I’ve been sporting a high bun this month, ever since I picked up a Conair bun maker (on sale for $3.99 ) at Walgreens on a whim. I love how quick and easy this is because there’s no teasing or curling your hair needed. After poking around on YouTube, I came across the “Magic Bun Maker”. Now I’m curious to try that too!

Lipsticks I’ve been wearing this spring (pinks and a red):

Must haves? 

Revlon-   “Cha Cha Cherry” – a sheer glossy watermelon/cherry red color (not an in-your-face red), gives you a natural just bitten look. 

               “All about Pink” – beautiful hot rosey-pink color in matte finish

MAC-   “See Sheer”  – very pretty, coral raspberry color with gold shimmers (think NAR’s orgasm), goes on sheer and looks very natural, like a “my lips but better” color. (I swatched Revlon’s “Coralberry” to compare because although it looks like a close match when swatched on my arm, it does not appear the same on my lips! The latter is a much more pigmented and is a shimmery coral-pink color. Coralberry only looks okay on me, I don’t love it.)

NYX-  “Femme”  -creamy hot-peachy pink. For comparison, I swatched it next to “All about pink” (hot rosey-pink).

I love the quality of Revlon’s lipsticks. They have excellent pigmentation, smooth application and great lasting power like a high-end product. Their current color range is pretty awesome and I can’t wait to get more.

Aromaleigh Lippies discontinued! 😦

Back in the day, I use to wear Clingue’s lipstick in “Creamy Nude” everyday because it goes with everything. But ever since I discovered Aromaleigh’s lip glosses in 2006, I started loving bright, fun colors.

Aromaleigh’s lip glosses are amazing and made with premium natural ingredients. They come in a click-brush style applicator like Stila’s Lip Glaze. The finish is smooth and shiny like a lip gloss but pigmentation and staying power of a lipstick. I usually wear them on it’s own because they are quite opaque. I love the smell too, reminds me of a tootsie roll! Sadly, they’ve been discontinued because the owner decided to leave the business. I wish I had ordered more; there were 20 colors to choose from and cost around $4 when they go on sale. I didn’t find out until it was too late. These glosses are like gold to me right now because I have yet to find a dupe!

Tess (1979 Movie)

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆

Run Time: 190 minutes, Genre:  Period Drama

This film is shot mostly in France because big time director, Roman Polanski, fled to France when he was charged for raping a 13 year-old girl in 1978. To add insult to injury, the first movie he directed as a fugitive was ‘Tess’, the story of a young girl seduced by an older man. Polanski cast 17 year-old Nastassja Kinski (one of his collection of Lolitas) to play Tess Durberfield. They met when she was 15-years old and he started a relationship with her. How ironic or sad that the actress is also being taken advantage of — just like her character! He tells everyone the movie is dedicated to his dead wife Sharon Tate, who was murdered in 1969 by the Manson Clan. Aww.

Tess 1979 Alec d'Urberville

Leigh Lawson’s performance as Alec d’Urbervilles is right-on. He’s the creep I’ve imagined when I read Hardy’s novel, complete with Victorian mustache and fancy suits. Hardy never reveals the specific details that would enable us to decide for ourselves whether Tess is a willing participant or a victim of rape. This version doesn’t make Tess an out-right victim because she stays to live with Alec for a little while as his mistress. Tess realizes she feels no love for him and decides to flee from the d’Urberville mansion. The death of Prince is completely left out, which is what made Tess agree with her parents’ plan that she claim kin. Her guilt over the loss of the family horse is crucial foreshadowing in the plot! The part when con artist Alec becomes a preacher is left out as well. Kinski is exotic looking and supermodel gorgeous–no wonder Polanski couldn’t keep his hands off her! Her portrayal of Tess is a shy and gentle creature, never raising her voice and never complaining. Some of her lines are spoken so softly you have to hit the volume button just to make sure you can hear her dialogue! She has very little dialogue for a film that runs three hours. But she is lovely to watch; she has a way of showing her pain and emotions being restrained. Compared to the other versions, this Tess is the best dressed. 

Peter Firth as Angel Clare is a bit disappointing for me, though his performance is a strong one. He just didn’t come off as charming as the character in the book. I think Oliver Milburne (1998 version) is much more attractive as Angel! 🙂 

The film’s cinematography is pure art! Pretty much each frame in the movie oozes sadness and beauty and is set up so naturally mesmerizing, without using any fancy tricks. The details are astonishing: the lush costumes, the sprawling countryside, fox hunt emerging from the mist, the languid dripping of milk, and even the elf-like man appearing on the road–all came gloriously to life as if leaping off the pages of the book.

As beautiful as this movie is, mundane scenes seem to drag on, while some major scenes move too quickly. I think it is weird how quiet it is throughout the film when they have this amazing music score. If you haven’t read the novel, the movie may be a bit confusing and awkward because it jumps ahead in time without much explanation. I personally love this adaptation.

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆

This is my first Hardy and it won’t be my last! This guy can seriously write; his description of the Wessex landscapes and settings is absolutely beautiful. He has such a way of describing the most tender emotions, whether it be the more obvious feelings such as passion or the harder ones to describe such as confusion or frustration, at varying levels of intensity. But I must prepare you; there is something in long descriptions of farming life, where you will learn more than you ever want to know about milking cows, threshing wheat, and slicing turnips!

Since Hardy is notorious for putting his characters through terrible fate; I already knew this is no fairy tale. But I have never been so angry with the characters in a book! So, Tess is this poor, wonderful, trusting, and hardworking farm girl, who is scarcely past girlhood. She is beautiful, gorgeous in fact. Her stupid irresponsible parents sent her to the home of a d’Urbevilles, thought to be relatives, to claim her connection and potentially get some money or perhaps employment. She meets her sleazy so-call cousin, Alec, who has a thing for pretty ladies and tries to win her affection. This guy creeps me out; I can feel the hair on my skin stand up whenever he’s present in the book! Oh, how I cringed when he feeds her a strawberry from his hand and tries to kiss her. He is ruthless, claiming her for himself from the moment he lays eyes on her. He stalks her and takes advantage of her. But she never actually says ‘no’ and even after the ‘incident’ she never outright resented it and continues to live with him for ‘a little while’. Her silent suffering throughout the book drove me a bit crazy. When she finally meets Mr. Perfect, Angel, she gets all wishy-washy: “Oh, I love him, but Oh, I cannot marry him, Oh, how I am no good, but Oh, I will marry him anyway, so I can never tell him the truth, so he’ll never know my past.” She is torn between her strong love for Angel and fear of losing him. I adore Angel at the beginning; he says the tenderest and sweetest things to her and his unwavering wish to marry her, got me hoping this ‘Angel’ (he plays the harp too) will rescue her, but there is no such happy twist!  His feeling about Tess changes completely when she tells him everything after their marriage; he abandons Tess. Then comes stalker Alec circling back to her! Talk about rotten luck with rotten men!  Angel really did wrong Tess–when he eventually realizes this, it comes too late.  Indeed, beauty does have its price. She is ultimately crushed under the weight of the world and her society.

This story is hard to take. It’s unfair. It exudes injustice from beginning to end. I didn’t know who to blame really–Alec, Angel, her parents, Tess herself, society??

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆☆

Running time: 127 min, Genre: Period Romance

This is by far the handsomest Pride & Prejudice adaptation! Yes it is definitely not as detailed as the wonderful 1995 mini-series, and strays a bit from the text. But I don’t care, I enjoyed it immensely. The feel of this film is more youthful and less polite than the previous versions. It successfully captures the characters, their transformations, their strengths, their vulnerabilities and their passions. The whole cast is great; Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen are perfect as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I think Keira sparkles as Elizabeth because her portrayal is young, confident, vocal, playful and vivacious. And I love it when she giggles. She is too stunningly beautiful to be the girl dismissed by Darcy as ‘only tolerable.’ I’m a big fan of Jennifer Ehle’s graceful (ahem…mature) portrayal of Elizabeth in the 1995 version; however, Keira’s portrayal is less polished but equally charming.

I really liked how they introduced Mr. Bingley at the Meryton ball, when Darcy, Bingley and Caroline walk in, everything stops. The music, the dancing, all conversation and the crowd parts to offer them a path as if Mr. Bingley is royalty.

Elizabeth Bennet: “So which of the painted peacocks is our Mr Bingley?”
Charlotte Lucas: He is on the right, and on the left is his sister.
Elizabeth Bennet: “And the person with the quizzical brow?”
Charlotte Lucas: “That is his good friend Mr. Darcy.”
Elizabeth Bennet: “He looks miserabIe, poor soul.”
Charlotte Lucas: “MiserabIe he may be, but poor he most certainly is not.”

First of all, I just want to say that Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy (1995 mini-series) never did stir anything for me. I know Mr. Darcy is proud and snobby, but Colin Firth’s too mean looking, overly disgruntled, and encased rigidly in a shell so impenetrable that even when he’s trying to woe Elizabeth, he lacked emotions! He’s just (sorry), “not handsome enough to tempt me.”  Macfadyen’s Darcy is more accessible; he is proud, standoffish, conflicted, honorable, but also shows vulnerability and almost desperation as his love for her grows. There’s no need for him to speak loudly or rudely (Colin Firth), Macfadyen does it ever so subtly – just a twitch of his lips, a blink of his eyes. I thought his portrayal was very true to the book because it’s his silence and awkwardness what makes him come off as conceited and egotistical. In reality, Darcy is just uncomfortable around new people; he tells Lizzy: “I, do not have the talent of conversing easily with people I have never met before.”  

Macfadyen’s voice is way too beautiful, but what give me the goosebumps are his blue eyes. They are incredibly expressive, especially when he steals glances at Elizabeth. Though he doesn’t say much his eyes tell it all! 🙂 The proposal in the rain scene is so gorgeous; it’s the perfect spot for a girl to be proposed to (take notes guys)! Their attraction is undeniable! I wanted them to stop fighting and kiss already!The dancing scene between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy is a personal favorite – the two are so absorbed with each other that rest of the dancing crowd fades out. That kind of “magic” has happened to me (several times with the same guy), my dears! 🙂 Sighhhh…

Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander) and Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) certainly provided much comic relief in this film and both of them are a bit goofy in the book also. Bingley is charmingly nervous, adorably shy and sweet-tempered. I think Jane was perfectly portrayed by Rosamund Pike. She’s beautiful, modest, and sweet. I love how Miss Caroline Bingley (Kelly Reilly) is always in the latest fashion and with perfectly styled hair compared to the rest of the country folks.

I think the film is so superbly filmed it makes other movies pale in comparison. I had such a difficult time selecting clips for this post because I love the entire movie–from the gigantic chandelier, rural English countryside, the grandeur of the estates, to the soft and misty scenery. The cinematography is ridiculously good and the costumes are pretty. 

And just when you think it couldn’t get any better! OH!!! The ending is quite satisfying (I couldn’t breath!!) 🙂 You have to watch it!

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆☆

 This is where my crush on Jane Austen began. There’s just something in her writing that every time I read it, I want to tucked myself in a blanket with a cup of hot tea and munch on French cookies. It’s a feel good book and when things get stressful, I revert to Jane Austen. I love her distinct writing style, witty dialogue, and articulate language.  The story isn’t all that complex, but the language is architected such that the reader can understand the characters’ emotions. She’s funny too! Her ability particularly in mocking the rituals of manners, politeness, empty admiration, false modesties, and social class of Victorian society is so delightfully amusing. Back in the day, class is everything! A man’s identity is valued by his wealth and women just have to look pretty and trap a wealthy man. Some of the characters are cruel and judgmental towards others but proud of themselves. After reading this book, I feel more observant of others.

It’s not an easy read at first, but once you get use to Austen’s language, her pace of storytelling, and the mindless twaddle along the way, you become immersed in their lifestyle and how Darcy and Lizzy’s characters evolve within the story. Wit against wit, his pride against her prejudice, their slow-burning chemistry each grew into a sizzling point (don’t act like I gave the plot away there; we all know how it ends). I like Lizzy’s spunk- her playfulness, wit, and intelligence made her an interesting character. In a time when money and society were considered more important than love and happiness, she believes that one cannot marry without affection. But she is also a contradiction. While she hates snobbery she exhibits the very same behavior she rejects in others. Eventually Lizzy  learns that she should give people a second chance, that we’re not all as we seem. My favorite character however is Mr. Darcy. At first Mr. Darcy does seem like a snob; he’s very wealthy, quiet, and he does look down on others. His fortune made him bearable by most to talk to, though his pride and seemingly apathetic nature was the disdain of many. But in reality, he is genuine, kind, and compassionate. He later realizes that he shouldn’t be a snob because the girl he really loves, which is Elizabeth, is the girl that’s without fortune or status. He realizes that even people that aren’t in his class status are worth knowing. Elizabeth, being snubbed by Mr. Darcy at the first party, became prejudiced against Mr. Darcy and her prejudice prevented her to try to get to know him. It also was the belief then that society could not tolerate a relationship such as theirs. Austen shows us the courage it takes to stay true to ourselves, how we risk everything and gain everything. Finding true love with whom you least expected is the reason I think their love story is so wonderfully charming. It’s the best fairytale, this filthy rich man falls in love with you and he turns out to be perfect and everything you really wanted. Doesn’t everyone need a Mr. Darcy?

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆    

Running time: 105 min, Genre: Gothic film

Some people say this is a horrible movie and some people say this is an excellent movie. For me, the more I watched it, the more I liked it. This Wuthering Heights film is what I consider the ‘classic’ version (to me the melodrama 1939 version doesn’t count but is impressive for it’s time.) It is a fantastic adaptation and is possibly my favorite because I love the atmosphere and feel of this version most. But it’s not perfect, there’s a lot of things I would change.  This film begins with an interesting cameo of Sinead O’Connor as Emily Bronte, who narrates the story to the audiences, very cool. (Maybe she should have played Catherine instead, she looks pretty with hair! 🙂 )

Juliette Binoche’s performance as Catherine is lovely and she has natural beauty (I think she looks a lot like Julia Roberts). Her portrayal of Cathy is playful and vivacious. However they seem to left out her bad display of temper, being a haughty spoiled brat that she is in the text. She looks too mature for the part, all that giggling did not help her look any younger! Suffice, she gave us some great scenes. I love when Cathy finally tells of her love of Heathcliff, her facial expression as she says it breaks your heart. The scene before her death when she hallucinates at the window looking at Wuthering Heights, is very nicely done. She is believable as her own daughter, though her playing double role is a bad move. Cathy Jr isn’t suppose to look anything like her mother!

Ralph Fiennes is a very fine actor and is adept at playing brooding characters with a lot of pent up passion brewing under the surface. The part where Heathcliff breaks into the chapel and holds her body was unforgetable. His performance makes you see the hurt without him saying a word, but something just isn’t right. He’s got that leering vampire look happening. Oh how I hated that long, greasy, black wig on his head! Come to think of it, everyone has bad hair in this film. I think he looks a bit stiff in some of the scenes, that even his speech and mannerisms are with an unnatural restraint (honestly he bores me sometimes.) I imagined Heathcliff a lot tougher, angrier, and too emotionally immature to keep his fury under wrap. I think his coldness played out better in his latter years. Like Binoche, he is simply too mature. Though I prefer Tom Hardy’s portrayal better, this Heathcliff (working with the script given) is unsympathetic and more violent, which is closer to the book in that sense. There are scenes of him smacking Cathy Jr around. Heathcliff is a woman beater; he savagely beats his wife Isabella and his son Linton.

Majority of the supporting cast was supperb, especially Janet McTeer as Ellen Dean. Jason Riddington as Hareton didn’t look right, I think he belongs on the set of Tarzan instead. The film feels a bit rushed. Much of their childhood and sibling rivalry are glossed over. I wanted to see more early toxic family life and was rather disappointed that the character Hindley is given so little attention. Like the other versions, the love between the two main characters is established rather briefly. 

I love the atmosphere and gothic ‘feel’ of this movie most. They definitely had the budget to create that old, other-wordly, ethereal, elaborate backdrop. The costumes are beautiful and accurate. The cinematography, music, and scenery are stunning, lush, and haunting. The Heights looks fucking awesome, inside and out! I never imagined it looking like a ‘mini Gothic castle’ but I loved it. The Grange is far too fancy but the interior is what I had imagined it to be, with crimson walls and laced with gold and crystals.

Recommended: ☆☆☆☆

Running time: 142 min (2 episodes)  Genre: Gothic FilmThis is a personal favorite and will be the one I will watch again and again, over a period of time. This version is something very different from the others; it refuses to be a slave to your Penguin Classic, taking huge liberties with the novel bringing literal events to where once these events were vaguely implied at best, though I didn’t think this was particularly problematic while the innate nature of the novel is still intact. I won’t be pointing out every changes here, I am not some possessive Bronte nerd. Lets put it this way, this is not your grandma’s Wuthering Heights!

This movie keeps your full attention. It begins on a dark, bleak night with throbbing rhythm of guitar music, the camera swung low at ground level creeping along a dirt path, crawling into the house like an animal and up the stairs. Old Heathcliff is laying in Catherine’s bed, half-dreaming, with her ghost haunting him at the window. Then it  jumps to the moment when Linton is delivered by the dying Edgar Linton to Heathcliff at the Heights. While the beginning was done out of sequence, I knew right off the bat what they were doing. But I rather they kept Lockwood as an outsider to witness and unfold the mystery of this remote household of angry, unhappy people. Suffice, the state of this household is enough to grab hold of you and make you want to know more. How on earth can these people be so wretched? Without Lockwood, Nelly Dean (Sarah Lancashire) plays a very minimal role here. This is not a bad thing since she kinda sucks!

The bulk of this movie focuses on Heathcliff and Catherine, played by Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley. This pair has great chemistry with some authentic accents. Much of the success of this film is spectacularly with Tom Hardy as Heathcliff. Tom portrays Heathcliff in a way that no other actor has been able to capture. He manages to be dangerous, menacing, vulnerable, passionate, and intelligent, making the part very much his own (he’s gorgeous to boot.)  Tom’s interpretation is spot on and is exactly what I like to see. He plays his tranformation from stable boy-weathy gentlemen-madman with ease. Charlotte Riley is from northern England and has a Yorkshire accent. I do like her portayal of a natural tomboyish Catherine, though no actress has completely nailed this role for me. And call me picky if you must, I think she looks too plain for the part. She conveys little emotions and the iconic “I am Heathcliff” scene was a let down (I prefer Juliet Binoche in this scene better.) 

It’s too bad they remove much of the violence from the book to make the two main characters more likeable. In this day and age who wouldn’t be upset to see Heathcliff hangs a pet dog or beats his wife and kid? What makes us more sympathetic towards Heathcliff is how they show Hindley, the rotten brother, destroyed himself and the people around him. He is a major douchebag in this film and was brilliantly played by Burn Gorman. There is an actual shirt off, hit-with-the-lash floggy scene. I think the “love scene” with Heathcliff and Isabella (Rosalind Halstead) is incredibly well done. He’s so gentle with her when they made love for the first time, then when she tries to kiss him but he coldly tells her, “Don’t look at me.” Whoa! It is so obvious that he is making love to Cathy in his mind!

The music in this version is absolutely beautiful and is very unique, with mostly guitars, drums, and flutes. The final scene when the haunted Heathcliff is walking with a peaceful countenance is very touching and bittersweet–one of my favorite scenes. 

The rest of the cast didn’t excite me and I didn’t particularly care for. The setting and asthetics of this film isn’t my favorite, which is probably a budget issue. The dresses are plain looking and seems all wrong! Why is first generation wearing empire style dresses while the second generation wearing 1770’s gowns? We all know Catherine is already dead before 1801 when Lockwood arrives but her tomb says 1805-1830! Why change this? The Heights in this version looks fine, with its deep narrow windows, stone walls, and ornate carvings, but the Grange is not what I’d imagined. The Grange is described in the text as:

“…beautiful– a splendid place, carpeted in crimson, with crimson chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hanging in silver chains in the centre, and shimmering with little soft tapers.” 

I think the Grange in this version is too pale and airy or stale looking, though contrasting The Heights greatly. Overall, this is a fabulous movie! I’ve seen it many, many, many times already! 🙂