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    My Movie Recommendations: Part One

    Art imitates life and life imitates art and art imitates life and life imitates art…  These movies will MAKE. YOU. THINK. And perhaps forever change how your brain.

    Good. Then they did their job.

    “Art of the Steal” (2009)

    A gripping tale of intrigue and mystery in the art world, this film traces the history of the Barnes collection of Post-Impressionist paintings, which was worth billions and became the subject of a power struggle after the 1951 death of the owner.  Dr. Albert Barnes collected 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos and many other valuable paintings. But the political wrangling over the collection eventually led to its division.

    “Valley Girl” (1983)

    A punk named Randy (Nicolas Cage) from the wrong side of the Hollywood Hills falls for Julie (Deborah Foreman), a mall-dwelling Valley Girl, and they begin a Romeo-and-Juliet-like romance … that is, until peer pressure gets to Julie and she cuts off their relationship. But love-struck Randy refuses to give up on Julie. Will he convince her that they’re meant to be together?

    “Lost in Translation”(2003)

    A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

    “Outsourced” (2006)

    When his department is outsourced to India, customer call center manager Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) heads to Mumbai to train his successor (Asif Basra), and amusing culture clashes ensue as Anderson tries to explain American business practices to the befuddled new employees. In the process, he learns important lessons about globalization — and life. Ayesha Dharker and Matt Smith also star in director John Jeffcoat‘s cross-cultural comedy.

    “Bananas” (1971)

    Neurotic nebbish Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen) follows his dream girl (Louise Lasser) to the fictitious Latin American nation of San Marcos, where he unintentionally becomes a freedom fighter for a revolutionary leader. But shortly after taking the reins of power, the new strongman goes — you guessed it — bananas, leaving Fielding in command to bargain with the United States. Watch for Sylvester Stallone in a microscopic role.

    “What Would Jesus Buy?” (2007)

    Taking on rampant American consumerism with a focus on Christmas shopping, the Rev. Billy (Bill Talen) and the Church of Stop Shopping go on a cross-country journey to save citizens from the Shopocalypse in this hilarious documentary produced by Morgan Spurlock. Reminding shoppers of the true meaning of Christmas, Reverend Billy exorcises demons at Wal-Mart’s headquarters and preaches his message at the Mall of America and Disneyland.

    “Confessions of a Superhero” (2007)

    On Hollywood Boulevard, wannabe movie stars dress up as superheroes and pose for photos with tourists. Matt Ogens‘s documentary follows four of these quirky dreamers, who are just killing time until they’re discovered. You’ll get to know a Superman who takes his role to heart, an Incredible Hulk who sold his prized video game system for a ticket to Tinseltown, a Midwestern beauty queen-turned-Wonder Woman and a Batman in need of a little therapy.

    “Paris:  Je T’aime” (2006)

    Paris comes to life in this whimsical patchwork of 18 five-minute shorts united by a common theme — love in the City of Lights — and helmed by an international cast of filmmakers, including Gus Van Sant, Olivier Assayas and Alexander Payne. Natalie Portman plays an American actress who captures the heart of a blind student; Juliette Binoche is visited by a ghostly Willem Dafoe; Bob Hoskins solicits a prostitute’s advice on pleasing his wife.

    “Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?” (2006)

    When brash trailer park resident Teri Horton bought a secondhand painting for five bucks, little did she know it could be a genuine Jackson Pollock worth millions. This film documents Horton’s volatile 15-year journey into the heart of the art world’s elitist establishment to have the painting authenticated. The clash between stuffy art dealers and the cussin’, beer-drinkin’ Horton is funny, eye-opening and utterly unforgettable.

    “My Kid Could Paint That” (2007)

    Amir Bar-Lev directs this thought-provoking documentary about a precocious 4-year-old artist whose abstract works have drawn critical comparisons with modernist greats such as Kandinsky, Picasso and Pollack. Her talents have already profited her and her parents hundreds of thousands of dollars. But is she truly an artistic visionary trapped in the body of a preschooler, or is her gift with a paintbrush mere illusion?

    “Loose Change” (2009)

    Informed by footage from Sept. 11, interviews with experts and new evidence, filmmaker Dylan Avery argues that the world hasn’t heard the full truth behind the terrorist attacks and urges citizens to demand accountability from the U.S. government. In this provocative documentary, Avery also takes a sobering walk through other infamous historical events, such as the Vietnam War, and what role politicians have had in their creation.

    “A Crude Awakening:  The Oil Crash” (2006)

    Award-winning filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack examine the world’s dependency on oil and the impending chaos that’s sure to follow when the resource is dry in this straight-from-the-headlines documentary. Through expert interviews on a hot-button topic that might represent the world’s most dire crisis, the film underscores our desperate need for alternative energy and spells out in startling detail the challenge we face in finding it.

    “An American in Paris” (1951)

    Once a struggling painter, opportunistic American artist Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) now lives in the City of Light, enjoying the patronage of a well-heeled, amorous American gallery owner (Nina Foch) — and swiftly falling for a willowy French street urchin (Leslie Caron). Trouble is, the object of Mulligan’s affection also happens to be engaged to a famous French singer (Georges Guétary). This tour de force movie musical nabbed seven Oscars.

    “Vanilla Sky” (2001)

    David Aames (Tom Cruise) has it all: wealth, good looks and a gorgeous woman (Cameron Diaz) on his arm. But just when he’s found true love with warmhearted Sofia (Penélope Cruz), his face is horribly disfigured in a car accident, and he loses everything … or does he? Director Cameron Crowe delivers a bizarre yet beautiful take on love, beauty and morality inspired by Alejandro Amenábar’s Spanish-language film Open Your Eyes, also starring Cruz.

    “White Christmas” (1954)

    Having left the Army following W.W.II, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, as the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General.

    “Breakin’” (1984)

    ‘Breakin’: A struggling young jazz dancer (Lucinda Dickey) meets up with two break-dancers. Together they become the sensation of the street crowds. Features ICE-T in his film debut as a club MC.

    “Whip It” (2009)

    In a town near Austin, Bliss Cavendar’s strong-willed mom believes Bliss, at 17, can win pageants – the key to a happy life. Bliss isn’t the beauty pageant type: she’s shy, quiet, and has just one friend, Pash, her fellow waitress at a diner. Things change for Bliss when she discovers a women’s roller derby league in Austin, tries out, proves to be whip fast, and makes a team. Now she needs to become someone tough on the rink, keep her parents from finding out where she goes twice a week, and do something about a first crush, on a musician she meets at the derby. Meanwhile, mom still sees Bliss as Miss Bluebonnet. Things are on a collision course; will everyone get banged up?




    It’s Not You, It’s Me – The movie. Not my relationship nightmares.

    It's Not You, It's Me

    MV5BMTUwNTcxNjI1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDgzNjcwMDE@._V1_SX214_AL_No, this isn’t another one of my dating stories, believe it or not, it’s about a “brutally humorous” independent film, its’ writer/director, and his pick-up truck.


    Nathan Ives :: Writer / Director

    I was asked by filmmaker Nathan Ives to watch, review and socially spread the word about his latest star-packed film, It’s Not You, It’s Me (2013).  I was honored to be asked to participate in not only this movie viewing, but this movie movement (more of that to follow).

    This super-edgy comedy revolves around commitment-phobe Dave (played by Band of Brothers’ star, Ross McCall) battling his inner voices (literally personified by actors such as Erick Avari) over his recent break up with long-time girlfriend, Carrie (played by High Fidelity’s Joelle Carter), who is battling her own inner insecurities (also literally personified by actors such as super star Vivica A. Fox and The Daily Show with John Stewart’s Beth Littleford).

    Ives’ internal and external dialogues are raw exchanges leaving the viewer laughing in their hilarity, while sobbing simultaneously in their reality — maybe this is about my relationship nightmares.  Ives brilliantly captures the ever-looming female psyche’s fear of actually becoming the never-married, crazy cat lady and the seemingly will-never-move-past-the-frat-keg-party-emotionally male pysche.

    Ives is not only making independent film waves by writing, directing, and producing his own film, It’s Not You, It’s Me is gaining recognition because of its’ unique distribution approach – a pick-up truck.

    Gaining entry into your local Cineplex down the street is more complicated – and more costly – than any movie go-er can imagine.  In addition to basically signing away “all rights,” many times small, independent filmmakers are left to pay a $50,000 marketing fee, upwards of 15% commissions, and signing a minimum 15-year contract – just for the maybe, cross your fingers, possibility to show in theaters next to the big, mega-producing, Hollywood conglomerates such as 20th Century Fox, Universal and MGM Studios.

    Ives’ solution? To follow the business model pioneered in the music industry – bypass the label and distribute yourself. With today’s technology, patterning the path of success music stars and his pick-up truck, Ives hit the road in a high-tech, grassroots cross-country campaign to promote his movie one town and one click at a time.

    Nathan Ives

    A man, a film and his pick-up truck. | Photo courtesy of

    Ives’s goal is not only to promote and show his film, but to create a sustainable business model for other small indie hopefuls to follow, implement and share, all with the aid of the world wide web.  Just as in the music industry, current success – both monetary and in popularity – is no longer centered around distribution units; whether it is music or film, content can be distributed by mere “access” alone.  Ives, just like artists Radiohead, The Hold Steady, Beyonce, and many more others, believes in mobile, digital content that can be easily viewed and shared through such channels as iTunes,, Hulu,  individual websites and social media by the simple step of viewers paying per view or per download.

    In the spirit of independent film and the new, film eDistribution model, please visit, pay-per-view/download and, of course, share Nathan Ives’ humor, film, and story.


    Like the INYITM Facebook page, here.

    Read more about INYITM on IMDb, here.
    Watch and buy on iTunes and

    Read more about Mule Films, here.

    Read more about Nathan Ives and his adventures on the road in this pick-up truck, here.

    Film, Graphic Design, STYLE

    L’Odyssée de Cartier, Je t’aime!

    For precisely 3.5 minutes, I stood captivated, frozen in place,  in hot rollers and underwear by what I was viewing on TV. I scrambled to figure out if what I was viewing was a The Today Show segment, an official commercial or if one of my cats had tried to eat the remote again and inadvertently changed the channel to the SyFy Network.

    L’Odyssée de Cartier, Je t’aime!

    L’Odyssée de Cartier, Je t’aime!

    I was viewing stunning, out-of-this world cinematography — breathtaking landscapes, magical creatures, a gorgeous [non-CGI!] panther and, exquisite, exquisite jewelry — CARTIER jewelry, in fact — I’d know those pieces anywhere.

    After a full, audible gasp at the realization I was watching art, storytelling, and cinema — marketing at its’ purest — and that my hair was going to burn off if I didn’t get the hot rollers out, I finished getting dressed and rushed to scour the internet to find the who, what, when, where and how for this Cartier masterpiece.

    Rumored to have cost some $4 million Euros [$5.2 million USD], Cartier produced L’Odyssée de Cartier to commemorate their 165th anniversary. Filming on location and on elaborate sets  in Prague, Italy, France and Spain, to name a few, three panthers and handfuls of handlers, and a symphony recording at Abbey Road — the details of L’Odyssée kept getting more delicious the deeper I dug.

    Directed by Bruno Aveillan with music composed by Pierre Adenot, this duo set out to create a “subtle metaphor of Cartier’s elegance, free-spirit and independence” [as stated in L’Odyssée de Cartier’s Extras] through Cartier’s iconic symbol, the panther.

    Cartier's Jeanne Toussaint

    Cartier’s Jeanne Toussaint

    Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier’s first female director of design and nicknamed “The Panther,” re-envisioned Cartier’s traditional art deco aesthetic into the exotic — the Panthere de Cartier Collection.  During the 1930s, the diamond-and-onyx encrusted panther symbolized freedom and boldness with exotic undertones at a time when women were still expected to wear “polite” pearls and concede their right to vote in many parts of the world.

    L’Odyssée de Cartier’s musical score drips with the sensuality of Toussaint’s panther — exotic, feminine, sexy — while each object in each scene has brilliant and intentional meaning.

    Cartier's Panthere Bracelet

    Cartier’s Panthere Bracelet

    From Cartier’s first store in Paris, to Toussaint’s legendary diamond-and-onyx panther, to Trinity rings, to the wedding-ring-every-girl-dreams-of, to the rolling Love bracelets on the mountain top, to Alberto Santos Dumont’s airplane [the namesake of the timeless Santos men’s timepiece] to Shalom Harlow  wearing Chinese designer Yiqing Yinwith’s  striking gown in Cartier red, to finishing…*second audible gasp*…finishing with the pièce de résistance…the 784-diamond, 91-onyx, emerald-eyed panther that houses the 51.58-carat divine green beryl gemstone.

    Final audible gasp. I’ve died and gone to marketing heaven. L’Odyssée de Cartier, Je t’aime!