Category Archives: Film

We’ve Moved!!

Hello Lovelies,

I am sure you have been wondering what has happened to OfTheNow, it may have seemed that we have abandoned you, but I assure nothing could be further from the truth! OfTheNow is better than ever before with a new look and new address, yes that’s right we have moved! Please update your readers, RSS feeds and blog rolls to http://ofthenow.ca

We are much prettier now too…here’s a little peak at the new home page:

Advertisements

TIFF & Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan

Black Swan captured the attention of fashion fans internationally when word spread that the innovative designer sisters, Laura and Kate Mulleav of Rodarte, were sought after to  design 40 costumes and outfit the entire ballet corps for Black Swan. And Roy Thompson Hall was the perfect setting for the Toronto International Film Festival gala screening Darren Aronofsky‘s  a film based in the clutches of the New York City Ballet corp.

But, let’s get one thing straight: Black Swan is NOT a dance film. It is also not a light film. Black Swan is dripping with malice, sexual provocation and fantastical delusions. This can by and large be attributed to the direction and story-telling talents of Aronofsky and his ability to cast top notch actors.

Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Barbara Hershey made up the main cast. All were in attendance for the gala premiere, except Kunis, which is a shame because her performance as Lily, the mysterious and deeply sensual ballet dancer, took her to new plateaus. Kunis can say good-bye to Jackie from That ’70s Show, and hello to more complex roles in her near future.

The success of Black Swan lay on the shoulders of its cast, and they delivered.

Natalie Portman went above and beyond any of her past roles with her portrayal of Nina, the timid, virginal and initially innocent ballet dancer. Potman’s ability to show emotion through her expressions, gestures, and dance was awe-inspiring. Portman also worked tirelessly with Benjamin Millipied, a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet to train for the role.

“Physically, I trained starting a year ahead of time, and then the six months prior to [shooting] the film, went into a sort of hyper-training, where I was doing five hours a day of both ballet and cross-training with swimming,” Portman told reporters at a press conference at the Venice Film Festival

Nina is a technically magnificent dancer, who recently won the role of Swan Queen in the upcoming performance of  Swan Lake, after scorned prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) is cast aside. Nina is easily manipulated by those around her, and often falls prey to the whims of her over-bearing stage mother (Barbara Hershey) who wants nothing more than to control her and often refers to her as “my sweet girl”.

But Nina is torn between staying the inhibited, sweet girl, on an impossible quest for perfection and loosing herself in her dance to find the sensuality and passion her artistic director, Tomas demands from her.

The unfailing Vincent Cassel takes on the role of Tomas, the sexual predator, with an ease that he somehow fills you with desire, but simultaneously makes you cower from his advances. Which is exactly what Nina feels when she is with him. She yearns to be seductive and passionate in her dancing, but the fear of not being perfect grips her like an unrelenting vice, and ultimately makes her her own worst enemy.

Aronofsky takes us deep into Nina’s psyche, where we begin to question where her paranoias end and reality begins. And then we meet Lily (Kunis), a dancer who is everything Nina is not. Lily is the woman every woman wants to be and the one all men want to tame. She dances without abandon, feeling every movement without thought and soon becomes Nina’s biggest rival, next to herself.

But, the relationship that develops between Nina and Lily is not the rivalry you are expecting. Lily’s sensual free-spirit exasperates Nina’s internal tug-of-war, but also, allows Nina to tune into her more sinister sexual side.

The polarities between the two also draw them together and a  relationship brews that centres on the peculiar, complex and ultimately perverse. It inevitably teeters on the verge of lesbianism and manifests in an erotic sex scene between Portman and Kunis. And this is where Nina’s mental and physical transformation from white swan to black begins to manifest.

Aronofsky is a master at delving into the inner psyches of his characters to unleash the demons lie beneath the surface. In Black Swan he introduces us to a world where passion and desire are currency, and the line between right and wrong is nothing but a blurry mess. Black Swan is a psychological thriller that will have you wondering where reality ends and where delusions begin.

Black Swan is a beautiful film, one that is provocative, dark and an incredible sensual tour de force.

Black Swan will be released in early December.

Thanks must also be given to California Strawberries for their generous gift of Black Swan gala tickets at The Toronto International Film Festival.

Rodarte + Ballet = Black Swan

Natalie Portman for Black Swan

Today, August 19, 2010, I can say with absolute certainty it has begun. The air has officially started to thicken with excitement for the the 11 days of over 300 films that is the  Toronto International Film Festival. Conversations can be heard all over the city about the films, the parties and of course the celebrities that will descend on Toronto in and around September 9 to 19, 2010.

The film schedules will not be released until next Tuesday, September 24, but certain films already have more than just a little buzz around them. Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream) and starring Natalie Portman is one of those such films. Aronofsky and Portman’s names aren’t the only reason this particular film has people chomping at the bit to get their hands on tickets, this film is just about any and every fashion lover’s dream.

Natalie Portman in Rodarte for Black Swan

The costuming was left in the more than capable hands of sisters Laura and Kate Mulleav of Rodarte, who designed 40 costumes and outfitted the entire ballet corps for Black Swan–which is also their first foray into film.

Black Swan tells the story of Nina (Portman) a prima ballerina who is technically exceptional,  but has trouble tapping into her sensuality. She is cast  as the lead in Swan Lake in the New York City ballet where her manipulative dance master (Vincent Cassel) pressures her to become a seductress on stage.

Things take a complicated twist for Nina with the arrival of Lily (Mila Kunis) at the ballet, who is a natural seductress and everything Nina is not on stage.  Black Swan is a dark film with psychological twists and turns aka perfect for Rodarte.

The absolutely gorgeous and gothic inspired ballerina wardrobe is nothing short of breathtaking, as we would expect to see from the talented Mulleav sisters. This is why so many love Rodarte. The clothing is creative, sinister and intrinsically beautiful.

The Invited Peeping Tom: The Selby Is In Your Place

© The Selby

As some of you know I was in NYC a few weeks ago, and on my little escapade I picked up The Selby book, but what you don’t know is this is my kind of porn! The Selby book, as The Selby website does, plays Peeping Tom into the homes and lives of people we want to know about.

Now if I was in NYC a few weeks ago, why has it taken me so long to finally get to this? Not because I was avoiding, but because I wanted to take my time pouring over the pages and devouring as much as I could  of the over 40 homes and people Selby photographed before I turned it over to you lovely ones. Like I said, this is my kind of porn.

First off let me say, the first page of the book is a page of stickers, which equals an immediate 10 points.

© The Selby

The hard cover book titled The Selby Is in Your Place was conceived when fashion and interiors photographer, Todd Selby (bless his soul) started taking snaps of people in their homes, musicians, fashion folk, surfers, you name it, if they are interesting they are in the book.

But Selby doesn’t take the staged/propped shots magazines do when they profile people in their homes. He takes intimate shots of their tchotchkes, pets, gardens, shoes, closets, bathrooms with the toilet seat up, and basically all things that make them the individuals that they are.

© The Selby Helena Christensen in her to die for kitchen

But he isn’t taking photos of a la lifestyles of the rich and famous, it’s not a book filled with lavish boudoirs and hallways that seem to go on for miles and miles. The people and places are real, famous or not, rich or not, there is something mesmerizing about each and everyone of them.

This book is every voyeur and exhibitionist’s dream, it’s a true peak into the lives of others.

© The Selby. Photographer Retts Wood in her houseboat in London, which happens to be Todd Selby's favourite home in this book

It’s as if Selby isn’t even there, like the photographs somehow magically took themselves and they just are. He also annotates the photographs with little hand-written notes and drawings about what things are, where they were found, or who made them.

Another fun little peak into the lives of others is the mini-hand-written questionnaires Selby gives his subjects, with questions like “What are your 8 favourite things to collect?” and “Who is your favourite Garbage Pail Kid?” Not so typical questions, but this is not your typical interiors type of book.

© The Selby

When you read through it and devour the pages like I did, prepare to spend countless hours day dreaming about Todd Selby in your place, or dreaming you lived in the homes of people like potter/interior designer Jonathan Adler and Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan (they have a brass Hermès sign above their toilet), or model/fashion designer Erin Wasson (her dining room table/desk will have you salivating at the mouth),or uber cool Purple Magazine editor, Olivier Zahm‘s collection of books and colgne.

© The Selby Jonathan Adler and Barney's creative director Simon Doonan's home

© The Selby. Erin Wasson in her living/dining room

I could keep naming amazing people with amazing places in the book, but I won’t, because you should just go out and get it!

Oh and Todd Selby, sorry I couldn’t critiques the book, I just love it too much.

PS If you happen to live in Toronto and love this as much as I do, Todd Selby will be signing books at the Bloor St Holt Renfrew June 16 from 12:o0 pm-1:30 pm.

Banksy Paints Toronto

Hot on the heels of his film debut,  Exit Through The Gift Shop, it seems as though Banksy is Toronto. The work of the elusive British artist has popped up in a few locals around the downtown core of our lovely city. We know what you are thinking, they are probably just really good imitations, but the CBC confirmed via emails from Banksy’s publicist the works are real.

Banksy was in town for the opening of Exit Through The Gift Shop on May 7, 2010. So it seems Toronto has finally been graced with his work, but it also seems they are disappearing as quick as they went up. Below is a before and after at Adelaide and Brant:

Hey Toronto, let’s be happy he gave us a little gift and NOT paint over it ok? Thanks.

GasLands a MUST watch Documentary

© GasLand

Have you ever seen anyone turn on their kitchen tap, put a lighter to it and watch the whole thing go up in flames? Sounds ridiculous and insane right? Well it is, but it is also happening in the USA.

GasLand the powerful and absolutely terrifying documentary by Josh Fox that addresses how and why this happening, and it is not good, or the least bit funny.

Have you ever heard of “Fracking?” Probably not, and neither had Josh Fox until he was approached to lease his a his Pennsylvania farmland for natural gas drilling.  He would have made over $100,000. But Fox had some questions, and he did some research…and in turn he discovered a veritable horror show. Oh, and Fracking is a the process of drilling deep down into the bedrock of the land and releasing a clusterf*ck of chemicals to break up the rock and release the natural gas. Oh and Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

What Fox found and brought to light in GasLand was residents suffering from chronic heath problems, as well as contamination of their air, water wells and the government and gas companies doing nothing to help them. One poor man had his well explode and had natural gas spewing out of it for three days until someone came to stop it. The gas company’s solution was to drive in giant cisterns of clean water for them, but continue to deny there is a problem.

In the film we are witness to streams bubbling and cracking with fumes and chemicals—to the point where one can put a lighter the water of a stream and watch the flame burst into the air. Sounds like water safe enough to drink right? Well the executives of companies like Encana and Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s oil and gas company) say it is, but they also refuse to drink water offered to them from the residents of the Gaslands.

© GasLand

GasLand is powerful in the most terrifying way possible and a film EVERYONE should see, because what is happening in the affected states can happen everywhere and can affect everyone. Think of it this way, they are drilling on farmlands, and the cattle are drinking the tainted water and grazing on the contaminated fields…those cattle are going to end up steaks on your plate, or provide milk for kids to drink…scary isn’t it.

Beyond Ipamena Indeed!


The annual Hot Docs documentary festival in Toronto ended on Sunday May 9, 2010, and I caught the last showing of Beyond Ipanema.

Beyond Ipanema was a great film about Brazil’s greatest export: its music. The film covered everything from right down to Carmen Miranda to  CSS and Bonde De Role. Beyond Ipanema takes a look at Brazilian music and its influence outside of Brazil.

Artists like M.I.A, Diplo, Ladybug of Digable Planets, David Byrne, Thievery Corporation are just a few of the cameos that made their way into the film and discuss the feeling of and reach of Brazilian music, be it samba, bosso nova, favela funk and all else in between. From the soft and silky smooth voice of Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz and João Gilberto, to erratic, loud and uber danceable beats of CSS, Brazilian music and flare has something for everyone, and Beyond Ipanema has it all wrapped up in a fantastic little package.

I dare you to watch and not tap your feet or bob your head just a bit.