Modern Bloom (Perfume Thoughts: Chloe Sevigny Little Flower, Regime des Fleurs)

375x500.56715I have been thinking of rose scents lately, and I just realized I have not written about Chloe Sevigny’s ‘Little Flower’ yet. I recently sampled it and fell in love with it instantly.  First of all, I know that Sevigny is a perfume lover, so I trust her with creating a fragrance. I also read that she wears Comme des Garcon Rose so it kind of makes sense that her first fragrance celebrates her favorite note – the rose.

And this is a wonderful rose – it is dewy and fresh. It is blended with tea – the black tea accord shows up quite early on my skin, breaking the freshness of the rose and making it instantly accessible. I sense some black currants next, which makes the fragrance a hint of juiciness. There is some citrus here as well (I see pomelo on the note list) and over all it is veiled in musky wood. That sounds, on paper, like it would go a boring route, but this is so well-blended and light that its freshness stays. This is a nice light modern rose fragrance that in theory should have been a cliche, but really smells youthful and modern. I love it, and I swear if the bottle was just a little cheaper I would have bought it instantly. Now, of course, I am thinking about it by the day. The sillage and longevity is on the quieter side, but then again, I was only working from a sample, and I am sure if I had a bottle, this would wear better on me with heavier application.  I don’t know how long I will last without this….

Stale Picture (Movie Thoughts: The Photograph)

12photograph‘The Photograph’ is this year’s Valentine movie, and it is a little different from the Fifty Shades franchise films, which dominated V Day weekend past couple of years.  is it a step up? I don’t know. At least the fifty shades movies had a little bit of camp factor. For a Hearts Day movie, I want something that will sweep me off my feet, and make me want to fall in love, or reminisce about an old one. Sad to say, I didn’t feel that after seeing this film.

I mean, the film is okay. It tells two parallel love stories – one in present day between Mae (Issa Rae) and Michael (LaKeith Stanfield) and also of Christine, Mae’s mom who just passed away. her story is from the 90s, and tells of a photographer who moved to New York City from Louisiana. Christine’s narrative is a little more compelling and interested in me more, and I like its old-fashioned vibe, a less melodramatic romantic pot boiler. Mae’s story serves no purpose, and Rae has such a cold screen presence that I lost interest in the film whenever she was on (Stanfield fared bit better) All in all, this wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really excite me as I thought it would.

There She Is (Movie Thoughts: Miss Americana)

05yud4gp81b41I was never a huge fan of Taylor Swift, though, of course, she has been in my peripheral. I had her records of course (back when I used to collect them as physical pieces) and her songs are on my playlists, but I never stop and truly listen. But after watching ‘Miss Americana,’ I have a new found respect for her. I admit I am guilty of sometimes dismissing her, and I often cite the alleged Quincy Jones quote that he told her ‘a hook doesn’t make a song’ (I don’t know if that is an authetic quote, to be honest) But we see a glimpse of Swift in this documentary that is of a woman coming into her own, and I admire this woman. I think my doubt of her stems that she is from country music, and a lot of those folks seem to be conservative and anti-gay but here she shows herself to be not just a champion of equal right, but a fierce and loyal one. (“How can I go on stage and shout ‘Happy Pride Month’if I don’t take a stand) And when she sees the how horrible Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn is in her home state of Tennessee, she is implored to take a stand on her Instagram addressing her twelve million followers – against her management team, who tells her to not do it. You gotta give her props for that.

Still, you can tell she decides what she wants to share. Where is this ‘squad’ of friends that she reportedly has? And we really do not see this young man who she is supposedly in love with. To me, I am not heartbroken about not seeing those things but I bet her loyal fans are. But no mistake, this was an engrossing documentary that gave me a glimpse of a woman I can support, and you know what? It made me play and appreciate her new album, ‘Lover.’

How Green Is My Lily of The Valley? (Perfume Thoughts: Lucky, Dior Collection Privee)

375x500.48385This, from the Dior website, is Francois Demachy’s explanation why this scent is called, ‘Lucky.’

Christian Dior was very superstitious and would stitch a stem of lily of the valley into the seam of his dresses for good luck. I wanted to represent the perfume of this hidden lily of the valley, sewn into meters of silk, with a profusion of white flowers and freshness. The scent of his favorite flower gradually reveals itself. Lucky is a good luck charm and the perfume to wear whenever you want to cross your fingers.”

As you may have guessed, Lucky is a lily of the valley scent. It is a nice rendering of the flower, as it is able to capture its sweetness and its slight sour qualities. Lucky is also an aquatic scent – there’s a lot of ozone in it, and some green aquatics there too. It is very nice and elegant, and very versatile as well: it would match a business suit and a sequined gown both. But you feel like you have smelled it before (I hear comparison to the classic L’air du Temps) and I just think, this is from the Dior Private Collection? I guess I wanted something more bold, more imaginative. I won’t turn away a bottle, but I don’t think I will be actively seeking one.

Maybe It’s Me (Film Thoughts: Emma)

300x445It’s the weirdest thing. Autumn de Wilde’s ‘Emma’ check all the boxes in something I would love in a film. Jane Austen – check, romanticism – check, period piece – check. But about half an hour into it, I still was a little disengaged by the film. Sure, there are great performances, especially by Anya Taylor Johnson (int he title role) and Bill Nighy (playing Emma’s father) Plus there’s Josh O Connor, my newest crush, playing Mr. Elton, but nothing is landing for me in the film. Maybe I was exhausted from work and that is affecting my view of the film? Admittedly, the second half of the film perked up for me, but by then the moment has already been lost. One of these days i will see this film again and maybe it will be a better watch for me.

Seconds To Tears (Film thoughts: 37 Seconds)

37-Seconds-PosterWell, look at me. I was just bemoaning that there isn’t much to see nowadays, and we are in the doldrums of movie releases, when I see a film that is so good that it has invigorated my interest in seeing more films. Hikari’s ’37 Seconds’ is now streaming on Netflix and I cannot think of a better film to watch right this very minute.

The film is about Yuma (Mei Kayama) who is twenty three years old, and is suffering from cerebral palsy. She is mostly confined in a wheelchair, but she can use her upper body, and is in fact working as a manga illustrator, blind ghosting her cousin’s content. She knows her limitations in life, but yearns for more, and this movie explores her journey, and is a unique coming-of-age film, one that humanizes disabled people.

Yuma is stifled by her overbearing and overprotective mom, and the interesting dynamic when it seems like the mother feels emotionally dependent in her child. When Yuma tries to hawk her art to an adult manga company, she is told that her work is impressive, except for the sex scenes, which do not feel authentic. This sets off Yuma in an exploratory journey, which leads her to an experience that not only makes her know herself better, but physically takes her to Thailand.

The film takes a slower pace than usual so you have to be a little patient with it, but when ti does get moving, you will feel instantly engrossed. This is a frank film with adult themes, but it never felt salacious. You won’t be able to resist identifying with Yuma, and when she gets her revelation in the end, I was solely with her, copious tears and all.  This is an emotional film that will get you to feel, and feel you must.

Her Eyes, Their Eyes (Film Thoughts: The Assistant)

11teaserbox_956032298Kitty Green’s ‘The Assistant’ is a quiet film.  The beginning part of it can be slow and tedious (and seemingly pointless, even) as we watch Jane go through the motions of preparing the office for her boss, a powerful film executive. She sets the coffee machine, tidies up his office, prints her agenda. We see this somewhat as a voyeur, waiting for something to happen, but really not much does. We understand just by watching her how her day feels – redundant, exhaustive. But as the day comes along, we see the intricacies of her job. While we never see her boss, we feel him constantly, whether when his wife calls looking for him, or when Jane picks up used syringes from his table to put in red plastic toxic bags.  Let’s be frank – this story is firmly based on the #metoo movement, and the offices are much too close to be Miramax that to deny it would be futile.

The latter half of the film is powerful. We see, more subtly than explicitly, all the horrific actions this executive does. A young woman flies from Utah to be a new assistant and is billeted at The Mark where said executive meets her, another young lady shows up at the office for a ‘meeting’ in the middle of the day, and yet another one is there in the evening. Everyone turns a blind eye, and it becomes all too overwhelming for Jane. Two months into the job, she goes to the connecting building for Human Resources, and that scene is for the books. You’ve been there, you go to HR and you know that they will never be on your side, they only care about the company. Julia Garner as Jane plows through the whole move with intensity, you feel every emotion her character does. I think it works that she is a mostly unknown actress – to have cast this with a bigger name would have been distracting tot the character. The movie feels so real it almost feels like a documentary, and I am even sure the truth is even stranger than what we have here. This film will hit you at the core.