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tvs music. October 31, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies, music ♥.
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The first time I saw The Virgin Suicides once I owned the DVD, I watched the special features and saw the video for Air’s “Playground Love.” Searching for the song “Cherry Blossom Girl” I’ve discovered Air, which is a departure from what I usually listen to. My music taste is usually very organic, but so far I’m really digging it. The album art alone is so retro yet so hip at the same time. More proof that many good things, like Chanel and brie cheese, come from France. ♥


9 Songs September 25, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies.
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In Michael Winterbottoms 2004 “9 Songs,” two lovers meet by chance at a concert in London: A glaciologist, Matt, and a drifter girl from America, Lisa. Their story is an explicit one, told in between live concert footage (hence the title). We get an up-close-personal look not only at the sex life of Matt and Lisa but also some fascinating underground rock bands. There’s a lot of sex, but it doesn’t seem pornographic or contrived, Hollywood-style, either. Art-film slick on a meager budget with unknown actors, this film received standing O’s at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals and was received by most critics with mixed, negative-leaning reviews.

Margo Stilley (Lisa) was the most fantastic breath of fresh air. She’s crazy and playful but also waiflike and enigmatic. If you get a chance, be sure to watch her cast interview because she’s whip-smart and cute in it, simultaneously. The whole movie plays like a memory, like nostalgia. There’s not really a plot, more just scenes, with this film isn’t really a story, it’s just a feeling you’re supposed to get and things Winterbottom is trying to get the audience to feel, something by which they can emote. Everything used in the film is painstaking and purposeful; even Matt’s narrated references to Antarctica and the “anatomy” of a glacier; how its layers tell a story–it all speaks metaphorically. It’s an interesting glimpse into where sex can really take us with another person, or perhaps where another person can take us with sex…either way, it’s cinematic food for thought. (And I really dig the music.)

Shortbus August 2, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies.
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Kudos to John Cameron Mitchell and the fabulous ensemble cast for illuminating sex in a brave new way. I’ve never seen so much raw [read: unsimulated] sex in a movie aside from pornography, of course, which is part of what made this movie so groundbreaking when it was released in 2006. Let’s face it, films like this will probably never flow into the mainstream multiplexes of Anytown, USA; and Shortbus is unquestionably reserved for a slimmer percentage of liberated individuals. However explicit, the film far escapes being relegated as porn, smut or even erotica, and instead becomes true art and a multilayered look at human relationships.

Shortbus is a hedonistic flipbook of sexual moods and exploration. There’s Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee), a sex therapist who has raucous sex with her sweet husband Rob (Raphael Barker) but has not yet achieved orgasm, James (Paul Dawson) and Jamie (PJ DeBoy), a gay couple struggling with monogamy (and James’ depression makes a fascinating and gut-wrenching story), Ceth (Jay Brannan), a pretty model-musician who James and Jamie engage in three-way with, Severin (Lindsay Beamish), a professional dominatrix who clandestinely longs for true intimacy. All of the characters, even the minor ones, are memorable. 

Mitchell went at this project in a different way; after viewing special features and doing some research I learned that the cast was selected before a screenplay was even written, and the storylines were based on the actors’ personal contributions. In a film where sex is the binding glue, it seems only natural that there would be a close working dynamic between cast and director and of course the cast themselves (actors were screened for STDs prior to filming), and it is most evident when viewing the finished product. The actors are diverse and real, and I must commend their brave performances; there are few actors who would be willing to take such risks, especially for an indie-cult flick. Which underlines the belief that as progressive as American’s claim to be; when it comes to sex-lib, we still have leaps and bounds to go.

Shortbus is bound to teach, not preach. It may be drenched in sex, but at the end of the day, it proves it’s not about sex; but rather sex as a vehicle with which to more closely examine the underbelly of human nature and the complications that come from sexual liberation and relationships. There’s plenty of color and homoerotica for all…just dive in baby, and enjoy.

Lie With Me July 9, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies.
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In Clement Virgo’s 2005 independent erotic drama Lie With Me, a sexually agressive Leila (Lauren Lee Smith) meets equally voracious David (Eric Balfour) and they begin a torrid affair. Not being used to commitment or real relationships, Leila only knows how to fuck, but not how to love…so begins the vein of drama that runs throughout the film. Beautifully shot, sexually explicit [read: adults only, truly] but not trashy, the movie tugs at certain parts in all of us. It’s a contemporary, lust-charged romance at the base of it all, dealing with the consequence of sex, promiscuity and how it can entangle two people otherwise adrift.

Bottom line: Sexy, brave and raw; I loved it.

Elizabethtown (2005) April 21, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies.
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Note: This is now among my favorite films ever, and as you’ll soon discover (evidenced below) I love, love, loved it!

If you have ever: a) been fired, b) gotten dumped, c) lost a loved one, or d) searched for love and meaning in life, you will surely find something of value to take from Elizabethtown. When Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) loses a multimillion (almost billion) dollar deal on a groundbreaking new sneaker design, he not only loses his job, but also his pretty girlfriend, a bit of his sanity, and just as things begin to look increasingly more grim by the second–he gets a call from his sister that his father has died while visiting home in Kentucky, and Drew is the designated “responsible” family member who must tidy up the loose ends. On his flight, Drew meets a spunky yet (we later find) effervescently jaded flight attendant, Claire (Kirsten Dunst), who is absolutely the glue who carries the entire film.

The movie becomes less about a story about a grieving son coming to terms with his father’s sudden death, or even about an “almost romance,” and more about self-discovery. The film is directed by Cameron Crowe, not overdone but just theatrical enough to prepare for the big, scrapbook/mix-tape/road trip culmination sequence at the end. The light use of some black humor may not connect with every audience, but this film surely balances somewhere between comedy and drama, with some good scenes with Susan Sarandon. Though the film’s surface concept revolves largely around death, the overall effect is far from dark, and most scenes with Bloom and Dunst are playful and sweet, even when shopping for an urn in which to place Drew’s father’s ashes.

Dunst is fantastic as Claire, the sweet perfect creative girl who is off-putting just enough to make her delightful and interesting, perhaps a tad annoying to some; but at the end, she is lovable. Bloom is, for the large part of the movie, rather dull; or rather his character is, but it’s cleverly designed that way, so you can witness the crescendo at the end, which is what the whole movie is about, someone shedding a skin and learning about their insides and what really matters in life.

If you’re anticipating an overly sentimental “chick film” about loss, love, family and redemption, Elizabethtown will most likely exceed your expectations and possibly inspire you to plan a road trip in the near future. The undeniably well-pieced soundtrack, unconventional screenwriting, beautiful scenery and seamless performances bring it to the next level. While certainly not without flaw, Elizabeth town is underrated and definitely worth adding to your Netflix list.

Requiem for a Dream March 9, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies.
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At worst, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem (2000) can be written off as a cautionary tale: A nightmarish film about the lives of four individuals when their lives spin out of control. It could be called a horror movie, the unseen villain being addiction and its consequent consuming mental illness and physical destruction. At its best, Requiem is a gem, a genuine cinematic masterpiece.

Set in the disheartened scene of Coney Island, Brooklyn, we meet the four characters whose lives and downward spirals comprise the film. Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) is a widow from Brighton Beach, coping with loss and immersing herself in a self-comprised obsession with an infomercial-type TV game show, popping doctor-prescribed speed to lose weight to fit into “that red dress” because she believes she is going to be on TV. Her son, Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), is a generally well-meaning but heroin-addicted young man with a beautiful girlfriend in Marion (Jennifer Connelly) and an addiction to shooting heroin and a best friend and drug hook-up in Tyrone (Marlon Wayons). Requiem’s crux is the careening downward spiral of all the characters as their inner demons consume them at varying speeds.

Realistically, however…one would have to question whether “real” people would ever find themselves in these worst-case scenarios. For instance, what [reputable and legally practicing] doctor would prescribe speed, or administer archaic and extreme ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) to such a patient as Sara Goldfarb? When we see a beautiful woman like Marion stooping to shameful lows for money, and Harry eventually succumbing to decay and infection (unintentionally whistle-blowing his best friend) it’s easy to wonder if it could ever truly be that bad. The answer is yes–in Requiem, the destruction is masochistic, demoralizing and gut-wrenching. The situations are possible, and therefore ultimately packaged as believable, at least for the sake of authenticity.

Requiem is not a pretty movie or a glamorized one. It’s blistering, disturbing and hideous at times. The only soft moments are of the love story between Harry and Marion, and the most leaden…well, the ending. No one would want it to end up that way, but hey, that’s life: At times it becomes irreparably tragic.

a Big obsession January 23, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Celebrities, Movies.
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Still so sexcited and nearly five months to go! Can’t wait, nor can we (and by we, I mean I) stop crazily Googling for any SATC movie tidbits I can get my hands on…

Sex and the City Movie promotional display
“At a New York City HBO Shop (1100 Avenue of the Americas – Sixth Ave. & 42nd St.), a Marchesa runway rose dress clad mannequin sits framed by a wall of roses and a new SATC movie trailer, surrounded by holiday gifts; the only unopened package says SATC Movie. Do Not Open Until May 2008.” (Source: Sex and the City Movie Blog)

The first movie poster! Pink, sparkles, Sex. It doesn’t get better than this. Squee!

They’re keeping this one surprisingly under wraps; not that much juice has leaked out yet. The one annoying anecdote is that Jennifer Hudson (still milking her twenty-something played-out minutes of American Idol faux-fame) will be playing a new character, Carrie’s assistant. According to the official website, the film is being directed by Michael Patrick King, who is one of my dating/cinematic touchstones (I heart his commentaries)! From what I’ve seen on Youtube, IMDB, and so on, Sarah Jessica Parker is still impeccably dressed, true to form! And as for the Big wedding scene…well, we just can’t wait!

Sex and the City movie December 8, 2007

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Movies.
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Trailer. I know I’m not the only one who’s deliriously excited about this.