Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Film: Miss Bala & Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Premiering in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and released on a very limited basis in one of the leanest month on the U.S. theatrical schedule, Gerard Naranjo's Miss Bala bears witness both to the formal experimentation characteristic of the former and to the semi-exploitation orientation of the latter. Naranjo and cinematographer Mátyás Erdély bring an exceedingly fluid long-take aesthetic to Miss Bala's border world of Narco wars and beauty pageants, staging the film's on-going flow of action and the frequently disrobed body of the film's ex-model lead, Stephanie Sigman, in a graceful choreography of contiguous on and off-camera spaces.

Among the most memorable of Naranjo and Erdély's one-take tours de force is an early, off-balance composition in a nightclub powder-room that commences with Miss Baja hopeful Laura Guerrero (Sigman) standing alone in the right half of a static, divided frame. Suddenly, a para-military hit crew repels down the wall that splits the image, filling the empty middle distance in the left half; as the assassins check the toilet stalls on the same side of the composition, Laura crouches down into a nearby corner with the camera accordingly following, reframing the female lead in a far more constricted full. As Laura cowers, exposed to the gang against the wall, the spectator is made to focus (along with the protagonist) on the off-camera field, cued in not only to Laura's frightened reactions directed toward the previously visible space, but also to the sounds that inscribe the continuous, out-of-the-frame action.

Within this exemplary passage, Miss Bala's navigation of objective and subjective states emerges, with Laura's point-of-view ultimately articulated in the tight re-framing that occurs along with her attempt to escape view. Earlier, when she first arrives at that same Millennium night spot, the filmmakers' camera moves independent of character motivation, only joining Laura consequently as the apparatus propels forward in the same direction as the striding lead. In so doing, Naranjo provides an approximation but not a literalization of Laura's phenomenological experience. Though the camera is outside Laura, it effectively doubles here perception.

Elsewhere, to return to the economy of revelation and concealment that defines Miss Bala's registration of spaces, Laura's later escape from the bathroom occurs at the moment of her sudden reappearance in the upper recesses of the re-framed interior, climbing through a distant window. In so doing, Naranjo retroactively calls attention to the fact that Laura's dramatic act has been occurring off-screen all along, with the particularities of this mobile framing a matter of authorial imposition. The camera's point-of-view in this passage is that of an author who willfully leaves his heroine and her subjective experience only to treat her dramatic exit as an unexpected visual punctum moments later.

While Miss Bala's achievement might just be most conspicuously formal ultimately, it does still effectively inscribe the personal toll of the War on Drugs on the film's unwitting protagonist, providing a harrowing narrative of the variety of abuses she experiences - both on and off-camera, with the latter no less moving than the former - as well as a plausible account of how the under-class Tijuana native becomes a getaway driver and mule for the narcotics syndicate. Miss Bala is indeed her fundamentally tragic and contemporary story, even when Naranjo's exceptional visual set-pieces momentarily obscure this fact.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), master animator Brad Bird's live-action debut, from a screenplay by Josh Applebaum and André Nemec, dispels any questions of its director's facility for or fitness to the composited photographic medium with a work that not only plays to the form's visceral strengths - this is the so-called action thrill ride at its, well, most thrilling; Ghost Protocol is one of the few comparatively deserving films at the top of the domestic box office charts - but also one that manages to reflexively incorporate the new-to-the-director technology back into the tension-filled set-pieces themselves. With respect to the latter, Ethan (Tom Cruise) and Benji's (Simon Pegg) manipulation of a screen inside the Kremlin in an effort to provide the photo-real illusion of a space, rather than the space itself, crisply encapsulates the film's composited CGI form in a manner that partially recalls Ratatouille's (2007) allegorization of computer animation in its non-human creator. Ever the auteur, Bird again showcases his self-consciousness in producing an analogy to the specific medium of his production.

Bird's authorship is even more prominent in Ethan's superhuman feats, running up and down the world's tallest building - obsessed with numbing heights, Ghost Protocol gets the most out of the composite digital form's ability to make these moments photo-real - or simply punching his way out of a Russian prison without a moment to spare. The more obvious and fruitful point-of-reference for Ghost Protocol accordingly is Bird's Pixar masterpiece The Incredibles (2004), with which it likewise shares its relatively corny and occasionally topical sense of humor - Cruise's failed marriage and Jeremy Renner's homosexuality both receive narrative cameos - a sidekick in Benji who seems to suggest a partial re-imagining of pre-Syndrome Buddy Pine or perhaps Dash, and most notably, an acknowledgement of global terrorism, which thanks to Ethan's persistent unwillingness to give in, is ultimately curtailed - though not at the precise moment that Ethan declares the "Mission Accomplished!" In Bird's world, as in our own, the threat will only later be neutralized.

The Most Amazing Industrial Home Decorating

I discovered David Prince's work over at the beautiful White and Wander and I was taken with how striking this amazing apartment is, so I just had to discover more.  Industrial and crafted is how I would describe the look and that colour palate - ooo I am in love! The mantle is my absolute favourite spot - I am digging how he's combine these objects together perfectly with that amazing artwork.  Do you like this look? 

Source: White and Wander and Desire to Inspire

Monday, January 30, 2012

Glam French Wedding Interiors Inspired By Chanel

As soon as I saw these shots of Chanel's latest runway show I immediately thought there are some brilliant learnings to take away for a glam french style wedding.  So what's making it tres special?  Number One - the use of height creates a sense of grandeur. Ceiling chandeliers, high floral arrangements, mid height candelabra's - they all combine to create scale. Number Two - the colour palate. Creams, whites, golds and glass tones mix perfectly to create a luxurious palate.  Number Three - Opulent displays - Would you just look at that amazing food piled high?  Interspersed with flowers the display gives a sense of opulence.  So while you may not be able to do the Chanel version you sure can take a few learnings to apply!  

Source: White and Wander

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Andra + Chad {Texas Engagement}

Yesterday, my sister Emma called me to tell her boyfriend had finally proposed!  Yay! I'm so excited and happy for them.  Being engaged is such a fun, memorable time and I, personally, can't wait for the wedding planning to begin :)  So, now all I have to do is plan a trip out to Houston to see that shiny, new rock!  Congrats, you two!

Since the newly engaged couple resides in Texas, I thought what better way to kick off the week then with a vintage-inspired engagement session from one of my favorite Texas photographers, Love Caryn Photography.  This darling couple wanted their quirky, off-beat style to shine through and with the help of Love Caryn Photography, they were able to achieved some stunningly beautiful images.  

Oh, and make sure to check out their adorable video...


How We Threw The Best. Ever. Australia Day BBQ

Last Thursday we celebrated Australia Day and boy was it fun! This year The Big A and I invited everyone over to celebrate at our place and we had so much fun I had to stop and take a mental picture to remember just how good it was (PS Does anyone else do mental snapshots or is that just me being a dag?!?)  The rain stopped just as the BBQ started, the peach bellini's were free flowing and as evening fell we ended up on the street with more drinks and a marathon game of cricket.  Even passers by joined in on the fun.  For me, the success of this BBQ came by including lots of detail to give the day a special feel, we had a great combination of guests and we kept the party momentum up by introducing activities. What do  you do to make your parties a success? 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jillian + Tim {California Wedding}

Happy Friday everyone!  Can you believe next week is February?!?  2012 is already flying by!  We've got a lot in store for you next month like...a brand spanking new blog, we'll be introducing new weekly features, a monthly update of all the fabulous wedding events taking place in Charleston hopefully a new intern (or two!), and, of course, more amazing weddings from the Lowcountry and beyond!

I figured we could wrap up the week with a lively California wedding.  The weather has been far from normal this winter and  I won't lie, it's already got me daydreaming of an early summer.  Jillian + Tim's vibrant outdoor affair from Rochelle Mort Photography just puts me in summer mindset.  With the help of Sweet Memories Flowers , Jillian and her maids rocked a jazzy yellow and grey color palette accessorized with bouquets full of billy balls, dahlias and succulents.  The ladies wore dresses from Charleston based designer Lula Kate in a spunky shade of mustard.  After a beautiful ceremony, the celebration continued at the home of the bride's parents where guests were treated to 'Boomerang' cocktails (which sound fabulous) by the pool.  Perfectly executed by the team at Soiree Event Designs & Couture Floral, a stunning tented reception followed with an amazing amount of details...including an over-the-top band and a late night taco station!

Photographer: Rochelle Mort Photography  /  Event Designer: Soiree Event Designs & Couture Florals  /   Bridesmaids Dresses: Lula Kate  /  Floral Designer: Sweet Memories Flowers  /  Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, Town and Country Party Rentals


You want a wedding that will wow your guests, but where do you begin? Carley Roney, founder of the world’s most popular wedding destination, TheKnot.com, has compiled The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook to make the entire wedding-planning experience enjoyable. More than 1,000 gorgeous color photographs give couples endless inspiration for their wedding day, and useful tips, time lines, and lists help the lovebirds flawlessly pull off every detail. Each chapter is bursting with creative and classic ideas to make the day as meaningful as it is beautiful:

Save-the-date cards do double duty when printed on coasters or delicate handkerchiefs.

An auspicious bird’s nest adds a beautiful and rustic touch for carrying rings at a farm

Dressing Up:
A retro bride goes glam with a feathered veil and pearl button–accented gloves. A casual groom and his mates add a personality pop with chocolate-brown Keds to match their wedding chinos.

Cocktail Hour:
For a low-key affair, mini grilled cheeses dipped in shot glasses of tomato soup satisfy.

Fruit slices suspended in crystal vases overflowing with Crayola-bright poppies and orchids offer a cheery setting.

White lace frosting details that match the bride’s dress and the couple’s monogram turn a pale green cake into a chic masterpiece.

From classic white-on-white palettes to floral themes to fun fantasy ideas, the choices are limitless. Purple, pink, red, robin’s egg blue — find inspiration at every turn in all the colors a bride can dream of! And The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook is loaded with money-saving ideas that don’t sacrifice style. Expert advice and rich images add up to a delicious visual feast and essential resource to help you create an event as special as you are as a couple.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jacque {Inn at Palmetto Bluff Bridals}

I've said it before, but one of my biggest wedding regrets is not having bridal portraits taken.  It's just so necessary.  You get one good run thru of how you're going to look the day of.  You can test out your hair, your shoes and get a feel for your photographer.  It also gives you the time to capture some really beautiful (and frame-able) images and will free up precious wedding day minutes.  So, when my baby sister gets engaged one of these days, girlfriend's getting bridal portraits taken whether she likes it or not 
(Sorry, Emma, but it's happening!).

Jacque teamed up with destination wedding photographer, Kristin Vanzant for a gorgeous coastal bridal session at one of the Lowcountry's most stunning venues, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff.  The Inn's located in Bluffton, South Carolina which is just south of Charleston and right outside of Hilton Head Island and Savannah...and it is a sight!  It's the definition of the word 'Lowcountry' and is the perfect retreat for a destination bride looking for joyous weekend long wedding celebration.  On this low-key day in March, darling bride-to-be Jacque and Kristin Vanzant toured the expansive property from the tides to the Waterside Chapel for a timeless afternoon of photographs.