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 'uniform'

ComicCon 2014 is Fast Approaching!

small-jcomiccon

It’s getting to be that time again, Frocktalkers –  ComicCon 2014 is almost upon us.  This year, I am honored to be on a couple of panels sponsored by the Costume Designers Guild, and if you care to join us (and you SHOULD, because these panels are AWESOME), here is some more information!  Long & short of it:  Thursday at 5P, Friday at 1P, and Saturday at 11A, in room 23ABC – but read on!!

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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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Les Misérables

Review Date: 12-4-12

Release Date: 12-25-12 (USA)

Runtime: 157 minutes

Period: 1815 – 1832, France

Costume Designer: Paco Delgado

Most of us who work in the entertainment industry have seen at least one stage production of Les Misérables in our lives. To miss this musical theater opus would be like not seeing ET or Star Wars; it’s that big of a deal. Les Miz (as it is colloquially called) was first introduced to the stage in the form of a musical in the 1980s. It was a sensation. The music is haunting, the story is relatable, and it packs an emotional wallop. It is no surprise, then, that the current movie version of the musical does the same.

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Cloud Atlas

Review Date: 12-3-12

Release Date: 10-26-12, USA

Runtime: 172 minutes

Period: 1849, 1936, 1973, 2012, 2144, and 106 A. F. (2321)

Costume Designers: Kym Barrett, Pierre-Yves Gayraud

I don’t even know where to begin with this movie. It is breathtaking in its scope, and is such an impressive piece of work. The film explores six different time periods, six different (but linked) storylines, and it manages to utilize the same troupe of actors in all of the different scenarios. Shooting all storylines simultaneously, with two costume designers and a crew of over fifty in the costume department, it is an astounding accomplishment. You won’t believe your eyes.

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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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Lincoln

Review Date: 10-26-12

Release Date: 11-9-12 (limited); wide on 11-16-12

Runtime: 150 min (approx, unofficial)

Period: 1865

Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston

This film details the last four months of American President Abraham Lincoln’s life. Essentially, it covers Lincoln’s struggle to achieve passage of the thirteenth amendment to the US constitution, outlawing slavery. Along the way, it paints a loving picture of Lincoln as a doting, hands-on father, an involved, engaged husband, and a charismatic, determined leader.

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Susannah Buxton Talks “Downton Abbey”, and In Other News, My Head Explodes!

I don’t need to remind you how much I love this show, and how eagerly we are ALL anticipating the next round of Downton Abbey here in the US.  Here is a brilliant article to get you salivating.  Susannah Buxton spoke at the V & A about her work – and MAN, it’s excellent! Thanks to DTSFT for the writeup!!

– KMB

Interview: Mark Bridges – The Master

I am a very lucky girl to be able to bring you interviews like this one.  I sat down for breakfast with costume designer Mark Bridges yesterday, and have transcribed our conversation for you.  Please grab a cup of coffee and join us, won’t you?  Mark tells me all about The Master, his methodology, and merkins.  Yes, merkins.  I enjoyed this so much, I hope to bring you other breakfast-style interviews in the future.  Big thanks to Mark for joining me for some toad-in-the-hole and coffee – it was lovely, and very entertaining!  Please note that there are spoilers in this interview, so if you want to be surprised by the film, read this after you see it!  But if you can’t wait… read on~

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The Master

Review Date: 9-16-12

Release Date: 9-21-12

Runtime: 137 minutes

Period: Post-WWII – 1950

Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Paul Thomas Anderson is known for boundary-pushing films: Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood… and he doesn’t just push, but rather he shoves The Master into uncharted territory. This is a film so raw, it bleeds. The performances will make your heart skip a beat. The plot reveals itself in bursts, like a puzzle of sorts. In the press, cast and crew have denied that this film is about Scientology. However, after viewing the film, it appears to be a poem composed in elegiac vignettes related to L. Ron Hubbard, the religion he founded, and the people who were central to his purpose.

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Behind the Scenes: COPPER

Eagle-eyed Frocktalker Laura sent me this link.  It’s really cool!  New series COPPER (airs Sunday, August 19th at 10PM on BBC America) has some amazing costumes – 1860s New York City – and you can learn more about them HERE!  I can’t wait to watch the show, and congrats to costume designer Delphine White for the great work!

– KMB



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