My contribution so far…

Does blogging have any influence on filmmakers and tv producers…?

This is the first blog I have ever created and I didn’t hesitate to base it on reviews of films and tv shows I enjoy to watch. Surely you all have something in life you’re really passionate about and it’s so uncontainable that you can’t help talking about it to other people. Blogging gave me the opportunity to express my uncontainable passion for films and tv shows, and I really recommend everyone to try it out too!

As you can see, one of my greatest passion lies in the industry of films and tv shows – especially American quality ones! With this new method of expressionism (blogging), ANYONE can post and share with the rest of the world about their own insights on a film or TV show. Forums and blogs are great places for filmmakers, both profession and amateurs to visit, read and take into consideration of the critiques and compliments made about their work by various people around the globe.

Indeed, the wonderful invention of Internet has opened so many doors for citizens (like you and me) to participate and be a part of various social networks and communities. One of the techniques of broadcast television is to engage the audience and allow them to interact with the tv show. This technique, thanks to Internet, has been established online and forums are made for fans to provide feedback and interact with the TV show stars and the actual producers. How personal! Oh, the world of technology… For example, I came across “Barney’s Blog” the other day and did you know that Barney (character from How I Met Your Mother) has a blog for fans to read ? How awesome/funny is that!? His blog posts are quite random and entertaining, go check it out if you like the show! 🙂

Another point I want to make is that, our consumption of watching videos has changed and there seems to be this rise of “watching-in-bed-with-laptop”.


Oh “-and-with-a-meal”…

If this is you, don’t be ashamed… I do this every day and night too 😉 join the club. But the more I think of it, don’t you find it interesting how we have invited the “TV” into the most intimate and private areas of our lives? The living room experience with the TV set is a little old school these days… and although I know nothing can compare to the cinematic experience of a film, it doesn’t stop me from watching movies at home in bed before I sleep instead of going out to the cinemas. Our retention of film and tv has definitely shifted.

Of course I am no qualified critic (yet!) to make any impact on the genius minds of the scriptwriters, however feedback is always important and through this blog, I hope to make a positive contribution to their hard works and share it with you guys 🙂 Who knows, maybe one day they’ll come across my reviews and be encouraged.

Desperate Housewives


American comedy mystery series created by Marc Cherry
Stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria
Premiered in October 2004, and its final season (EIGHTH) ended this year in May 2012!

Who thought the life in the suburban could be this exhilarating….

Desperate housewives, brought to you by the 4 suburban wives, Bree, Lynette, Susan and Gabrielle, the show covers what goes on in the midst of our most every day lives, covering the aspect of love, marriage, divorce, children, death, lying and mysteries in an entertaining and captivating way. Through the stereotypical characteristics of each housewife – resembling neighbours and people in our own lives – so many underlying messages are explored and I honestly learn a lot from this show!

I think for this show, now that it has officially finished, it’s important to know the characters and it’s such a great journey to watch each character grow and develop throughout the seasons. Developing a character through dialogue and camera angles is one of the greatest skills to movie-making, and I’d like to take a note of how well this show has achieved that

Lets start with Bree. Bree is probably the most elegant housewife in the show. She is extremely domesticated and cannot have anything out of order. She lives the ‘right’ life and is portrayed to be the perfect housewife. She loves to cook and bake, and her form of gratitude toward others would be through her food. She is also conservative, and can become too ‘anal’ with things that you either love or you find extremely annoying. Everything has to be perfect, and when her son went through his rebellious years, Bree’s pride was broken and she truly humbled herself to not judge other naughty kids in the neighbourhood. Bree deeply cares about her friends and no matter what, she remains loyal, and is protective over those she loves.

Lynette is a mother of 5 kids, including twin boys. Her and her husband struggled a lot raising the children up, and we know right from episode 1, she has the upperhand in the marriage. Her strong-willed nature is something that continually caused issues in their marriage life, and her husband is very submissive to her dominance. Lynette is also very smart and seems to know-it-all about everyone else’s lives. However, she is all about family. Family comes first regardless. That’s what I love about her. As annoying as she gets with her stubbornness, her intentions are always good and clear.

Susan is the sweet and young mother of a teenager. She is clumsy and clueless. She may be brunette, but she’s one of those typical blondes. You either love her or hate her. Her airy-fairyness tends to create drama every now and then which makes her an entertaining character. She is NOT domesticated, she can’t cook (although she tries, she fails miserably) and her young spirit is evident through her relationship, or should I say, friendship with her daughter. Through her divorce, her daughter had to raise her up and ‘mother’ her – switched roles – and Susan is one of those people who aren’t afraid to show others that she is weak, which of course gains the audiences’ sympathy.

Lastly, Gabby is the fun and spoilt housewife. She loves her designer goods and no matter how broke her husband may be, she still expects expensive gifts from him. She is honest, too honest at times and always speaks her mind although it may sound bad – but she says them in a funny way that you can never hate her for saying such things. She is very sexual and witty and has her way of getting what she wants. As flighty as she seems, her love for her husband is genuine and although she absolutely NEVER wanted to have kids, she ends up having 2 beautiful daughters who she dedicates her life to. It’s such a positive development in her character that you fall in love with her more!

These characters only exist on screen, but it honestly feels like I know them personally. The emotional attachment to characters (especially the ones from TV shows with many seasons) is always a good sign to say that the producers have done their job at making this story/narrative as real as possible to the audience. Especially with Desperate Housewives, for 8 seasons you watch these characters and analyse them based on what’s given to you visually and you will start entering into their world of Wisteria Lane.

If I had to choose just one thing I take from this show, it would have to be: Love the ones that are around you unconditionally.

New Girl


American television sitcom
Stars Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris and Hannah Simone
Premiered in September 2011 and just started their SECOND season this year in September!

Literally one of the funniest sit-coms I have seen in a while. The quirkiness of Jess’s character is admirable and definitely something different from all other american sitcoms – an alternative to mainstream humour and catch phrases. Plus, if you’re like me and have a weird sense of humour, who laughs at odd things that others dont pick up on, you will absolutely LOVE this show.

I love the opening – short, simple and captures everything of Jess and the general feel of the show. Check it out!

The more you watch this show, you begin to wonder if Zooey’s real personally is actually portrayed through the character of Jess. That is how different the character is from all other shows, and you see this right from the beginning. It’s amusing to see how her innocent, weird and funny personality gradually blends in with the 3 guys she lives with – Nick, Schmidt, and Winston . They too are also  unique and exaggerated, but become more relatable.

The storyline and plot are rather simple, and solutions to the problems that occur are relatively easy to achieve at the end of each episode. I think it’s rather their interactions with one another that bring the awkward humorous moments for us to enjoy and how some characters begin to change and join in to do ridiculous things (mostly for Jess). For example, at a wedding they go to, this show has upgraded the chicken dance to a whole new level!!!

Seriously, anyone who watches this show – any episode – won’t regret it. It’s fresh, sweet and endearing, awkward most of  the times but enjoyable, and easy to follow.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


American Mystery Drama film.
Directed by David Fincher
Stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara

Based on a swedish novel that is the first part to the Millennium series, telling a story of a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) investigating an event of a missing woman. As he progresses, he gets help from a dark and mysterious girl, Lisbeth Salander (Mara), who has brilliant researching and computer hacking skills.

I’ve got to say, Lisbeth Salander is one of the most intriguing and captivating characters I have ever seen on screen. She has become one of my favourite movie characters and no one else could have done better job than Rooney Mara.

Her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander outstands Noomi Rapace’s performance in the 2009 film of the same name. The character of Salander was further developed through Mara with more self conscious and identification. She is more than a gothic computer geek and you would think she’s the ‘baddie’ from how the camera reflects her in dark and mysterious shots. However, there is more to her than what meets the eye.

(That’s her when she physically transforms to help Mikael – gorgeous)

Lisbeth is mentally damaged and vulnerable, which her aggressive and vengeful behaviour derives from, and her genius-like intellect is admirable. Her affection towards Mikael allows her to capture the audiences’ trust and respect, displaying strong chemistry on screen.

Some scenes are hard to watch, very dark, brutal and thrilling. Even getting closer to the answers through the investigation brings discomfort because it’s more dangerous. “Some one in the family killed Harriot” and that someone could still be alive, keeping a close watch. The exciting thing about this movie is that we (audience) only find out who the murderer is when the Mikael and Lisbeth figure it out, so the whole time it’s heart-racing and compelling, which makes this a satisfying complex film and great adaptation to the swedish version.

Match Point

Comedy-drama thriller film, 2005
Directed by Woody Allen
Stars Jonathan Rhys Myers, Scarlett Johanson

Another great Woody Allen film, but I gotta say, it’s very different to the other movies he’s made before this – this is not a typical woody allen film.

This film opens the eyes and doors to the British upper class life, which is very contrasting to the upper class of America, hence did not receive high ratings in Britain than the States. I find it very traditional to see tennis as the sport of socialism amongst rich families and we see this in many many movies, especially in this one. I love it how the cliche love triangle happens on the tennis court when the sister of Tom has an eye on Chris (Jonathan Rhys Myers), and later Chris meets Tom’s fiancee (Scarlett Johanson) and has an affair. But I’m guessing all men on the planet would leave their girlfriends or wives if it was Scarlett Johanson, right? Even I find her beautiful… especially with a glare like this:

One word: irresistible.

The ‘drama’ in this film revolves around this one character’s (Chris) motives and actions. His mind is complicated and his intentions are so unclear. Everything is in head. One minute you see him fall in love at first sight with Nola, but the next, you see him be faithful to his commitment to Chloe and even marries her although his heart was not fully in love. Obviously, money plays a role. Chloe’s family is extremely wealthy and her father gave him a job and supported his business – something Nola could never offer. But then we see the flip side of how Chloe couldn’t have a baby and Nola gets knocked up straight away when they have an affair. Big twist.

Given his sweet, gentle and charming vibe, no one would expect him to do what he did. For those who have seen it, you know what I mean right? And for those who have yet to see it, this film is full of surprises! Not sure how far a man would go to resolve his problems but Woody Allen sure made an impression on his audience that his characters will go really far and can be deceiving. Perhaps he is reflecting British men and their ruthless nature ? Who knows. I’ve never been close with a british guy to know.

What I really find interesting about this film is the idea of ‘luck’. Some characters seem to have amazing luck and get away with anything they do, others have extremely bad luck when they’ve done nothing wrong. I guess that’s life.
For example, Chloe – married to the man of her dreams, money is never a problem and after many years of trying, finally conceives a baby, and husband does not leave her for the woman of HIS dreams – LUCKY!
Chris – married to a girl who comes from a great wealthy family and welcomes him as their own son, gives him a job, a business and supports him. He ends up murdering 2 people, but gets away with it purely with luck as well as his cleverness – LUCKY!
Nola – Falls out of love with Tom (Chloe’s older sister) and falls in love with Chris. Has an affair with him and becomes pregnant. Chris begins to lie to her and chooses Chloe over her and her baby – UNLUCKY
Mrs. Eastby – Neighbours with Nola, gets murdered for just knowing and seeing Chris and Nola together – UNLUCKY
Homeless Drug Addict – Randomly picks up a ring he finds on the streets and is then suspected of the murder of Mrs. Eastby – UNLUCKY

With a twisted plot, we are exposed to the wealthy nature of European people and their lifestyles – how different is it to the American? Maybe that’s what the directer intends to point out through this film…

The Prestige


British-American mystery thriller film, 2006
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Cain, and Scarlett Johansson

Being nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction, Christopher Nolan co-wrote this film with his brother and co-produced it with his wife, making this film rather personal and sentimental than all his other great films he has made.

This film is about two magicians in the late 19th century in rivalry to create the best illusion on stage. It’s a brutal fight and they risk their lives to succeed. They are so obsessed with their job and magic tricks, that you end up questioning their humanity because they go so far to keep their secrets and maintain their rights over the illusions they perform. Would you really give up your family just to be number one, and would you really cut off a finger just to keep your secret? Their obsession eventually leads to tragic results for both Borden and Angier.

The interesting thing about this movie is that as a viewer, if it’s your first time watching it, you literally have NO idea what’s really going on, none of it makes sense and time is flashed forwards and backwards – which is different to most films because the audience is often one step ahead of the actual characters in the movie to figure the secret/mystery etc but this movie does the opposite and the characters seem to know more than we do, creating that active response to the film. The amount of narration and voiceovers indicates the depth of the characters’ mind and the secrets they carry… so if you lose focus on what is said, you feel as if you miss out on all the clues to the mystery of the plot, which makes this a great film – keeps you intrigued the WHOLE way through! I literally sat there in COMPLETE concentration, trying hard to figure out what’s going on.

Borden and Angier used to be mates, who shared a common interest – magical illusions. However, Borden (Christian Bale) came up with a trick “the transported man” that Angier could not figure out – this drove him to his madness. Not only did he lose his wife due to Borden’s so-called ‘mistake’ of tying the wrong knot around his wife’s wrists during a show (causing her inability to escape while she was in the water, thus drowns on stage infront of everyone and in front of Angier’s eyes) but he also performed an unbeatable and unexplainable trick (walking in one door and out another door that’s across the stage). Only near the end we find out the true mystery behind this magical illusion and does not require science nor technology to explain it.

The casting for this is also perfect – very familiar to The Dark Knight trilogy. Jackman and Bale, both dominating figures on screen that the anticipation leading to the very moment when they confront each other was epic. Michael Cain also did a terrific job as the supporting actor, his accent and character is impossible to hate, and is quite similar to the butler role he plays in Batman. And last but not least, Scarlett Johanson, how could we forget you? Her beauty is the only source of vibrant colour and light in the entire movie. Great performance of tricks as well.

I also want to take a note on the unique and deliberate techniques of cinematography in this film. I love the way the visual image is constructed to influence the mood, and the lighting is never natural instead staged, and colours are often dark and shady.

Beautiful shot with the endless ‘magical’ lightbulbs everywhere

This is one of those films which the protagonist and the antagonist is not defined, but rather blurred. It was impossible to decide which magician is better and who is more of a victim… like, they’re both good and evil and MAD, but it seems to be intentional, and the complex nature of the characters’ mentality are demonstrated through this undefined nature.

The Vampire Diaries


American supernatural drama tv series created by Kevin Williamson
Stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder
Premiered in September 2009 and awaits the fourth season in October 2012 this year!

Since Twilight, there seems to be a trend of vampires and wolves appearing on screen. TV shows like ‘True Blood’, ‘Teen Wolf’ and many more have successfully captured the youth’s interest and provided them with an ongoing source of entertainment with the fantasy nature of supernatural creatures. In particular, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ has been dominating the ratings and popularity all over the world – probably because of their unbelievably, irresistible attracting cast!!

Based on the book series by L.J. Smith, this tv series journeys through the life of Elena Gilbert, a high school girl who falls in love with Stephan Salvatore – who has his own secrets (like, being a vampire and is 162 years old!!). And so the drama and story starts from there. As they develop their relationship, many other characters come into the plot, cause issues and  digs up history for it to develop into the complicated life of Elena Glibert.

The love triangle between the Salvatore brothers and Elena seems to be the core aspect of the series, and this romance causes everything else to occur in the show, both good and bad. Elena is one lucky girl. Damon Salvatore (older brother of Stephan) is also in love with her but has kept it a secret to himself – only the audience knows and admires his character for it. He also compelled Elena to forget their first meeting which was before Elena meeting Stephan; which is Elena’s reason to stay with Stephan and denying her feelings for Damon, so what I’m all anticipating now is: what will she do when she remembers everything once she becomes a vampire????!!!! At the end of Season 3, we see Elena die, however we also find out that she has been fed vampire blood right before she dies, so therefore she comes back alive as a VAMPIRE!! and like usual, thats how the season ends and fans (like me) are counting down the days for season FOUR to start on the 18th of October!!

Questions like, ‘When Elena remembers all those times Damon has compelled her to forget after confessing his love for her, what will she do, who will she choose?????’
‘What kind of vampire will she be? Is she going to remain a vampire or allow herself to die before completing the full transition????’

We shall soon find out! 🙂

Pretty Little Liars


American teen drama mystery-thriller tv series.
Stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale and Shay Mitchell as Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Ella Montgomery and Emily Fields, respectively.
Premiered in June 2010 and is on its 3rd season this year.

This whole show revolves around the question of “Who is ‘A’?”

After the murder of their friend Alison, these girls have been receiving anonymous texts, emails, calls and messages from ‘A’ who is supposedly a stalker seeking revenge for the damage that Alison left behind while she was alive… It is halfway through its second season, and the audience still knows very little about who ‘A’ is.

The tagline for this show would be something like “you can’t trust anyone” because I swear, every single new character that appears on this show brings that instant feeling of suspicion – “is this person ‘A’ or related to ‘A’?” – but when you see the main characters/one of the girls trusting them, bad news happens, and they keep getting into more trouble. So the question still remains the same… “WHO IS A?!?!?!?!?!”

The suspense in this show is also intense, just like a horror movie. Check this short clip out.

Up until the latest episode, it finally revealed that TOBIE is a member of ‘A’ team along with Mona.. so that makes TWO close friends being an enemy and betrayer to these girls and the constant uneasy feeling is what makes you keep watching this show… Seriously, I was in so much shock, I had to replay a few times to make sure it was Tobie who turned around in the last few seconds of the episode… INTENSE MUCH?!

It is evident that a tremendous amount of time and effort has been spent into the creation and structure of the plot, subplot and narrative in Pretty Little Liars. I mean.. to strategically stretch out the anticipation of who A over a number of episodes and has allowed it to continue strongly onto its third season. Honestly, there were episodes where the dialogue itself was just dragging on time to delay everything so that the audience is still hanging on – which i got so sick of! but i kept watching week after week because the feeling of NOT knowing who A is drove me crazy – so I give credit to the writers. They did an awesome and successful job, at making viewers (young ones – this show’s target audience) to literally cling on to every episode for clues and hints to figure out the mystery of A and his/her motives. Can’t wait to find out more!

My Week With Marilyn


British drama film, 2011
Directed by Simon Curtis
Stars Michelle Williams

This is a film based on two books written by Colin Clark. It depicts the life of Marilyn Munroe during the shoot of 1957 film, The Prince and the Showgirl. Instead of watching films that star Marilyn herself, this film reveals many aspects of her as a person through the eyes of Clark as he had spent a week escorting her around London. Despite her flawless beauty and method acting skills, the character of Marilyn Munroe is shown to be very insecure, unstable and sensitive in this film. Although the whole world admired her, the smile she puts on infront of cameras does not always reflect her happiness and in fact does a great job at hiding what’s truly going on in her life. This film reveals the struggles she faced in her marriage life with Arther Miller, who leaves London after an argument.

The personal life of Marilyn Munroe wasn’t as glamorous as it seemed to the eyes of the public and I imagine the same for all other famous celebrities in the world today. Having to put up with paparazzi, fans and directors etc, the stress would be enormous. The major insecurity of Marilyn Munroe was that she could not trust many people, or anyone for that matter, and she always feared people’s intentions.
“Are you on my side or theirs?” – Marilyn Munroe (Williams)
She thought no one really understood her besides her acting coach Paula. However, the moment Colin Clark met her, he fell in love and did whatever she asked to prove to her that he is on her side and genuinely cares about her. He comforted her when she struggled to portray her character on set and this meant a lot to the fragile person of Marilyn Munroe.

No other actress could have done a better job than Michelle Williams. I think in some ways, the authentic gentleness and timidity of Michelle herself helped her portray Marilyn’s character perfectly.

Real Marilyn Munroe:

Amazing physical portrayal.
The soft voice, the shyness, the beauty, the charisma… all is well developed and reflected in Michelle’s acting – it’s like as if she never had to ‘act’ for this film. Stunning performance.

Historic films that tell the story of a celebrity is always intriguing and fascinating to experience. Instead of photographs and reading about them, seeing them on screen as a person, who they really were when no cameras are around is meaningful and always contrasts with you initially thought of them. I honestly thought Marilyn Munroe would be the outgoing, confident and loud type of girl but this film depicts a very sensitive and depressing side of her life, which has changed my perspective of her forever and I will thank this film for it.

Supernatural


American tv series created by Eric Kripke.
Stars Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester.
Premiered in 2005 and is still in production on its 8th season this year!

What started off to be a TV series that was planned for only 3 seasons has now moved on to its 8th! I don’t know about you guys, but when I heard about it back in May this year, I was quite surprised and impressed at how successful it has been over all these years. I remember watching 5 seasons of Supernatural in a row during the holidays NON-STOP and by the time I caught up with what was showing on TV, I gave up waiting and got over it – stopped midway of season 6. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but the storyline just kept going on and on and complicating everything again. New monsters were introduced along with new characters, therefore, they had to find new ways to kill these monsters and hunt all of them down to the alpha – some aspects kept going in circles. Also, after the death of Bobby Singer, it was just never the same. It’s always sad to see a character leave… 😦

Nevertheless, in terms of cinematography, I have to say that each episode is very well composed, edited and structured. Special effects people would have been very busy every week to put together ‘supernatural’ stuff on screen and make it seem so real. Script writers are so incredibly creative and smart to make sure the story elements are carried throughout the seasons and nothing new is suddenly introduced to keep the narrative flow, but clues and hints were given in previous episodes to lead up to a big BIG climax.

Watching 6 seasons of Supernatural at once has allowed me to see these two actors mature, age and transform over the years of shooting this. Especially Sam – he just suddenly returned to a season MASSIVE, and bulked up!!!

Season 1:
Sam (left) , Dean (Right)
Look how young Sam is here!!

Season 3:

Season 5:

Season 8 (Present):
Look how different he looks!!

Sam’s character has developed so much over the seasons, more than Dean, and his physical transformation also plays a big part in how his character portrays a different personality than it did in season 1. Dean’s character is more stable and stays the same – in a good way 🙂