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Fashion

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Twelve + Three = The Doctor’s New Duds.

“Lifelong Doctor Who fan Capaldi said: ‘He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. ‘No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100% rebel Time Lord.’ Doctor Who boss Steven Moffat said the new era meant for a new outfit. He said: ‘Monsters of the universe, the vacation is over — Capaldi is suited and booted and coming to get you.'”

Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has chosen his duds and, as the comparison above by Tom Spilsbury illustrates, he’s gone pretty Pertwee — which is fine by me. As far as my favorite Doctors go, Jon Pertwee is a close second to Tom Baker. Anyway, very crisp, clean lines. I like it.

Also I neglected to post this earlier, but here’s Moffat on where the show is going with Twelve: “The last two Doctors have been brilliant, and have been your ‘good boyfriend’ Doctors. But the Doctor isn’t always like that. There is the sort of Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston end of the spectrum, where he is mad and dangerous and difficult…We need the kick-up-the-arse Doctor, in a way, to frighten you and make you think, oh, it’s a different show again.” Yes, please.

Ten Forward Couture.

“And then the Enterprise also travels to the planet where everybody dresses like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense.” From successful sci-fi costuming to something of the more hit-and-miss variety, io9 takes a gander at the costumes of the first three Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons. Points for creativity, I suppose.

Older Navy.

Into Plato before it was cool? Do you take a six-pack of PBR with you to the Hirschorn? (Jazz in the Garden doesn’t count, and, besides, you should really be at Yards Park.) Then check out classical sculptures dressed as hipsters. Strangely compelling.

Invisible Retouch.

I’ve seen a few collections of these around the series of tubes before and always find them fascinating: Celebrities before and after their ritualistic Photoshoppage. (More here.) The beauty industry is strange, and no mistake.

After the Candelabra.

“The setting: downtown New York in 1900, a tumultuous time of massive change and great progress. The series centers around the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff at Knickerbocker Hospital, who are pushing the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics.”

Speaking of the Knicks: On the eve of Behind the Candelabra (this Sunday on HBO), Steven Soderbergh — still ostensibly retired from feature filmmaking — is set to direct 10-hours of a period hospital drama, The Knick, for Cinemax, with Clive Owen.

As a hobby, apparently, he’s also gotten into the film cognoscenti hipster t-shirt business. “While designing the shirts, Soderbergh told Reuters, ‘I would test them out by wearing them to the set to see if people knew the movie references.'” Citizen Kane aside, most of them are pretty esoteric. (Second link via The Late Adopter.)

GRIEF™, by Ralph Lauren.

Ladies and gentlemen of discriminating taste, be the first in your coterie to experience the strong, clean lines and dramatic intensity that is GRIEF™, the new winter 2010 collection from Ralph Lauren. Witness, for example, the suicidal despair — and casual-yet-professorial elegance — of Colin Firth, here drowning in inconsolable sadness in a double-breasted silk blazer ($3,740), cotton shirt ($500), silk pocket square ($105); cotton trousers ($395), and alligator belt ($995). Or consider the boyish innocence and androgynous suavity of Nicholas Hoult, here in pink angora sweater ($285), khaki trousers ($350), suede-leather shoes ($250), and cotton undershirt ($85). In short, feel horrible about the untimely death of your one true love — and look great doing it! — with GRIEF™, in stores this mid-winter.

Ok, ok, I’m admittedly being uncharitable towards Tom Ford’s A Single Man (and, being sadly fashion-disabled, I stole Firth’s outfit language from here.) But only a little. Let me put it this way: Two recent films came to mind while watching this sad, slow story unfold: Lone Scherfig’s An Education, in that Colin Firth — like Carey Mulligan — rises above the material and gives an Oscar-caliber performance in a movie that’s ultimately only ok. And James Cameron’s Avatar, in that, like life on Pandora, A Single Man has moments of shimmering beauty and yet still, weirdly, remains inert and uninvolving for most of its run.

I’ve never read the 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood, but I’m pretty sure the problem here lies with Ford. Granted, this is a pretty good attempt at a first film from someone who’s not a filmmaker — anyone remember artist Robert Longo’s stab at Johnny Mnemonic? Still, particularly in its first hour, the pacing of A Single Man just feels off. Ford keeps putting forth an image he likes (girl-skipping-rope, Firth-moving-against-a-crowd, bare-chested-men-playing-tennis) and then holds it for several beats too long. As a result, and even despite the best efforts of its lead actor, A Single Man often struggles to achieve any dramatic momentum. (This tendency is at its worst during the English class scene. Oh, and by the way, worst…prof…ever. He veg’s out for the duration, kicks some k-nowledge at the end, and leaves. Huh?) The individual images here are all very pretty, yes, if a bit fussed-over. But the film itself moves at a lurching, stop-and-go pace, if it moves at all, to the detriment of the story being told. It’s like watching a slide show.

And the story here is actually pretty simple and straightforward, and should be elemental in its power — It’s Love Lost, basically. The year is 1962, and George Falconer (Firth) — a closeted English professor teaching in Los Angeles — has just lost his partner of 16 years, Jim (Matthew Goode, a.k.a. Ozymandias), in a tragic car accident. Given the times, George cannot even mourn publicly or attend his beloved’s funeral. In fact, he only finds out about the crash a day later, via a call from the deceased’s cousin, Donald Draper — yes, really.

And so the abyss yawns beneath George, and a suicidal depression takes hold. The only person he could possibly confide in about his terrible ordeal is his old friend Charley (Julianne Moore), a woman he slept with years ago and who apparently has been carrying a torch for him ever since. But she’s got her own problems, and so George — unable to face a life without Jim — starts making (very fastidious — see below) plans to go out with a bang. Can anything prevent the grief-stricken Prof. Falconer from losing out to his sorrows and taking wing on a bullet? Well, there is one fetching student (Nicholas Hoult, formerly of About a Boy), and his pink angora sweater ($285)…

Again, I haven’t read the Isherwood novel and don’t know how it’s been tinkered with. But, even despite Ford’s tics, there are some problems here. This is one of those stories where the main character is deeply and utterly depressed — suicidal, even — and so naturally he keeps being pestered by extraordinarily handsome potential significant others, wanting to save him from himself. Um, yeah. (I’ll give it this: A Single Man works better than Sideways in this regard, if only because Paul Giamatti is Paul Giamatti and Colin Firth (when he’s not Mr. Darcy, of course) is Colin Firth, and thus much more likely to draw attention, I would think.) Also, for someone who’s depressed to the point of planning his own suicide, George sure seems to sweat a lot of not-very-important details. (Consider, in contrast, In the Valley of Elah, as Tommy Lee Jones’ early military rectitude completely falls apart as he succumbs to his sadness. When you stop caring, you stop caring.)

But those are basically quibbles. The larger problem of A Single Man is that, all of Firth’s impressive efforts notwithstanding — and mind you, he is very, very good here — A Single Man ends up feeling like a stylistic exercise more than an actual emotion-driven story. Ford finds a neat trick here where he turns the color saturation up or down depending on George’s mood: When life improves, however briefly, his world literally gets more colorful. But Ford keeps dialing it back-and-forth like a child with a new toy, and the effect eventually loses its luster. And that gimmick is as close as Ford gets to connective tissue sometimes. Otherwise, A Single Man feels like a collection of static images out of…well, a fashion catalog. They’re often striking in their lush melancholy, yes. But they’re static all the same.

Not the NBA’s long suit.

“If you look at NBA players. White, black, brown, yellow, whatever color or nationality, regardless of how they dress, and think thug. You are an idiot.” As seen at Caught in Between, Mavs owner Mark Cuban eloquently dissects the reasons for the NBA dress code (with additional comments) over at Blog Maverick: “‘Unfortunately we have gotten to the point where some, but not all, owners, or which ever executive is in charge of the team, have lost the ability to communicate with their players. In a nutshell, they dont talk to their players… I explained that a couple corporate customers of the league…were uncomfortable with the appearance of some players. That unfortunately, in those cities, they didnt feel comfortable having a discussion like this and that their ownership didnt feel comfortable asking those players to work with the teams for the best of the league. Since the teams couldnt deal with it, they had asked the league to step in and deal with it.”

Wardrobe Malfunction.

“Auschwitz, great…are the Packers playing?” By all that is good and holy, what was Dick Cheney thinking? It’s the 60th anniversary of liberation from that Hell on Earth, and our veep, as the Post wryly put it, “was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.” Even at occasions where it seems well nigh impossible to make the US role in world affairs look bad, this administration plays the Ugly American to the hilt. For shame.

The Doctor Meets the Grid (and the Matrix).

Filming on the new Doctor Who runs afoul of British anti-terrorism forces. The article also has one of the first pics up of Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor. Between this and the Batman post above, I know I’m starting to sound like the fanboy Joan Rivers…but what’s up with the lousy costume? Surely, any Time Lord worth his salt would wear something a mite more quirky.

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