Monday, 29 December 2014

December Blind Spot- A Star is Born (1954)


           A Star is Born is about a singer named Esther Blodgett who while playing with her band at a theatre one night crosses paths with the drunk and troubled film star Norman Maine. Norman seeks her out and after seeing how talented she is, convinces her that she is fit for movie stardom. Although she has to overcome many obstacles on her path, this dream does come true and as Esther's star begins to shine bright, Norman's slowly begins to fade away.

           I really liked this film and the main reason for that is obviously Judy Garland and her incredible performance. Everyone has heard about her own personal issues that caused a lot of problem in her professional life, especially during this film. But one never really sees any of it in the film which is a tribute to both Garland and director George Cukor. 

          Garland goes from joyful to heartbreaking within seconds, both in her singing and in her acting. My biggest issue with the film was not exactly the film's fault. Since I saw the restored version, a considerable part of the film consists of production stills with dialogue being played over it that really annoyed me. However, every time Garland sang or danced, I forgot about all of that. She is so perfect in this role that all the problems seem trivial in comparison.

            She's not the only "star" in the film though. James Mason, who I knew as Humbert Humbert from Kubrick's Lolita, played Norman and he too is very good. He makes Norman's decline very poignant and universal. I liked that the film is as much about the end of a star as it is about the beginning, even though the title only addresses the second part. Therefore, both Garland and Mason become integral parts to what it's trying to show us and tell us about the entertainment business. They also have great chemistry together. I cried several times during the movie because of both of them.

           The film is a beautiful but ultimately biting portrayal of the fickleness of the Hollywood studio system. Sure, the sets and the costumes may be gorgeous, but what we end up remembering is the way Norman stumbles in drunk at the Oscars begging for a job. A lot of other gruesomer aspects of the business is shown, for example Esther's name change or her nose job or Norman's awful publicist or, of course, the fact that can true love exist in a place like that?

           The movie reminded me a lot of The Artist which I bet was inspired by it, or at least one of its other versions. This is the only version that I've seen but I am curious now to check out the 1937 version too, just to see how it fairs.

       This is my last Blind spot review of the year. I really wanted to make it bigger and talk about some other aspects of the film (for instance: how stunning it is) but I don't have the time right now :/ Let's hope I'm better with these entries next year.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

It's Being Norma Jeane's 5th Anniversary!

OMG you guys! It's been five years since I started this silly ole thing and I am very happy that I did.

I made a little video for this occasion, inspired by the holiday season and a holiday movie in particular (my apologies to Sofia). It's a little longer than I had planned but I hope you like it :)

I usually update my top 100-ish films list every year on this day but I really do not have the time right now and so you all have to wait for that. Sorry!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

This is a Poster-Appreciation Life- 2014 edition

          This was a great year for movies AND posters. I have pointed out some bad/boring posters in the past but I'm not going to do that this time because there are soooooooooo many good ones. I've tried to categorize them the best I could. Also, I have chosen posters from 2014 movies only so no The Hateful Eight yet, y'all.

Enjoy :)

Teasers Gotta Tease- Many of the teaser posters this year were vastly superior to the official ones. Why can't people just go with these?
The hint to what made the film so unique was always there in the teaser posters. And the one in the middle that came after Comic-Con is awesome as hell.

Gone Girl
Let's be honest, all the Gone Girl posters more or less sucked. Remember those weird "BELIEVE" ones? However, these teaser posters were very clever and fun.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
I just love how smart the concept of these are. There's a Wolverine one too but these are better.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1
The Panem propaganda posters was an excellent piece of marketing by the promoters. And the creepy whitewashed one is the right kind of disturbing.

It almost looks like a kids drawing but then we see not just the kiss in the foreground but all the nudity and a blowjob in the background. I love it.

It's just so wistful. The other posters of the movie are almost as good.

It's a pity that the film got such bad reviews because this poster seems to say so much. I love the colour palette.

Not only is this striking to look at, it's also perhaps the most mysterious poster of the year.

The colours, you guys. This film was uber cool and the posters show that.

Guardians: Teaser + Official + Fanmade
The tagline in the teaser kind of won the round but I still love how epic the official poster looks.

I couldn't make this list without mentioning these fanmade posters which are some of the best I have seen all year round.

Fanmade fare: Speaking of fanmade, I have to include these gorgeous Korean posters for Mommy.
I love that they chose to make one one with that shirt in it. It stood out so much in the movie.

Birdman Cometh:
 The promotional work of Birdman has been topnotch, especially the fantastic city posters. I would love to own these.

Oscar Bait: No matter how we feel about them, one can't deny that at least the posters are good.
Both of these *kinda* follow the same structure with putting the lead in focus and then giving us an idea of what the plot of the film revolves around.

This one is definitely my favourite poster from the Oscar baits. It's sort of doing the same thing too but god, it's lovely.

Jake and the Crawlers:
Heyyyy I just noticed how the spider is a crawler too. Connection!!! Anyways, I love both of these posters. They're both unique and memorable and differently unsettling in their own ways. What a year, Jake!

The New Horror:
I think both these posters are going to be iconic. Both of them follow a similar idea and it works soooo well.

Other goodies:
The attention to detail is amazing.

It's sexy, it's cool, it's Eva Green. What's not to love?

There is a quite violence in the poster which hints at the film's story. I really like that.

The Eisenberg one is more sinister and is totally apt for the movie and Wasikowska's goes with her character or at least how she is seen. Doppelgangers are creepy.

Ordinarily, the writing would annoy the crap out of me but in the case of this particular movie, it almost feels like it's part of the its rhythm. Therefore, it works perfectly.

Where did these even come from?
When I was going through other best poster lists, I came across these. I'd never seen them before but I do think all of them are great. Especially the bottom two.

Best of the year:
I genuinely believe that character posters will never, ever, ever, ever, ever get better than these. Ever. These are the fucking be-all and end-all when it comes to character posters. They are HILARIOUS (Udo Kier, everybody) and they kind of remind me of the opening scene of Marie Antoinette in the way that von Trier knows what we think the film will be about and he's just rubbing it in our faces. The dude has a twisted sense of humour and I do enjoy it most of the times, especially in this case. 

I also loved the other teaser posters from the movie. Again, only von Trier can make that whip into a heart-shaped poster :P

It looks so cool. The shade of pink, the "V", the contrasts. Stunning.

I also love these posters. The "Last Supper" parody makes me laugh every time I see it.

The first one was *so* close to being my number 1. I had like a minor aneurysm the first time I saw it. It gives me so much joy. The second one is so cute and unique too.

If I could, I would have an entire wall covered with this poster. It's mesmerising and dreamy and just soooooooo beautiful! It breaks your heart with its beauty. I mean, it's the stars and Scarlett. How could anything beat it? It got under my skin for sure.
I also love this poster from the movie.

And that is it. What were your favourite posters from this year?

Monday, 15 December 2014

Kiss Me Stupid

        Every year The New York Times celebrates some of the best performances of that movie year with cinema-themed shorts. To the best of my knowledge, they've always done shorts around single actors like the one using movie lines or the only-actresses one. This time 'round, they've chosen movie kisses as their theme and this one might be my most favourite yet. I really think so much of acting is about reacting and so it's great to see these actors work together. Also, the whole concept reminds me of the ending of Cinema Paradiso which is one of the greatest movie endings ever!

Benedict Cumberbatch and Reese Witherspoon
 Swoon! God, even Edgar Wright wants a full movie about Witherspoon's Barbarella and Cumberbatch's Zorro. Make it happen, Hollywood.

Laura Dern and Steve Carell
It's sooooo funny! I think the funnier ones were my favourites and this one is definitely there. They're adorbs.

Jenny Slate and Rosario Dawson
Awwwwww. Again, I will watch an entire film about both of them, even if it is just them partying all night.

Chadwick Boseman and Kristen Stewart
This was a bit meh but god, so much energy from Stewart!

Patricia Arquette and Jason Schwartzman
Lolwut? I'm so happy Schwartzman is in this list btw. I really hated Listen Up Philip but the performances in it were so great.

Timothy Spall and David Oyelowo
My favourite one! It would be my favourite based on the way Spall fixes his tie at the end alone.

Shailene Woodley and Jack O'Connell
Aww this one was sweet. These two should totes come in a movie together btw. Both of them are such natural performers.

Julianne Moore and John Lithgow
Does anyone else think that Moore is getting hotter with age? She's like my role model. This one was so much fun. I want to go dancing with both of them!

Miles Teller and Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Gosh, Gugu is one stunning woman. I really like their pairing too. It was beautiful.

            I want someone to make a 200 Cigarettes type movie (but better than that, obviously) with all these actors and all these story lines. I would seriously watch it and probably love it.

Do you all look forward to these shorts every year too? Which one of these is your favourite? Does anyone else miss Rosamund Pike in this list?

Friday, 5 December 2014

The Month that was- November

         It's December again -.- Another goddamn year wasted. November wasn't though, at least movie-wise, what with the film festival and Noirvember going on. It's a good thing that I managed to watch as many movies as I did (41 in all) because my exams start in January and I *really* need to study :/


1) Solaris- This put me to sleep... thrice :/
2) Anari- It was really touching. "Kisi Ki Muskurahaton Pe Ho Nisar" is a great song.
3) Two Days, One Night- I loved it so much. I love films that celebrate little victories. The subject matter of this may seem trivial but it *is* important to the characters in the film and it does justice to that, and to them. Marion Cotillard was really fantastic too.
4) Blazing Saddles- So funny. Also, I could have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER expected that climax ever. Woahhh.
5) The Lady from Shanghai- Noirvember! I really liked it for most of it but that last 8 minutes or so is fucking insane! WOOOOOAAHHHH!! Also, I heart all of Rita Hayworth's costumes in this.
6) Laura- Noirvember!! I loved it. Yes, it was campy and a bit ridiculous but so much fun!
7) The Big Heat- Noirvember!!! This was a really genius film. You think it is one thing but it ends up being about something else entirely.
8) Big Hero 6- So much fun with a great warmth in it. And it was gorgeous too! I want a Baymax. I also want the older brother who's totes giving Hiccup a run for his money for the Hottest Animated Character of the Year Award.
9) The Killing- Noirvember!!!! It starts out a bit slow and confusing but my mouth literally fell open twice towards the end and not that many movies manage to do that anymore. Excellent!
10) Charlie's Country- Eye-opening but still very slow.
11) Geronimo- My least favourite film of KIFF. What a hot mess.
12) These Are the Rules- One of the most surprisingly good films we saw at KIFF. Incredible handling of death.
13) Pasolini- Eh. Pretty forgettable in spite of super uncomfortable sex scenes.
14) The Search- I was very emotionally invested in this. I liked it quite a bit.
15) Ciudad Delirio- SO cute! Yaay for random salsa romcoms mid-super serious film festivals!
16) Interstellar- I liked it but it's already kind of gone from my head. I remember being annoyed at the end because to me it made no sense. Yeahh.
17) Kaafiron Ki Namaz- Weird, funny, outrageous and super-theatrical. Liked it more than I had expected to.
18) Refugiado- I like simple, effective stories and this was one. The kid in this was very cute too.
19) Omar- The movie where I found my next dream husband. Adam Bakri, you beauty. Also, it was a really good film. 
20) The Two Faces of January- So straightforward and kind of bland. Did anyone else think that Oscar Isaac looked a bit like young Al Pacino in this?
21) The Guest- I loved it. Twisted and fun and hot, mostly because of Dan Stevens. Who knew Matthew Crawley had this in him? And what a soundtrack!
22) Mommy- It literally gave me all of the feels, so much so that I didn't know how to react after it was over. Amazing. One of my favourites of the year.
23) John Wick- This film is a blast. The action scenes were fucking awesome and I loved how the whole crime syndicate was like a dysfunctional family.
24) The Elephant Song- I thought it was trying to be smarter than it was. Dolan was good.
25) Whiplash- What a film. What an experience. Energizes every atom in your body. Love love love!!
26) The Thin Blue Line- So important and still kind of shocking.
27) Breathe In- I liked the performances and the music a lot. Guy Pearce is one hot fucker.
28) 3-Iron- Really weird but I liked it a lot. So romantic though it gets a tad too creepy at one point *shifts uncomfortably*.
29) Waltz with Bashir- Definitely worth the hype. That last part just pierces through you.
30) What We Do in the Shadows- SOOO funny! AND clever. 2014: the year vampires became awesome again.
31) Magic in the Moonlight- Charming but forgettable. Some lines were really lovely though, as was Emma Stone.
32) Gun Crazy- Noirvember!!!!! I really liked this one too. Peggy Cummins was excellent and John Dall was really handsome.
33) Kiss Me Deadly- Noirvember!!!!!! This was probably my least favourite of the noirs I saw. I thought it dragged a bit. The ending was something though.


1) Gone Girl- In India this time. They censored "cunt" and "pussy" but left "cum-on-me tits" in there. I don't understand.
2) Out of Sight- For our Neo-Noirvember (!!!!!!!) episode. I was probably asexual when I first saw it because how the fuck did my ovaries not explode then? Anyways, they're gone now, all thanks to Clooney in the fucking bathtub.
3) Lolita- First film of KIFF. I forgot how excellent Shelley Winters was in this.
4) 2001: A Space Odyssey- Honestly, the whole fest would have been worth it just to see this on a big screen. Gorgeosity itself.
5) Nymphomaniac vol. 1- With added uncensored stuff. I still love this film. It makes me laugh. Bite me.
6) Dr. Strangelove- Is there anything funnier than listening to General Ripper talk about bodily fluids?
7) Obvious Child- For our podcast. I seriously love this film to bits. More films like this, please and thank you.
8) Guardians of the Galaxy- Watched it as soon as the DVD arrived. It's brilliant and I don't care if you agree or not *finger on the throat means death*.

TV shows:

Doctor Who, series 8- An excellent, excellent series and great work from Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. I have a post on this half-ready and I will finish it very soon.

Final tally:
                                            Firsts- 206                                            Rewatched- 64
                                                                         Total- 270

            That's all for now. I will definitely post some stuff in December + this blog turns 5 if you can believe it. How time flies etc. Bye!