Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Favorite Actresses

I am awed by great acting. There are some actors who have wonderful insight into the varied characters they play. The first time you see a great performer, you recognize they are going to be great. Like Meryl Streep in a tiny role in the made for TV movie Holocaust. She was on screen for less than a minute, but we never forgot that performance. 

And there are actors who change so completely for each role, you hardly recognize them. Take a look at Joan Allen in Peggy Sue Got Married behind those nerdy glasses vs her role in the Contender.

So here are a dozen of my favorite actresses and some of the roles in which I've enjoyed seeing them.

Amy Adams - Enchanted, Charlie Wilson's War, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Doubt, Julie & Julia

Joan Allen - Peggy Sue Got Married, Tucker, Pleasantville, The Contender, The Notebook, Bourne Supremacy

Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth, An Ideal Husband, Talented Mr Ripley, Lord of Rings, The Aviator, Babel, Indiana Jones and Kingdom of Crystal Skull, Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Jennifer Connelly - Rocketeer, Pollock, A Beautiful Mind, House of Sand and Fog, Blood Diamond

Anne Hathaway - Princess Diaries, Brokeback Mountain, Devil Wears Prada, Becoming Jane

Frances McDormand - Fargo, Lone Star, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Burn After Reading

Helen Mirren - Excalibur, White Nights, Calendar Girls, The Queen

Julianne Moore - An Ideal Husband, End of the Affair, Far From Heaven

Michelle Pfeiffer - Witches of Eastwick, Married to the Mob, Dangerous Liasons, Fabulous Baker Boys, Russia House, Batman Returns, Age of Innocence, Up Close and Personal, What Lies Beneath, Stardust

Meryl Streep - Julia, Holocaust, Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer, French Lieutenant's Woman, Sophie's Choice, Out of Africa, River Wild, Bridges of Madison County, Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia

Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton, Burn After Reading, Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Naomi Watts - Dangerous Beauty, King Kong, Painted Veil, Eastern Promises

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Best Movie Scenes in History

If there was a contest for the best acted, most moving scene in a movie, what would it be? We've come up with a few, but feel free to suggest your own and why.

Meryl Streep, Sophie's Choice - explaining what is Sophie's Choice.
Damien Lewis, The Forsyte Saga - after his wife leaves him for another man, Soames Forsyte caresses his wife's empty dress and lets the dam break of decades-long pent up tears.
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Slumdog Millionaire - every scene in which he plays the young Jamal
Christian Bale, Empire of the Sun - showing the wonder of being a child, oblivious to the dangers of war
Johnny Depp, Nick of Time - reacting to the impossible choice of having to kill a highly placed public figure in order to save his kidnapped daughter's life
Toshiro Mifune, High and Low - the scene of panic he experiences on the train when he can't open the window to throw the ransom money to the kidnappers to retrieve his child
Guy Pierce, L.A. Confidential - walking the tightrope of extreme ambition vs integrity vs lust
Jake Gyllenhaal, October Sky - a convincing performance of a boy from a dingy little West Virginia coal town who looks at the sky and imagines a future as a rocket scientist. About as likely as a pig with wings. Or so says your father. But maybe your dream will come true with the guidance of a dedicated teacher and the support of everyone in town.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Trend in Veils - the Bird Cage

Q:  What's the latest in veils? 

A:  Bird cage veils are making a comeback. Not since the Hollywood glamour days of the 1940s have these veils, and the hair accessories, been so in vogue. Maybe it started when Drew Barrymore wore one on Grey Gardens. Maybe it is the compromise between having a traditional length veil and no veil at all. 

Whatever is responsible for the trend, it is undoubtedly stylish and flattering to almost every bride.    

Where can you get the components - feathers, combs, tulle? At your local fabric store, a phenomenal store such as Britex on Union Square in San Francisco, or at Unveiled Bridal Designs online.

Here are a few more examples.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Horrified, But Can't Look Away

I confess. I'm semi-hooked on watching the TV show Bridezilla. I'm not sure if it's that I feel like a voyeur watching the brides' vindictive rages that feed on themselves. Or whether it's watching the hapless victims take the abuse when all they have to do is walk away and it would be the bride who would suffer. Or whether it is the extreme self-centeredness and entirely frivolous and trivial issues the brides rant about to create the drama that fascinates me. Eventually I can't stand it anymore and turn it off...until the next time.

But here's what I do know. There's always a reaction for every action. Karmic retribution is real. Members of the wedding party start dropping out at the last minute when they've had enough of being treated like a slave, being humiliated, scolded and scorned. Family rifts are started that fester for decades. People start responding to the brides in-kind with the same level of meanness and disrespect.

But what is the opposite of a bridezilla? It is the thoughtful bride. How can you spot such a bride?

--Throughout the planning process, she solicited and incorporated her groom's preferences and suggestions, both large and small, whether they fit with her vision or not.
--She is genuinely thrilled that someone came to her wedding and doesn't care what present the guest brought, or even if they brought a gift at all.
--She privately and publicly thanks every person - parents, wedding party members, friends and wedding professionals - for contributing to making the day special with their love, their time and their talents.
--She is totally present when speaking to the grandest or the smallest guest. She is not offering a perfunctory "Thanks for coming." without even looking in their direction.
--She savors every moment. She takes time to whisper in her groom's ear how happy he has made her and that she will try to make him happy every day for the rest of their lives.

Of all the weddings we've witnessed, the thoughtful bride is what makes the most memorable wedding. And it doesn't cost a penny.