Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

A Million Ways to Die in the West & Maleficent: Interpreting History & Lore

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I saw two movies today – OMG, stop the presses.  I finally got some “KB Time” and took advantage of it.  Bolstering the box office numbers for this weekend’s biggest contenders, I saw them both.  There are some interesting parallels, in terms of the costumes, and here’s how I see it:

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Inside Llewyn Davis

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If you work in the arts, you probably know someone like Llewyn Davis… someone who has a boatload of talent, but can’t seem to stop self-sabotaging. The Coen Brothers make use of this archetype – the slacker who just can not, for the love of God, get on with it – in their tale of the early 1960s folk music scene in New York City. The movie is really interesting, though at times frustrating to watch, mostly because you just want to punch Llewyn in the face and tell him to get it together. The costumes (by designer Mary Zophres) are wonderful, and there is a very cute ginger kitty who steals just about every scene he’s in.

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Pennsylvania: Warts and All

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I’m trying to catch up on my movie-watching, as awards season is upon us and those of us who vote need to be informed! Aaaghh! So I’ve recently seen two very interesting Pennsylvania-themed films, Prisoners and Out of the Furnace. Both of these films describe a visual world that (to some people) might seem mundane… but the costumes are brilliant. Check out some images of this very fine work by costume designers Renee April (Prisoners) and Kurt and Bart (Out of the Furnace).

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The Great Gatsby

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Hi everyone – I’ve just returned from a screening of The Great Gatsby, and wanted to briefly record my impressions here for you.  First of all, there are a TON of costumes. Like thousands and thousands of costumes, all very different from each other.  There are dance costumes and party costumes and poor people costumes and banker/Wall Street costumes and rich people costumes, etc., etc., etc., it’s exhausting! Bottom line: it’s beautiful.  But keep in mind, this is not a Merchant-Ivory movie; this is not the place to be looking for exacting period accuracy.  This is a Baz Luhrmann movie, and his specific vision is what comes to life here, courtesy of costumes and sets by designer Catherine Martin. Continue reading ‘The Great Gatsby’

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

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Review Date: 4-2-2013

Release Date: 3-15-2013

Runtime: 100 min.

Period: Contemporary (flashbacks to 1980s)

Costume Designer: Dayna Pink

 

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a very interesting movie, and the costumes are awesome.  What kind of a dream job would it be to create a world of magic?  To span a few decades doing so?  To work with some of the best comedic talent in the process?  I sat down with costume designer Dayna Pink to discuss her work on the show, and I will run that interview soon.  But first, have a look at some of her outrageous and hilarious costumes.

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Spring Breakers

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Release Date: 3-22-13 (USA)

Review Date: 3-26-13

Runtime: 94 min.

Period: Contemporary

Costume Designer:  Heidi Bivens

Having just seen Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, the words that come to my mind:  WOAH.  WTF.  OMG.  NO WAY.  This is a nightmare of a movie, in the very best sense – it has haunted my dreams.  Marketed oddly as a good-times comedy, it couldn’t be further from the reality of what this movie actually is – a nihilistic meditation on youth, freedom, and the meaning of life.  Starring Disney poster girls Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez alongside cinematic chameleon James Franco, this film destroys any kind of squeaky-cleanness they might have once had.  It’s brilliant, it’s brash, and it’s scary as hell.

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Mama

Just some brief thoughts about Mama, since we start shooting on Monday and sadly I don’t have time to do a full review. It’s a scary movie, mostly contemporary with a few flashbacks to the 1880s. Bottom line – BRAVO for the great use of the three-wolf t-shirt. I won’t spoil the surprise for you, Frocktalkers, but watch the movie and spot the three-wolf t-shirt. Also nicely done: the Misfits t-shirts on Jessica Chastain. The overall look of the movie was augmented by great moody lighting and desaturation of the colors in the film (probably in post). The little girls are precious and also creepy, particularly the youngest daughter Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse). It’s a scary movie, but I thought it was pretty mild, actually. It’s a clean PG-13, and the costumes are interesting for sure! Look for the three-wolf t-shirt – it actually made me say “oooh!” out loud in the theater! Nice work, (costume designer) Luis Sequeira, and congrats to the entire costume team!

– KMB

Blancanieves

Review Date: 12-23-12

Release Date:

Runtime: 104 minutes

Period: 1920s-ish, Spain

Costume Designer: Paco Delgado

Okay, if you think that Les Misérables has great costumes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Paco Delgado, the designer of Les Mis, hits a homerun with the silent, black-and-white (Spanish) adaptation of the Snow White story, Blancanieves. Let’s put it this way – his is the first in the main title credits. That says something. This is masterful work, and for me, his breathtaking work on Les Mis pales in comparison to his absolutely genius work in Blancanieves.

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Bombs, Spies, Torture and Violence: Zero Dark Thirty & Skyfall

Two films are out for your holiday viewing: both feature mind-numbing violence, explosions, espionage, gun battles, torture and death. One is based on actual events, and the other is based on a well-known set of novels. The stories are so outrageous; it’s hard to tell which one is standing in front of the mirror and which one is the reflection.

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De Rouille et D’Os – Rust and Bone

Review Date: 12-8-12

Release Date: 11-23-12

Runtime: 120 minutes

Period: Contemporary

Costume Designer: Virginie Montel

Rust and Bone is the epic, harrowing and stunning story of Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in an accident, and Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), a negligent father who enters the competitive world of street fighting. Stephanie is drawn to danger in all its forms, and Ali provides her with plenty of it, helping her to heal along the way.

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