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

Hit Me!: 15 Years of ‘Thirteen’ and It’s Defiant Youth

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

It’s been 15 years since we were introduced to the gritty and hardcore coming of age film, Thirteen, and it hasn’t aged a bit.

Although the 2003 story gives off a very early 2000’s vibes with the clothing and music, teenagers Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) still mirror the youth of today. Tracy, the straight A student, befriends the rebellious Evie in hopes of becoming popular. With this friendship comes the destruction of Tracy’s image, morals, and family as she begins to steal, use drugs, and act violent.

What makes this relevant to adolescence today is that it’s real. Written by a 13 year old Nikki Reed, Thirteen was based on her own drug addicted, promiscuous life, which provides massive insight into an actual teenager’s experiences.

Teen addiction is and was a massive problem and the effects are obviously damaging but this film shows the downward spiral of it all. Tracy went from being a friendly, hardworking student and daughter to a raging, mentally unstable teen. She self harms through cutting and having her friend beat her up. Tracy’s fast life with esometimes older boys ruins her relationships with everyone around including Evie.

Near the end of the film, we see her secrets revealed to her mother in a betrayal from Evie and a mental breakdown from Tracy. She’s darker and more disturbed. Inside she’s broken and her outrageous actions are a cry for help even when her behavior gives off a different story.

Reed knew exactly what we wanted to see in a coming of age film which was the other side of the teenage experience. One that is raw, chaotic and goes unnoticed or ignored by society. There’s a dark side to everything and Thirteen exposes it while showing the real humanity behind it.

‘The Room’: The Best Worst Movie Ever

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Therese Gardner

The Room is infamous for many reasons. Its strange origins, how absolutely terrible it is, and the cult following it has developed.

The man, the myth, the legend, Tommy Wiseau, wrote, directed, and starred in this film. Even those closest to him are unsure how he got the money to make this film which cost roughly $6 million to make which, if you’ve seen it, is quite hard to believe.

But Wiseau’s money isn’t the only thing that’s mysterious about him. For the longest time no one knew exactly how old he was, but after a quick internet search it seems we may have finally settled on 63. People also aren’t sure exactly where he’s from as he used to claim he was from New Orleans, but his accent told a different story.

The mystique surrounding Wiseau and The Room was a large contributor to its cult following. However, that isn’t the only factor. It also helps that it’s so bad that it makes you actually want to watch it. While most bad movies make you want to turn them off, The Room somehow has you coming back for more.

Although not very popular at the time of its release in 2003, it has now grown to cult status with regular midnight showings across the country that Wiseau himself will often show up to and sign stuff for fans.

The intrigue surrounding this film even sparked a movie, The Disaster Artist, which stars James Franco and is based off the book by Greg Sestero who co-starred in The Room. The Disaster Artist gives a detailed look into how this strange film came to be.

All in all, The Room definitely made an impression on the film community. It’s hard to pinpoint what about it makes it so watchable despite how bad it is, but to be so widely talked about 15 years after its release is quite impressive for any movie. Especially for one known as the worst movie ever made.

 

Film Forecast Friday: August 17th

On Friday August 17th we have…

Alpha

Mile 22

We The Animals

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Liv’s Prediction:

August 17th is a big date for movie releases with approximately 15 films but let’s discuss just a few of the ones that are opening and how they’ll do at the box office.

First up, we have the new Kodi Smit-McPhee epic Alpha. This seems to be one of the biggest films opening this weekend so I do expect this one to do quite well. I don’t foresee it making as much as The Meg did last weekend, but that was also completely unexpected so Alpha may surprise us all.

Mile 22 starring Mark Wahlberg is also hitting theatres this weekend and what I can expect from this one is about the same turnout as Mission: Impossible- Fallout. Opening weekend it made around 60 million but because it was a franchise, we expected a large sum of money. Mile 22 is an action feature and not a franchise, but it also has Mark Wahlberg headlining so, who knows.

Next, we have new Netflix chick flick To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before which I expect to have numerous people opening their apps or running home to watch it. In this case, the viewership on this film will not disappoint.

Lastly, we have We the Animals. It is an indie drama and most likely will not do numbers at the box office on its opening weekend, but I do believe it will make the people who do watch it fall in love and spread good reviews like wildfire. This will ultimately bring more audience members and will gain success over time.