Archive | January, 2012

Being Erica – Big Picture Thinking

29 Jan

So as Anna mentioned a while back I am up in Sydney for a month working for the ABC, not writing alas but as a program assistant. Working full time makes finding time to write a lot harder so it has been a while since I’ve written a post. But I had to give a shout out to my favourite TV show I watched last year ‘Being Erica’. ‘Being Erica’ is a Canadian drama created by Canadian writer Jana Sinyor who created the show when she was just 32 years of age. Jana had previously worked a little on the wonderful and never ending ‘Degrassi High’ and created a children’s program before this called ‘Dark Oracle’. ‘Being Erica’ has been sold to over 90 countries and the US and UK remakes are in the pipelines. Being Erica is possible one of Canada’s biggest ever TV success stories but you probably haven’t heard of it. The first season aired  in 2008 and the 4th and final season of the original version finished just before Christmas. I started watching ‘Being Erica’ in the middle of this year and I have now seen all four seasons. I am currently re watching season 2 and thought I would give you guys a little shout out to watch this amazing show.

Being Erica is a about a women who at 32 just can’t get anything right, she works in a call centre, she’s single and she’s going no where. All in one day she gets fired, stood up on a date by a man who decided to go to the gym and has has an allergic reaction and ends up in the hospital. In the hospital she meets Dr Tom, an unconventional therapist who gives her his card. After running away from her parents house in pyjamas, Erica finds herself at Dr Tom’s office. Dr Tom asks her why she thinks her life has ended up so badly and Erica says it’s because of bad choices. She says she has a list a mile long of choices she regrets. Dr Tom asks her to make a list of her regrets and after she is done, he points to a particular one and asks her what she would do differently. She says how she would change her actions and suddenly Dr Tom has sent her back in time to redo her regret, she is now a time traveller. And that in a nutshell is the premise of Being Erica, what if you could go back and undo your regrets.

‘Being Erica’ is this and much more. It is an incredibly spiritual and philosophical show lead by the amazing writer Jana Sinyor who surprise, surprise has a degree in religious studies.  Being Erica is a study in why we behave the way we do and what we need to change and what we need to know to change it.

Feeling a bit depressed up here in Sydney, away from my family and friends ‘Being Erica’ is the perfect company. It makes me see the bigger picture and guides me to feel my feelings and see the truth just like it’s protagonist Erica. ‘Being Erica’ is realistic while at the same time being science fiction.The thought provoking the twists and turns of the therapy will have anyone who watches it thinking about the world in a different way. This is a little known show that needs more attention so get watching. Jana Sinyor is a great inspiration to young screenwriters and she is my new hero.  Thanks Jana for making my time in Sydney a little easier.

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ANOTHER EARTH

25 Jan

In a moment of distraction Rhoda did a terrible thing. Something that she would never be able to take back, never be able to forgive herself for. Looking up from her car window at the sky she hits another car, killing a man’s wife and child. Her life is changed and she can never go back, leaving her with a new life defined by her guilt. Leaving her to always wonder, what if she hadn’t done it? What would her world be like? And from there this small indie film about guilt and loss crosses genres with sci-fi: A new Earth appears in the sky, the same as ours until the moment it was visible. In Rhoda’s case this is the moment of the accident.

I loved this film.

I found the pace and tone hypnotising, the frosty landscapes are beautiful and Brit Marling’s performance is outstanding as the broken Rhoda. This film is very introspective, which I always love, many scenes just showing Rhoda sitting alone in her bedroom. ‘Earth 2’, as they call it in the film, externalises Rhoda’s thoughts though. Every time we see her staring up at the planet we know exactly what questions she is asking.

This is Mike Cahill’s first feature film, which he co-wrote with Marling. The film was shot with a tiny budget of $150,000, the two deciding they wanted to make a film completely on their own terms. Rhoda’s house in the film is Cahill’s family home and Marling often did make-up touch ups for the other characters between takes. The scene where Rhoda leaves the jail was shot by Brit Marling posing as a Yoga Instructor in order to enter and exit the jail. The stunning shots of the second earth hovering in the sky seem impossible on this kind of budget, but even they were created by Cahill independently. Wow!

The only times I felt very aware that I was watching a first film was the shots of dust lit up by the sun as they floated in the air. I can’t count how many short student films I have seen that have included this shot. Also the trailer ruins this film from beginning to end so I wouldn’t recommend watching it if you haven’t seen the film yet.

If you have seen it check out this slamming of a New Yorker reviewer, as well as an interesting discussion on the last scene.

‘Another Earth’ is out of the cinema’s now, but coming out on DVD next week. This film is definitely an inspiration for all young filmmakers.

Bon Voyage

13 Jan

Lisa got a job in Sydney! So this will now be a long-distance blog. Good luck Lisa, looking forward to hearing about all your adventures! xoxo

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

7 Jan

I haven’t been this excited to see a film since Black Swan! I guess if you compare the two it gives you an insight into the kind of films i love. Anything that centers around a young woman’s unstable psyche. I guess this might be because it feels that when a woman’s mental health is questionable in a film, she is allowed real subjectivity in a very different way.

Anyway, here’s the trailer. Can’t wait!! Stay posted for the review.

BURNING MAN

7 Jan

What a beautiful film. I haven’t cried so openly in a cinema since watching ‘Bright Star’ one cold winters night. But that’s another story.

Australian films have a bad wrap for being on the gloomy side and this does little to change that idea. This film deals with the grief of a man (Tom, the head chef of a fancy Bondi restaurant) after loosing his wife to cancer. The film is non-linear, the scenes are connected through Tom’s fragmented memories as he comes to terms with what has happened.  But it’s something I would hold up and compare to any international release to show that Australians are absolutely capable of making fantastic cinema.

This film was absolutely stunning visually. A small part of this (…okay maybe a large part) was lead man, british Matthew Goode- what a babe!

‘Titanic’ the new TV Mini Series by Julian Fellowes

7 Jan

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey you might be interested to know that Julian Fellows has another project in the works. ‘Titantic’ a miniseries created to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the great sinking ship. Due to air on British screens in April, here is the trailer. Enjoy.

2 Broke Girls – A bit cheesy but I like me some Kat Dennings

7 Jan

While I was slow to warm to ‘2 Broke Girls’ I have given it another go and have seen the light. While it can only be described as an old school sitcom, it also has a fresh voice and some brilliant humour. The reason I was originally turned off was the setting and the look. the characters move within a bunch of predictable sets, like the diner and their apartment and there is something a little bit too traditional about the production values that makes you feel like you are watching a sitcom in the 1980s. This aesthetic gives off a vibe that this show is a bit basic and a tad old hat but once you look beyond that you begin to see that this really is a engaging, fresh show.

And what is so engaging and fresh you might ask, well it’s Kat Dennings or ‘Max’ the poor waitress living in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn who has razor sharp wit and won’t take crap from anyone. Her snappy attitude and hidden soft side is the gold that makes this show what it is. The way that she adopts Beth Behrs or ‘Caroline’, the poor little rich girl who father has embezzled all his billions, is sweet, funny and believable. Which is asking a lot when it come to sitcoms.

These two girls quest to make something of themselves and save money to start a cup cake business is a simple goal but an admirable one and you find your watching their efforts and cheering them on. The stakes feel high and you really want them to succeed.

Another joy of Kat Dennings is that she has a real body, in a age where I am constantly looking at anorexic arms and wondering how anyone could find these women attractive, Kat Dennings has amazing boobs and a butt to die for. Looking at those breasts is mesmerising. Thank you Michael Patrick King for casting a real women. If that name sounds familiar it’s because Michael Patrick King the co creator of the show and used to be the main writer for ‘Sex and the City’ and is responsible for both the ‘Sex and the City’ films. Yes I know the second one was like watching a good friend being brutally murdered but hey I’ve decided to give him another chance.

Now the show takes a while to find it’s feet but by episode 5 you will be hooked and this loveable odd couple will become your new best friends. Give it go, it’s almost worth it just for Kat Dennings boobs.