Birthday things!

Birthdays are a big deal for us. We try to do mad/crazy/fun things every year. Of course, there’s no repetition. What’s the fun in that?! And we tend to scratch our brains through fluff and dust for ideas a month ahead. Besides, it’s something for us to do!

Anyway, if you follow our blog  (*coughcough*), you might have realized that there is fourth person we mention from time to time, Sanjana a.k.a., foreigner. With her not being in Chennai and us loving Chennai, we decided to be our super-awkward selves and take pictures around here. Places she ought to remember.

And hence; I give you this:


*drumroll and out, folks*

See you around!

P.S. BWC and Fuzzy are about to embark on grad school journeys while Lucid and Sanjana are working! Ohwowwhathappenedinthemiddle?!

waking dreamHello again, everyone! I’m just going to direct you to Lucid’s last post (or any of the ones we’ve posted sporadically over the last two years or so) in lieu of making my excuses (which have not changed). Instead, I’m going to get right to the point and fill you in on the good stuff.

Last you heard from me, I was bemoaning my lack of Life Skills. I am less-than-happy to assure you that there has been no significant change in that department. In spite of this, however, I have managed to trick my professors into believing that I am degree-worthy, as have Lucid and Fuzzy. Meaning we are now (somehow!) bona fide graduates.


And what’s more, we are venturing perilously close to Adult Territory. Lucid is now Employed (!!). Fuzzy is heading off to graduate school. And I… I am possibly going to graduate school, also. OR I am going to be an unemployed, overgrown child for the rest of my life. One of the two.**

Now that I’ve brought you up to speed, I am totally going to do the annoying BWC thing and turn the rest of this post into a review. To be fair, it was the reviewing that I missed enough to want to get back to blogging, so here it comes. A while ago, Lucid and I watched Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I lovelovelove the novel version and I cannot imagine a film equivalent to Fitzgerald’s words. That aside, I still didn’t find a whole lot to recommend in this adaptation.

I think the central trouble I had was with the Gatsby character. I never, for one moment, bought into the legend. You could argue that he isn’t, in fact, meant to be a legend, but rather a man playing at being one. He is, however, meant to play the part well enough that those unacquainted with the truth fall for the facade. The oft-repeated “old sport” line, I felt, was grating throughout. It seemed like not even Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway (unquestioning Gatsby fanboy) bought into the tale. I wouldn’t fault DiCaprio (another solid performance) for this odd choice so much as Luhrmann. Secondly, while I cannot quite call it lazy film-making ( the detail on those sets!), more effort seems to have been expended on fancy (and pretty amazing, really ) visual styling than on story-telling. Ironic, since Fitzgerald’s story explicitly cautions against glittery exteriors. Nor can the argument be made, that this sense of superficiality is what the movie seeks to capture, considering that the eye-candy after all, seems to have been the movie’s most worked-upon aspect. It ultimately detracts from the story, with the end result being that the movie lacks that sense of unease, dissatisfaction and judgement that permeates the novel. It also reduces every valuable insight to be earned and discerned by the viewer to simplistic voice-over exposition. Dr. T J Eckleburg’s eyes, watching wordlessly from a hoarding, a stand-in for an all-seeing god, for instance, is delivered matter-of-fact not early in the movie (and then repeated to death just in case you overlooked its cleverness). Finally, the soundtrack. Although quite fantastic taken on its own, the contemporary music was jarring against the 1920’s setting, demanding greater suspension of disbelief than I could manage. I’m not certain if this was Luhrmann’s way of decrying the current state of affairs and reaffirming the story’s pertinence today. Unfortunately, for me, it sort of mixed both eras in the most unsatisfactory way possible.

Where the movie scores, in my opinion, is in that it does not romanticize the Gatsby character. By setting up Nick as being unclear in his mind, he is established as an unreliable narrator, early in the movie. This, along with several other cinematic choices, allow us to see the self-deluding Mr.Gatsby for the flawed character he is. Even as we watch Nick fall for Gatsby’s perceived modesty, it becomes increasingly apparent to the viewer that in the orchestration of his reunion with Daisy and all that follows, he is merely terribly controlling of his image and quite used to getting his way by less-than-noble means. Alongside Nick’s proclamations of Gatsby’s incorruptible Greatness and steadfastness, we are witness to a much different truth: that Daisy is but a selfish obsession– yet another fixture to be acquired in order to enhance Gatsbyland. Daisy herself is portrayed complexly by the always-wonderful ( I will profess myself a fan) Carey Mulligan. We are able to see how the impressionable Daisy is also complicit in the lie that becomes her own undoing. I think her character here best encapsulates Fitzgerald’s fears for what would come to pass through such irresponsible, decadent living. Overall, the cast is pretty fantastic, with good performances all around.

In closing, I think Luhrmann’s take certainly does add something to the Gatsbyverse and also sets the stage for future retellings . I just wish the story had taken precedence over the distracting fluff.


* We haven’t done that whole robes-and-tasseled-hats thing yet. But that is because college is ridiculous as ever and the official ceremony is scheduled for next year. I am leaving this can of worms unopened, on the topmost shelf, well out of my reach because, really, who wants to hear any more on that?

** Update: I may be an overgrown child, but gosh-darn it, I’m an overgrown child with an admission to grad school. Yeah!

ChinxHi everyone anyone..

Its been almost an entire year! You know the excuses, I’m sure. Initially, it was mostly on account of the fact that I’d been really frustrated with college and didn’t really have anything to say but then, well, lets just say it escalated. I started actively avoiding the blog, it was almost as if the WordPress logo was judging me, telling me how disappointed it was that I wasn’t doing this anymore. I felt terrible for the most part about avoiding this thing that I loved doing for so long, but as the delay got longer, the idea of actually writing something got more and more intimidating until it was this huge, insurmountable mountain.

Judging You

So, what’s changed now? College’s done, that’s what, which means that I have run out of excuses to avoid this. Lets get on with it then.

I have all these post ideas in my head about all sorts of things like how Facebook makes me feel socially inadequate, about this amazing book I read called Embassytown by China Mieville which was so good that I wanted to read it again as soon as I was done with it, about the fact that I’ve started cooking and it makes me really happy and lots of things like that. But, most of these are just fragmented thoughts, they don’t have enough meat in them to constitute an entire post, except for the book related one I guess. So, I figured I’d just talk about all those things?

I created a Facebook account. I did it. I swore I never would but I did it. It was mostly because I was feeling really nostalgic one evening and had the entirely ridiculous notion that it was a good idea to have an account so I could keep in touch with people. Except, I am abysmal, that’s right, abysmal at talking to people on the internet. I never know what to say, when to use exclamation points or periods and the acceptable amount of smiley usage, which I swear varies person to person. But mostly, I suck at small talk.

So, I joined. It was a decent sized deal. I reconnected with a bunch of people and there was the cursory, ‘Hi! How are you?’s and the ‘What are you upto?’s and the most common ‘How come you’re on here?!’. There were friend requests from people from school and college and some people who assumed that the fact that we had at some point said hellos to one another meant that they could be my ‘friends’. There was even one guy who said that he had seen me ‘on’ his friend’s wedding! Seriously guy? Creepy much? This whole thing lasted about a week. After the first week, I had no idea what I was supposed to do on there. If was to follow the leads of everyone else, I was supposed to post pictures (which I’m not comfortable with), share images and quote type things(for which Tumblr/Pinterest is much better) or say inane/passive aggressive things on my status (which, just no.). This is the reason that the only activity on my timeline is a conversation with Fuzzy about books, which I can do just as well or rather, better, in person or on the phone.

So, basically the end result of the Facebook experiment was this feeling of social inadequateness that made me feel uncomfortable and generally miserable. I think it may be due to the fact that talking to these people make me feel like the shy and unsure teenager I used to be. I’m not saying I’m super sorted superwoman now, but I’m more self-confident and sure of who I am. Its also probably due to the fact that we essentially have only school in common and nothing else, so the lengths of the conversations I’ve had have been severely limited. I think I found one, maybe two people that I will continue to speak to after this and these were people I was actually friends with way back when, as in, we talked about more than school stuff.

So now, the Facebook account just exists and does nothing, kinda lika a Metapod.


Well, that got away from me. I suppose I’ll write about the other things another time. Hopefully, soon.

I missed you Bloggy.

*Please forgive the terrible image. MS Word can only do so much. ヽ(´ー`)┌

So, you know that quote from Hugo that goes, “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know? They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.” ? Yeah, I think my “reason” might just be to make other people feel better about themselves.

Certainly, I make it possible for people to say, “Well, that was a stupid thing to do, but at least I didn’t pull a BWC.”. To further provide a source of self-consolation, I present the events of this morning:

I woke up early today, expecting to have to follow regular college timing, only to find that the first two hours of class had been cancelled. Which meant I had two choices: 1. Go back t bed and 2. Watch an episode of The West Wing. I chose the latter, and I will allow that fact to speak for the show’s brilliance. And so it was, that I let an episode of TWW load, while I took a shower. So far, so good. Except, as I discovered on emerging post- shower, I had essentially locked myself in my bedroom. You see, the door handle on the inside (where I was) has been wobbly for a while now, with my dad’s tinkering being the only thing temporarily holding it there. And it came clean off, when I tried to open the door today (just as it has, ALL WEEK.)! This meant that the only appendage I could grip and use to pull the door open was a latch, but the door was pretty firmly shut and no amount of latch-pulling would make a difference. 

Fortunately, I had my cellphone on me (which is a real rarity, if you know me). But I didn’t have the any of the neighbours’ numbers on it, because, well, I’m BWC. So then, of course, I found a pencil and jimmied the door and escaped into freedom, like the brilliant engineer that I am.

No, I didn’t. I called my mom. I called my mom and told her that her 20-year-old daughter had locked herself in and needed to go to college and, basically, “No, I DON’T know why I shut the door when I know better! CALL SOMEONE! GET ME OUT! I’M LAAAATE!”. And since moms are superhuman beings with all kinds of powers of which we know not, she called our maid. And my highly-amused (and also quite concerned) maid came to the rescue, not long after. If she is convinced that schooling doesn’t improve the mind, I won’t blame her.

Fast-forward an hour and I sat there in college with other 20-year-olds, being taught about the nature of light, by someone who clearly imagines that I am totally capable of handling that, because he doesn’t know that I still can’t remember to not shut my malfunctioning door!

And let’s keep it that way. 😉


That’s okay; we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.
                                                                                                  -The Doctor, “The Big Bang”

I love that quote from Doctor Who. Its perfect. We are all a sum of our stories. I figure, as long as you’ve got good stories to tell, you’ve lived well. So, I thought that we could tell you some of our stories here, kind of a record ( I love those!). I’ve got one for you today that I don’t think even Fuzzy and BWC know about.

In the holidays between class 12 and college, I had this phase where I really, really wanted to write something. So, I have all these files with half-written journals and stories and prompts and things like that. When I was little, I always dreamed of being this, intellectual, brilliant woman who sat by her window and wrote all her profound thoughts in a little notebook that people would read for years. Oh, and her handwriting was amazing, all scripty and flowing. That probably stemmed from the fact that my writing was abysmal during this period. It was AWFUL. None of the letters were the same size and if, god forbid,  I ever managed to write in a straight line, I was the happiest little girl in the world! Anyway, here’s an example of one of those abandoned stories. Its not brilliant or profound (It was in a file titled ‘Socks’) but, its something I did once and I want to remember it.

She sat the edge of her bed wearing her “cleaning clothes” that consisted of her baggiest, oldest t-shirt with some obscure band’s name on the front and her most comfortable, worn-in shorts. She had a scarf tied around her face, covering her nose and mouth. A necessary precaution seeing as how her allergies absolutely loved acting up at the slightest hint of dust. It was more probable that this would happen now when she had a big presentation to give at work tomorrow and couldn’t afford to sneeze her way through it.
You see, the Universe had a great track record when it came to messing with her. Cases in point; Pimples appearing in strategic locations as close as single nights before important events; her school Farewell, her first day at College; getting chicken pox the week of her annual exams and so on.She couldn’t take any risks.
 The “cleaning clothes” were reluctantly donned that gorgeous Sunday morning on account of the fact that she had absolutely run out of space to store all her junk in her extremely ‘compact’ (read small) 1BHK apartment.
She was a hoarder, no doubt about it. She kept everything, from sentimental gifts to tourist maps of places she’d vacationed in. Cleaning was an ordeal because figuring out what to keep and what to throw away was extremely difficult for her.

As she sat sorting through yet another cardboard box filled with extremely random things, she found a pair of blue socks. They were a light blue with two dark blue stripes. They had lost their color and looked like they had been worn a lot. One of them even had a hole where the pinky was supposed to be.

She didn’t throw the socks immediately into her two piles of ‘Keep’ and ‘Throw away’, which were slowly merging together anyway, but stared at them for a bit, trying to understand what a pair of socks, not one sock, that would have been normal, but an entire pair, carefully rolled up (she never rolled up her socks!) was doing in a box, which among other things also contained a comb with missing teeth, a half finished scrap book of a vacation and a door knob.

She turned it around in her hand, still trying to remember these socks and why she had felt the need to keep them. As she did this, she felt something in the sock that was not quite sock-like. She unrolled them and poured the contents of the socks on the bed. She now had, a crumpled piece of notebook paper and, of course, the other sock spread out on her bed.

Ha! I read it now and I realize that there’s a lot of ‘me’ in it. Its like that thing I read about once, that if you take a picture of someone, you take a bit of their soul as well. I guess I should write more, if I want to remember this version of me. So, yeah, I’m going to end with another promise to write more and hopefully I can keep it this time.

PS: I’m feeling sentimental today, so sue me.

The magical world of Harry Potter is indeed quite very magical. And walking around the Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Singapore was a magical journey!

The initial couple of minutes, I was thrilled, ready to squee at every little thing. And after I got over the whole ‘OMG’ phase, I started to take in things, and goodness me, the creativity and detail that goes into everything was astounding. It’s simply breathtaking to see these props and then the realization of how much thought has gone into making these hit me. Simply put : gorgeous!

And the exhibition was organized into different-theme rooms : Gryffindor Common Room, Forbidden Forest, Dark Forces, Great Hall etc.

So, I guess I’ll just talk about some of the lovely things that I saw.

One of the very first things I noticed was the Time Turner Hermione uses in the 3rd in the series. It’s a shiny gold and a miniscule hourglass with sand inside! And it looked quite pretty!  Actually, the first thing that greets you is the Fat Lady trying to break her glass with the operatic voce

There was the Dumbledore’s Army sheet which Hermione makes everyone sign. One of the best about this was that handwriting was different for each sign! Quite interesting! I also got to see Harmione’s Bag from the last book which has the hidden enlargement charm and the book she stored inside.

There was the Quibbler with the Spectrespecs and crazy whoozy colours on that page. There was the Mimbulus Mimbletonia which looked quite ick. And, the cursed necklace which Katie Bell touches looked nice. And! I got to see the coins! The Galleons, Sickles and Knuts! They have these embossed on them in a Gaelic-style-font. The coins are just what I imagined them to be.

There was Harry and Ron’s four-poster beds, a Chudley Cannons (non-moving) poster, Ron’s glasses, the Marauderer’s Map (which is definitely squee-worthy and made up of a number of folds), Harry’s Acceptance Letter to Hogwarts signed by McGonagall, Ron’s sweater with the ‘R’ on it. Oh and there was also the Howler which Ron receives after they flew the Ford Anglia. Complete with a satin tongue!

One of the interesting exhibits was the professor’s room/objects. I got to see Umbridge’s Kitten Plates, the pink everything and the teacup and her quill that craves into the skin. There was Lockhart’s complete bookset, his robes and his duelling robes and Snape’s potions and chemical glassware with stuff boiling. There were also little bottles like those formaldehyde-bio-specimens of various things like Doxycide. Slughorn’s had  a Bezoar. I saw the Half-Blood Prince’s Potions, complete with all the scribblings on the PolyJuice Potion Page. At Herbology, I got to pull out squealing Mandrakes. Ugly little creatures they are. And at Lupin’s there was the Boggart wardrobe, the giant clown that the Boggart turns to. And I saw Beaky/Witherwings! It looks creepymagnificent.

The Quidditch exhibit was fun, and I got to throw the Quaffle into the three hoops. Of course, I scored them all! And the snitc and restrained bludgers in the box that Wood first shows Harry in the 1st movie. There were also the different Quidditch robes present, along with oddments from the world cup like the Omnioculars. I saw a set of “House Captain” boards for each of the four houses which I don’t remember from the movies. I also got to see the Nimbus2000 and Nimbus2001. Alas, no Firebolt.

In Hagrid’s Hut, which is as close to the original that you can get, I got to see Hagrid giant clothes set, his dragon egg which shakes, the pink umberella/wand and the Monster Book of Monsters! Who wouldn’t miss that?!

And in the Forbidden Forest, the Acromantula Aragog was not as creepy as the movie. There was Bane and Magorian who looked a lot like the Avatar folk. Avatar sucked, anyway.  I wish there had been a unicorn.

And there was an artistically beautiful ‘Angel of Death’ statue which was seen in Little Hangleton and Dementor. Which was loose cloth and a bone-network which ended only in a spine. Very, very creepy.  Add to this, the effect of dark windows and lightning. Enough to give you the chills. There were also Voldy’s robes. Again, very creepy. From the first movie, I saw the Philopher’s Stone, the Key used in the obstacle, and the Chess pieces! I wish I could’ve played Wizard’s Chess! And there were creepy looking Death Eater robes and masks. And some old Death Eater ‘wanted’ poster of the Carrows etc. There were also the Horcruxes : The Diadem, Hufflepuff’s Cup, The Ring(which looked unimpressive), The Slytherin Locket, The Diary with Basilisk Fang.

Among the posters, there was one for the ‘Undesirable No.1’, and the Ministry of Magic issue for safety which includes a secret question and the Educational Decrees! I’m positive the artists must have had fun making the decree posters with different fonts, a giant “M” stamp, signed by Dolores. And on close inspection the last line reads something like this : “Bla Hblahbl Ahblah Blahbl Ahbla Hblahb Lah!”

The mugs says “Dobby is a Free Elf”

And there was a marvellous Great Hall door leading to a display of the Great Hall food which looked so delectable! There were displayes of Skiving Snackboxes, Chocolate Frogs made of “100% Croakoa” Fizzing Whizzbees, Bertie Bott’s etc.

And from the 4th movie, I got to see the magnificent TriWizard Cup and the giant thingamajig/casket which held it, the scraps of paper that the cup spews, the uniforms of Durnstrang and Beauxbatons, the Yule Ball Dress Robes of the students and the profs, the green Rita Skeeter Quill, and some of the ice scultpures which were on display during the Yule Ball. Speaking of dresses, there were robes and gowns (from Bill and Fleur’s wedding), the casual clothes, Quidditch robes, Professor’s robes etc on display. And what amazed me even further was that there were so many patterns/layers to each dress which made it look gorgeous in the end. There were so many wands, each customized with their own nadle portion. I particularly like James Potter’s wand.

And oh yes, I saw the Daily Prophet, one talking about Weasley’s trip to Egypt (with Scabbers and his missing paw) and the one about Muggles seeing a flying Anglia!

Standing regally, in its own display case was the Gryffindor Sword. Given how celebrated it is in the novel, it was a marvellous sight to behold, with the ruby encrusted hilt and shining silver. It was truly one of the more beautiful pieces on display.

And there was also Fawkes on display with beady eyes that stare at you and the feathers on it were dyed in hues of yellow-gold and red. With so many feathers, its plumage really looked quite magnificent.

And I probably have gushed enough about this. But honestly,  it’s well worth the visit especially if you’re a huge fan and you grew up with this.

And so, the final words : Nitwit! Oddment!Blubber!Tweak!

Wandering Alone

No excuses at all. Nope. None. Let’s dive right in to the post.

I’m currently interning in Singapore, which is a gorgeous city, and truly multi-cultural. I mean, where else would you see people from so many different races, places and culture all stuffed in one little garden city?

As the first trip ‘alone’ anywhere for a considerable period of time, it has been truly an amazing experience. And when it comes to traveling to any place, one week is just not enough. There’s so much to absorb in and that can leave you quite baffled really. The first week, you’re trying to get to know the places around you, trying to look at the beautiful things while still trying not to get lost. You’re walking around looking at fascinating things, painting a mental picture for you to revisit some other time. And then, you start to notice the quirkiness in the culture. The little things that you are not used to back home. The little things that make you feel like you don’t belong. And this is when you start wondering: ‘Can I understand more about this place and their culture?’

And as the Singaporeans say, ‘Can, la!’

Wandering alone on the streets, I was silently trying to put in a mental picture of the people, the places and the culture. Of how almost everyone is hooked onto a gadget. How you notice some people use a Kindle, and some an iPad. But almost anyone has a large screen mobile device. And contemplating on such interesting differences, I got lost. Completely, absolutely lost 4 times. It’s a strange feeling. Like a sugar-rush of excitement as you take in the place around you, and then creeps in a bit of confusion which dissipates to let the thrill of discovering something new take hold of you. It’s also quite tiring here. People walk around so much. It’s quite a task when you’re here trying to get used to all the walking. And the roads/paths are not really on a flat terrain which does nothing to help you already tired legs.

Amidst all this, there’s also the adventurous palate gravitating toward the food stalls. Being a vegetarian is tough, I found it tough to locate interesting dishes that revolve around the local cuisine which have no meat, because, let’s face it. Meat is a big deal here. But I did manage to find some interesting delectable goodies like a chocolate rice-flour dumpling, a chinese veggie-version dumpling and interesting Japanese Jelly and Sushi. Buying these Japanese goods was interesting because I got to flaunt my (extremely limited) Japanese knowledge! And in return they were quite happy to hear me speak broken Japanese.

And all this touring and experimentation is in the sidelines of actual lab work here. The labs are just gorgeous. The kind that are huge, where things work and where you feel nice doing whatever lab work is required.

And, here’s to more experimentation.

As for pictures, I’ll show you the sights of Singapore some other time.

Hello again, everybody! By this point, you probably think of us as a monthly blogging trio (and if you do, I can’t fault you). Honestly, we keep meaning to post things but exams and general college-related depression have shot our good intentions to hell (Yeah, I’m really going with that excuse again.). Anyhow, apart from college (which, I’m pretending, doesn’t exist) work, I’ve been busy catching up on a lot of movies on my To-Watch list. So, in typical BWC fashion I’m going to use up my post for this month talking about them.( No, wait. Seriously. Why are you all still hanging around?)

Anyway, I left off at some of the 2012 Oscar nominees last post, after which, I watched both Hugo and The artist as well as A Separation ( Best foreign Film), so I figured, what better place to start?

The Artist: For anyone still in the dark on the Best Picture winner, this is a movie about a silent movie actor, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) who struggles to adjust to a world that is far too quick to make the switch to Talkies.

  Both Jean DuJardin and Berenice Bejo (who plays Pepe Miller,a girl who shoots to fame by chance but unlike George succeeds through the shift to Talkies) bring enough whimsy and joy to their roles that this movie is elevated from a purely stylistic piece to one that is lighthearted but not quite slight. The use of text to sort of wink at the audience was a really nice touch, too. Overall, it’s an entertaining watch, but I wouldn’t have voted it Best Picture (Or Best most of the other eleventy-thousand awards it did win.).

Hugo: Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch Hugo in all its 3-D glory (which, most of the time, I don’t care for at all). However, since it has only just hit the cinemas in India, that might change. Also, I’m sorely tempted to just type out ‘MARTIN SCORSESE!’ and move on to the next one, but that would be misleading, because this is so unlike the gritty kind of film that is typical Scorsese-fare.
Hugo Cabaret, now an orphan, lives at a train station and winds up all its clocks- originally the job of his drunken uncle who disappears
early in the story. His living is centred around watching the people who frequent the station, and watching their lives unfold. But he is also working on restoring an automaton formerly in his (deceased) father’s possession. In doing so, with the help of his friend Isabelle, the two discover the true identity of Isabelle’s godfather, Papa Georges. And I am loath to reveal his identity or anything else that follows. I will just say that it involves a beautiful reconstruction of a lost piece of film history and is just a treat to anyone who loves film ( and I imagine anyone who doesn’t already, can’t help but fall in love with the medium by the end of this movie).
The film tends to tell rather than show, sometimes, which can get a bit tedious. But in its defence, it is directed at a younger audience.
Overall, though, this is such a rich, gorgeous movie and one that fully deserves its five Oscar wins.

(Sub)text: Go. Watch it.
A Separation: This is an Iranian movie by Asghar Farhadi that I watched not a week ago (so you have it to thank for this awful return to film-reviewing) and I can’t recommend it enough. It is very simply shot, but is an excellent example of the wonders that a good script can do for a movie.

 A Separation begins with a couple filing for divorce because the wife seeks a better life for herself and her daughter, abroad. Once she packs up, her husband is forced to look elsewhere for a caretaker for his father who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, the couple’s 11-year old daughter chooses to stay with her father, knowing that her mother will not leave the country without her and hoping for a
reconciliation. A string of events occur thereafter, involving the central family and that of the new caretaker’s, which throws all of their lives into turmoil and results from every character’s making some poor decisions along the way. And yet these decisions are so understandably human, as are the characters. And that’s what makes this movie so incredible, is the true moral ambiguity of the situation in which these everyday people find themselves. That it is so easy to switch allegiance between characters is really to the film’s credit. I also really enjoyed the ending, which asks the audience to examine all sides and perhaps look at the bigger picture. If you have the chance to catch this movie, definitely go for it!

Other movie’s I’ve watched:
The Hunger Games: This adaptation of the novel by Suzanne Collins had me excited but cautiously so, because when book adaptations have large, eager fan-bases, the film-versions tend to suffer from all the pandering to the audience and the very limited time in which they’re made so as to make the most of said fanbases. Having recently watched the film, I’m glad to say it’s a pretty good
take. The opening is frustratingly shaky and had me worrying about the quality of the rest of the movie, but it got better very quickly.
The casting is also surprisingly good- in the leads as well as minor roles.
The premise here is that each year, every district of Panem sends two representatives to the Hunger Games. These are horrifying annual televised constructs of the all-powerful Capitol that pit the representatives against each other in a battle to the death, gladiator-style. Unfortunately the chosen tributes from District 12, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark spark a revolution spanning the various districts, that awakens people to the horror of these games and causes them to actively rebel against the Capitol.
Overall, I think the movie is worth a watch, but it failed to capture the ghastliness of the games. Which is odd, because you’d think a
visual medium would have greater impact. I understand that the violence would have to be toned down in order for the movies to be more accessible to younger audiences, but this sterilization only serves to drive home the book’s criticism of reality TV and cinema  and its effective desensitization of the audience.

The Avengers: This superhero ensemble film really doesn’t require an introduction, judging by its box-office success. But also, I think, the movie itself doesn’t take any great pains with a complex plot, and any examination of storyline would be excessive in a review. If your objective is to have a good time, some good laughs and to watch some thoroughly entertaining action sequences, The Avengers is the way to go. However, despite a stellar cast and some great humour, this isn’t one of the better movies of the genre. By which I mean, if you’re a comic book enthusiast, or seek something along the lines of The Dark Knight or Iron Man, this movie will disappoint. The movie is at its best when it focuses on witty banter or Robert Downey Jr.(Seriously. Can the man do any wrong?!)’s antics, but as a story it lacks substance. The movie seems to be working off a checklist- Brothers at odds? Check! Humane superhero taken for a beast? check! Former badgirl with a debt to repay? Check! and so on. To me, the plot just lacked cohesion and innovation, and only some great performances from the cast ( and the entire cast really is excellent) keeps this movie from being entirely forgettable.

Those are just some of the movies I’ve kept notes on. Other 2011 films I watched include:

  • Drive (Stunning; but not for those who can’t stomach some major gore.)
  • Source Code ( Solid action movie, interesting premise, Jake Gyllenhaal! Worth a watch.)
  •  In Time ( Interesting premise; not so much a fan of the execution.)
  •  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 ( Certainly one of the better movies of the series.)
  •  Martha Marcy May Marlene ( Disturbing as hell, but beautifully made. And Elizabeth Olsen is a real discovery.)
  •  My Week With Marilyn ( Michelle Williams is incredible. Unfortunately the script is largely predictable and tends to over-simplify.)
  • PotC: On Stranger tides ( Why do they persist in making these when even Johnny Depp’s presence won’t redeem them?)

We were just wondering, the other day, whether blog readers will wonder what we look like.

And that got me into drawing when I was bored.


So, here we are, in all of 2D glory, in proportionate order of height, from Left to Right – BWC, Luci & Fuzzy:


I cannot believe it’s Oscar season again already! It seems not too long ago that I was lamenting Nolan’s luck (or lack thereof) with the Oscars. It has been a year, however, and unfortunatelyI haven’t managed to catch up on all the Oscar nominees this time around either, although I have watched a couple of movies that I thought would appear on the list, earlier in the year.

Of the nine movies nominated for best picture, I’ve watched 4  thus far, and here are my thoughts on them:

1. Midnight in Paris:

  I hear that a lot of people are on the fence when it comes to Woody Allen movies, and I will just preface this by saying that I am decidedly not one of them. I couldn’t name a more gifted screenwriter or one who surprises me or makes me laugh more often, and Midnight in Paris did not disappoint. Much.

It is a movie that centers around Owen Wilson’s character, Gil,  a Hollywood screenwriter and his fiancee (Rachel McAdams) who are vacationing in Paris. Gil is disenchanted with Hollywood stories from the start, and being in Paris only makes him more nostalgic for the 20’s and (to his mind) all the inventiveness and artistry and freedom associated with the period. And so it is, one night, that Cinderella-like, he is whisked away in an antique car (sorry folks, no pumpkin, here!) at midnight to a bar populated evidently by people form the 20’s. Meanwhile his finacee is off galivanting in 21st-Century Paris with the pseudo-intellectual Paul (Michael Sheen). At the bar, Gil runs into his idols -Ernst Hemingway, F.Scott fitzgerald and his wife Zelda ,Cole Porter and even, momentarily, Pablo Picasso. And this is where the movie is at it’d best. These lengendary artists are portrayed with all the little neuroses that they are known for, in popular culture. It also gives Woody a chance to fill the movie with great music and great art, which he does masterfully well. However, upon leaving the bar to get his manuscript (to be read by Gertrude Stein), Gil finds himself sadly back in the 21st century. He attempts to return, the next day, promising his fiancee the most incredible adventure. However she loses her patience pre-midnight, and chooses to go dancing with Paul, leaving Gil to his adventures once again. He then encounters Picasso’s current muse, Adrianna, whom he is instantly taken with. The question then becomes whether Gil will choose to live in a time other than his own, and also as to what will be of his fiancee. 

I thought Owen Wilson was surprisingly good. He wasn’t necessarily your typical speed-talking, anxious lead Woody-character, although the director’s influence was evident throughout. The rest of the cast form the 21st century were disregarded, I think, and they seem to have been constructed to be loathed. I feel like perhaps that entire storyline could have been dispensed with. On the other hand, the characters from the 20’s were wonderfully charming and well fleshed-out and generally a treat to watch. The sights and sounds (best soundtrack!) were a treat, really. Overall, though, I was left slightly underwhelmed. I would still recommend the movie, though, so there’s that.

2. The Descendants

Directed by Alexander Payne, The Descendants is this year’s ‘dysfunctional family’ entry at the Oscars.When Matt Kim (George Clooney)  is told that his comatose wife isn’t making any improvement, he is spurred on to clean up his act. He finds himself a father unable to control his kids- the younger, precocious, handful of a child , Scottie ,and her older troublemaker of a sister, Alex. He must find a way to break the news to his youngest daughter as well as the relatives and good friends of his wife. Through meeting his wife’s friends and Alex’ shocking revelations, Matt learns of a different woman from the wife he thought he knew. The film follows Matt’s struggles with keeping his daughters in check and forgiving his wife, with several unpleasant confrontations along the way as well as several reminders that he still has a loving, crackpot family. In addition to this, as trustee of several acres of untouched land , Matt has a tough decision to make regarding its future and that of the descendants.

The trouble with this movie is that any insight or difficult moment is followed by a bunch of contrived, painfully unfunny moments that are meant to temper the film, but fall flat without fail. I thought the movie succeeded where it did, because of excellent performances by the two younger actresses and a decent performance from Clooney. I wish the director hadn’t reined the story in so much, but overall it was a pretty enjoyable watch and certainly nothing like anything I’ve seen before. I doubt it’ll take home the Oscar, though.

3. Moneyball

 This was the movie with the most unusual central idea, out of all the movies I watched. I mean, we’ve all watched Jerry McGuire and so it isn’t strange because it’s a ‘sports movie’, but rather because it is a movie that argues for a statistical approach to player-selection. Moneyball is a movie about Oakland Athletics general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt)’s attempt to assemble a strong baseball team on a tight budget. After hemorrhaging their best players, who move on to better-paying teams, Oakland Athletics are left with big shoes to fill, and with seemingly hopeless candidates to fill them with. That is, until Beane hires Peter brand (Jonah Hill), a Yale Economics graduate who convinces him that an excellent team is still well within his reach, so long as he’s willing to disregard everything but the players’ on-base percentage. Billy faces criticism from well-established scouts and even the OA’s manager early on, but sticks with his strategy, which ultimately leads to a string of unparalleled victories for the Athletics.

The story itself didn’t really rise beyond that victory to the underdog-aspect that one would expect. However, it did feature several good performances. Jonah Hill was a revelation as Peter, and full y deserves his Supporting Role nomination. Brad Pitt, I thought, was rather out of his element at the start of the movie, surrounded by a set of much more believable scouts. His performance tended a little to the theatrical, but got more on-base as the movie went along (I thoroughly enjoyed his negotiating skills!), with the result that I wont begrudge him his Best Actor nomination, although I’ll be surprised if he wins. The movie overall is pretty enjoyable and I’d recommend a viewing.

4. The Tree of Life

Early in the movie, Mrs. Obrien (Jessica Chastain) receives a telegram informing her of the death of her son. This leads to an examination of life and loss through the memories of Mr.Obrien (Brad Pitt) , his wife and their eldest son, Jack (Sean penn). Their reminiscence paints a picture of Mr. Obrien as a  bitter man, whose talents go unrecognized and who consequently pushes his sons, that they may achieve what he cannot. He is often tyrannical, and yet obviously loves his sons dearly. He is as ‘nature’ to his wife’s ‘grace’ in his unforgiving , harsh, impartial beliefs. And yet he is far from perfect, himself. As Jack grows up he gradually begins to see this in his father- that he is not infallible, himself- and grows to resent it. He cannot fully forgive his mother for her acceptance or her easy tolerance, although he recognizes his father’s traits in himself and appreciates her ability to follow the path of grace. Jack’s loss of innocence is beautifully played out, and disturbing as it is, is universally identifiable and true. In the absence of his father (who takes a short business trip), Jack goes through a trying adolescence, and that is the last we see of him as a child, before Mr. Obrien returns.Jack the adult, we learn, is an architect, in whom the influences of nature and grace still compete. 

These memories and each character’s search for meaning in death is interspersed with sequences showcasing the history of all life, even as the history of the dead brother’s is examined in its entirety. The movie reminds us of the fleeting quality of life and its insignificance in the grand scheme of things. It seems to say: why does this matter? And also simulataneously : what could possibly matter more?

I’ve never watched a more ambitious film and the juxtaposition between a single life/all of life and more that Terrence Malick makes is ingenious. Regardless of the Oscar outcome, this is a stunning movie that will be discussed over and over for years, I think. Need I add that nothing will make me happier than its winning the Oscar as well?