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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‘A Star Is Born’: Best Picture’s First Contender?

By Anthony Peyton and Olivia Norwood

Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is the incredibly anticipated remake of a remake. The anticipation lead to something just as satisfying, as the movie itself was incredible.

This time, the film stars Lady Gaga as Ally and Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, a music superstar. Ally is a struggling artist and Maine is already clearly successful, as the show opens on his concert.

Without giving too much away, the rest of the film revolves around the building of Ally as a musical sensation and how Maine helps her get there. It’s a heartwarming love story that is spritzed with lots of beautiful songs and sweet moments from the brilliant chemistry of Gaga and Cooper’s love.

Cooper not only starred in this, but he was also the director. My favorite part about this was how seasoned it seemed. It was as if Cooper had directed dozens of films, and this was another to add to the batch. Cooper guided himself and Gaga to a performance that could only be described as phenomenal.

Gaga wasn’t the only one that shined with their vocals. Cooper surprised us all with his ability to not only sing but sing in character as Jackson Maine is almost a southern crooner with a gritty and rustic voice to match. Absolutely stunned by the impressive array of talent shown by Gaga and Cooper.

As soon as I left the film, the first thing I thought was how this was the first movie I’ve seen this year that seems like a solid Oscar contender. Of course we’ve had Eighth Grade, First Reformed, and several others, but this is the first one I very solidly believe deserves it. At the very least, I see this being nominated for Best Directing and Best Original Song.

A category I don’t see A Star Is Born adding to the list of nominations is Best Original Screenplay and here’s why: it fell short in story. Everything seemed very rushed which is understandable considering it follows Ally’s rise to fame but, there was background information that could be further explained.

In one scene, Jackson punches his brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) after finding out that he sold their dead father’s farm and burial spot. You only know this because there is a drawn out argument (involving the usage of f*ck more than three times) where Jackson and Bobby get into each others faces and talk about a past that is hardly ever mentioned before the scene. This happens throughout the entire film of them not really fully explaining any background information along with cutting to another scene right when a character begins to have a moment.

Again, I’m not sure if this was to speed up the progression of the story but it would have been nice to see some type of drawn out moment for any of the characters.

Aside from this, A Star Is Born absolutely did not disappoint in not only giving Lady Gaga redemption for her acting career (I blame you, Ryan Murphy) but it gave us heart, soul, and a song to sing along with. If this isn’t nominated for an Oscar then something is severely wrong with the Academy.


Our Rating: 95%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

Film Forecast Friday: September 21

Welcome back to another Film Forecast episode of Basement Talk with your hosts Olivia Norwood and Anthony Peyton. This week we talk about all kinds of things, including new music being released (From artists Lana Del Rey and the collaboration between X and Lil Peep), new movies (who will take home the most money this week), and movies in the news, where we talk about what’s new in the industry.

Episode Length: 23 Minutes

Intro & Outro Song: “Funhouse” by John Treash

TV Talk: Who Will Be Final 3 in Big Brother 20 ?

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

In honor of final 3 being solidified after tonight’s live eviction, we’ll be discussing our thoughts on Big Brother 20 nearing the finale night on Wednesday.

Our second TV Talk, was about my own thoughts on the beginning of the season and the show all together as it was my first time watching it. I had listed my top 5 favorite houseguests and as crazy as it is, those people became final 5. Sam, Tyler, JC, Kaycee, and Angela. My thoughts, of course, have changed on certain houseguests but, nonetheless they made it to final 5. So they must have done something right.

As fate would have it, Sam was evicted last night with JC winning his first HOH (Head of Household). This left the Level 6 alliance (Tyler, Kaycee, and Angela) fighting for their chance to stay. JC made his nominations for eviction with Angela and Kaycee on the block. Being the Comp Beast that Kaycee is, she won the Power of Veto to take herself off of the block, putting up Tyler next to Angela. Kaycee joins alumni Janelle, Dani, and Paul in winning the most consecutive vetoes with 5 wins.

Tonight, the budding showmance “Tangela” will be sitting side-by-side on the chopping block. Who will be making their way to the jury house? Will Angela or Tyler face the wrath of “The Hive/FOUTE”? Let’s make a prediction: Kaycee is in a final 2 with Tyler but there is a chance that she could pick Angela to stay because of the irrational fear that she couldn’t win against the Puppetmaster. Either way, the showmance has done nothing to maintain good graces with the jury.

Either way, Kaycee will be the winner of Big Brother 20.

Onto something non-houseguest related. On the Thursday, September 13th live eviction, Julie Chen made the shocking statement of ending the show with “Outside of the Big Brother house, I’m Julie Chen Moonves”. What made this so scandalous was ‘Moonves’ as it is her husband Les’, the former CEO of CBS, last name. This was done intentionally as her husband recently resigned from his position after the reporting of four allegations of sexual harassment. Using her married name was a small, yet impactful defiance against CBS and Chen has already resigned from her spot on ‘The Talk’. Whether or not Chen will continue her career on Big Brother is still unanswered but, she will likely be leaving.

This may be Julie Chen’s last season, but this will not be the last of Big Brother. With the speculation of next season being the second ‘All Stars’ season, I am confident that BBUS will be back next summer for another 90 days of backdoors, betrayals, and blindsides.

‘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

Film Forecast Friday: September 14

No podcast this week for the Film Forecast, but we do got a post for ya! September 14, 2018 has some very interesting movies coming out.

We have…

  1. A Simple Favor
  2. The Predator
  3. Unbroken: Path to Redemption
  4. White Boy Rick
  5. Lizzie

Anthony’s Opinion:

I think this week has some good movies that have been talked about pretty often lately. Specifically The Predator and A Simple Favor. The Predator is a highly anticipated remake/sequel (?) to the classic franchise. Chances are, it’ll make the most at the box office this weekend. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best movie, but it will probably make the most money.

A Simple Favor is a movie I’ve been looking forward to for ages now. It’s starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as two very different woman, but it has a very intriguing plotline I’m excited to see pan out. It’ll make the second most at box this week, behind The Predator.

The next three movies (Unbroken: Path to Redemption, White Boy Rick, and Lizzie) won’t make big – if any – impressions at box his weekend. However, I will say I’m incredibly excited for White Boy Rick, as it looks like it has potential to be a good movie. Lizzie is starring Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart and tells yet another story of the infamous Lizzie Borden.

Olivia’s Opinion:

Listen. The Predator looks like crap. Will it stop people from seeing it? Unfortunately, no. I want it to tank but it won’t so that is the reality that we (mostly me) are living through.

The new Blake Lively film A Simple Favor is one film that I am excited to see. With costars such as Anna Kendrick and Henry Golding, I expect a huge turnout for this sexy mystery and I expect to see Henry Golding shirtless again. So, that’s a big thumbs up from me.

As for the lesbian drama that no one expected Lizzie, I think this might garner a lot of attention from the indie following. It stars Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart and maybe their acting will finally be seen as serious with this new thriller after their past few unnoticed films.

As for Matthew McConaughey’s White Boy Rick (which reminds me a lot of Johnny Depp’s Blow), I think this will be a box office hit. Not necessarily as big as other films like A Simple Favor or The Predator. More on the box office status of other 2018 films like BlacKkKlansman or Eighth Grade. 

Overall, The Predator is taking home big money this weekend. Big money from a big YIKES movie. Let’s go shirtless Henry Golding for A Simple Favor!