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“Beauty and the Beast”: The Seriouslyfluffy Review

It’s been awhile since Fluffy published a film review, not for lack of having seen good films, but this Disney remake of one of my favorite movies ever cried out for review in a way few works do. I was super excited for the remake as soon as I heard casting details (as a fan of both the Harry Potter universe and Downton Abbey, I was particularly stoked to see what Emma Watson and Dan Stevens would bring to the beloved titular characters), but just a little anxious about the tampering with a classic. The original animated film was near perfect after all, and instrumental in cementing my Disney fangirling well into my adulthood (it came out in my late teens, and settled any lingering doubts I should leave animation behind as an art form for kids only; I still think it was robbed for Best Picture that year). So, how would the live action film stack up against the animated version? 

I found I need not have worried, though I was a bit confused after seeing publicity photos of the household servants as candelabra and teapots and whatnot. They didn’t seem to translate well to more realistic CGI rendering, particularly Ewan McGregor’s Lumiere. However, stills and action are not the same thing, and the visuals turned out to be delightful; by the end of “Be Our Guest” I had warmed completely to these new versions of the familiar characters, though the film had easily reeled me in long before that. 

The opening sequence established a bit more of the Beast’s backstory than we got in the stained-glass intro of the original, as well as filling in a few plot holes fans had noticed over the years. And Watson’s Belle was of course radiant from her first appearance. She gets a lot more backstory also, and emerges as the inventor of her family rather than her father, who is instead, as played by the always-amazing Kevin Kline, an artist. The viewer gets a great sense of Belle’s disillusionment with her small town and its small minds, especially that of Gaston (Luke Evans), whose violent tendencies and selfishness are even more apparent here than in the original, his determination to marry Belle somehow creepier and more stalker-y than before.  

The real magic begins when Belle rescues her father from imprisonment in the Beast’s castle, taking his place as prisoner before promising him to escape and reunite with him. This is far better plotted than in the animation, as Belle here blames herself for asking her father for the rose the Beast believes him to have stolen. The tale continues from here in the time-honored fashion; after the visually stunning “Be Our Guest” sequence, Belle is caught examining the enchanted rose whose falling petals mark the timeline of the Beast’s curse and flees the castle in the wake of his rage, only for him to ultimately save her from a pack of scary, ravening wolves.  She gets him back to the castle and patches him up, the ice between them now broken as they begin to discover things in common and strike up a friendship. More detail is lavished on their commonalities than before: both are well-read intellectuals who share many views and just seem to click on every level (Watson and Stevens have chemistry for days), and their eventual romance makes even more sense. 

Additional story elements flesh out both characters’ backstories even further. Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) relates via flashback how the Beast became selfish and uncaring after the death of his mother, and a magical book left by the enchantress who cursed him allows us to see the loss of Belle’s mother and understand a bit more about her father’s motivations. By the time the Beast and Belle decide to hold a ball for just themselves, they are well-drawn, three-dimensional characters– which makes their coming separation, due to Gaston’s mistreatment of Belle’s father, all the more poignant.  The climactic sequence changes slightly from the original, with Gaston shooting the Beast in the back rather than wounding him with a sword;  the staging of Gaston’s fatal fall is changed as well, but it is equally effective, as is the Beast’s final redemptive transformation after Belle’s admission of love.  (Cue gales of tears from Fluffy here; I do love a happy ending, and Dan Stevens in human form.)

The overall look and feel of the film is completely immersive and magical. I found the added elements to the story beneficial and at times, such as in the case of the servants being permanently transformed into inanimate objects when the curse plays out, more moving than the original (how pathetic was the little footstool-dog, FrouFrou, frantically pawing at his silent friends until he too succumbed, landing upside-down and motionless?).  Great big props to director Bill Condon for creating a film that not only lives up to its distinguished predecessor, but occasionally surpasses it, and to all the actors and artists involved. The Seriouslyfluffy Final Grade: A

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More Fluffy Awards: Critics’ Choice Edition

Welcome to another edition of the Fluffy Fashion Awards! The Critics’ Choice Awards are not as well publicized as a lot of other awards programs leading up to the Oscars, and this is the first year I caught them in time to blog them. Huzzah, me! Let’s do this! 

Category: Most Improved

(Tie)January Jones and Maura Tierney

   January has, in the past, been a standout for the wrong reasons: at every carpet event she would show up in something distinctly odd, spacey or weirdly shaped, stuff that looked like it was wearing her instead of the other way around. However, this pale blue Altuzarra dress with its boho beading and half-sheer skirt is a breath of fresh air. At the Golden Globes Maura wore a tu-tone prom dress, so this Max Mara design, featuring a voluminous hunter green skirt and streamlined black top, is also a major upgrade. 

Category: Cutest 

(Tie) America Ferrara and Leslie Mann 

   These looks are both so freaking adorable it hurts!  America is wearing a whimsical tea length INGIE Paris charmer and sky-high heels by Brian Atwood, while Leslie sparkles in a tulle Monique Lhullier that looks like a sartorial firework, and t-strap Louboutins. 
Category: Red Royalty

(Tie)Rachel McAdams & Krysten Ritter 

   Ruby red rocks this season, and where better to show off the shade than on a blue carpet? Rachel is in a mostly sheer Elie Saab with gold chain straps and belt, and Krysten is a shining star in a beaded and pleated Zuhair Murad. Well played, ladies!

Category: The Sad Candy Cane Award

Constance Zimmer 

 The snarky Fluffy is back, and unfortunately so are stripes done wrong. This Tracy Reese dress looks like a cheap umbrella. No no no no. 

Category: Pretty in Pink 

Niecy Nash 

 This beautifully draped pastel Gauri & Nainika goddess gown is so gorgeous and flattering, it was a front runner for my Special Fluffy Award.  I love the filigree jewelry and beaded clutch too!

Category: Gothic Glam

Bryce Dallas Howard 

 And a huge shoutout for buying her Balmain dress online instead of doing the haute couture thing. She looks better than a great many of her more traditionally styled contemporaries, sleek, polished and darkly sophisticated in black. 

Category: The Lingerie Award

Jennifer Aniston 

 It’s ethereal!  It’s wispy!  It’s cut up to there! It’s Saint Laurent channeling Victoria’s Secret!  It looks too much like a (rather plain) undergarment, and I can’t figure out what color it is. Boo Jen. Not up to your usual standard. 

Category: The Blue Ribbon 

(Tie) Constance Wu and Saoirse Ronan 

   Pale blue is a dominant color tonight, and cape dresses are becoming a dominant silhouette. Constance is wearing a Peter Langner fit for a fairy princess, and Saoirse rocks a more structured Antonio Berard column with embellished shoulders. Both look ah-mazing!

Category: The Gold Medal 

Kirsten Dunst 

 What’s not to love about this gleaming, roaring-twenties-inspired Chanel confection?  Every detail, from the gilt sequins and beads to the tiered shape, the satin bow-back heels, retro jewels, bobbed ‘do and red lips, is perfectly Flapper and seriously awesome. 

Category: Just Peachy 

(Tie)Hayden Panettiere, Gina Rodriguez 

   Peach is one of my reliably favorite colors, which looks great on every skin tone and is a superior alternative to beige without the brazenness of bright orange. Hayden is wearing a plunging Maria Lucia Hohan in a pale shade, while Gina sizzles in a brighter hue from SAFiYAA. Both designs rely on simplicity, with the color as their statement. Bravissima!

Category: The Effortless Award

Amy Schumer 

 Calvin Klein has not historically been a favorite design house of mine. To me, all their dresses look the same: a Generic Column Dress™ in your choice of a) halter straps or b) spaghetti straps in any solid color. However, a plain Calvin Klein dress can make a deconstructed statement, as Amy has styled it, or rather, not styled it. No complicated hairdo and not a jewel in sight, just an awesome star being awesome. 

Category: The Dazzle Award 

Regina King 

 As she did at the Globes, Regina is wearing Krikor Jabotian, this time in bright white with an intricately beaded crop top and a flirty high-low skirt. Add jeweled heels, upswept hair and sparkling accessories, and you get a whole lot of wow. 

Category: The Divalicious Award

Helen Mirren 

 Helen Mirren is a style legend, pure class with a healthy dose of fun. She makes a black floral print work for her, and that in itself is a rare and amazing quality, but she really owns the carpet in this lace-trimmed Dolce & Gabbana gown. 

Category: The Midnight Special 

Emmy Rossum 

 Dior is very hit-and-miss to me, but Emmy’s calf-length LBD with silver sequin skirt panel (try saying that three times fast!) is a solid hit, straight out of the park. She completes the look with strappy Jimmy Choo sandals. Just perfect!

Category: Renaissance Woman

Carly Chaikin 

 Carly wouldn’t look out of place at a Ren Faire in this Chloe dress, but I kind of dig it. The loose fishtail braid is the right ‘do for the look, but I’m not crazy about the Brian Atwood platforms with it– while heels are de rigeur for carpet events whether red or blue, I’d have gone with a flat, possibly with straps up the calf. 

Category: Worst Dressed 

(Tie) Marisa Tomei and Alicia Vikander

   There’s fun, and then there’s tacky. Marisa’s Zuhair Murad would be a cute little black lace number, but it’s been viciously attacked by Granny’s shower curtain. Alicia’s Mary Katrantzou has entirely too much going on: cheap-looking allover rhinestones, heavy beaded swirls, metallic bow detail, contrasting burgundy trim, knife-pleated chiffon mermaid tailfin skirt with lurex threads– omg, get rid of any three of those things and it might just work, but as is, it’s tragic. 
Category: Best Dressed 

(Tie) Kate Beckinsale and Sarah Hay 

   I just couldn’t decide between these two for the top honors. Kate shines in a metallic Monique Lhullier, intricate without being overdone, sexy but still fun. Sarah’s black Lorena Sarbu with gold vine detailing is pure glam, and the gold shoes and clutch play up the dark fabric’s contrast with her porcelain complexion. 
Special Category: The Fluffy Award 

Joanne Froggattimg_2140Joanne looks absolutely radiant in this sparkly cobalt Roland Mouret column. As we know by now, the Extra-Special Fluffy Award is all about MY personal style and which dress represents it best. The dress I’d want for myself, basically, and this one is the most eye-catching of the evening. Love!

That concludes this chapter of the 2016 Award Season Fluffies.  Agree?  Disagree? Let me know! Be back soon with more fashion trashin’,so till then, revel in your awesome! 

 

The Fluffies Are Back! 2015 Emmy Edition

It’s hard to believe I haven’t posted since the Oscars. Actually, it’s not (hard to believe, that is), as Fluffy has completely embraced suburban soccer-momhood in the last few months (um, honestly, band-and-basketball-momhood, but you get the idea). Anyway, another summer has come and gone, and that means that the Emmy Awards have snuck up on me, so without further adieu, let’s hand out some Fluffy Awards!

Category: Most Improved

Maggie Gyllehaal

  Maggie has donned some sadly frumpy garments on the carpet over the years, but this Oscar de la Renta ball gown in black and brilliant purple changes that image forever. Way to go!!

Category: Cutest

Maisie Williams

  This isn’t Maisie’s first Cute win, and probably won’t be her last; girl has some serious Cute game. This totes adorbs Ermanno Scervino boasts a pretty pink quilted texture and practical pockets, but best of all are the (fluffy!) heels. 

Category: Most Original 

Joanna Newsom

  Andy Samberg’s other half, musician Joanna Newsom, gets points from me for this unusual structured gown by Delpozo in varying shades of blush pink. The Internet has not been kind, but I’m digging it. I would totally wear it with Princess Bea’s wedding hat (remember that?) and feel happily, shamelessly eccentric. 

Category: The Goddess Award

Gwendoline Christie

  Could she be any more stunning?  As per usual, Gwendoline is rocking Giles Deacon and looking like she just descended from Olympus. 

Category: Most Brilliant 

Jaimie Alexander 

  Not everyone “gets” Armani Prive, and this is quintessential Armani Prive; as is typical, response has been polarized, but I love it. It’s like a dark, sparkly rainbow. 

Category: The Candy Striper Award

Zoe Kazan

  Formerly known as the “Sad Candy Cane” award, but I’m striving to be more positive. The dress is by Miu Miu, and it kind of hurts my eyes. I mean that in the literal sense; it’s not an ugly dress, but the pattern combined with the bitsy knife-pleating would give me a headache if I had to look at it for too long. 

Category:  Little Miss Sunshine 

Heidi Klum

  A lot of people didn’t know what to make of Heidi’s canary yellow Atelier Versace either. I like the color on her, but it looks like it’s trying to be three different dresses at once, so I cannot truly love it because it cannot make up its mind. 

Category: Gothic Glam

Taryn Manning

  Taryn is our blonde Morticia of the evening in this Rubin Singer design. 

Category: Polka Dot Princess 

Teyonah Parris

  Teyonah’s incredible black-and-white ball gown is the very first appearance of a Francesca Miranda design on the red carpet, and it is pure awesome. 

Category: So Structure, Much Wow

Yael Stone 

  I’ve not been able to turn up the designer of Yael’s lovely pale pink sculptural confection, but I love it; it looks a bit Zac Posenish to me, but I could be wrong, and feel free to correct me if I am. 

Category: Colour Me Peach & Black

Porsha Williams

  So many great dresses tonight that don’t seem to have designers. Cmon now ladies, rep your makers!  Anyway, I adore this hi-lo dress regardless of who created it. 

Category: The Gold Medal

Liz Hernandez 

  This Georges Chakra silky metallic gown has a crisscross bodice detail that lends it a princessy vibe. 24 karat love. 

Category: Red Royalty 

Laura Prepon

  There were a number of cool red gowns on display tonight, but this Christian Siriano is the most visually striking. There’s been some inexplicable hate for this dress, and I don’t get it. I love the faux bolero bodice and the gold detailing ups the oomph. 

Category: Pink Lace and Promises

Retta

  Retta’s ombré pink Jaime Elyse confection is almost over the top, but in a good way, like a cupcake with lots of gorgeous yummy frosting.  Oh, and sprinkles. 

Mega-Category:  PANTS

There were a lot of pants on the carpet, and not just on the dudes. Many, MANY ladies opted out of the evening gown game, among them:

Tatiana Maslany

  In Bouchra Jarrar Couture. Yaaaaaas. 

Kiernan Shipka

  In Dior. Aw, Hells no. 

January Jones

  In Ulyana Sergeenko, and trying too hard, as usual; she appears to be illustrating a stage in the process of Ariel’s tail becoming legs. 

Sophie Turner

  In Galvan; an ah-mazing blue-violet bustier and long pants, perfectly accessorized and hella fierce. 

Jane Lynch

  In Escada, also beautifully accessorized and super-classy. 

Jill Soloway

  In Bottega Veneta polka dots, which would have been cute sans the clown shoes that ruin everything. 

Category: The Prom Queen

Carice van Houten

  I actually quite like this pink tea-length Dior, proving I am not just anti-Dior, but unfortunately I’m not that into it on Carice. It’s a little too frou-frou, too senior prom, to work for her. 

Category:  The Material Girl

Jane Krakowski

  This Bibhu Mohapatra dress channels a famous look worn by Madonna back in the day (which in turn channeled a famous look worn by Marilyn farther back in the day). But see what I did there?  This dress also utilizes yards upon yards of fabric. Material. Heheh. Okay, that was bad. Moving on. 

Category:  The Little Mermaid that Could

Kristin dos Santos

  Another great dress whose designer remains unknown, this gorgeous mermaid gown is just perfect. 

 Category: A Cute Angle

Ellie Kemper

  In this shimmery geometric Naeem Khan, Ellie continues her pattern of always being on point on the carpet… Okay, I’ll just stop now. 

Category:  The Silver Medal

Kerry Washington

  Kerry is one of our most reliable red carpet faves, and her style here is no less than we have come to expect. Her Marc Jacobs calf-length dress looks like really glam chain mail and rocks the world. 

Mega-Category: FLORALS!!

Another trend among Emmygoers was a veritable rose garden of flowery frocks. Some of the red carpet flower children included:

Laura Carmichael

  In Erdem, fresh and fun. Love it!

Amy Landecker

  In a sculptural Marchesa that has serious Midsummer Night’s Dream vibes. 

Laila Robins

  Unknown designer, a bold take on the trend as a monochromatic ball gown. 

Chelsea Peretti

  In Gabriela Cadena, a Sakura print masterpiece. 

Anna Chlumsky

  In Bibhu Mohapatra, a connect-the-rosettes look I’m not that crazy over. 

Judith Light

  In Zac Posen. I’m not feeling That Seventies Dress, either. 

Edie Falco

  In Prada.  More Sakura blossoms, on a demure pleated frock of cuteness. 

Kathryn Hahn

  I’m almost in love with this Vivienne Westwood dress that everyone else hates. I think it’s cool, and I offer no apologies. 

Category: The Bronze Medal

Christina Hendricks

  This Naeem Khan gown is the perfect compliment to Christina’s dangerous curves, and she and her hubby are such a cute couple!

Category: Tangerine Dream

Melora Hardin

  Not sure who designed this dress (this happens too often). My guess is Calvin Klein. I love the color. The cape makes me quizzical, but overall I like this. 

Category:  Off the Chain

Claire Danes and Taraji P Henson

  
  Claire’s glittery Prada looks purple but is actually solid red covered in rows of blue sequins, and has chain strap detailing. 

  So does Taraji’s sheer-skirted Alexander Wang. Who do you think wore the look best?
Category: Old Hollywood Glam

Lady Gaga

  This Brandon Maxwell dress is so old-school perfection. Some structural hip detailing keeps it visually interesting; I nearly gave it best-dressed honors. 

Category: The Blue Ribbon

Christine Marzano and Kristen Schaal

  I am worshiping at the feet of Labourjoisie for creating Christine’s sparkly, stained-glass-effect electric blue mermaid dress. 

  Kristen’s midnight-blue Rubin Singer ball gown is a wonder to behold, like the night sky come to magnificent life. 
Category: The Arm Candy Award

Sofia Vergara

  Sofia’s St. John trumpet gown is literally the same thing she nearly always wears. But her fiancée Joe Manganiello?  Rowr. 

Category: Not-So-Basic Black

Julianne Hough and Amy Poehler

  Julianne is wearing an intricate Marchesa and a Cinderella headband. This is one cool dress. 

  But so is Amy’s Michael Kors. And a shout-out to my favorite jewelry of the night in the form of those Neil Lane bangles. 
Category: The Effortless Award

Joanne Froggatt

  Joanne is an English rose in this J Mendel gown, the very picture of easy, carefree glam. 

Category: The Dazzle Award 

Tracey Edmonds

  This Kayat beaded sheath is just so much incredible wow. She doesn’t even need accessories she’s so perfect. 

Category: The Fairy Princess Award

Gina Rodriguez

  Gina is ethereal in her Lorena Sarbu confection, in the palest sugar-pink of a little girl’s ballet dream.  

Category: Of Corset Is!!

Tracee Ellis Ross

  This Zac Posen number looks like Scarlett O’Hara’s underwear, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m actually really into it, and Tracee makes it work. 

Category:  Wine Not?

Sarah Hyland

  Also rocking Zac Posen, Sarah looks absolutely lovely. Most of her Modern Family costars looked a little phoned in (ahem, Ariel, Sofia, Julie) and I dismissed this dress at first glance as well, but it’s grown on me. I love the draped shoulders and princess seams. It’s way flattering. 

Category:  Worst Dressed

Naomi Grossman

  This whole sheer-stripey thing is so three years ago, and it didn’t work then, either.  I don’t know whether to be upset with designer Jun Escario or Naomi’s stylists. 

Category: Best Dressed

Lena Headey

  This is just… Wow. There aren’t even words. You go, Cersei. This Zuhair Murad just blows me away. A true triumph. 

Special Category: The Fluffy Award

THREE-WAY TIE!!!

Sandra Lee, Emily Robinson, and Danielle Brooks

It’s really rare that I can’t make a decision for this most important category. To refresh, the Extra-Special Fluffy Award is reserved for the dress I’d have chosen for myself– the best representation of my personal style. But I would have needed a stylist’s guidance to actually choose among these three. 

  Sandra, in her first red carpet appearance since beating breast cancer, is wearing a vintage 1970s Thierry Mugler pink ball gown that is so me I can’t even. 
  Emily’s Kayat gown has a mod feel I’m really liking. It’s super cute and I love the color combo. 
  Danielle is wearing a festive Christian Siriano in the shades of a chic macaw. And it swirls when she twirls. Love, want, need!
So there we have it.  Feel free to chime in with your opinions, and see you next time. (Hopefully it won’t be as long!)