The Dreamy and Erotic Relationship in ‘The Lover’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

The ‘dreamy’ look is the cinematography that filmmakers such as Sofia Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci have adopted and incorporated consistently throughout their films. This look is hard to summarize but in a word it would be ‘ethereal’ and usually the central or reoccuring theme of those films is ‘love’ and can be used to capture the feeling of love or falling in love.

These types of films, such as Call Me By Your Name or Her, have been successful in using this but none have ever accomplished it quite like Jean-Jacques Annaud’s 1992 film The Lover.

Set in the beautiful landscape of 1920’s Saigon, Vietnam, a young French girl (Jane March) from a broken, loveless home begins an affair with a wealthy Chinese bachelor (Tony Kai Fai Leung). Separated by class and race, they struggle to find acceptance amongst their families as The Chinaman (yes, that is his name) is arranged to traditionally marry a Chinese woman and The Young Girl’s family mocks the affair and call her a whore for her provocative behavior.

So they spend their days in a “Bachelor’s Suite” in the slums of Vietnam where they are hidden away from the European and Eastern societies.

We see these two worlds meshing together through the cinematography, which Robert Fraisse was nominated for at The 65th Academy Awards in 1993. The French/European elements play out more in the romantic scenes where it gives off a fragility with the lack of contrast while the Asian/Eastern elements appear in moments of stress and during their love scenes where the contrast of the Saigon sunlight reflecting off of their bare bodies and the dark, humid room create intimacy.

Though very different, it accomplished combining these two lovely and rich cultures/influences in a romantic way; which is what the story is about. We know what their love felt like because of the surreal way it was shown to us. We also gather the state of their own relationship and what exactly it meant to them both. In the case of The Chinaman, he was completely enamoured with The Young Girl while she convinced him and herself that she had no real feelings for him and was just using him for his money. No love and commitment, just lust and materialism.

The Young Girl, in the end, is finally able to come to terms with her immense love for The Chinaman and the two go on living apart for the rest of their days.

The darker contrasts are all in her perspective and are used for lustful scenes while the lighter, no contrast look belongs to his perspective where the scenes are more amorous and “rose-colored” than hers. Their relationship knows no middle ground therefore the cinematography knows no middle ground. They both exist individually while somehow remaining in a relationship with each other.

The Lover uncovers the inner journey of accepting love while also giving it. The bond between the two characters is not only sensual but sensitive and goes without saying that it is one of the most visually appealing films and one of the saddest love stories ever told.

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Basement Talk 006: Movie Conspiracies

Welcome back to Basement Talk hosted by Olivia Norwood and Anthony Peyton. In our sixth episode, we will be discussing a variety of movie conspiracies. Some of these include dark industry secrets like Shirley Temple’s childhood and Mark Salling’s pedophilia. Aside from that, we have interesting theories involving the true mastermind of the Scream franchise and who the real chosen one is in the Harry Potter series.

WARNING: Extremely dark subject matter, including pedophilia and sexual aggression.

Episode Length: 32 minutes

Intro & Outro Song: “Funhouse” by John Treash

 

‘Heathers’: F*ck Me Gently With A Chainsaw

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

It’s time for another Time Warp Tuesday, folks! This time we’ve got the brilliance of the 1988 cult classic, Heathers.

That’s right, I’m talking the iconic original teen bitch dark comedy that has influenced more movies than Meryl Streep has acted in. That’s a lot, if you weren’t aware.

Heathers is basically one of the best movies any teen could watch and I highly recommend. It’s absolutely not one of good influence, but it’s a fun one. A movie from the 80s doesn’t get a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes for being “alright”.

First of all, we have the stunning Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and all the talent that that beautiful woman delivers. Following her we have Christian Slater as JD, Veronica’s insane – no, like literally insane – love interest who likes explosives a little more than a person should.

Beyond that we have the beautiful title characters Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke played by Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk, and Shannen Doherty, respectively.

One of my favorite parts about this classic other than the unforgettable quotes (check the title real quick because that’s a quote) was the fact that there was not a single weak actor in this cast. They all had talents beyond their ages and their wasn’t anyone I got bored watching.

More than that was the stunning color pallete that this movie crew decided would fit best for the Heathers respective personality – head bitch Heather was red, Duke was green, and McNamara was yellow. The decision to have them visually separated added to the memorable scenes and ability to see a group of friends that were very clearly on different pedestals.

Heathers went on to influence such movies as Mean Girls, Clueless, Jawbreakers, and dozens of others. I don’t blame them, if I were a filmmaker I’d want to follow the footsteps of this cult phenomenon, too.

Aside from all the praise, Heathers unfortunately did not have – just kidding, trying to find reasons to not like this movie is next to impossible. Obviously, I love Heathers. I think it just did so much right and cultivated a culture. Even if nowadays the subject matter is a lot more touchy, Heathers is still appealing to everyone who wants a dark teen girl trope comedy.

‘A Simple Favor’: The Perfect Dark Comedy Thriller

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Is it a mystery? Is it a comedy? Or is it both? The new Blake Lively film A Simple Favor is more than what it appears to be in the trailers. In all of their promos and previews, the film is sold as a murder mystery with Anna Kendrick being her awkward self. It’s safe to assume that this was where the comedy was going to come from.

But, Kendrick wasn’t the only one contributing to the comedy. Lively, Henry Golding, and other cast members were pretty much funny the entire time which is why I am deeming this a dark comedy.

When single, crafty mom Stephanie (Kendrick) meets the enigmatic Emily (Lively) through a play date, she becomes wrapped up in the drama and mystery of her disappearance. Emily’s character, being brash and self-centered, completely counters cautious Stephanie which makes for an interesting dynamic when Emily uses the words ‘fuck’ regularly in front of her kid and Stephanie feeds her child meatless Swedish meatballs.

Kendrick usually gives us the clumsy girl performance but in this she evolves from it and becomes the cunning Nancy Drew type (because we all know that Nancy Drew deserves more credit).

While Kendrick gave us the brains, Lively gave us the bitch. Not only a bitch, but stone cold and evil bitch. Her character takes what she wants and never apologizes (this was a huge point in the movie). It was reminiscent of her role in Derek Martini’s 2012 film Hick where she played a street smart grifter. These two roles are very different from the same old ones that she’s used to portraying in Gossip Girl, The Age of Adeline, and All I See Is You (characters with no real backbone).

All in all, it was refreshing to see these two actresses portray something a little different from themselves and see that A Simple Favor was able to surprise us all when seeing it for the first time.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 4/4

‘Remember Me’: 2010 Was Unnecessarily Depressing

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

In the daunting midst of the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson stars as Tyler in Remember Me, the unnecessarily tragic story of a New Yorker in 2001.

It follows both him and a girl named Ally (Emilie de Ravin) as they develop a classic movie cliché relationship with plenty of issues and heartache. Half of this heartache is because of the detached relationship Tyler has with his father (played by Pierce Brosnan).

I chose this movie for this week’s Time Warp Tuesday because not only did I watch it yesterday, I also wanted to cover a Pattinson movie that wasn’t Twilight that had some impact. That impact being that not every movie has to be a tragedy to be good. Why I chose the one that has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, I couldn’t tell you.

The acting in this wasn’t anywhere near magical, but it was certainly cute. Sometimes what you need is a good cliché love story, no matter if the movie is outstanding or not.

That wasn’t all this movie was, though. It was a disastrous tragedy that didn’t need to happen. As hard as it is not to spoil the ending, I won’t. But all it proved was that some movies that have the ability to be good can stay good without having to be heartbreaking.

Remember Me is nowhere near a perfect movie. In fact, it’s not even considered a good movie by any aspect. Regardless, it taught everyone a lesson that’s made a movie after it. Thank God for that.

How to Be a Boss and Other Lessons We Learned from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Anna Wintour. Vogue. New York. High Fashion. This is the groundwork and inspiration for the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada.

The legendary Meryl Streep portrays Miranda Priestly, the frigid editor-in-chief of a fictional fashion magazine in New York. Sound familiar? Well, what isn’t familiar to us audiences and fashion lovers (although we wish it were) is the story of Andy (Anne Hathaway) and her grueling yet, eye-opening experience as Priestly’s personal assistant.

While many think that working in fashion is a heaven that includes free Louboutins, this film shows the realistic day to day life and its cutthroat mentality. Andy finds herself to be the black sheep at her work as she refuses to fit in with the fashionable, size 2 women around her. But she quickly realizes that in order to earn respect she must act and look the part.

It may be hard for the chick-flick shamers to admit or understand but this film has a deeper meaning than just “fashion week” and “designer bags” (even though I wouldn’t mind a movie about the history of The Birkin). The deeper meaning I’m talking about is simple: being at the top doesn’t always make you happy.

Andy was a journalism student who’d rather write about current affairs than current trends. But in order to get quick success, she chose the job that wasn’t a part of her own dream and even though she was in a higher paying job working with one of the most important people in fashion, she wasn’t happy. She also lost sight of who she was and distanced herself from the people who mattered.

But, there’s a bright side and another important lesson to be learned. While being a personal assistant, Andy became more confident, more articulate, and more knowledgeable on the industry. Miranda Priestly might’ve been stone-cold but she did her job and steamrolled through when it became stressful. She was powerful, intelligent, and no one could touch her. If that isn’t the definition of a boss woman then I don’t know what is.

The Devil Wears Prada taught us what it means to become a better, headstrong version of you while always staying true to yourself.

‘Christopher Robin’: Warm, Fuzzy, and Winnie the Pooh

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If there’s anything I’ve noticed about the movies this year, it’s the extreme lack of “feel good” movies. These are movies that have very minimal conflict and are primarily there for the purpose of making your heart happy.

Christopher Robin is absolutely that kind of movie. It only took three seconds into the movie before tears of pure joy began to form in my eyes. I’m sure that was the intention of the writers, too.

The movie itself is about the little folks of the hundred acre wood and their developing relationship with Christopher Robin as he grows older. The opening scene shows Robin, Winnie the Pooh, Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, and Roo all having a dinner party saying ‘fairwell’ – as they spell it in the movie – to Robin.

What’s tragic about this is that it’s not Robin going on vacation or anything like that, it’s much sadder. It’s all of his friends saying goodbye because they know Robin has grown too old to hang out with them anymore.

The rest of the movie is Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) all grown up and living his life at a job that has a very family-or-job mentality, which obviously causes problems. Robin is taken on a new adventure with Pooh Bear, who he hasn’t seen in many years, to find his old friends and find himself along the way.

Despite a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, I absolutely adored this movie. It told a genuinely symbolic story of keeping your family as close to you as possible. The fact that it could convey this message using childhood characters we all know and love is an accomplishment within itself.

I thought it was so unique how they created the characters in this movie. It’s definitely not something you see very often and it was so defining.

With McGregor’s stellar performance – as always – on top of the rest of these factors, Christopher Robin quickly became the cutest movie of the year.


My Rating: 95%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4