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November 30, 2011
By Amanda Ross | Arts + Culture, Fashion, Films

Michelangelo Antonioni-inspired fashion
Courtesy Giambattista Valli

With the 50th anniversary of the classic film L’Avventura, by Michelangelo
Antonioni, I’m reminded of the Italian director’s aesthetic vision. Besides
his innovative cinematography, there’s such a nuanced way to how he portrays
women, highlighted by their wardrobes. The polka-dot skirt suit, checked pencil
skirt and tailored trench that the stunning Monica Vitti wears in L’Avventura are both modern and classic. You almost forget it’s 1960. Antonioni approached
filmmaking like a painter, using clothes to define the characters in their land­scape.
When I watch Lucia Bosé in Cronaca di un Amore, I find a contemporary
relevance to her style: simplicity in dress meets gobs of jewelry. All these
years later, his vision remains the gold standard of elegance.

November 22, 2011
By John Lopez | Films

20111112-dd-gold-rush.jpg
Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures

Hollywood has saved its best for last this year. A rich selection of high quality films opens in theaters this Thanksgiving, making postprandial multiplex-hopping this weekend’s can’t miss cultural event. Here are recommendations for movies you must see, once you’ve loosened the belt a notch or two.

Should a turkey coma leave you couch-ridden, you can recreate the feel of our recommendations through the miracle of Netflix instant streaming. Interested in The Artist? Check out Chaplin’s classic The Gold Rush, to which Hazanavicius pays loving homage. For Alexander Payne fans, there’s About Schmidt, which nabbed Jack Nicholson a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Netflix also has Jim Henson’s remarkable HBO series The Storyteller, in which whimsically designed Muppets reenact beguiling European folktales. And if you need a Scorsese period piece fix, order The Age of Innocence, his adaptation of Edith Wharton’s classic novel featuring a dashing, young Daniel Day-Lewis. If all else fails, dial up Christmas Vacation on AppleTV.

November 22, 2011
By John Lopez | Films

20111112-dd-hugo.jpg
Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Hollywood has saved its best for last this year. A rich selection of high quality films opens in theaters this Thanksgiving, making postprandial multiplex-hopping this weekend’s can’t miss cultural event. Here are recommendations for movies you must see, once you’ve loosened the belt a notch or two.

You might be wary of all the subpar 3-D movies out there, but when Martin Scorsese decides to experiment with anything cinematic, you’re guaranteed to get a one-of-a-kind spectacle. Who else would think to combine 3-D, a lush costume period piece, the birth of cinema, Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen? The enthusiastic buzz in the blogosphere and on the festival circuit seems to indicate that Scorsese has crafted the first truly must-see 3-D movie since Avatar. This one just might be worth the surcharge and funny glasses.

November 22, 2011
By John Lopez | Films

20111112-dd-muppets.jpg
Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

Hollywood has saved its best for last this year. A rich selection of high quality films opens in theaters this Thanksgiving, making postprandial multiplex-hopping this weekend’s can’t miss cultural event. Here are recommendations for movies you must see, once you’ve loosened the belt a notch or two.

Muppets just make everything better. When a nefarious Texas oilman aims to tear down the bankrupt Muppet studios in search of oil, Kermit gathers the gang together for one final telethon to save their legacy. However, does the Muppets’ sincere humor still fly in our cynical world? Simply put, yes. Writer and star Jason Segel brings his genuine adoration for Jim Henson’s legendary creations to a family friendly film that introduces the joys of being green to a whole new generation. That’s not to say there aren’t laughs for the non–Happy Meal set. We’ll just say this: Chris Cooper’s gangster-rap tap dance number.

November 22, 2011
By John Lopez | Films

20111112-dd-descendants.jpg
Courtesy Merie Wallace / Fox Searchlight

Hollywood has saved its best for last this year. A rich selection of high quality films opens in theaters this Thanksgiving, making postprandial multiplex-hopping this weekend’s can’t miss cultural event. Here are recommendations for movies you must see, once you’ve loosened the belt a notch or two.

It’s been seven years since Sideways, Alexander Payne’s Oscar-winning romp through Santa Ynez’s wine country, and the director returns at the top of his game with The Descendants. George Clooney stars as an aristocratic Hawaiian paterfamilias struggling to connect with two teenage daughters while dealing with the revelation of his coma-bound wife’s infidelity. Touching but not maudlin, playful but not precious, The Descendants is a finely observed gem of beautifully honest storytelling. Clooney’s remarkable performance infuses Payne’s signature mix of wit and drama with a poignant humanity that makes this perhaps his most moving film to date.

November 22, 2011
By John Lopez | Films

20111112-dd-artist.jpg
Courtesy The Weinstein Company

Hollywood has saved its best for last this year. A rich selection of high quality films opens in theaters this Thanksgiving, making postprandial multiplex-hopping this weekend’s can’t miss cultural event. Here are recommendations for movies you must see, once you’ve loosened the belt a notch or two.

In The Artist, French director Michel Hazanavicius dazzled Cannes’s perpetually critical audiences with a story about a silent-movie star who falls in a love with a rising starlet just as his career is eclipsed by the talkies. Remarkably, The Artist is itself a silent film in striking black and white shot on the back lots of old Hollywood studios. However, don’t let that scare you off. Hazanavicius captures all the beauty of silent cinema in this absolute charmer while constructing a movie that feels fun, breezy and modern. It might even leave you yearning to check out some old Chaplin classics after you leave the theater.

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