Party and Play (Film Thoughts: Goodbye Seventies)

Todd Verow’s ‘Goodbye Seventies’ has a story that has been told numerous times already. It’s about a bunch of men in the 70s who start to make gay porn, and become successful at it, and then have heartbreaking ending, as the new decade ushers in AIDS. But Todd Verow is a different kind of filmmaker. Under his hands, his film becomes a celebration of a certain kind of smut film, so specific to the era. The movie is filmed like one of those films, complete with grainy film, stilted dialogue, awkward pauses. You will be transfixed watching this as if it is trying to hypnotize you. I admit not ‘getting’ it t first but once you get its wave length, you will understand (and appreciate) what exactly Verow is doing.

Boys, Always (Film Thoughts: To All The Boys Always & Forever)

Valentine’s Day is here again, and I normally just ignore this holiday but i was walking last night and felt that slight pang – seeing flower vendors on the street selling roses. But it passes – there’s always rom coms. And Netflix has released the final installment on their ‘To All The Boys Series,’ this one sub titled ‘Always and Forever.’

Directed by Michael Fimognari, we see our high school lover Lara Jean and Peter spend their Senior year in High School, and you know what that means – college applications, proms, and (though perhaps a little late) sex. The film offers no surprises in any of these fronts, but Lana Condor and Noah Centineo have mastered their chemistry that it hardly matters – you take everything easily, and it comes out sugary sweet like the cupcakes that Lara Jean bakes.

I wish I loved the film instead of just liking it though. I found it just a bit too long, and some of the situations felt forced, though the actors sell them well. Condor’s styling seems a little ‘off’ to me – I guess they are trying to make her look older – and Centineo seems a little bored (his body is jacked though) All in all, the film is not as memorable as the first one, but who are we kidding? The fans will lap this up.

Moments (Movie Thoughts: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things)

I was skeptical about Lev Grossman’s ‘The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.’ I mean, didn’t we just all watch ‘Palm Springs’ last year, and here we have the same conceit – the ‘infinite loop’ kind of day, but with teenage characters. But it promised me romantic comedy, and I am always game for that, so I acquiesced.

It’s not bad. I got bored with the Groundhog Day idea in the beginning, but the film is trying to say something: I think that we should enjoy tiny little ‘perfect moments’ because in the end that is what matters in life. In the Covid world we live in nowadays, it is resonating. There is some cute acting from the leads, so I didn’t get bored, and mostly believed what they are selling. But mostly, I felt like I have seen all of this before… as late as yesterday.

No Connection Morrison (Music Thoughts: Warm & Cozy, Barbara Morrison)

Sometimes you will just never ‘connect’ with a singer. Over the years, I have tried to listen to the singer Barbara Morisson, even seeing her live in concert, and I just felt…nothing. I find nothing unique with her voice – to me she sounds like any generic sounding ‘soul’ voice, and her lyrical interpretations leaves me very cold. But I still give her a chance with every new album she comes up with, to no success for me.

I feel the same with her new album ‘Warm & Cozy,’ which for me is anything but. Backed by Stuart Elster, to me her singing is colder than over. What’s worse, I think she has turned even pitchier, and the way she interprets lyrics to me a big loss.

Case in point: there should be a tinge of sadness in ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,’ but her version is of tone-deaf jubilance. Is she being improvisational, or she just does not respect the lyric? After that, I just got so bored with the rest fo the album. I felt wasted time.

Funny Pals (Movie Thoughts: Barb & Star go to Vista del Mar)

Josh Greenbaum’s ‘Barb & Star goes to Vista del Mar’ is definitely odd… and silly. I don’t know if anyone has ever used those two words together in describing a film but I cannot think of two adjectives that are more apt. Kristen Wiig and Annioe Mumulo both write and stars in this film, which sometimes feels like an overstretched and inflated SNL sketch. You have to re3ally ‘get’ it to enjoy it, and to be honest, I was only with them half of the time.

But I appreciate the silliness, and their total commitment to the piece. And they found a really dependable partner in Jamie Dornan, who flexes not his biceps here but his comedic chops. In my eyes, he became fifty shades hotter.

The silliness is sometimes just a tad too much for me, but I bet if caught on a airier mood I would enjoy this more.

For Fir (Scent Thoughts: Forest Walk, Sonoma Scent Studio)

I was at my friend’s house in the Bay Area recently and he has a pretty sizable perfume collection. I always like to go through his scents just to try some that I don’t have (though our wardrobes overlap a bit) He had one that caught my eye: Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio. Curiously, I don’t have anything from this house, even though I think their scents are pretty well done.

Forest Walk smells exactly as you think it would, like a walk in the forest. It starts with green fir, and then goes to honeyed amber and other resinous notes. It is quite interesting that it has a note that I would c all ‘moldy.’ smelling woodsy (cedar? oak?) Fragrantica lists one as ‘earthy notes’ and that could be it.

It’s a multi-layered scent and was perfect for the forty degree weather over there. But I probably cannot wear this anymore in Southern California – it will probably ‘bloom’ in the wrong way. I can just appreciate it as I cannot imagine buying a bottle of this – it just isn’t me anymore.

Going Private (Film Thoughts: Pvt Chat)

When I first saw the blurb for ‘Pvy Chat,’ I thought it was kind of cheesy and just wasn’t for me. But I found that people were talking about it positively, so I said to myself how bad could it be? I have to say, after seeing the film, that it has to be one of the more interesting films I have watched this year.

Written and directed by Ben Hozie, the film is an exploration of a lot of things: online obsession, loneliness. Maybe that’s why it kind of resonated with me in these pandemic Zoom times. It is the story if a man, Jack, living in an apartment in Manhattan He spends his time playing blackjack online, and then the rest of the time he scours cam girl sites looking for Scarlett (Julia Fox) While you may think that he wants sex (or the idea of it) from Scarlett, he perks up when she. responds just wanting to talk to him.

The one day, as he walks around New York City Chinatown, he sees her. She has been lying to him, sayings he is based in San Francisco, and we get a glimpse into her life. I won’t say more, but the film takes interesting twists and turns, They are not unsurprising, but it made me think, and it certainly wasn’t boring. This is billed an ‘erotic love story,’ and it is sometimes quite uncomfortable to watch (I can’t imagine seeing this in a movie house) but I think there is great pay off if you give it a chance.

Supermen (Film Thoughts: Supernova)

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play an old married couple in Harry mcQueen’s ‘Supernova’ and they instantly click with you – there is a familiarity with both of them and you believe right away that these two actors have known each other for a while. Maybe it’s a look they give each other, a pat on each person’s arm, but you instantly feel comfortable with them. Both of them give masterful performances here, full of subtlety. There is no need for histrionics here, a simple glance or nod can express a multitude of emotions.

I wish I liked the film they are in more. The dialogue at times feel inauthentic and pretentious (even as both try to sell them as convincingly as they can) and the film suffers from a little too much self-indulgence. A little plot would have been nice as well, besides the basic premise. I found my mind wandering at parts of the film, as magnetic as the actors are. There is only so much they can do.

It’s Good to Sin (Television Thoughts: It’s A Sin, BBC4)

I was right – I had a nagging feeling that the show, as I watched it, would break my heart. I can’t remember watching. show that made me cry so much. Maybe because I have some personal stake in this show, as I lived through what most of these characters did, and saw what they experienced. In a way, it was like seeing departed friends go through their experiences again, and with the same unhappy ending,

I know the show is getting accolades, and I think it’s well deserved. My most favorite actor in the series is Lydia West, who plays Jill. She is the heart of this piece, as she is the witness to how the disease has ravaged her friends one by one. I remember West from years and Years, where she had a smaller role, but she is front and center here, and well worth your time. I have to say that I found Olly Alexander more than competent as well, and frankly, I had doubts since I never saw him act before.

The best thing about the show is how it captured the spirit of the times – the way the times started as fun, how the early 80s carried over the sexual liberation of the 70s, until everything went to a halt because of the virus. I remember how the mood changed from carefree, to denial, to fear, to acceptance and the dread of what is happening to the gay community. Younger gays who are so lackadaisical about AIDS can learn or two from this show. Humanity can learn a thing or three about how to be kind to one another from this show.

Best and Free (Perfume Thoughts: Libre Eau de Parfum, YSL)

YSL Libre is my favorite perfume…that I don’t own. I remember sniffing this when it first came out and loving it instantly. But I never did get a full bottle of it. I would go to Sephora and spray…but I always say that as soon as I get a deal for it, I would buy it, but never did. Today I found a sample of the Eau de Parfum, and I am reminded of how gorgeous it is: and it blooms differently today in the cold-ish Southern California weather.

It’s an orange blossom scent, for sure, one fo y favorite notes of late. Mixed with lavender, it gives a unisex vibe, even though it is marketed towards womens. My favorite thing about the scent? It has a chamomile note that is calming and gives the perfume a ‘cold’ demeanor.

The scent also feels ‘dressed up,’ akin to the YSL Tuxedo. I can see wearing it with a dinner jacket on a formal event. As I wear it to the office, it adds sheen to my office wear. I would say for me this is the best commercial; release in recent years,