In Between (Film Thoughts: Limbo)

A comedy about Syrian refugees en route to London? Why not? Scottish director Ben Sharrock’s ‘Limbo’ crafts a film with very dry comedy and aching melancholy. In it, a young man, Omar (Amir El-Masry) is part of a group trapped in the Scottish isles. It’s sort of a halfway home for refugees. In there, they are in ‘limbo.’ Most of them have escaped the Syrian war, and is in the process of getting acclimated before plunging into their new homes (they are also waiting for their paperwork to be processed) Call it the Island created by red tape. Omar is an accomplished musician in Syria, and he is carrying with him his grandfather’s oud, which is a combination tambourine and guitar. Omar’s parents are in Istanbul, and his brother is left in Syria fighting the war. He is not only physically in limbo, he is emotionally hanging as well – a part of him wants to stay home and fight, another wants to be with his family, and another wants to move on in the world. Sharrok balances the comedy and absurdity and drama pretty well – you feel the longing in all their meanings here. Masry is great, able to show sadness in just his eyes, You find yourself smiling but also feeling his ache.

Almondy (Perfume Thoughts: Gris Charnel, BDK Parfums)

When I was last at Luckyscent, I saw this new perfume niche house called BDK Parfums. It is based in France, at the Palais Royal in Paris and I knew I just had to check it out. It must be good if it can stand along Serrge Lutens, among many prestigious brands. Apparently, the most popular of the line is Gris Charnel. Look at the copy to describe it:

Quai Saint-Bernard, near the Jardin des Plantes, the first couples arrive at the Tino-Rossi garden. As the night falls, the number of dancers increases and the bleachers fill up. Under the silver moon and the lights of the tourist barges that criss-cross the quay a few meters away, the bodies mingle to the rhythm of the music. It is then that two glances cross paths. A discreet invitation brings them to the center of the track. As if they were carried away, they dance in the heat of the night. From this hand-to-hand seduction punctuated by knowing smiles, they end up slipping away to give free flow to more carnal desires. In the early morning, the sheets give off a scent of sleepless nights, mischievous and lascivious embraces.

Doesn’t it make it sound so interesting?

It is, and it’s a well-done perfume. It’s so well-blended that no big note comes out in the beginning, although I could sense a black tea base. I think there’s some fig in the beginning but I struggle to get it. I do get a calming cardamom there, and a woodsy heart. The base is a soothing sandalwood/tonka bean blend and I sense some vanilla. But it’s not gourmandy, this scent smells like a perfume. While reading about it, I saw someone describe this as smelling like toasted almonds, and now I can’t get that out of my head. This skews more cold-weather and masculine than anything else, but maybe that’s my body chemistry as well.

I do like it a lot, and when I first sprayed loved it even more. As the day wore on, I realize I admire it more. If I were in a place where it’s mostly cold, I probably would like it more.

Old Spice (Television Thoughts: Girls5Eva, Pilot, Peacock)

From NBC’s Peacock comes ‘Girls5Eva,’ a funny new show from Meredith Scardino, and executive produced by Tina Fey. One minute into this show, you know it’s by Fey – witty dialogues, characters who celebrate their quirkiness, and topical jokes. And I must say, I just saw the first episode, and I laughed more than I have in a long time. It’s irreverent, inside-y, and just my vibe. It’s about a former girl group in the early aughts who have seen better days. The girls are now middle aged and basically has-beens. When a hot rapper samples their biggest hit, they get ‘rediscovered,’ and become suddenly the old new hot thing. The jokes write themselves, and they are hilarious.

It’s stacked with a great cast – Busy Philips is the ditzy blonde, Sara Bareilles is the flower who finds her new bloom, Paula Pell is the gay now-out member (you know there is always one) And Renee Elise Goldsberry is the Diana Ross/Beyonce of the group. There’s a fifth member, and she dies via a infinity pool accident.

By the end of the pilot. we see the group reunited. And we root for them because finally in their middle age, these women are able to maybe get success in their own terms. Will they suceed? I just might subscribe to Peacock Premium just to find out,

A Bloody Bore Telecast (Television Thoughts: The 2021 Oscars)

I know reviews are all over the map, but for me, the Oscars was a big interminable bore. It was so bad that at point I fell asleep int he middle of the telecast and I don’t even know if that ever happened to me ever during an Oscars telecast.

I miss a host. I miss someone in charge, doing comedy bits, making sure the ceremonies are in order and is moving along in a reasonable pace. The long speeches were so boring – these people so self involved wen they know they can go on and on and on. This was a weird year, yes I get it, but also, most of these films were very accessible, and people should have been more familiar with them.

The winners? Eh. I was happy for the Korean woman from Minari, but also was kind of rooting for Glenn Close. Speaking of which, her comedy bit jolted everyone out of slumber last night. I mean, she saved the ceremony, and deserves an Oscar just for that. And guess what, I was rooting for Antony Hopkins anyway, and fee his win for ‘The Father’ is well-deserved.

Boys Behaving Badly (Movie Thoughts: Here Are The Young Men)

2003 Dublin is the setting for Eoin Macken’s ‘Here Are The Young Men,’ and despite a talented cast, it falls flat. It’s one of those kids behaving badly kind of film, although a.real narrative would have been nice. I am sure the book is all fleshed out but what we get here is endless scenes of these kids gallivanting, getting drunk and taking pills, vandalizing and basically acting like bums. Dean-Charles Chapman has a strong movie star presence, and Anya Taylor-Joy shows up from The Queens Gambit to sing a Joy Division song. Those are basically the most interesting things in this wandering feature.

A Mix of Mix (Perfume Thoughts” Mixed Emotions, Byredo)

Byredo’s scents may not always work, but you can be assured they will always be interesting. I wore their new release, Mixed Emotion, today, and the first word that came to my mind if I were to describe it? Odd.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book. This is a scent that challenges, but at the same time gives a unique kind of pleasure for me. It’s a tea scent – Mate – and that note permeates the whole time you are wearing this. Combined with a very dry black currant, the mix is unusual, and at times it could be baffling, but I found myself sniffing my arm numerous times to get a whiff of it again and again.

This got me thinking that nowadays, a scent has to wow me for me to want a full bottle of it. Most times I like something upon sampling, but tell myself later on that I can live without it. This… makes me think, it makes me contemplate. It’s definitely unique, I will give it that, and for some reason I am particularly drawn tot his. But, in the end, would I want this in my wardrobe? I find I have so many scents that I am just wanting to finish. I think now I want perfumes that continually interest me, will keep me engaged even after a couple of wearings. I have mixed emotions about Mixed Emotions, and maybe that’s the point.

Gonna Go Through It Together (Film Thoughts: Together Together)

Nikole Bekwith’s ‘Together Together’ premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and I wanted to see this film so badly but couldn’t get a ticket, and I heard so many good things about it that I was determined to see this as soon as I can. And my instincts were right – this is a wonderful film, the first one that touched me deeply in a long while, and for now, my. favorite film of the year.

Bekwith takes the rom com genre and its tropes and spins it, flips it, reverses it. You think the movie is going somewhere familiar (and I was totally fine with that) but it upends itself and gives you something even more meaningful.

Patti Harrison plays Anna, who agrees to be the surrogate to single guy Matt (Ed Helms) Anna is fiercely independent and determined to make this a business arrangement. But we all know that nothing in life is such, and both characters learn to accept and feel.

Helms is terrific. I only know of him from his stupid comedies but he shows surprising sensitivity here. And Harrison is a find, a modern day romantic leading lady – I hesitate to add that she os tarns because all in all it doesn’t matter, but her performance here just proves that point more effectively than anything else. I found myself laughing and crying, and that last frame will haunt anyone forever. Run and go see this film.

Zoe Bossa (Music Thoughts: Shades of Love, Zoe Scott)

It’s 420, so let’s chill, and maybe listen to… bossa nova music? Sure, why not mon. Right now I am spinning Zoe Scott’s ‘Shades of Love’ and is fits the bill just right. Scott is apparently a rock artist who shifted gears and recorded an album of bossa nova music. She employs just the right light touch in here, with her versions of ‘Quiet Nights,’ ‘Wave,’ and ‘Once I Loved’ among others. She sets some pop songs in the same setting, like My Cherie Amour,’ and ‘Baby It’s You.’

She doesn’t do anything ground breaking but these tracks mostly work. Her versions of Amy Winehouse’s ‘You Know I’m No Good’ feels kind of gimmicky, and her “Triste’ lacks melancholy but for the most part these are nice pleasant versions of these songs,

Tagged (Movie Thoughts: Reefa)

It is interesting how graffiti has evolved over the years. Before, it was a bit of a nuisance. But nowadays, I would be the first one to pose ion front of it for the Gram. When I was last in Miami, I visited the Wynwood District where much if teh film ‘Reefa’ is set – it has walls and walls of beautiful artwork. This film, directed by Jessica Kavana Dorbusch, celebrates the short life of Israel Reefa Hernandez, an eighteen year old graffiti artist senselessly killed in Miami.

I like his art a lot, but I think the film falls short. It shows aa great passion for hsi art, and shows how this passion led to his demise. The screenplay has huge holes and the characterizations aren’t well established. The actors have great chemistry with each other – you believe this is a real family – but beyond that I don’t know if we really knew the characters well. I found myself wishing for something more. Still, Miami is photographed beautifully, with vibrant colors that match its people.

Yellow Rose (Perfume Thoughts: Born in Roma Yellow Dream, Valentino)

I bought something at Macy’s the other day and to my surprise, I found a sample vial of Valentino Born In Roma Yellow Dream in my bag. Mind you, I don’t think I have even smelled the original Valentino Born In Roma so have nothing to base this flanker on.

Based on the promotional material of this scent, the perfume only has three notes: lemon, rose, and white musk. And that’s a good sign for me – nothing extraneous, no bullcrap notes on paper. And for the most part, the scent delivers just that.

A big lemon blast opens upon spray. It’s a little on the synthetic side, but not the wort thing. Then a big bouquet of roses blooms, and it’s the fresh dewy kind. And that is basically it. the drydown is still a white-musk rose.

I honestly don’t mind it, but then again I have been on a rose kick lately.. It certainly feels ‘yellow’ with the citrus element in there. It’s an inoffensive, kinda boring scent, but it is also not as bad as it could have been. It skews more sporty, but with just the right touch of floral, and is perfect, say for running around grocery shopping on a Saturday morning. It’s a nice mid-weight summer scent.