“Bill Cunningham New York” Is A Fashionable Delight

April 20, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Caroline Foster
cfoster@smu.edu

The official movie poster for "Bill Cunningham New York" featuring NYC's finest - and fashionable.

The documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” follows The New York Times fashion and party photographer as he leads his extraordinary yet unique life. Every morning, rain or snow, clouds or sun, Cunningham navigates his bicycle through the busy streets of New York City with a camera around his neck ready to take pictures.

He focuses on what people are wearing, from a hat to a shoe and everything in between. He looks for the out of ordinary fashion, not the typical “cookie cutter” looks many New Yorkers wear. Cunningham takes pictures quickly and unobtrusively which are then displayed in the style section in the Sunday edition of The New York Times.

For all his photo-snapping in public, Cunningham is a very private person. He has few friends except for those in the business. Light is shed on his personal life and what his family thought of his foray into the fashion industry. Those who work with Cunningham as well as many people who have been featured in his photographs are interviewed in the film. Their anecdotes and accolades about the man behind the lens paint the picture of a genuine person who has dedicated his life to his work.

Cunningham’s sweet disposition and humble attitude make the film extremely enjoyable and uplifting to watch. To see a man who lives amongst countless file cabinets filled with negatives of his old photos in a small corner apartment in Carnegie Hall adds to the unique story of Cunningham. Whether you have an interest in style or not, Cunningham’s dedication to his work is something we can all admire.

Inspiring – that’s the one word to describe this fashion documentary. An 80-year-old man who is as passionate about his work today as he was fifty years ago is remarkable. As college students it’s hard to decide what to eat for breakfast, let alone a passion to pursue for the rest of our lives. But Bill Cunningham is a remarkable and endearing example of the centuries old quote by Confucius “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“Bill Cunningham New York” is currently showing at the Angelika Dallas in Mockingbird Station. This is a limited engagement so see it while it’s here!

FILM REVIEW: “Somewhere” is One of a Kind

January 25, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Caroline Foster
cfoster@smu.edu

Director Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” tells the story of a problem-ridden big-time actor and the relationship he has with his pre-teen daughter.

(PHOTO COURTESY FOCUS FEATURES)

Stephen Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a heavy drinking A-lister who loves the ladies. He doesn’t spend much time with his daughter, Cleo, played by the adorable Elle Fanning (Dakota Fanning’s younger sister).

But this all changes when Cleo’s mom calls Marco and tells him she needs some time away. Cleo is forced to become Johnny’s leading lady.

The father-daughter duo play Guitar Hero together, travel to Italy and begin to truly enjoy one another’s company. As they spend time together, Marco realizes his old party lifestyle isn’t working; the more time he spends with Cleo, he becomes a better father.

The storyline of the film was simple and sweet. Some may call it boring, but I prefer slow-paced. So, if you are looking for a fast paced, action flick this is not for you.

It is the movie’s unique style that makes it remarkable. Sofia Coppola’s artistic eye gives the film a flair that makes it interesting and appealing.

Coppola’s 2006 “Marie Antoinette” was also a visual treat. The beautiful set, props, wardrobe and music take the film from ordinary to extraordinary. “Somewhere” doesn’t have the same pretty factor, but this can be explained by the fact that the movie is filmed in Los Angeles, not the French Palace of Versailles.

But where “Somewhere” lacks visually it makes up for with its music. The soundtrack of the film livens it up. Usually the film’s music is less than notable, but during “Somewhere” I found myself making a mental note to look up the songs online once the movie was finished.

Phoenix, The Strokes and The Police are some of the artists who are featured on the soundtrack. Coppola is dating Phoenix front man Thomas May, who she asked to create the score of the film.

When BBC Radio asked May about the song he responded, “It wasn’t like writing songs, it was more about trying to make a sound that fits with a Ferrari and the city of Los Angele’s theme. It was more of an engineer work than a composer.”

As unpleasing as May makes the song sound, it doesn’t disappoint.

The film can be best described as quirky and cute, which is in typical Coppola fashion. “Somewhere” was not as I imagined, but it’s endearing story left me wanting more.

Arts Beat: ‘Adventureland’ is an Interesting Ride

April 28, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The movie “Adventureland” was not what I expected. I went into the movie thinking I was going to viewing the typical comedy movie with funny punchlines and one liners, but it was nothing like that. It kind of reminded me a less intense version of “Death to Smoochy.”

It takes place at the Adventureland Amusement park in 1987. James Brennan is forced to work at the park to earn money for his trip to Europe. He is the awkward, uptight teenager who got straight A’s in school.

While there he meets and befriends the park employees, gets involved with a little weed and alcohol, and the comedy takes off from there. Most the humor was in the way the actors delivered their lines. I mean, there were a few jokes that you could see coming, but I found myself laughing more at the characters themselves. I’ve never really seen a movie like this before. The comedy in this movie was different, but in a good way. The dryness of it actually made the movie funny.

I can see how this movie would relate to college or high school kids. I’m sure we’ve all had summer jobs that we didn’t want at first but later grew to love it.

–Posted by Josh Webb

Arts Beat: “Grey Gardens” Review

April 27, 2009 by · Comments Off 

“Grey Gardens”? is an HBO original movie? based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Onassis.? ? It shows the lives of? Edith “Big Edie” Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith “little Edie” Bouvier Beal and their road from riches to rags.? They? lived at Grey Gardens, a? 28-room mansion in East Hampton, New York, which was once? an? unbelievable estate that was? later deemed unlivable.? The two women, in the end,? lived in complete isolation, with no money, a multitude of cats and raccoons, and a stench so bad the neighbors called the health department.?

“Grey Gardens” was originally a 1975? documentary done by the Maysles brothers and was voted 2nd best documentary of the 20th century.?

HBO recently did a remake of the documentary and turned it into a wonderfully done movie.? Drew Barrymore plays young Edie.? She nails the East Coast accent and brings life and understanding to young Edie.?

Jessica Lange transforms almost identically into big Edie.? You get a real sense of who this woman really was.? A self-indulged, immature, lonely and? selfish socialite.?

Barrymore and Lange take you through the young lives of these two beautiful women.? As HBO’s most-watched movie in? five years, “Grey Gardens”? is a highly suggested movie.? The acting and the story could not have been written or directed any better.

I have seen the original “Grey Gardens” and apart from a few? scenes this new version was spot on.?

–Posted by Mary Summers