Tuesday 23 July 2013


I haven't been blogging of late because I have finally started studying! But today, Being Norma Jeane crossed 300,000 pageviews and I would just like to share that. Thanks people and thanks Google images!

To celebrate, here is some Magneto-on-Magneto action-

Saturday 20 July 2013

Do I regret watching Before Midnight?

Note: This post is full of spoilers for anyone who has not watched all three "Before" movies.

         I know I have been freaking out about this film ever since they first announced it. I mean I was practically dancing when I found out that I will be watching it. But now that I have watched Before Midnight, the third part in the story of two people, Celine and Jesse, I cannot help but wonder if I really needed to watch it.

           Now before we go any further, let me wipe out any doubts about the movie itself. Before Midnight is a really good movie, perhaps even a great one. It has excellent writing and direction and maybe barring out the car scene in Before Sunset, contains the best performances of the actors playing Celine and Jesse, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke respectively.

           I think the only way to explain my problems with Before Midnight is putting it in relation with the the first two movies in this "Before" series, Before Sunrise and the afore-mentioned, Before Sunset. Unlike most people I saw Before Sunset first, purely by accident (and what an accident that was!) and then watched Before Sunrise. I immediately fell in love with the two characters and their relationship and the way the movies just focused on them and their thoughts and actions, desires and misgivings.

            Before Sunrise to me is one of the most magical, fairytale-like love stories I have ever seen, because as much as we want it to happen, the chances of us meeting the perfect person while traveling and spending a night just walking and talking around a beautiful foreign city are v.v. slim. Also the two characters, Jesse and Celine, are very young and full of new ideas and romanticized notions in this. It is the kind of movie that captures all the loveliness of young love without getting into the melodrama because they part before anything bad can happen. It is the perfect love story- short, sweet, touching and beautiful.

           I had not yet gotten into movies when Before Sunset was released. I can imagine people getting outraged and whatnot, and this was a time before we were drowning in sequels too. Before Sunrise was just that precious. But I think Before Sunset is as close to cinematic perfection as one can get. What it did was to ground the idealized romance of Before Sunrise into reality. I loved the fact that Jesse and Celine had in fact not turned into a perfect couple, hell, they had not met ever since that fateful night! It was a film that actually answered the question of "what could have been". Celine and Jesse had grown up and become more world-weary, but they were still themselves. They had all sorts of "adult" problems and they were sadder than before, but I liked that because I thought it was the way of life. And then there was the ending after which we wondered for nine years whether or not Jesse missed that plane?

           As it turns out, he did. I will admit that every time there was a reference to the first two movies in Before Midnight, I nearly died of joy. I actually fist-pumped the air when I saw Celine waiting for Jesse as they were together now, and with twins! But after the initial excitement subsided, and the arguing began, I started getting scared a little bit. And the entire hotel room scene, I kept thinking and praying that they don't end up divorced by "midnight" because that would be a mighty fine ending to this tale. Of course they didn't, and I can honestly see how whatever happens is the only possible conclusion (?) to this story of these two people, but even after accepting that, I kept feeling like someone had punched me in the heart and it was not nice.

           A part of me thinks that this happened because I had watched the first two right before going for Before Midnight. An entire day spent with Celine and Jesse and their wonderful, ephemeral, frustrating romance to end with me fearing for their relationship was harsh. Because of this or otherwise, it just got me thinking about if I needed to see Before Midnight at all?

         There is a quote in Before Sunrise and a line of dialogue from Before Sunset that I feel can answer this question:
"I used to think that if none of your family or friends knew you were dead, it was like not really being dead. People can invent the best and the worst for you."

"...do you think they get back together?"
"Look, see, in the words of my grandfather, to answer that, would take the piss out of the whole thing."

         There was also a little bit before the Before Sunset part when Jesse talks about how the ending to his book, which is based on the first movie and the idea can also be used to assess that of the second movie, is a test to see if one is a romantic or a cynic. These two movies have among the greatest ambiguous endings ever- this isn't just a spinning top, it's lives! I think a huge reason why I am reacting the way I am is because I think of Celine and Jesse as real people. That's how good these movies are, Before Midnight included. Which is why it hurt to see that they have become so crabby and hurtful. I did not want to see that! I was happy inventing truths for them. I would sometimes feel that they did end up together, and other times I thought that it wouldn't have worked out. And now I know, and I feel like I was better off not knowing.

        I remember that when I had rewatched the first two movies in my final year of school, I felt myself more in tune with the Celine and Jesse of Before Sunset. I also remember thinking about how I was more like the Celine and Jesse of Before Sunrise when I was younger, and that was a startling revelation. I wondered if I was turning cynical and how that may be a repercussion of growing up.

           But ever since that, my identifying myself with the two tends to shift between the movies. This again goes back to the test, I feel. I am both a romantic and a cynic, but what I am not is a realist. One could argue that this is the biggest reason why I was left so... shattered by the end of Before Midnight. And I get what Delpy, Hawke and Richard Linklater, the director of all the "Before" movies, were trying to do and show. On a cerebral and a cinephile level, Before Midnight is nothing if not a triumph. I completely understand that. However, as someone who started out in the morning thinking about how she will be 23 in two years time, the same age as Celine and Jesse when they met, to trying to sleep at night but not being able to because she knows how miserable she will be in twenty years- that's just not what I had expected.

            Now, I'm not stupid. I know that things change- people, relationships, life. I stand by what I said on Twitter- I *will* probably appreciate Before Midnight more when I'm older. But I just know I will never love it the way I do the first two movies because there is no magic in it, at all. Where are the poems and the songs? The music rooms and staircases? The electrified, palpable space between Celine and Jesse? Now they can't even be in a room together, and that terrifies me. Do remember that movies tend to affect me more than most people- I'm the person who wanted a personality disorder after watching Fight Club for the first time. Yeah...

            I realise I might have come off as a crazy, desperate person in the course of this post, and who's to say I'm not. That's not what bothers me. What bothers me is that I am now genuinely afraid of the next "Before" movie, if they do make one. I never thought this day would come but I don't know if I will be able to handle that. I mean, Celine and Jesse will be 50 and crabbier than ever. I don't want to see them turning into Martha and George from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. I don't want to see them properly separated. I just don't want to see it, but I know I will.


          So do I regret watching Before Midnight or not? Well...

          When I sat down to watch Before Sunrise on the day I saw Before Midnight, I noticed how the film starts off with a German couple fighting and not either of our leads. I don't think I had marked this before. I also found it funny and interesting to note that if they had not started fighting, Celine would have never changed her seat, Jesse would have never talked to her and this entire journey that we have been on with both of them would have never occurred.

          After watching Before Midnight, I could not help but think that Celine and Jesse now were like that very German couple.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 6

Episode 6: The Earth Dies Screaming

This time, Mette, Sofia and I tackle the end of the world, what with the current surge of apocalyptic movies like World War Z, Pacific Rim, This is the End, The World's End and so on. We won't be talking about these films, rather three other "end of the world" movies, the first of which was released back in 1916 :O I guess we can't really call it a current obsession, can we?

0:28- Chick-chatter
3:10- Trailers
3:50- Interesting Movie of the Fortnight
22:06- The chicks discuss War of the Worlds (2005)
33:30- The chicks discuss The End of the World (1916)
41:55- The chicks discuss Melancholia (2011)
54:32- Plugs and Goodbyes

The Doors "The End"
Deap Vally "End Of The World"
Cilla Black "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

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 5

Episode 5: Kryptonite

This time 'round, SofiaMette and I discuss the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, and then do a Super-Duper Questionnaire about superhero movies. 

P.S. There are a number of places where I say "Superhero" instead of "Superman" because apparently I have trouble remembering words now. Sorry!
P.P.S. There is a lot of Henry Cavill gushing- you have been warned.

0:23- Chick-chatter
2:22- Trailer
3:13- Interesting Movie of the Fortnight
19:55- General discussion on Man of Steel
40:45- Super-Duper Questionnaire
1:15:14- Plugs and Goodbyes

R.E.M. "Superman"
3 Doors Down "Kryptonite"
Cilla Black "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

The Month that was- June

June turned out to be a pretty good month for movies, especially after I found out my exams have been postponed. Obviously I chose to spend the extra time watching movies and TV shows and not learning my syllabus. Unfortunately, this means that I will have to go back to nerd mode in July and August and the movie-watching is going to have to take a backseat.

1) Stoker- Beautiful and creepy and one that just gets under your skin. My favourite 2013 feature film so far.
2) Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani- Oh glorious 90s-y Bollywood. Most fun I've had in a theatre this year. Ranbir Kapoor looked faaaiiiinneee.
3) Zelig- It was kind of brilliant, but then that's expected. I don't think Mia Farrow and Woody Allen have been cuter together in a movie.
4) Serenity- Hey, Nathan Fillion used to be hot! Oh and the film was fun. I will watch Firefly eventually.
5) The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert- Fabulous. I didn't know what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it. And gosh, those costumes!
6) Beautiful Creatures- Pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Alden Ehrenreich is too cute!
7) Superman II- "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD" might have become my favourite catchphrase ever. I think this is the Superman movie I like the most.
8) Kinky Boots- I do like small British comedies quite a lot. Chiwetel Ejiofor was on fire!
9) Crash (1996)- Um, it was a little too extreme for me.
10) Man of Steel- Even though I liked it, I think I've ranted a bit about it in our next podcast episode :S
11) The Lost Weekend- Excellent and scary.
12) Texas Chainsaw Massacre- Not scary except for the grandpa. What was that?
13) Dev D- THIS is exactly the path Indian movies need to take. Officially a fan of Anurag Kashyap now. Like wow.
14) Immortals- You would think a film where Henry Cavill is shirtless and glistening almost throughout its running time would not have me get bored out of my mind while watching it. I did too. I was wrong.
15) Wayne's World- This feels a little dated now, but it's still quite funny.
16) In The Bedroom- Was not expecting that. Phenomenal performances from Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson. And god, I hate A Beautiful Fucking Mind even more now.
17) Young Frankenstein- Just plain awesome. 
18) Dancer in the Dark- I was with the movie till the ending which was just tooooo melodramatic for me to handle. Bjork was amazing.
19) Get Carter- I was actually bored at the beginning, but then it really gets going and that was just fantastic.
20) Monsters University- A whole lot of fun. I love Pixar.
21) Spring Breakers- Yep, I loved it, whatever it was.
22) Brief Encounter- My heart, it hurts! Favourite first watch of the year along with Chungking Express.
23) Broadcast News- Quite good and Holly Hunter was adorable and brilliant.
24) I Killed My Mother- Gahhh I want to be Xavier Dolan. His first film was quite an honest look between a mother and a son. And it also spawned my new awesomely awesome banner.
25) Laurence Anyways- Quite epicly romantic in many ways. Great performances by the leads and a fantastic soundtrack.

1) The Apartment- Had to watch it after listening to Ryan's birthday podcast episode. I love it so.
2) Harold and Maude- I regret not putting Maude in my female role models from movies list. This film is such a joy.
3) Raaz- I used to be terrified of this as a kid. Rewatching it with friends on a sleepover now made me realise what a stupid child I was.
4) Romeo + Juliet- I was having a sort of craving for romantic movies. Pretty Leo is pretty.
5) Stoker- I just had to rewatch it. That piano duet kills me with all of its sexually charged energy.
6) Superman- I want a man who will turn back time for me. Pleaaaaseeeee.
7) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy- Educating my kid brother. World's Best Older Sister- ouie?
8) Who Framed Roger Rabbit- For its 25th anniversary. How does Jessica Rabbit's dress stay on?
9) Monsters Inc.- Had to be rewatched. There were definite continuity errors and it's kind of awesome how animation has improved over a decade, but this is still the far superior movie. 
10) The Incredibles- All this Monsters University and Man of Steel talk made me realize how long it had been since I had watched this.

The Blue Umbrella- This is my favourite 2013 film so far. Not just the idea of two umbrellas falling in love, but the way it looks, the way all the objects are used, the music- just everything.

TV Shows:
1) Game of Thrones, Season 3- I miss this show already. I think I preferred season 2 slightly more, but powerful stuff all around, and I've started caring for a lot of characters I didn't earlier. You can read Sati's awesome recaps. a) Favourite episode- "And Now His Watch Ended". Controversial choice, I know, but I really really enjoyed this episode. b) MVP- I have several: Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell because she is just a role model in manipulation and any woman who can tame Joffrey is to be worshipped. Next is Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, because for a scumbag, he does evoke a lot of pity. Lastly, and obviously, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark because the Red Wedding, people! Golden Globe and Emmy please. c) Favourite quote
"If you think this has a happen ending, you haven't been paying attention."
I can't quite shake this one off. This is what Game of Thrones is as a whole.

2) Doctor Who, Series 7- Yes, I rewatched it with the intention of making the big post I had spoken of last month, but it's taking really long. I'm sorry!!!
3) Teen Wolf, Seasons 1 and 2- I needed something dumb to watch, okay! I actually like it and Dylan O'Brien's Stiles is freaking awesome.

Final tally:
                                    Firsts- 96                Rewatched- 40                 Shorts- 2
                                                                      Total- 138

Aaaa study time!!