Grace Jones once made me wait five hours for a performance of hers at a South Beach nightclub around twenty years ago and I have soured on her ever since. Maybe I am still bitter about that because I got so utterly bored watching ‘Bloodlight and Bami,’ the documentary about her directed by Sophie Fiennes. I know she is an eccentric character, a diva, a larger than life human being, but I just didn’t get that in this film. I thought the sequences dragged, and the live performances, sandwiched between the documentary scenes, were just okay. I think she is fine on record, and her ‘La Vie En Rose’ is iconic (it’s seen briefly here as a performance for a French television show) but this just dragged on for me.
Whenever people hear that I love perfume (and collect) more often than not, they always ask me ‘Do you have Frederic Malle?’ The snarky reply would be ‘Of course, any perfumista has,’ but of course I am much nicer than that (most of the time) Truth is, I love Malle perfumes, and for me collecting all of them would be more ‘aspirational’ than anything else because of their price. But sure, I own a couple of bottles and honestly, use them sparingly. I would love to own all of them and use them everyday, but of course, the likelihood of that happening is tiny.
The other side to that equation is that the perfume snob that I am, I now kind of look at the brand with some wary. It has become so popular, every knows about them, people consider it the Hermes bag of perfumes, and frankly, a lot of people wear them. So now I kind of put my nose up on them. But in my heart of hearts, I love them because in the end, they are good perfumes, done well with fantastic ingredients. I mean, you see where your money is going when you purchase a bottle.
Which brings me to Outrageous. This is a collaboration between Malle and Sophia Grojsman, who Malle considered as some kind of idol. And why not? She created Opium and Paris for YSL. This was originally a Barney’s Co Op exclusive from way back, and I always thought of it as ‘diffusion Malle’ because it was priced more accessibly. I have had numerous samples of this, but never really immersed myself into it. Recently, it has now been added to Malle’s regular roster, and I got another sample recently, and tried it.
It’s a beauty. A nice tropical cocktail of a perfume perfect for the higher temperature days to come. It has breezy notes of tangerine and green apple, and bergamot makes it zing. It has cinammon that rounds it up, and is finished off with white musk that is not generic smelling. It is full-bodied but feels light, and it stayed with me for hours, which is unusual for a citrusy scent, proving the worthiness of its price point. It seems a tad dated, like this was something from the nineties or early aughts – but that could be me projecting – I don’t know why, but it feels like an Annick Goutal to me for some reason. Nowadays, this is not terribly niche-y in unique wise. But all in all, I would be happy to add this to my collection, as it were. Just don’t ask me if I have it.
I recently moved and had to deal with realizing that I could not bring a lot of material things with me. I mentioned this to the manager of my new building and she said, “you will realize you will not miss them.” I had to stop for a second and realized she is right. From the moment I left them I had let go of them and life is about the journey moving forward. What you leave behind is at times not as important.
But is it? ‘Nostalgia’ laments on remembrance, on what we leave behind, and how important those things are in our lives. It presents interlocking stories threaded upon an insurance agent (John Ortiz) who assess things. It used to be that physical mementos are what we use to remember people. But nowadays with social media abound, that may no longer be true. These stories are touching and affecting. Ellen Burstyn plays a woman whose house has burned down and has to deal with what of her things are left behind. She is fantastic here – subtle but showing deep emotion. She manages to save a beloved baseball and flies to Las Vegas to have it appraised (by Jon Hamm) and he picks up the story as he goes home and deals with parents who have left a house full of memories behind as they retire in Florida.
This is a very internal film – much of what happens is not said, but felt. I thought the whole film very touching, and as I took a long walk after, made me think about a lot of things, of what things ultimately matter in my life.
Ending the New Year in a quiet note – there are a lot of life-changing changes coming up for me, and I am just sitting and contemplating what the year has been for me. It was good, it was not so good, but I survived and 2018 will be great. I know, I can feel it already.
I am watching the CNN coverage and I am missing Kathy griffin – this was a tough year for her but I hope she hears that she is missed – the two Andys are boring together, and Cohen seems smug and unlikable, dragging Cooper with him. And Mariah is salvaging what she ruined for herself last year – but barely.
I hope I get to feature everything I want to in the New Year.
I am such an Anglophile that a bunch of British people reciting the phone book to each other with their posh accents would be enough for me, and I would be entertained and delighted by it. So of course, I was equally delighted by ‘The Sense Of An Ending,’ which I think is a very British film – it’s very genteel, quite wholesome, and they all speak with impeccable British accents (well, it has a great British cast, so…)
Directed by Ritsh Batra from Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize winning novel, it is a drama with mystery aspects to it. Jim Broadbent stars as Tony Webster, a divorced elderly man, who one day finds out that he has inherited a diary of one his childhood friends, and he is baffled. He gets drawn into the narrative of why – and in the course connects with a childhood love interest, Veronica (Charlotte Rampling) There’s not much more to the story, to be honest, and even the ‘big reveal’ is just much ado about something light, but I was taken by the actors. These felt like normal, everyday people – British people – who I wanted to meet in my normal, everyday life. I fancied their story, even if perhaps they aren’t fantastic or bombastic. Normal people really lead simple, normal lives most of the times. I also like the film’s message, which is cherish the moment, for you may never get them again.
Ansel Elgort stars in ‘November Criminals’ and I bet this film was shot before this year’s hit ‘Baby Driver’ because this is such a bland film that no one would ever think this would be a good follow up after that film. Here he stars as Addison, a teenager whose friend is killed. For no real valid reason, he becomes obsessed with finding out who his friend’s killer is, and doesn’t really map out to us why we should care either. As a murder mystery, it’s a bit of a dud. The resolution felt commonplace and perhaps that’s just the jaded side of me talking. But there’s more here. This film is also a quasi romantic story between him and Phoebe, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Both actors seem to be bored by the film, and who can really blame them. I can’t think of anything about this film i could recommend.
I have been listening to Emilie Claire Barlow for a while now, having discovered her on a trip to Montreal many years ago. She has just released her second Holiday album, ‘Lumieres D’Hiver’ (Winter Lights) and I think it is my favorite Holiday album so far this year.
Most of the songs are in French, and it really gives a different atmosphere when you are listening to ‘White Christmas’ and ‘The Christmas Waltz’ in French. One of my favorite recent Holiday songs is Wilson Phillips’ ‘Hey Santa’ and she does a great arrangement of that here, and yes, sings it in French. And she does a very minor arrangement of ‘I’ll be Home For Christmas’ that is weirdly sadder than normal. She includes some original compositions – ‘Le Darnier Noel,’ and the title track – and they are wonderful and evokes the same mood as the rest of her album. Her breathy jazzy vocals are the real highlight here, and provides just the right amount of warmth on a cold winter night.