Men in Suits: Costume Designers Talk about “Scandal,” “Mad Men,” and More Suit-Wearing Characters on TV

Posted on April 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Copyright 2015 Lionsgate Television
Copyright 2015 Lionsgate Television

The women’s clothes get all the attention, but for a costume designer — and for the actor — a suit is just as important. Indiewire spoke to costume designers about what the suits worn on “Mad Men,” “Scandal,” “Better Call Saul,” “Ray Donovan,” “The Good Wife,” “Black-ish,” “Revenge,” and, of course, “Suits” tell us about the characters and the story.

Bryant communicates Don’s point of view by relying on her own impression of the character. She “envisioned him a character of secrecy, mystery, and seduction” (which is a pretty succinct characterization, if you know Don) and translated that vision “into a minimal, masculine palette of grays, blacks, deep burgundy and navy,” which underscores her ethos of “evoking emotion and telling the story of the characters.”

Copyright 2015 Wilmore Films
Copyright 2015 Wilmore Films

Andre’s style may not be as traditional as the other guys of this list, but he’s as dapper as they come. The fashion choices Dre makes, according to Beverly Stacy, designer for “Black-ish,” “are dictated by his background and experience.” He has a laid-back, West Coast aesthetic that marries an upscale tone with modern lines, defining what Stacy calls, “Hip Hop Couture.”

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Behind the Scenes Television

The Other Woman

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language (on appeal from the original R rating)
Profanity: Strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking and drunkenness, brief reference to marijuana
Violence/ Scariness: Comic peril and violence
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: April 25, 2014
Date Released to DVD: July 29, 2014 ASIN: B00KNALRZ4

TheOtherWoman-posterThe latest in a female-centered revenge comedy genre that extends from “9 to 5” through “She-Devil,” “The Other Woman” is intended to be a merry little tale of female empowerment and grrrl power.  Instead it is soggy, haphazard, poorly paced slapstick mansplained by director Nick Cassavetes from a script by Melissa Stack.

Cameron Diaz (who gave one of her best performances in Cassavetes’ soapy “My Sister’s Keeper”) plays Carly, a tough-as-nails corporate lawyer with a beautiful office overlooking Central Park.  She meets handsome Mark King (“Game of Thrones'” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, utterly lost in a thankless role).  For eight weeks he is thoughtful, attentive, and so hot that she has “cleared the bench” of other guys, she explains to a criminally underused Nicki Minaj as her secretary.  (The movie I’d like to see is Nicki Minaj going after a man who cheated on her.)  But then Carly discovers that Mark is married.  To Kate (Leslie Mann, in her “I’m going to pretend I don’t know I’m pretty and act like a total klutzy ditz” mode).  With a house in the Connecticut suburbs.  And a very big dog.

Kate falls apart.  Carly tells her to cry on on the inside “like a winner.”  How long before the big dog makes a mess of Carly’s impeccable white apartment?  How long before the two women are trying on clothes, discussing bikini waxes, doing each other’s hair and make-up and having a big sloppy drunk bonding moment?  How long before they discover that Mark was cheating on both of them with Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Kate Upton?  How long before she goes running toward us on the beach in slo-mo wearing a tiny white bikini?

Except for that last one, the answer to all of the above is way, way too long.  But Kate Upton does look pretty great running in the bikini.

The trio decide that Mark must be punished.  So Kate gives him estrogen in his smoothie and depilatory in his shampoo and Carly puts laxative in his drink.  There’s an excruciating bathroom scene.  Though it is funny when the only replacement pants he can find are red skinny jeans from a hipster.

Then they go after his money.  All of this requires a lot of girly support group stuff, which is bad, and a lot of slapstick, which is much worse.  All but about two or three of the best moments (a relative concept) are in the trailer.  Comedic setups are poised to go off, then abandoned without resolution.  The woman exist for no reason except in relation to this unappealing man.

This is a movie about sisterhood and female empowerment that makes fun of Kate Upton’s character for being a dumb blonde and makes fun of Cameron Diaz for wishing she had Kate Upton’s figure.  This is a comedy that lets us know we are back in New York City by playing Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York” and lets us know the women are having fun with their revenge plan by playing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”  The few witty lines and funny situations are lost in a headache-inducing cacophony, emphasis on the first two syllables.

Parents should know that the theme of the movie is adultery and betrayal.  It includes crude sexual references and non-explicit situations, drinking and drunkenness, smoking, drug reference, comic peril and violence, and gross potty humor.

Family discussion: Why did the women become friends? Why were they so misled by Mark?

If you like this, try: “The First Wives Club,” “She-Devil” (and the better original version, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) and “9 to 5”

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Comedy Movies -- format

April’s TV Highlights

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 3:00 am

There’s good news for television viewers this month as there are fresh episodes of favorite series, big-time guest stars, and premieres of high-profile new shows.  I’m especially looking forward to:

Scandal This show, inspired by a real-life (and very low-profile) White House aide turned “crisis management” consultant, stars the brilliant and beautiful Kerry Washington.  You know her from supporting roles in films like Ray and “Fantastic Four,” but a better opportunity to see what she can do is in the outstanding independent film, “Lift.”

Magic City The look of this series about cut-throat 1959 Miami mob battles is stunning and it stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen,” Denny on “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Danny Houston. It looks like “Mad Men” crossed with “The Godfather.

Revenge Emily Thorne and those rich meanies return April 18, which gives you just enough time to catch up with the deliciously twisty plot so far.

Saturday Night Live “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara hosts on April 7.

Veep The hilarious Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) plays the Vice President of the United States in a new HBO series from the people behind the sharp and wildly funny political satire, “In the Loop.”

The Big Bang Theory Fanboy heaven.  Last week Leonard Nimoy provided the voice for an action figure from “Star Trek.”  Next week, the man even Sheldon Cooper must admit is the greatest living physicist, Stephen Hawking, will make a guest appearance.


P.S. Thanks to jestrfyl for correcting my mistake about sweeps months!

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‘Revenge’ Tonight!

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

The guilty pleasure of the fall television season is “Revenge,” a deliciously twisted story of a beautiful young woman (Emily VanCamp as “Emily Thorne”) who returns to the super-rich, super-luxurious, super-dysfunctional world of the Hamptons to wreck the title fate on those responsible for framing and destroying her father.  The first few episodes were fun as we got to see Emily X out of a photograph some of the supporting players.  She exposed a rising politician by having his pregnant mistress show up at a fund-raiser.  She busted a psychologist by publicly airing the videotapes of her private sessions.  And she has been making progress in gaining the confidence and affections of Daniel (Joshua Bowman), the son of wealthiest and most powerful couple in the Hamptons, Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny) and his wife, “Queen” Victoria Grayson (the fabulous Madeline Stowe).  Soapy and melodramatic, yes.  But now things are really getting interesting.  Emily’s old friend, the one who swapped identities with her, has shown up after killing the Grayson’s man of affairs who was getting too close to the truth about Emily’s real past.  We’re promised some big surprises in tonight’s episode.  Can’t wait!
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Law Abiding Citizen

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 8:00 am

This is not just a bad film; it is a despicable one. The slim but highly profitable torture porn genre has now begun to permeate major studio films directed at a general audience and the result is this dim-witted thriller that purports to have some legitimacy beyond serving as an excuse for full-on butchery. It does not. This is the “Saw”-ification of mainstream films.

Clyde (Gerard Butler of “300” and “Phantom of the Opera”) is quickly and very briefly established as a loving husband and father and then five minutes into the film two intruders come into the house, knock him out, and rape and murder his wife and little girl. Later, a slick prosecutor named Nick (Jamie Foxx) makes a deal that gives the worst of the two offenders a reduced sentence while his partner is sentenced to death. The execution goes wrong and the death is agonizingly painful. And the other offender, released from prison, is captured and subjected to excruciating torture (described in excruciating detail) before he, too, is killed. It turns out that Clyde has not just a motive for revenge; as a former highly trained government operative, he has the means. And he is just beginning.

It is supposed to be an intriguing cat-and-mouse game, but the fun of those stories is putting together the pieces of the puzzle and seeing the bad guy out-smarted. But there is nothing smart here, much less out-smart. The screenplay is so lazy that it cannot even decide who Nick works for, the District Attorney (local), the Justice Department (federal), or both. He also seems to be moonlighting as a detective, leaving the courtroom behind as he races into dark buildings without calling for any back-up. Because Clyde’s character has suffered so profoundly and the bad guys are so over-the-top despicable, we are supposed to find some satisfaction in their hideously painful deaths. But we’re supposed to be on Nick’s side, too. He may be a little too slick, but when the body count starts to pile up and Clyde threatens to kill “everyone,” we’re back on the side of law enforcement, previously portrayed as ineffectual and pragmatic to the point of moral compromise.

Revenge is such a reliable plot engine that it is hard to mess it up. Think of the purity of the first “Kill Bill.” But in this film, the details of the torture as entertainment, the sheer pointless excess of the carnage in the context of what purports to be a drama, and then the literal over-the-top ending that once again undercuts everything we have been asked to believe is more than exploitative; it is depraved. Viola Davis adds some class and dignity to the film as the frustrated mayor, like a visitor from another film, maybe another world. But then we are back to the phony sanctimoniousness of this film, with its final insults the idea that even upholders of the law are entitled to cause massive destruction and put lives at risk for payback and that all of this carnage is justified as a reminder to be a better daddy.

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