Friday, October 15, 2010

Dangerous Beauty (film)

Just rewatched this movie and wanna highly, highly recommend it!! I loved it the first time of course but love it even more this 2nd time!! It’s a historical film about Veronica Franco, a Venetian courtesan in the 16th century. Based on the non-fiction book called Honest Courtesan, which I think would’ve been a way better movie title than Dangerous Beauty! It is a beautiful story about love that is extraordinarily written and magnificently shot. And unlike many historical tales, it doesn’t end in tragedy! In fact she lived a long life (relatively speaking) and helped many in her later years! :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse (spoilers)

So I hate how long it’s taken to write this post. A post in praise of the amazingness of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse series. I think I finished it in July and here it is October that I’m finally writing this post. Booo. But I wanted to write about it so badly even though the initial reactions to it are long gone. But I knew that without access to some of those reactions I had at that time, I couldn’t do justice to Dollhouse’s amazingness. So I’ve just reviewed some of the episodes and listened to some of the music and I’ve relived some of the feelings I experienced the first time round. And all I gotta say is ‘whoa’. :) sigh. and wow. and sigh. and :))))). Plus emotional geek that I am I took notes after finishing the last episode of some of the thoughts and feelings I had during and right after! :) So many things to say and where to start? Hmmmm... maybe characters?

Joss’ characters are truly amazing, so multidimensional, so interesting, so realistic. And the actors did amazing work portraying them and probably adding to whatever Joss had in mind. Eliza Dushku rocked. She’s a true ‘tough chick’ character, has been ever since Buffy. Buffy/Sarah Michelle Gellar was just never a ‘tough chick’ for me. She seemed to confuse being bitchy and bossy with being tough. And don’t get me started on using such a skinny, wussy actress to portray a fighter! (as well the slayer wannabes were the biggest collection of wussy girls ever! couldn’t even one of them have been an athlete?!) ... back to Eliza... I read somewhere Dollhouse came out of a talk her and Joss had about Eliza’s wussy character in Tru Calling and what Eliza should do next. Well the awesome Joss had a great answer for her which we’re all grateful for I’m sure! Dollhouse! :))) And she’s great as tough, as smart, as gorgeous, fun, etc! Some of the actors had real challenges of actually playing a ton of characters in just 2 seasons. Which brings me to Enver Gjokaj and Dichen Lachman, the other main character ‘dolls’ in the show. Both did great jobs, great characters! And Enver is an totally fantastic mimicker!! Coz when he played Topher it aaaaabsolutely killed me!!! He got the mannerisms and tone and personality down pat!!! Soooo perfectly!! And sooo hilarious to watch!!! hahaahaa!!

Olivia Williams as Adelle DeWitt was also awesome! She was so perfectly everything. Perfectly uptight Brit, perfectly ruthless leader, etc! But the apparent mercilessness wasn’t the complete picture and the heart in her showed up later in how she helped save everyone by her plan for Echo to enter The Attic and how caring she was for Topher when he went crazy. And Fran Kranz as Topher... also perfect!! Perfect depiction of how scientists get caught up in discovering and don’t take time to have a look at the big picture and what their discoveries could mean. His mannerisms and attitude made him such a character!!! And there was the scene between him and Summer Glau telling Adelle and the other boss about their solution and they’re totally googly-eyed at each other and geeking out at the same time which was done so perfectly by them, and was counter-pointed even more awesomely by Adelle’s eye roll!! hahaha! The others actors were also great but didn’t strike me as much. Tahmoh Penikett who I loved in Battlestar Galactica felt a bit off for me in Dollhouse. I can’t put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like.... hmmm... maybe I find him a bit inexpressive which suited his Battlestar character but his Dollhouse one needed more? .... Oh! Also was great to see so many guest appearances by Battlestar folks!! :)))

I feel the characters were all done so well, coz all of them changed, but changed so accurately considering their experiences? All their edges were worn down in some ways. Adelle comes to mind. She’s still her but the edges are worn. Topher. Poor Topher. He showed the emotions perfectly when looking around in the office before the blast in the last episode. He plays crazy perfectly. Sadly crazy. The worst kind. So sad.

As well the distance that you see between Pria and Victor there in the last episode seems accurate too. That even couples that love each other face at times, insurmountable differences. :( So again these characters too changed in such believable ways!!

Gosh! So much more to say! :) Ok here’s thoughts I had right after watching the final episode. When at the very end, Caroline/Echo loads Paul’s backup into her mind, all I could think was, “Holy shit. So sad. Such relief that he’s not lost. But this isn’t good enough. But it’s something. And it is good. But.” And then how she gets back into her bed, kind of at peace, kind of almost content, was intriguing. The thought that despite it having been a prison for her for so many years, there is that comfort in familiarity of being back in that bed. *sad small smile* Poor Echo. And when she spazzed at Pria was so perfect too. Coz soooo accurate of what would happen in real life... you get mad at someone being retarded, and yes you’re mad at them, but really it’s coz in her case, she didn’t deal with the emotions of seeing Paul die. Coz practicality had to be paramount to survive. Couldn’t let emotions out then coz you might get killed yourself. So you squash them and keep going. Until your friend obsessively smashing tech after not being with her soul mate for so long, makes you crack. ;) How it starts with Echo being mad at Pria but then the emotions and the distress underneath overwhelm and come out and dominate. And oh my god it was soooo sad and devastating a moment when Echo collapsed on the floor in utter and complete despair. Utter despair. Poor girl. :((((

And I gotta say Joss Whedon’s shows remind me of Guy Gabriel Kay’s books. Even though there’s success and a happy ending and they kinda win, it’s so tinged with sadness. It seems everything comes at great costs. Even wins. Sigh. I guess that is true of life too.

Oh quick mention of a negative about Dollhouse, and this one’s likely coz they knew they were getting canceled after just 2 seasons, but having Boyd turn out to be the head honcho bad guy felt a bit far-fetched. More like they had to pick someone we didn’t suspect and that was their best bet but to me not a good one. Kinda like the last 4 secret Cylons. Blech. Trying too hard for a twist at the end. A twist for the sake of a twist instead of a well-planned satisfying one! :)

I will end this with mentioning one of the final scenes of the first season episode Needs (Ep. #8). The scene where Echo leads all the dolls out into the light. So momentous an occasion, so hopeful, and soooo perfectly accented by the haunting song in the background. That scene also killed me along with so many others. Whoa. And the song by O+S called Lonely Ghosts that they used was perfect in so many ways. (ps. I have used the word ‘perfect’ like crazy in this blog post! ;) The song was perfect coz of the haunting, ethereal quality of Orenda Fink’s vocals and of course coz of the lyrics that are perfect for Dollhouse, which I will leave with you here. *sad small smile*

The devil that you know
Is better
Than the one you don't
And so it goes

Like lonely ghosts
At a roadside cross
We stay because
We don't know where else to go