Sunday, 20 April 2014

Guest Post- There can be only one Amar-Prem

Nik's note: Lately, I have been intending to focus on Bollywood slightly more in this blog. And there are few Bollywood movies I love more than Rajkumar Santoshi's cult comedy Andaz Apna Apna. It recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and I thought it would make a perfect post for my blog. Unfortunately though, I am terrible at writing stuff for my own blog and so I asked one of my good friends Ratna to help me out. She's an even bigger fan of the movie than I am and as you will see, has a hilarious style of writing. Ratna has Indianized her article very well and for those of you who might not get her references, I will explain them at the end of the article. I hope you enjoy the post and check out the movie. It is a total classic!

I am not going to make this a regular tribute post for Andaz Apna Apna, and there are a couple of reasons why. Firstly, I am not a 90s kid, i.e. I did not grow up in the 90s when this film came out (I was, by a happy coincidence, born in the very year the film released) and hence will not be able to chart the miraculous growth the film’s popularity saw over the course of these two decades. Secondly, I am sure there are plenty of Bollywood-knowledgeable people out there who have already written great tributes for the film, catching on nuances and Bollywood references in it which my comparatively less-competent eyes have missed even after watching the film half a dozen times.
Keeping these conditions in mind, what possibly could I, a kid from the new millennium, the millennium of shoddy sequels (read: the Dhoom franchise) and disastrous remakes (read: Ram Gopal Verma ki Aag) possibly write which involves Andaz Apna Apna? Well, if recent Bollywood buzz is anything to go by one topic comes to mind- Why We Should Never Ever *Ever* Make A Sequel to Andaz Apna Apna.
A couple of weeks ago my friends alerted me to the report that this gem from the 90s is going to be remade, and my first question was, "Who will play the leads?" 'cuz, let’s face it, it is no easy job recreating the magic Aamir and Salman created in the original. The only other place such crackling chemistry has been seen is between Ram and Bharat from the Hindu epics, as testified by trusty Sevaram Ji1. Now that tells you something. Coming back to the story, I got the heart-breaking reply: Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love Ranbir Kapoor. I really do. I mean, if there is one young man in Bollywood today who is making my dil badtameez2, it's him. But honestly, Ranbir Kapoor and comedy? That’s more like a badtameez combination, period. I knew it right in the interval of Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahaani that this blue-blooded, doll-faced, mind-blowingly talented heart-stealer is just not chalked out for the comedy stakes. His overacting (perhaps an attempt at overcompensating for the insipid punchlines in the script) was unbearable after a point and after the film I was almost ready to give up on him, when BAAM came Wake Up Sid! Anywho, point is, his Happy Club left me more perplexed, dejected and bored than happy. I was like, "Is this the same hottie from Bachna Ae Haseeno?!?" I did not even attempt to watch Besharam. The good people who made the film’s trailer put enough material in it to have me warned against such a life-threatening endeavour. Besides, once bitten, twice shy.
Don’t even get me started on how inappropriate Imran Khan is for starring in Andaz Apna Apna. Or for acting, in general. After a very promising start in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na and Kidnap (though I have a creeping suspicion I am the only one who likes the latter. What? He showed enough of his abs in the film to keep me happy. Don't judge me, okay!), this Khan lad has sped his way downhill into the tooh3 of overacting. He showed some hope in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and then crushed it again brutally with the comic take on Swades that was Gori Tere Pyaar Mein and the plain nightmarish horror that was Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. While the rest of the acting world gets better with each film they star in, hamara Imran4 chooses to be the Benjamin Button of acting: worse with every consecutive film.
It's not Ranbir or Imran’s fault really. Comedy is a difficult genre to master and the best have tried and failed at it. These two are supposed to be two of the best that Bollywood has to offer today, and they are both *terrible* at comedy. I am not saying Salman Khan was a brilliant comedian when he did Andaz Apna Apna, but you have to agree there was something endearing about his portrayal of the slightly naïve, slightly stupid, slightly wicked Prem that has immortalized the character in the annals of Bollywood comedy. Who can forget the high-pitched "Oooi ma!5" he sounded at the drop of a hat? And Aamir’s Amar? It was Aamir’s Amar, enough said! Amar was the original bloody #1 most stupid duffer (waddup Monsoon Wedding reference) smartass with a heart of gold and a seldom appearing intelligence, and Aamir Khan nailed it with his infamous perfection. I mean, just look at his face6 in the restaurant scene where Prem stands on the other side of the glass laughing at their unexpected switch of fortunes. Pure, unadulterated over-smartness going into the perfect degree of shock that is required off someone who has to clean the plates of the couple of dozen guests at the restaurant that evening after realizing on the *same* evening that one is not going to marry the daughter of the crorepati7 from London after all. In two simple words, class acting! I admit I don't know who would be playing what, but neither could Ranbir pull something like that off nor could Imran match his uncle's supreme comic timing by even half.

And it's not just Ranbir and Imran. There are plenty of other reasons why Bollywood is no longer capable of producing more Andaz Apna Apnas. Look at the other members of the cast and crew, the film's director, Rajkumar Santoshi, to begin with. Whatever happened to him once he hit the 21st century?! What are all these ajab gazab prem kahaanis8 and phata poster nikla heroes9 he is subjecting us viewers to? Unlike the genuinely humorous Andaz Apna Apna (whose initial failure at the Box Office still remains a mystery to every Indian cine-goer, more so to us products of the next decade), I highly doubt Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahaani and Phata Poster Nikla Hero will stand the test of time to emerge as cult hits. And I suspect it has a lot to do with the kind of scripts Rajkumar Santoshi has started directing. Suddenly it's no longer about comedy arising from unforeseen, albeit hilarious circumstances being tackled by ingenious methods by the stupidly smart and smartly stupid heroes anymore. Sure Santoshi is still following his tried and tested formula of the initial good-for-nothing becoming the eventual saviour of the day, but where are all the dhamaal10 punchlines and the listen-carefully-or-you'll-miss-it Bollywood references that are supposed to zing up the script? All we get in a Santoshi film now is idolization of the single hero for the first half-hour, followed by a couple of run-of-the-mill romantic songs between the hero and his arm-candy (who we will be returning to later) before the interval, followed by the rushed confusion of the story's climax where every character from the script crowds the scene in what is supposed to be a hilarious fight sequence (if it were not for its predictability) before we are lead to an abrupt resolution where the hero saves the day. Where are all the adorably memorable supporting actors of Andaz Apna Apna that have contributed to half of the film’s current status as a comic classic? I dare you, find me one supporting character from Santoshi's recent comedies that is as memorable as a Crime Master Gogo or a Raabert11. I mean, Santoshi made the original Andaz Apna Apna and now even he can’t make another Andaz Apna Apna. This, unfortunately, points to the fact that no one anymore can make an Andaz Apna Apna.  

And here we come to the arm-candies, aka the Katrina Kaifs and the Ileana D'Cruzes of Bollywood. Enough has been said about their utter dispensability as far as the script is concerned, and yet it is proclaimed that no one would go watch a film that does not have at least one number where the heroine shakes her stuff on the dance floor. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I respect Andaz Apna Apna so much: the film does not objectify its female characters as overtly as they are done today. Yes Raveena Bajaj and Karishma were the trophy girls with the bucks who both boys were competing for and who were stupid enough to not recognize a guy from seeing him a day before in the garb of Nawabs12 (Wow, that sounds astonishingly like Taani from Rab New Bana Di Jodi13), but they made no qualms about it. They tempered their silliness with just the right amount of seemingly genuine wide-eyed innocence for them to not get annoying. Unfortunately, this can hardly be said of Katrina’s rendition of her character in Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahaani. And their costumes! That point I made about the ladies not being unnecessarily sexualized or objectified holds good here. Who can forget the teeny tiny white shorts over black bodysuit monstrosity that Karishma (Kapoor) flaunted in the scene where Dr. Prem Khuarana makes his entry in the house? I believe her stylist at the time must have been Superman. Anywho, the point is that instead of feeling the need to "strengthen" their film with an "item number,14" filmmakers of the 90s had enough confidence in their material to let their heroines look as unattractive as they wished to (surely Karishma Kapoor and Raveena Tandon were aware that they look unattractive in their outfits, right? Right?!). Which actress today has it in her to be able to pull that off? I suspect the answer once again is ‘no one’.

Among the reasons for not making a sequel to AAA elaborated above, there are a couple of others which jolt me out of sleep with cold shakes at night, such as the thought of the sequel having a Yo Yo Honey Singh15 soundtrack in it where the original Amar and Prem will be made to dance to lyrics like "Aaj green hain grass grass grass grass…16" Terrifying!
Anways, here's some good advice for the misguided folks of Bollywood who are considering making a sequel to Andaz Apna Apna: don’t do it. Every time you feel the idea creep up to your brain, remind yourself of what happened when the makers of Hera Pheri thought it would be a good idea to make Phir Hera Pheri, and that should do it. Amar-Prem there can only be one!

-by Ratna A. Chaudhuri
(If you liked this article, please pay Ratna in Benedict Cumberbatches. She says thanks.)


References:
  1. Refers to the scene in AAA when Amar and Prem end up staying at the same guest house, run by Sevaram Ji, and start fighting but in the eyes of the latter are as though the brothers Ram and Bharat from Hindu epic, Mahabharata, have incarnated in front of him.
  2. Popular song called "Badtameez Dil" from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani which stars Ranbir Kapoor. Literally means "misbehaving heart".
  3. Song called "Tooh" from the movie Gori Tere Pyaar Mein starring Imran Khan. Means "butt" in Punjabi.
  4. Humara = our
  5. "Oooi ma!" is one of the catchphrases of Prem. Kind of like an OMG.
  6. This is one of my most favourite comedy scenes of all time and my current banner is from this scene.
  7. One crore = 10 million. So basically their father is a millionaire.
  8. Refers to the movie Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani which starred Ranbir and Katrina Kaif.
  9. Refers to the movie Phata Poster Nikla Hero
  10. Literally "dhamaal" means something like a ruckus but in Bollywood terms, it's closer to the "awesome" of nowadays.
  11. Crime Master Gogo and Raabert are supporting characters in the movie who are cult heroes in their own right. The Inigo Montayas and Egon Spenglers of Bollywood tbh. And side note: no one in Bollywood is called Robert. It's always Raabert and frankly, it's better that way.
  12. Nawabs are a group of Indians, generally Muslim, from specific parts of India and they are of a higher social status.
  13. Instead of explaining the reference, I'll just give an easier example- think everyone and Superman/Clark Kent
  14. Most Bollywood movies nowadays have at least one song in it that has a scantily clad actress dancing in a crowd-pleasing number which usually has nonsensical lyrics.
  15. Yo Yo Honey Singh is like a pop idol among Indians currently. To those who bitch about Justin Bieber and One Direction, you know NOTHING of our pain, OR stupidity!
  16. That's apparently not a real song. I think Ratna is trying to show the kind of idiotic lyrics found in popular Hindi songs today, especially those sung by the uber-talented Yo Yo. The English meaning is "Today the grass is green green green green". Sorta... kinda...

All the movies referenced in the article:
Isn't 90s Bollywood dancing just the best? I wonder what the choreographers were on...

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 24

Episode 24: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In this episode, Mette, Sofia and I talk about the newest Marvel offering, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It's a super fun episode as we introduce a new feature, the uber-sophisticated game of "Fuck, Marry, Kill". As you can guess, we giggle the hell out of this episode but it's a fun one. We hope you enjoy it :)

Content: 
00:43: Chick-chatter
03:24: Trailer
03:55: Interesting Movie of the Fortnight
17:03: Main discussion on Captain America: The Winter Soldier
55:40: Fuck, Marry, Kill: Superhero edition
1:10:35: Plugs and Goodbyes

Songs:
David Zippel and Alan Menken "Star Spangled Man"
Marvin Gaye "Trouble Man"
Rufus Wainwright "Across The Universe"


Follow us at: facebook.com/acrosstheuniversepodcast
Write to us at: acrosstheuniversepodcast@gmail.com
Find us on iTunes: search for Across the Universe Podcast
Listen to us on: Stitcher Radio
Download episodes from: Our Dropbox page

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Thoughts

        Hi guys! Remember that time when I stopped writing these posts for like 3 months and then promised to never do so again and then did not write them for another month- yeahhhh... sorry about that. I am kind of out of ideas about what to do for this blog. Do you guys have anything that you might want to see me tackle (probably badly but still)? Help, I'm useless.

1) Sofia Coppola is going to direct the live-action adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid (and not the Disney one)! YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY! I literally cannot imagine what this will be like, apart from the gorgeous cinematography *obviously*, and that's kind of awesome. Coppola is such a feminine director and I am really psyched to see what she does with the story. It's based on the original story, i.e., the one with the sad ending and the script is by the writers of 50 Shades of Grey and Shame so that's, er, interesting.

2) So Marvel has apparently lined up movies till 2028. What the fuck?! That's total madness. I'm sorry that I'm an age freak but I'll be 36 then and it's disturbing to think that even though I have no idea where I will be or what I will be doing (hopefully Ryan Gosling- BA DUM TSS) at that point in my life, I *know* that I will be watching Marvel movies then. I can't even imagine what the world will be like in 2028. Just UGH!

3) Pixar is going to make The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3. Even though I was initially pissed off about the former (not even going to address the latter- your mess, Pixar), I heard that Brad Bird is the one making it and then thought about how Pixar DID make the Toy Story trilogy and now I'm on board. Also, even though I forgot to add her, Edna Mode was one of my honourable mentions in Sati's spin-off blogathon because I would love a film just about her. She better return. #nocapes

4) The sequel to Magic Mike is going to be called Magic Mike XXL and I love it. Duh. They haven't finalised the cast yet but going by my recent Google searches, I would like Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Ryan Gosling, Matthew Goode, Jack O' Connell, Xavier Samuel, Rodrigo Santoro, Daniel Sharman, Fassy, the twins from Teen Wolf and so on. Anyone would actually do because the first film made me like people like Alex Pettyfer and it was also the beginning of McConaissance for me. Just let there be some good ol' fashioned male stripping and you have my money (in singles. Duh).

5) Almost casting news- David Fincher wants Christian Bale to star in the Steve Jobs movie that Aaron Sorkin wrote. I dig this. Ryan Gosling might be producing and starring in a Busby Berkeley biopic. This is fantastic. I am slightly bored of his silent, conflicted hero roles. If he does this film, he will be dancing and choreographing and stuff. HELLZ YEAH! Also lots of romancing because Berkeley was married 6 times. HELLZZZ YEAHHHH!!! Chiwetel Ejiofor is being considered to play the villain in the upcoming Bond 24. I am completely on board with this.

6) I don't know if I have declared this yet but 2014 is going to be the Year of Jack O'Connell and I'm super excited about that. The news that he will star in Joe Cornish's next feature Section 6 has increased my excitement tenfold. Cornish's previous movie Attack the Block, which was also his first, is one of smartest and most thrilling movies in recent years so this is excellent. The film is a historical spy thriller about the formation of MI6 after WW1 and its first director, Sir John Mansfield Cummings, who was actually the inspiration behind M in the James Bond series. O'Connell will play a young protege of Cummings.

7) John Green recently made the announcement that following the release of the adaption of his latest novel The Fault in Our Stars, the same team behind it will make the film version of another of his novels, Paper Towns. I really love Paper Towns too and I feel it has a more unique premise than TFiOS and so it could be a pretty interesting movie if made properly. Nat Wolff, who played Isaac in the TFiOS movie will be playing the protagonist Q in Paper Towns. I approve of this because he looks like how I imagined Q to be, unlike Ansel Elgort who is playing Gus in TFiOS.

8) I know most of you guys don't listen to Bollywood music but I have a feeling you might appreciate this if you like music in general. Those of you who do, this is kind of pure genius.
All the songs are listed here. I love most of them before the 2010s.

9) Trailers- I'm going to go from best to worst. So my favourite trailer that has come out in the last *sigh* month is Frank. I have seen it like a million times now and it cracks me up every time. I have this really strong feeling it might become my favourite movie of the year and possibly my favourite Fassy performance. Yes, I know his Steve McQueen movies will always have his best performances but the heart wants what it wants and if I know my heart well enough, it wants Fassy wearing a giant head and acting nuts (I should be a lyricist). The latest X-Men: Days of the Future Past is a tad impressive though I still think the film is going to fail, which sucks because it has incredible actors. Lucy pretty much looks batshit crazy and I really think the film isn't going to be good but hot damn, I LOVE SCARJO SO MUCH! She looks amazing and I definitely want to watch this. The True Blood season 7 teaser which is pretty much useless but I am sooooooooooo glad this show is ending. Jupiter Ascending looks like the kind of movie that will inevitably suck but at the same time, there's Eddie Redmayne in it and so I'll have to watch it. I don't particularly like the trailer of Night Moves because it looks pretty meh but I've read that the film is excellent and I do like the cast so I'm interested. Same goes for Begin Again although its USP for me is that it's made by the guy who made Once, which is a perfect film. Sex Tape can't possibly be an entire movie, right? With that thin and stupid a premise? Also, I like chubby Jason Segel and this weight loss makes me sad. And now, we get to the *really* good stuff. Bad Johnson has one of the craziest premises and posters I have EVER heard of/seen in my life. The trailer is relatively tame but just, WOWSERS! Also, this is exactly the kind of movie I expect Cam Gigandet to do. I saw the next trailer before Captain America: The Winter Soldier so just imagine my reaction- Pizza is a horror film about a pizza delivery man which is actually a remake of a South Indian film and it has just blown my mind. And finally, THE worst trailer of the month is that of the Indian movie copied from SherlockSamrat & Co.. No. Just no. Stop it, Bollywood!

Side note: I should totally just start a segment called "Stop it, Bollywood"/ "Why, Bollywood? Why?" and just cry over/rant about Bollywood. It just makes me so mad!

10) Finally, this reunion of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan brings me immense joy-
They should just get married. Well, the only people Matt Smith is allowed to marry, in order of preference, is me, Karen Gillan, Ian McKellen and Jennifer Lawrence. Since he hasn't found me yet, Gillan would do.


On that slightly insane note, byeeee! Oh and happy Thrones day :) Winter, boobs and incest are coming.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Months that were- February and March

           Okay so I am officially Mrs. Lazypants who did not post her end-of-the-month post for February out of sheer laziness. I'm sorry! To make up, I will do a big post for both February and March (yaay more effort for me). I actually watched and *gasp* read a lot in the last couple of months so here we go.

Firsts:
(February)
1) Afternoon Delight- Squandered potential.
2) The East- Pretty engaging plot but it kind of gets a bit bleh towards the end.
3) Capote- Saw it after PSH's death. I must watch/rewatch all of his films by the end of this year.
4) Last Night- For the podcast. Best Keira Knightley performance by a mile.
5) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead- I really liked it though some of the parallels between PSH's character in it and his death were depressing.
6) Pather Panchali- Saw it in class. Pretty good in spite of being too slow in parts.
7) Nebraska- Loved it completely. I found it incredibly human and touching and funny.
8) Philomena- Quite good too. One of those tales that sound so unbelievable but work because they are (apparently) true.
9) The Lego Movie- I'm sorry that I'm about to do this but EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! Loved the hell out of it. So clever, so fun.
10) Only Lovers Left Alive- Pretty cute and a nice addition to the vampire lore since it's about what happens after you have had those murderous cravings. Loved Tilda and Hiddles and ALL the literature references (pretty sure 80% of those would've gone over my head 2 years back).
11) Aparajito- My least favourite among the films of the Apu Tilogy but works because of Karuna Banerjee.
12) Highway- Randip Hooda officially made truck drivers look hot in this but man, Alia Bhatt is annoying. And the ending sucked!
13) Apur Sansar- My favourite out of the trilogy because of the setting and the focus on Apu.

(March)
14) Kill Your Darlings- It was decent enough with incredible chemistry between DanRad and Dane DeHaan. Some unfortunate soundtrack choices though.
15) Nymphomaniac vol 1- Easily the most entertaining Lars von Trier movie that I have seen. Liked it loads.
16) Nymphomaniac vol 2- And of course things then had to go v.v.v.v. dark. Not as good as the first but I did like Joe's story overall.
17) Queen- Absolutely adorable and funny and inspiring. More movies like this, Bollywood. Please!!
18) Thumbsucker- The main guy reminds me a great deal of Jesse Eisenberg. That's all. Meh movie.
19) Midnight Cowboy- I don't know what I was expecting but it was certainly not this. Loved it and the performances.
20) Full Metal Jacket- Officially my favourite war movie. Just brilliant. I so want to learn that opening monologue by Hartman.
21) Legend of the Guardians- Only Zack Snyder would have animated owls fighting with animated bats in slo-mo. Not cool, man.
22) High School Musical- After avoiding this film for 8 years, I had to give in and watch it for the podcast. Everyone just looked so stupid!
23) Life is Beautiful- I loved it. I cried and laughed a lot.
24) Girls Just Want to Have Fun- Silly but fun. Needed more Helen Hunt.
25) Fracture- Aww the Gos was so young in this. Still hot though. Good movie too.
26) The Thomas Crown Affair- Almost a little too style over substance but god that chess scene was hot! Also gave me my new banner.
27) This Is England '86- Hilarious in some parts and brutal in others. One very unique and unforgettable coming of age tale.
28) The Long, Hot Summer- Paul Newman *fans herself*
29) 300: Rise of an Empire- It was okay-ish. Eva Green was fun and Jack O'Connell was the right kind of eye candy.
30) Macbeth- The Polanski version. Saw it in class. I'm so bored of this story already.
31) Blue Velvet- I was scared going in but I shockingly loved it.
32) Drugstore Cowboy- I liked how raw it was but it did very little for me otherwise.
33) Muppets Most Wanted- Fun fun fun! Danny Trejo and Ray Liotta ftw.
34) Snowpiercer- Pretty fantastic. Great concept, themes and production design. Good acting overall too, especially from Chris Evans and a wonderfully crooked Tilda Swinton.
35) Top Gun- Turns out I've never watched this properly, and with good reason. What a bore.
36+37) Gangs of Wasseypur parts 1 and 2- Clubbing them together because I saw them together minus 40 minutes at the end of the 2nd one which I saw the next day. As a result, they're one big movie for me, and I liked them sooo much! Best way I can describe it is that it's Scorsesian/Godfather-esque with an Indian masala twist.
38) Belle de Jour- For the podcast. Sexy, weird and Catherine Deneuve is a goddess.
39) Blow Out- Excellent! So thrilling and so dark, but in a good way.
40) Dom Hemingway- I was perhaps expecting too much so I was a tad disappointed but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.
41) American Gigolo- As hot as Richard Gere and his clothes were, I found the movie quite dull.


Rewatched:
(February)
1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- I still adore this film. I really wish the sequels get made with the same team.
2) Blue is the Warmest Colour- As mesmerising and devastating as the first time.
3) Harold and Maude- For the podcast. This movie makes me happy.
4) Bright Star- I was okay with it the first time I saw it but this time 'round it just shattered my heart. So beautiful.
5) Bridget Jones' Diary- Valentine's Day tradition.
6) Casablanca- Ditto.
7) Mud- I maintain that Tye Sheridan's performance is one of the absolute bests of last year.

(March)
8) Rebel Without a Cause- For the podcast. I could see the flaws in it more clearly this time, since I'm not a teenager with a lot of feels anymore or whatever but it's still fascinating.
9) American Psycho- A friend of mine saw it for the first time and started gushing over it so *obviously* I had to keep her company. This movie is hilarious.
10) A Streetcar Named Desire- Marlon Brando *fans herself more*. Total fucking asshole in this but holy moly, so hot!
11) Reality Bites- All I could think of was that I had seen it first when I was about 12 and did I even get any of it then? Also, come back Winona!
12) Fargo- Like Bright Star, I wasn't in love with it the first time I saw it but I was totally blown away on this rewatch. *in Marge Gunderson's accent* Yeah? Yeahhhh!
13) Bachelorette- I read one line of dialogue from this somewhere and then I just HAD to rewatch it. I adore this film and I don't care who knows.
14) L.A. Confidential- I forgot how clever this film is. Not one frame is wasted. Also the only film in which I can bear Russell Crowe.
15) The Talented Mr. Ripley- Saw it after ages and remembered why it was in my original top 100 list. Great movie, great performances.


TV shows
1) True Detective, season 1- I was as amazed and hooked as everyone else. Cinematic and dark as hell, it was incredibly engaging and had some amazeballs performances. I must say though, as much as I liked the finale, I just thought the show had a bigger scope which it didn't deliver on completely. Still, a nearly masterful series. a) Favourite episode- A tie between "Who Goes There" and "The Secret Fate of All Life". The former because those 6 minutes and the latter because of the way it subverted all expectations. b) MVP- Silly question. Matthew McConaughey gave a better performance but Marty Hart was made to be played by Woody Harrelson. Both. c) Favourite quotes-
Marty: "You're like the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch." HILARIOUS!

Rust: "Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light's winning." Simple and inspiring.

2) Girls, season 3- It was a very uneven season for me and I might not watch season 4. One huge reason is how much the writers themselves seem to hate Hannah. I don't know how to feel about her anymore. And if I have to listen to Marnie sing one more time, I am going to break something! a) Favourite episode- "Beach House" Shoshanna had a fabulous breakdown and there was a choreographed dance number. I HAD to love it. b) MVP- Zosia Mamet's Shoshanna and Andrew Rannells' Elijah. The former because she really is the heart of the show for me even though she is grossly overlooked and the latter because he makes me laugh in all his episodes. That photograph at the end :') c) Favourite quotes
Soshanna: "Thank you, it's really helpful to know you were a fuck-up too." The story of Girls.

3) Teen Wolf, season 3B- This was a dark season (was it a season? Er...). I love Dylan O'Brien and everything but I wish they'd just let him be cute and awkward Stiles again. I also really appreciated the introduction of Japanese mythology in this. Usually, these supernatural shows stay so geographically constricted. a) Favourite episode- "Insatiable" Exciting and shocking. RIP Allison Argent. b) MVP- Can I just give this to the Oni? Agreed, they didn't really have to act but they were so cool! Shoutouts also to Sheriff Stiles, played by Lynden Ashby and the police officer with the pretty eyes (I can't be bothered to find out his or his character's name). c) Favourite quote-
Stiles: "Everyone wants you, you’re like the hot girl that every guy wants.
Scott: "I'm the hot girl? I'm the hot girl."
Isaac: "Yes you are."
I don't think I need to explain this one.

4) Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season 1- Heyyy this was so much fun! I really appreciate how it avoids all sorts of cliches. a) Favourite episode- "The Bet" made me laugh a lot but at the same time "Charges and Specs" took some really intelligent decisions for where the show is going to go from here. b) MVP- Andy Samberg's Jake Peralta is so silly and hilarious and his perfect antagonist Andrew Braugher's Captain Holt is fantastic too. I love both of them equally. c) Favourite quotes
Holt: "I think I am...getting a text message. Bloop! There it is." This has to be watched to be appreciated.


Books:
1) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling- Aww this was cute. I am actually pretty stoked about the upcoming trilogy. Some of these creatures sound super cool.
2) The Sandman Collection (all except Fables and Reflections) by Neil Gaiman- I'm completely hooked on these series. So smart and imaginative and some of the concepts are incredible. The only flaw I can think of is that it's like HBO- too many unnecessary boobs.
3) The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman/Yoshitaka Amano- Oh this was just so beautiful to look at. Very simple but powerful story too.
4) Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman- I was a little disappointed. I thought it would be more rock'n'roll.
5) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- I thought this was fantastic. Loved the themes at play, the language and the Dunnes! Crazy mofos! Can't wait for the movie.
6) Four Major Plays by Henrik Ibsen- I was hooked. Such fascinating characters. Loved A Doll's House and Ghosts. The Master Builder was a bit cray cray though.
7) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller- Amazing. I really want to see it performed on stage.


Final tally:
                                        Firsts: 67                                         Rewatched: 20
                                                                   Total- 87


         And that's it. I *might* be starting a new series of posts in April so there's that. Also it's my vacations and therefore I don't know how much I will blog. We'll see.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 23

Episode 23: Belle de Jour

For the first time ever, the chicks with accents aka SofiaMette and your truly let the listeners decide what movie did they want us to discuss in our latest episode and *obviously* they choose the foreign movie with a female protagonist. I kid of course. Belle de Jour is a fascinating movie and all three of us had quite a lot to say about it, from its themes to its sexuality to its fashion. I hope you enjoy :)

Content: 
00:30- Chick-chatter
03:09- Trailer
03:50- Interesting Movie of the Fortnight
16:53- The chicks discuss the Listeners' Choice, Belle de Jour (1967)
43:53- Plugs and Goodbyes

Songs:
Amy Winehouse "You Know That I'm No Good"
Lykke Li "Get Some"
Rufus Wainwright "Across The Universe"



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Write to us at: acrosstheuniversepodcast@gmail.com
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Download episodes from: Our Dropbox page

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Spin-off Blogathon- the Poet and the Wife


             For her new blogathon, Sati asked us to choose a character who appears briefly in a movie and who we would like a whole another movie about. I must confess, I had to do a lot of brainstorming for this, partly because my memory is awful and partly because the characters I *did* remember were all amazing and it was pretty difficult to choose from them. As a result, I have two choices (sorry, Sati!) and I hope you like them.

Honourable mentions: Julian from Children of Men, Lt. Archie Hicox from Inglourious Basterds, Wallace Wells (or really anybody) from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.



         My first choice is the street poet in Before Sunrise who Celine and Jesse meet by the Danube canal. He was played by Dominik Castell. I am cheating here a bit because I had already written something related to this in a long-forgotten post. I have always been fascinated by him- the way he just appears, the way he writes poems instead of begging, the poem he writes for them, the way he recites it, how it is totally perfect for Jesse's and Celine's situation- it's all so romantic and almost fairytale-like. I think of Before Sunrise as a fairytale because the entire possibility of something happening like that is nothing less than pure magic. And the poet is the most fantastical element in it for me.

          So here's my pitch for the movie about this poet: it is a tale of magic realism. The poet is a man who was cursed by the woman whose heart he had broken after he had wooed her with his words. His curse is that he has to live forever, eternally appearing to lovers and writing poems for them which deepens their affections for each other but he himself can never fall in love. He will witness all kinds of romances and meet all kinds of couples. Being in their company but incapable of feeling the words he writes, he will begin to hate love but it is his burden to keep seeing true love all around him. As in the case of Before Sunrise, there will be a lot of conversation and it could perhaps be called "Fantasy Parade".



         My second choice is Laura Linney's character in The Truman Show, Hannah Gill who plays Truman's wife Meryl Burbank in the show about his life. It is a rare feat that in a movie starring Jim Carrey I find another actor the funniest one in it, but so is the case with Linney's Hannah. All her product placements are so inane and her utter confusion at the change in Truman's character is one of my favourite things about the movie. Agreed, hers is a pretty big role (cheating again! Soz) but I would love a film about her. I know how in the film, the "actors" talk about how it is a privilege to be part of this grand concept and production, but I have always been curious about what kind of lives the people who willingly become a part of this whole fake world might lead. And of course, Meryl is the most fascinating out of all of them- she actually becomes someone's wife and they share a physical and somewhat emotional bond together. Also, this was before the reality TV era so it is doubly fascinating.

        My pitch: The film is set after The Truman Show has come to an end and Hannah is without a job. She is addicted to being on TV and has problems connecting with people because she has relied on scripts for so long. The only acting jobs she gets are those in which she plays characters just like Meryl. People all around her treat her differently. In flashbacks we find out how she started working in The Truman Show and how she fell in love with a woman during its shooting but she had to give her up to become Truman's wife. I can imagine the film having elements of To Die For and Young Adult. Tentatively, let's call it "Product Placement" because why not.