"Fashion fades, only style remains the same." Coco Chanel

Kate Spade

Kate Spade

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Leonardo DiCaprio; Jonah Hill, Mathew McConaughy, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin - 5 Stars



"There's a sucker born every minute" 

credited to P. T. Barnum (1810-1891)



The Wolf of Wall Street is a 3 hour affair that is hands down magnetic, hilarious, disgusting, and breathtaking all at once with an off the charts acting feat from Leonardo Decaprio (Best Actor in a Comedy - Golden Globe Award) as (Jordan Belfort). This Scoreses film is the 5th collaboration between Decaprio and Scoreses.  The Wolf of Wall Street is by far the best film to date from this clever duo. Based upon the true story of Jordan Belfort, a fresh face young 22 year old stockbroker on Wall Street, loses his job in the 1987 market crash and ends up in a boiler room selling worthless penny stocks hand over fist in the 1990's with a crew of misfits.   These misfits are recruited, along with his right hand man Jonah Hill (Donny Azoff) to create a fake company named Stratton Oakmont selling penny stocks and duping the clients.  Belfort teaches the cast of characters the art of selling.   Belfort becomes extraordinarily wealthy, making millions and millions of dollars, a completely crooked stock fraud zillionaire living the high life amongst a bed of drugs, hookers and blow along with his cronies.


Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street







One of the bests scenes that is absolutely hilarious is when big time stock broker Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) and Belfort go out to lunch.   This is prior to becoming a crooked marked man and before losing his job.  McConaughey imparts wise wisdom with a humming scene that is brilliant.  I was doubled over in laughter and in another scene Hill with his big eyes and preppy clothes just had me on the floor.  Of course, there are so many laughter infused scenes, with helicopters, crawling to a car etc., which hooks a moviegoer just like the Quaaludes Belfort took by the handful.  The rush for more and a desire to not have the movie end is paramount.  Like a drug addict the audience is on an all time high.  The movie is not a comedy and instead a dark expose about how money can become for some - a drug leading to corruption, over consumption of material goods, infused with psychedelic pills, creating a God complex that ultimately impairs and causes circus pandemonium.  Other notable actors in the film are Rob Reiner as Belfort's  much needed anger management dad and Jean Dujardin as an arrogant Swiss banker. 



Of course, Belfort is married not once but twice in the film though hookers are everywhere. The film is laden with graphic nudity, sadistic sex and revolting drug scenes.   Definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart but then Gangs of New York (2002), Goodfellas (1990), The Departed (2006), also had a fair share of perverse violence, blood, gore and vile language.



Kyle Chandler, FBI Agent Patrick Denham, is after Belfort throughout the film.  Belfort ends up in prison for only 4 years, playing tennis everyday, his cellmate is Tommy Chong from Cheech and Chong and today lives in California promoting his selling techniques.  Perhaps the most poignant scene is at the end of the film.   Scorsese nails it by depicting the life of Denham versus Belfort's after all is said and done.  The scene creates a sense of conflicting emotions.   Yes, Belfort is a crook but his people loved him and the misfits profited by him - wrongly.  Yes, he was a thief but he continues on living a similar now legal and profitable life versus his previous life and though now drug free for the last sixteen years whereas Denham's life remains the same. Yes, many in our society pine for the mega millions thinking life would be all that grand. Yes, man continues to struggle between the dark and the light, good versus bad, right versus wrong and in the end which path does man follow?   Ah...the human condition.... Scorsese finest achievement for highlighting the perverseness of corrupt behavior around the all mighty dollar but not condoning it after all this is just a movie where one man fell down the rat hole and became a rat.

One thing is for sure - this was DiCaprio's moment!  The movie is one to be seen over and over again.  Yes, it is that mind glowingly fantastic.

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

 

The Wolf of Wall Street - Trailer



 




American Hustle (2013): Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams - 4 Stars




 

"People see only what they want to see." 

"Hear only what they want to hear."

Iriving Rosenfeld - American Hustle (2013)



American Hustle
is set in the Spring of 1978 in New Jersey.   This hilarious, uproarious and riveting fictional tale is based on some facts and centers around the real and magnetic small time con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) with a comb over that trumps Donald Trump along with his cohort in crime the wickedly sexy and British - The Lady Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams - Best Actress in a Comedy - Golden Globe Award).  Rosenfeld owns several dry cleaners with additional lucrative and illegal behind the scenes opportunities.  These two flim flam artists (think of the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz (1939) prior to being in Oz) sell anything and everything to the gullible and to those believing in "get rich schemes".   "Give me $5K and you will make $50K" is repeated over and over.   People believe it, fall for it with Rosenfeld and Prosser profiting all the way to the bank. Then along comes a spider, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) with the early 80's permed hair, falling for the "give me cash and you will profit", only for the game to twist and reveal that DiMaso is FBI.  Herein, begins the story about the real con game in the late 1970's and early 1980's, known as Abscam, when FBI agents posed as Arab Sheiks to corral corrupt Congressman. 



Let the high stakes con games commence only at an entirely different level where Mafia and superior forces are the name of the game and win, die or go to prison are the only outcomes.   DiMaso pushes these two or rather gives them no other option to participate in this sting.  Enters Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) mayor of New Jersey portrayed as wanting to help "the people" only with his hand conveniently out under the table.  Additionally, Rosenfeld, though madly in love with Prosser, is actually married to the crazed passive and aggressive wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who is spellbinding in her role.   She is utterly stupendous as the scorned and ruthless wife with no mercy.  The manipulative woman who warps every word to her advantage.

The ensemble is brilliantly marinated with Bale, Cooper, Renner, Adams and Lawrence, the storyline set and the magic, cunning and a wicked ride sets sail.  The costumes are straight from Saturday Night Fever (1977), with big hair, low cut dresses, wild disco scenes and parties with memorable songs all culminating in maddening chaos.  Bale is absolutely mesmerizing with an astonishing 40lb pot belly, glued on hair, who is believable and likeable.  One can't help but have empathy for him even though the character is flawed and a small time petty huckster.   Cooper is an overly zealous FBI agent with a raging temper on a mission.  Renner is a show piece with Elvis hair and fake persona.   Adams gives a stellar performance as she plays Rosenfeld and DiMaso with her womanly ways, while Lawrence is opportunistic and vibrantly insane.

 

American Hustle, is hilarious, raunchy, witty, intelligently written and completely and utterly tangled.  The audience is kept in suspense from start to finish.  And, delightfully entertained throughout every frame.

Similar to scene in The Wizard of Oz (1939)...when Dorothy is beseeching the great Oz who is conveniently hidden behind the curtain bestowing the Lion his gift of courage, the Tin Man a heart and Dorothy wanting to be go home.....All three believe in the magical voice behind the projected face on a screen....until they find out he is just a man and not a mighty wizard.

"People see only what they want to see." 

"Hear only what they want to hear."

This quote rings a bell in a mad cap world where everyone seems to be looking for the golden ticket or an easy path from rages to riches.  And, in this ingenious fictional though half truth saga in 1978 instead of the world being black and white there are many many shades of grey and perhaps the ultimate con is played out in the American Hustle! 

Directed by David O'Russell  - Silver Linings Playbook (2012); The Fighter (2010)



American Hustle - Trailer






The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellan - *** 1/2

 


 
 
 
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug picks up where The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey left off.  It is the second in The Hobbit trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien and is an edge of your seat three hour seat adventure from start to finish.   Once again, the story follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellan) along with the thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), future King, on a quest to retake the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from Smaug.  Smaug is the fiery and vile dragon residing inside Erebor's Lonely Mountain under a pile of shimmering golden treasure.  Thorin desires the Arkenstone, lost treasure, and Gandalf decides that Bilbo would make the perfect burglar to recover the jewel, which leads the traveling good guy group on a mission to enter Erebor's Lonely Mountain find the stone and reclaim the Dwarves land from Smaug.  

 
 
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fans will appreciate this release.  Peter Jackson has done it again by creating a visually stunning and action packed masterpiece with a formidable cast and well written story infused script.  Desolation is vastly more enjoyable and entertaining than Unexpected.   Additionally, Orlando Bloom returns as Prince Legolas, and Evangeline Lilly plays Captain of the Guard, Tauriel, which is a new character to the saga.  The Orcs hunting down the Dwarves are the bad guys and the Wood-Elves, Bloom and Lilly are in-between the good and the bad.  And, of course, Bilbo has The Ring, which makes him invisible at times when wearing the tainted jewel.  This scene between Gandalf and Bilbo sets the tone for the entire film:

  • Gandalf:  "What did you find?"
  • Bilbo hesitates and thinks about telling Gandalf - changes his mind and says, "My courage"
  • Gandalf says with fervor and knowing this isn't true "Good, You will Need it!"

And, need it he does!  Between the starving huge black and terrifying spiders flying all over the screen, the barrel ride down the falls with arrows flinging, the ghoulish Orcs and the finale of the psycho and violent dragon, Smaug, (Benedict Cumberbatch) with a Jeremy Iron's voice movie goers will be kept on their heels for the entire ride.  Afterwards, applause filled the audience and this movie fan was ready for more.  The last installment will be released sometime next year and will be eagerly anticipated.  One thing is for sure - good always prevails.  Relish this energetic and heart racing epic tale.
 
Note:  The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey grossed over $1BThe Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug is on the same track.  It is firmly clear that movie fanatics desire a good story which is visually believable with superior acting and chemistry.  With the end goal of being entertained rather than hearing a sermon.   In 2013, Hollywood is  finally getting the message.



The Hobbit:  The Unexpected Journey - Trailer



 

The Hunger Games - Catching Fire (2013): Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson - **1/2


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire begins with Katness Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence, returning home with Peeta Mellark, Josh Hutcherson, fellow tribute, after the 74th Hunger Games.  Only to be summoned to participate in a Victory Tour to keep the people in check and by providing the Districts with hope.  Both do not want to participate in the tour nor have anything to do with one another.  President Snow, heavy handily, forces these two to present themselves as lovebirds on the tour creating a love affair for the masses to reflect upon.  On the tour, both sense a foreboding of rebellion simmering in the District of Panem.  President Snow, Donald Sutherland, along with Plutarch Heavensbee, Philip Seymour Hoffman ruthlessly mastermind the 75th Annual Hunger Games in which  all the previous coupled winners will compete against each other.   Thus, engaging the masses on the upcoming games versus focusing on their gloomy lives in the districts. 



Effie Trinket - Butterfly Obsession
Catching Fire is a pure fantastical science fiction entertainment with a Twilightesq vibe that sets the stage for the second film installment of The Hunger Games.  The words Hunger Games aptly fits the visual effects of the 13 districts with a visual juxtaposition of The Capital where the people are rich, overly dressed in vibrant hues and trussed up in abundance.  The people of the Capital thrive on the Hunger Games thrill, similar to the Romans reveling in the Coliseum games during the Roman Empire.  Effie Trinkit, Elizabeth Banks and Caesar Flickerman, Stanley Tucci, are over the top in eccentric attire Sutherland, Hoffman, Hemsworth and Harrelson's characters are also quite enchanting in a twisted light creating a sensation on screen. Banks eyelashes with butterflies are wickedly fun. 


A perfectly fine action packed film, witty dialogue that is meant to delight those that have read The Hunger Games trilogy and those who have not. The film is dark, thrilling and plays upon themes of good, evil and the strength of the human condition when everything goes array.  In other words, the masses can be kept in their corner for only so long struggling to survive before an uprising occurs.  Not Oscar bound or the best movie of the year.  However, for theatre going fans - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire fits the bill.


 The Hunger Games - Catching Fire - Trailer

 
 






Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!



Wishing you and your loved ones a
Forever Chic Style festive filled holiday and fashion forward New Year!!
 
Thanks for your support in 2013.    Looking forward to inspiring readers in the glorious 
New Year - 2014!
 
Kim Hardwick
Forever Chic Style




The New Rebellion - Dress Up & Demonstrate Grace







The Tree of Life (2011)

 

"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow."

 

The New Rebellion - Dress Up

& Follow the Path of Nature or Grace?  Ah, there is the question?

 
 
Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge

The holiday season is filled with festivities ranging from parties, dinners and shopping with family and friends.   Amongst the harried activities, a rise in dress code, manners and etiquette are in full swing.    Consequently named, The New Rebellion, where Hollywood old time glamour is making a heady comeback.  The Wall Street Journal, November 30th, 2013 Dress Code: 100% Glamour reported a resurgence of elegant apparel for dinner parties in New York with cocktail dresses, stilettos, red lipstick, tuxes and suits signaling a change in times. The young and old are stepping out in high fashion.  The days of just denim, tennis shoes and Holiday sweaters are being thrown out the door.  It is no longer a status symbol to look disheveled or sloppy without thought or care in appearance.  Of course, fashion trends begin in Europe and slowly travel across the United States.  Perhaps, Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge has played a strong role in inspiring women to dress with style for important functions or in daily life.  She is never seen in disarray or in clothing inappropriate for her designated role.  Along with impeccable fashion, hair and makeup - what else is making a comeback?  Why manners and etiquette!   Today every move, thought and action is being recorded in social media and beyond. So, spread words wisely both written and verbal which leads to another hot topic at hand -  does one live by Nature or live by Grace?

NATURE versus GRACE

NATURE:  Nature by definition is strong, conflictual, hard-edged, violent and competitive with the main focus on self.  Nature's always has self as the goal, while working overtime for ones own advantage.  Nature thinks about how to profit personally from other people and to appear superior in the process.  Nature speaks bluntly, is intolerant of differing views, whines and will play the victim role for self gain.  Nature is the road to selfishness and self obsession.

GRACE: Grace by definition is the skills required for behaving in a polite way in social situations.  Grace is the opposite of Nature in all aspects.  Grace requires the ability to listen, to be introspective, to think before speaking and not to expect agreement with every thought. Grace is not envious, jealous or angry.  Grace is accepting of self and of peers while giving back with a smile and actions.  Grace is gentle, loving and forgiving.  Grace desires to respect, to show respect, honor thy fellow man, to be kind and think of others before self.  Upon reflection of successful businesses and people or professional sports teams - what is the key?   The winning characteristic is cooperation between team members rather than competing to outshine or overshadow.  Instead, they value one another, value others gifts and value respect.  After all, if everyone were the same it would be an incredibly drab and gray world. Again, a hallmark of the term Grace.

So the question for 2014 - is does one follow the path of Nature or Grace in The New Rebellion?  Forever Chic Style fashion savants always choose Grace while dressing with aplomb for an unforgettable moment.  As one ponders this pertinent question - exactly what is Forever Chic Style during the holiday festivities of 2013 and beyond for the New Year - 2014?

Top 10 Forever Chic Style "Grace"

Holiday 2013 & New Year 2014



1.   Step Out in Forever Chic Style - Dress for Parties:  It is important to show respect by taking a moment and dressing for any social gathering during the holidays.  When meeting friends for cocktails or dinner select black pants and a gorgeous festive blouse or a skirt and finish with twinkling jewelry for a fine finish. A leather black skirt with a leopard print cashmere sweater and pumps or boots is exceptional for a girlfriend outing.  Remember if going to some one's home, the hostess is making an extra effort from cleaning the house, preparing food, developing an inviting atmosphere, setting the tone and dressing for the event. Even a pair of dark jeans with pumps and a pretty top makes a signature entrance.  The more one takes time to make a statement, the more respect and honor one shows the hostess and others present at a get together.  Be festive, ooze confidence and excitement for the holidays.


Simple Elegance

2.   THE All Important RSVP:  RSVP within a day or two of an invitation or by the date specified on the invitation.  The hostess needs to know the head count prior to the event.  Many weigh all options available and then respond at the last minute.   In 2014, try to be courteous and thoughtful when responding to an invite.  Reply via email, text or phone call.  All are courteous in today's social media arena.

3.   Food Issues:  In a time where food issues are rampant and causing concern one must be reminded of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind southern rules.




Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1936)  - "Oh Fiddle Dee Dee" 


Scarlett O'Hara Southern Rules:
  • The Important EpiPen:  Inform a hostess of a food issues that requires a EpiPen.  A hostess must know if one is allergic to shell fish, nuts etc.  

  • Overeating in Public: What did O'Hara do when it came to eating at a soiree?  Well, in the story, O'Hara ate a full meal at home prior to a party. The reason why was because she did not want to appear gluttonous at an event. It was frowned upon and today remains factual.  Do not pile a plate high with food.  

  • Dairy & Gluten Intolerance's:  Common food issues such as gluten and dairy etc. are everywhere in this great land.  Be courtesy to a hostess and let them know upfront what one can eat and cannot eat.   Hostesses will accommodate and understand. 

  • Bring Additional Food to In Home Parties:  If one wants to bring extra food - ask the hostess.  If one is requested to bring food -  make sure the dish is assembled and cooked prior to arriving at the party.  One can easily warm up in the microwave.

  • Be the Hostess with the Mostest:  Every hostess today needs to have food on hand that is gluten and dairy free.  Wise choices include lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts etc.  Have baked potatoes, meat made with oil and think of what your guests would prefer.   There are many choices at the local market.  Fill up and set out for guests.

  • Do Not Announce In Public:  Do not make a spectacle of self by announcing at the party, dinner or get together that one does not eat this or that.  It is boorish and spreads an uncomfortable atmosphere for everyone.   

In other words, follow Grace and eat what one can without telling others about ones food issues in a public venue or at family and friends homes.  Be upfront prior to attending an event or outing.  In the New Rebellion it is seen as distasteful if verbalized in front of everyone.  In fact, at a recent outing my brother, aptly told my other brother, to keep his mouth shut since he wasn't paying.  This was following Grace.  


4.   The Holly Jolly Hostess Gift:  Always bring something for the hostess along with a bottle of wine.   Cherished ideas include hand lotion, candles or an ornament.  When attending immediate family events a special gift is not necessary.  If heading over to a mother in law's, then a little gift will warm the heart.


Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Hand Cream - Nordstrom - $15


5.   Scintillating Social Conversation - Read, Movies & Travel:   Pick up a book, or a classic tale that will parlay into something interesting at social gatherings.  Books are filled with ideas, history, incredible dramatic stories and lifetime achievements.   Put down the remote focused on reality or empty television and start reading.   See the latest movie slated for the Oscars and delight the crowd. HBO, AMC and SHO have interesting shows to discuss.  Or tell tales of a summer trip across the country. There are lots of spectacular jaunts to chat about here and abroad.   Do not flaunt or gloat about over the top expensive vacations or embark on discussions about your spectacular second home or what street one lives on.  It is crass, arrogant and sallow behavior.  Finally, the wealthiest person in the room maybe the one who says nothing about where they live, travel or what they own. They live by Grace.  Seriously, nobody cares about ones personal possessions.  Furthermore, be careful to not blabber on about a profession or children. Be a woman of substance and style and not a woman trying to keep up and competing with "The Jones" on all fronts.





Katy Perry
 
6.   Topics Not for Public Consumption:  Refrain from politics and religion at social functions.   Of course, if all believe the same way then one can bring up pertinent issue.  Remember - no heated discussions or shout outs.  Follow Grace and be tolerant versus intolerant.  Be open to others opinions.  If someone adamantly dithers on about a subject - state the following:  "Send me the link, I will look at it later."  Or "Interesting thought.  I sure do love the pumpkin pie.  Did you bring it?"   Do not engage instead change the subject.  Grace, Grace and more Grace.

7.   Be an Avid Listener:  "Interested is interesting!"  Repeat - "Interested is interesting!"  The art of communication is to listen, paraphrase and answer back.  Powerful communicators have the gift of actively listening and responding. These dynamo's rarely talk about themselves and instead are gifted in listening to other persons stories. Refrain from endlessly talking about self.  Those with strong communication skills will listen to Chatty Cathy's but will move on.  Let everyone have a turn at talking.  The avid listeners are sensitive to body language and can read a room accurately by observing and then remarking.   Follow Grace and be aware that others are in the room that one is not on center stage or alone at a function.




8.   Over Imbibing:  Be careful with alcohol consumption.  It is easy to drink too much at a holiday party.  Always have one drink or a glass of wine with food and water. Remember, silly things happen when drinking too much.   If driving, one needs to consider a taxi or not drinking at all.  Furthermore, during the holidays, do not be out driving after 10:00 p.m.  If one is sober, others may not be after the witching hour on the roads.  Again, follow the world of Grace.  How does one want to be remembered?  As a raging drinker or the graceful lady that charmed the room with warmth, smiles and witty repertoire?   At a function, recently, a friend, mentioned an acquaintance and stated is this person still a heavy drinker?  One does not want to be remembered in this fashion.



9.   Don't Overstay Welcome:  If there is an ending time on the party, be sure to adhere to the time frame.  When everyone is departing, do the same.   Respect the boundaries.

10.  Thank You Notes:  After the event, send a thank you note via email, text or the mail. This last step is important.  A hostess enjoys hearing from the guests.   Again, it is a matter of respect.

Hopefully, these Forever Chic Style "Grace" top 10 will provide inspiration to The New Rebellion with Grace while wisely showing appreciation for a glamorous dress code.   Does this Forever Chic Style maven always follow these top 10 to the tee?  Absolutely not -  people are flawed and not perfect!!!  The ultimate goal in life is to strive to be different, to be aware of others, to continue learning and to follow the laws of Grace, while spreading goodwill towards our fellow man.  Along the way, spice up the day or night with polished apparel, beauty and intelligence from within.   More importantly, in this holiday season and in 2014 have a special and memorable time by embracing the differences of friends, family and acquaintances, while on the road of life.  

 

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”  

---Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas
& Happy New Year
 
Kim Hardwick
Forever Chic Style