Monday 30 April 2012

INTERVIEWS FOR LIFE! ~ Seventh Installment

With all the excitement being generated around the upcoming Prometheus, I suddenly needed to see old Michael Fassbender interviews. This is not very old, but I find it hilarious how the somewhat old-fashioned David Letterman tries to ask Fassy about his racy role in Shame. Also how the audience claps at everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, Fassy says. And why wouldn't they? This man is god-like.

Saturday 28 April 2012

"I still believe in heroes."

Note: What shall now ensue is a highly excited, and most likely klutzy, energy-bubble-of-a-review. Just think that a happy Hulk wrote it :)           

             WHO WOULD'VE THOUGHT?! As much I was looking forward to it, a little part of me was certain that The Avengers, with so many other generally entertaining films leading up to it, a plethora of "heroes" ready to outshine each other, a probably incompetent script, and possibly one too many Michael Bay-esque explosions, would be a bust. Even my more hopeful side was pretty convinced that it would fall prey to at least one of the dangerous missteps above. But WHO WOULD'VE THOUGHT THAT IT WILL BE *THIS* MINDBLOWINGLY BRILLIANT!!

                 Nick Fury, director of the secret agency S.H.I.E.L.D., has the Tesseract, a mysterious object that is the source of unknown energy, and with the help of physicist Dr. Erik Selvig, is trying to harness its power. When the Tesseract suddenly gets activated, it opens a portal through which the exiled god Loki steps through. Loki has made a pact with an evil alien race called the Chitauri, who will help him conquer Earth in exchange for the Tesseract. Loki, forever the god of mischief, starts to wreak havoc the moment he comes and soon Fury has to recruit a team of super soldiers, assasins, a demi god and a Hulk to fight these lethal enemies and save the earth.

                 I am not going into more detail than that. Prior to watching it, I carefully, and with rather difficulty, avoided all the reviews of this film, and I think everyone should do that (except this one of course *wink*). You may think that the one billion promotional photos and videos may be giving things away, but it really is not the case. The film was literally nothing like what I expected it to be. I mean I am no comic book nerd, and those who are may know details about the stories that I didn't. Still I am quite the lover of superhero movies, well-made action movies, smart movies, movies with great one-liners, movies that are outstanding ensemble pieces and movies with a superb supervillain for me to geek out on. The Avengers was all of this, and maybe even more.

               Let's break this down one by one. This might just become my favourite "superhero" superhero film ever, when compared to every other film of this genre except the Nolan Batman trilogy because those films are a number of other things too. Ever since Ironman in 2008, the big screen adaptations of Marvel comics have been a big marketing campaign with little clues and pointers spread out throughout them. One may even say that the whole of Captain America was more or less a trailer to The Avengers. It must have been a colossal task to put it all together in such a way that everything fits and that all the major characters that we have seen and loved in the previous films get enough spotlight, while also creating a unique and effective story. Joss Whedon of the Buffy fame, who also directed the film, co-wrote the story with Zak Penn and they were successful in completing this task. Sure there was some science-y jargon that no one got, but it is an intelligent script, and equally important, a really funny one. This film is packed with one-liners and humorous situations. Like in the case of Tintin, it is a whole another experience when a full house laughs and cheers at a joke or a scene, and The Avengers provided us with many such instances that made it really fun.

             Now since it is a superhero film, there are some expectations that we all go in with. We know that there will be a few blasts and and a couple of brawls and maybe some shooting etc. The special effects in The Avengers were very good. While I wouldn't call them groundbreaking, I will say that they were exactly the right amount. There wasn't the novelty of Ironman's suit, which is still incredibly cool, or the glittery world of Asgard, or an astoundingly tiny version of Chris Evans. But I liked the fact that the effects in The Avengers don't overwhelm you, which is what they usually seem to do. I did see this in 3D and too much CGI becomes painful, but the film used the technology skillfully. The overall look and feel of the film definitely was quite stunning. Even amongst the booms and bangs, we see characters fighting at street level and it just felt so normal when compared to say huge metal robots bashing down buildings like bowling pins. The action sequences were quite cleverly crafted so as to use the various powers of all these different superheroes perfectly. Also, this is the film where I feel Hulk has the most realistic look yet.

              Coming to the cast, this film truly wins for me in what it manages to do with such an assortment of extraordinary persons. Too many cooks can spoil the broth, and similarly too many superheroes probably can destroy the world, or worse a film. However, The Avengers finds itself in the company of those rare films where ensemble casts work immaculately well with each other. The story gives enough room for each character to grow and flesh out without focusing on any one individual. Even someone as relatively common as Agent Phil Coulson, played by the lovely Clark Gregg, has an excellent character arc and story. Talking about them separately, the returning and already established superheroes- Ironman, Thor and Captain America, are as fun and heroic as ever. Robert Downey Jr. who plays the "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" Tony Stark/Ironman is cocky and epic and has some of the best lines in the film. The ginormous Chris Hemsworth is Thor, who is now humble, but still has the airs of a god and a complimenting presence. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America is remains as the goody two-shoes, and adorably so. These three clash the most because they have each battled evil before, and they each think their own way is the right way.

             But I really appreciated the script when it came to the characters we didn't know as well. Jeremy Renner plays Clint Barton/Hawkeye, a character we knew nothing of, and he is given an interesting story. Another elusive character is that of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow played by Scarlett Johannson. This is definitely one of the best performances that she has ever given. She was cool and tough and though in no way Russian, pretty kickass nonetheless. Now Bruce Banner/Hulk has been portrayed twice before onscreen and though I like Edward Norton, I was never into the big green guy. However with Mark Ruffalo's nuanced meekness, the change becomes all the more amazing. While I still proclaim that all the characters were on an equal footing for me in this film, I have to give extra credit to Whedon for finally making me a fan of Hulk. I can now see what little boisterous boys see in him and I seriously admire that.

             Last but not the least, Tom Hiddleston as Loki was a fantastic supervillain. It is no mean feat for a relatively new comer like him to stand his own against so many more accomplished actors playing such juicy characters. But Hilddleston's Loki, with his eloquent and poisonous way of talking, chilly glare and snarly smile, and quite a commanding presence, is a serious antagonist for all our heroes. One scene where I especially liked him when he almost slithers down a flight of stairs in Germany before striking someone with his sceptre. It is quite an Alex DeLarge sort of moment. Also when he is ruthlessly insulting Natasha, I couldn't help but think about The Silence of the Lambs. These are some of my favourite negative characters, so you can understand how much I love Loki.

            All hats off to Whedon for what he has done with this film, against all odds. He has managed to make an impeccably entertaining film, with rich and memorable characters and some splendid action sequences. I had written in my review of Chronicle that it is the superhero film to beat this year. Well, the Avengers have just hauled its little telekinetic ass out of this world. This may just become the superhero film to beat ever. I hear people are already campaigning for The Avengers to get a SAG Best Ensemble nod, and I am totally joining the party. It is too early to say now, but this may also become my Harry Potter film of the year, which is the film I personally will dream about getting a Best Picture Oscar nomination in spite of well, reality.

            In conclusion I will just like to say that I threw a fit to watch The Avengers on the opening weekend, and I am a person whose aim in life is to get independence like a fully-functioning adult. However, I acted like a child to see this film, and that is just what some of us have to do sometimes. Of course it was completely worth it, but it is also fun to be a little kid for a while with the big explosions, the whole bunch of hilarity and the good old heroes beating the villains.  The Avengers let me be that little kid and it was marvelous (pun maybe intended).

Thursday 26 April 2012


Another week people. It rained here the other day and it was amazing. But then, the bugs came. Ugh Indian monsoon -.-

1) I have no one to watch The Avengers with. I hate this world. Team Loki forever! Also, speaking of other blockbusters and teams, Josh "Peeta" Hutcherson adopted a special needs puppy and named it Driver, after Ryan Gosling's mysterious character in the awesome Drive. So obviously, I am with the bakers now!

2) Okay am I the only one who hates studios revealing information on sequels before the first part has even been released? I mean as evident as it is that nothing will happen to Ironman and Black Widow in The Avengers, they can shut up about how RDJ and Scarlett Johannson are returning in Ironman 3 for a second. Especially considering The Avengers is what all the other Marvel films have been building up to. Having said that, I am beyond pumped about the other cast members joining Ironman 3- Sir Ben Kingsley as the villain, the always brilliant Guy Pearce and maybe even La Chastain, in some sexy scientist role. Also, it seems that The Amazing Spiderman 2 is already getting written by the Star Trek writers. The first part hasn't even released yet. It is okay to plan ahead, just release the news afterwards.

3) Best Film News of the Week- The World's End, which is said to be the last part in the Blood and Ice Cream/ Three Cornetto Flavours Trilogy, all directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, aka Best Onscreen Couple EVER, is being written. Or rather has already been written by Wright and Pegg and its second draft is ready. OMGOMGOMG! I live for the day it gets made, and I am seriously not exaggerating. Let the world literally end after that and I would not care at all.

4) And now for some bad news, at least for me- the much awaited Darren Aronofsky "Noah" movie has found its savior, in the form of Russel Crowe. Ai yai yai... I really do not like Crowe. He's my anti-Depp and I find it very difficult to sit through his films. Gladiator was good but I did fall sick after watching it. And I like L.A. Confidential because it is a great film and has Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey in it. I have only been looking forward to his next film Les Miserables because it will have the wonderful Hugh Jackman singing in it. I was quite excited and intrigued about the "Noah" film... I don't know how much I want to see it anymore.

5) Trailers- The trailer to Oliver Stone's Savages was released a few weeks back but I forgot to post it. It's a bit crazy, but I guess we expect that from a Stone movie. However, the block of stone that is Blake Lively telling us at the beginning of the trailer that she may die at the end of the story is a humongous faux pas. It just makes the film extremely predictable no matter how it ends unless she is somehow strapped onto a cow-shaped Death Star and oh I don't know... it's all bad!! I do like the fact that it has Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro though. Hope Springs, which has Queen Meryl reuniting with The Devil Wears Prada director, David Frankel. It looks sweet and also stars Tommy Lee Jones, who is always a delight in lighter roles like this one, and Steve Carell. The *hopefully* final trailer to Pixar's Brave has been released. I can't wait for this film and Merida's hair enough. Lawless has a friggin' awesome trailer out. Firstly it has an absolute dream cast- Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce and oh so sexy Jessica Chastain. Secondly, I love Prohibition-era stuff, especially those big-ass tommy guns. Finally, the trailer of the week comes in the form of the lovely Ruby Sparks. I love Paul Dano! It is made by the wonderful people who made Little Miss Sunshine and I completely adore the premise of the story. I can see myself becoming obsessed with this film and hating reality even more after that. It also stars the likes of Annette Benning, Antonio Banderas and Steve Coogan.

6) Finally, I'm in love with this song and video-

Adieu mon chérie.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

My 50 Movie Wishes

Inspired by Sati's and Tyler's Movie Wishes lists, I decided to make one of my own. I think mine is a bit more general and not so much about specific movies. There are quite a few about actors and some even personal. Anyways, I hope you enjoy them :D

1) I wish that Johnny Depp would star in a small independent film and give a powerhouse performance and once again show the world the depth of his talent.

2) I wish the Indian film industry was run by Aamir Khan, the Akhtars and Vishal Bharadwaj.

3) I wish there was a film made just about Mrs. Robinson.

4) I wish Harry Potter would have never ended.

5) I wish Gone with the Wind would have ended.

6) I wish I lived in the land of Pixar.

7) I wish Woody Allen makes films forever.

8) I wish Katherine Heigl would have never starred in films and thus not ruined the name of romcoms.

9) I wish all romcoms could be like The Apartment.

10) I wish Ralph Fiennes would get his Oscar already.

11)  I wish all films were as beautiful as Pan's Labyrinth.

12) I wish that Quentin Tarantino continues to make brilliant films and not retire at 60.

13) I wish I could watch films without over-analysing them with my mathematical brain and thus enjoy films by David Lynch and the like.

14) I wish someone adapts Lolita truthfully and ruthlessly and not make it all about guilt and self-loathing.

15) I wish critics would appreciate comedians like Jim Carrey and Bill Murray more.

16) I wish there was a film just about Mickey from Snatch.

17) I wish I fully understood The Virgin Suicides.

18) I wish all films were as quotable as Mean Girls.

19) I wish Fassy becomes the next James Bond, 60s style.

20) I wish Winona Ryder makes a comeback.

21)  I wish Edgar Wright finishes his Blood and Ice cream trilogy soon, and then continue to make more and even awesomer trilogies with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, aka Best Onscreen Couple EVER.

22) I wish David Fincher had won the Oscar for directing The Social Network.

23) I wish all films were as enjoyable as Star Trek (2009).

24) I wish James Dean would have made more films.

25) I wish Kieran Culkin, Emile Hirsch and Paul Dano came in more films.

26) I wish all child actors could act as well as Natalie Portman in Leon or Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot.

27) I wish there was a film about Maggie Smith being the best Maggie Smith she can be.

28) I wish Julianne Moore would have her Oscar already.

29) I wish all films were released everywhere and at the right time.

30) I wish Paul Thomas Anderson would make a comedic film again.

31) I wish more films would properly sexualise their male leads instead of their female leads, like Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire.

32) I wish the AMPAS weren't so close-minded when it comes to films about kids and teenagers.

33) I wish people would truly appreciate Ewan McGregor.

34) I wish all performances could be as brave as Charlize Theron's in Young Adult.

35) I wish 3D was only used for films that require it, and not dance movies or concert movies or period movies.

36) I wish Adrien Brody would get roles according to his caliber.

37) I wish more films could make me as crazy about the musical score and soundtrack as Kill Bill Vol. 1 does.

38)  I wish all films could end the way Before Sunset does- leaving us asking for more and at the same time for nothing else because that would ruin the magic of it.

39) I wish people wouldn't judge Marie Antoinette for all its shallowness, but instead with all its shallowness.

40) I wish Emma Stone would portray Lauren Bacall in a biopic.

41)  I wish all supporting actors were as amazing as Donald O' Connor and Jean Hagen is Singin' in the Rain.

42) I wish they never played the bloody banjo music in the actual sex scene in Bonnie and Clyde, an otherwise very sultry film.

43) I wish they wouldn't make another Batman movie for at least the next 20 years.

44) I wish people looked up to 12 Angry Men at least the same way they do to To Kill a Mockingbird.

45) I wish Jack Dawson hadn't died.

46) I wish David Fincher makes a film inspired by his Madonna "Vogue" video.

47) I wish Frodo was less of a pain in the ass- LOTR would've been even more perfect then.

48) I wish Tilda Swinton keeps giving her awe-inducing performances forever.

49) I wish Edward Norton would get his Oscar already.

50) I wish some day I could write and direct films, and hopefully good ones at that :)

Monday 23 April 2012

"Be afraid. Be very afraid."

            In a recent post, I described myself as an easily freaked-out wimp-of-a-girl. From this information, one may surmise that I don't tend to watch a lot of horror movies. But even so, there are some horror 101 ideals that I, like everyone else, have grown up with and that are completely ingrained in me thanks to popular culture. For example, a person trying to teleport himself and during the process a fly gets in with them, and they are teleported as part-man-part-fly. My most vivid memory of this paradigm is in a Dexter's Laboratory episode. So when one watches the origin, or at least whatever made such a concept a part of culture, it is always interesting to see whether the idea can still seem fresh and exciting. David Cronenberg's The Fly is exactly that.

        I have already explained the basic plot, to which this film adds a layer of doomed love. Seth Brundle is the scientist who makes the teleportation device. He meets Veronica Quaife, who is a journalist, and they start working together to chronicle his work on the device for a book. Soon enough, they fall for each other, much to the chagrin of Veronica's boss and ex-boyfriend Stathis Borans. When she has to go see him suddenly to straighten things out between them, a slightly melancholy and very drunk Brundle decides to teleport himself. But unbeknownst to him, a fly enters the teleport pod and both of their genes get merged when the teleportation takes place. His physique and personality begin to change. Veronica notices this and tries to find an explanation to help Brundle but he pays no heed. Eventually things get ugly and frightening.

         This is quite the cult film, but the basic idea was first shown in the original The Fly, a 1958 film that has a really fantastic tagline- "Once it was as human as you and I! The FLY". It's like a chant. The Cronenberg 1986 version obviously has the now-iconic "Be afraid. Be very afraid" as the tagline, as one can see in the poster and also in the title of this post. Don't you love finding the birth-place, so as to speak, of famous expressions like this one? I would have actually associated it with some sort of film noir, though I guess it makes more sense in this context.

         Now I said in the opening paragraph of this post that The Fly manages to stay exciting and fun despite the story being known to most of us. There are three reasons for that. The first is the brilliant and dynamic performance of Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle. As Brundle starts to morph into Brundlefly, we see how his personality changes to. How he is at the beginning of the film is completely different from how he is at the end. Yes that happens with most characters in practically every movie, but it is more marked here not only because of the look, but also due to the very sharp changes in his nature throughout the film. Goldblum manages to portray all these different facets of Brundle's shifting personality perfectly. He is goes from being a likable nerd to a detestable jerk to someone who has to be pitied for whats happening to then and finally he is scary and pathetic. At the time of the film's release, there was a lot of Oscar talk for his frankly electric performance, but we all know how small-minded the Academy tends to be.

         The second reason has to be the makeup. Now that did win an Oscar, and deservedly so. The whole transformation of Brundle into Brundlefly is a slow but conspicuous process and Chris Walas designed and executed it. Apparently the whole gruesome transition was an allegory to diseases like AIDS and the ageing process, so the conversion happens step by step. It is really incredulous to look at. I personally wasn't that freaked out by the gory makeup and things falling off faces and melting limbs. I was generally really impressed by the monster movie feel of it, and found it humorous in parts. Not in a Scary Movie kind of a way, but just that it was so extreme at times that I couldn't take it as seriously as the characters in the movie did. Added to that, the last fifteen minutes of the film where most of the gross stuff happens kept getting stuck in my stupid DVD player, and it stopped at the most outrageous moments that inadvertently made this a really hilarious experience for me (I wish I had taken screenshots but I am an idiot!). Of course, I don't hold that against the film at all. If anything, it made it better for me.

        Finally, I really enjoyed the story. I liked the romance between Brundle and Veronica, the latter played by the gorgeous Geena Davis. In my opinion, it is more of an ill-fated love story and it reminded me of King Kong quite a lot. Goldblum and Davis had a great chemistry together. Sure she gets a bit damsel-in-distress-y towards the end, but I thought she was smart and cool. Also it was an intelligent script. It had some great lines and it was one of those scripts that provide us with the different pieces of a puzzle, in the sense that everything in the story fits. All the information that is given to us has a point and fits somewhere in the grand scheme of the film. I find that very admirable. It is quite intense too, which is where I think the real horror part comes to play. As I said above, it was meant to draw parallels to some really serious topics, and also to the inevitability of ageing. That is something which makes all of us very afraid, and the film attempts to evoke similar feelings in us, in its own blood and guts and vomit-y enzymes sort of way.

         Finally, with the release of Cosmopolis coming close, everyone has been talking about the crazy Cronenberg days. If you are like me and haven't seen any of the films from that period, I think The Fly is a great place to start. It is strange but it is still sensible and very entertaining. I reckon it will only get weirder, but I am uncharacteristically optimistic.

Thursday 19 April 2012


         I'm back in India. I've seen only 3 films yet and the damn heat is killing me and I want to live in a fridge! Okay then... moving on.

1) The 2012 Cannes Film Festival's line-up has been released. It is pretty amazing and I really wish I could go there and watch the films. It starts with one of my most anticipated films of this year, Moonrise Kingdom. The other films include Cosmopolis, On the Road, Rust and Bone, Lawless, Paperboy, Amour, Like Someone in Love, Killing Them Softly and so on. Some of these will most certainly go down as the best of the year (see: The Tree of Life, The Artist and Drive from last year).

2) Speaking of On the Road, the promoters have been releasing character posters for a while now. They were being released in sort of an ascending order of importance, or well presence of the characters in the book. Until they decided to release the poster of Kristen Stewart as Marylou last. That is really odd. Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, played by Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund respectively, are the true leads of the novel and I don't get why that is being overlooked because Stewart is the "bigger star". This film has an impressive cast with the likes of Oscar nominees Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams. Sigh... I'll never truly get marketing. My favourite poster is that of Kirsten Dunst's as Camille. It is absolutely transplendent.

3) Well even though I don't understand marketing, I know that the Prometheus team are true masters of it. I'm sure everyone has seen the viral of Fassy as David, the gently creepy android. All the websites posted about it at once, though my favourite is the one by Sati at Cinematic Corner. She was also the first one to voice out the fact that this implies robotic Fassys for everyone! I voiced it aloud to myself... that doesn't count, does it? Another post this week I really loved, and well contributed a teensy bit towards, was Stevee a.k.a. Christopher's Conversation with Mean Girls. I love everything Mean Girls. Even if it punches me in the face, it will be AWESOME.

4) I've spent the majority of this week watching John Green videos on his VlogBrothers Youtube channel. I know that I am very very late to this party, but man oh man, so glad I came! I love him even more now. Also his kid is the cutest thing in the world, and I don't even like babies! All hail Henry Green.

5) Trailers- Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike has a trailer out. This was being called the male stripper movie, and I thought it will be the objectification of men in all its splendour, but it is yet another romantic-y film with Channing " Human Blowfish" Tatum in it. Gahhhhh! With custom furniture, no less. The trailer of Pitch Black Heist, a short film starring Fassy and Liam Cunningham has a gorgeous black and white trailer out. The trailer to Here which stars Ben Foster, looks simple and beautiful. It has a gorgeous poster too, though I can't find a link presently. Finally there is Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, which is one of the films being shown at Cannes this year. It looks mental, but I am intrigued enough to give The Fly a try (that rhymed!) asap. Also, I think Robert Pattinson looks really goooood...  he doesn't need to sparkle anymore, thank god.

6) Finally, with everyone going gaga either for or against Titanic 3D (I have no opinion because the bloody IMAX here isn't showing it!!), this seems relevant-

Ways Titanic could have ended-
Bloody James Cameron and suicidal Leo!! My Jack :'(

Sorry for spoiling the ending for the two people who haven't seen Titanic yet. The ship sinks too :(


Tuesday 17 April 2012


             In this blog, I usually only write about films that I love. And when I love them, I love them unabashedly and don't care what other people think. But there are also some films that are generally loved by many that I happen to not like at all. I know I wrote 'hate' on the title of this post, but that's just because it sounds cool. Also I feel like being a bit controversial; quoting Todd Ingram, "Sounds like someone wants to get... funky." Well, it is what it is. But still with the exception of maybe a couple, I don't hate any of the following films. I just dislike them.

a) The Pretty Vacant

The Fall (Tarsem, 2006)

I first heard about this film on Tumblr and god does it have mad fans. After seeing it though, I don't know what they were thinking. I mean yes, it is probably one of the most beautiful-looking films that I have ever seen. I love the many instances of Indian imagery, the ambitious locations and the bright colours as well as some truly wonderful moments of childlike wonder that Tarsem was able to capture on screen. But apart from that, this film is dripping in cheap emotion and the story is so bland and weepy that I cannot possibly love it. In the end it reminded me of a quote from Le Petit Prince, "You are beautiful but you are empty. No one can die for you."

Sin City (Frank Miller, 2005)

This is the exact opposite of The Fall in terms of the look. Dark and gritty and mostly in black and white, it does look stunning. But god everyone in it is so repulsive. I hate the characters and their stories. This film makes me feel icky and gross. So many actors but no one to root for in the least.

b) Meh

The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)

Now I love Wes Anderson, but his most popular offering is probably my least favourite from among the ones that I have seen. Sure it has quirky characters and his signature look, but apart from Margot Tenenbaum (who I absolutely worship) and the colours in the film, I could not bring myself to care about anything in it. I actually fell asleep mid-way the first time I saw it.

 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill, 1969)

First of all, I am not a Westerns person. Never have been, and after seeing this much-acclaimed and apparently the more-talkative hit of the genre, I don't think I ever will be (gulp!). Again this film did nothing for me. As much as I love Paul Newman's pretty blues, I just couldn't care about anyone in this film. Okay agreed that the train blowing up part and the iconic last scene are quite awesome, but apart from that I couldn't find anything really impressive about this film.

The Hurt Locker (Katherine Bigelow, 2009)

I saw this fairly recently and my expectations for it were sky-high. Unfortunately, it did not deliver according to them. I think I generally take a long time to actually get to watching a war film as the genre makes me uncomfortable, but once there, I really admire the film. But in the case of this "modern classic", apart from maybe the relevance of the location and a ballsy directorial effort, I didn't care much for it. Okay great, war is a drug for some people. So what?

c) Put the Blame on Mame

The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006)

Now this film and the next are not liked by me mostly because of my own misgivings. I was dying to see this film when it came out but couldn't for whatever reason. The people who did see it just raved about it forever, and increased my already gargantuan expectations for this film. When one night it finally came on the telly, I sat down to watch it with a lot of eagerness. But then I felt as though it went on and on (probably because of the commercials), and I got more and more annoyed with it. I was sleepy and irritated and I didn't like the characters of Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, two actors I usually love. So by the end of it, it became one of my worst movie experiences ever. I think I will eventually give this a chance and maybe start to like, or even love it. But until then, oh pain!

Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, 2010)

If you know me at all, you know of my bordering-on-disturbing love for the endlessly sexy and talented Ryan Gosling. And he delivers one of his best performances in this film, so you can understand how much I wanted to like it. But call it inexperience or naivety or stupidity, Blue Valentine is a film that I could not connect with. Everyone who loves this film does so because of the emotional impact it had on them. Since I couldn't really relate to it, it ended up being a really fruitless experience for me, in spite of that incredible "You Always Hurt The One You Love" scene. It is almost too raw for me. Hopefully in a few years I can love it like others do.

d) All's not well that ends not well

Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)

Those fucking frogs. *SPOILER ALERT*
I mean I was really into the movie and its mixed bag of unique, lonely characters. And then it starts to rain fucking frogs! Up until then I had associated frogs with science projects and princes. But now- run in the opposite direction!! I mean just look at that picture- eugh. I know it had a Biblical context and that I should look past these things when watching a film and try to look objectively at the whole thing, but goddamnit, I am stubborn and easily-freaked-out wimp-of-a-girl and I will always hate that scene and the movie as a result of it.

e) The Best Best Pictures

No Country for Old Men (The Coen brothers, 2006)

(Loss of followers commencing). I am really sorry, but I do not like this film. There are two reasons for that. One is that the character of Anton Chigurh grips me with paralyzing fear. Like if he, the fucking frogs and maybe a few rabid dogs were put in a movie together and I was made to watch that, I would never make out alive. The other reason is that I don't care about everything else in it. I just do not get why people love it so much. If the answer is the Coen brothers, well, you lost me there too (more followers gone). I'm not a fan of their's, and between the crippling horror and the total indifference, I don't like this film at all. Sue me.

Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

This one I hate the most out of all of these. I find it painful to sit through. So much unnecessary drama! I must say that I love Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in it, as well as the look and the costumes, but the story and all the other characters and everything else is annoying. And after 3+ hours of seeing Scarlett marry losers and pining after the hugest loser of all, Ashley Wilkes, with interludes of everyone else just dropping like flies around them, it doesn't end! Oh how that ending infuriates me! Not to mention that Scarlett is probably the biggest idiot in all of cinematic history. Also the most loathsome Melanie and all her self-righteousness that makes me think of the puke-inducing Indian soap operas. God bless Rhett for being the only sane character there and the almost-saving grace of the story. I write almost because frankly my dears, nothing can really save this film in my eyes. Blame it on Scarlett's "massive" 21-inch waist.

           If I have any followers left after this, thank you for sticking with me. Just remember it's one woman's opinion and just how I won't start liking these films no matter what you say, you won't start hating them no matter what I say. 
I hope you enjoyed it. Somewhat. I'll be waiting for the burning torches and stuff.

Monday 16 April 2012

My Movie Year

My Movie Year is a blogathon hosted by Fandango Groovers Movie Blog. In it, we have to select a year which we think is the best movie year and give instances of 5 films to validate that claim. I thought I would be unable to take part in it on account of all the travelling, but I may just have made it in time albeit a bit late.

Now there are many years like 1939, 1976, 1994, 2007 etc. that are known for great movies. But I've decided to go with something very much recent because this was the year that I feel I fully immersed myself in movies and awards and everything. I think every film-lover goes through this and that first year always remains a favourite for them.

My year is 2010. Reasons-

The Social Network (Dir: David Fincher)

Inception (Dir: Christopher Nolan)

Black Swan (Dir: Darren Aronofsky)

Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Dir: Edgar Wright)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 (Dir: David Yates)

Hope you liked it :-)

Sunday 15 April 2012

I totally forgot to freak out about this...


           I love Tarantino's confidence in how the film can sell just based on his name. And it is true. The official synopsis of the film has been released-

           Set in the South two years before the Civil War, DJANGO UNCHAINED stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz).

           Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles - dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.

          Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed by trainer Ace Woody (Kurt Russell) to battle each other for sport. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival…

           Written and directed by Academy Award®-winner Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED is produced by Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone. The executive producers are Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Michael Shamberg, Shannon McIntosh, and James Skotchdopole. DJANGO UNCHAINED will be released in the U.S. on December 25, 2012, and internationally by Sony Pictures.

           First of all- BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER! The world better not end before this. Secondly, I was watching the old THR director's roundtable videos, and came across this, in which QT says that he'll stop directing at 60, and even earlier if films turn digital. I sure do hope and pray he reconsiders this. The man's a genius and even his bad films are fun. He may very well be the guy who finally gets Leo Di Caprio his Oscar. He just cannot stop making his absolutely brilliant and awesome films!


Friday 13 April 2012


          I'm going back to India tomorrow. Have to reemerge myself into college hunting. Hurrah! Not. The packing and shite made me late. Apologies.

1) Many films have released photos this week. First we have the new James Bond flick, Skyfall. Daniel Craig is at his broody best here. I'm excited about Ralph Fiennes and the whole film will be made for me if he out-Judi Dench-s Judy Dench. Also how much does his shot remind you of this one? 'Arry Waters forever! Then there are The Dark Knight Rises pictures. I like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman till now, and I like how pop art-esque this picture is. Finally there are Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom picitures. I'm already in love with this film. It's so beautiful to look at- that last picture is now my desktop background.

2) Speaking of beautiful-looking films, which 2012 releases do you think will join the list of The Tree of Life and Melancholia etc. from last year? There are the two (?) Terrence Malick films and Moonrise Kingdom for sure. Then just the thought of how Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity can possibly look like gives me the chills. Ang Lee's Life of Pi will most probably have a very interesting look, since it is essentially just on a lifeboat. The Hobbit will look awesome, no doubt. Prometheus has a very dark and cool look. Any other that I am forgetting?

3) Apparently in the Untitled Terrence Malick project with Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, Jessica Chastain has totally been cut out. Haw. I am appalled! She is the personification grace, after all. Also I don't like Ben Affleck.

4) I watched my first Ingmar Bergman film yesterday! Wild Strawberries, which is just beautiful. I actually had a meaningful dream last night after that. I am definitely going to watch more of his films. I crossed the 100 new-to-me films mark for this year too. I hope I can reach the 300 films mark by the end of this year. It will be a bit more difficult in India now. And I absolutely have to start Satyajit Ray's and Werner Herzog's filmographies (little hesitant about the latter).

5) Anyone who reads this blog and watches Bollywood films, I want to ask a question that has been plaguing me for a while now. Is this the worst era of Bollywood? I think so, but in all honesty I barely watch Bollywood films anymore and so I know I am missing on the better ones. Therefore I don't want to sound presumptuous or condescending without knowing any facts.

6) Everyone see this NOW!! Best thing ever. I don't want to post any other trailers.

7) Okay no. There is the Brave featurette in which Princess Merida introduces herself. I love her. I love her hair. I want to marry her hair. Okay I'll stop now. And there is the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly (quick Doctor Who reference for you) film Looper, in which JGL is a total badass. I like it. It has the adorable Emily Blunt too.

8) Finally, just after the announcement of Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, these photos of Charlize Theron, for British Vogue magazine came out- 
Speaking of me wanting to marry things...

I need to watch Monster. Young Adult has totally turned me around.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

"It's being aware of what it means to lose oneself, before being completely abandoned."

             When Black Swan came out a couple of years back, there were a number of films whose names were thrown about a lot as the inspiration behind it. One of which was Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher. I had heard about how intense and crazy it was and after watching Funny Games, I was a bit hesitant to watch this. But it is a film that has completely won me over.

              Erika Kohut is a piano teacher in her late thirties or early forties who still lives with her overbearing mother. They even sleep on the same bed. So constrained in life, Erika seeks out pleasure in quite unconventional and eyebrow-raising ways, especially for a woman. Her sexual repression seemingly finds an outlet when a handsome young student, Walter Klemmer, starts fancying her. But her desperate desires are too much for anyone to handle, including herself, and soon things get ugly.

            The Black Swan connection for this film is that of a professional artist who lives life under immense control only to find herself being driven mad by it. While Black Swan shows this in melodramatic and surreal ways, The Piano Teacher is real and quite despondent. As intense a film as it was, and though there were some scenes in it which made me very uncomfortable, at the end of it all I could feel was extreme sympathy for this miserable woman.

              The biggest reason of course why I felt so much for her was the incredible performance by Isabelle Huppert. The whole film is practically driven by just her face. There are entire scenes only focusing on her expressions- they don't seem to change, still they tell everything. It is fascinating. The restraint, the madness, the aloofness, the despair are all apparent on her face, though I wouldn't be able to tell the difference if they were singular shots. For example the scene where Walter tries out for her piano class and plays one of her favourite composers Schubert, the camera is pointed only at her and we can feel how the controlled indifference turns into plain agony for her, as she is so swept away by it. Yet to someone who would have casually glanced at her, they would not have noticed a thing. But on the flipside of it, there are many scenes showing the deviated things she does and in them she is completely emotionless, which scares us and also makes us think what could have possibly impelled someone to do such things.

            The other two primary cast members are Benoît Magimel, who plays Walter and Annie Girardot, who plays Erika's mother. Walter at first seems like just another cocky kid who thinks it will be cool to date an older female, but the change in his character due to Erika's ludicrous demands is shocking and makes him unique. Magimel does an excellent job of showing both the lightness and the darkness of his character. Girardot as the Mother has gone on to join my list of mothers-from-hell alongside the likes of Margaret White. Erika has some unspeakable history with her. Her mother constantly rebukes her and both of them keep hurting each other, physically and mentally, but still they stay together, though it's not love that is keeping them together; one cannot help but think it is something sinister instead. Girardot too is very good. 

            Apart from the cast, the other reason why this film amazed me the way it did was because it felt so authentic. Not in a way that everyone is sexually perverted and has kinky wishes, but that there is a true possibility of someone sitting next to me, who I think is normal, may very well be into questionable stuff. It almost doesn't feel like a film, but a true insight into a very desperate and sick person's life. What made me realise this was one little thing- when Erika starts keeping her hair open after her first tryst with Walter. I mean yes she has a plethora of very serious problems, but it is the most basic of things any woman would do when she wants to be admired. I thought a touch of something like that was truly incredulous. Then there is the way Walter first follows her, trying to be charming, and it made me think that it could have been an absolutely conventional relationship between the two. The truth obviously only comes out behind closed doors, just as it does in people's lives. 

            The way it is made also helps in this. All the music is actual music being performed in the film. There are no coincidental meetings or circumstances like how they happen in fiction; everything that happens was inevitable as Erika foreshadowed early on, the appearance of Walter just proved to be a catalyst. It is a frightening thought and ultimately what made me feel sorry for, instead of being repulsed by, the truly unfortunate Erika. 

             Coming to writing and directing, after watching a film as self-conscious as Funny Games, I did not expect something like The Piano Teacher from Haneke. It is based on a novel of the same name by Elfriede Jelinek. As I wrote above, I thought it was really honest, almost brutally so. He is known to be a daring director, and this was a really undaunted effort. I liked the fact that it doesn't try to shock us, but instead tries to make us feel the intensity of things that Erika goes through. Also he added another layer to it, a student of Erika's whose life practically mirrors her own, and it makes one think about the actions that Erika takes against her are actually for whose harm or benefit. The film made me reflect a lot about what all can the lack of control drive people into doing. Even educated and sophisticated women like Erika can do things one will find savage and immoral. Conversely the power of control in the hands of people like the Mother or Walter towards the end of the film, can also be very reprehensible. It is a fantastic film and the fact that it won Grand Prix at the Cannes along with best actress and actor prizes for Huppert and Magimel is not at all surprising.

             This is definitely not a review I could blabber on and on in. It is a difficult and divisive film, one that I admired a lot though I don't know how many people will feel the same way about it. Also it is not for everyone, but if you can look past certain things, it is a sad story about what happens when one is oppressed beyond a limit, and how the repercussions can often be horrific.

Saturday 7 April 2012


First this-

1) So I lost two followers within the last week... I totally understand why- I post really less and the quality of the posts aren't amazing, but to my remaining followers (and I sure hope you remain with this blog), I will honestly try to up the standards of Being Norma Jeane, including trying to post these Weekly Thoughts posts on time (sorry :-( ). I have been a little low on ideas lately, but I am optimistic about things changing for the better. Also the button in no way implies that anyone loves me; I just thought it was kind of funny.

2) On casting news, Ashton Kutcher will be playing young and hippy Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs. I am not that against the idea. I'm certainly no Kutcher fan, but I don't think this project will be some big acting bonanza, so meh we'll see. But this article did make me chuckle quite a bit. Nicole Kidman will be playing Grace Kelly in a biopic about her trying to save Monaco from conflict with France in 1962. It will be called Grace of Monaco and it will be directed by Olivier Dahan, who made the lovely La Vie En Rose. It sounds fairly good and I love Kidman, but god January Jones was born to play Grace Kelly. Still the film is set later in her life, and Kidman is a solid choice. Lastly, we have an unfortunate un-casting news and that is Joseph-Gordon Levitt would not be starring in my most-anticipated film of this yearDjango Unchained. I mean he is swamped with projects- The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, Lincoln and his directorial debut Don Jon's Addiction which has Scarlett Johannson and Julianne Moore (!). Still, it would have been great to see him in a Tarantino film. Let's hope Kill Bill Vol 3 will fulfill our wishes.

3) So I rewatched all of Pushing Daisies this week. That show was such utter brilliance. Why did they have to end it?! I want them to restart it. I don't care if Lee Pace is in Lincoln and The Hobbit and stuff! Please I need Ned the piemaker back into my life!!

4) Quick question- which shows do you wish were never cancelled?

5) Loads and loads of trailers- Chris Pine is on my mind as two of his upcoming films have released their trailers. First is People Like Us which looks nice and had a good cast. I still refuse to believe that Michelle Pfeiffer is playing Pine's mother. They should be playing lovers. But it's a family film and I'll mostly watch it because of Pine's sparkly eyes. The other is the second-best trailer of this week, Rise of the Guardians, which is made by the Oscar-winning director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce. It tells the story of how Santa Clause, Jack Frost, the Toothfairy, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny are the guardians of the children of the world, and they have to save them from the evil Bogeyman. It is a Dreamworks film, very evidently, and has a brilliant voice cast with the likes of Hugh Jackman and Jude Law. Then there is Safety Not Guaranteed which has my role model Aubrey Plaza in it. It looks really fun and quirky and different and I'm really excited about it. What To Expect When You're Expecting looks really awful. I'm not a big baby person. Also why is someone as hot as Rodrigo coming in a stupid dad movie? Take This Waltz has the wonderful Michelle Williams and it looks really sweet. She's like always on a role. The Giant Mechanical Man looks sort of awesome and I can already see me loving it. Also, so glad Topher Grace is still getting roles. There is Total Recall which has Colin Farrell as the big action lead. Speaking of whom, I was rewatching In Bruges day before yesterday and man I'M SO FRIGGIN' EXCITED FOR SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS! Anyways, it seems like a good enough action film though John Cho looks insane. And insane is also the ideal word for the trailer of High School. I kind of like Adrien Brody being crazy like this, but it makes me a tad morose too. So much talent being wasted! Also, the whole film is in the trailer, so big fat fail to the trailer people. The king of the trailers this week is The Dark Knight Rises Lego Trailer. Words cannot explain how awesome it is.

6) Finally, the BEST NEWS EVER of last week was that Anchorman 2 is definitely being made. Yaaayy! Here is some Anchorman math for you-
Things Brick loves.

Milk was a bad option and byee.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Mini Reviews- Edward Scissorhands, Straw Dogs and Oldboy

             After a female-themed mini reviews post back when, I think it is time to do a "men, men, men, manly men" one. Don't ask me where I get these ideas from- I am highly jobless and my brain is dying. Also I am like high on Ron Swanson.

Edward Scissorhands (Dir: Tim Burton, 1990)

Basic plot- Edward was created by a scientist who gave him scissors for hands. He lived alone in the creepy-looking Gothic mansion until a kind-hearted make-up saleswoman, Peg Booths, decides to take him in. Her little colour-coordinated town with the gossiping housewives is swept with curiosity at this strange, yet meek man and try to use him best to their advantage. In all this Edward starts to develop feelings for Peg's teenage daughter Kim. But the fickle town soon begins to create trouble for the scissor-handed man.

             I have loved this film for a very, very long time for which there are a number of reasons. The story combines many tales that we have all read or heard or seen before such as a need for love and acceptance, a beauty and a beast falling for each other, society exploiting those who are different and then crippling their genius and so on, but in a most singularly magical way. We feel for this strange man who could be very dangerous, but remains gentle and helpful throughout the film. It is only when he gets blamed for the wrong things do we see his carefully controlled anger, for being created in such a way, come out. Still, Edward is a beast of love and art and the film depicts that beautifully in all of his creations. His feelings towards Kim are pure as a child which make some of the most heart-wrenching moments in the film, like when he cannot seem to hold her lest he hurt her. That one tiny scene reveals the true heart of the film and the man- someone who should not love because he wasn't designed that way, but he does. The film has some really amusing moments too, provided by the residents of their town, especially in the form of the original Edie Britt, Joyce played by Kathy Baker.

              Even though I disapprove of his career choices at present, Johnny Depp still is my favourite actor and this was the film that introduced me to him, and also to the quirky and dark film maker Tim Burton. I am quite a huge Winona Ryder fan too, who plays Kim. Depp of course is Edward, a role that was as custom-made for him as his costume in the film. This film is the prime example of what the Burton-Depp team was capable of. They were absolutely unique here; there may have been various influences but they weren't remaking or adapting anything, and it worked wonders. This film was the true brainchild of Burton, who has on many occasions called it the epitome of his style of work. It is a fantastic looking film too- the dark is perfectly matched with the colourful.  It majorly influenced the Goth culture, but I think it is so romantic. I even wrote about it as a modern example of romanticism in today's world, where the idea of snow represents eternal love to an old lady. One of my favourite endings.

Rating- 10/10

Straw Dogs (Dir: Sam Peckinpah, 1971)

Basic Plot- A seemingly docile mathematician and his wife move into her old house in a quaint British village where they have a bit of trouble with the unruly locals, including the wife's ex. When things go too far, the mathematician decides to fight back.

              I love films in which the darker side of people comes out. I think that is precisely the reason why Batman is so famous. We are inherently violent and only because of that peace-loving icons like Gandhi are revered. The attraction to violence is in our nature but we try have to control it in order to live in a civilised society, just like Dustin Hoffman's character David Summer. We are shown how this "pacifist" has moved to this remote village in a different country because he did not want to take part in anti-war protests. He tries to avert conflicts as most of us do, but when one is constantly ridiculed, the facade of civility and even sanity may start to slip. Which is exactly what happens with him. The best part of the film is when this happens, but that is only in the last half hour or so of the film. But we see the build up to it, and quite perversely, we champion the violence when it takes place. That is precisely what the film maker wants us to do, and through the character of David, mirror our own secret savage desires.

              The film has been wrapped in controversy for a reason ever since its release, and that is my biggest problem with the film- the portrayal of women in it. They are represented in this promiscuous, nagging, needy, childlike way who have no problem being slapped around. Many people have tried to explain it by showing David's Humbert Humbert-esque tastes, but the only two women in the film are exactly his dirty fantasy type, which was a little hard to swallow for me. Apart from that, I was very impressed by Hoffman's acting in it. It is a fascinating character study. The film is all about him, and it's a crucial part of the 70s anti-hero boom. Hoffman and the final act make the film for me.

Rating- 9/10

Oldboy (Dir: Chan-wook Park, 2003)

Basic Plot- Oh Dae-su is kidnapped and imprisoned in a hotel room for fifteen years. When he is released, he starts the search for his captor and the reasons behind his captivity. He becomes involved with a young sushi chef Mi-do during his quest for vengeance, but the truth waiting for him is far more terrifying than anyone can ever imagine.

        Oh what a mind-fuck! In my lost podcast where I spoke about another Chan-Wook Park film, I talked about how I wouldn't be as shocked going into this because I would be mentally prepared for it. Boy was I wrong... It starts out almost innocently. Yes it is violent as hell, but nothing I couldn't handle after so many years of Fincher and Tarantino devotion. It is very stylized and all sorts of awesome (that hallway scene- swoon!). One starts to love the crazy Oh Dae-su as he seeks the truth, with his hammer. But then the film takes a very grim turn and all hell breaks loose, at least for me. 

            However, I love intricate films like this. The story is a truly twisted yet brilliant one. All the three main actors, Min-sik Choi as Oh Dae-su, Hye-jeong Kang as Mido and my personal favourite now, Ji-tae Yu as the diabolical Woo-jin are incredible. I don't want to give anything away because the film has more impact if you don't know anything about it at all. And you bloody well need to be shaken like that. There are things in it no one approves of, but it is presented to us in such an enigmatic way, that we are all blown away. I mean I really wanted to hate this film because that is how much I loathe the final truth of the film, but I just couldn't. The look, the feel, the dialogue, the music, and the acting have made me a fan.

Rating- 10/10