Advertisements
Tag Archives: Matthew Rhys

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

29 Sep

For all the ’70s inspired looks—of which there are still are many—the decade that follows is inching its way back in the style stakes. I am less thrilled about this turn of events because the ’80s feels a little overplayed, but that doesn’t mean I am completely immune.

September is almost at an end, but there is still A LOT going on including galas, premieres and other various events. This week there is also dominated by pattern, which I am so here for. Speaking of which, here is my interview with costume designer Lorraine Calvert talking all things 1970s menswear and Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Garish patterns are my fave.  Lupita Nyong’o gives great red carpet no matter the style code and at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park she looks cool af in Gucci pink metallic bomber jacket, loafers and super round sunglasses. Also working the tee of the event to great effect. Vampire’s Wife is a brand that continues to deliver on the romantic infused ruffled delights and now January Jones is getting in on the action. This mini metallic floral number is one of the reasons I’m thinking a ’80s revival isn’t so bad. Also, Last Man on Earth is back on Sunday (October 1) and I cannot wait. Airbnb is getting into the tour business and for the ultimate SATC experience they’ve enlisted Carrie Bradshaw herself, for this one-off event. It is of course sold out (there were only four spaces) and at the launch, SJP gives the best in fall fashion in a floral frock and contrasting belt. Sparkly pumps are always a winner too.

And while I am on the topic of perfect floral frocks for fall; here is Yvette Nicole Brown looking fabulous at a screening of The Mayor, in a dress from Anthropologie that is the most autumn of color palettes. Anna Chlumsky is doing some wonderful things on a wonderful season of Halt and Catch Fire and at the Metropolitan Opera Opening Night she looks incredible in Christian Siriano. The peplum structure and window pane detail makes this a standout frock and the orange tone lipstick and nails are the perfect boost of color.From the opera to the ballet and Keri Russell in a look that is very Americans era appropriate and while Philip and Elizabeth don’t get to go undercover at fancy events, if they did then it would look a bit like this. But with more wigs. This is another frilled number from Johanna Ortiz and I was surprised that she didn’t wear this designer to the Emmys.More from the ballet and Michelle Monaghan ups the drama levels in a colorful and floaty Prabal Gurung dress.

 

Maggie Gyllenhall is up there with Tracee Ellis Ross and Elisabeth Moss for the best Instagram BTS shots of outfits she has been wearing and this red dress by Ryan Roche is a stunner. Also, I finally started watching The Deuce and Maggie does not disappoint. Also here is an interesting piece about why this show is getting it right. The thread that has given me the most joy on Twitter over the last few months is Fiona’s deep dive into the style similarities between Cate Blanchett and Harry Styles. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving and we haven’t even had the Thor promo tour yet.

Harry has of course been wearing some A+ suits this year and there isn’t a pattern he isn’t afraid to wear. Case in point; this very jester like Gucci (of course) ensemble at the iHeartRadio Music Festival is perfect for a performance and nod to the New Romantics.

Advertisements

Best of the Emmys 2017 Style: Awards, Couples and More

18 Sep

Another year, another Emmys and there was not a whole lot to be mad about when it comes to the winners. The same cannot be said for one particular part of the opening.

But, I am here to talk red carpet and for the first post I’m going in reverse with some outfits getting an extra special boost by some hardware, a few moments from the show, feathers, some of our fave couples and some classic black ensembles.

For the best in sparkles and more bold color, head here. No award or speech made me happier than Lena Waithe winning for writing with Aziz Ansari for the Master of None Thanksgiving episode. She is the first black woman to win for writing in a comedy category and in the speech she thanked her LGBTQIA family:

“I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different – those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it. And for everybody out there that showed us so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago.”

Waithe always gives great ladysuit and this custom Alba is incredible. In other Emmy firsts; Donald Glover is the first black person to win in the comedy directing category. And Ira Madison III has written about why we should we way beyond these diversity milestones in 2017. He also deservedly won in the acting category for Atlanta and was also the best dressed guy of the night in purple Gucci.

Oh and he also gave the best “we’re pregnant” announcement while accepting his second award of the night.

We here

A post shared by Riz Ahmed (@rizahmed) on

This is also a very special and also super swoony photo. Sterling K. Brown won for Best Actor in a drama and he was giving a great speech until he got cut off. Luckily he got to continue backstage and finish what he started. Looking super suave while doing so. The Handmaid’s Tale was one of the big winners of the night scoring actress, supporting and guest star (which Alexis Bledel won last week). They all look lovely and Elisabeth Moss’ Prabal Gurung has the all important pocket factor.

Ann Dowd gave one of the loveliest speeches and I am also feeling a lot of things thanks to this Justin Theroux’s Instagram post. Yes I am pretending she also won this for The Leftovers.Three Queens getting their rightful standing O.Sparkly tuxedo delights for Rachel Bloom as she performed and she really needs to host this thing.On the red carpet Rachel Bloom wore Gucci and mentioned that she bought it herself. Again, it is very dumb that a lot of designers don’t cater for actresses who are not a sample size. Bloom looks great and she mentioned that she can afford it. And yet it is still a frustrating part of this whole awards circus.There were a lot of feathers this year and while some were sadly a big miss, everything about Zoë Kravitz in Dior is divine. From every single angle of this dress is different and amazing.

And such a great night for Big Little Lies.Keri Russell gives great witchy vibes in ostrich feathered J. Mendel—I do prefer her red J. Mendel look from the previous night—and alas, it was another awardless Emmys for The Americans.

But at least Russell and Matthew Rhys have each other so they have already won, really. Next year. Otherwise that gif from the pilot is getting used again. Tiers of black and white tulle for Mandy Moore in Carolina Herrera and this is where a bold pink lipstick really works wonders.Judith Light, always.They were an Emmy couple fave last year and while Orphan Black missed the nomination window, last year’s winner Tatiana Maslany was on hand to present this year and I love everything about her very classic Reem Acra gown. The blue GLAAD ampersand pin is available here.

Emmys Round 2

A post shared by Tat Maslany (@tatianamaslany) on

Maslany and Tom Cullen also gave great pre-Emmys and a nod to last year.

Best of the Pre 2017 Emmy Awards Parties 

17 Sep

Happy Emmy Awards Day! Tonight is the big event, but first there are a lot of pre parties with FX, BAFTA and Variety among those celebrating the nominees.

This has been a very busy couple of weeks for red carpet style and come back tomorrow morning when we will be showcasing the best looks from the Emmy red carpet. The biggest trends so far are bold prints, pants and shimmer.More ruffled J. Mendel delights and Keri Russell’s red frock is giving off some ’70s vibes, which I am of course here for. Matthew Rhys mixes casual in jeans and white sneakers with a blazer and while I don’t think it is going to happen, I would love to see them both win tonight.But if Rhys is going to get beaten by anyone, then I hope it is Sterling K. Brown. And here is Brown with wife Ryan Michelle Bathe looking all kinds of couple goals. Hoping for some A+ Insta material from this pair tonight.IRL bestie of Sterling K. Brown and Atlanta star Bryan Tyree Henry delivers sartorially with some fabulous snake slippers and palm tree print shirt.Lakeith Stanfield in a leather shirt is amazing, but also I would very much like those shoes for myself. FX really is home to some of the most stylish casts, as this party proves.
Dreamy swoony sighs because Stanley Tucci is wearing a three-piece suit. Switching out her very Carrie Bradshaw Delpozo for this dream of print Valentino dress and this might be the most Mad Men thing I’ve seen Kiernan Shipka in—aside from her Sally Draper costumes. Alison Pill goes classic in black and red in a less ’50s version of this Elisabeth Moss ensemble.Holy pattern, Martha! I am in love with everything about this Alison Wright ladysuit take.Tween and teen boys continue to outshine the grown-ups and Stranger Things’ Noah Schnapp in custom Laboratoire is doing just that. Florals and velvet is always going to be a winner. Queen Judith Light crushing it in pants and matching blouse in an outfit that wouldn’t look out of place in the recent (and underrated) Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie.And at the Variety party, Judith Light looks fucking fabulous in a gold ladysuit. Bowing down, forever.More metallic wonders and Viola Davis in sequin and floral Alice + Olivia with a black top is pre-party chic at its best. Tracee Ellis Ross in leopard print and that lipstick is enough to make me ignore the random tassels at the bottom of this Michael Kors Collection dress.

I DON'T DRINK BEER ~ emmy weekend

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on

I love her.

💜~ @preenbythorntonbregazzi

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on

Also, every flame and heart eye emoji ever.This is a great print dress and the only thing I would change about Abbi Jacobson’s look is the boots. Not that there is anything wrong with boots and a dress—it is my go to—but I’d opt for something a little more ankle/less calf length and possibly a darker color. Or my fave green ones.Claire Foy is looking very un-Queen Elizabeth as she turns her attention to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; lipstick and hair are a darker shade and this Gucci is goth whimsy. I always do a double take with Vanessa Kirby because she looks nothing like Margaret IRL—even though I saw her looking a lot like this in The Hour long before The Crown. Going for the opposite approach to her screen sister and the length combined with the bell sleeves gives a strong ’60s vibe.
More from The Crown cast looking very different to how they do on the show and also a whole lot of feelings because I’m still not over Jared Harris’ devastating performance. Also that flash of pink is delightful and this looks like a fun cast to party with. Someone make this rom-com.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

15 Sep

After I talked up last week’s bumper “Out of the Box” this one is slightly longer and all the events, they keep on coming; TIFF, NYFW and the Creative Arts Emmys. We have a fun mix of fancy red carpet, daytime attire and even an airport look.

Plus, The X-Files celebrated its 24th anniversary and I wrote about Dana Scully’s influence on TV work wardrobes for The ObserverYou should know by now how I feel about Tatiana Maslany’s style—strongly positive—and she gives great casual and fancy. At the Stronger TIFF premiere, this J. Mendel is of course the latter and the color/ruffles are fantastic. As is Maslany’s dark lipstick choice.

And as I mentioned on Twitter the other day, I am so excited to see her post-Orphan Black career and that her extraordinary talent will reach a wider audience. Mohair sweaters are a quiet obsession of mine and everything about Elisabeth Moss in Rochas, at a screening for The Square is ’50s inspired perfection.

Another fabulous pick from super stylist Karla Welch and I cannot wait to see what Moss will be wearing at the Emmys on Sunday.

Under HER Eye! Executive Producer / Star of @handmaidsonhulu @elisabethmossofficial #tap

A post shared by Karla Welch (@karlawelchstylist) on

See also this incredible tailored look.

Even if Brie Larson’s directorial debut wasn’t called Unicorn Store, I would applaud her airport ensemble—fluffy whimsical sandals aside—and both Larson and fiancé Alex Greenwald look cool af.

Getting ready for @BravoWWHL Tonight at 11 With the brilliant @justinepurdue and @seijinyc @thevampireswife

A post shared by Maggie Gyllenhaal (@mgyllenhaal) on

The Vampire’s Wife is a brand that has been doing very good things of late and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s silver frock continues this trend. Maggie has been crushing it during this press tour for The Deuce.

Also, Maggie addressed one of the important issues of our time (and you get to see how great the sleeves are in this Watch What Happens Live clip).At the New York mother! premiere before this happened with a T-shirt swap, there was a whole lot of couples coordinating between Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. Also on the highly anticipated Emmy red carpet list.
The prelude to the main event and the Creative Arts Emmys—for costume wins head here—delivered with Niecy Nash looking divine in a figure hugging and puffed sleeve scarlet dream.Also in red and giving me so much life is Angela Bassett in Romona Keveza. I’m sad she didn’t win her guest actress in a comedy category for the amazing Thanksgiving episode of Master of None.Serving up super sexy drama in gold and black Mikael D is Laverne Cox. Currently fantasy casting a movie with Cox and Margot Robbie based on their red carpet looks.I was already enamored by Emily V. Gordon’s style and then I watched The Big Sick and fell further in love—the red brain sweater was based on something Emily wore. This is another great red carpet look in floral Self-Portrait and Kumail Namjiani scrubs up well in a midnight blue tux.Moving on to NYFW and it has been a very busy week/month/year for Elisabeth Moss. And another 50s-adjacent look at Kate Spade New York. A brand I very much enjoy (and can almost afford).Florals continue to dominate and at the Refinery29 29Rooms: Turn It Into Art event, Issa Rae and Gabby Sidibe looks like they are having a blast.

Insecure wrapped up its second season with a very strong finale and it has been another season full of great costuming.Obligatory “I still miss The Carrie Diaries” mention because here is Austin Butler—wearing a Radiohead tee—at Jeremy Scott with girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens. Two mohair sweaters in one week! Skai Jackson pairs hers with a burgundy pleated skirt and this outfit at Libertine is pretty much an ideal fall ensemble. Jackson is only 15 and definitely way cooler than me.The Outlander premiere was an emotional watch for me, but I am very glad to have it back and switching out ’50s Boston maternity style for a very cool and colorful look at Delpozo is Caitriona Balfe. Balfe has been having a very good NYFW.Chunky ankle/calf boots are here to stay it would seem and I am more than fine with this dip back to the ’90s trend as previously seen from Louis Vuitton last year. Michelle Monaghan is at Oscar de la Renta and I love the edged up glam of this look.Obligatory “I still miss Selfie” mention and Karen Gillan’s super cute romper at Self-Portrait looks like something Eliza would wear. Plus, more ankle boots to covet.The Christian Siriano front row looked the most fun and I want to have a boozy lunch with all four of these women. And if Leslie Jones could lend me her cape then that would be a bonus.

I’m looking forward to seeing who will be wearing Siriano on Sunday. I’m all about the Emmys right now.In more great fabulous front row news; Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts in coordinating and yet contrasting florals at Michael Kors. Naomi Watts continues to be an Instagram fave.

We found a dock. WHERE YOU AT DAWSON? #wedontwanttowaitforourlivestobeover

A post shared by Busy Philipps (@busyphilipps) on

It is no secret that I am a long time Michelle and Busy fan and I was very excited when Michelle popped up on Busy’s Insta last week. Even more so when they did a whole Dawson’s Creek thing a couple of days after. Which also included this amazing photo.

 

2017 Emmy Nomination Acting Wish List

12 Jul

It is almost here! Emmy nomination day is tomorrow (Thursday, July 13) and as has become tradition here is a rundown of who I would love to see getting recognized by the Television Academy.

Every year this wish list keeps on growing and of course there are some repeat names featured. Some previous staples are not featured due to missing the window of eligibility including last year’s Best Actress in a Drama winner, Tatiana Maslany. Maslany is crushing this final season of Orphan Black and while it is unlikely, hopefully memories will last that long so she is included next year.

As with the 2016 wish list, I have split this into drama, mini-series and comedy and includes a mix of locks, first timers and outside bets. In this time of Peak TV there is no time to watch everything so if your fave is not included this might be why.

DramaKeri Russell and Matthew Rhys

Kicking off as I have done each of my previous wish lists with Americans leads Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. The big surprise of last year was not having to use the gif for when they didn’t nominated, as voters came on through by finally recognizing the incredible performances Russell and Rhys give on a weekly basis.

Season 5 of The Americans was more introspective as the action turned inward dealing with the toll of spy life and the things Rhys and Russell do with their faces when there is no/minimal dialogue constantly has me in awe. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for this pair of spies and a surprise wedding delivered a much needed romantic respite. Plus it is good to see a wedding with crowns that doesn’t end in murder. Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux (and the rest of The Leftovers cast)

As with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, the things Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux do with their face parts is astounding on every level. This final season of The Leftovers delivered the love story aspect I was hoping for and incredible performances we have come to expect from this exceptional cast. It is why this is the third year I have been hoping to see this show get recognized.

Carrie Coon gif at the ready for if/when it doesn’t.Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley 

Keeping with this theme of the best in face parts acting comes Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley in The Handmaid’s Tale. Both women crush it in their abilities to wear a mask and then revealing the real devastating emotion of the character. They are pretty much the reason why I sobbed my way through the finale.

Bonus shout out to Samira Wiley because season 4 of OITNB is the one that voters can nominate and she should def get one for once again turning me into a chin quiver wreck. Also her smile lights up the screen like no other.Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones 

A lot of TV makes me cry as you can tell from the previous entry, but I’m pretty sure that This is Us wins the prize for episode that made me ugly cry the most. Taking a break from the Pearson family drama to go on a road trip with Randall and his dying father William; “Memphis” showcases the talents of both Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones. Christine Baranski 

After the disappointing end of The Good Wife I wasn’t sure if I wanted more from this world. And then I remembered how much I love Diane Lockhart and how much fun this show could be without the Alicia baggage (looking at you Peter). And it is fun! Christine Baranski steps into the lead position and of course she is as amazing as Diane’s collection of fancy blazers and statement necklacesClaire Foy and Jared Harris

The Crown gives great Royal family dramz and even though Liz has to maintain a sense of decorum, it is very fun seeing throw stuff at husband when he is being terrible (my alt name for this show is Shut Up, Philip). Foy is great at both aspects and I’m throwing in Jared Harris into the nomination wish list hat for his impact in such a small amount of screen time. And yes he made me sob, which is maybe a prerequisite for a lot of this wish list.

Mini-SeriesBig Little Lies Cast – Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz and Reese Witherspoon

Months after and I am still thinking about Big Little Lies and I would love to see these women dominate the mini-series acting categories.

The scene at the top of the stairs in the finale is another great example of communicating with no words and the bonus Audrey Hepburn getup factor adds something to this scene. Also got to give them props for all the delicious gifs they have given us. Reactions for all scenarios.

BTW – I swear I am not basing this list on how much I use a gif from something, but if I did BLL would win every category. Even ones they can’t be nominated in.Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange 

Jessica Lange gets the showier part of the two in Feud and considering a lot of time is dedicated to whether Bette or Joan has the best material; it feels kinda meta talking about these performances in this way. Best dramatic use of a cigarette and sunglasses definitely goes to Susan Sarandon though. Carrie Coon and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Season 3 of Fargo didn’t really come together until the last few episodes, but Carrie Coon had a great standout moment early in the season when she traveled to California as part of the investigation. She really does give fabulous hotel/motel staying.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead got to show off her survival skills once again (see both BrainDead and 10 Cloverfield Lane for more) and if it wasn’t for these two women I would’ve probably quit this season early on.

ComedyPhoebe Waller-Bridge 

One thread running through most of this comedy acting wish list is that the star(s) of the show is also the creator. This adds a personal element to the material, which I guess I am drawn to.

First up Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fleabag, which delivered on smut, laughs, great lipstick and yep, you guessed it, tears. I am nothing if not consistent. Donald Glover and Zazie Beetz

Atlanta is like nothing else on TV right now and one example of this is the relationship between Earn and Van. Exes who go out for dinner – in an episode which showed just how difficult dinner out can be on a budget – sleep over and are raising a daughter together. The spotlight shines on Zazie Beetz in one of the episodes of this very good season; focusing on Van, her career and a drug test mishap. Issa Rae

Like I said, it is a really great year for the multi-hyphenates and Issa Rae’s Insecure is another strong example of this trend. Also giving another different perspective on relationships and the fuck ups we make along the way and Rae shines in the friendship aspects (even when they’re in a fight), career struggles and why a couch is sometimes much more than somewhere to sit and watch TV.Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe 

It might be because I have friends who are in Italy right now so Instagram is awash with great food and architecture pics or that season 2 of Master of None started here, but all I want to do is go to Italy and eat pasta right now.

Season 2 had Aziz Ansari mixing things up including a stellar episode about modern dating and the Thanksgiving spectacular that dealt with Denise’s coming out story based on Lena Waithe’s experiences.

One other standout moment was a scene in “The Dinner Party” that played to the entirety of Marc Almond’s “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” with Dev sitting in the back of the car. It was mesmerizing in ways I didn’t expect. Rachel Bloom

Songs of a different kind and I can’t tell you how often I get “Period Sex” stuck in my head.

Rachel Bloom once again gifts us with so many great tracks including “The Math of Love Triangles,” “So Maternal,” “We Tapped That Ass,” “Remember That We Suffered,” “It Was a Shit Show” and “Friendtopia.” And this season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shattered the love triangle (miss you, Greg), explored love, friendships and took a deeper dive into Rebecca’s past. Lena Dunham and Matthew Rhys 

This season of Girls was definitely the strongest for Lena Dunham from an acting perspective with the scene between Hannah and Adam in the diner as the standout moment. Again everything that had to be said was done with a look and it was subtly moving.

The two-hander with Matthew Rhys was another highlight and the wolfish grin Rhys gives towards the episode after the incident is wonderfully terrifying. It would be great to see Rhys and Carrie Coon getting double nominations.Gina Rodriguez

Yeah I’m gonna talk about crying again and Jane the Virgin has always caused some waterworks on my end. Season 3 took it to new levels and Gina Rodriguez’s reactions to THAT phone call was especially devastating. But the show didn’t wallow in misery and it was good to see Rodriguez getting to play many different things with Jane this season. DeRon Horton 

While “Chapter V” (directed by Barry Jenkins) is the Dear White People episode standout, it is DeRon Horton as Lionel who gives the performance of the season. Lionel is super shy and trying to fit in; both things we have seen many times, but he is also coming to terms with his sexuality (including being attracted to his roommate) and he doesn’t feel like a character we have seen on TV before. This is important and Horton’s gives a nuanced take of a young black gay man. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney 

The messiness of Sharon and Rob’s relationship hits new heights in season 3 as they keep secrets from the other, giving both Horgan and Delaney new levels to play with. Yes this is another series that had me sobbing and laughing. Kleenex should probs sponsor this blog.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

9 Jun

Another busy week for “Out of the Box” featuring summer events, returning shows and Emmy campaigns. The latter already delivering on roundtable discussions bringing joy to my award season loving heart. There was also the CFDA Fashion Awards, which I covered here and June has started well on the fashion front. There was no Americans this week, but Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys did go to the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday and this event always delivers on sunglasses chic and splendid outfits.

Russell goes for another difficult striped Johanna Ortiz once again and once again she pulls it off in effortless style. Pairing it with a crisp white sleeveless shirt is the ideal balance and I’m also applauding the sandals, hat and shades. It is all very cute and seeing this pair outside of their concerned faces on The Americans is always welcome. In more good hat news at the polo is Priyanka Chopra and this whole look feels the most ’90s and I am here for it. Also we all know how happy polka dots make me, so this Altuzarra frock is an instant win.For more on polka dots look no further than Nicole Kidman in Alessandra Rich and this manages to be the most Nicole Kidman and perfect for this summer event.

Missed these dingdongs

A post shared by Tat Maslany (@tatianamaslany) on

Orphan Black returns tomorrow (June 10) for its fifth and final season and let it be known that I am feeling a lot of things about this show ending. This cast is always a joy and also I see you retro Strokes tee. And now I’m also sad that I just referred to 2001 as retro.The Emmy FYC events they keep on coming and I love how different the Master of None cast style choices are. Aziz is giving great blazer game, Lena Waithe is continuing this week’s good hat theme and Angela Bassett is Angela Bassett. Stunning as ever.

Bassett also spoke to The Cut about For Your Sweetheart and also about the excellent Master of None Thanksgiving episode she appeared in:

“It was an important episode in terms of young people who are expressing themselves and their sexuality and their acceptance within family, community, or whatever the case may be. I was proud to be able to be a part of that dialogue and express it through art. [Lena and I] didn’t know each other before, but now I’m her mama. I mean her co-mama. I mean her second-in-line mama. All props to her actual mama, because she is a beautiful young lady. The woman that raised her has got to be stunning in her own right. I’m getting chills now, I love her so. It’s a wonderful friendship that emerged from that.”At the Dear White People Emmy FYC event Antoinette Robertson is looking the most ’90s in the best possible way. Extra points for going blue strappy sandals instead of the usual black.Rami gonna Rami (with a shout out to Ilaria) and he does it so well on the red carpet in the perfect example of smart/casual, wearing Burberry at a Mr Robot Emmy event.

Scott Speedman Was a Disaster of a Boyfriend and Other Important Felicity Things

31 May

Yesterday Keri Russell received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was season 5 finale of The Americans and she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with former co-star and ex-boyfriend Scott Speedman. The two are still pretty tight, along with other Felicity co-star and former onscreen roommate Amanda Foreman aka Meghan and this pretty much ticks so many boxes. Not Meghan’s magical box, but those ones I talk about often on here (see the recent Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants reunion) about former co-stars still hanging out.

The back and forth banter between Russell and Speedman includes the fact that he was a disaster of a boyfriend with no real specifics, which considering how squirmy Speedman gets is probably a good thing for him.

Although he couldn’t have been too bad considering how tight they clearly still are. A Felicity reunion is quickly nixed and even though I’m a huge fan of the show I don’t need to see that unless Twilight Zone homages or time travel is at play.

The infamous haircut comes up (of course) and Russell also reveals that Speedman had no idea what ceremony he was actually attending.

The whole interview with both of them is delightful and earlier in the episode Keri Russell also reveals that she is going to appear on Running Wild with Bear Grylls and that IRL boyfriend (and on-screen husband) Matthew Rhys got an adorable gift for her that included some strong advice from her oldest son.

Rhys was also present at the Walk of Fame ceremony along with Americans co-stars Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich and co-showrunner Joel Fields. Felicity co-creators JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves also spoke at the ceremony.
This might be the first time that I’ve really liked a deconstructed shirt and Keri Russell looks fabulous in this striped Johanna Ortiz number and pairing it with flared Chloe pants works like a charm. The Rag & Bone full suit is great on Matthew Rhys and for the occasion. Expect to see more from The Americans pair with Emmy FYC events in the works.

The Americans 5.13 “The Soviet Division” Review: It’s Us

31 May

There are a couple of threads running through season five of The Americans that culminate in some big decision moments; first the idea of staying together and this applies to partnerships and the family unit as a whole. The other is the impact on the teenage characters of which this show has a number of extending way beyond just Paige and Henry.

In fact both of these threads have been important for some time now and back toward the end of season 3 I wrote about how teen girls rule the world on The Americans (they just don’t know it), but this has now been extended to several boy teens. Boy teens are typically ignored or just sit and wave (oh hey Chris Brody) on prestige dramas so this is going against the norm in making them integral.Let’s start with the scariest boy teen there is and if Elizabeth is trying to make Paige in her own image, well there’s already a spy version who is even more committed to the cause than even she is. Tuan is terrifying because like a lot of teens he has strong opinions and he’s also super impulsive. Yes his plan worked, but Pasha did almost die and they can’t ever know whether he would’ve survived if Philip hadn’t stomped over there.

He sees weakness in Philip and Elizabeth and he has the perfect one-liners to throw at them including their “certain petty [or petit] bourgeois concerns.” Those concerns on this occasion being whether a teenage boy is going to live or die. Not whether to get McDonald’s for dinner.Tuan admits his own weakness in his report and also points to Philip and Elizabeth’s failings, ‘failings’ which can be attributed to their experience and the fact that a) they have been working on multiple operations and b) they work as a pair. So despite Philip’s potentially rash choice to break protocol and head over to Pasha’s house while a CIA agent is posted outside, Elizabeth is by his side in an instant.

Early in the episode as they discuss Tuan, Philip notes how young he is and Elizabeth wishes she could take him with them back to the Soviet Union. Elizabeth sees a lot of herself in him and despite his hard exterior she knows that he needs someone. When she has her one-on-one chat with him after he has attempted to ream them out – the side eye Elizabeth gives is magnificent – Elizabeth points to his weakness.

Telling him he will fail if he stays by himself is a very on theme message for this episode and season as a whole. After all they were very young when they started this dangerous life and they have always had each other, even when they weren’t together together.I keep coming back to the conversation at the end of “Lotus 1-2-3” and the unifying statement Philip makes telling Elizabeth he can’t let her take over the whole thing because “It’s us,” but ultimately the point they come to by the end of the finale is that this is the path they are going to take. Kimmy’s dad has been promoted and he’s going to be the head of the Soviet Division.

This is the spy jackpot and everything they have been working towards; Philip considers getting rid of the tape and whether it is duty to country or knowing that he can’t lie to Elizabeth he refrains from doing this. I suspect it is more the latter and the ‘normal’ life they have been dreaming of disappears as soon as he tells her about the tape’s contents.

Family is important to Elizabeth and yet she is a soldier for her country first and there is no way she can leave now they have this goldmine opportunity. But hey this means Henry can go to boarding school now. Elizabeth understands why Philip yelled at their son in the same way she totally got it when he tore out the pages of Paige’s Bible; it is a culmination of so many things and fun dad is not always fun. Especially when he is slowly being ripped apart from all the shit they have to do.This brings me to another theme of the episode with Elizabeth’s reasoning as to why moving back home will be great “All of us together without all of this shit on our backs” and Stan telling Renee that he is “tired of feeling shitty.” They’re all at a crossroads and the parallels are hard to ignore; different sides, but the same awful side psychological side effects. They all have to manipulate and put other people’s lives on the line. People have got hurt and worse along the way and it is getting too much to handle.

Stan’s situation is also running concurrent to Oleg’s (who sadly does not appear in the finale) and they are both good agents trying to do the right thing. This is something Renee emphasizes to Stan as a reason why he should keep doing what he is doing and she is definitely a spy, right? Or the writers are throwing up another red herring.

Either way there is no confirmation about her status, but Philip remains suspicious and also has times for jokes pondering what it would be like if they ever had kids quipping that Paige thinks she has it bad.It is good that despite his soul being shattered into pieces, Philip can still see the dark humor in their dark situation but the pipe dream of getting away and living a happy life in Russia as a family is over by the end of this finale.

Also this fantasy of a happy life together back home is of course a fantasy because there is no way that Henry (and even Paige) would react well to this massive change. And it is not just their kids who would find it hard and as Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” plays we see Elizabeth looking at her wardrobe full of clothes and kitchen appliances. Their petty bourgeois concerns.

In fact this relates to a scene from season 2 after Philip bought the Camaro and he asked Elizabeth if there was anything that she liked about this life. She denied it at the time, but her wistful glances at her beautiful shoes tells another story. It would be a massive lifestyle shift for all and even when they’re talking about planning a European vacation as their cover there is an end of The Graduate like moment where they both look a little unsure about the course they have set for themselves.Ultimately this is all irrelevant by the end of the episode because they’re staying put and when Philip apologizes to his daughter about not having the normal things like a dog or a regular boyfriend across the street, it is because he already knows what his wife will say when he tells her about the tape. It is a heartbreaking scene for a number of reasons as he slowly welcomes his fate. There is no escaping this life.

Paige is embracing certain aspects and like Tuan she’s a risk taker; parking her car in the same place where she saw her mother spring into full on defense mode and this feels like a test. A test to see if she can defend herself or at least confront her fears about getting attacked. It is also pretty dumb. Later on she takes a smack to the mouth from her mother and she’s still got ways to go before she is as tough as her teacher. Although she takes it pretty well, this is very Elizabeth Jennings of her.Because Philip and Elizabeth lost their father’s at an early age, they both know what a loss like this can do and they are on the same side when it comes to this notion of keeping a family together. This is why they both fight for ensuring Alexei returns to Moscow with his wife and son. He’s too scared despite Tatiana’s earlier assurances and it looks like he will be staying behind. Part of their attempts at reversing his choice comes from guilt feelings at the things they have done – see Young Hee – and because they are tired of ruining so many lives. Philip’s concerns are impacting Elizabeth in this way.

One person who has seen positive growth since the spy world unknowingly entered her life is Kimmy and Philip as Jim emphasizes how much she has changed for the better when he reveals he is moving to Japan. Guessing Jim’s job is going to fall through now and if Elizabeth gets her way this will be the only operation Philip will be running from now on. The fact that Kimmy looked like she was going to get out of this whole mess better off, only to unknowingly become a bigger part of their scheme is pretty depressing. Can she remain unscathed? And will her friend ever get to Japan? Oleg and Mischa Jr. are absent this week, but there is one Russia thread that managed to shine a ray of light and not only is Martha’s Russian coming on, but they’re also making sure she isn’t alone as they’re giving her a super cute (or adorable) orphan girl. This feels like a good thing and after all it was what Martha wanted with Clark, but there’s also part of me wondering if there is something more insidious at play because intentions are rarely pure on this show.

So what about that big conversation at the end? In true Americans tradition the conversation itself is rather sedate and a quiet end to a mostly quiet and meditative season. If season 1 ended with Elizabeth telling Philip to come home in their native tongue then in this moment she is setting him free. It is still proclamation of “It’s us” but in telling Philip she will go it alone from now on she is doing her duty to both country and her marriage. Plus he’s still going to be some pretty important work (as well as running the travel agency) and if he can look a little less sad in season 6 well then that will be a victory for Elizabeth.

This being The Americans it is probably not going to be as simple as that and while this year has seen a less explosive season than one might expect for the penultimate outing getting to the point where Philip is bowing out while Elizabeth stays in is pretty huge. Especially as they’re doing it together. “It’s us.”

When Not to Make Jokes“My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” This is from the news item Paige is watching (and Henry is oblivious to, because of course) and it also gives us a date in time around when this episode is set; August 11, 1984.

This shot is also an appropriate time to once again to give a shout out to the production design department for the Jennings family photos.

The Return of My Favorite Philip TopStill on the hunt for a retro Dunlop tee and Philip is once again taunting me with this perfect version.

 

Until next year and the final 10 episodes of The Americans. It has been a pleasure!

The Americans 5.12 “The World Council of Churches” Review: What’s In a Name?

24 May

Lines between make believe and reality are intrinsically blurred on The Americans because Philip and Elizabeth’s cover lives are so entwined with who they are and were that it’s impossible to separate the two at this point.Small acts of defiance such as getting married in secret, in a ceremony that used their original names is important to the series as a whole, not because it’s going to bring down the Berlin Wall or end the Cold War, but because it gives Philip and Elizabeth something that is actually theirs. Mikahil and Nadezhda are now really married and it doesn’t matter that their American marriage certificate isn’t legit. And now they have got from that point of brief contentment (because crowns and okay, commitment) to wanting to go home.

But it’s not as easy as that and while Claudia is surprisingly receptive to the idea, it’s their kids inherent Americanness that is ultimately going to be the issue. Maybe this is why Claudia is so receptive; she knows they have other things to consider and the journey home is long. Also, Philip continues his pattern of never sitting down at these meetings.Names come up on countless occasions; first when Paige asks about how they came by Jennings. They explain that Philip Jennings was a real person (as was Elizabeth’s maiden name) and the KGB take the names of real (and now deceased) people to strengthen their covers. This was how they cracked the Clark code and realized Martha’s husband was KGB. Philip admits that he misses his old name and there is a wistful tone when he says this. Wistful because this is the first time home has felt this close. 

But it is far from easy. They can talk all they want about what names they will go by when they return to Russia and the Jennings marriage has never been stronger – remember “it’s us” – but they are living in a fantasy land if they think that Paige and Henry will be fine with any of this. Sure Paige is adjusting to life as a junior spy and soon the weight of Pastor Tim (and the cross around her neck) will be gone, but she’s going to be just as alienated there as Pasha is in America. And Henry. Well Henry is another story as he’s got his hopes set on an entirely different dream. Seeing first hand what has happened to Pasha and the lengths Tuan is willing to go to when it comes to completing their mission is chilling. He’s just a teen in a Marty McFly like gilet and rotating pop culture tees (this week featuring Knightrider), but he might also be the most ruthless of them all. He’s the king of manipulation including convincing Pasha to slit his wrists as a way to get back home. He told him how to avoid the artery, but there is no guarantee. And this is why Philip (dressed as Brad) storms out of the house in a bid to stop this plan.

It doesn’t matter that this might jeopardize the entire op, because Philip has had enough of this shit and his parent brain kicks in. And when she catches up with him, Elizabeth is there to grab him by the hand and be all in this together. It’s all in their vows. Plus she’s got to make this surprise visit look more natural than it currently is.
With one episode left to go this season it looks like breaking point has well and truly been hit. And it’s only going to get worse.

Note – this week’s review is much shorter because I am traveling. Will be back to the usual essay length for the finale next week. 

The Americans 5.11 “Dyatkovo” Review: Paying for the Past

17 May

You can’t escape the past and season 5 of The Americans has constantly been looking back to explain the present. History repeats and this impact is felt on both a micro and macro level; individuals and organizations are at risk and real change is hard to implement. Especially when authorities have a different face/name and yet continue with their shady shit. Corruption seeps down to every level.

Post-WWII turmoil in Russia has been alluded to with Philip learning the truth about his father’s profession, Oleg finding out about his mother’s imprisonment and Gabriel discussing the work he did. You can make a new life, get a new name and yet the scars run deep. Memories threaten to bubble to the surface and ruin the facade of perfection that has been constructed.A seemingly unconnected operation to everything Philip and Elizabeth have been doing brings everything to a head in an unexpected way. In a sequence that is reminiscent of the equally brilliant “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” Philip and Elizabeth interrogate someone the KGB believes killed their people for the Nazis in the occupied town of Dyatkovo. As this is The Americans this is not a simple case of good versus evil and first they must determine whether they have the right person.

Philip has to be sure that this isn’t a case of mistaken identity and early on the evidence they have isn’t particularly conclusive. The photo could be her, but this isn’t enough and Philip reinforces his point by mentioning the conversation they had earlier this season. He can no longer shoot first only to find out that they were wrong. It seems like a good marker, to be honest and Elizabeth is aware that he is close to breaking point; which is why she does what she does later on.Paying for the past is a complicated business and after some back and forth with Natalie about whether she is really Anna, she confesses. At first I thought this was a fake confession as a way to save her husband, but it turns out that she really did all the things she was accused of. But these were far from the actions of someone who took pleasure in committing these atrocities. This is one of Irina Dubova’s first acting credits and she is incredible in this role delivering pain, guilt and fear.

Natalie’s confession takes place in front of her husband with horrific details such as watching her family get shot and being forced to dig their graves. She was saved and she doesn’t know why, “nothing made sense.” And after this she did what she had to in order to survive – echoing what Oleg’s mother told him about prison – which included killing her own people. The first time she did it she was so drunk she could barely stand and all of this began when she was just 16. Elizabeth was 17 when she joined the KGB. And now Paige is at this age too. Too young to be embroiled in all of this.

This is The Americans doing what it does best; hitting us in the gut with the lack of options available. Before this moment Elizabeth calls Natalie a monster throwing back the word that Pastor Tim questioned whether they are. As I already mentioned this episode is reminiscent of “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” particularly the conversations Elizabeth has with Lois Smith’s Betty as she coerces her into taking too many pills. Betty also brings up this notion of Elizabeth being a bad person. In fact she calls her out on her “to make the world a better place” reasoning by saying that’s “what evil people tell themselves when they do evil things.”

This is the most Elizabeth has previously been effected by an on the job kill – I got super teary rewatching these scenes – and the whole thing with Natalie is enough for Elizabeth to make a huge decision; she wants to go home.When Philip hesitates in pulling the trigger, Elizabeth steps up as she said she would. It is an awful moment and even though it was clear they were never going to let them live – they’d seen their faces after all – there was part of me that hoped otherwise. It doesn’t matter that Natalie had made this new life where she was doing good, those actions of the past sealed her fate in the present. Even if she committed these war crimes in order to survive.

So what makes Elizabeth think they can just go home? Everything has been building to this point of quitting the spy biz in one way or another; it is getting too much for both of them. Philip is the one who has been showing the obvious signs of reaching his breaking point and despite his fractured psyche he’s in it for as long as Elizabeth is.

They don’t know the Soviet regime is also crumbling, but the misinformation regarding missions and how they keep pivoting away from doing good is having an impact. The virus sample they extracted, the sample that effectively killed both William and Hans has been weaponized and William’s legacy is having this version named after him. The exact opposite of what he would’ve wanted. They’re both fed up the honey traps and Pastor Tim’s scribblings have had an impact.Thankfully The Americans has never been concerned with the prestige TV trope of “we’re good people that did a bad thing” instead they are people who have done very bad things in the name of duty/country and feel conflict about it. It is why the wordless interactions between Philip and Elizabeth hold so much weight; everything is etched on their faces. Cue my “give Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys all the awards” broken record.

Philip right now is a giant exhale of sadness in human form and seemingly happy childhood memories are doing nothing to free him from the increasing worry lines on his face as they are tainted with the truth. Even something as mundane as watching TV and eating McDonalds with Tuan is far from freeing. He leaves his real son all preoccupied and happy to join his fake son only to have the past eat away at him. To him his father brought some light into his life and likely a lot of darkness and pain into others; is he getting a glimpse of how Henry will view memories of Philip in the future?

Processing other photos gives Philip reason to bring up Paige’s* motivation behind the whole diary reveal. They don’t come up with a definite answer, but Philip wonders if she wanted to see their reactions to reading what Pastor Tim had said about them.

*A Paige-less week, but you can read my thoughts on Paige and the use of horror on The Americans over at Collider

The lasting damage they are having on their children is hard to ignore and Philip has conceded in letting Henry go to boarding school if he gets in. This of course is all academic, if they do indeed decide to go home to Russia and there is no telling how either Paige or Henry will react to this bombshell. Because Paige sure as hell was not chill about the suggestion last season.Ah, Henry. Sweet, smart, oblivious Henry. Listening to his Walkman while doing homework, having a girlfriend and getting a guided tour at the FBI. The latter brings up another interesting point in Philip and Elizabeth’s basement convo about how Stan or the FBI is not getting Henry. They’re also pretty disparaging about Matthew. Way harsh, guys.

Henry does seem very interested in what Stan does at work and is fully delighted when he gets to meet Mail Robot. This is the appropriate reaction. Later on Henry reads Stan his paper that pretty and exclaims that working at the FBI sounds like the “best job in the world” and Stan is quick to inform him that this is far from the case. Way to crush young enthusiasm Stan, but he does his best to explain the big drawbacks and one of those is never being able to truly trust anyone. Not even your wife and kids. Across the street this is not the case and because Philip and Elizabeth have each other it makes this difficult world a tiny bit better. If only they could all retire to a secret island and live happily ever after.

Everyone is feeling the strain of their jobs, but Philip and Elizabeth have never been more in sync. Even when they don’t quite agree they have been finding middle ground recently. The secret wedding last week doubled down on their commitment to one another and maybe it really is time for this part of their life to be over. However, I can’t see the KGB agreeing to let some of their best deep cover operatives go without a fight. Especially when you factor in just how many operations they have in play right now.

And if they go on the run they could be the ones starring down the barrel of a gun in a few years time for being traitors. Talking of in sync and how they enter Natalie’s home ensnaring her in a terrifyingly efficient way; they catch their prey without a sound.Over in Russia, Oleg continues with his investigation and even though they find evidence against Lydia that could put her away for fifteen years she is steely as fuck when facing their questions. She notes that this is how their country runs and it is not going to change. She calls the KGB “high and mighty” and it is hard to have a good comeback when Oleg has his own fancy supermarket he gets to shop at because of who his father is.

Two episodes remain this season, twelve in total and with Elizabeth’s “I want to get out of here. We should just go. I mean it. Let’s go home” everything suddenly feels very much near the end. The sound you just heard was my stomach churning from dread and anticipation of what’s going to happen next.

Fun Spy Equipment The camera in the bag is a classic and I’m glad we got to see Elizabeth toting this tote.

Family Photos and Owl Lamps

Family pictures act of reminders and the Jennings house is littered with these happy memories. Once again I am so pleased they use photos that are neither photoshopped or production stills. Also that owl lamp always catches my eye in how perfect and pretty ugly it is. And thanks to Twin Peaks all I can think is this lamp is not what it seems.

Be sure to check out my essay over at Collider discussing the use of horror on The Americans including a deep dive into the Jennings House of Horrors and whether Paige is the ‘Final Girl.’

Ex-aspirational

Depression, creativity and the pressures of growing up, as told by a twenty-something not living her best life

Julie Hammerle

Nerds Need Love Too

Sofa and Remote

I love talking about TV as much as I love watching it

Ellie Writes Stuff

About this and that

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Authors, Bloggers, Fashion Assassins

Twitter Music Club

A rotation curation music club, based on Twitter, mainly for Kiwis

INTO ROW Z

If you enjoy a challenge, like Claude Makélélé, read my blog. Its about sport.

lost somewhere in new york city

We rock a lot of polka dots

sankles

We rock a lot of polka dots

frocktalk.com/

Just another WordPress.com site

Cultural Learnings

Television Reviews and Analysis

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns

Rookie

We rock a lot of polka dots

ScreenFad

TV show news, reviews, recaps, spoilers, and photos

The Frisky

We rock a lot of polka dots

irkyle.wordpress.com/

I review this shit so you don't have to.