Thursday 27 March 2014

Spin-off Blogathon- the Poet and the Wife

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 25 March 2014

March Blind Spot- Blue Velvet


        Oh, I was scared about Blue Velvet. My previous two encounters with David Lynch's movies haven't gone as well as planned and my pretty prosaic brain was kind of freaking out, but then I thought the sooner I rip out this bandaid get it done with, the better. And holy Heineken, I actually liked it a great deal. Colour me pleasantly surprised.

          The film follows a college student, Jeffrey , who returns to his hometown after his father has a stroke. While returning from a hospital visit, he finds a human ear in a field and soon he starts investigating it with the help of a police detective's daughter, the pretty and rather square Sandy. They soon find out that all of this is connected with the mysterious and troubled nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens and a very dangerous man called Frank.

          Simply put, Blue Velvet is a neo-noir made by David Lynch. There are many typical noir elements- a morally confused hero, a femme fatale, a twisted villain and of course, it is very stylized. One of my favourite things about the film was its look, from the bright, primary colours to the way it uses darkness. This duality reinforces the theme of the movie- a look at an idyllic town with a very seedy underbelly. And it is here where the Lynchian elements come to play because obviously, the film has some surreal and weird parts but thankfully not to a great extent. There were no nightmare creatures waiting behind a diner nor, well, anything from Eraserhead *shudders*.

         Coming back to the theme, I liked how the two different worlds that Jeffrey inhabits in the movie are shown. I don't know if this was intentional, probably yes, but I found many of the interactions between him and Sandy hilarious- they are just so bland and pleasant. The "good" world that Jeffrey comes from has a sort of 50s perfectly perfect perfectness about it that is always strange to witness. In contrast, the underworld that he discovers is vivid and sexy and dangerous and oh so crazy, all of which is embodied by Dorothy, played by Isabella Rossellini. She was my favourite thing about the movie- so messed up but absolutely enticing. I loved her look, the way she sang, her pain, her "disease". I was almost equally impressed by Dennis Hopper's Frank. He was extremely creepy and totally unhinged, but some of the things he said made me laugh so much. The whole gas inhaling habit was terrifying but damn if all of this didn't result in making him an unforgettable villain!

        Kyle MacLachlan played Jeffrey and his blank canvas look felt perfect for the kind of film this was. Even though I loved Rossellini and Hopper more, the preppier foil that MacLachlan and a very young Laura Dern, who played Sandy, provided was needed to make them standout.

        Among the other aspects about the film that I appreciated, there are two that I must mention. One is related to its look that I spoke of earlier. At a number of crucial points in the movie, Jeffrey peeps through Dorothy's closet and sees things taking place in the apartment. This voyeuristic element really stood out for me and it helped build up some of the most thrilling moments in the movie. There is a certain sick quality about all this and though I did find Jeffrey somewhat plain, it helped make him a more interesting character.

        The last element of the film I really adored was its soundtrack. No, I won't really be purchasing it any time soon but within the context of the film, it worked so well. I was practically in stitches during Ben's "performance", mostly because of the other people in the room. So strange yet so amusing. Same goes for the woman dancing on Frank's car when he's intimidating Jeffrey. I must also confess that I had no idea that the song "Blue Velvet" existed before Lana Del Rey sang it but it has already become one of the best movie-songs I have seen/heard in my experience.

           There is of course a lot of symbolism and psychological issues in the film too. But as someone wisely told me, "Think of it like a song where the lyrics don't make sense," I watched it without letting myself get distracted by all that. It is much more rewarding thinking back upon it afterwards and I have definitely been doing a lot of that.

        So yes, though I was scared about Blue Velvet before watching it, it has most shockingly been my favourite Blind spot entry so far and while it has not decreased my fear of Lynch's movies, my curiosity has certainly been spiked.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 22

Episode 22: Teenage Dream

In this episode, we celebrate Mette's and Sofia's birthdays by talking about some iconic/musical/cheesy teen movies. So put on your dancing shoes, your cool leather jacket and some really awful 80s headgear (preferably with an insect on it) and listen up!

00:33- Chick-chatter
02:32- Trailer
03:12- Interesting Movie of the Fortnight
14:02- The chicks discuss High School Musical (2006)
26:09- The chicks discuss Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
38:09- The chicks discuss Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
48:08- Plugs and Goodbyes

Fun. feat. Janelle Monáe "We Are Young"
Katy Perry "Teenage Dream"
Rufus Wainwright "Across The Universe"

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Listen to us on: Stitcher Radio
Download episodes from: Our Dropbox page

Friday 7 March 2014

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 21

Episode 21: Make 'Em Laugh

We were supposed to post this episode last Wednesday but unfortunately, all three of us found ourselves suddenly very busy and were simply unable to edit it. We are all very sorry about that, especially to our guest Vern from The Vern's Video Vortex and erstwhile Video Vanguard (which actually shut down before our episode aired so yes, we suck) who was so great and funny. Please listen to our episode in spite of our delay and the length (it's our episode longest yet) because it really is fun.

We will make a sincere effort to not repeat this incident again.

1:02- Chick chatter with fellow host chicks- Mette and Sofia
3:25- Trailer
3:42- Guest questionnaire
15:44- The chicks and Vern list their top 3 comedy movies
1:30:48- Plugs and Goodbyes

The Vern sings a special song for the Across the Universe Podcast
Donald O' Connor "Make 'Em Laugh
Rufus Wainright "Across The Universe"

Follow us at:
Write to us at:
Find us on iTunes: search for Across the Universe Podcast
Listen to us on: Stitcher Radio
Download episodes from: Our Dropbox page

Wednesday 5 March 2014

"The one and only, Adele Dazeem!" - Random thoughts on Oscars

           We all know who won and who lost and who ate the pizza. Therefore, doing a proper recap is pointless. However, I have some Oscar-related thoughts and I'd like to share them. Simply put, here's what I liked and didn't like about the Oscars:

1) Lupita's princess dress was just gorgeous. It makes me want to wear a big flowy gown myself and just twirl around.
2) Among other fashion-related stuff, I liked Kristin Chenoweth's and Karen O's outfits, Emma Watson's hairdo and Naomi Watts' necklace.
3) Coming to speeches, there were a few that stood out. Lupita's was the most heartfelt and inspirational. "It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's"- this was an incredibly powerful and perceptive sentence and I have been thinking about it ever since. All these biopics we watch, most of them are based around someone's struggle and Patsey definitely had one of the hardest lives ever. We see numerous actors thank and pay tribute to the people they play or their hardships but I don't think anyone has put it the way Lupita did. Also, the way she ended it-

4)The other speeches I liked were Cate Blanchett's "The world is round, people!" and "Hashtag: Suck it" badass woman power declaration, Darlene Love's acceptance ballad, the "Let It Go" duo with their perfectly rhimy speech, the short documentary winners' heartfelt tribute to the woman who was their subject, and all winners whose hands shook while they were on the stage.
5) Lupita, Meryl and Amy dancing with Pharrell. Goddesses.

6) That selfie.

7) And all its subsequent parodies.

8) Lupita Nyong'o's brother who is my new role model.
9) The other selfie where Benedict Cumberbatch just popped up from the back.

10) Cumberbatch photobombing U2. Not once, but twice. #winneratOscars

11) Cumberbatch crying during Lupita's speech.
12) Lupita photobombing Jared Leto.
13) Lupita and JLaw fake-fighting.

14) The fact that JLaw looked happier than Lupita when Lupita won. Bullet dodged.
15) Brad Pitt handing out plates.

16) ALL the pizza photos.
17) Kevin Spacey presenting.
18) Bill Murray standing up after Darlene Love sang.
19) The "Moon Song" performance and the fact that Ezra Koenig's socks matched Karen O's dress.

20) "Possibility number 1: 12 Years A Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number 2: You're all racists. And now welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway!" #burn
21) Steve McQueen jumping in the air after they won Best Picture. I love this so much. As much as people hate on the Oscars, and they are definitely not decisive word on what is best or not, even someone as unconventional as McQueen was overjoyed at his film getting the award because it is a recognition of efforts and that's always a good and happy thing.

22) The fact that 2 of the Fight Club cast members now have Oscars.
23) Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki- Oscar winners. FUCK YEAH!
24) Actually, just the fact that Gravity won Best Editing. That movie is so clever with its cuts. I am super impressed with the Academy for this.
25) Daniel Day-Lewis. Such a puppy.

Sidenote: Meryl Streep gave DDL his Oscar last year. Imagine if she had won this year. Actually, imagine if they keep winning alternate years, giving each other Oscars for all eternity because true artists never die and time is a flat circle and ZOMG!

26) Lupita Nyong'o's lip balm.
27) I will talk about the montages later but just the fact that the last "heroes" montage included Indiana Jones, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Speed, The Princess Bride, Independence Day (speech and all), Harry Potter (more on that later too), Aliens, Back to the Future and Air Force One.
28) Spike Jonze winning Best Original Screenplay.

29) And Spike Jonze.

30) SPIKE JONZE!!!!!!!!

31) I love you, Spike Jonze. Please marry me.
32) The fact that I later dreamt that Joaquin Phoenix was hosting the Oscars. I don't remember more than that. Sorry.
33) Leo lost and that sucks but seriously though, WoWS is such a IDGAF movie that I can't feel that bad. But all the "Poor Leo" memes have been hilarious. This one's my fav-

34) Matthew McConaughey was very sweet when he presented with Kim Novak. She was definitely having some problems and he was very gracious.
35) Ditto for Angelina Jolie.
36) Ellen making all of the JLaw falling jokes, so that we didn't have to. Chill humans. We've all done stupid things when drunk (more on this later too though).
37) Ellen in Glinda's costume.

38) Ellen in general.
39) Nicholas Hoult. Dawwwwwwww.

40) Not playing most of the winners off.
41) That American Hustle didn't win anything. MUAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

42) I laughed like hell in the Bradley Cooper nomination clip though. Best in show.
43) And my absolute favourite thing that happened at the Oscars- the coming together of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emma Watson. Such a perfect unison of good looks, charm and talent. Of course, I want them to get married now, but for the time being I will be totally happy with both of them starring in a romcom together. Preferably something set in the 1st half of the 20th century and screwball-y. You can see it, right? It can be all witty and stuff. DanRad can be there too. Remember when he and JGL danced at last year's Oscars? It's all perfect.

1) The whole "heroes" theme. I happened to like Pink's performance but it was so unnecessary, as were the montages. No one bloody tunes in to watch the Oscars because of whatever theme they decide to go with. That's just silly and confusing and distracting.
2) Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto's white tuxedos. They looked like really good-looking waiters, but waiters nonetheless.
3) Harrison Ford. What happened, Indy?
4) Jim Carrey. It was super awkward to watch.
5) Most of the intros were awkward to watch. ADELE DAZEEM!!!!!!

6) Jared Leto's hair but that's like one of the things I hate most in the world. Well, not the hair but the hair on him. Annoyances!
7) I didn't listen to U2. BOTH times I watched the ceremony. I can't. Nope.
8) Also, Bette Midler singing "Wind Beneath My Wings". That song is one of the many we were made to sing throughout school and I will always feel resentful towards it. And it wasn't a very good performance either.
9) Jennifer Lawrence was a bit mental yesterday. When she came on stage to give Best Actor and randomly started screaming at the crowd- not funny, JLaw. Such a misfire.
10) Speaking of, the entire Jimmy Kimmel thing during the red carpet- what the fuck was that? If you must know, I was eating salsa at like 6:30 in the morning while watching the show. Problem?
11) Chris Hemsworth's wife was super preggers. The Loki in me kind of wanted her to give birth then though, just to see how people would react.
12) Where was Hiddles? Why was he not there? You must rectify this next year, Oscars.
13) Back to the "heroes" thing- why the fuck would you put the new Spider-Man and Superman only? They are barely heroic.
14) Also, I kind of hate it when anything Harry Potter-related is used during the Oscars. You had your chance, bastards. Avada kedavra!
15) The Great Beauty winning Best Foreign Film. Boo you pretentious whores.
16) I mean Mads was sitting there, razor-sharp cheekbones and everything. He could have come up if The Hunt had won. Dumasses.
17) The constant standing ovations. They just weren't cool anymore.
18) Matthew McConaughey's speech was actually kind of terrible. I listened to it twice to make sure. He should have just said "Alright alright alright" and left.
19) Those Oscar statuette shaped bauble thingies at the back. Terrifying! I'm surprised drunk JLaw didn't fight one of them.
20) In totes agreement with all who are angry at Oscars not including honorary Oscars in the main ceremony. Angelina Jolie's speech for that was one of the most beautiful things ever.
21) That I should really get off the net while the ceremony is going on. I missed a lot the first time tweeting and chatting with friends. Also that the whole Twitter shutting down thing made me panic a tad too much.
22) My absolute least-favourite thing about these Oscars- just how incredibly predictable and boring the winners ended up being. There were people on my Facebook page who have barely watched any of the movies but were announcing how they did with the predictions because they had obviously read about it in 150000 sites already. I really want Oscars to change its airdate. We need some excitement, come on! Nothing against the winners, just that an upset or two is always fun.

         And that's it. As you can see, I was quite happy with the ceremony in general. Let's end this with what has become the catchphrase of this award season. See you next year, O sweet headache-inducing Oscars.