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! **

Crossing Over: Shameless Self-Promotion

I shouldn’t have to do this, write a post in order to publicize a movie.  Unfortunately, good movies are routinely under-promoted (I cite Happy-Go-Lucky as an example) for reasons that are at best elusive. This is what appears to be happening for the upcoming Crossing Over, a film about immigration starring Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess and Ray Liotta.  I designed the costumes for this film, and like many of you, I am puzzled that it has been collecting dust on the shelf throughout this awards season (its original release date: 12/03/08), only to be quietly escorted out the back door in a limited LA/NY release on Friday (2-27-09).  It’s Harrison Ford, homies!  Han Solo!!  And it’s a great film!!

Crossing Over is based on a short film of the same name written and directed by Wayne Kramer, who also wrote and directed The Cooler and Running Scared.  Wayne is a naturalized US citizen, originally from South Africa, and this film has special personal resonance and significance to him. The eight interwoven stories about immigration are stories you might not expect to hear, involving immigrants you might not immediately recognize as “illegal aliens”.  These storylines represent people from England, Australia, Bangladesh, Israel, Iran, Korea, Nigeria, and Mexico.

The reasons for Crossing Over not experiencing the publicity waterfall that another film might are myriad.  I don’t want to get into too much detail about why the situation has shaken out the way it has, but believe me when I say it is complicated.  There are many websites out there that have detailed the problems, fights, and turmoil surrounding the final cut and release of this film, and I will leave it to you to do more research on it if you are so inclined.  I am not in a position to write about it, so please forgive me for being cryptic.

The important thing for me, though, is to get the word out about this film.  We worked our butts off to make this film authentic – we took field trips to the San Ysidro border, met with Border Patrol officials, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, toured the Department of Justice’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, met with Bangladeshi cultural ambassadors, Korean gangsters, and even the Imam at Los Angeles’ Islamic Center of Southern California.  We shook hands, we asked questions, we took pictures.  We ate the food, talked with the people, shopped the shops, walked the sidewalks of Artesia, perused the aisles of the Al Hikma market in Anaheim, exhausted the Korean restaurants in K-town, attended elaborate Persian parties, and ambled through the ramshackle neighborhoods of Tijuana, in search of the truth of the immigrant experience.  We left no stone unturned.

This cast and crew was top-notch; everyone dotted their Is and crossed their Ts.  We had crazy long days, like most all films do, and we have some equally crazy, unbelievable stories to boot.  This was not an easy shoot, but it was pleasant.  The crew was a congenial, professional bunch, and I think we all worked tirelessly toward our common goal: telling these seldom-heard immigrant stories authentically and compassionately.  Immigration is a hot-button issue in this country, and Crossing Over is a good catalyst to begin a national discussion.  It is truly sad that this film is not getting “out there” for people to see; at least not yet.

So, I encourage all of you who live in Los Angeles and/or New York to see this thought-provoking film this weekend.  I am very proud of it, and I hope that it causes people to stop and think about the privilege of being a citizen of this country, something most of us take for granted every day.  Our country is not perfect, but it still holds the promise of a better life to many people around the world.

The film opens in LA/NY on Friday, 2-27-09, and in at least ten major cities (and possibly Canada) on Friday 3-13-09.  Please check your local listings for showtimes.  You can view the trailer here:


I thank you in advance for your ears, and for your support.  Filmmaking is sometimes a contact sport – occasionally you wind up bruised and battered in the process.  A receptive audience can help heal those wounds.  Let’s hope Crossing Over can find its audience, and that the healing can begin.



Regal Union Square Stadium 14, New York, NY
850 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, 212-253-2225
Showtimes: 11:10am | 1:50pm | 4:30 | 7:10 | 10:00 | 12:35am

City Cinemas 1, 2 & 3, New York, NY
181 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10003  (212) 529-6799
11:15am | 1:50pm | 4:40 | 7:25 | 10:00

AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13, New York, NY
1998 Broadway, New York, NY 10023  (212) 336-5020‎
10:05am | 12:45pm | 3:55 | 7:05 | 10:05

Arclight Hollywood, CA
6360 W Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028  (323) 464-4226
11:25AM  1:00PM  2:05PM  4:00PM  5:05PM  7:00PM
8:05PM  9:50PM  11:05PM

Arclight Galleria, Sherman Oaks, CA
15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403  (818) 501-5121
11:00AM  12:00PM  2:00PM  3:00PM  4:50PM  5:50PM
7:30PM  8:40PM  10:05PM  11:25PM

The Landmark, West Los Angeles, CA
10850 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064, 310-281-8233
Showtimes: 11:30am | 2:10pm | 4:50 | 7:30 | 10:10

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