Monday, August 16, 2010

Movie Review #12: Ever After (1998)

It was 1998. Being a young kid in the 90's, you could see the ever changing tastes of the generation that could be considered something of a "low tolerance for classic story telling" sort of group. But then came the trailer for Ever After (1998). One of the first films of it's "period style" kind to be marketed with modern techno music in the trailer, all of us 90's kids got extremely excited to see this fresh re-telling of Cinderella. Then the actual movie came out and it was even better than the trailer.

Our re-telling takes us into the sad life of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a once proud daughter, who due to the death of her beloved father, is now forced into the life of a servant by her evil step mother (Angelica Houston) and two step sisters. One day she encounters Prince Henry (Dougary Scott), and this meeting starts their hilarious and adorable back and forth banter. But when Danielle goes to save a servant friend sold for slavery, she dresses as a high class woman. This then sparks the conflict when Henry sees her as this other person she isn't (even taking up her mother's name rather than her own.) This is what makes this film so interesting, the risk of a double life and the abuse of social class privileges.

Historical figures and moments make appearances in the tale, such as Leonardo da Vinci and the first tasting of Chocolate (and it being brought over to France from Spain). Another thing that stands out in this version is how Danielle definitely isn't your typical heroine. She wrestles in the mug with boys, swims in the river, punches Step Sisters and fights with swords. She's very inspirational and fun to watch, especially since Ms.Barrymore plays her to perfection.

The Step Sisters though steal the movie in my opinion, along with Danielle's servant friends. They all are played by fantastic actresses who obviously know what they are doing when it comes to comedic timing. But Anjelica Houston is the true outstanding performance in the piece. Her chemistry is electric and very fantastical to look at, especially when her evil side comes out in full force. You can see why she got chosen for the role.

Of course, the costumes are fantastic as well. The notable dress being that of Danielle's Mothers Dress, decorated with sequin and giant white wings (made by Da Vinci in the movie). It's one of those memorable outfits, along with Danielle's Queen outfit.

But what about the romance? I find this to be one of the most adorable relationships on film. Though we only get to know The Prince of the original tale too late and nothing other then his handsome appearance and him putting on a shoe, now we get to see true character development and why the two classic characters fell for one another.

My only slight problem with the film was that of some tiny plot holes. In the beginning, The Brother's Grimm come to what seems to be the house of an older woman, who claims to be Danielle's great great grand-daughter. My problem with this though is that it is never fully explained or made further. It would have been much more interesting if they had had the characters ask more questions as the story went on. It seems they were left in the dust and this element almost could have been taken away, but shouldn't in the slightest.

Another small problem I have is Danielle's relationship to her Father. Even though it's shown that Danielle is given the book "Utopia", she later says that her father would read it to her night after night. This along with the complete understanding of her relationship to her father, is left incomplete. This also brings about the importance of her mother's dress. Yes, Danielle never knew her mother but it would have been much better if her Father had discussed Danielle's mother much more. This makes the dress scenes even more important to the plot. Basically, if they had made even more scenes involving the Father's importance in Danielle's life, the understanding would be that much greater.

So overall, should you watch Ever After? Of course~ La Vida Frills gives this new Cindy 4 out of 5, it's almost perfection to a T, but with the slight plot holes make it's whole glass slipper a bit hard to fit on our heroine's feet.

Wait, what's the next review? Check out a trailer here.

LVF UPDATE: It seems another convention appearance is blooming towards the area of The Jacob Javits Center - further details to come soon!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dress Up Time #3: Thumbelina (1994 Don Bluth Version)

Thumbelina is one of the more popular non-Disney girls. Created by Don Bluth, she's probably the most iconic image of the fairy tale heroine on film. Sadly, though I adore this film, it's not a very well spoken of movie as apposed to it's successors (oh Disney you!). But all kidding aside, Thumbelina is nothing short of adorable. I love her design which includes her outfit too! Which is why I chose her as this weeks "Dress Up Time" subject.

First off, Thumbelina is everything her name says: She is no bigger then your thumb. A tiny princess with a lack of fairy wings, Thumbelina brings a happy look on life about the world around her, even if she can't really see all of it. With a great gun-ho attitude and interest in finding out more about her surroundings, she's very fun to follow in terms of a plot. Though, because of her innocent, she tends to make some silly decisions. We still love her tho
ugh.But what about dressing the part of Thumbelina? Hoping to catch a fairy prince with a special coordinate? Here is my idea of what to wear.

First off, any sort of blue with white, or white with blue jumperskirt or one piece will do fine. Just remember that it either should just be a piece with short princess sleeves (nothing longer). I went with a classic bold and simple Baby piece that has a nice empire waist style. Even though Thumbelina seems to wear a corset that is mint, I find that it isn't really required. If you like that look though, I found this one from a store called Matalan. If you chose a jumperskirt, go with a nice white short sleeved princess style cutsew or blouse. This one from Baby is precious, but also Anna House makes a blouse that would go great with this.

Next, jewelry and accessories are key in this outfit. Thumbelina wears her beautiful long hair in a tight high styled pony tail. To glam it up, put a nice sax colored headband on. I chose one of Baby's two side bow pieces, adorned with crystals (but not nessecary.) For a nice finishing touch, remember to put in small white flowers into your hair as well. I chose some nice flower clips from a search I did on google, but Forever 21 and Claires has tons of similar pieces. You can even find nice fake flowers at a local craft store to add some originality! Most importantly, don't forget your necklace of flower petals! The Fairy Prince gives these to Thumbelina, so it's important to have this as an accent piece. Forever 21 is where I found this simple piece, but again many of these style necklaces are easy to find in any stylish mall store.

To add the final touch, remember to wear a nice pair of either sax or mint ballet flat shoes! I found these on a ballerina store site, but if you do a search on ebay you can find them eventually. If you'd want bonus points, when it gets cold Thumbelina wears a giant red scarf. It'll keep you comfy as you go on your journey to find the fairies!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Dress Up Time, look out for more posts this week!

La Vida Life ~ Season of Lolita ~ LVF Style

I recently was looking at a post made by Lolita Charm and I thought I'd share my thoughts on my two favorite seasons return: Fall and Winter. It might be because I'm from the East Coast and I was born in the month of January, but I am a lover of the bitter frost, the magnificent sky dance that resembles sparkles, and the best excuse for me to down a hot chocolate or apple cider repeatedly.

These months represent a lot for me. Both in that it means I've reached another year on this insane planet and that I've also accomplished another milestone in my education. But now, as lolita has become more and more apart of my daily life, I'm really thinking about how I want to represent myself through the fashion seasonally. In the past, I would just flop a piece on regardless of the weather/season, what have you. Now I want to come up with a theme similar to that of Lolita Charm's winter ideas.

I'm joining the ranks of Miss Charm by dawning more of my favorite color combinations of Pink and Black along with Black and White. Maybe it's because I secretly was a goth kid back in my teen years, but I truly love this elegant and fun combo. Brands like Chantily and even Baby have lovely elegant yet sweet touched pieces that work for what I'm planning on.

But since those ideas have already been expressed, I bring about my personal lolita goals. I'm currently on a bit of a weight lose journey of sorts, as I gained back almost 30 of the 40 pounds I lost in my senior year of high school. As a motivational tool, I'm really hoping I can get my arms into a much better shape and my waist line much better, so I can finally wear non-shirred pieces without feeling like I'm trapped in a cave of an uncomfortable status.

Along with those goals, I have coordinating goals to go with that. This fall/winter season, I want to embrace two of my favorite colors. Red and Black more. Not together, but I want to wear them more. I already mentioned my feelings on Black, but what about Red?

Ever since I knew that I was a pale brunette, Red has been my best friend. Red is not exactly a great color on every single person, but for years people have told me I wear it very well, as I am starting to see more and embrace. With that in mind, I plan on going into a red purchasing explosion. My Red Tea Party shoes for start are my absolute favorite shoes, but I don't have enough outfits to wear them with. Now, this up coming season, it will change! Here's an outfit to prove my love:

This is my absolute dream christmas outfit! Ever since I saw this dress last year, I knew I needed it to wear during the holidays. Fortunately, because of it's less then popular sales, Baby has kept it on the website for a decent price. Hopefully though, it will be decreased even more on price as the months continue to pass (Maybe even a lucky pack item perchance?)

Along with a pair of cream tights, I think this outfit would work perfectly for a christmas party or holiday event for sure!

The whole idea is my new adding of sweet victorian and rococo themes to my outfits. Though I do love OTT Sweet, for special events like the annual Christmas Party and time with the family, I'd really like to take a more fancy approach to my garb. Maybe it's my introduction to Dolly-Kei or my complete obsession with my thesis film ("Rococo Time Travel Feminism" Movie anyone?), but a more slight old world charm to my style is what I'm loving right now.

I'd also love to include a slight parisian look to my outfits. This also comes from my thesis research, and my obsession with Jean Cocteu, but anything slightly french style I can add to my outfits, I shall do! Basically, if the outfit resembles Fantastic Dolly in color or scheme, I'm set!

So, what will you be doing for the upcoming fall and winter season in your wardrobe? I'd love to hear! Maybe it'll give me some ideas too!

I'd like to celebrate our new milestone of 80 followers! Thanks everyone for spreading the word about LVF! I'll hopefully be going to more events in the near future, and giving business cards whenever possible. So please continue to frill it up if you can, the love is appreciated. Look out for another movie review along with a new Dress Up Time post.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Movie Review #11: The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)

I'm taking it that many of you reading this are in some sort of education right now. Your probably learning about things that bore you to death, such as history of wars and etc. Though I'm one that fancy's those sorts of lessons (more then the mathematical or science lesson), I know a great deal of young ladies now a days don't enjoy these sorts of discussions. But what if you were to learn of the back story of such subjects? The love affairs that took place, the personal battles that were held. It might not be as boring right?

So Today, we are going to have an English History lesson. The subject? The romance of Mr. Robert Browning and Ms. Elizabeth Barrett. Both poets and dreamers, these two are the main characters in our film today. The film? The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934). Starring Norma Shearer, Charles Laughton, and my favorite leading man to ever be on film, Fredric March. This film tells the story of their romance and of Elizabeth's Father's hatred of his daughter leaving him.

The film starts off with Elizabeth, recovering from an undiscovered illness, speaking to her doctor and siblings. We soon learn that though she loves her family, one ugly shadow looms over the household, Edward Barrett, her father. Psychologically abusing Elizabeth into believing her sickness to be perminant, Edward is noted at this point as the "villan" or antagonist of the film.

Along with many other enjoyable characters, we then are introduced to Robert. Though I can be extremely biased when it comes to any perfomance by March, I find this to be on the top of my list. Bringing a sense of charm and excitement to a role that could have been played very drippy and calm, March breathes life into the character.

This is a key film that best represents the amazing chemistry between March and Shearer. Giving what I believe to be her best performance, Shearer showcases her understanding of the character and her great volume in emotion. I truly believe that she is who she is playing. This also goes for Laughton. Known for playing these sort of dark roles, he perfectly expresses the hidden anger and frustration that Edward is in a whole.
My only complaint about the film would be it's length. Some scenes are dragged out, while others that should be longer are shortened. But this was based on a play, which was a length of almost 3 hours, so take what you can from it.
Overall, this movie is a classic. It's sad to see that it's appreciation has withered with time itself. It's very hard to find and I could only get in on VHS (I plan to transfer it to DVD though) The good thing is, If you have the channel TCM, they do show it usually every 1 - 3 months, depending on the programming theme. Otherwise, you might be able to find it online.
LVF gives Elizabeth and Robert Browning's love story 5 out of 5 headbows. Go fourth and enjoy the drama!
But what will be next weeks movie? Here's a trailer.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Otakon: The Frillz-Con

My 7th Otakon just passed. It was glorious to say the least. The best thing is this years Otakon had an incredible amount of frills to share and to be celebrated. With guests such as goth/punk lolita designer H.naoto and model/musician kanon, along with tons of events (two fashion shows, a swap meet and a panel on natural j-fashion) it was definitely the frilliest of cons to happen this year.

Though many of us from the East Coast have been jealous of the West Coast and French girls for getting so many fabulous events, we finally got a bit more of a taste of the con culture cattering to our interests. The best I could say came from Kinokuniya Bookstore's brand booth, sponsored by my favorite magazine Kera. Featuring my two favorite brands, Angelic Pretty and Baby, along with punk brands Sex Pot Revenge and Black Peace Now, this was the place to shop at. Sadly, the prices were extremely jacked up, but I did manage to make one purchase. I got myself one of AP's glitter bow hair barettes that went with Jelly Jewelry oh so perfectly.

The other booth that was amazing was none other then h.naoto's own spot. Selling from very trimmed down to regularly priced items, I made my first official h.naoto purchase and fell in love with his designs. The purchase was a heart shaped purse, decorated in lace and Alice in Wonderland elements. I found out some interesting information, h.Naoto is trying to bring more awareness to a Western market and is trimming his prices to make a better profit. Though not my favorite brand, I'm glad to know naoto is taking a notice to our wallet size and interest in purchasing the real deal rather then knock-offs because of the price. My purse, which would usually cost $70 - $100, only cost a nice $40 with taxes. So yes girls, there is hope for reasonably priced brand soon!

Both Fashion Shows were fantastic as well. I helped with the Ultimate Fashion Show this year, and other then a annoying techniqual difficulty on part with the technology (which will be fixed for next year.), it went great. The designs themselves were great. My personal favorite was The Moby Dick Print by Morrigan NYC along with all the work by Perinth and I Do Declare!

h.Naoto's show was a great mixture of his more sophisticated punk pieces with some lolita elements. One piece I truly am craving is an almost jsk piece with a black laced hoodie attached. Naoto then went to discuss his design theories, and his wished adventures to the infamous Hooters, which brought in a big laugh. But truly, it was the best Lolita fashion show I had ever been to in my Lolita life. Though Fashion Festa was amazing to see Angelic Pretty, this was an experience that has yet to be matched.

Then came the Swap Meet. Though I unfortunately attended too late this year, I was able to snag a great deal on a piece I had wanted, for only $60 and a two item swap. It's a red plaid jumperskirt piece from Baby, with an amazing amount of shirring and a bustle to die for (my two favorite things in lolita.)

The best though came from the Artist Alley. Infamous and adorable jewelry designer Minty Mix was one of the stars, selling what I happen to think is her best products ever. From candy hair clips, to cupcake and parfait necklace you'd hope were edible, these items are the cutest to have ever been seen. Other great artists on hand included Lolita's n Cream and Oh So Melissa.

Truly, all of the frills was a sight and a joy to say. I've already booked my room for Otakon 2011, in hopes that it will be another great year of friends, frills and smiles all weekend long. The next big event for La Vida Frills is New York Comic Con/Anime Fest, where I might be doing some special things (keep you posted.)
If you'd like to see the other photos from this year, you can check out my Flickr set here. There also will be a vlog video post soon (One my laptop is fixed so I can go ahead and edit the footage.)
Also, I think it's about time for a new movie review. Don't you? Here's a clip from the next post coming up.

(Photo of I Do Declare from Best Photography)