Deborah Yaffe

Blog

By Deborah Yaffe, Mar 19 2020 01:02PM

There’s an upside to everything, apparently – even a global pandemic that threatens to sicken and perhaps kill millions while tanking the world economy.


Yes, the latest Jane Austen screen adaptation will be available for streaming tomorrow, months before anyone could have expected it.


Arthouse films like Autumn de Wilde’s Emma., which opened in big cities last month and went into wide release on March 6, get clobbered when they don’t have time to build an audience through word of mouth. Indeed, with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down movie theaters, the industry predicted “carnage at the box office,” to quote one recent, dubiously tasteful headline.


Instead, Universal Pictures announced Monday that it would send three of its current theatrical releases to home rental screens immediately. In case a light-hearted period romance-cum-social-satire isn’t your cup of tea, you can also opt for a creepy science fiction stalker flick (The Invisible Man) or a politically edgy gorefest (The Hunt).


It’s not clear whether early release to streaming is the wave of the future, which would alarm movie theater chains, or just a response to the current crisis. But we can think about all that tomorrow, or whenever we're again free to leave the house. Meanwhile, I recommend Emma., which is beautiful to look at, features some lovely performances, and offers a thoughtful take on the novel.


While regretting that viewers won’t experience her carefully curated sounds and colors exactly as intended, de Wilde is embracing the chance for her movie to Do Its Part in our current circumstances.


“I do think it’s a good thing, what Universal is doing,” de Wilde told the New York Times. “We need to keep people sane at home and give them a place to escape to. Emma. is a great escape movie.”


By Deborah Yaffe, Mar 12 2020 01:00PM

Twenty-five years ago this summer, we Janeites flocked to movie theaters to see a brand-new modernization of Emma, set among affluent Beverly Hills high school students.


Since then, the costumes, music, and slang of the immortal Clueless have become indelible pop-culture touchstones, and just about everyone who loves Cher Horowitz has bought the DVD or, at the very least, subscribed to a streaming service that makes the movie available for right-this-minute viewing.


Nevertheless, there’s something special about the communal experience of seeing a movie, up there on the big screen, amid a crowd of strangers. Or so, apparently, thinks Paramount Pictures, which has teamed up with Fathom Entertainment to celebrate Clueless’ quarter-century with a three-day theatrical release.


More than seven hundred cinemas across the country will show Clueless at four screenings over three days – May 3, 4, and 6 – along with a short feature about the witty, unforgettable teen jargon that writer-director Amy Heckerling created for her characters. (Find a location near you here.)


I’m willing to bet that at least a few of these screenings will turn into Rocky Horror-style cosplay events featuring a whole lot of yellow plaid skirts and knee socks. (Not that this would be a problem! As if!)


Meanwhile, Autumn de Wilde’s lovely new adaptation of Emma – you know, the original novel? – is doing pretty well for an indie costume drama (nearly $21 million in international ticket sales, and counting). If the movie continues to succeed, that opens the delightful possibility of a true Janeite wallow: an Emma double feature, with stops at Hartfield in the afternoon and Bronson Alcott High School in the evening. Like, totally!


By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 24 2020 02:00PM

The new feature-film adaptation of Emma opened this past weekend, but not, alas, in my neck of the woods, where we proles must wait until the March 6 wide release.


Nonetheless, reviews have made clear that the new movie’s visual language is among its most notable elements. At least five internet headlines (here, here, here, here, and here) describe the movie as “stylish,” while the New York Times opines that it could have been made “using Wes Anderson software,” which will sound delightful or appalling in exact proportion to your tolerance for The Grand Budapest Hotel.


The look of the latest Emma is, of course, the responsibility of its director, Autumn de Wilde, but perhaps it’s no surprise that her star, Anya Taylor-Joy, seems to have a – what’s the word I want? Adventurous? -- sensibility of her own.


Goodness knows I’m no fashion expert, as the most cursory glance in my closet will confirm, but some of the outfits Taylor-Joy has selected for her Emma publicity duties strike me as way out on a limb.


The vintage Bob Mackie wedding gown she wore to the film’s Los Angeles premiere is quite lovely, I’ll grant you:




But this Zimmermann number she wore to a London photo session seems over the top to me:





And the sequined Moschino duo she chose for a session in Beverly Hills downright repels me:




Though perhaps my least favorite is the Halpern leopard-print-trimmed black puffball she wore to promote the movie on Good Morning America:



So -- yeah. You won't catch me wearing any of these any time soon. But then, as someone once said, one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.






Quill pen -- transparent BookTheWriter transparent facebook twitter