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  • Have you seen the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ yet? It’s the first film, with an all female (and predominately black) cast, to remain the Number 1 movie in America for two weeks in a row since 2011’s ‘The Help,’ according to Huffington Post!

    And after Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the movie is poised to surpass the $100 million dollar mark.

    Yas, kween!

    DF-03283_R3 - Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae, left), Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) celebrate their stunning achievements in one of the greatest operations in history. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

    Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae, left), Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) celebrate their stunning achievements in one of the greatest operations in history. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox Film Corp. h/t Huffington Post

    What’s also extraordinary about the 60s-era gender and race-barrier-breaking movie is the costuming by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus who recently a nomination for Excellence in Period Film by the Costume Designers Guild of America (CFDA).

    #hiddenfigures visiting the set in love with #1960#costumes I loved the #hug

    A post shared by ReneeEhrlichKalfus (@reneekalfus) on

     

    “In many ways it’s not a flashy picture, so the costumes have a fresh reality in a period way that’s not… flashy,” Ehrlich Kalfus tells Fashionista. To create the stunning looks seen in the movie, Ehrlich Kalfus referenced vintage issues of Ebony magazine, while adhering to NASA’s ironclad rules for office attire.

    However, Ehrlich Kalfus managed to find inventiveness and individuality when it came to the film’s vibrant looks.

    Regarding Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson)’s costuming, she adds: “There was some liberty in terms of colors, styles and shapes, because she did make her own clothes and I took advantage of that.”

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    Photo Credit: Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox Film Corp. h/t Fashionista

    Vivid and rich colors abound in ‘Hidden Figures,’ including 60s-era jewel-toned 2-piece suits and soft prints — a sharp contrast to the male costuming of white button-down shirts and black ties.

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    Photo Credit: Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox Film Corp. h/t Fashionista

    Ehrich Kalfus lays out Katherine Johnson’s first moment at NASA in the movie: “When she enters into that place, they don’t want her,” she points out. “They think she’s the janitor. The guy hands her a trash can.” She adds,”subliminally, here she is in this powerful color amongst all these guys who are all just the same.”

    And in addition to receiving a CFDA nomination for ‘Hidden Figures,’ the costumer is also proud of the moment when the real Katherine Johnson saw the gorgeous, female-forward costuming. “They brought the movie down to the real Katherine G. Johnson, who’s 98 years old, and she walked out and says, ‘I wore those clothes!'” Ehrlich Kalfus tells Fashionista. “That was a high compliment that she felt that she saw herself up on the screen, which was wonderful. That’s sweet, right?”

    Right!

     

  • Courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

    Courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

    How much do we really know someone? That’s the main question posed by Claire in Motion, a quiet, uneasy new film co-written and directed by Lisa Robinson and Annie J. Howell. A sort of hybrid mystery/character study, the movie stars Betsy Brandt (best known for her role as Marie Schrader in Breaking Bad) as a math professor at a Midwestern university whose husband—a fellow academician—fails to return from a hiking trek. There’s no hysteria or big, crashing emotions in this missing-persons drama; conversely, it’s a slowly-unfolding account of a woman traditionally ruled by logic and order, as she comes to terms with the unexpected and (initially) incomprehensible.

    When Claire Hunger’s husband Paul, an ornithology professor and nature-loving survivalist type, fails to return from his solo hiking trek on schedule, she doesn’t immediately panic. That emotion sets in slowly as the days turn into weeks, the police call off their fruitless search, and the couple’s young son Connor (an exceptionally poised Zev Haworth) begins to accept the inevitable—that his father probably died somewhere out in the wilderness. Even then, however, Claire refuses to believe Paul is gone and keeps going back into the woods to hunt for him. (Overcast skies and a slightly greenish palette give everything a heavy, muted tone that accentuates the sense of disquiet.) When the town’s police chief mentions having interviewed a grad student with whom Paul was working on an art project, the usually under-control Claire is clearly rattled.

    Courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

    Courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

    It’s just the beginning of an uncomfortable, borderline-hostile series of meetings with Allison (Anna Margaret Hollyman, very convincing), an “artist-blogger-inventor” who clearly knew a side of Paul that was hidden to Claire, mainly his interest in art and a desire for freedom. As Connor is drawn to the warm, free-spirited Allison, whose breezy declarations and intense interest in Claire verge on creepy, the latter becomes more upset as she comes to the realization that Paul had some major secrets. (She repeatedly watches a seemingly prophetic home video in which he asks her to look at him. “I am looking at you,” she replies, frustrated. “You’re not, not really,” is his sad response.) Though she doesn’t let on to Connor, who has come to his own conclusions, the grief-struck Claire is profoundly shaken by Allison and her relationship with Paul.

    As Claire’s reserve finally weakens, she starts to unravel and question. At one point she gets drunk in a local bar and runs into an ex-student in the ladies room. “Did I seem to know what I was doing?,” she wonders about the class she taught. That same night she drunkenly philosophizes to a pseudo love interest about her attraction to math as an antidote to all the uncertainty in the world. Brandt is quite good in this role, her watchful, slightly aloof demeanor finally cracking under duress, but never into full-blown hysteria, which would be unnatural for a woman like Claire.

    Courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

    Courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

    Eventually she seemingly acknowledges realities about both Paul and herself, tentatively accepting the very freedom and uncertainty that’s so foreign to her. Aside from its naturalistic performances and thoughtful, unhurried pace, Claire in Motion boasts realistically flawed characters and a plot that’s mysterious enough to keep us watching and wondering. That’s no mean achievement.

    Claire in Motion opens on Friday, January 13, at Cinema Village and on-demand.

    Marina Zogbi

  • Sayonara 2016! As we wait to learn and experience more of what this new 2017th year of existence has in store for all of us, one positive thing is for certain: New year = new start!

    And for starters, there are a few epic moments that we already know will happen in 2017. Check out three of the most amazing below. Happy new year!

    Alexander McQueen Biopic 

    Announced in late October 2016,  a biopic, based on the Alexander McQueen biography “Blood Beneath the Skin” by Andrew Wilson will start filming Spring 2017, and will hit movie theaters later the same year.

    Starring former “Skins” heartthrob Jack O’Connell, all of buzzy buzz surrounding this movie seem to unanimously agree that the actor closely resembles the troubled designer, who committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 40.

    We can’t wait to see McQueen’s incredible life story be brought to life.

    Below Alexander McQueen, left and actor Jack O’Connell

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    Photo Credit: Getty

    Gingham, Ruffles and Wide Legs, Oh My! 

    Key clothing trends to expect in 2017 are ruffles, gingham, and wide legged pants — items that you might still have in your closet from seasons past, might be ready to take centerstage again.

    Below: London Fashion Week Looks from L-R: Toga, Peter Pilotto, House of Holland, Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard. 

    mtqxnjgxmzqyntgznjc4otix Photo Credit: Imaxtree/Fashionista

    More Over, “It” Bag, Make Way For Mini Purses

    When Nicolas Ghesquiere debuted an iPhone case shaped like a bag October 2016, little did we know that there was a bigger trend afoot. More mini purses, small enough to only hold your smartphone, has emerged from labels like Chloé, Valentino, and Dior.

    CALL TIME TOMORROW 10.AM @louisvuitton #lvss17

    A post shared by 🆖 (@nicolasghesquiere) on

     

     

  • every-brilliant-thing-posterIt’s fitting that HBO is choosing to air Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey’s Every Brilliant Thing during the holiday season (starting on Monday). Their filmed version of the one-character play of the same name about depression, suicide and survival is funny, moving and heartening—appropriate viewing at a time of year when many people are not feeling their psychological best despite all the trappings of merriment. Recorded over three performances at the Barrow Street Theatre in 2015, Every Brilliant Thing stars British comedian Jonny Donahoe (best known in the UK for his comedy band Jonny and the Baptists), who co-wrote it with Duncan Macmillan.

    We enter the small theater-in-the-round along with the audience, as they file in and take their seats. Donahoe, a stocky, cheerful sort, distributes pieces of paper containing various phrases and instructs the recipients to yell them out at his signal. He then proceeds to tell his character’s decade-spanning life story, punctuated by the items of the show’s title. “Every Brilliant Thing” refers to an inventory of things to live for, started by Donahoe’s narrator at the age of seven when his mother first tried to kill herself. The list—which begins with “ice cream”—would become a running theme in his life, disappearing,  resurfacing, and evolving as he got older (“Hairdressers who listen to what you want”).

    Courtesy of HBO

    Courtesy of HBO

    Aside from calling out list entries, audience members are enlisted to impersonate people in the narrator’s life during crucial moments: his father, a veterinarian who puts down his pet dog, a love interest who becomes his wife. It’s a testament to Donahoe’s warmth and enthusiasm that he is able to pull these volunteers into his orbit so easily as he moves among them (the film has no doubt culled the best of the three live shows). Caught up in his story, they rise to the occasion and their improvisations with Donahoe are incredibly moving. We’re shown a lot of audience reaction in general; clearly they are as important to the show as the narrator.

    As the list numbers into the hundreds of thousands—we only hear sporadic entries—and the narrator grows up, it gets more specific (“The prospect of dressing up as a Mexican wrestler) and, when he falls in love, romantic. At one point, life gets particularly rough and he struggles to keep the list going. Though the subject is depression, including specific references to the guilt of suicides’ children and the “Werther Effect” (the contagious nature of suicides), there is much humor throughout. The audience participation and interaction, such a crucial aspect of the play, appropriately relates to its subject matter: it’s the opposite of the isolation that often accompanies depression.

    every-brilliant-audience

    Music, mostly blues and soul, is referenced and heard throughout the show (including Donohue singing and accompanying himself on a keyboard) and there are a few short, blurry reenactment video clips, which don’t take away from the actual show. Given the audience’s stellar performance, one wonders if they received any preparation and how the filming process might have impacted the play. Whatever the case, Every Brilliant Thing is a great hour of entertainment and a very poignant piece of theater.

    “If you live a long life and get to the end of it without once feeling depressed, you probably haven’t been paying attention.”

    Every Brilliant Thing premieres on HBO on December 26 at 8 pm.

    Marina Zogbi