Friday, August 15, 2014

Dressing Well on a Fixed Budget and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new film "The Hundred Foot Journey," the DVDs "Crazy Horse" and "Memory" and the Book of the Week is Anjelica Huston's memoir "A Story Lately Told."]

But First

One thing I have noticed since I retired is that I look like hell most of the time.
But it's not my fault.  I just don't have the money to spend on clothes anymore.

Well, I also have gotten so lazy that it's all I can do to put on sweats.  But I really do want to look good.  I really do.
So how do I look good on a limited clothing budget? 


Here are some things I have discovered.
  • Forever 21 and H & M.  I'm not kidding.  Even women of a certain age can find some deals there. They have on-trend duds for next to nothing.  Rumor has it that the clothes are so poorly made they will fall apart in next to no time, but, who cares?  You would hit those stores for up to the minute clothes, not classics you want to last forever.  They are great places for trendy tights, scarves, and denim jackets.  And don't be put off by the fact that they cater to the younger set.  Just say you are shopping for your daughter (or granddaughter).



  • Buy a scarf or other accessory that doesn't cost much.  It will make you feel like you have something new without paying a lot of money. 





  • One word.  Shoes.

    New inexpensive on trend shoes can pick up the dreariest of duds.


  • Repurpose the clothes you already have.  Think outside the box.  Why not wear that old mini dress (I know you still have one of those) over leggings or jeans?  Or add new buttons to a cardigan or coat.  Shorten a long skirt.  Or better yet, borrow something from Hubby, like this hat.

  • Take some of your "old" clothes to a consignment shop.  I have just recently discovered the joys of consignment to the tune of almost $200.  Then I take that $200 to the mall and go crazy!



  • Goodwill.  Or some other thrift store.  You wouldn't believe what people just give away to these places.  I have never found an Oscar de la Renta or anything like that (rumor has it that those are skimmed off the top for larger events or sold to the more upscale used clothing stores), but you never know.  While you are there, you can also pick up something for your dog.
I know.  Cheap laugh that I couldn't resist.

What do you do to save money on clothes
but still remain stylish?



Now on to The Week in Reviews

***In Theatres Now***



The Kadam family loses their restaurant in Mumbai and head to Europe to try to start over.

Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) has a chef's palate from an early age as he learned to cook next to his mother in their family restaurant in Mumbai.  When the restaurant is attacked and burned down, his mother is killed and the family tries to start over in Europe, first in England, then in France.  Their car breaks down near the small French village of Lumiere and that is where Papa (Om Puri) decides to settle down and open another restaurant.  Unfortunately, it is across the street and 100 feet from a Michelin starred restaurant owned by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) and she is not happy to have them there nor will Papa let her stop them.  It's war.

In the meantime, Hassan becomes fascinated with French cuisine and is more and more drawn to Madame Mallory and what it takes to attain a Michelin star.  Her sou chef Marguerite is also a draw for Hassan and feeds his desire to become a true chef.

The road that divides the two warring restaurants is 100 feet wide and acts as not just a metaphor for the divide between the two restaurants and their food but between the generations, between youth and adulthood and between cultures. 

Just as Dorothy discovered in "The Wizard of Oz," sometimes happiness lies in your own backyard.

Lasse Halstrom ("Cider House Rules") directs this sumptuous feast of love and food based on the book by the same name. 

Movie fans might recognize Puri from "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," which I reviewed favorably in 2013, and he is a great foil for Mirren, who has perfected the imperious woman with the cold exterior but soft heart.  When Kadam refers to her imperiousness as acting like a queen, it's a fun reference to her many stints as Queen Elizabeth. Mirren is such a remarkable actress that she can express just the right emotion with her back to the screen.

This marks the first big screen leading role for Manish Dayal and he makes a wonderfully sensitive leading man and Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite is a new fresh face who was delightful in this role.  The love story between these two had a subtle twist and was much less predictable than most.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Helen Mirren, Paris and the gorgeous French countryside and food porn.  How delicious.


***DVDS***
You Might Have Missed
And Some You Should Be Glad You Did
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)




Crazy Horse (2011)



Directed by Documentarian Frederick Wiseman ("Independent Lens"), this is a cinema verite behind the scenes look at The Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris that claims to have the best nude dancing show in the world, offering stylish, erotic and chic nude dancing.
"Le Crazy" has been around since 1951 when this kind of soft core burlesque would have been ooh-la-la.  Now in this time of nudity and graphic sex that is so commonplace, it seems rather tame and old-fashioned.
Wiseman was given unprecedented access to French choreographer Philippe Decouflé and his staff as they prepare for a new revue called DésirsProduction meetings are interspersed with actual performances. We get to see what it takes to put on a show like this and the pressures that are brought to bear to keep things fresh and new and please the investors.  But with no narration or historical perspective, we don't really learn anything much about the theatre or the history of The Crazy Horse.
Wiseman is the creator of over 40 documentaries and here has produced a documentary that is neither erotic nor particularly interesting.  It's clear he wants us to take this art form seriously, but it's almost too serious in its wanting to be taken seriously. Remember those Aerobicise segments that used to come on in the early days of Showtime that were more soft porn than exercise?  That's what this documentary reminded me of - close ups of writhing body parts interspersed with business meetings. The audition segment was a good one, but a female cattle call in the truest sense.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like to look at beautiful naked women, this is for you.  Otherwise, there isn't much more to this film than that. (subtitles)




Memory (2006)


A medical researcher in the field of Alzheimer's pricks his finger on some Amazonian tribal powder and starts seeing things that happened before he was born.

Billy Zane plays Dr. Taylor Briggs who is doing good work in the Amazon when he gets some mysterious powder into his system and starts channeling the mind of a serial killer from years before.  The killer kidnaps little girls and makes plaster casts of their faces before killing them and the killer is still out there, continuing to kidnap little girls.  For some reason the good doctor thinks this serial killer could be his own father, whom he never knew. When he tries to tell his friends and family what is happening to him, of course no one believes him so he is forced to solve this mystery on his own, which he predictably does. 

The movie asks the question, "What if our DNA stored the memories of our parents?"  Answer?  Who cares. 

Another question is, whatever happened to Billy Zane?  He has leading man good looks and is a decent actor, but somehow decent roles have eluded him and he doesn't seem to care either.  But with four movies in the can and six in pre-production, perhaps he will break out.  He's been at this since 1985, but maybe he is just a slow started.

The movie poster makes this movie look scary.  If only.  It's a muddled mess with nothing much explained.

Dennis Hopper and Ann-Margret have roles.  Not sure why they needed Dennis Hopper.  I figured out what Ann-Margaret was doing there early on.  You will too.  In any kind of detective story or murder mystery, I always ask myself.  Why is this character in this film?  When you ask yourself that question, that person is usually the killer.  Pretty predictable stuff.

Sadly, it's not "memorable."  Get it?
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a fan of Lifetime Movies, you might like this.  But just remember, there is a reason some movies go straight to DVD.  This is one of them.


***Book of the Week***




A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York by Anjelica Huston (2013)



The daughter of director John Huston and an Academy Award winning actress in her own right, Huston shares the story of her early years.
Huston came from Hollywood Royalty.  Her grandfather was famous character actor Walter Huston and her father was John Huston, director of such classics as "The African Queen," "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Misfits."  She was raised by her ballerina mother on an Irish estate where her father brought an array of famous friends, from Carson McCullers and John Steinbeck to Peter O’Toole and Marlon Brando.

They all move to London in the early 60's, but her parents separate, which devastates her. But it's the Swinging Sixties and Huston tells of encounters with the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. She understudies Marianne Faithfull in Hamlet.  But at seventeen, she is devastated once again when her mother dies in a car crash.

She moves to New York, falls in love with the much older, brilliant but disturbed photographer and becomes a model.

"A Story Lately Told" ends as Huston launches her Hollywood life. A sequel that will take up where we left off ("Watch Me") will be coming out in November.  I can't wait.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a well-written memoir with a style reminiscent of Hemingway.  For movie mavens and Baby Boomers who enjoyed the Swinging Sixties. 



That's it for this week!


Thanks for reading!

See you Tuesday for
"Stuff that Should Not Happen"



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