Movies

22nd Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibit

Over the weekend, I had my last free day from school and work for the next 14 weeks so I headed over to FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) to check out this recent exhibit. 

To say that these costumes were amazing isn't even doing the costumes justice. There were costumes from 'Man of Steel', 'Ender's Game', 'Thor: The Dark World', 'Oblivion' and many others but I wanted to talk about the costumes that ended up being my favorite. Of course there was no photography allowed so I had to gather images from other places. 

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness John Harrison KhanThis costume that Benedict Cumberbatch is wearing was actually my absolute favorite from the entire exhibit. It has this leathery, futuristic, sleek, Mad Max vibe to it that I loved. Plus so far, that's as close to Benedict that I've ever been. Can you say "Dreamboat"? 

Michael Kaplan, the costume designer for the film said of Benedict: 

"For Benedict, I really like the idea of long coats, so you see him moving through space with his coattails flying behind. When you first see him on Kronos, he's backlit and J.J. and I thought it would be a good idea if we didn't know who he was at first. You almost mistake his coat for a Klingon coat. Then he leaps down and you're still not sure who it is because he's wearing a hood and a mask and then all that comes off and you have the surprise of seeing Benedict." 

Star Trek Into Darkness Klingon costumeFor the Klingon costumes Kaplan used designs created for the first movie but never seen by the audience. "Their helmets are based on horseshoe crabs, which I thought would make a great design." 

What Kaplan said about designing costumes for the entire movie: 

"Star Trek is like doing a period movie but it's a period movie where nothing exists from the period! You can't go to thrift shops and costume houses and collect clothing. On Star Trek, everything has to be made." 

FIDM AMPCD 2014 Oz the Great and Powerful Theodora and EvanoraNext were the witches Evanora and Theodora from "Oz: The Great and Powerful" played by Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis. If you think the Evanora costume looks great on screen, seeing it in person was truly breathtaking. The detail of the beading is extraordinary. 

Character designer, Michael Kutsche says of the Evanora costume: 

"For Evanora, the ruler of Emerald City, the starting point was looking at the architecture of the city. I really wanted her to not just be some person in this place, but to actually be this place. The shape and color of her wardrobe acutally reflect the architecture and feel of Emerald City, which was Art Deco inspired." 

and of Theodora: 

"It's in a fantasy world while still being a period piece in a way. So I looked at fashion around 1900 when they had some pretty crazy hats. Theodora's look is almost like a patchwork of different periods that makes it look like no distinct period. And that's what I guess gives it this slightly fantastical effect." 

It was interesting seeing all these costumes and the different fabrics the designers chose to help tell the story of the movie. While Star Trek used leathers and had a very futuristic and sleek feel, the costumes for 12 Years a Slave were all cotton and distressed. I wanted to touch all of them! So if you happen to be in LA between now and April 26th, I highly recommend seeing the exhibit. 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Favorite Love Movies

With 'Amanda' being my name, it's no surprise that I actually love, love, and Valentine's Day. I don't care if it's a Hallmark holiday. It's about celebrating love, and I'm all about that. I'll break it down to you. 'Amanda' is a derivitive of the Spanish word, 'Amada', which means 'loved one'. BAM! 

So it's ALSO no coincidence that I love cheesy Rom-Coms and love movies, but as a member of the SLC (single ladies club), watching these cheesy movies reminds me that there IS someone out there for me. Somewhere. Probably. Who knows. But I digress, these are my favorites in no particular order. 

1. While You Were Sleeping. There's no denying I love a Sandra Bullock and henceforth her movies. The whole situation is utterly ridiculous, but I LOVE IT. Don't be surprised if you see more Sandy on this list. I'm warning you now. 

2. Big Fish. Simply because it reminds me of my favorite person in the world. 

3. An Officer and A Gentleman. I saw this for the first time in November and I love it for the same reason every other girl loves it: HE COMES BACK FOR HER!

4. The Notebook. But only for the Gosling/McAdams part because it also reminds me of my favorite person in the world. 

5. The Proposal. I told you. Miss Bossy Pants lets down her guard finally. 

6. Just Like Heaven. Fiesty, stubborn and in your face all the time. That's me too, Reese! 

7. 27 Dresses. Because James Marsden is hot, and Judy Greer is hilarious, dammit.

8. 13 Going On 30. I'm not a big Jennifer Garner fan, but Mark Ruffalo? Yes ma'am. Judy Greer? HECK YES! and a backstory about working at a magazine? SOLD! 

9. Dear John. I can't even pinpoint why I love this movie. 

10. A Walk To Remember. This movie is the sole reason why I think "buying" a star is romantic and was my first introduction to the heatwrenching world of Nicolas Sparks. 

11. The Wedding Planner. Because I also love J.Lo in cheesy movies....and Judy Greer. If Sandy is the RomCom queen, then Matt McConaughy has to be the RomCom king.

12. Maid in Manhattan. I love this movie because it reminds me of what Ralph Fiennes looks like with a nose because I'm so used to him as.. you-know-who. 

13. The Rebound. There's a line that Justin Bartha says towards the end that I really love. I can't remember it right now, but something about not being able to find someone who was perfect for his family. 

14. Failure To Launch. RomCom king in action again. Plus, Zooey Deschanel and Justin Bartha. 

15. Two Weeks Notice. More Sandy. I can't help it!

So, by now you realized that I wasn't playing when I said, "I love RomComs" and honestly, I frequently watch most of them.  Do you watch RomComs? How many movies on this list have you seen? What are some of YOUR favorites? 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Dear Avengers,

Detail
Photo: Marvel.com

By now, I've seen you four times and every time was just as good as the first. You have completely converted me from a DC girl into a Marvel one and I'm not complaining one bit. You've even got me reading actual comics. The old ones of course, so I can find out more history (plus I like the illustration style better).

Four times! That's how many times I've VOLUNTARILY PAID to see you. I NEVER go to a movie, in theaters, more than once. But I sat there enthralled, each time, even though I knew what would be coming next. But because it was so well written and directed, it felt just like the first time. 

But I've got a few points to go over with each of you. 

.........................................................................

Captain America/ Capt. Steven Rogers

I absolutely HATED your movie. I felt it was way too long and I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could go use the restroom. Honestly, at the end of your movie, I didn't even consider you to be a "superhero". You were just a guy who could run fast and jump high. I wasn't on your side AT ALL, but then you came out in this movie and you redeemed yourself, in my eyes. Diplomatic, a nice modern uniform (that conveniently showcased your ass), your willingness to confront every situation head on, and some awesome, kick ass scenes. Job well done Capt. Rogers! 

..........................................................................

Hawkeye

All I can say is, I REALLY wish I had your hand/eye coordination and you've got some really good observation skills. I look forward to seeing more of you, hopefully.  

..........................................................................

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff

How many ways can I express to you that you are one kick ass lady and that I LOVE you? Not enough! Your interrogation skills are extraordinary and I wish I possessed them but alas, I don't. I'll have to settle with only wishing I knew you in real life so I could get some pointers out of you. 

..........................................................................

Thor

I'm sorry I hadn't seen your movie before going to watch this one. I didn't understand any of your references and at one point I was like, "Why are they showing a picture of Natalie Portman". But on Saturday I understood most of the references that I could remember from 'Avengers'. I kind of felt like the Captain during the 'Flying monkeys' moment. I thought you were pretty hot to be a blonde, and those muscles, hmmmm! Plus, you can handle your own against Hulk. 

..........................................................................

Hulk/ Bruce Banner

Honestly, I think Mark Ruffalo was the BEST choice to play Hulk! Mark Ruffalo is my Celeb crush #1, and he plays Bruce Banner so perfectly. The hint of regret and dare I say, shame, that resonates in his tone, his body language. It never occurred to me, but it didn't surprise me either, when all of a sudden you became sort of 'besties' with Tony Stark.  I think you complement each other fairly well and I love the way you two go at it back and forth. Stark always pushing and you being somewhat nonchalant. You had some of the better moments in the movie. The sucker punch that you gave Thor and the tossing that you gave Loki, PRICELESS! At the end, I kind of wish they had made a movie with Ruffalo as Hulk. I was kind of hesitant because I actually liked the Ed Norton version but I think Ruffalo is exponentially better! 

...........................................................................

Tony Stark/ Iron man

Just like Black Widow, there are so many reasons why I love you! You have the BEST lines in the movie hands down! You're sarcastic and cocky, difficult, self-centered and everything that I tend to like. You remind me of my Sir minus the genius, billionaire, playboy part. You manage to draw attention to yourself while at the same time deflecting it away. Your Rolling Stone cover is something that I wish existed, at least in poster form, so that I could put it on my wall. And what's more is, you decided you deserve your own intro music and that it should be AC/DC. Awesome! 

 

And last but not least, Agent Coulson

I love you. I really do! Even though you're a secondary character, you're the linchpin in this whole shared universe and  I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY do hope that you come back in the way that the rumors that are floating out there, are talking about! 

Sincerely, 

Amanda

A-noob-to-this-whole-comic-book-stuff. 

Amanda ❤

Think Twice About Watching 'The Hunger Games'

The Hunger Games

So just like everyone else, I went to go watch 'The Hunger Games' on opening weekend and I think I may have been better NOT going to watch it. I'll admit, I'd heard all kinds of things about this movie before it came out. Multiple people told me the books were really good and that I should read them. I was skeptical because it's written in first person and I don't like books written in that format but, after finally watching the trailer and it having intrigued me, I gave it a try. I totally fell in love with this series. I bought 'Hunger Games' on a Friday night and finished it Sunday morning. If it weren't for the fact that I had to work, I'm pretty sure I would have been able to devour it in a day. 

I'm not a purist when it comes to books-turned-movies. I know the director, producer and screenwriters have to strike a balance for those who read the book and those who are simply watching the movie. You have to accommodate what happens in the book so new viewers can understand the plot as well. But seeing as Suzanne Collins WAS involved with the adaptation of the book into a screenplay, I think she compromised too much. I'll put it to you this way. I feel too much happened in the movie that never happened in the book. I'll try and give a few examples without being too much of a spoiler for those who have yet to see it. 

The story with the pin was an understandable change, one I could have dealt with for the sake of telling the story. Prim being worried, not so much. Effie Trinket I believe was well played, as is Cinna. Haymitch's "problem" is toned down and honestly, I had no idea who Seneca Crane was until I started reading 'Catching Fire'. Another small thing I was willing to give up was Katniss calling out for Peeta after 'the announcement' and the tribute muttations.  There are a myriad of other things that happen as well but I won't go into that. 

I know when you turn a book into a movie you always hear, "The book is better". Of course it's better, the book is able to portray emotions and thoughts that are limited when it comes to acting, especially for a book that's written in first person since inner dialogue is the main component propelling the book forward. I'm not saying the cast of 'THG' is limited in their abilities because I think they were all good, although I have to say, I was a little freaked out to see the girl who played in 'The Orphan', but that's just me. Yet, I can't say strongly enough, if you haven't read the book, read the book instead. When I say the movie is a 'loose' adaptation of the book, I mean 'loose'. I feel the only things that happen in the movie that occured in the book was Katniss and Peeta being chosen, participating in the games (although in my opinion, that's toned down as well), and them winning. 

But if you insist on seeing the movie, great, good for you. I always say, 'Hindsight is 20/20' so had I known, I probably would have skipped it. It put a sour taste in my mouth and actually sort of dissuaded me into seeing the second one, which will happen. (If you read the book, you'll understand why. If you haven't, don't worry you won't understand) My friend saw it and said she would have given it a 5 out of 10 simply because she had plenty of questions as to what was going on and who people were. I told her, "You couldn't fully understand the movie unless you read the book" and I stand by that statement, even I had questions and if it weren't for the fact that I started reading 'Catching Fire' on Friday, I would have been like, 'What the hell is going on?' too. 

That being said, I would just stick to the book. 

Ps. I've been having a hard time trying to decide who's team I'm on, Gale or Peeta's. For those who've finished reading the series, don't spoil it, but after the incident with the lashings, I'm choosing Gale. 

//Panda

Amanda ❤