Thursday, November 22, 2007

Even numbers means team challenge!

Okay, so since I got a link from Blogging Project Runway last week, I want to finish this up and post it today. Plus, I'm procrastinating on my novel. I know, less than 5,000 to go and suddenly I'm bored again.

Anyway. This week Project Runway was about creating an outfit for Sarah Jessica Parker's fashion line, Bitten. First: kudos for getting a real icon this time, PR! Second: I love that it had to retail for less than $40. Expensive designer clothes tick me off. Plus, I think it's clear from the results that cheap clothes can look really nice. Sometimes.

Christian, I want you to repeat after me: Tim Gunn is always right. I will listen to Tim Gunn. I will not ignore Tim Gunn's recommendations. Tim Gunn is god. AND if this ever happens again, the judges will personally rip your lungs out. (Just kidding about that god part. No offense).

Yes, that's paraphrased from Babylon 5 but it fits. He keeps being told what he should do, and last time it didn't bite him in the ass. This time it did. And I bet it continues to. I also hated his little, "I want to know what Sarah Jessica thinks..." Oh get over it. Not everybody is going to always love you.

I do have to give him props for his comment that Carmen shouldn't feel bad about saying he should be out, because it was his design and it was his decisions. That's the same integrity I thought Daniel Franco should have been praised for in Season Two.

Putting that aside and talking about the garment: I don't like it. The dress itself is fine, or it would be on a girl with no belly fat whatsoever. I'd look terrible in it. But it was a pretty color, and it was nice enough. But the JACKET. I'm so confused by this jacket over this dress. It almost could be cute when paired with the right pair of pants. Maybe even with a cute tank top underneath and unzipped...

I don't know that I'd even call it an 80's flashback, because like Christian, I don't remember the 80's THAT well. (Though I did find some pictures in my third grade yearbook and if I thought that was fashion, I deserved to be dressed in burlap sacks, oi). But put together, it's a bad look. The styling as off too, but really, I don't understand the hair choices they make on this show. Those bangs, why are they in style again? I know, I'm biased against bangs.

Anyway, I do not think this should have gotten him booted though. It was well made, and it did look more than $15 expensive. So I'm glad it wasn't the end of him, even if I want him to get a comeuppance.

This is Elisa's outfit, made with Sweet P. And as much as Elisa confuses me ENTIRELY (who uses the word imbue? Really?) I wanted this to win so badly. Why?

Because if the whole outfit had to be under $40 retail, and it got sold by Bitten, I could buy that cape. I'm sure it would make me look like a three year old playing dress up, but I don't care. How cute is that cape? I love it! The dress was also nice, not necessarily anything to write home about, but just as good as the other top design. And I liked that it could all be done different and with little changes here and there. I love stuff like that.

If Elisa could be the idea person and somebody else the execution person, she could be a really great designer. Then she might be able to actually edit and listen when somebody says, "Don't do this." As much as she sounded kind of upset when she said she was just doing what they (Tim and Sweet P) said, and as much as I feel kinda awkward that it was compromising who she is, at the same time I think she's the type of person that needs that and could go far with that kind of partnership.

To be honest, I've got so little to say about this outfit. It's really cute, it's well made, it fits Kit very well. It's not a winner or a loser, and depending on how the top was done, I might wear it. I'd never wear those pants, because those only look good on maybe this model and Audrey Hepburn. I'm liking Kit more every week, and part of me doesn't understand it.

Heidi didn't quite get the words out before she was interrupted, but she was going to call this "homeless Pocahontas." And she would have been DEAD ON RIGHT. I so baffled by this outfit. The skirt looks like it could be cute, but why in the world did SJP pick this outfit to be made? I even thought the sketch looked terrible, and in the Tim Gunn's Guide to Style commercials they aired during the show he was making fun of a poncho with fringe.

The entire thing seemed doomed to failure, and that poncho is just ragged and unhappy. And her hair is pretty badly styled too.

Extra points though, because Marion also stepped up and said it was his design and his fault they chose the wrong fabric. I've been looking for this kind of integrity in Project Runway contestants in every single team challenge, and it's SO rare. Daniel Franco was one of the only examples of it, and he got blasted for it everywhere (including Tim's Take, which BTW should be existing again please). Thank you Marion, it shows you're a good person.

I think Stephen also handled his part of the runway questioning well too. The only person who didn't was Carmen, because seriously people, they ask this question in EVERY TEAM CHALLENGE. Please get used to it and be prepared. It is always going to be there.

Since I wanted Marion to be out with last week's dress, I'm okay with this one being out. But I think he was a good guy, overall. Or he seemed to be.

What in the name of heaven is that HAIR? I just don't get it, why would you do that to a perfectly lovely model?

Anyway. I don't like this outfit much, because I don't think it's actually flattering to a woman's body at all, and I don't think it would fit different sizes and shapes. Especially those leggings, leggings are bad on most of the population.

But it's in fashion, I can't deny that. So it fits, and it works for the middle of the pack where it was. Other than that, I have so little to say about it.

Again with the bad hair. What's going on in that hair salon up there? Also: didn't they specify that it needed to be a two piece outfit? I could have sworn that was in there somewhere. Was this actually separates? They kept calling it a dress.

I think it's a very cute dress actually, I'm just surprised because I could have sworn it didn't fit the constraints of the challenge, and they like to harp on that. Anyway, I like it a lot, I don't know if it would fit my body type but I would wear it. Again though, it isn't new or revolutionary so Ricky does need to step up and wow somebody soon. As much as I'm rooting for him, he's got to show some real innovation.

Also, those boots kick ass.

Okay, this vest was very very cute. You can't see it in the picture, but it had this adorable racer back.

The dress was boring though, and I'm so confused as to why this won over Elisa's outfit, unless it was Elisa being downright crazy. To be honest, as much as she talked about spit-marking (and that's the ONLY mention you'll get of that here because, ew) Elisa presented herself pretty well. So I really don't get it.

The dress seemed so simple, maybe there was something to it we couldn't see. Because that vest does not top the cape. Maybe the cape isn't as fashionable currently? Maybe I just wanted to buy the cape that badly?

I also very much object to the was large and distracting, much like the shiny flower last week. Almost nobody could pull that off without looking downright silly, I think.

So there it is, I agree with the decision to auf, but not so much the winner. But I do agree with the top and bottom choices.

That will probably be the last time that happens ; ).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Project Runway

It's time for Project Runway Season 4! So I'm going to start cross-posting something that's become a tradition on another site of mine. Basically I make it all about the clothes, and critique the clothes based on what I know about design, with my background in film, photography, and art. A lot of it is gut reactions, and sometimes I'll get into the designers defenses on the runway as well.

If you'd like to see the photos of the designs, please be sure to visit Project Runway's website and click "Rate the Runway."

The first episode is always the hardest because there are SO many things to go over, and you don't really have time to flesh out any of the designers so a lot gets ignored.

But the good news is that the people over at Project Runway have figured out that those screencaps of the runway show were NOT the way to show off the outfits, and they've got really nice shots taken in a more professional way this time.

Done alphabetically.


Carmen, who also has really troublesome hair. And her attitude about designers who haven't modeled is really kind of ridiculous. Anyway, the outfit. Girl needs to learn to edit. I know the judges hate boring, but what the hey is this thing? Genie pants cinched at the ankles, a Zuluma-type jacket, crazier-than-Uli prints, a huge rosette at her neck, crazy hair, too much jewelery...

I'm not sure which judge said it when, but "That's a lotta look." Without the cinching at the bottom, the pants would be nice. The jacket, over some other shirt, is pretty nice. But that orange print explosion from the model's neck just bothers me. Also, I see very little new or interesting here. Actually, I saw very little new or interesting the entire night, but the challenge didn't lend itself to that.


For the guy who got screwed on this challenge, he got some GORGEOUS fabric. I think this is one of my favorite dresses of the whole evening. I would never be able to pull it off myself, but it would turn my head if I saw someone wearing it. The model wears it beautifully, and I'm shocked it wasn't one of the top dresses. In fact, I like it better than any of the three top dresses. The more I look at this dress, the more I'm rooting for Chris. He's not shown any ego yet, but he could def. have some, this dress earns it. Plus, making clothes out of lettuce.


Okay, I could pretend that the fact that I've dislike Christian since the first commercial I saw with that ridiculous hair where he says, "I'm kind of a big deal" has no bearing on my judgment of his garment. But to be honest with you, I was looking for failure. So glad he delivered something I hated!

While the judges didn't notice it or care, Tim was ABSOLUTELY right: the sleeves were wonky. I don't do wonky sleeves. So the back was well made and interesting (and it was) the sleeves RUIN that so quickly. I admit, I just hate puffy sleeves. Can't stand them ever. I also hate whatever weird craft project he glued to the front of it, what is the purpose of that? I have no idea why he felt the need to have it look like she dropped a knitting project on her jacket and decided to leave it there. I know, I'm being overly harsh. But I can't fathom why this was a top three outfit. The skirt is nice, though to be honest instead of looking asymmetrical it looks like she got it partially caught in her hose. All that said, this was not nearly the worst thing to walk the runway that night. Heck, it's three times better than almost everything Vincent ever created.

I know nothing of fashion, obviously.


This is it, this is the dress that will be talked about for ages, not to the level of Angel's Jubilee Jumbles debacle, but still. This is also how you can tell they take the pictures after the runway judging, because they showed Elisa chopping off that bunch of fabric the model is holding.

If you didn't watch the show, that bunch of weirdness actually trailed a few feet behind the model as she walked the runway, which made her trip. This is the dress that caused Heidi to say it looked like she was pooing fabric. This dress made me want Santino as a guest judge, so he could imitate Michael Kors making fun of it.

This is the hard part about this dress though: The front of it is beautiful. Pretend those hilarious boots aren't there. It's a beautiful color, the draping sleeves are just gorgeous. The bottom needs a little work, but the idea is there. If she had simply rounded out the dress in the back with a little of a flare, maybe of a contrasting or complimenting color, then it could have been one of my favorites. Even though Elisa is obviously a nutbag. Anybody who can say they imbued the fabric with a natural element and keep a straight face is borderline crazy. Possibly completely crazy since she sewed some of it on herself instead of the dress form.

But that train, that six foot trail of WTF, it just killed everything about it. I actually don't think this dress necessarily should have eliminated her, but it marks her for early auf'ing. To be honest, the fact that it is so great until you see that train is what makes me think she deserved to stay. But if she doesn't learn fast, she's gone. I hope.


I love this dress. If it didn't have that little "keyhole" type opening in the front, I'd want to own it. Well, and I might not look good in halter tops, who knows. But I love the fabric, I love the flirty fun, I love it top to bottom. I especially love how it's black and white but with this fun splash of a beautiful blue. It looks really well made too, and it makes me root for Jack. I can see how it wasn't a top dress because it is relatively safe and sort of a staple. But it's just flat out great.


I'm amused that these two dresses ended up together in the list because they're really similar designs, aren't they? Anyway, at one point they showed Jillian pinning things on her dress form and I don't really remember what it looked like, but I was so intrigued and thought it would turn out great.

I don't know if she ditched what she was doing then, if I saw it wrong because of the angle, or what, but the only thing this dress has going for it is a really rich and beautiful color. I admit, I hate skirts like that. And comparing it to the stuff Jillian has been wearing since she came in, I think she created a dress for herself. The model just wears it right, but on Jillian, her clothes look babyish in a way. This dress would too, on most women.

What the above dress has, that this one doesn't, despite them being so similar, is a great sense of pattern and color. This one has one single color that is really good, but the dress can't carry itself on that. And something about that seam down the front bugs me. It reminds me of seams like I would sew.


This dress might look a lot better on a different model, I'll give you that. And this is a terrible pose, she must just be a runway model.

Anyway, the dress itself. I love the skirt, if you can't tell it's got this great diagonal pinstripe, and a really rich dark red layer that peaks out the bottom. It's really cute, it flows, it's just great.

But the top...oh, the top of this dress. I can't even put my finger on why it bugs me. For one, the ruffle on the bottom of the silvery part is in opposition to the great flow of the skirt. It's a stiff tight ruffle, instead of fun and flowing. The top has an even tighter ruffle, which I could live with if there wasn't that weird silver thing between.

The skirt also should be a few inches longer, but they didn't have their models until after they made the outfit, so that's okay. Anyway, I think if he got rid of the ruffle in the middle, and made the silver underbust thing into just a wide belt it would have been much nicer. If that skirt is a seperate, I want one so much it's ridiculous. I want it almost as badly as I want Diana's Barbie skirt from season 2.


*sigh* Kit Pistol. Really? REALLY? Something about her makes me want to tell her to get her own personality and stop trying to be interesting. Maybe she's genuine, we'll find out I suppose. She does seem good enough to last.

I can find faults with this garment. I wouldn't wear it, I can't imagine who WOULD wear it. But it actually manages to be something other, to be one of those elusive fashion outfits where you look at it and go "You know, nobody could wear that in public really...but it's still fashion."

In a way, Kit is accomplishing a lot of what Jeffery kept failing to do. Jeffery kept trying to be punk, but couldn't quite manage it. He only succeeded when he gave up being punk altogether in his final collection. (Some might argue that point, but I say his final collection let him win because he stopped being something he wasn't, which is what he did during the show).

The pattern on the black and grey part, the bright red print, the colors in this just really work. This could easily be taken as a starting point to create several more looks from those fabrics with similar styles but that just echo this one. This one could be the dramatic statement, and those could be the wearable clothes. Like the anchor piece of a collection.

I didn't think I liked it that much until I started writing this. But the more I look and think of that black dress, with just a belt of that red fabric, would just be beautiful. But that would be safe and not express "Kit Pistol" (srsly, Kit Pistol? I can't get over this).


I have no idea why this wasn't on the low rung. In fact, it should have been over top of the simple babydoll that Ricky made. Wait a second, Ricky's dress isn't in Rate the Runway! CONSPIRACY! I loved that dress, I couldn't wait to talk about it! Where are the photos???

Ignoring that for the time being. I hate this dress. I just...there are no words. Unfinished denim hem? Denim crossing straps that look like they're trying to hold the thing on since it's barely sewn? See-through lace midriff? I just...I can't even fathom that this existed and was not called out. It looks like something I would have rigged together and called fashion when I was first learning to sew.


First off: Mr. Kors, stop with the mother of the bride crap, please? That flower has nothing to do with MOB. I think it's unnecessary and kind of lame, but it's not MOB.

I haven't decided how I feel about this dress. On the one hand, I really like it. I love the fabric and the way it flows. On the other, there's something about the way it looks like two different dresses put together that feels kind of costume-like.

I don't necessarily think it should have won, but of the top contenders on the runway, I think it was the best one. I think without the flower, it could get raves on a red carpet.

Also, I like his model a lot.


As I said before, Ricky's dress isn't in Rate the Runway. You can find a single picture of it in the episode photo gallery. What in the world! I mean, geeze people. Why do they do this to me?

Anyway. I think this dress is adorable. Okay, it's safe. Fine. But it's well made, it's out of beautiful fabric. You can't tell in this pic, but it shimmered so nicely under the runway lights. I think it was one of the best out there, I was shocked when they started ripping into it for being too easy. Okay, it looks like something we've all seen before. But how many other dresses on this show look like something we've seen before? The winning dress was a toga! I've seen similar things in Halloween costumes. So it's a double standard at best.

For some reason, in this picture, the model reminds me of Sarah from Chuck. I can see her in a dress like this, she'd look really great in it. Maybe that's the rub, that this dress would FLY off store racks if he actually sold it. If any straight men are reading this: don't you think that dress is really sexy? Wouldn't you love to see women in things like that? Okay, maybe you can't make that judgment from this picture. I wish I had a good one!


This dress was killed by poor execution, which is sad. I think that without the jacket, it was a really adorable little dress. And I think that Simone talked a good game, which is something I appreciated. She wasn't spouting BS like Elisa, she actually seemed to know what she was saying.

I can see how they would dislike the jacket, it doesn't really seem to go with the dress. If you didn't have the yellow band in the middle it might be quite cute. But for some reason it doesn't work with that wide yellow piece. The ribbon tie might be part of the problem...

I like the fabric that the dress part is made out of. It looks beautiful. It's nice that they got to work with "luxury" fabrics.


Steven might just be a force to be reckoned with. I actually recognized him from his audition that aired on Road to the Runway last year. This outfit isn't exactly WOW, but it absolutely shows a great amount of skill. The construction is probably fantastic. It's wearable, without the big red scarf, I would buy it. I would pair it with a colored top to give it a splash of that bold color, which is exactly what it needs. I just am not one of those women that could pull off that scarf. The model can though.

It's just a really great garment. I can understand why it was the middle of the pack, but it puts Steven as a contender.

Sweet P

This dress looks okay in this picture. The only qualm I really have with it specifically in this picture is the straps, they should be of that same really rich red fabric. That red is so beautiful. So in love with the fabric on this challenge.

The pattern of the main fabric isn't that great, IMHO, but it's sort of "whatever." it's not memorable at all.

What was memorable though is that the dress hung terribly. As the model walked down the runway, it was smaller on the bottom and poofed in the middle and it just...flowed wrong. It looked terrible in motion. I expected this to be in the bottom because of how bad the motion of it was. I don't picture Sweet P lasting long.


I don't understand why the flower on Rami's dress was so terrible, but the flower on this one isn't. It's larger, it's more noticable, and it just to me. The flower itself isn't the problem, just the size probably.

The dress does need something right there, some bright silvery accent. But the flower itself doesn't work for me.

In this picture, the dress looks fine. I think boring (why is this so fabulous when Ricky's is boring? WHY?) and sort of every day. But on the runway it had other flaws that might be coloring my opinion. When Victorya was talking about it, looking at the dress, it seemed to have weird seams and just stick up oddly in places. So the idea is sound, the execution not so much in my mind.

To sum up, I don't really agree with the winners or losers here. If I was choosing them myself, I'd go with Chris for the win, and Marion for the lose. Both were voted middle of the pack instead.

This season is going to be interesting. Also, add Ricky to my list of people I'm rooting for. The crap he got for his dress was so undeserved I want him to do well and make the judges apologize.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Heroes: A response?

So, it turns out that Tim Kring doesn't think Heroes has been that good this season either.

It's like he read my review, especially this part:

"YOUNG LOVE STINKS Kring regrets sticking Claire (Hayden Panettiere) with a super-dud boyfriend and forcing Hiro to moon over a cutesy princess. ''I've seen more convincing romances on TV,'' he admits. ''In retrospect, I don't think romance is a natural fit for us.''"

No, it isn't. And while I don't really have a problem with Hiro mooning over a princess (who is not really cutesy as much as she's a COMPLETE rip-off of every anime heroine ever) I start hurling insults at the screen as soon as Claire or West show up. I'm sick of their crap. Their little "listening to the product placement phone while making out" scene was moronic.

So, thank you Tim Kring. I look forward to more Heroes when the strike is over, because I have to say I respect any creator who looks for what his fans think, listens to them, AND admits his own faults. Some people *coughGeorgeLucascough* will pull that "I'm the writer! I'm the genius! They don't understand!" But you Mr. Kring understand that without fans, you aren't much. You also understand that if somebody watching your show doesn't know what you were going for, it's your fault as a creator and storyteller, not their fault as an audience member.

As a fan, I salute you.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Three...Extremes (and Netflix Watch Instantly)

3 Extremes

I decided over the weekend to finally use up some of my Netflix Watch it Now credits. In my plan, I get plenty of movies over their system but I've never sat down to watch any of it.

I decided to pick a film I only had a vague interest in, in case it was bad quality. So I chose to watch 3 Extremes, a film that features three short "horror" films from three different Asian directors.

Before I get to the film, I will say that the Watch Instantly feature is near perfect. I had no problems with my connection speed, the wait for it to download/start, or the controls. I wish that it worked in my primary browser (Firefox) but I keep Internet Explorer on hand for this kind of thing anyway. The only thing I could say about it is that I wish it had a better fast-forward/rewind feature. Once in a while I would get distracted while watching and I wouldn't be able to go back to exactly where I left. Instead it's a little cumbersome. But for online video viewing, it's still very good. That complaint only comes into consideration if I think about the difference between watching a DVD and using their online service.

The reason I was intrigued by 3 Extremes was because of all the talk about a particular short, Dumplings. I also was vaguely interested in the work of Takashi Miike, who directed the third short, Box.

Dumplings has basically one main draw, and that was what brought me to it in the first place. Everybody online talked about it saying "You won't believe what's in the dumplings!" and similar things, but nobody would say what the ingredient was that was so scandalous. So I wanted to know, and that was what made me hit play, I'll be honest.

The movie itself is not really even about what's in the dumplings, that was what confused me about it. You are given enough clues in the first five minutes to figure out what it is, and you're told outright about halfway through. The shock, the real power of the story, is in what happens after you know the filling.

This film is not for the squeamish in the slightest. And no, despite the fact that I desperatly wanted somebody to tell me, I won't reveal more of the plot here. But if you really want to know just check out the Wikipedia entry for the full length film.

It's a powerful film, the point it makes is very real, but I can't say I'll ever watch it again or that I even enjoyed it.

Cut is the second film, and it features a film director who is held hostage (along with his wife) by a madman, who threatens to cut off her fingers one by one if the director doesn't do as he says.

Now, I like movies that are open to interpretation. Pan's Labyrinth is one of my favorite films of recent years. But I think there's a difference between suggesting that the surface isn't all there is to the story, and just being outright unintelligible.

The short is done very well. The lighting, the design, the acting, all of it is excellent. I can't find many flaws with the technical aspects at all. But the story itself, in the last few minutes, just stops making sense. There are dozens of threads dissecting it in the IMDB boards, so if you'd like you can read about it there. But I'll just basically say that no one theory really seems to stand up and make sense across the board. And that bothers me, I think it's sloppy storytelling to be honest. If there were just two or three things that made a little more sense at the end of the film, I would have thought it was fantastic. Again, not for the squeamish, but good. Instead I'm left scratching my head and wondering if the director even knew what he was trying to say.

This brings us to the last short, Box. This was absolutely the best of the three. I think it was a marvelous piece of filmmaking, and an example of what I was saying about how you can be open to interpretation without being that confusing. There aren't any straight answers at the end of Box, but you don't need them. You're left to think about what you think the film meant, and each interpretation seems equally valid.

Box has little to no dialogue, it is about the visual interplay of dreams. It is a beautiful film, the scenes in the snow are simply gorgeous. The plot is deceptively simple, a woman starts dreaming about being trapped in a small box. Then she starts remembering her sister, and her dreams start to slowly make more sense. But the film itself is about so much more.

I recommend Box, and while I think if you like Asian horror you will enjoy the other two shorts, I don't think fans of American horror will like them at all. They are not "horror" so much as they are thought provoking and sometimes plain gross.