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! **

Tag Archive for 'theater'

An Open Letter to Awards Screenings Audience Members

I have just come from a screening of a very interesting movie. It was an awards screening, meaning the only people in the audience were film industry employees. The guy sitting next to me was the rudest buffoon it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. He and his date talked in normal voice throughout the entire movie, mostly talking back to the screen about what may or may not happen, and what the protagonists should do. In order to escape what was surely going to become an assault with a deadly weapons charge on my part, I moved to another seat. However, this incident prompted me to write an open letter to awards screening audience members. Read on –

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Angels, the Costumiers

Angels costume house, London

Angels costume house, London.

As part of my trip to London, I visited Angels costume house. Frocktalkers, it was amazing to see this place. I remember way back in 1992, I was interning on the Francis Ford Coppola film Dracula. Our associate costume designer Richard Shissler had made a trip to London to pull costumes for some of our massive crowd scenes. My job was to unpack the boxes that arrived from London. I remember gasping with delight and awe at the assortment of beautiful Victorian garments – many of them antiques, originals – that arrived. Where did these garments come from? Angels costume house.

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The Exorcist – Live at the Geffen Playhouse

I have a particular fondness for the “scary movie” genre, having designed many of these kinds of films in my career. When I heard that the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles was going to be putting up a production of perhaps one of the most famous (and scary) movies of all time – The Exorcist – I knew I had to see it. How do you translate the fear, horror, and especially special effects (head spinning, projectile vomiting, crab walking and defying gravity) of the original film to the stage? I was really curious.

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Anonymous

Release Date: 10-30-2011 (USA)

Runtime: 130 min.

Period: Elizabethan England (late 1500s)

Costume Designer: Lisy Christl

Anonymous is a film that asks the question, “What if Shakespeare’s works were actually written by someone else?” If that question irks you, you will hate this movie. If you come into it with an open mind, you will find a beautiful movie, directed by (kind of surprisingly) Roland Emmerich. Surprisingly, because there are no apocalyptic threats to mankind, and because it is a sensitive and very interesting answer to the question posed by the film.

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Personal Dressers!

I thought you Frocktalkers might like this article from the NY Times about being a personal dresser.  Granted, the article relates to the theater, but it definitely speaks to the personal dresser issues in film and television.  It’s very interesting – what do you think?

-KMB

From the NY Times: Designer Ann Roth on “Book of Mormon”!

Matt Stone and Trey Parker are at it again!  The creators of South Park have a new musical on Broadway called The Book of Mormon, and they have hired costume legend Ann Roth to design the costumes.  Oscar-winner Roth is best known for her film costumes (The English Patient, Cold Mountain, The Hours, Doubt, Mamma Mia), but here she shares some of her sketches and thoughts about her latest theatrical adventure, The Book of MormonCheck it out here!!  Have a great weekend, everyone!

– KMB

New Kids on the Block!

Haleh Risdana, Kim Ngo and Anthony Tran

Haleh Risdana, Kim Ngo and Anthony Tran

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with some talented newcomers in the LA costume world. If you are looking for some help with your next project, I cannot recommend these people highly enough – they are wonderful, hard-working and have great can-do attitudes! Check out interviews and their websites after the jump. Put them to work, Frocktalkers!

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Camp

Review Date: 2-5-10

Release Date: 7-25-03

Runtime: 114 min.

Period: Contemporary

Costume Designer: Dawn Weisberg

America seems to have renewed its love affair with the musical comedy genre. The success of TV’s Glee seems to make the point all by itself. It is with this love in mind that I bring you CAMP, a 2003 film that debuted at Sundance, and then fell largely under the radar. Honestly, I think it was ahead of its time. If you like Glee, you will love Camp.

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Sales-a-poppin’!!! Costume Sale Alert!

Get ready, Southern California – the venerated Starlight Theater (San Diego) in Balboa Park is selling off some of their costumes, just in time for Halloween.  Here are the details:

WHEN: Saturday, October 3 • 9:00 A.M. – 5 P.M.

WHERE: ON STAGE at The Starlight Theatre in Balboa Park
2005 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101 • 619.232.7827

ON SALE: Over 40 Years of Costumes!

• Full range of sizes for adults  • Vintage • Polyester  • Zombies – raw material pieces • Ethnic • Uniforms • Costumes • Boutique • Characters • Dumb & Dumber Tuxedos • Matching Sets (great for dancing!) • Shoes, Hats, Furs • Sewing Patterns • Road Boxes

We need to make room for next season’s costumes, so we are selling some amazing costumes from previous shows.  If you are searching for an unique Halloween costume, need costumes for your own theatrical show or would just like to own a piece of Starlight history – there is something for everyone.

Handicapped Access is Available at the Back Gate • all merchandise sold “as is” • all sales final • no refunds or exchanges • sizes not guaranteed• cash or charge only • no strollers please!

Be Green! Please Bring Your Own Bag!

— KMB

Cool Costume Alert! Seen at Western!!

 

One of my Frocktalk spies came upon these fabulous costumes in the return rack at Western Costume.  Aren’t they AWESOME?!  Evidently these were used in a play in London.  I can’t seem to get the back story as to who designed them, or what play it was, but they appear to be of a vague Napoleonesque vibe.  How cool that they colored this fabric with MARKERS to get the texture??  My spy tells me that the fabric is a heavy canvas, almost a cotton duck, and that all of the buttons, embellishments, etc., are drawn in with markers.  Inspired!!!

More pictures after the jump…

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