Versace had the oddest of concepts in store for fall: a couple of the looks sported head coverings, in sprinkles of colour ranging from blue to black, which ushered in a rare conservative-tone to an otherwise purely contemporary collection filled with tartan and a certain edginess that’s hard to describe – it’s almost as if punk is actually chic, for a change. The highlight of the show was undoubtedly the vibrant colour palette, which went from yellow to red, very often.
The details were important too: coins, big belts, scarves, powerfully-styled boots, eye-grabbing socks and eccentric leggings, were all part of the collection. The fall show’s notes, it’s important to add, were properly encouraging: it stated that earning-prowess measure achievements, rather than have birth dictate the latter. It was a good demonstration of what the collection overwhelmingly represented – a redefined ’80s vibe, where accentuated-shoulders + form-fitting attires meant power.
The interviews of Richard Nixon in the ’70s by David Frost, one of England’s foremost journalists, revealed a side of the American President to the public that was urgently required – Nixon’s involvement in the offensive Watergate episode was interrogated in the harshest manner conceivable by a failed man, and this was at a time, when Nixon was attempting to recover from a period spent doused inside a jet of criticism himself. In the play, the tone of misery in the two people’s lives is unmissable, but a lot less so, for Frost who is simply a lot better at lying about his own reality than a President shockingly out to defend his reputation in the public eye, after Watergate. Even though the interviews hold no answerability, what the play wonderfully does is emphasize the importance of conducting a series of interrogations such as this, in a public manner; it really manages to underline the need to continually press leaders, in the public eye, for a greater revelation about themselves and their (political) doings.
There is nothing quite like a television show, which provides an excellent window to the past: rich and filled with wonder, the tapestry of stories in the episodes that makeup each of the following shows remind us all that, in the modern age, it isn’t hard to feel connected to bygone eras.
The Frankestein Chronicles
The period crime drama is a very loose adaptation of the early 19th Century novel by Mary Shelley: Frankenstein, which tells the story of a scientist called Victor Frankenstein, who actually makes something of mix between a human being and a creature in a scientific experiment. The British show has a similarly eerie background: a river police officer called Inspector John Marlott finds a dead body formed from the body parts of eight children and upon the discovery, Marlott attempts to locate the person responsible for this distorted crime.
Alias Grace is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel of the same name, which is a fictional portrait of the mid-19th Century murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery – his housekeeper, in Canada, by two of Kinnear’s servants. One of the two people accused of the murders, Grace Marks, is eventually set free after only spending thirty years in prison because of the crime and it is Grace’s own yarn, which provides that much-needed window into the narrative surrounding the murder – Grace was an immigrant in Canada, who had shockingly experienced regular sexual assaults, as well as abuse.
Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife is an adaptation of Jennifer Worth’s memoirs – Worth had worked at a convent of a nursing order established in the mid-19th Century. The BBC drama follows the lives of midwives from the late fifties to the early sixties. The show is based in the East End (in London) and what I found fascinating about the story, despite it’s staunch feminine angle in health – it’s a show about women workers in health, who specialize in pregnancy and childbirth, is that it is a health drama with a difference; it mixes history with portraits of health from that era, providing a fascinating look into both worlds.
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Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods is a return to the classics for the American music artist but infused with his country roots (courtesy of Memphis) too. The most pleasing part of Timberlake’s fifth album is his continuing collaboration with Timbaland and the Neptunes: the result is a return of electronic sounds that has always set Timberlake very starkly apart from his initial sultry pop image as one-fifth of what used to be one of the biggest boybands in the world – NSYNC. And yet the point worth talking about the most about Man of the Woods is that country influence, partly because it shines brightly in most of the tracks: slow and hermit-like, it’s different; Timberlake definitely does justice to music dabbling in rugged rural atmospheres. Standout tracks include: Supplies, Midnight Summer Jam and Sauce.
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Cast: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders and Ryan Hensen
A movie with a heart: Literally, Right Before Aaron is one man’s sorry adventures in dealing with his ex-girlfriend’s prospective wedding – true, that sounds utterly obnoxious but what’s a man suffering from heartbreak to do. In the film, Aaron is Allison’s groom and Allison has invited her ex-boyfriend, Adam, who she dated right before Aaron, to her wedding. After that, Adam spends most of his time trying to work through his memories of the romantic past he had with Allison but it doesn’t ease Adam’s pain: no tennis-playing with Aaron, even though Adam is rubbish at the game and no drunk-dancing on the big day helps him in any way whatsoever. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out where Adam is going with all of this because he definitely steers clear of breaking Aaron and Allison up – this makes the film an annoying one-person monologue, which just drags on for what seems like indefinitely, and makes you really root for the wedding to take off and for Adam to grow up just a little bit.
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Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Miranda Richardson and Clancy Brown
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers perhaps his most serious performance as an actor, till date with Stronger – a biopic based on an amputated survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing episode. In the film, Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, a deli worker who becomes a hero overnight – he naturally fits into the role of an awkward young celebrity and also realistically highlights the personal pain associated with being a survivor of an episode like this. The film itself does a brilliant job of adding a refreshingly human spin to the ‘Boston Marathon bombing’ story. But this emotional story isn’t a soppy tearjearker: it has humour and it showcases the sordidly-tormenting realities of a Bostonian as if there’s always a way to roll with every curveball that life throws at you – it really inspires a great deal that way.
Gordon Brown is known as a politician, who dislikes appearing publicly these days, and it’s probably a very good idea: Brown is not eloquent in communicating – this has always made him a British figure, who’s hard to connect with as a human being, but Brown insists that permitting his work as a politician to speak is all that’s necessary to make a difference on a global scale. That kind of character-blend instantly makes a failed politician, as the elections of 2010 proved, and yet Brown still maintains that during this age of social media networks, that’s what’s right. In many ways, Brown still comes across as the same person he was when he was the Prime Minister, which is something else that’s good because the expectation from his autobiography was that he provides an in-depth look into his world (of work): Brown doesn’t lack in many more drawbacks, as is often the general notion – as the country’s longest-serving Chancellor, Brown was (gratefully) trying his very best to control Tony Blair, the Prime Minister at the time, and he was also (memorably) a dependable British leader, when the banking crash happened on such a mammoth scale; for those things alone, if nothing else, Brown’s reflections of a lifetime in politics is a curious piece of work – one that is genuinely interested in the goodwill of the British people and national values.