December 31, 2007

Best of Entertainment in '07

Everyone else has a year-end list, so why not me? Here are my favorites of the past year.

Best Movie - Juno

Yes, there was a lot of crap at the movies this year. But also a few great ones. We had some hilarious films from the House of Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad), The Simpsons finally hit the big screen, the Bourne trilogy ended with a bang, and an animated rat cooked up something special. And yet the film I saw most recently is my favorite. Juno has all the elements of a great film - an excellent cast, a clever script, smart directing and a groovy soundtrack.

Best DVD Rental, Movie - United 93

A film every American who lived through 9/11 should see. Give yourself the chance to grieve and heal the wounds that run so deep.

Best DVD Rental, TV - Battlestar Galactica

From a single rental, a new obsession was born. Now can ANYONE tell us how to get our hands on a video set for season 3?

Best Album - Back to Black, Amy Winehouse

Yes, her personal life has been one continuous train wreck. So what? She still delivered an amazing album with a sound that intoxicates. And I owe her - the most new visitors to my blog came looking for the lyrics of "Rehab"!

Best Song - "Umbrella", Rihanna

The song of the summer should be grating on my nerves by now. The fact that it's not indicates that it's a groove that is a new classic. Turn on your iPod and hit play (ay-ay-ay)!

Best TV, Reality - America's Next Top Model

Before you cry, "Sacrilege!" I recognize that Top Model is not usually the best reality show out there. But in a year where we only got the beginning of a Project Runway season, and The Amazing Race was dominated by a horrid "All-Stars" season, Top Model delivered the most consistent entertainment for me. Jaslene was the cha-cha diva, Dionne was hilarious and had the most ridiculous made-up name (Wholahay!), Heather taught us about Asperger's, and Tyra continued her descent to being bat-shit crazy. Work it!

Best TV, Comedy - How I Met Your Mother

The Office certainly gets my honorable mention this year, but HIMYM is still tops in our home.

Best TV, Drama - Lost

As if I'd say anything else? Even with a wildly inconsistent 3rd season, it's still been the best thing out there. As long as the Dum-Dum Duo stay dead.

Best Book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

I've seen a lot of critics that left this one off their top 10 lists for the year. But I think that it is not only a wildly entertaining read, but how can you not recognize a book that ends a series so perfectly? Every loose end was tied, and Rowling revealed the master plan she had all along. Pure satisfaction.

[In working on this list I realized I've read virtually no non-fiction this year. I guess 2007 was my Year of Escapism.]

Best New Musical - Xanadu

A show is truly funny when everyone is in on the joke, and the cast plays it to the hilt. Laugh until you hurt!

OK, so that's my list - what did I miss, gentle readers?

December 26, 2007

Blood is Thicker than Water

Sweeney Todd

You have to say this for Tim Burton - the man likes his macabre visuals. What better director to bring the grisly musical by Sondheim to the silver screen? And I do mean silver - the film is painted almost entirely in shades of black and white. Except the red, that is. LOTS of red. Buckets of blood! If you enjoy a gorefest complete with complex harmonies, this is the one for you!

As for performances, Johnny Depp is a natural as Sweeney - cold, menacing, with one shoe out of the asylum. Helena Bonham Carter is admirable as Mrs. Lovett, although her singing style is a bit like an injured bird, and not a larger-than-life personality.

Overall this is an enjoyable movie if you can handle all that blood. It's quite faithful to the original musical, so show tune afficiandos won't be disappointed.


This movie is quite unusual - it begins as a whip-smart comedy but settles into a moving drama (with humor still ever-present). It's hilarious, it's touching, and I think it's the best film of 2007.

Once you move past the uncomfortable premise (16 year-olds having unprotected sex, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy), you'll quickly fall in love with the razor-sharp wit of Ellen Page as Juno. Her performance is extraordinary, and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future! She's surrounded by a dream cast.

Juno lives with a father she adores (J.K. Simmons), a stepmother (Allison Janney) with whom she shares a true love-hate relationship, a best friend (Olivia Thirlby) who is a great sounding board, and a kind-of boyfriend (Michael Cera) who epitomizes dork chic (constantly clad in running shorts, headband and wristbands).

Eventually Juno decides to give the baby up for adoption to a couple she picked out of a pennysaver. She elects a yuppie duo in nearby St. Cloud - a working woman who longs to be a mother above all else (played remarkably by Jennifer Garner) and a man-child father (Jason Bateman) that Juno befriends.

It's hard to describe how good a movie this is until you see it. Go enjoy this Christmas miracle!

Where Have You Been?

Unfortunately, I've been pretty under the weather with the flu for almost a week. And I picked it up right after ScottE got over his stomach virus! Not the happiest time in our household, to be sure.

But I'm going to try and pull it together and get a post or two done before I head home for the holidays. I hope you and yours have been having a wonderful time.

December 17, 2007

Short DVD Reviews - Part 6

As always, I promise you reviews of our latest Netflix rentals in 25 words or less!

Something New - Joyous recommended this melodrama. Race relations are the overtone, but a charming romance is what makes it enjoyable. Ideal for my inner black woman.

Frida - Julie Taymor directs this visually interesting but ultimately dull biopic of Frida Kahlo. Go to a museum instead.

Dial M for Murder - My latest foray into the Hitchcock oeuvre. Grace Kelly is stunning, but the plot drags.

Bride and Prejudice - A combination Bollywood musical and Hollywood romance, I found it underwhelming. Sayid from Lost is in it (briefly), though.

Junebug - Remarkably charming film in the "awkward family" genre, it is worth seeing to note why Amy Adams got that Oscar nomination (and Alessandro Nivola's butt).

The Flower of My Secret - Almodovar film that shows promise, but fails to deliver. The best moments come from the funny mother.

December 12, 2007

Team Derailer

When we last left the fashionistas of Project Runway, Carmen was bid adieu for designing an outfit for Tiki Barber that lacked a shirt. A look that would no doubt win him raves at The White Party, but not so much for The Today Show.

In the present, Sweet P secretly is kind of glad that Carmen is gone. Meanwhile, Rami looks adorable lounging in his sleepwear.

Model choice time. Jack does swap his model for Ricky's (bizarre, as I think she's awkward), but doesn't take Marion or Carmen's, so they are sent away. Heidi says that the challenge will be delivered by a familiar face that has old friends. Sweet P (who is fast overtaking Elisa as the resident crazy) thinks they'll be designing for senior citizens. Well, why not? It's about time someone updated the muumuu.

Tim meets the designers in the workroom with the lovely Nina. I don't know why I think she's just endlessly fabulous, but I do. Anywho, she unveils possibly the coolest challenge in ages (kudos to the producers working on them). Nina mentions that over the years, Elle has covered all the latest fashion trends, many of which we can't imagine were ever popular. Each of the designers will pick one of the trends. Then they divide themselves into groups of 3. Each group will come up with a collection of 3 looks, incorporating and modernizing the fashion don'ts of yesteryear. Tim also says that each group must designate a leader (i.e. scapegoat).

The designers sketch for an hour before heading to Mood. Chris' team is Steven and Sweet P. They will work on shoulder pads, dancewear, and baggy sweaters. Jillian's team (wisely selected, I think) is Rami and Kevin. They will work on overalls (which is totally funny, as Jillian is wearing overalls), poodle skirt and 70's flare (i.e. bell bottoms). Ricky's team of Victorya and Elisa will work on underwear as outerwear, neon and cut-outs. Christian's team of Jack and Kit will work with him on pleather, zoot suit and fringe. Sketching! Shopping! In a foreshadowing moment, Sweet P asks Steven if such-and-such fabric would work. Steven says, "No, Chris says it looks like a grandmother's couch." So the question is - did they buy it anyway?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. In the workroom, the teams set to work. Chris says that he's excited for the chance to show that he's more than a costume designer. Meanwhile, Ricky says that he speaks to Elisa in a language he thinks she'll understand - which he equates to modern dance teachers who look like they're high on pot. OK - I know some teachers are weird, but if I thought my instructor was baked, I'd be out of there. Not safe! Towards the end of the day, Jillian is getting concerned about Kevin's pace. On the one hand, I think she's being a bit of a nervous nellie, but I also think she is trying her best to offer calm direction.

To lighten the mood in the workroom, Steven tries a Tim impression. Not bad, but you are no Santino, my friend. Victorya continually talks about her team and offers other words, she's totally being the team leader. Conversely, Ricky just takes it. So she's a bulldozer, and he's a puss. The models come in for early fittings, which is a rare bonus. Interestingly, Chris' team is basically done. And Sweet P thinks that Steven's garment is the one that stands out. Kevin's problem is that his model is too big. Y'know - a size 2. Victorya decides on the fly to totally change her design. Ricky just looks askance.

He later tries to "confront" her which involves just making small notes, which Victorya passive-aggressively brushes off. Jillian expresses her concerns with Kevin's time management to Rami. He points out that she's got to be firm with him as the team leader. Later, Tim comes in and is happy with Christian's team. But he's not seeing cohesion in Chris' team, and particularly says that his jacket (which looks like a grandmother's couch as bolero jacket with shoulder pads) should be rethought. And he thinks that team Ricky isn't looking finished enough. Victorya jumps in to say, "If I had time, I would have unified the silhouettes." In other words, she's still bullying and totally being team leader. And Ricky bends over. He FINALLY confronts her. They fight passive-aggressively, which is as annoying as you can imagine.

Runway! Heidi introduces the judges, including guest judge Donna Karan. Wow. Big names comin' out!

Team Jillian's looks are very modern, showing bits of each trend in each look. In one look, they turn the poodle skirt into a flared collar to give a unique look. It's all nice.

Chris' jacket is indeed hideous. She looked better without it. Sweet P's is a nice camel number with a big belt and a black turtleneck. Steven's looks just like a sleeveless robe over tights. Lame!

Christian's team emphasized the stripes of a zoot suit to make their looks stand out. It's all great, but Kit's is by far the best, I think. 3 patterns that could clash, but look great.

Team Ricky is a hot mess. Neon pieces that have nothing to do with each other. They all look like they are missing something.

Heidi announces that one team scored so far above the others, that they are immediately declared winners - Team Jillian! Nice for them. I admit I liked her team's overall cohesion best, although I think Kit and Sweet P had the most interesting looks. Team Christian is also in.

Now, I must complain here. Because we spent so much time with the horribly annoying war of Ricky vs. Victorya, we don't get any time to hear the judges talk about the top teams' outfits, or what those designers have to say. It was very disappointing. All we saw was a quick runway look. Boo! But I include my favorites here for you to enjoy.

Anywho, onto the bottom 2 teams. Chris' team isn't showing cohesion. Donna and Nina don't like Steven's and don't see the dancewear inspiration. Donna and Michael love Sweet P's dress (which just about makes the P break down in joy). The concern is that Chris' jacket didn't modernize the shoulder pad look. They pads still look dated.

Ricky's team is called out for having a good start of a concept, but that things don't look finished. Victorya's dress is fit well, and Elisa's is creative. But Nina is not happy that Ricky is yet again showing something so unpolished. Elisa tries to be supportive, bless her heart. And then the Ricky vs. Victorya fiasco is aired, and I'm so over it, let's move on...

Each person has to pick who should go home. It's all how you'd expect. V and Ricky pick each other. Elisa picks herself. Steven says Chris, and Chris agrees. Sweet P goes crazy and gets lashed at by Heidi. She picks Steven.

The judges deliberate, and obviously are just talking about the bad (again, I'm not happy with this). Nina is still really disappointed in Ricky. But what they really can't deal with is Chris' jacket.

Elisa and Sweet P are in. Then Steven and Victorya. Ricky - you are not showing finished work. Chris, your jacket was old-fashioned and ugly. in. Suck! I was so ready to be rid of his whiny ass. Instead cuddle bear Chris is sent back to create new garments of vegetables. We'll miss you, Chris!

Next week - something is off about the models? Jack shares something that makes people weep, which I assume is related to his HIV-positive status. This can't be good!

December 09, 2007

Actually You Can't See It From Space

It's time for a recap of the penultimate episode of America's Next Top Model! When we last left our girls, they were shocked that Heather was sent home, and so were we! Only four remain. Who will be eliminated...tonight? (You wanna be on top...bitches?)

The girls return to their penthouse to find "Heather mail." Hilariously, Bianca starts reading it - "If you are reading this, which Jenah, you most likely are..." Ha! In other words, Jenah's the only one really missing Heather very much. I think they became friends, but Jenah also had a lot of respect for Heather's ability to bring it to the photo shoots (something that Jenah herself excels at). Bianca? Not missing her.

Next they head onto Beijing. They get a little guided tour from their guide, Kevin. Bianca finds it all to be surreal. Meanwhile, it's time for Jenah to lament being in the bottom 2. I kind of love her, because she says, "Being in the bottom 2 is awesome - you should try it." Love that sarcasm! Chantal, meanwhile knows this is her destiny. Her attitude is grating on Bianca (and me, as well).

The girls meet up with Ms. J and Twiggy to give them a little cultural history. The pair tell them the story of "the 4 Beauties" - the 4 most beautiful women in Chinese history. Bianca is bored, but the others realize that what they're hearing might be important (i.e. challenge material). The girls head to their new apartment (which has just 2 big beds, so no room for bitching), and receive Tyra mail along with the 4 gowns worn by the 4 Beauties in the demonstration. They figure out that each will need to choose an outfit to wear for the challenge.

Then it's challenge time. Ms. J and Twiggy meet them at a huge shopping mall, and give them each the equivalent of $200. They have an hour to run into the mall and try to find a way to embody their chosen Beauty, but modernize the look to this century. They will then work the runway and a winner will be chosen. And they're off!

Quickly the girls figure out that with such elaborate gowns, they should focus on accessorizing - jewelry, bags, shoes and the like. Bianca then tries to break away from the group and heads to a second part of the mall that's across a courtyard. She discovers that it contains no stores that are any help. As she runs back inside the main part of the mall, she runs into Jenah and decides to "strategize" and use her trademark stank behavior. She tells Jenah, "You've got to go over there, so much great stuff there." Jenah quickly finds out that there isn't, but unfortunately gets a bit lost finding her way back. "Bitch." Indeed.

All this is for naught, however, as Jenah makes it back on time and the girls quickly assemble their looks for the runway. Ann Shoket, editor of Seventeen (she of the big nose from several weeks back), will be the judge. The prize this week is big - the winner will get a "custom-made" Chinese couture gown, and a personal runway walk training session with Ms. J - "a privilege that no girl on this show has ever had." Mhm... Anywho, let's get to it. Now they have to quickly apply makeup and work it.

Saleisha is first. She's accesorizing mostly with gold jewelry, bag and shoes. Nice walk. Chantal went more for bright yellow pieces, but I think her eyes were too dark. Bianca cleverly pinned up her skirt with some rosettes (Angela would be proud) with a flowered bag. Jenah took the long dress and made it a tight mini, and then releases the coat, accenting with some big sunglasses. Fun. Ann gives them all some compliments and criticisms - except Chantal - who just had nice shoes. Jenah wins! Jenah gets to pick a friend to get a second dress. She picks Chantal - least annoying of the 3, obviously.

Now the girls go get fitted for the dresses, so we see that they aren't so much "custom-made" as they are "custom-tailored." Still, they are stunning. Jenah opts for a saturated turquoise sleeveless dress with a flared collar, and Chantal takes the more demure pale jade dress. Chantal doesn't know where she'll wear it, but she loves it. Duh - wear it at any formal event! You'll stand out and make all the other bitches jealous.

Jenah gets her one-on-one right there in the store with Ms. J. He actually provides her with some helpful tips - particularly what to do with her head on her turns (she tends to toss off her head with attitude, but should instead keep it in line with her body as she pulls away). Jenah is stoked.

Tyra mail! "Can you be seen from space?" They squeal as they figure out it's the Great Wall of China. Of course, that's a myth, really. You can only see it from Earth's upper atmosphere. But hey, who says Top Model is supposed to teach us anything? Oh...Tyra...right...

Anywho, the girls now lounge in bed and chat. They express their various concerns and worries at this point to each other and in interviews. Both Bianca and Jenah are ready for the experience to come to an end. Bianca because she's just sick of it all, Jenah because she's getting really homesick, missing her family and her boyfriend. Saleisha and Chantal, meanwhile, have drunk the Kool-Aid and can't get enough of it all. Perhaps they don't have anyone missing them all that much at home? Kidding!

So the girls head to the Great Wall to marvel and frolic. I do have to give this group credit - they have really embraced seeing a new culture and trying to soak it all in, which is nice. They could give a few teams on The Amazing Race some pointers. They eventually run into OJ, who says blah-blah-whatever and leads them to the photo shoot, further down the Wall.

There they find that their photographer is Tyra. Which is not as terrifying as you might think - she's actually done some very interesting work, like the crying portrait of Joanie back in the day, or the scary contact lens photos of Caridee and Michelle. In this shoot, the girls will portray Mongol warrior women, trying to storm the Wall. Why? I have no idea. It's a bizarre set-up, but let's just go with it.

The girls get their makeup and ridiculous enormous rat's nest hair. First up is Chantal. Tyra is pretty impressed, particularly as Chantal works on movement. Jenah is next. Tyra asks what Jenah's "Great Wall" challenge would be. Jenah says she's trying to "find herself." This worries Tyra and OJ, who question if her mind is really in the competition. Bianca requires a lot of direction, which isn't the first time that's happened (see also: last week). Tyra's golden child Saleisha gets raves for deciding to jump in the air and stuff. Honestly, it's hard to get into this shoot, as it makes no sense to me.

Whatev - Tyra wraps it up with a group photo of all 4 girls. Basically she wants them to out-fierce each other and really stand out. Bianca bitches that Saleisha's big hair bun is in her face. Hell, I would have just used a hand to hold it out of place. You know Tyra would eat that shit up.

OMG - did you see that commercial for Crowned? Looks like a train wreck. The writers' strike is clearly in full swing.

Panel! Prizes, judges. Guest judge is Ann Shoket. Let's judge the girls.

Jenah is the challenge winner and lovely in her gown. She has a long beautiful leg in the shot. Twiggy says, "Tyra, you're sooo goooood." Sorry, Twigster, you're still not coming back next season. Tyra tries to get Jenah to break down and it works. Jenah tells us how she's trying to find her sense of self and that she's homesick. Ms. J chides her that a top model is often away from home. Jenah also says that she has always tried to be a role model for her young sisters, and really thinks that this is how she will do that. Tyra asks if Jenah really wants this. Jenah does. Oh dear, it's looking like an elimination. Suck!

Next up is Bianca. She looks far too masculine, I think. The criticism is pretty harsh. Tyra calls her out for needing so much direction. Bianca exclaims that she's had to work really hard and has learned so much. She's trying to fight to stay in it.

Chantal actually has some great movement in her shot. You don't see much of her face, but I'm actually thinking it doesn't matter much. Ms. J loves that she's even pointing her feet. Ann says she always looks so fresh-faced and pretty. Isn't that the story with Chantal? All pretty, no substance?

Saleisha is airborne in her shot, and I have to admit it's pretty good. Although I still think she only has one face - looking down, lips slightly apart. But the judges drool all over it.

In the group shot, each girl is liked by one of the judges, so it's inconclusive. I would say that Jenah's eyes really stand out, but Saleisha makes the most of being in the middle.

The judges deliberate. They love Saleisha and Chantal. It's really a debate over Bianca and Jenah. On the one hand, they think Bianca has so much more to learn - is there time? And yet she's fighting to stay. Jenah is consistenly strong, but did she just give her swan song speech?

4 beautiful girls (pay no attention to the photo above...), 3 photos. First goes to...Chantal? That was a bit surprising. I think they're just trying to shake it up a bit (and shake Saleisha's confidence). Then Saleisha, of course. Will Bianca and Jenah please step forward?

Bianca, you've come a long way, but have a ways to go. Jenah, the judges thought you might have written your good-bye speech. So the photo goes to...B...huh? Jenah! Kick ass! Karma's a bitch, Bianca!

In her exterview, Bianca actually cries a bit. See - if you could have done that at panel, you might still be in it. Silly girl! Maybe you have a career fighting a steel cage deathmatch with Heather on pay-per-view.

So there you have it folks - your final 3 are Chantal, Jenah and Saleisha. I thought for an added treat this week, I'd handicap the finale. So many ways to do it (why each will/won't win, for example)! But I'm going to opt to prevent 3 scenarios as to how each girl could win - and the likelihood of each.

Scenario #1: Saleisha wins

Let's be honest - Saleisha is the clear favorite right now, especially if you consider her past history with Tyra (T-Zone, etc.). To get there, I predict she would first knock out Chantal. I don't think it's likely that the producers - er, judges - want to have 2 bubbly/perky girls in the finals. So instead, Saleisha would face off against Jenah, her real competition. Jenah's done consistently great photos, but Saleisha would garner the "most improved" award. If she can smoke the final runway, Saleisha would have it in the bag.

I think this scenario is the most likely. And frankly, the most irritating. Saleisha has had her moments of being amusing, but in general she's grated on my nerves, and I think her ego has grown along with her profile as "high fashion."

Odds? Take it to Vegas.

Scenario #2: Jenah wins

Jenah has 2 things working in her favor. The first is that she's got the best portfolio of anyone left. (Actually she had the best in the final 4, too.) And secondly, she is the finalist with the most recognizable "journey" that Tyra is so fond of. Jenah was on top, then crashed and burned, and has now been trying to "find herself." Also keep in mind that past winners have usually been beat up a bit by the judges in the home stretch. Jenah would most likely face stiff competition in the final 2 against Saleisha. It will probably take a perfect final runway and a bad final photo from Saleisha for Jenah to win.

This scenario has a moderate probability of success - look at how shocking the last 2 eliminations have been, despite the editing! As you can imagine, this would be the one outcome that would really make me happy. But Jenah still has to face another glamour shot for Cover Girl, and those teeth are going to be hard to hide.

Odds? It's a long shot.

Scenario #3: Chantal wins

The judges certainly do love Chantal, and her surprising top place finish this week highlights that. But doesn't it seem like her constant protestations about how she was born to do this and she's so awesome are just a set-up for her eventual fall? But anyway, for Chantal to win, I imagine they would first eliminate the other blonde - Jenah. Assuming they do equally well with the Cover Girl shoot (both perky and fresh-faced), it would have to be a fierce-off on the runway. I've never thought Chantal's runway walk was that impressive, but who knows?

Whatever, let's be honest - Chantal has never really made a strong enough impression on us or the judges. For her to win would be most surprising (and a bit delicious to see Saleisha's fall).

Odds? Snowball's chance in hell.

See you next week for the finale! (And don't tell me how it ends that evening - I have to watch on tape delay!)

The Truth Hurts

The Golden Compass

I've really been anxious to see this adaptation of Philip Pullman's book, the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I definitely found it enjoyable, but it certainly seemed less accessible for those who haven't read the book. Assuming a sequel is made, this will be a nice lead-in to the far superior second book, The Subtle Knife.

Dakota Blue Richards does an admirable job portraying the troublemaker child, Lyra. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are both appropriately cold in their roles as Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel. But the ones who keep stealing the show are Sam Elliott as the aeronaut, Lee Scoresby and Eva Green (in a role that was criminally cut down in size) as the witch Serafina Pekkala.

Although let's be honest - what will be the most intriguing aspect of the film to kids and adults alike is the humans' animal daemons (the physical manifestations of the humans' consciences).

As for the fear that this film is somehow anti-Christian - not a chance. All theological debate has been stripped from the movie, leaving a very fast-paced adventure flick. Perhaps a bit too fast-paced, as the uninitiated will feel like they are missing something. (They are - read the book.)

And lastly - my word but that's the most horrible song over the closing credits. ScottE and I couldn't stop laughing at Kate Bush's ridiculous warbling of "Lyra...and her sooooouuuul..." Ten bucks says this piece of poo song gets nominated for an Oscar!

December 06, 2007

Oh No, She Didn't!

My recap this week will be a bit on the short side, but I'm kinda behind and playing catch-up!

As we return to the final fivegirls of Top Model, Heather is once again lamenting her performance in the commercial. Chantal in particular doesn't think that Heather deserved to stay. Dang! Meanwhile, Jenah is concerned that she's being nailed as "not having personality" because she's not all perky and annoying (i.e. Saleisha). Jenah feels that she's always been like a sarcastic personality.

Go-Sees! Let's get to them. Susan Yang of PT Models explains the usual rules (take your portfolio, go, see, be back on time). Considering how challenging the language barrier would be, each girl is given a driver who will take them to the area of the go-sees they pick. (They get a translator, too.)

Saleisha does OK, although the first designer says, "She's boring." Word! Heather gets lost once she steps out of her cab. Meanwhile Chantal impresses the designers except for her bright pink underwear (she forgot that Ms. J said to always wear nude panties when you're working). Meanwhile Jenah and Bianca impress some people. Heather is still lost.

FINALLY, Heather makes her first go-see. The designer says she needs more eye contact - which you know is not Heather's strong point. The same designer says that Jenah's walk is bad...because she looks too much like a model. Huh? Now for a little stank behavior. Bianca crosses paths with Saleisha. Bianca asks where the next one is (which she thinks is near). Saleisha says, "I don't know." Even though it's right upstairs. Then while Saleisha is modeling for a designer, Chantal waits in the wings and complains about Saleisha being a disgusting suck-up (which she kind of is). Of course, then Chantal goes up and does the very same thing.

Now the race to get back on time. Very simply - Saleisha is back on time, and Bianca is just under the wire. The other girls all underestimate the outrageous Shanghai traffic. And Heather is lost. Again. In fact, she loses her cab. And somehow walks past Jenah in her cab (stuck in traffic). Crazy. One might say Jenah could have offered her a ride, but I'm guessing that would have been against the rules. (And it is a competition.)

The girls go out on the town for dinner, and then Susan stops by to critique Biana and Saleisha. They both did well, but the winner will be in an ad for the 2008 Olympics. They turn around and there's the ad on a boat going by - it's Bianca! She's all happy, but one has to wonder what that ad means, and if it will ever again see the light of day.

Photo shoot time - with Nigel! So while the girls get gussied up, Jenah tries to play a little with Nigel sarcastically. He is NOT impressed. I have to say - I know she overstepped her bounds a little bit, but I can hardly blame her. She was really pointing out what a pompous ass he can be. And also this may have been a failed attempt with her trying to "show personality." Anywho, she feels the pressure a bit in her photo shoot - she may have some decent shots, but she's not sure her usual style of modeling works with Nigel's.

Bianca requires a lot of direction. Saleisha impresses Nigel. His concern with Chantal is that every time he gives her a comment, she takes the direction and then kind of falls out of the pose. He struggles to connect with Heather. While he's shooting Heather, Jenah is having a conversation that's a bit too loud, and gets a "quiet in the peanut gallery" comment.

Panel! Judges (Susan as the guest) and prizes. Once again Tyra pre-emptively tells them of their next journey - next week in Bejing! Excitement. First up for critique is Chantal.

Chantal gets criticized for being late from the go-sees and for the pink undies. Tyra tries to get Chantal to practice not breaking her focus. Her shot is...something the judges like. Me, not so much.

Bianca is praised for winning the challenge, and booking with 3 designers. Her photo has a nice body, but her face is lousy. It's very week 2 Bianca. Nigel says that she is too posey, not fluid enough.

Jenah is also criticized for being late, and needs to be more personable. Her picture has her shining in the back. Of course, Nigel has to tell her how her comments to him came off as arrogant. Tyra makes the more relevant point - the photographer for the day is your boss. True.

Saleisha is just loved all over the place. And her photo is indeed a bit daring in the positioning of her body. But I have to say her cutesy attitude is grating to me now. Of course, the girl's probably going to win it all, as she's been a Tyra favorite for ages. Check out this link and watch the video, people!

Heather only made it to 1 go-see. The judges are not impressed. Ms. J also really doesn't feel her runway walk has improved. Her photo gets good reviews, but Nigel points out that she got lucky.

So the judges deliberate, and you know it's Ms. Jenah that's in trouble. Nigel says that Jenah is a good girl, but he's afraid her personality is getting in the way. Twiggy agrees - will Jenah offend a designer? (I would say, not likely to his/her face, but later on a blog or something...) Nigel doesn't like Bianca's picture. Both he and Twiggy are concerned about Heather's ability to communicate with photographers and designers. Susan thinks Chantal needs confidence. Saleisha love-fest (*snore*).

5 beautiful girls, 4 photos. First photo is of course Saleisha the perfect one. Next it's Bianca and Chantal. Will Heather and Jenah please step forward?

Both of you take gorgeous pictures. But you've demonstrated a failure to communicate this week. So who goes home? Well you know it's Je...what? Huh? HEATHER? Holy shit!!! (You should have seen me watching it. I was SHOCKED. Totally fooled.) So Jenah is given a real second chance to show her personality in a respectful way.

Wow, I was sure surprised (the girls were, too) - but I think I see the reasoning. I believe the judges wanted Heather to succeed and maybe even win it. But she still has some work to do on her personal development and communication style. And considering America voted her their favorite almost every week, I think there are many, many folks out there ready to support her. (And I'd venture to say a few folks ready to book her as a print model.)

Heather in her farewell speech shows that she's really looking at things the right way - she showed how much a person with Asperger's can accomplish. She's proud of herself, and she should be. Love you, Heather! I know your life is only just beginning. (Heck, she already got interviewed by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.)

Next week (or rather, "recently" depending on when you read this) - Tyra is the photographer. Which may sound bad, but she's actually done pretty well in the past! (Remember her creepy contact lens shoot with Caridee and company a couple cycles back?) I'll also make my predictions for the finale. (Will it be Tyra's golden child? The bubbly blonde? The sarcastic smoker? Or the alpha bitch?)

December 03, 2007

Tiki in the City

I confess that I'm a little behind on my blogging for Project Runway. So I'm going to attempt a shorter post today to cover the last two episodes. Try to keep up!

OK, so when we last left our new group of designers, Heidi had said "Auf Weidersehen" to Simone, who was sent home for poor time management and also poor taste. Ricky was allowed to cry another day, and Elisa was allowed to continue saying things like "haiku cut," whatever that means.

The designers meet Heidi and get their first chance at picking models. Which appears to be more of a big deal this season considering how many bad models there are. Ricky's model gets sent home. Heidi mentions that the challenge will be big, as they will be meeting a modern fashion icon.

Fast forward to the workroom, where Tim introduces the icon - Sarah Jessica Parker! Oh, how the gays swoon over her. Chris even cries! Then SJP announces the challenge. They will be designing an outfit to go with the new fall line for SJP's company, Bitten. The catch? Her line emphasizes good fashion at an inexpensive price. So the designers will get next to nothing to spend - $15! Eek! Anywho, they each meet with SJP to propose a design, because she'll be picking 7, and then they all will team up.

SJP picks the 7, and I should mention who picks who as partners in case it becomes gossip fodder later. Marion chooses Steven. Ricky takes Jack, and Victorya takes Kevin. Kit picks Chris, and Rami chooses Jillian. Christian chooses Carmen, and then Sweet P is all, "Aw, shit." Yep, because she is stuck being chosen by Elisa.

They go shop at Mood. (Hey, Mood! Missed you!) Work ensues. Most of the teams work well together. But Steven is concerned that he and Marion have far too much to do. And Sweet P is a little freaked as Elisa marks a garment with...chalk? Oh no - that was SPIT! Ick.

So, garments are constructed, and Tim stops by for a visit. He is particularly concerned that Christian's outfit looks too 1980s. Surprisingly, Elisa and Sweet P have found a happy medium. (I believe they rendezvoused on the Moon.)

Runway! Rami and Kit's design are both rather dull in basic black. Ricky's outfit is a bit more interesting in burgundy with an interesting black belt. They are all in. Our top two designs come from Victorya (a gray baby doll dress with an interesting plaid vest) and Elisa, yes, Elisa (a simple turquoise dress covered with a nice woolly gray cape). They both are interesting, but it's not surprising that Victorya's is chosen, as it seems to fit better with what we've seen of the Bitten line.

The bottom two are Christian, who insisted on this ridiculous leather Members Only-type jacket over a turquoise turleneck dress (it's right out of a Robert Palmer video) and Marion. I enjoyed Marion last week, but his problem is that the gray woolly burlap-looking material he selected is not good for a whole dress. In fact, it starts stretching as the model is standing on the runway during judging, and just looks progressively worse. Anywho, Steven is in, as is Carmen with her histrionic crying. And then Marion is out. Too bad - I was ready to dump the little bitchy sister Christian.

As we open on week 3, Jack informs us that he's HIV-positive and has been for 10 years. This has been pretty widely publicized, but I didn't mention it sooner in case you'd think it was a spoiler. In other news, our opening shot is Jack and Kevin in their underwear in the bathroom getting ready. Ahem. Let's just say that's a sandwich I'd be interested in tasting! Anywho, they all go select models, and then are told to meet Tim for their next challenge.

Tim is waiting with Tiki Barber, former NFL star and now a correspondent for the Today Show. The him an outfit to wear on the air. Yes! Menswear! I'm still holding out for the maternity wear challenge some day, but this will be exciting.

As you might expect - mass panic. Most of the designers don't usually do menswear, and they all acknowledge that it takes a lot longer to sew. (You can't do a single seam dress like Elisa had in week 1, y'know.) So they go shopping at Mood in extreme agitation.

Slightly controversial moment in the workroom. Jack asks Tim if it is acceptable to use a garment one is currently wearing as the basis for a pattern. Tim says yes, which I think was probably a gift from the producers who knew how tough this challenge would be for everyone. So Jack uses his own shorts, and spends the rest of the day walking around in a muslin sarong, which is funny. But the controversy stems from the fact that he shares that pattern with Victorya and Carmen. Rami and Sweet P both call foul, but Jack calls it "a collaborative pattern." Kit chalks it up to the overall tension. There is all kinds of chaos and improvisation (such as Chris having Rami try on his jacket).

On day 2, the madness continues. It's at this point that we see Christian is extremely fast with a sewing machine, a skill which is an obvious asset at the moment. Tim comes in after a couple hours and announces that he will be bringing them all their models - a huge relief for them, as they really need measurements and a chance to see how the clothes will drape. In come the models. While Kevin makes a point of telling us how he was focused on his work, because he's so straight, Steven (who really has an annoying creepy voice), makes the most hilarious comment. "I'm finally understanding straight guys when they say, 'Oh my God, I can't believe you have all these chicks standing around in their underwear.' OK, fine. You win, guys. I get it." Ha! I mean, most of the models they get don't toot my horn, but I totally know what he means.

Much later in the day, Tim comes back to do his roving evaluations, but brings along Tiki's wife, Ginny. She really only gives positive feedback, so it's not clear what we'll learn. But Tim does have to tell a couple folks that they are going to have time problems (such as Ricky). Ginny saves the one negative comment for Carmen, saying her look is too casual. Carmen's in a bind, as she doesn't have enough fabric to fix it.

As they make final preparations, Ricky actually asks his model to help sew on buttons. Oh good grief. Also, he's crying. Again.

Runway! As you can imagine, a lot of the designs are less than stellar, and most of them had to scale back their plans. What's really bizarre is the choice of shoes in many cases. Anywho, let's just fast-forward to say that Christian, Jillian, Rami, Steven, Victorya, Chris (I really liked his sleek all-black ensemble, actually) and Elisa are all in.

The top 3 are Jack (who managed to do a well-structured contrasting striped shirt over black pants), Kit (who did a more casual black jacket over a white shirt and camel pants) and Kevin (a lavender shirt and dark pants, with a black vest and a purple tie/pocket square). Kevin is in, as his was good but not the most well-made. Jack wins! And Kit is of course in.

With the bottom 3 we have Sweet P (a very messy pale blue shirt with a lousy collar over black pants and with a striped tie), Ricky (a white shirt with a really ill-fitting dark suit) and Carmen (who did a dark coat over khaki pants, but couldn't even manage a shirt - so she sends her model down the runway with a blue scarf covering his chest instead). Sweet P is in. And then Carmen is chosen to be out as she couldn't even do a shirt. Which is too bad, as Ricky is a ball of annoying tearful emotion.

Next week - teams of two again! Prepare for drama with Ricky and Victorya. The claws, they are out!