George Michael, Portrait of an Artist: Getting to Know the Real George Michael

Image courtesy of GCN.ie

Like so many people within the entertainment industry, George Michael would come to write a legacy that was inspiring, magnetic, and complex. A documentary, “George Michael, Portrait of an Artist,” that explores these elements of his history was released on June 25, what would have been Michael’s 60th birthday. Available on Amazon, Tubi, Peacock, Plex, and Xumo in the U.S. and Canada this film sets itself apart in the way it casts a light on George Michael’s legacy. Going beyond his issues with drug use and confronting his sexuality, we see the hidden layers of his intense love and fear of fame.

In the opening few minutes of the documentary, the viewer becomes aware that George Michael’s name was not George Michael, but a name that reflected his Greek heritage, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. To become the person he wanted to be, he built a new version of himself. While this person was somewhat based in reality, George Michael enhanced his personality with some well-placed stories, creating almost a caricature of himself. 

Image courtesy of mashable.com

Born in London in 1963, Michael would become the lead singer of the pop band Wham! Still known for the singles ‘’Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” and “Last Christmas,” the duo group took on the American Billboard 200 and hit #1 on the UK Album chart. Eventually selling over 120 million records worldwide and becoming one of the best-selling artists of the 1980s. 

During the years of Wham! Michael often surprised people with his enigmatic presence. Both Andrew Ridgley, the other half of the duo, and George Michael would complain about the unemployment they dealt with in the years before Wham! rather than discuss thoughts of them being destined for fame.

Images courtesy of pinterest.com and IMDB.com

In the years that followed the band’s breakup over musical differences, George Michael made a name for himself as a solo artist. As his singles and albums grew in fame, George Michael created a god-like image of himself. Part of his ability to create this larger-than-life persona was the way he used his sartorial influence and talent at being in front of the camera. Dancing and singing directly to the audience at home, whether in his solo performances or during the years of Wham!, his excitement and love of music was palpable.

“He was made to be a star,” was a version of the words many of those interviewed said in the documentary. Tom Robinson, a broadcaster and rock musician, talked about the signing of George Michael’s Innervision contract. Apparently, after signing, George would immediately head for a holiday in Greece, but flew back in the middle of his vacation to get his hair cut! When he became more famous, he threw away the standard protocols of dress codes and entered many formal restaurants in ripped jeans. This casual look largely pushed the trend of ripped jeans in the ‘80s, along with a few other celebrity endorsements. He would often appear to be an uncaring star in the spotlight, drunk on fame and fortune, yet he was fundamentally unhappy at the height of his stardom and wished for a quieter life. Despite his longing for anonymity, George Michael was recognized for his signature style as he moved along the streets.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

The infamous ripped jeans, a slouching leather jacket, and a singular cross earring dangling from one ear is an image of George Michael from the late 80s. Largely popularized by George Michael, it was a look that was both hedonistic, a bit homoerotic, and yet still masculine. This was a balance that Michael’s always seemed desperate to strike, particularly because of his intensely Greek and patriarchal father. After the release of the album, “Fast Love,” many fans came to be more aware of his sexuality. In 1998 George Michael would openly admit he was gay.

His being more open to his sexual orientation allowed fans to not only feel closer to him but also become inspired by what he wore. After the ‘Fast Love’ album, George Michael’s signature style choices would be worn by more people. But the real George Michael wasn’t just the man in slouchy jackets and ripped jeans, a fashion persona he created that made his sexuality ambiguous.

Ultimately, George was human. He loved, he lost, and he made some great music. And his personality beamed bright though his music and his fashion.

BAFP PHOTO MIGUEL MEDINA (AFP/GettyImages)

George Michael: Portrait of an Artist” is available on Amazon, Tubi, Peacock, Plex, and Xumo in the U.S. and Canada. 

—Sydney Yeager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Kelly: Putting Vermont on the Map

Images courtesy of Instagram and YouTube

When you think about influential people in hip hop and rap in the last decade, highly rising music videographer and director Kelly Butts-Spirito needs to be included into the conversation. Butts-Spirito has found a way to be part of something much bigger than his name alone and he did so in a highly unconventional way. The hardships he endured in his life helped him form a community that is making a positive impact. His journey can be viewed in the film, “Love, Kelly: Putting Vermont on the Map,” which is available on YouTube.

The short documentary is directed by Owen Hammel and Sam Snowden, and was shot in both Vermont and New York City. The movie premiered in Soho, NYC, in partnership with Create More Studios.

This documentary takes you through Butts-Spirito’s entire life and demonstrates the bridge between music, fashion, videography, and other industries. Our theme this month for Fashion Reverie focuses on the intersection between fashion and music, and how their worlds are often intrinsically linked.

“Love, Kelly: Putting Vermont on the Map” engages the audience because it goes beyond a rags-to-riches story. It doesn’t just show how Butts-Spirito overcame his personal trials of battling addiction and going to a group home in Montana, but how he is “paying it forward” and helping others jumpstart their careers. We see how he shines a spotlight on someone if he sees something in them—a trait not typically associated with highly recognized musicians. In doing so, he’s unified people under one brand, which also happens to be his own event promotion, talent marketing and production company, lovekellyllc (@lovekellyllc on Instagram). His real love for everyone who supports what he does is the reason why he’s been able to impact his hometown of Burlington, VT, to such a high degree.

Image courtesy of Love, Kelly

The film goes into Butts-Spirito being a role model figure for the youth of Vermont who are growing up in his hometown. It also explores how he is proving wrong the people who picked on him or tried to write him off when he was growing up. He wants to show kids that they can rewrite their scripts all while being a little like him when it comes to resilience and perseverance.

Butts-Spirito connects to his audience throughoutLove, Kelly: Putting Vermont on the Map by humanizing creative people who don’t typically get support in their youth. He worked hard year in and year out by setting short-term goals as much as having long-term goals. His mindset is something people can appreciate because he stands for that dream of being on a big stage and going against the norms of society.

The film itself included a lot of themes that were important to capture when diving into the life of Butts-Spirito. The biggest theme was that of a sense of community for his fans and followers. The film dives into what is possible for someone who felt like nobody at times in his life, only to turn around and create sold-out shows and music festivals, something no one from Vermont had ever done to the scale he did. 

Image courtesy of Love, Kelly

“I just feel like sometimes we don’t understand the power of following through on certain things,” Butts-Spirito told fashionreverie.com. “I think that a lot of times it can be seen as both negative and positive.

“I definitely think that something that we really like, pride ourselves on is not having limitation around what we’re capable of,” he continues. “I feel like that’s always been something that I’ve tried to carry over when we’re having conversations about events or about the goals. There’s not a lot of talk about, ‘Oh, well this is too ambitious.’ I look back on things in retrospect and I can’t believe we did a storefront in Soho with hundreds of people on Mother’s Day. That’s just kind of crazy. But in the moment, I feel like it was a lot of us coming together for one specific thing and one specific moment. So, of course you want to do it in a storefront because we want to do it the best way we can.”

Hammel, the movie’s co-director, began his film career in college, and has roots in Vermont. The film’s other co-director, Sam Snowden, is a freelance filmmaker based in New York City.

Hammel had the original idea to make a short film on Butts-Spirito. He wanted to draw the audience in with the story of how Butts-Spirito’s Vermont show and festival was shut down by the city. But then he wanted the story to evolve from there.

“We came to Kelly about doing a video about him,” Snowden told fashionreverie.com. “It was great to capture a bunch of footage of Kelly. I think when you’re capturing someone like this you try not to think about what’s going to happen next. What they’re going to be like. Just (have to) focus on what’s possible and I think Kelly is really good at that.”

The film shows Butts-Spirito as an innovator who has both honed the ability to use his strengths while championing a new wave of creatives taking over social and digital media. “Obviously he’s a director, but what he does is more than just being known as a guy who makes cool videos,” said Hammel. “He’s essentially the backbone of this whole wave coming out of Vermont. And not to discredit anyone else, but without him, everything that’s happened to Vermont would not be at such a level that it’s at right now.”

Image courtesy of Love, Kelly

“I think when Butts-Spirito was first doing the house parties where there’s iconic moments like the OG ‘Eastside’ music video from North Ave Jax (Rapper from Vermont),” Hammel went on to tell fashionreverie.com. “That was happening before I was even aware of what was going on. Something like what Kelly was doing for the music scenes, specifically hip-hop rap and to help pioneer its development in Vermont of all places? That fast? I know all the people and I’ve become a part of it. But even still, I sometimes sit back and I’m like what the hell just happened. Who would have ever thought that there would be a rap scene in Vermont?”

You can view the film at Create More Studios YouTube page.

—Ryan Salfino

2023 Summer Movies Inspire Fashion

It’s time for the round-up of all those summer movies that you’ll need to see on the big screen. Some are sure to be blockbuster hits and others might even end up getting nominated for the Oscars, but one thing that remains certain with this list of movies is that the costume designers certainly have talent! Each film in our summer roundup paid close attention to fashion.

This was particularly seen with “Barbie,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Joy Ride.” However, other movies such as “Oppenheimer,” “The Marvels,” and “Mission Impossible” struck a balance between being both streetwear and fashion-forward sensibilities. Wonderful, right?

 It seems like this summer as you settle into your seat at the movie theater it won’t matter which film you decide on, you’ll still get a healthy dose of outfit inspiration. Scroll below to find the things   found most exciting about each of these movies.

Barbie

The “Barbie” movie has been one of the most talked about films coming out this summer, particularly because of its fashion. Filled with glittering details and pink tones, along with more non-binary clothing for Ken. Since Greta Gerwig announced her plan for the film last summer Barbie-core has been inspiring celebrities from Megan Fox to Lizzo in how they dress with top fashion houses like Valentino creating dreamy pink collections.

The Little Mermaid

Already causing a stir with Halle Bailey starring as Ariel, changing the Disney Princess’ ethnicity—but when did mermaids really have an ethnicity—the film entered many people’s minds before it was even released. Fully entering the public realm on May 26th of this year, light green pastels, purples, and blues have been seeing a large resurgence. Along with that, mermaid-core has been getting more views on social media … right on time for summer!

Oppenheimer

If there’s a movie that everyone can unite around this summer, it’s “Oppenheimer.” Directed by Chris North and starring the easiest dilf to love Cillian Murphy, this movie doesn’t only contain a large amount of action but also some stunning fashion. Set during World War II, much of the fashion focuses on tailored suits, beautiful sets, and classic pieces. The fedora, for instance, is one statement item from this movie that could become big this summer. In part due to indie sleaze and perhaps this movie.

The Marvels

Marvel movies might not normally inspire fashion outside of Halloween costumes. However, the outfits in the upcoming Marvel film features a playful and adventurous side to the female superheroes the movie is focused on. Captain Marvel is among the heroes in the Marvel-verse that has inspired fashion in the past. At one point, the brand Hot Topic went so far as to launch a capsule collection inspired by Marvel female superheroes. So, get ready for a summer of aviator glasses and grunge shirts that make you question if you should join the Air Force … if only for the fashion inspiration you might gather.

Mission Impossible

The “Mission Impossible” movies are an action series that one might not normally pinpoint as fashion-forward, but just like ‘Bond girls’ have become a category of their own in fashion, some of the “Mission Impossible” outfits certainly make a splash. Apart from the fact that Tom Cruise seems to continuously wear either suits or a black tee shirt, the women in the film own their outfits.  Consider how Vanessa Kirby is dressed in this trailer and past films. Her simplistic and monochromatic outfits could have helped to inspire the stealth wealth seen in “Succession.”

Joy Ride

“Joy Ride” is the comedy you’ll want to take all your girlfriends to this summer. Just a tad raunchy and written with enough hijinks to keep you in your seat, laughing the whole time, there are no reasons to dislike this movie. Add in the colorful fashion choices and vivid patterns seen on some of the characters, for fashion’s sake that is a reason to watch. Most movies might have some fashion inspiration … but a film that isn’t afraid of flashy colors and bright patterns hasn’t been around for a little while. Cue the applause!

—Sydney Yeager

“Journey to the UFC”: A Triumph Over Adversity

Image courtesy of youtube.com

The world of sports has always brought with it the support of fans and spectators. Individuals grow a connection with the teams they follow. Many people have athletes that they look up which can inspire motivation for various aspects of their lives. But if they inspire us so much, why are some of their stories never mentioned.

What is often rarely talked about is the tremendous amount of adversity and perseverance it takes for these athletes to come up from their beginnings.  And UFC fighter Joe Pyfer is someone proving that anyone can take their story and hone it in a way that shapes their future outcome. As someone who overcame trauma, his story is so much more than another athlete’s success story. And the documentary “Journey to the UFC,” directed by Chandler Henry, is a testament to the willpower of the human mind and body all while giving us an inside look into the difficult path UFC fighters undergo to make their name high profile.

Joe Pyfer had an extremely difficult upbringing dealing with an abusive relationship with his dad, as well as being abandoned by his family. Not only that, but in his career, he has endured injury after injury that could have ended his career. The main focal point of this “Journey to the UFC” is centered around Pyfer’s ability to persist and persevere amid a sea of hardships in his life.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

This documentary is a must-see because of the relatability of Joe Pyfer. Sometimes we think these star athletes we follow regularly on TV have it all figured out. That simply couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that athletes are like us; they are human and are sometimes dealt unfortunate hands, just like all of us.

“Journey to the UFC” premiered May 4 and is led by Disruptive Sports Group and CEO/Founder Alex Davis. It was screened for the first time at Dream Live at American Dream, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The red-carpet event was attended by UFC color commentator and ESPN MMA Analyst Laura Sanko as well as UFC fighters. Following the screening was a Q&A with Pyfer and director Chandler Henry on how Joe’s career has transformed since filming for the documentary first began.

Check out Fashion Reverie’s TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@fashionreverie for more coverage of the event.

Ryan Salfino

“A Snowy Day in Oakland’s” Claudia Zevallos: This Is Her Time

 

Image courtesy of imbd.com

Urban movies conjure up a variety of different images. In past decades those images reflected inner city violence, rebellious youth, urban decay, and dysfunctional family life. And though those themes of isolation and neglect prevailed, that was not all that urban films were about. There were love stories, hope, inspiration, and redemption.

“A Snowy Day in Oakland” reflects the latter. This magical urban tale about an upscale psychologist who breaks up with her longtime boyfriend and opens a private practice in Oakland, turning the predominantly African American and psychologically ignored neighborhood on its emotional ear.

Claudia Zevallos stars in this urban comedy alongside Loretta Devine, Marla Gibbs, Nicole Ari Parker, Kimberly Elise, Jackee Harry, Evan Ross, Michael Jai White, Keith David, and Deon Cole.  “A Snowy Day in Oakland” is produced by Kim Bass. Claudia is a newcomer to the Kim Bass film family.

Fashion Reverie was fortunate to speak with Claudia Zevallos on the day of the premiere of “A Snowy Day in Oakland.” In this interview, experience her energy, her joy, and her passion for her craft.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

Fashion Reverie: How did you get your start as an actress?

Claudia Zevallos: I am originally from Peru and my parents were divorced so I stayed with my grandparents, while my mom worked. I was the only child in my grandparents’ home so I would watch Spanish novellas. Because I was home alone while my grandparents ran their businesses and my mother worked, I developed this incredible fantasy life.

I would sit as close to the television as possible and memorize all the lines of the characters on the television novellas. That’s how I spent my downtime. I fantasized that the main character in the television novellas was me. I made a whole production out of it. I did my makeup, I found clothing that matched the main character, and no one in my family knew I was doing this.

FR: How did you transition from your fantasy performing life to working on Spanish novellas?

Claudia Zevallos: After my grandfather passed away, I followed my aunts who were studying in the US. While in the US, I was working in Century City at the Westville Mall, right outside of Beverly Hills. I was approached by someone to model jewelry. I didn’t take it seriously at first, but eventually I did pursue modeling. From there, I started working as an assistant at Telemundo. While there I worked on my English and started acting on Telemundo.

FR: What was the transition like from Spanish novellas to acting in mainstream films in English?

Claudia Zevallos: Well, one thing is you have to roll back the passion and animated gestures. However, the transition was not that difficult because as an actor you have to be very honest and open, no matter if you are acting in Spanish novellas or in American cinema. As long as you are projecting truth and your English is pretty good, it is not that much of a stretch.

Image courtesy of sandiegouniontribune.com

FR: Talk about your character in “A Snowy Day in Oakland.”

Claudia Zevallos: I am so honored and blessed to be a part of this urban, magical comedy. “A Snowy Day in Oakland” is about love, hope, desires, and dreams. Though this movie has a mostly black and brown cast, it is a film that everyone can relate to.

I play Anjelica, a young Latina women, who is hard-working and passionate. She loves her community and will do anything for her parents. Most importantly, Angelica value the sacrifices her parents made to bring her to the US so she can take advantage of the opportunities in the US.

FR: It sounds as though your character in “A Snowy Day in Oakland” is your story.

Claudia Zevallos: In many ways, it is my story. Kim Bass, the director of this film, made sure that I felt and Hispanic folks felt heard in this film. Me and the other Hispanic actors in the film would sit around and talk about how Kim Bass made us feel important and made our voices important. It was a warm hug, like being enveloped by positivity.

FR: There are some big names in the film, namely Loretta Devine, Nicole Ari Parker, Deon Cole, Michael Jai White, and Kimberly Elise. What was it like working with these actors?

Claudia Zevallos: It was amazing. Loretta Devine is a powerhouse. She is a queen. Kimberly Elise is primed and ready to work. She is so good. Deon Cole is very giving and so funny.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

FR: What do you hope audiences get from this film?

Claudia Zevallos: I know that audiences will feel inspired by “A Snowy Day in Oakland.”

They will leave the movie theatre feeling hopeful, as though they have received a big warm hug. Audiences will also laugh out loud. Remember, this is a magical comedy.

FR: Do you think this time is your time?

Claudia Zevallos: If I don’t sound too egocentric, this time, right now, is my time. When I wake up in the morning, I feel like my grandparents are with me all the time.

I understand now why some things in my life worked out the way that they did. And it is my time!!

FR: What is next for you?

Claudia Zevallos: I am working on a project about three priest and a nun. Of course, I play the name. I can’t say much more about it. The next time that I talk to you, I will be able to tell you how bad ass this nun is!!

William S. Gooch

2021 Holiday Movies

Holiday season 2021 is upon us and you know what that means. Movies, movies and more movies! As family and friends gather (thank you vaccines!), we can plop down in the comfort of our homes and watch Christmas movies while munching cookies. Fashion Reverie has curated a list of fun holiday movies both current and classic, but there will be no Hallmark movies here. You know the one where Holly Mistletoe, high powered New York lawyer returns to hometown only to discover love with her high school crush. Yeah, not on this list.

Image courtesy of indiewire.com

Silent Night (2021)

This is something completely different. Keira Knightly and Matthew Goode star as a couple hosting a Christmas gathering at their home. Underneath all the laughter and wine is a disturbing reality, the planet is facing an environmental apocalypse and the human race might not make it to the New Year. Directed by Camille Griffin, this film debuted to raves at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.

Image courtesy of Variety

Love Hard (2021)

Nina can’t seem to find a match on dating apps and then suddenly meets the man of her dreams. When he mentions he wishes they could spend Christmas together, Nina impulsively flies out to Lake Placid to meet him, only to discover she’s been catfished! Yes, this romcom is a bit predictable but the strong chemistry between Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O Yang, along with a funny script, is the recipe for a good time.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

Single All the Way (2021)

The rare LGBT-focused holiday offering. Peter (Michael Urie), tired of constantly being asked when he is going to find a husband, pleads with best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to tag along and pretend to be his boyfriend when he heads home for the holidays. But his family has set up a bunch of blind dates in a desperate bid to get Peter married. What will happen?

Image courtesy of imbd.com

Happiest Season (2020)

Basically, the first mainstream LBGT Christmas romcom. Abby is on the verge of asking girlfriend Harper to marry her. Harper suggests she take Abby to meet her family for the holidays. However, Harper then chickens out admitting she never came out to her family. Will the secret stay hidden? Will their relationship survive?

Image courtesy of letterboxed.com

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

A hilarious screwball classic! Elizabeth Lane, played by Barbara Stanwyck, is a single New Yorker employed as a food writer. She is famous for her columns where she talks about her life as a perfect housewife creating amazing home cooked meals for her husband and baby on their Connecticut farm. Elizabeth has to keep up the ruse when her publisher asks her to invite a soldier for Christmas dinner. What will happen when he arrives?

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

White Christmas (1954)

Another beloved classic. Former WWII soldiers, now a successful song and dance team, Bob (Bing Crosby) and Phil (Danny Kaye) get word their former commander now owns a Vermont inn that is in dire financial straits. They team up with sisters Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera Ellen) to put on a big show to save the hotel, only to find themselves falling in love. The film features several amazing musical productions including the title track written by Irving Berlin (who, ironically, was Jewish).

Image courtesy of imbd.com

Elf (2003)

A sweet funny movie that’s smart, warm and effortlessly charming. Directed by Jon Favereau, it stars Will Ferrell as Buddy who, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, ends up hitching a ride to the North Pole as an infant and winds up being raised by an adoptive Elf father (Bob Newhart). Adult Buddy then travels to New York City to search for his birth family. The plot is standard and predictable, but the entire movie is elevated due to the charisma of the performances and genuine heart. Two thumbs up.  

Image courtesy of Diabolique Magazine

Black Christmas (1974)

And now for something completely different. A Christmas movie that’s not suitable for children. As winter break begins, a group of sorority girls including Jess (Olivia Hussey), Barb (Margot Kidder) and Phyl (Andrea Martin, yes that one) begin receiving obscene phone calls that turn threatening. When sorority sister Claire goes missing and a local girl is found dead, they suspect a serial killer is afoot but are unaware how close the danger is. Directed by Bob Clark, yes the same Bob Clark that directed “A Christmas Story”!

—Cameron Grey Rose

Fashion Reverie’s Fall 2021 Movie Roundup

Image courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter

Blue Bayou

The pressing issues of immigration and fate of people brought to the United States as children comes to a head in “Blue Bayou,” a new film by director Justin Chou. With a wife, young stepdaughter and a baby on the way, Antonio LeBlanc struggles to find work in the small Louisiana town he’s lived in since age 3.  He never considered that a run in with police could result in his possible deportation to a country he doesn’t remember and whose language he does not speak. Will they be able to fight ICE to keep Antonio with his family?

Image courtesy of Billboard

Dear Evan Hansen

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical comes to the big screen with Ben Platt reprising his role as the titular Evan Hansen. Evan is a depressed high school senior suffering from social anxiety and working with a counselor to treat it. Due to a misunderstanding, Evan finds himself cast as the best friend of a classmate, Connor, who recently committed suicide, despite barely knowing the boy. The film stars Academy Award nominee Amy Adams as Connor’s mother and Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore as Evan’s mother.  Directed by Stephen Chbosky, the film keeps the songs from the original musical, so it will be interesting to see how this modern musical is staged on screen.

Image courtesy of CNN

The Many Saints of Newark

Campaigns for a “Sopranos” movie had to be scrapped when James Gandolfini unexpectedly died of heart attack during a trip to Italy in 2013.  Forced to rethink the film, plans were made for a prequel explaining how a young Tony Soprano became involved with the mafia as a teenager, when he was pulled into violent gang wars with the increasingly powerful DiMeo crime family. Caught up in the changing times by the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, the film explores how Tony will grow up to a powerful mob boss and leader of his own crime family.


James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas), Image courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film/Nicola Dove

No Time to Die

Delayed due to COVID-19, this October we will see Daniel Craig’s final appearance as James Bond in this epic film with a mind boggling 250 million-dollar budget. Five years after Bond bids adieu to his job at MI6, he is called back by a CIA agent. A brilliant scientist has been kidnapped and is being used to build a weapon that could kill millions by supervillain Lyutsifer Safin (that name!) played with delicious malice by Oscar winner Rami Malek. The screenplay has 4 authors including the creator and star of “Fleabag,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge, so hopefully we’ll be looking at an amazing story to go with the eye-popping special effects. Daniel Craig will be going out with a bang!

Image courtesy of CNET

Dune

Frank Hubert’s classic science fiction novel last saw the big screen in David Lynch’s 1984 rendition, legendary for its awfulness, the most egregious faults being the effects that no one would ever call ‘special.’ But computer-generated graphics have come a long in the past 25 years. In the distant future, battles rage on the dangerous desert planet called Arrakis for control of its natural deposits of “Spice,” the most valuable substance in the universe.  Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atreides, a young man accompanying his father Duke Leto Atreides (played by Oscar Issac) to the planet to fight for control of mining operations. But what about Paul’s prophetic dreams?

Image courtesy of verge.com

Last Night in Soho

Thomasin McKenzie plays Eloise, a shy young woman who has just relocated to London to study fashion.  She finds herself mysteriously able to enter 1960s London using the body of Sandie (Anna Taylor-Joy), a sexy nightclub singer as her avatar. Is she dreaming? Has she found a time portal? Or is she simply losing her mind?

As Eloise finds herself getting more lost in the past, she realizes something dangerous is afoot and neither she nor Sandie might not make it out alive. This sexy psychological horror film from Edgar Wright, the celebrated director of “Baby Driver,” was scheduled to be in theaters last year but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. It will arrive just in time for Halloween!

Image courtesy of cinemabland.com

Spencer

Diana, Princess of Wales, remains the star of the British Royal family despite having the distinct disadvantage of being dead for almost 25 years. It doesn’t matter. The public continues to adore this fascinating woman. Now comes this biopic from Pablo Larraín, the acclaimed director of “Jackie,” dissecting 3 days in 1991 during Christmas holidays with the royal family at Sandringham House. Kristen Stewart stars at the troubled Princess and despite not bearing a strong physical resemblance to the late Diana, critics are praising her performance as nailing the body language and presenting a strong lived in accent. Fashion Reverie will be in line opening day.  

Image courtesy of consequence.com

House of Gucci

If the film wasn’t based on a true story, people would be saying this over-the-top tale of money, fashion and murder is ridiculously unbelievable. Based on the book of the same name by Sara Gay Forden and directed by the legendary Ridley Scott, the film examines the 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci (played by Academy Award-nominee Adam Driver) orchestrated by his wife Patrizia Reggiani Gucci. Lady Gaga plays Patrizia and while some are saying this is another Oscar bid, despite Gaga being Italian (there is a supercut on Youtube of her saying she’s Italian during interviews that goes for an hour!), more than a few critics have commented that her accent is terrible. Still, this will be a wild, fun ride as Patrizia is as noted in the film is “a real firecracker.” Convicted of the murder in 1998, she would serve 18 years for the crime. Offered an early parole on work release, Patrizia refused saying “I’ve never worked a day in my life, I’m not going to start now.”

Image courtesy of vulture.com

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

A new film from director Michael Showalter will depict the history of controversial televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker from their meteoric rise in the 1970s to their scandal soaked 80’s which ended with Jim Bakker’s conviction on fraud and embezzlement charges. Jessica Chastain (who also produced and does all her own singing in the film) stars as Tammy Faye in all her heavily made-up glory, from dealing with her battle with an addiction to prescription drugs to her controversial support of the LGBT community at the height of the AIDS crisis. When Tammy insisted on having AIDS activist Steve Pieters on her PTL show to dispel myths about the disease, fellow faith leaders were outraged. Vengeful PTL executives destroyed the footage, but thanks to VHS copies it lives on youtube.  

Tammy Faye lost her battle with cancer in July 2007 but Jim Bakker remains active in the televangelist community to this day. He was sued for selling fake COVID-19 cures in 2020.

—Cameron Grey Rose

Fashion Reverie’s Fall 2021 TV Picks

Image courtesy of tvline.com

Yipee! Fall TV is back! In 2020, fall TV was extremely limited due to having to work around COVID-19 restrictions. Several production companies simply shut down due to not being able to get insurance.  While studios are not quite back at pre-pandemic levels (and it remains to be seen how the deadly Delta variant will impact show business), we’re getting a good crop of new shows this fall.  There is a huge glut of reality competition shows. Studios love them as they are inexpensive to produce and can be done far more quickly than scripted multi-camera shows.  Fashion Reverie will not be commenting on them, focusing on the dramas, comedies, and dramedies coming to your screens this autumn!  

Image courtesy of Netflix

The Chair 

This limited series from Netflix stars the always likable and engaging Sandra Oh as Jin-Yoon Kim, a dedicated academic who has risen to become the first-ever female chairperson of a prestigious university’s English department.  The show manages to mine laughs from the dry and extremely Caucasian world of academia while addressing serious issues faced by women and people of color in that environment.  

The Wonder Years 

Yes, it’s a “Wonder Years” reboot, which on the surface sounds like a terrible idea. But, instead of simply recreating the classic 80’s show, this version, narrated by Don Cheadle, uses humor and grace to focus on a Black family dealing with the turmoil of the civil rights movement in 1960s Montgomery, Alabama. It stars Elisha “EJ” Williams as 12-year-old Dean Williams and Dulé Hill (of “West Wing” fame) as Dean’s father. The show is executive produced by “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels, so we can expect the show to confront some of the painful history the South has with racism and a soundtrack peppered with some fabulous music.

Queens 

Speaking of fabulous music, Eve, Brandy, Naturi Naughton, and Nadine Velazquez will be starring in the upcoming ABC drama series “Queens.”  Hip hop group Nasty Bitches were at the top of their game in the 1990s, topping the charts and winning hearts with explicit and empowering lyrics about sexuality. The women, now in their 40’s, have drifted apart but a chance meeting inspires them to consider giving stardom a second chance. Having attracted several top-tier musicians to this project, some excellent tunes will no doubt be forthcoming.  

Image courtesy of Wilmington Star

Welcome to Flatch 

A documentary crew sets out to explore the lives of residents in a small American town; they stumble upon the Midwestern town of Flatch, which is made up of many eccentric personalities. “Welcome to Flatch” is written and executive-produced by Emmy Award winner Jenny Bicks, and directed and executive-produced by Emmy Award nominee Paul Fieg. It stars Sean William Scott as Father Joe, the local spiritual leader, and Aya Cash is the girlfriend he dumped after she followed him to Flatch. 

Image courtesy of tvshowpilot.com

Pivoting 

Four friends from childhood now facing a slide into middle age are taken aback when one of them suddenly dies.  Realizing life is short, the trio decides to take stock and find bliss. While this sort of sounds like an unauthorized reboot of “Desperate Housewives,” it has attracted some real star talent in Ginnifer Goodwin and the effortlessly charming Eliza Coupe.

 

Image courtesy of deadline.com

Big Leap  

Well, this is new—a scripted drama following contestants on a reality show, “The Big Leap”, starring Scott Foley and Teri Polo in the ballet-themed dramedy. The reality show is built on the theme of second chances and follows contestants as they compete to be in a production of “Swan Lake.”  But will the reality show aspect shatter their already fragile spirits?  Already Fox executives are excitedly comparing it to “Glee” and predicting a smash hit. 

(Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

La Brea 

When a massive sinkhole opens under Los Angeles, citizens are plunged into a prehistoric world and forced to figure out how to survive. Natalie Zea stars as a mother who falls into the terrifying world with her son.  Meanwhile, her daughter and husband who were left behind struggle to figure out where their loved ones have gone and how to get them back.  For years networks have been desperately trying to recreate the success of “Lost.” Will this be the golden ticket? Fashion Reverie is optimistic.  

Image courtesy of harpersbazaar.com

You 

Saving the best for last, the mega-hit “You” will return for a 3rd season in 2021. Netflix still refuses to release an exact release date and has been stingy with details. What we do know is we will return to Joe (Penn Badgley) as he unhappily settles into suburban life with his pregnant wife Love (Victoria Pedretti). How will fatherhood impact his murderous ways?  But what about Joe’s mysterious neighbor he’s slowly becoming transfixed with? Showrunner and co-creator Sera Gamble did squash one rumor about the woman Joe observed through a fence at the end of Season 3. “She’s definitely not his mom.”

—Cameron Grey Rose

Summer Loving: Movies for Romance

Who’s in the mood for love? Set the stage for the perfect date night with a bottle of wine, some candles, and films that inspire romance. From bouncy musicals to tragic tales, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for on Fashion Reverie‘s list of the most romantic movies.  

Upcoming Films

Image courtesy of Cosmopolitan

The Last Letter from Your Lover” – July 23rd Netflix

Jennifer Sterling (played by Shailene Woodley) is an American woman living in 1960s England in a safe but loveless marriage.  She falls into a romance with the mysterious B to whom she shares a passionate romance via love letters. Decades later, Ellie, a London reporter played by Felicity Jones, finds the letters and is determined to find out what happened to the star-crossed lovers.

Image courtesy of David Bloomer/ NETFLIX © 2020

Resort to Love” – July 29th Netflix

With her career hitting a snag, a singer still smarting from her broken engagement a year earlier takes a job performing at a wedding at a swanky tropical resort. It’s only after she arrives that she discovers her ex fiancé is the groom! Starring Christina Milan and produced by Alicia Keys, this is a fun, screwball romantic comedy with a lot of great music.

The Classics

Image courtesy of Vox

The Princess Bride 

This classic from 1987 was directed by Rob Reiner and adapted by William Goldman from his novel of the same name. Buttercup (played by Robin Wright) longs for her lost love Westley, feared dead in a pirate attack. Westley (played by Cary Elwes), who survived, is determined to find his way back to her in this action-adventure romance.  The idea that streaming this film with your honey will lead to anything but a night of steamy romance is INCONCEIVABLE!  

Image courtesy of vogue.com

In the Mood for Love 

Directed by Wong Kar-Wei and set in 1962 Hong Kong, this lush tale of unrequited love will inspire you to snuggle even harder with your better half.  Neighbors find themselves forming a strong bond when they discover their spouses are having an affair. Filled with music and lush jewel tones, this moving film will inspire you to be brave and fight for happiness and fulfillment.  

Image courtesy of Film Ink

Once  

Written and directed by John Carney, this Oscar-winning film tells the story of a street musician who happens upon a young immigrant. They decide to write a song together and find themselves falling in love. Despite a measly $150,000 budget, the film takes full advantage of the beautiful Irish countryside it was filmed in and is stunning to look at. The song they write (actually written by the actors themselves!)  “Falling” would go win an Oscar for Best Original Song and the film would later inspire a Broadway adaption.  

Image courtesy of courtesy of Bitch Media

Portrait of a Lady on Fire  

This quiet and meditative, yet robust film of doomed love was criminally overlooked in 2019. Set in 17th century France, it tells the story of a painter, Marianne, hired to do a portrait of a young woman, Heloise, living on a remote island. To their surprise, the two women find themselves falling passionately in love. Alas, Heloise has been promised to another. Directed by Céline Sciamma, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” was filmed in 8K stock so the movie is bursting with color and such amazing cinematography that every frame is a painting.

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is not for everyone. Many will find it slow and tedious, but multiple critics called it the best film of the year. And the ending? Have tissues handy. This tragic tale will remind you to cherish the love you have.  

Image courtesy of Our Culture Mag

It Happened One Night” 

Considered by many to be the original romantic comedy, it features Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert at their height being directed by legend Frank Capra. Runway heiress Ellie meets reporter Peter on a Greyhound bus to New York City only to be forced to find alternate travel when the bus breaks down, resulting in madcap adventures. Many critics call this one of the greatest films ever made.

Image courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Loving

This is the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving (yes that was their last name). With their interracial marriage illegal in their home state of Virginia, the pair move to Washington D.C. but find themselves longing for home. Upon getting arrested for visiting family, they set into motion events that would end with a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Asked by a reporter what he wants the world to know about him, Richard Loving simply replied “I love my wife.”

Image courtesy of USA Today

Say Anything

Do you remember being a reckless and endlessly optimistic teenager? Go there again with this classic from the ’80s. Directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Ione Skye and John Cusack, it tells the story of two teenagers awkwardly navigating their slide into adult life after graduating from high school while falling in love. Crowe recently indicated he is considering revisiting the character all these years later to see where they ended up.  

Image courtesy of the nytimes.com

The Big Sick” 

This film written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon was inspired by the true story of their courtship. Kumail plays himself, and after dating Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) for a few months, they have a huge fight. Emily runs off. The next day Kumail gets a call that Emily is suffering from a severe infection and is now in a coma. Will their relationship survive? Will Emily?  

Image courtesy of Mental Floss

Singin’ in the Rain” 

Saving the best for last! This fun romantic comedy has been hailed as the greatest musical of all time. Starring Gene Kelly—who also co-directed and choreographed the picture— Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, this film is a celebration of romance and the joy of falling in love set in the film industry during the advent of talking pictures. A pure delight from beginning to end, you’ll be humming the title song for days.  

—Cameron Grey Rose

 

Fashion Reverie’s Spring/Summer 2021 Movie Roundup

Images courtesy of variety.com

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

So many shocking things have happened in the past year and one of them is “King Kong vs Godzilla.” The special effects juggernaut was a huge hit at the box office. This is even more shocking when you know that movie theaters are opening with reduced capacity, yet, it still managed to pull in a $48 million opening weekend despite being available for streaming on HBO MAX. The simple explanation?  People LIKE seeing movies in theaters! The summer blockbuster is here to stay.

Please keep in mind, the pandemic is not over. Yes, we have glimpsed the finish line, but we still have a long way to go.  Even if you are vaccinated, you still need to wear your mask and social distance. Health is wealth!!

Image courtesy of Den of Geek

Black Widow

After the wild success of “Wandavision” we have another female-led entry into the MCU (the fictional Marvel Comics Universe) that was actually directed by a woman, Cate Shortland, with the story by “writer Jack Schaffer. The $200 million epic will be a feast for the eyes with its exciting action and top of the line special effects. It tells the story of Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansen) troubled past as she is forced to confront her present. It will be available in theaters as well as on Disney+ for an additional charge.

Image courtesy of Looper

Free Guy

Pushed back from its 2020 release, “Free Guy” tells the story of Guy, a simple man who works in a bank, but suddenly discovers he’s living in a video game as an NPC (nonplaying character). But hold the phone, he finds out the game is about to go offline. He’s in a race against time to make himself the hero of the game before it disappears forever.

Image courtesy of Collider

Luca

Still sad you can’t travel? The latest offering from Pixar will take you to a beautiful seaside town in the Italian Rivera. “Luca” is bursting with color and life, telling the story of Luca, a young boy who is enjoying a fun-filled summer with his new best friend while they go on scooter rides, gobble pasta, and eat gelato. But their happiness is threatened by a terrible secret. Not only does this kid-friendly fare work for grown-ups but it will be available on Disney+ without any additional charges.

(Left Center-Right Center) ANTHONY RAMOS as Usnavi and MELISSA BARRERA as Vanessa in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “IN THE HEIGHTS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Image courtesy of Variety

In the Heights

Based on the Tony award-winning play of the same name written by Lin Manuel Miranda, “In The Heights” is a bubbly musical set, where else, in Washington Heights. Filmed on location, it tells the story of a bodega owner who, after inheriting a large sum of money, is considering closing his bodega and retiring to the Dominican Republic.

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Jungle Cruise

ANOTHER movie based on a Disneyland ride? Must Fashion Reverie remind you the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” was pretty good until Disney ran the franchise into the ground? “Jungle Cruise” is already getting some advanced buzz that’s it’s a fun action-adventure thrill ride. The film stars Emily Blunt as a scientist searching for the legendary “tree of life” said to have magical healing properties. She hires a grizzled riverboat captain played by Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson to guide her down the infamous Amazon ahead of German scientists determined to find it first. 

Image courtesy of Slashfilm

The Pink Cloud

Looking for some more independent fare? While it may seem like this Brazilian film was tailor-made for the pandemic, the truth is it was written in 2015 and completed filming in 2019. It tells the story of a world where a deadly pink cloud has forced everyone to stay indoors indefinitely, focusing on a young woman now trapped with the one-night stand she brought home the night before. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to excellent reviews.

Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Summer of Soul

This documentary directed by Ahmir Thompson (better known by his stage name Questlove) recovers long-lost footage of a 1969 concert that was all but forgotten when Woodstock would take place just a few months later. The feature showcases filmed footage of the Harlem Cultural Festival, including never-before-seen concert performances by B.B. King, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder, and more. Despite the top-level talent that performed at the festival, the concert went largely unremembered and, according to the opening title of the film, the footage “sat in a basement for 50 years. It has never been seen.” 

 —Cameron Grey Rose

Copyright © 2012-2021 | Fashion Reverie Publications, LLC - All Rights Reserved