Film

The Road to Sundance: A Review of Sundance Opener May in the Summer

If you came here looking for a review of the highs and lows behind Sundance opener May in the Summer, I suppose I should tell you to get out now. This will be instead more of a narrative regarding my experience watching a film through the eyes of someone who knows the storyteller personally, and less about where the movie soars and where it may fall.

Here, let me help you out if you were looking for something more verbosely critical: May in the Summer Reviews (more…)

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Les Miserables: I Dreamed a Dream of a Private Screening

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And then I woke up and that’s exactly where I was…at 6:30 am.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend to be an expert on musicals. They’re simply not my steez. While I have at various times in life found myself roped into sitting through some song and dance, I had always turned a blind eye to Les Mis. It is called “The Miserable” after all. Not that I went out of my way to avoid it, but a story of a bunch of dirty French children begging for bread and singing about the Revolution didn’t seem to motivate me to the theater.  Luckily the promise of getting to see Les Miserables before anyone else (I enjoy gloating), followed by a Q&A session with the all-star cast, was enough to motivate me awake, again at 6:30am.

The movie was a wonder. If you want to know what happened…too bad, as I’m not spoiling any of the magic. While lengthy, the action, drama and comedy at times kept me awake without the need of caffeine. The music was powerful and very rarely did it slow enough to cause my eyelids to fight being awake. If you go see Les Miserables on Christmas day you will not be disappointed.

The real jewel here was the Q&A session following the screening with Director Tom Hooper, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne. The cast was graciously authentic in their compliments of each other as they recounted preparing for their roles. There were many interesting stories shared that morning, from Hugh’s stolen bike wheel which led to a 20-block trek through Manhattan to make his audition, to Eddie Redmayne’s lying to Director Tom Hooper about knowing how to ride a horse and how it came back to bite him in the ass seven years later.

The single greatest thing gleaned from the conversation came from a man who smartly asked Hooper about his decision to do live singing instead of dub-track performances, which are the usual standard of Hollywood cinema. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say these live performances will blow the thoughts right out of your mind. When certain people sing certain songs (that are cherished like the national treasures they are) tears will stream down your face. There is nothing like the pure emotion that comes through their eyes, their expressions, that you simply can’t dub in.

The cinematic production of Les Miserables is a triumph. For those who think it is blasphemy to go from stage to screen, you will not be disappointed.

I hope you run to your nearest theater next week, and I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

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LCF Fashion Ticker: Thursday

LCF Fashion Ticker is the latest in headlines from around the world, and what you’re missing (so far) if your alarm resides in Pacific Standard Time:

Kristen Stewart’s Bizarre Affair: A Discussion [NY Mag] – The only reason I’m posting this fodder is because Kristen Stewart is the face of Balenciaga’s latest fragrance, “Florabotanica,” and because the watercooler talk at NYmag is pretty funny and poignant. [LINK]

Love square: Liberty Ross, Rupert Sanders, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson. From NYMag.com

Fast Fashion Startup JustFab: $100M revenue, 500K new Users/Month, and $76M in New Funding [Venture Beat] – Justfab.com is hot on the heels of fast fashion labels like Forever 21 and H&M, but through the online world versus brick and mortar. $100M this year and Justfab is aiming at half a BILLION next year. Can they do it? [LINK]

Screenshot by VentureBeat

La Jolla Fashion Film Festival Celebrates the Short and Stylish [UT San Diego] – Fashion film is a new genre garnering enough attention to warrant its own festival held in La Jolla, CA. Labels like Prada and RACHEL Rachel Roy,  designer Karl Lagerfeld and photographer Bruce Weber are all making fantastic shorts that are like a editorial spread in Vogue come to life. I found RACHEL Rachel Roy’s fashion film “Move” to be absolutely spine-tingling! [LINK]

For Street-Shooting Fashion Photog, It’s Swagger Over Label [Wired] – A great piece on The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman and how he picks his pieces. [LINK]

After Chloe, Paris – Photo by Scott Schuman

Dear Cougar: I’m a Starving Artist. Do I Have to Get a “Real” Job?

DEAR COUGAR: I’m an artist and budding filmmaker with a B.A. degree. My problems are my job situation and where I live.

My dad has told me that — like him and his father — my brother and I share a similar problem. We all have trouble getting and keeping jobs. We never seem to get ahead or be content or comfortable. On my mother’s side, however, she, her father, her brother and my cousin all have held steady jobs. Why is that?

As an artist, I feel I don’t really fit into any job description. Mom would like me to work for the federal government like she does, but I don’t want to. I have had people let me down the past few years, and I have fought depression and personal attacks from friends and classmates who all told me to give up and get a “real” job. It makes me even more determined to realize my dream, but it’s getting harder. Can you advise me? – STARVING IN LA

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DEAR STARVING,

To put it simply, should you get a real job…yes. Should you give up your dream of going from “budding” to prominent filmmaker, no.

Interestingly, I know several “starving artists” who with hard work and determination are doing what they love, but all bit the bullet and got a steady paying job. Having a steady job isn’t telling the world that you’ve given up on yourself and your dreams, its helping to fund those dreams.

For instance, my cousin Steven is a great artist and recently in the last couple years found a love of photography. He worked at Target and then got in at the state prison system…not exactly what I would call cushy fun and inspiring positions in life, but they were steady jobs. Steven used the money he was making to fund his photographic adventures and eventually built himself up a portfolio that got noticed. Just a few months ago he was asked by a major new music artist to go on tour as their tour photographer. He quit his job and is never looking back. He is dream is coming true every day.

Keep moving forward is the best advice I can give. Find a job that you can tolerate and that will keep a roof over your head. Build that portfolio of great work and share it with your friends and family, and they will all cheer for you.

Hope to see you on the big screen one day my friend.

-Coug

If you have any life conundrums of your own, click the ask button above or email me directly at cougar@leftcoastfashion.com, and I’d be happy to help!

New York is the place to go if you want to do theater. But if you want to be in film and television, move to LA.

Jenna Fischer of The Office

Zero Budget? Funded by Passion – Angelus Student Film Festival Recap

Author’s Note: Once you get past my pretense you’ll see why I LOVED this evening. Skip to Read More for links and recap.

Since moving to LA (one week ago) my hope of becoming cheap had inspired me to check out the Craigslist Free Ads. From a poor student’s tip I saw an invitation for FREE tickets to a LA Film Fest. I love movies. I mean I really love good movies, and this event was to be held at the Director’s Guild of America, so this was impossible to pass up. 

Once reserving my tickets I got a confirmation email saying I was going to the Angelus Student Film Festival. I am was pretty excited about this as one of my favorite things in life is seeing new talent on the rise. But, this may also be why the friends I invited to come along all dropped out at the last minute. Perhaps.

In this world of LA I’ve adopted the motto, “If its free, its me,” and as I said before I love a good movie. So I went…and I loved.

Let me just say that the talent showcased at was INCREDIBLE. The stories were touching and uplifting. The characters were authentic. The cinematography, editing, etc. were phenomenonal. With zero budget what these students were able to achieve was nothing short of magic. Their passion was infectious. I felt like I had won a ticket to the Oscars screening, sitting center stage and watching each of the next seven tales unfold.

Click Images for Links to Trailers.

The Lighthouse – Winner, Best Animation.

A heartfelt and somewhat humorous tale of a father’s love and care for his son, and their relationship as he grows into a man. I got a little sniffly on this one. Unbelievably beautiful score.

Teamwork – Winner, Director’s Choice.

This story was a perfect illustration of how crossculturally how amazing our grandmother’s are. A wide range of emotions from love to regret and pain. This story about finally letting go with beautifully excuted. Bummed I can’t find at least a trailer to share for this one.

Love Hacking – Winner, Best Documentary.

This was one of my favorites as many times it had the audience dying with laughter. Documentaries that are well executed can show a truly amazing story and because they (hopefully) follow the subject with little to no direction you never know what will happen next.

Thief – Winner, “Triump” Award.

My favorite. The Writer/Director, Julian Higgins, takes us back to 1959 Iraq to tell the story of how Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003. The authenticity of the film is probably what was most striking. I believe the movie was shot here in SoCal and Julian’s team recreated the home in the movie from old 1959 images of Iraq found in the Los Angeles Library archives. This is a must see!

Raju – Winner, Excellence in Film Making.

The story of a German couple trying to make their family whole by adopting an Indian boy. This was a emotionally challenging and heartbreaking short that dealt with the topic of illegal adoption of stolen children. A real topic portrayed with so much range it really sucks you in. Very easy to tell why this was the overall winner. Bravo!