I had such high hopes for Damian Harris’ ‘The Wilde Wedding.’ I mean, just look at that cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart, Minnie Driver! I knew it may one of those ‘lighter’ films but, really, I did not think it was going to be bad, like stinky bad.
The main matriarch Eve Wilde (Close) is getting married, and of course her whole extended family is coming, from all her marriages and all the accouterments that come with all her tangled relationships. And they do all come, each manufactured personality after another, presents, exes, futures. And they all get their own entanglements. But it’s all so confusing you cannot tell one relationship from another, and you stop caring not just about one or some of these characters but, really, all of them. By the time there’s some kind of big conflict towards the end, you roll your eyes, and when that conflict is given a ‘surprise’ twist, you continue to roll your eyes even as you have not unrolled them from your previous rolling. All I can think of is all the wasted talent in the space they are occupying. This was a total waste of my time.
Just like every other self-respecting gay boy of the 80s, I was a ‘Dynasty’ watcher. And of course, by transitivity, a Joan Collins fan – I, like everythng else, was awed and fascinated by Alexis Carrington Colby – her fabulousness, her glamour, her everything. My friends and I would reenact all of alexis and Krystle’s fight scenes from the show, adding even more dramatic effect. But was there ever a follow up project for her that matched Alexis? Maybe I wasn’t paying attention if there was.
Cue: ‘The Time Of Their Lives,’ where Collins plays Helen, a washed up actress from the 60s in a senior home. She finds out that the director of her biggest hit (we find out later he was her lover as well) has died and she wants to go to the funeral in Il de Re, France. However could she go from England to there, without having any money?
Well, there’s Priscilla (Pauline Collins) who accidentally gets trapped on her bus, and they go on a road trip together, getting into bumps along the way, of course, just like every other movie road trip out there. You can see the bumps a mile away, but you know what, both Collins have great rapport that you go along with it, even enjoy it.
Ultimately, this is all about Joan: there she is, larger than life, with her updo coif and Chanel jacket. There she is – self-deprecating, and down to earth. (The scene where she takes off her wig will break your heart) She is aspirational and relatable at the same time, and she is delicious every time she is on screen, with that boundless charisma. I lover her here, and I love this movie for existing.
Los Angeles has been kind of a second home to me of late. A lot of my close friends live there, and since it’s quite near to me, I find myself visiting often. Earlier this year, when Etat Libre d’Orange’s ‘You Or Someone Like You’ came out, I thought it would be very poetic to sniff it at Scent Bar, and I loved it. Unfortunately, they were sold out of it then, so I couldn’t get it. They gave me tons of samples of it, and I just found them today so I wore it. And I am still in love with it.
This is a creation by Chandler Burr, and based on his book of the same name. I remember reading the book when it first came out, and I wish I still had a copy of it – it would add a lot of texture to the perfume. Burr didn’t publish the notes of the perfume – he says that if you have to know the notes, then the perfume is not for you. I respect his stance, because a lot of times I like the perfume because I do, not necessarily because I like the notes that compose the scent. But ‘You Or Someone Like You’ is a green minty rose, with very big emphasis on the mint. There are other herbs with the mint, and the result is a slightly floral, even more slightly citrus minty herbaceous perfume. It’s unique, it’s very bright, it’s very ‘lit,’ and yes, it is very Los Angeles. It’s a sunny perfume, and it’s brightness is quite off-beat, and it’s very modern, which, really, is just like Los Angeles.
I still want it, and since Burr is an acquaintance (and a Facebook friend) I feel I really should own it, and when I get to LA next time, I think I should make steps to include it in my wardrobe.
‘Beach Rats’ is why I watch Independent Movies, because this film, directed by Eliza Hittman tells a story of someone interesting, who may not be the most sympathetic character out there, yet this person certainly makes a mark, and is someone you definitely will not forget.
Harris Dickinson plays Frankie, and in a star-making performance, and Frankie is a confused young man in a lot of ways. He spends his days with his posse looking and using drugs. His father is in a hospital bed in his house addled with cancer. He meets a young girl, and has conflicted feelings towards her. And he sleeps with men, picking them up in a hook up website. Dickinson plays all this with expertise, varied emotions playing all at once in his face.
Hittman sets all this up with vagueness- there are meanings between words, there are meanings between hos people act. We get lost in their world, and in our mind we device things to make things better for them – Frankie in one trip to the city could find the answers to all his confusion, but insists on not leaving the world he is comfortable in, yet this same comfort sets all the traps that causes all his unhappiness. In one scene, he goes home high and he tells his mom the drugs are an escape.
And as much as we get lost in their world, there’s also a desire to get out of there. Like Frankie, we feel the trap – things happen everyday, and they change, but there is no real change. Some have criticized the ending, but I love its free form, its non-answer to a lingering question.
‘Beach Rats’ stirred a lot of emotions in me – it made me despair, helpless, thankful. And Harris, with his soulful magnetic presence will be a huge star, mark my words.
Seth MacFarlane is back with a new album, “In Full Swing,” and it is a counterpart of his previous album, “No One Ever Tells You.” That one was a ballads album, full of longing and melancholy. And you know how I like those things, so obviously I loved that album. I find myself liking this one, too. He can do ‘happy’ as well as he does sad, apparently. This album is full of jovial swing, and he sings, and swings, these songs effortlessly. The tracks move from one song to another with great ease, and they will make you happy, move, and you cannot help but be in a good mood after listening to the album. There’s that.
But there’s this. His albums (including ‘No One Ever Tells You’) do not resonate with me after. Technically, they’re good. But his singing doesn’t connect with me, for whatever reason. I will compare him to Michael Buble, for example, whose singing does. They both do pretty much the same thing, but Buble touches me. I don’t know why, is it the phrasing?
To me, Seth’s albums are perfect for cocktail parties where someone, for example, would ask, “who is that singing?’ then I would answer Seth, and they would say, the one from Family Guy? And I say yes.
Young people still fall in love, right? In the movies nowadays, they rarely do. I guess a lot of the young have ‘moved on,’ and they fall in love now on YouTube, on Snapchat, and many other forums, but on the movies, on the movies they are aren’t there. (Though, this year, two did at ‘Everything,Everything’)
Directed by Ibai Abad, ‘The Girl From The Song’ is a love story between Eric (Lewis Rainier) and Jo (Josephine Berry) meet in a London University. He’s a music geek, she’s a popular girl. They get into a hot and heavy romance, and then she leaves him to go to Burning Man with her friends. He gets insecure, sells his guitar to follow her, and the rest of the movie continues in the shadow of the 2014 Burning Man Music Festival in Nevada.
As I said before, young love. These kids are young, impetuous, compulsive. And in love. They make decisions based on what they feel, in the heat of the moment. We have all been there. You will see yourselves in these characters.
I love the feel of the movie – from the cloudy scenes in London town to dusty Nevada of Burning Man. I appreciated the international feel – it’s a Spanish production with the lovers played a British young man and a French young woman. And most of all, I felt nostalgic of feeling young love, for decades ago I felt the same thing.
I have to admit that, at some point, at some point I was getting addicted to Facebook. But I started to realize a lot of what I was reading was white noise. What I liked about Facebook was taking a slice of friends’ and acquaintances’ lives. But then everything else seem to have been dumped in there, and posts about politics drove me insane – with fake news on both sides, and I was starting to take political sides personally, like unfriending people who had opposite opinions. That’s when I started to pull back. I know where I stand, and don’t need to be convinced by it. I started to look at Facebook and concentrated more on Instagram where it’s a little less personal, and more private.
So what’s my point? I would like to think that I am a sane person. But what if a real certifiably crazy person gets obsessed with social media? That’s the story of Ingrid, the main character Ingrid on ‘Ingrid Goes West,’ which is Matt Spicer’s directorial debut. She is played by Aubrey Plaza. She really is a monster of a character but Plaza plays almost endearingly. When she reaches rock bottom, you feel sorry for her, even as you acknowledge everything she did to her Instagram obsession, Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) From the ‘depths’ of her nowhere, she moves to California so she can insert herself into Taylor’s glamorous life. Think of it as the Kardashan syndrome. Then what happens to her? The film comes close to a modern morality tale, but the film has other plans.
I like the film a lot, enough to recommend to people. I am honest enough to admit that I sometimes get excited if I saw someone who I have been following on Instagram so I can relate to Ingrid. But probably not enough to move across the country to move for that person. As a film, you will connect and disconnect with different characters here. This film entertained and made me think.