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Movies: Costume designers Gary Jones, Ann Roth elevate movies

Movies: Costume designers Gary Jones, Ann Roth elevate movies
'Going In Style' stars Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine as buddies who decide to rob a bank after they discover their pensions have been frozen. It features costume designs by Bethlehem's Gary Jones. (Warner Home Entertainment / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Costume designers Gary Jones, who lives in Bethlehem, and Ann Roth, who lives in Lower Mount Bethel Township, have between them dressed everyone from Frank Sinatra and Jim Carrey to Barbra Streisand and Anne Hathaway.

Both of them continue to work on high-profile movies and TV shows. Jones is outfitting the actors on the reboot of "The Tick," premiering Aug. 25 on Amazon, while Roth is helping Steven Spielberg bring the story of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers to life in "The Papers," due in theaters in 2018.

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This month, a number of the designers' movies are making their Blu-ray debuts, and the releases are wonderful showcases for these talented artists.

"Going In Style" (2017, Warner, PG-13), which features costume designs by Jones, stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as buddies who decide to rob a bank after they discover their pensions have been frozen.

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The comedy wastes an opportunity to confront questions on a shaky economy, but director Zach Braff understands that what keeps the action humming along is the chemistry and charisma of its stars.

Jones helps Braff communicate the pals' deep friendship by making their clothing choices occasionally complement each other. It's also fun to see the guys dress up for the heist, finally abandoning their sweat suits, cuddly sweaters and Hawaiian shirts for finely cut suits.

Two vintage titles from Roth, both based on true stories, showcase different sides of the designer. "Silkwood" (1983, Kino, R) marked the beginning of Roth's partnership with Meryl Streep, which has continued for more than 30 years and 10 movies, including "The Hours," "Mamma Mia" and the upcoming "Papers."

Streep stars as Karen Silkwood, the real-life nuclear power plant worker who tried to blow the whistle of her employers before dying in a car accident under suspicious circumstances. The miracle of the movie is that it not only makes you wary of the nuclear power industry but also celebrates the alternative family Silkwood created with her boyfriend (Kurt Russell) and gay best friend (Cher).

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Roth helps Streep bring Silkwood to life by dressing her in funky denim jackets and well-worn sweatshirts. Thanks to Streep and Roth, Karen Silkwood comes off as a flawed, funny and fearless woman who lost her life trying to do the right thing.

"The Valachi Papers" (1972, Twilight Time, PG), an uneven docudrama about mob informer Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson), had the misfortune of being released only a few months after "The Godfather."

While nowhere near as good as Francis Coppola's classic, it does a superb job depicting the rituals of the Cosa Nostra. Most of the action unfolds in flashback as Valachi spills his story to an FBI agent (Gerald S. O'Loughlin) eager to understand the inner workings of the Genovese crime family.

Bronson turns in one of his typically laid-back yet beautifully unmannered performances. Aided by Roth's meticulously researched wardrobe, he manages to bring a stock figure vibrantly to life.

Twitter @goguidelv

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