it

Jordan’s small-man syndrome getting the better of him again, whereby he was overcome with triumphant glee at winning the task again “GET IN!”

Luisa sulking because she got told by Lord Sugar that the team only won the task because of their hard work, and not hers

Luisa sulking because she got told by Lord Sugar that the team only won the task because of their hard work, and not hers

Jordan’s “I’m hitting that” face and Luisa’s “Oh a lady never tells, but I’m not a lady I’m a slut” face - I can’t even hide how much I dislike this girl.

Jordan’s “I’m hitting that” face and Luisa’s “Oh a lady never tells, but I’m not a lady I’m a slut” face – I can’t even hide how much I dislike this girl.

Various ducks, loving life - and rightly so

Various ducks, loving life – and rightly so

When I momentarily thought Myles had no trousers on and thanked every god I was aware of

When I momentarily thought Myles had no trousers on and thanked every god I was aware of

Jason repeatedly telling everyone that the apples are “gorrrrgeous” he basically purred it each time, posh accent and everything.

Alex’s lovely Welsh accent making everything sound like fun

Buffalocal not giving samples for the soup because it tastes disgusting…

The mannequin that we all secretly hoped (admit it) would come to life halfway through their ideas session, to scare the crap out of them

The mannequin that we all secretly hoped (admit it) would come to life halfway through their ideas session, to scare the crap out of them

An Uzma, moments before she tore out Neil's throat and DEGGY SMASHED

An Uzma, moments before she tore out Neil’s throat and DEGGY SMASHED

The rural Eastenders-titles rip-off

The rural Eastenders-titles rip-off

This lovely shot of the countryside and the sky

This lovely shot of the countryside and the sky

UZMA DEGGY CORN BANABAMANA? The woman was trying to spruce up the place with decoratively placed pieces of corn. Ridiculous.

Bad-ass leather jacket grandma and a man with a burger hat…

Bad-ass leather jacket grandma and a man with a burger hat…

Myles straight up grafting on this task, kudos to you man - it’s the kind of dedication that builds those sweet, sweet abs

Myles straight up grafting on this task, kudos to you man – it’s the kind of dedication that builds those sweet, sweet abs

The final montage of the teams selling their produce, when I was convinced that they’d burst out into “Who Will Buy This Wonderful Morning” from Oliver Twist

The look from Lord Sugar that said “If your team loses, Jordan, you’re so out on your arse”

Jordan’s stupid face

Jordan’s stupid face

Kurt’s constant struggle with staying awake. He needs a square meal and a good sleep

Kurt’s constant struggle with staying awake. He needs a square meal and a good sleep

As seen in this picture, when he hears the other team are getting a four-course, slap up meal as a prize.

As seen in this picture, when he hears the other team are getting a four-course, slap up meal as a prize.

Next week episode sees the remaining contestants doing one of those tasks where they have to travel around and get all the items from a list at the best price.  The twist is that they’re taking the task to Dubai – good luck flirting your way through the tasks there, Luisa.

Let us know what you thought of this episode, and stay tuned for the next episode and roundup – which will be on TUESDAY not Wednesday!