Muay Thai in the Movies: Only God Forgives

Muay Thai in the Movies: Only God Forgives

In a recent interview, Ryan Gosling expressed a desire to step away from acting for a little while, stating, “I’ve been doing it too much… I’ve lost perspective on what I’m doing. I think it’s good for me to take a break and reassess why I’m doing it and how I’m doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does.”

I am fully supportive of anyone who wants to pursue a Vision Quest, but I’d also like to point out that thankfully Ryan made this decision after filming already wrapped for ‘Only God Forgives,’ which reunited him with ‘Drive’ director, Nicolas Winding Refn.  Ryan plays a British gangster running a Muay Thai boxing club in Bangkok whose brother is murdered, and is then forced to wreak violent vengeance on the killer. Oh, yes. ‘Drive’ + Muay Thai = 100% WIN.  I was even more excited when I found out that the cinematographer for this movie was Larry Smith, who shot ‘Bronson’ and pretty much guarantees that even if this movie is cheesy and sucks, I am still going to love it.  Is it too much to hope that there will be a full-on elbow throwing brawl ending with a face teep KO in an elevator?

UPDATE: New trailer just released!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEFCN4qaYt4&feature=player_embedded

One to watch: Aidan Turner

I doubt that I was alone in feeling surprised and disappointed when Peter Jackson’s big screen production of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ didn’t win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the Oscars, especially considering that even many of the animals were styled.  If nothing else, Jackson and his team deserve a huge amount of credit for creating thirteen charming, even sexy, dwarves.

Yes.  I said sexy dwarves.  Before you accuse me of being some kind of weird fetishist perv (for the record, I am not alone in thinking dwarves are the new sexy if Buzzfeed’s article is any indication), Jackson’s dwarves seem way more like super compact Viking warriors and are a far cry from the wizened, hooded gang that showed up in the 1977 cartoon.  It’s a bit of a shame that you can’t see more of the actual men under the makeup as they’re all pretty adorable.  Probably the easiest to recognize in real life due to his lack of face prosthetics in the movie (something that the other dwarves sitting for over 3 hours in the makeup chair were pretty jealous of) is Aidan Turner, who plays one of a pair of younger dwarf brothers named Fili and Kili.  He’s Kili, in case you were wondering (and if bearded blond dwarves are more to your liking, treat yourself and look up Kiwi actor and artist, Dean O’Gorman, who plays his brother, Fili).

Turner seems to have a penchant for non-human roles.  In addition to reprising his role as Kili in the two forthcoming ‘Hobbit’ movies, his next big screen appearance will be as werewolf Luke Garroway in this summer’s film ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,’ adapted from Cassandra Clare’s novel.  However, before he was a dwarf or a werewolf, Turner was probably most well known for his portrayal of broody, blood teetotaling vampire, John Mitchell on the BBC’s first three seasons of Being Human.  ‘

The Hobbit’ will be released on DVD today, but if dwarves are not your thing, you can get a peek of Turner playing vampire here, and the rest of the series is available on Netflix.

Happy viewing!

You can now follow me on Bloglovin!

Hello.  My name is Ro and I have a bit of a blog addiction.  So thankful for this website, which allows me to bypass the horrible task of arranging my internet bookmarks and to easily manage my blog subscriptions. They also recently released a very handy iPhone app which can be downloaded here.

I’m very excited to finally be able to feature my own blog. Hopefully I’ll see you there.

Fashion Flashback: Before he was Mr. Suit & Tie

Fashion Flashback: Before he was Mr. Suit & Tie

Whenever I look at my old pictures I get this weird, visceral jolt as I’m transported back in time, usually followed very quickly by the thought, “I should burn all the evidence,” which of course I never do, but I’ve been very tempted.

Child and tween celebrities don’t even have the luxury of considering that option as all their growing pains are meticulously documented by the media but I guess the inability to hide your past under a rock is part of the price you pay for stardom. That said, wow, how quickly they grow right? Justin Timberlake has come a long ways since his N’Sync days, and his look has evolved quite a bit over the last decade. He’s even all grown-up and married now. Congrats, Justin, you’ve aged quite nicely. Now button up your suit, fix your tie, tip your dapper hat, and enjoy the flashback.

*Photo courtesy of Refinery29

Girl Crush: Samantha Barks

Girl Crush: Samantha Barks

*Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Black dress by Valentino, necklace by House of Waris for Forevermark

I can’t think of anyone who ever wanted to be Cosette in Les Miserables. Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her unrequited love, street urchin status, and untimely death on the barricades, it was widely agreed that Eponine was the way cooler demoiselle de la revolución.

I’m very happy with the way that the impossibly wasp-waisted Samantha Barks and her big voice brought the character to life on the big screen (how on earth she managed to sing the way she did while cinched into a corset is a mystery to me, but that’s talent in itself). Plus, she cleans up super-nice! While everyone else was fawning over Jennifer Lawrence, I could not get over how Samantha was sartorially slaying it every single step of the way at the Oscars.

Agree?  Who was your fashionable favorite?

Samantha+Barks+85th+Annual+Academy+Awards+rz4krnaZpGNl.jpg

Shine Bright – R.I.P. Ramon “Diamond” Dekkers

I seem to be the bearer of bad news lately. I was crushed to hear that the Muay Thai legend, Ramon “Diamond” Dekkers, had died of a heart attack while riding his bicycle in his hometown of Breda this past Wednesday afternoon. The rumor was so fresh that I literally had to translate Dutch news pages to get the story, and the whole time I was keening, “Please, let it be a hoax!” Unfortunately, it is all too true.  Dekkers passed away too young at age 43.

Anyone who is curious about Muay Thai or watches a fight eventually learns about Dekkers, an eight-time World Champion with over 200 pro fights by the time he retired.  For the uninitiated, I suggest doing a web search for the fights between Dekkers and Coban “the Crusher” Lookchaomaesaitong, which I consider to be the Muay Thai rivalry equivalent of Gatti versus Ward.

Finally, to give you another idea of what a legend the man is, a guy who knew I was into Muay Thai used a rare Dekkers highlight reel as date bait to bring me back to his apartment, claiming the tape (VHS, serious) had “kicks so sick, you’re going to lose your mind.”  Yeah, I went to his apartment to watch the tape.  It was amazing.

Keep on shining, Ramon.  Hope you’re still kicking ass wherever you are now.

Keiko Fukuda: “Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful.”

If you are remotely interested in the world of women’s sports and in particular, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), then chances are you have heard of a former Olympic Bronze Medalist Judoka named Ronda Rousey who is making waves in the UFC. However, long before Ronda was even a gleam in her daddy’s eye, another woman named Keiko Fukuda was making her own incredible journey in the world of martial arts, quietly and determinedly leading the way for Ronda and many other women like her.

I was incredibly saddened to hear that Shihan (Grand Master) Keiko Fukuda died recently at the very ripe and respectable age of 99. Descended from samurai, she was the last living person to have trained directly under Master Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, at the Kodokan, as one of a class of only 24 women. She is also the first and only woman ever to receive the rank of 10th dan. The first I ever heard of her was when she was awarded this honor from USA Judo after literally a LIFETIME devoted to teaching, in July 2011.

For anyone who whines about having to wait their turn, pipe down and listen up. Due to the sexist and traditional belief that there was no need for women to progress past the 5th level, Fukuda had to wait 30 years, while her male colleagues advanced, before she was finally promoted to the 6th dan in 1972. She was then denied promotion again to the 9th dan by the Kodokan just before her 88th birthday (although she received it later in 2006). A weaker person might have become embittered or turned their back on the sport, but despite these hardships, Fukuda displayed incredible grace, remained a lifelong devotee and ambassador, and was a living embodiment of her motto: “Be gentle, kind, and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically.”

Her lifelong achievements and dedication are even more incredible when you think of the other traditional mores of her time and culture. If you think it’s hard to swim against the current here in the United States, you’ve probably never experienced the joys of trying to make your own way in a Confucian society. Members of her family hoped she would eventually marry one of the other Judo practitioners, but Fukuda remained unwed, dedicating her life to the art of Judo and teaching that art to others, saying that it “was my marriage… I just never imagined how long this road would be.”

Keiko Fukuda is a role model to any woman anywhere who wants to achieve something in a male dominated arena, athletic or otherwise. The first time I watched the above clip, I cried. In fact, I cry every single time I watch it, and am always amazed and awed by the strength of this remarkable woman. Rest in peace, Shihan Fukuda. Thank you. You were and will always be an inspiration.

Tracey Emin’s Valentine to New York City

Like most of my fellow New Yorkers, I find Times Square to be an unbearable tourist wasteland, and can only stand extremely limited doses of the crowds and neon billboards (shoving, with elbows, on my hurried way elsewhere), but tonight you might find me braving the hordes of couples rushing to and from dinner and the Broadway shows, standing in the heart of midtown a few minutes before midnight, head tilted upwards, to catch Tracey Emin’s Valentine to New York City.

What can I say… I’m a romantic (sometimes) and we do crazy things for the city we love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Makeup Collections: Into the Gloss’s Top Shelf

Makeup Collections: Into the Gloss’s Top Shelf

I am one of those people you might be hesitant about inviting to your next party because I L-O-V-E sneaking a peek behind the shower curtain to see what kinds of soap and shampoo and conditioner you’ve got, and opening your medicine cabinet to see what kind of toothpaste you use.  Some of my favorite kinds of videos and blog posts from beauty gurus and bloggers are those ridiculously large beauty collections and what’s in my shower type posts.  Maybe it makes me nosy, but who doesn’t have a little bit of a voyeuristic streak in them?

That’s why I adore Into The Gloss for their Top Shelf section, which showcases the actual vanities, bathroom counters, and beauty habits of various fashionable persons.  It’s kind of like the Coveteur, but way more exciting for beauty-philes.  This past week they profiled Anna Sui!  ANNA SUI, people!  I literally let out a tiny yelp of excitement when I saw her pic.  She was one of the first fashion names I ever became familiar with, and Sui Dreams was my first designer fragrance splurge.  I even remember how excited I was when she launched her color cosmetics line, with its black lacquer rose packaging and beautifully bohemian punk vibe.  My first purchase was a purple eyeshadow.  Of course!

Her feature does not disappoint; she is utterly candid and entertaining about her beauty routines and how they’ve evolved over time, and her decor is all you would expect and more.  I absolutely dig her old school hexagonal bathroom tile and the white rose candelabra.

Okay, now that I’m done swooning, I’m off to hunt for lipstick #400.

A Little Pinspiration: Art & Culture

A Little Pinspiration: Art & Culture

Sometimes it saddens me that the majority of repins from my Pinterest account are pictures of food and other insanely delicious looking Franken-dessert cookie/cake frosted chocolatey hybrids, only because there are so many other interesting things on there to see.

A few things that amazed me this week:

  • French photographer Thierry Cohen’s photo-illustrations of what night skies over major cities would look like minus the light pollution:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/03/magazine/look-stars.html?ref=magazine

  • The charming illustrations of French artist, David Cessac – love this one of Karl Lagerfeld!

http://www.davidcessac.com/#karl-lagerfeld

  • As a native New Yorker, of course I feel a particular affinity for the sketches of my hometown, but Untapped Cities also provides beautifully written insight and art about many other urban communities across the globe, such as Paris, Los Angeles, Detroit, and London:

http://untappedcities.com

Have a Pinterest account?  If you have any particularly inspiring pins that made you stop and stare this week, please feel free to share, and if you like these bits, you can check out the rest of my boards here:

Thanks for reading!