Ah, the house of Roja Dove. To me, it is the modern day equivalent of Creed. This house makes very nice perfumes, and they are very expensive. I don’t think I have ever written about a scent from this house before, because… I can’t even bother. At $300 (and higher) a bottle, I cannot justify the price. I have to love something so much for me to pay that price, and the one or two scents of theirs I have sniffed have not made me feel that way. But here we are. Neiman Marcus sent me a sample of their newest fragrance, ‘Elixir,’ and since we don’t go out anymore, I might as well sample the scent on a random Wednesday night.
It is beautiful – a bright floral. It has a rose heart and some fruits on top – peach and raspberry I think. Then a bunch of flowers join the party – I get some violets and lily of the valley among others. It doesn’t matter. It is expertly blended and this is one of those springy perfumes – it sings and soars. I can see people wearing this to Easter Services and brunch afterwards. Do I like it? Yes, very much so. Am I in love with it? Well, yes, but I do not love it enough to pay for its price. I mean, it’s a fruity floral – a gorgeous one, but for three hundred smackaroos I want my perfume to do a song and dance. So… no sale.
There are a lot of things about Francois Girard’s ‘The Song of Names’ that appeal to me: the historical drama theme, the classical music, the Britishness of it. The story, based on Norman Lebrecht’s novel, and with screenplay by Jeffrey Caine is weaved intricately – a young violinist, on the night of his big concert, suddenly disappears on the same night, and we are there to piece everything together, moving both backwards and forward. But the heart of the film is set in the mid 80s, when Martin (played by Tim Roth) gets a clue on what happened that night to his friend Dovidl (Clive Owens) and pursues the latter’s whereabouts.
The film doesn’t really work in a lot of ways, buy for me, it sill works. As a thriller, it is tepid, and the direction is much too low key for it to be really suspenseful. But there’s a quiet dignity to the whole thing, and Roth plays the role with expert subtlety. When the ‘big reveal’ is finally narrated, it isn’t as bombastic as you thought it would be, but it still packs intensity. And the music is breathtaking (Ray Chen plays the violin) and gives the film layers, along with Howard’s Shore’s score. I have family members who make fun of my film choices, saying I love ‘talkies.’ This film probably best describes what they mean, and I would gladly wear my admiration for it.
Thoughts on some films I have seen recently.
I have to admit it took a while for me to get into ‘International Falls.’ Initially, I thought the main characters in the film – Dee, an aspiring stand-up comic working at a hotel, and Tim, the visiting comic of the week – were uninteresting. To be honest, I almost gave up on it. But I kept on watching regardless. All in all, I still think the film was a little on the slow and dull side, but I have to admit the final twenty minutes was like a punch in the gut. I think maybe I finally warmed up to the film because of its theme of loneliness and how it affects all of us, and exacerbated by what we are all experiencing now, the message is timely.
They say lavender is one of the most soothing ‘smells’ and during these times, it is what a lot of ‘sense’ people recommend we sniff to make us calm. With all that is happening in teh world today, I couldn’t help hut test its effectiveness and pulled out my sample of Tom Ford’s Beau de Jour. I remember coming home one night and opening the mail box to find that Tom Ford has sent me a sample of his new release. But of course, perfumistas know that this is not a new release at all – this has been in his Private Collection since 2012 and I remember sniffing it then and not caring for it – I am not the biggest fans of lavender scents in general – the barbershop aesthetic doesn’t appeal that much to me. I feel it is much overused in men’s colognes, and the lavender perfumes that interest me are the ones that give the note a do-over. One small aside – I wonder what possessed Tom Ford to send me a sample? I mean, does he know the addresses of all perfume lovers and send them unsolicited samples?
The verdict – I still am not in love with this scent. I do have to say that it smells a little more elevated than all the other generic lavender scents out there, but only slightly so. This lavender is enhanced with mint, making it smell fougere-like. It is very aromatic, and it has great tenacious sillage and longevity, but overall I am still bored by it. I imagine it would work best if you are wearing a suit, and maybe for a woek related event it could suit me, but if I don’t ever smell it again, I would live.
In these dark, uncertain times, who knew it’s Tim Gunn’s soothing voice that will ultimately calm. Things may be rough out there right now because of this global pandemic, but at least all is well as far as fashion competition shows are concerned. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back together in Amazon Prime’s ‘Making the Cut’ and I suddenly realized how much miss them. I think except for a problematic season or two, I have always been a fan of Project Runway, and although I still watch and enjoy its current iteration, I found myself looking at these like old old friends, And this is a much free and confident twosome now – they know their worth and they probably got it and all they needed to do was show up. But I am sure, they had a lot of production input here (Tim mentions that he and Heidi helped choose the contestants) and as veterans of this genre, they know exactly what works, and what they wanted to retool int heir old format. So this is a classier version of what they used to do and it shows – you can see the Amazon money of having the contestants jet immediately to Paris on everyone’s first day. They are not saddled by any kind of corporate sponsorship, and have free reign on everything. It works, and well. I found myself enthralled and by the end of the first episode I had my own favorites among the contestants (Sander, for sure) so you know the show is expertly produced (contrast that with Netflix’s ‘Next in Fashion’ where I only started to care about the contestants halfway through) And the show is clear that it is looking for the next big brand, so there is definitely some commerce with the art here. On the first two challenges anyway, the designers are to present an ‘accesssible’ look that can be bought on Amazon right away – you can really feel them wanting to get the money they are spending. But that’s fine, as I don’t think they are keeping that fact a secret. As for the judging panel, I love Naomi Campbell already – I love every side eye and purposeful bitchy face she gives whenever she sees a garment she doesn’t like. Carinne Rotrifield, I feel, should be bitchier, and I don’t really mind Nicole Ritchie, to be honest. So you know that I will be watching for every episode of this show so you better be ready to read about it.
So I am not gonna lie. I wanted to see ‘Banana Split’ because of Dylan Sprouse. I mean, he is a cutie. I remember this was on the roster of the Los Angeles Film festival and it was such a hot ticket (because of Dylan Sprouse, I heard) and I had been awaiting its release since then. And now that I have seen it. I can say that this is a great movie – but not because of Dylan Sprouse. To be honest, he is the third lead here, and quite frankly, his role could have been played by any other young actor and it would not have made a difference.
A lot of people have compared this movie to ‘Lady Bird’ and I see why – it’s a story of a young woman graduating from High School and in the course of the summer before her Freshmen year finds a little bit more about herself. Hannah Marks stars and wrote this film based on her own experience. This film is also about women friendship, which in a lot of cases is a lot stronger than most romantic relationships. Think of this as a started Oprah-Gayle story. I think there are some lesbian undertones too, but I am not an expert on that. But Marks gives a great performance here, along with Liana Liberato, who plays Clara. I found myself thoroughly enjoying this film, and that is note even the Quarantine speaking.
I had the wrong idea. I knew that Luke Evans started in musical theater so I thought his first album would have songs from that genre. Or at the very least, I thought it would be an album of standards. But ‘At Last’ is mostly an album of pop covers. At first, I was a little disappointed by this, as I was expecting him to cover songs similar to ‘Gaston,’ from Beauty and the Beast. To be honest, I dismissed the album already. But I kept listening to it, and as I did, I started to like specific tracks one by one. I love the bombastic ‘Kissing You,’ and its harsh arrangement grew on me. And I know ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ from Roberta Flack’s original version, and I thought he did the song well here, infusing it with the right amount of tenderness and vulnerability. Although I never really warmed up to his versions of ‘With or Without You,’ (too much of the same) and ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ (I mean, don’t cover Cher) I appreciated that he did ‘Bring Him Home’ to at least give me a taste of his musical theater chops, though I think I would have preferred him to sing ‘Why God Why’ as I know he played Chris in the West End production of Miss Saigon. In the end, I appreciated this album more, and respect it.