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

Falling Crazy in Love with ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

One of my favorite film genres (if not, my favorite) is romantic comedy. From The Wedding Planner to Love, Simon, I always rush to the theatre (or Netflix) to see these movies. More recently, I rushed to see Crazy Rich Asians which did not disappoint.

Starring an all Asian cast, Crazy Rich Asians follows Chinese-American Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) on a trip to Singapore where she meets her boyfriend Nick Young’s (Henry Golding) family and discovers just how wealthy, luxurious, and privileged they are. Rachel, then, tries to prove her worth to his snobbish, overbearing mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) and ponders if she’s really cut out to be apart of Nick’s otherworldly life.

This film exceeded everyone’s expectations as it made $34 million dollars at the box office in its first five days, making it the best debut for a comedy this year and the best debut for a rom-com. This shouldn’t be shocking because it marks a very important moment in film history as it is the first Hollywood film to feature an all Asian cast in 25 years. When I went to see the film, nearly the entire audience were of Asian descent and that is something to be immensely proud of.

Crazy Rich Asians is pulling in the audiences that may have felt underrepresented in Hollywood and giving them something to connect to, and that is why this film made the money that it did.

Aside from its logistics, let’s talk about the film itself. I loved it, to say the least. It was one of the most visually appealing films that I have seen this year (and the past few years) and had characters that you just want to hold and never let go.

What I mean by that is that I want a second movie.

By the end of the film, I was begging for more of the posh Astrid (Gemma Chan), the fashionable Oliver (Nico Santos), and the goofy Peik Lin (Awkwafina). I wanted to follow the rest of Rachel and Nick’s relationship, see what the wedding was like, and see if she ever meets her long lost father. Now, the film is based on the book trilogy by Kevin Kwan and with the extra clip added at the end of the film (NO SPOILERS) I think it’s safe to hope for a sequel.

In conclusion, Crazy Rich Asians made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with its main AND supporting characters. It’s a beautiful film that deserves all of the spotlight and praise that it’s receiving.


My Rating: 91%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 4/4

‘Toy Story’ Will Always Have A Friend In Me

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

I find there no need to introduce a movie that has captivated all ranges of people since 1995. Toy Story is an animated movie that blew people so far out of their shoes that it has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.

It’s nice to look at the brilliant accomplishments behind the franchise that changed the animation industry and Disney all together, but it’s even more fascinating to think about why they achieved what they did. What was it about Toy Story that makes everyone so powerfully shout a ‘yes!’ when they are asked whether they like it or not? Well, that reason can be answered with many responses.

The animation itself was one of the many factors that people love. It was something unique that wasn’t shown prior to 1995. I mean, it was a bunch of talking toys. How often did you see such a thing in a beautifully animated film?

That transitions perfectly into the second aspect of Toy Story that people fell in love with. That would be the story itself. It adds to the uniqueness of the already living toys with backstories that only benefit the characters. Being able to witness of a chipper young cowboy doll become friends with a plastic astronaut was the perfect amount of funny and happiness. On top of that, we have a dog who doubles as a slinky, a dinosaur scared of his own shadow, and so many more.

It’s a mesmerizing piece of family-friendly artwork that warms the human soul on even the saddest of days. It didn’t stop with the first one, either. It ended up being one of the only franchises ever to prove that a sequel can be better than the original.

It’s ridiculously important to understand just how powerful animation can be. Toy Story is yet another animated family movie that stood in its place – which was high up on an ever evolving pedestal.

‘Something Borrowed’: An Affair

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Based on the novel by Emily Giffin, of the same name, Something Borrowed, is a romantic comedy that follows Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she begins an affair with her best friend’s, soon-to-be husband, Dex (Colin Egglesfield). While it is a stereotypical and predictable rom-com where the protagonist accidentally falls in love with her best friend’s fiance, it still is an all-time favorite of mine.

At the beginning of the film after having had too many drinks while celebrating her thirtieth birthday, Rachel grabs a cab with Dex where they head to another bar for some more drinks and she unintentionally reveals the crush she had on him throughout law school. As the night progresses, the two end up going back to her apartment together and, as the saying goes, the rest becomes history. Except, this time, it’s actually just the beginning of an extremely complicated and heartbreaking narrative.

The following morning, Rachel and Dex are both startled awake to Darcy calling both of their phones. Dex rushes out before Rachel answers the phone and they are able to discuss what happened the night before. Rachel thinks her encounter with Dex was only a one night stand, but is not long before it develops into something much more – an affair.

As their affair continues, Dex and Rachel begin telling a thread of lies to Darcy and friends in order to cover up their secret relationship. Rachel does so by telling Darcy she’s having an affair with their shared friend, Ethan (John Krasinski) and Marcus (Steve Howey). Rachel and Dex spend as much time together, as circumstances will allow, until the wedding nears and they start seeing each other less. Rachel begs Dex to call of the wedding, so the two of them can be together, but Dex refuses. The morning of the wedding Rachel finds Dex at her doorstep and announces that him and Darcy have called of the wedding.

Initially, Rachel is over the moon until Darcy shows up at her door to talk and realizes that Dex was there all along, and Rachel was the other woman. Darcy is furious with Rachel, and the two seemingly never talk again until two months later when they run into each other on the street.

Although there is not much to take away from this film, hence why I have provided a brief synopsis, Something Borrowed is a lighthearted rom-com that is perfect for a girls night in. Just grab a box of chocolates, a drink of choice, and relax.