Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with Gifs

Gifs, gifs, gifs, glorious gifs! Yes, it has been almost a week since the teaser trailer for Disney’s 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast dropped and fans everywhere have been exploding with giddiness ever since.

I could watch the trailer again, and I have. Then the ever-reliable giphy.com provided some lovely gifs from the teaser trailer. They help fill the time while waiting for this movie to hit theaters (2017 is still a bit far-off, after all) and provide some extra fodder for an extended analysis of that which we see before us. Let’s begin. In the order of appearance:

castle 1

“And all who lived there.” Yes, Disney, we know it’s you, nice work there tying in the usual opening castle and logo scene with the story. I still can’t stop remembering Hogwarts in the winter time when I see this. But it’s nice to already get a view of the whole castle, or at least its front facade. That’s a lot of towers.

castle

A circular room with what looks like a domed ceiling, sunlight shining through the windows and illuminating the most likely crystal parts of numerous festive chandeliers waiting for their moment. Gold, white, grey, maybe light-blue dominate what we can see of the interior here and a sleeping piano stands alone. Could this be the ballroom, and if yes, could the iconic dance scene accompanied by Mrs. Potts singing Tale as Old as Time take place here? Dimensions are a bit hard to tell, but judging by the number of chandeliers in this take alone and the several windows, the room must stretch on beyond what we can see. Of course, maybe it’s just the morning room or something like this, where the prince used to play piano regularly in his happier, selfish days, but then he stopped, and it’s been gathering dust ever since, until Belle came along, and as they start to thaw towards each other, they sit down at the piano together and he plays her a long-forgotten tune… My imagination is clearly more than fired up.

castle2

The entrance? The front hall? What Belle sees first as she sets foot inside this forsaken castle? Brown leaves flutter in through the open double doors. Swirling patterns on the powder-blue or white floor echo the curving gold and white molding on the walls. Brown and cobwebs continue on the upper level, though it’s obvious the castle is beautiful (with a good scrub or just some magic once everything is alright again this will actually be visible) and the interiors, while glamourous and speaking of nobility, also have something understated about them, stopping short of being gaudy or ostentatious.

castle3

More gold, and more candles, so many candles! This breathes a bit of Phantom of the Opera and the Phantom’s underground lair, Music of the Night etc. Luckily the castle is actually on the surface of the Earth and Belle is not descending in to the dwellings of an obsessive and murderous dude with a traumatic past and complicated history. She is entering the dwellings of an angry and lonely dude with an as yet unknown past and complicated history. She just doesn’t know what awaits her at all. But there are lots of scrolls here, and a desk, so maybe the people living here used to be interested in things and active in their pursuits.

portrait

A hint about the maybe once happy family who used to live here. We see more gold and curved lines, though the walls and interior around the portrait seem to have absorbed the oft present darkness and stillness that now inhabit the castle. Unlike the room above, a stronger sense of heaviness is apparent, accentuated by the weighty and slightly tattered curtain on the right of the painting. However, candles still burn in their high gold holders, giving sufficient light, because this corner is clearly visited regularly and provokes repeated strong feelings, judging by that make-you-jump growling slash across the canvas. Of course the green-blue eyes and blonde hair of the boy in the center of the portrait are immediately reminiscent of both the animanted prince’s and Dan Stevens’ own luminous peepers…

rose

“It’s a girl!” – “I know it’s a girl!”- “She’s the one, the one we have been waiting for! She has come to break the spell!” What a gorgeous shot. The rose is, of course, perfect, the so far only thing among the preceding interior views that looks truly alive and well. We can tell that Belle is wearing blue, and a ring on the pinky of her right hand – wondering if there’s any story behind that one. Well done, Disney, making fans wriggle some more. Emma Watson bends down and tentatively reaches out a hand towards the rose. Her lovely visage becomes focused, while the rose blurs, but successfully blocks almost half her face as she is level with it. The perfect blend of the known and the mysterious.

But at least we are already invited. My RSVP is ticked off the list.

guest

 

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First 100-Year-Old In Vogue

Bo Gilbert is a British model who recently appeared in the UK issue of Vogue. What sets her apart from her colleagues doing the same thing? She is 100 years old.

Posing in the centenary issue, she looks happy, spunky and lovely. “I always liked keeping myself looking quite decent, even if I wasn’t going out. I try to keep the standards up.” Watching the film about her photoshoot, I can’t help blinking back a tear, removing myself for a second from the uplifting, positive message and serious thoughts the video provokes.

In my mind’s eye I see my Granny, dilligently applying her pearly red lipstick with a slightly trembling hand, even during the years when her eyesight had almost completely disappeared. I remember how happy she was about the fabulously cut flower-patterned summer dress my mother had given her as a present from a family trip we had taken, when she could still see. I remember posing with her and my siblings at my grandparents’ home shortly after, on a summer afternoon, all of us with happy lipstick smiles and wearing flower-print dresses to match.

So besides saying kudos to (a hopefully ongoing) diversity in the ages represented among fashion models, kudos as well to not making it an issue and simply showing women, people living their lives and having interesting experiences. We have friends our own age, we have siblings, cousins, maybe nephews and nieces. We have aquaintances, colleagues. We also have mothers, aunts, grandmothers and women in our lives who have been at this longer than we have, and who have a history and a whole land of memory to share. I would love to see more of those women in the media throwing on a bright coat or a funky scarf of their choosing and smiling at what they see in the mirror, or on a screen.

 

Beauty and the Beast Teaser Trailer

“For who could ever learn to love a beast?”

As far as I’m concerned, the feverish anticipation phase of waiting for Disney’s further upcoming live-action remake of well-known and well-watched animated classic Beauty and the Beast has officially begun. And it began for me the moment I read yesterday that the teaser trailer for the movie was out. A glimpse it is, but oh, what a glimpse!

As far as teaser trailers go, it is gorgeous. A hint of stunning, sweeping cinematography, and doesn’t that castle in the beginning, with the snow swirling around it, remind you just a bit of scenes with Hogwarts in the winter time in the Harry Potter films? I don’t mind at all. And then the sounds from the piano keys one knows so well from the opening score of the soundtrack begin to weave around the images, and my heart almost skips a beat. Such a illuminating blend of the sure-to-come drama, the sadness in the sleeping grandeur of the castle and Belle’s mix of curiousity and caution as she steps inside.

Nothing will ever be the same!

To say I’m looking forward to this is an understatement. To say I’m wildly curious myself doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. One thing is for sure – Emma Watson is one of her generation’s best actresses to portray a young woman with “her nose stuck in a book”, and she is certainly well on her way to creating memorable film portrayals of iconic characters. She can also hold her own with acting based on material that has won millions of fans the world over and continues to endure through time. Playing Hermione, and now Belle, is more than enough pressure. But Hermione is firmly established as a character in her own right, and I hope the same will be true for this new Belle. Emma Watson’s own attentiveness and intelligence will hopefully contribute in the best way to put her own stamp on Belle, yet keep the essential qualities which make Belle who she is.

Remembering Dan Steven’s piercing blue eyes and wonderful diction in Downton Abbey, I also have high hopes for the Beast, aka Prince Adam.

To be released in spring 2017…

 

 

 

 

Painting Words on Your Wall

Now, I hate painting, based on the one and only time I did it after shamelessly procrastinating. But if I were to do it, this could tempt me.

Author Meredith McCardle painted the first page of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on her wall in three weeks. There is something about the sheer purity and the simultaneous richness of words on a white page that is accessible as an art object, especially if it’s words from a beloved book that still makes your skin tingle.

Speaking as a fellow Harry Potter fan, great choice of wall coverage! Glancing over at my own shelves, I confess I would take a page out of the same book (pun!) My own choice would possibly be the passage describing Harry finally casting his first, real Patronus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “And then it hit him – he understood. He hadn’t seen his father – he had seen himself

Harry flung himself  out from behind the bush and pulled out his wand.

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” he yelled.

And out of the end of his wand burst, not a shapeless cloud of mist, but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal.”

The memories make me tear up. Another choice would be Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice, which I feel I can open at any page. Actually, I just opened it at Mr. Collins’ proposal to Lizzy – no, not for my wall. How about this: “They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects.”

Ray Bradbury’s special prose from The Halloween Tree is also a good idea for some word painting: “And Ghost and Mummy and Skeleton and Witch and all the rest were back at their own homes, on their own porches, and each turned to look at the town and remember this special night they would never in all their lives ever forget and they looked across the town at one another’s porches but especially on and over across the ravine to that great House where at the very top Mr. Moundshroud stood on his spike-railinged roof.”

I’m so lucky that the works I’ve quoted here so far also have great film adaptations to underline their brilliance. How about playing an audiobook or the movie in the background as you paint?

I am very tempted. Very.

 

Imagine Dragons. Blank Space

A friend recently reminded me about this and it took me right back. Imagine Dragons played in Hamburg in October 2015, and while I was suffering from acute post-concert nostalgia a few weeks later, I stumbled upon this gem on YouTube. Do Imagine Dragons and Taylor Swift work? Yes, they do.

The band covers her hit single Blank Space in the BBC Radio1 Live Lounge and the result is basically enchanting. And kind of adorable.

It’s interesting to hear a song attached so firmly to one distinctive voice and style executed by other musicians, especially if it’s men singing what was originally performed by a woman and the other way around.

The band is visibly comfortable playing anywhere, being just as at home in a smaller, more intimate setting as in an arena teeming with thousands of fans. Clearly well-prepared as always and obviously enjoying their instruments and vocal contributions, their cover starts out in a pretty relaxed, but still playful, tempo that made me think of summer, looking back on what was and what was to come.

The seamless transition to Stand by Me surprised me initially, as I hadn’t known it was coming, but it is integrated perfectly in to the song and blends well with the story. “So, darling, darling, stand by me” sounds just a bit more rock as Dan Reynold’s voice gets louder and more gravelly, then calms down again. Imagine Dragons handles this cover with delicate precision, Wayne Sermon submerged in playing his guitar like only he can be, Ben McKee hitting all the right bass notes, Daniel Platzman giving it his all on the drums even if they are quieter and Dan Reynolds draping the lyrics “‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless” with a new wistful energy. And they all sing.

At least after this everyone should know the oft-discussed lyric is definitely “Got a long list of ex-lovers”.

Things That Make Me Nervous about Clothes Shopping

Obviously there are worse things to worry about, but actually, that kind of shopping doesn’t make me nervous, though when it does, this goes through my mind:

“I thought I had everything and now I need to do this again!”

clueless1

“Do I even know what I want? They probably don’t sell that anymore. Where should I go? I’m tired already, I don’t want to go anywhere. Where do I even start? That other outfit doesn’t feel like ME. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.”

clueless2

“Everyone else looks so goal-oriented and purposeful. Where did that girl find that top? Why didn’t I see it? Her pile of clothes looks so much better than mine. I bet she can tell what I’m thinking. Why is it so crowded in here? I want to leave and I’m not even finished. Maybe some telepathic sarcasm will help, how about this?”

clueless3

“Oh, God, I will not get out of not trying this on, because if I buy it and it doesn’t fit, I will have to come back here, and I don’t want to come back, I’m barely dealing as it is. When did this become my current reality? I have to go to the changing room. I don’t want to go to the changing room. There’s a line. There’s loud shouts of the ever classic, “Does my butt look big in this?” from behind partly open curtains. There’s endless standing in socks in front of the full-length mirror at the end of the hall, tags danling everywhere. There’s long-suffering boyfriends and husbands not quite knowing what to say and still valiantly trying to say something. It’s A MESS. Go to the changing room?”

clueless4

“Three different assistants have asked me if I they could help me. I need to get out of here right now.”

clueless5

 

 

Met Gala 2016: Claire Danes

I’m not an expert on the Met Gala and its background, but I simply know every year that there will be some interesting outfits from the ladies in attendance to look at in the media, and I’m a girl who always stops to examine a dress. I love dresses, dresses will stop me in a shop, and even if I don’t need one, just looking at one that caught my eye, fingering the material, admiring the print or internally questioning the design is fun.

With the Met Gala the annual themes make looking at and interpreting the choice of outfit all the more intriguing. I’ve had more than one moment when I was impressed not only by the creation worn, but with the way the woman in it was carrying herself and making it work. Because let’s face it, some of those dresses must be heavy, require quite a bit of preparation to get in to or need some maneuvering due to intricacies in their design.

But this year a picture of one gown made me stop in my tracks and instantly want it, and that gown was worn by Claire Danes. All of the coverage I’ve seen so far is unanimous in its breathless approval, and this report by Entertainment Tonight sums it all up.

Danes twirling slowly in the illuminated gown by Zac Posen is one of the most magical images I have ever seen connected to fashion. Nothing droops, nothing squeezes too tight, the decolette is at just the right height, the train in the back is perfectly proportioned and the skirt’s folds sit beautifully without looking stiff. The combination of the elegant, structured, feminine cut with the idea of integrated battery packs is genius. Not to mention on point with this year’s theme. I can’t get enough of the images, it’s just one of those cases where everything comes together perfectly, and the sheer excited happiness on both the designer and the actress’ face is refreshing.

Plenty of other dresses had me wondering where the technology aspect came in, although it might obviously apply to every outfit presented in the sense that all of them probably require some form of technology to produce them. Grace Helbig’s review of the get-ups on display, while heavily sarcastic and occasionally profane, is also quite often spot-on.