Two of Us

Married life #7

Husband and I were watching Julie & Julia over a yummy mac & cheese dinner and during the movie, Paul Child toasts his larger-than-life wife Julia (Meryl Streep is such a wonderful, wonderful actress!) and calls her “the butter to my bread, the breath of my life”.

I turned to the husband and asked, Am I the butter to your bread?

Without blinking, he replied, You are the butter, the kaya, the Nutella, everything I need on my bread.


In the movie, whenever Julie Powell made dinner, her sweet husband Eric would take a bite and go “mmm that’s so good mmm mmm MMM”. Or something like that. His face would also contort into an expression that can only be described as gastronomic orgasm.

You never do that when I cook, I groused.

He gave me a “you are so dramatic” look and replied, I finish EVERYTHING you make!

I guess that’s validation enough.

At Shashlik during our wedding anniversary

(PS If you haven’t watched Julie & Julia, please do! It’s so uplifting and fun. Meryl Streep is amazing. Her chemistry with Stanley Tucci is so warm and genuine and she made me laugh the minute she appeared on the screen. The cooking and food are inspirational. Yum!)

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Coco Avant Chanel

Coco Avant Chanel

Which girl doesn’t lust for a piece of Chanel?

Whether it is the signature white camellia (so dear to the late Madamoiselle Chanel herself), the chic tweed skirt suit, the square bottle of No. 5 or the elaborately crafted and highly sought-after 2.55, an item from the House of Chanel is always something to be desired for many a squealing girl. After all, Mlle Chanel did change the face of fashion for women all over the world. The ubiquitous little black dress was a Chanel creation, as was the blending of masculinity in women’s wear.

But more than that, her life is intriguing, from the affairs that she had to the lies that she fabricated in order to protect her poverty-stricken past. And this is why I think Coco Avant Chanel, the movie starring Audrey Tautou, will be a very good watch.

The bonus is, of course, the casting of Tautou. I’ve loved her since Amelie and honestly, who hasn’t? Forget about her dreadful turn in The Da Vinci Code (urghs!), the gamine Tautou is a marvellous actress who is a wonderful mix of vulnerability and fierce pride.

I’m not sure when the movie will be out in local theatres but this is one biopic I will definitely catch.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

The Time Traveler’s Wife movie

Four years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about a book which had left me completely enthralled and intrigued. Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife made me smile and it made me cry and I have carried a torch for it ever since.

Four years later, Hollywood’s adaptation has finally been completed. Starring Rachel McAdams as Clare and Eric Bana as the time travelling Henry, the news of the movie had made me ponder about how I would feel about seeing these characters on screen. It sounds mildly obsessive but it honestly pains me to see my favourite books mangled on the big screen (Harry Potter, anyone?). Elegant, flowing prose and a lively imagination can sometimes be a better companion than the loud explosions of Hollywood.

But from the looks of the trailer, I can honestly say that I am thrilled and looking forward to the movie. The casting is perfect – McAdams looks beautifully luminous and fragile and strong, all at the same time, while Bana is a compelling mix of masculinity and pain. I’m hoping that the movie won’t be a soppy, watery affair but will, instead, express the complexities of the De Tambles’ relationship and the intelligent writing of Niffenegger.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Entering Twilight

This is going to do nothing for my street cred but I have to be honest: I took a deep breath yesterday afternoon and plunged into Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.

Go on, launch those brickbats at me. I had sworn not to read the book but somehow, when Beks left it lying carelessly on her desk, I decided to just borrow it to see what the big deal about the book was. With the pocket of time that I had between appointments, I parked myself on a comfortable armchair at Bakerzin and started reading, a pot of tea lying within reach.

It was horrible. The writing was simplistic and incredibly banal. Do I really need to know the details of what Bella was eating or cooking or wearing? The conversations were mindlessly protracted. The romance of Bella and Edward was abrupt, the explanations carelessly given. There was not much suspense or climax built into it – the structure of the plot was not laid out properly. Meyer makes J K Rowling look like Jane Austen and I worship Jane Austen.

A quarter into the book, I texted Beks: “Reading Twilight makes me feel like I am reading someone‚Äôs badly written blog.” But she was right, as irritatingly trivial as it was, I couldn’t put it down.

Maybe it’s that romantic in me. If I were 10 years younger, I would probably have swooned and longed for a vampire lover like Edward Cullen. And why not? He’s depicted as a perfect angel, and gentlemanly and chivalrous to boot. He saves her life (not once, not twice but thrice), plays the piano like a pro, writes romantic music and even opens the car door for her. Even his vegetarian vampirism works in his favour since he finds his lady love so oddly and enticingly attractive but has the willpower to stop himself. And though he has been single for almost a century, he still knows how to say and do the right things to make her heartbeat jump to manical levels.

In short, he is the perfect man that every idealistic girl dreams of.

The premise of the series is interesting and I think it’s great that Meyer dared to step out of stereotypical lines to create a new generation of vampires, mocking traditional beliefs at the same time. But her execution needs a hell lot of work and under the care of a more talented writer, the story may just be more engaging.

Poor Mr Thick went to catch the movie with me last month and though he survived to tell his tale, he has sworn to never watch its sequel. Pity, because I think director Catherine Hardwick actually did a fantastic job bringing the two cardboard characters to semi-life. The blue/grey-drenched visuals brought the dreary rainy Forks town to life and Kristen Stewart was great at portraying the gawky, ill-at-ease Bella (no comments about Robert Pattison’s acting).

I may just buy the rest of the books but that would seriously damage my street cred. I mean, I was almost embarrassed to be reading it in the train. To salvage that, I leave you now with my favouritest scene from the movie: the baseball scene, accommpanied by a great song. Dark, edgy and adrenaline-pumping, just the way I like my vampires.

Everything Else

Iron Man Robert


Robert Downey Jr is back.

It’s been almost 10 years since he stole Ally McBeal’s heart (and mine in the process). In those 10 years, he’s been in and out of rehab, making Amy Winehouse look like a mere petulant child. In fact, Larry Paul (the character he played) was written to break Ally’s heart because Downey Jr had been arrested for drugs possession.

Somehow, he’s kept me mesmerised all this time, even as a down and out drunk in Zodiac. In fact, while ploughing through the 22GB of music in my iMac recently, I came across an old track of him singing “Every Breath You Take” with Sting. It’s a really awesome track that I had forgotten about: the two men blending together in harmony, the suaveness of Sting’s voice complementing the slightly rough edges of Downey Jr’s.

There’s something really enigmatic and charismatic about him – you can’t help but fix your eyes on him. His effect on me is similar to that of Christian Bale. And while watching Iron Man at a special premiere (thanks to the cousin!), it’s apparent that he holds the centrestage and nobody, not even Gwyneth Paltrow in that token role, can hold a candle to him.

In Iron Man, he’s the playboy turned hero but a wicked, comedic twist. Tony Stark is wry, brutally honest, witty and extremely brilliant to boot. And as someone who changes his life following traumatic events (hello Batman?), Downey Jr is riveting. He plays Tony well, with a generous dose of charm, arrogance, confusion and then, subtle humility. At his lowest, you can’t help but cringe and fear. And when he is at his heroic best, your heart will give a little cheer as laughter falls from your mouth. Even when the plot feels threadbare, as most action films are, you ignore that practical side of your brain and carry on believing.

Watching a coolly sexy man at work is pleasant enough; watching a coolly sexy genius (hyperbole?) at work is like having ice cold water sliding down your back on a painfully hot day. As he puts together his gadgets and gizmos in a simple wife beater, the masculine curves of his biceps never look more inviting. And when he is striding around in that dapper suit, the smoothness of his gait is just too enticing.

Gosh, I’m gushing. But that’s the Robert Downey Jr effect for you. Without spoiling the show for you, all I want to say is that it’s great entertainment seeing actors getting tossed around like Transformers. And the little hilarious twist at the end was executed perfectly – not entirely unexpected but still a surprise nonetheless. It also sets up the sequel nicely, I can’t wait!

Fabulous fare for that lazy, hot summer night.

Everything Else

27 Dresses

“You want the wedding, you don’t want the marriage!”

!(imgcenter) Dresses)!

What does a true blue romantic at heart do on a weekend? She drags her fiance to catch the feel good rom-com 27 Dresses, of course.

From the onset, it was clear that this was Katherine Heigl’s vehicle and the others in the film are merely the fleeting scenery. And we all know what happens to the good girls in rom-coms – they end up with their Prince Charmings happily every after. That said, although the movie was predictable, the journey to the denouement was a thoroughly pleasant one (although I can’t say the same for the poor fiance).

The beautiful Heigl dyes her hair brown and is actually convincing as a plain Jane (literally) who is always the bridesmaid and never the bride. But it is her chemistry with the gorgeous James Marsden that lifts the movie. First, they quarrel. Then they discover that they hold similar values dear to their hearts. And then there’s the Misunderstanding which resolves into a fairy tale ending.

Maybe it’s because I am a soppy at heart but I enjoyed the movie very much because I think it encapsulated the process of two lovely people falling in love perfectly. They each have their own little emotional baggage to cast aside, which they do eventually. They are flawed, funny and extremely self-deprecating, which is great to watch on the big screen. And they are silver screen portrayals of my belief that your partner may not be perfect to you but he is perfect for you.

The wedding scene at the end of the movie is exactly how I would like mine to be, if I had my way. Small (minus the 27 “brides”), cosy and witnessed by the people who really matter in our lives. It helps that Heigl looked so beautiful in her 28th dress, and that James Marsden was smouldering hot at the end of the aisle. Swoon.

Go catch it for a fluffy, delightful day out but leave your boyfriend behind. He will thank you for it.

Arts & Entertainment

A big deal out of nothing

When I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, I was amazed by the intricacy of his plot, the emotional depth of his characters and the fluidity of his language. One of the reasons why I love fantasy books is the way they work my imagination and in that respect, Pullman’s mastery won me over.

When I heard the news that Northern Lights was going to be be adapted for the silver screen, I was elated. There is nothing better than seeing the worlds that you had created in your mind using imagination and words “alive” in such magnitude. And once I saw the list of cast members, I realised that it wouldn’t be merely loud booms and crashes.

It thus totally boggles my mind when I read that Christians in the US were raising a ruckus about the movie, claiming that it “bashes Christianity“.

Seriously, it’s a piece of fiction. The church that Pullman writes about may just be a symbol of an institution. The church in his book is cruel and autocratic, yes. Instead of calling for people to boycott the movie (which, really, just goes to show how narrow-minded people can be), why don’t they encourage consumers to watch the movie and then learn to draw the distinction between reality and fiction? Let them decide for themselves whether the content is truly promoting atheism. If they are afraid of children being misled by the movie, isn’t it the duty of these parents to a) simply not let them watch it or b) educate them on what is right and wrong?

These people should learn that the bigger the fuss they create, the more aware others will be of the movie. Human beings are inquisitive creatures and those who have never heard of it will be tempted to check it out to see what the fuss is all about.

Everything Else



Have been unavoidably detained by the world.
Expect us when you see us.

At the risk of sounding like a biased fangirl, I have to say that I enjoyed the movie very much.

I loved the book and even though the movie did not capture the full intensity of the book’s magical mystery (not many movie adaptations can make that claim), it was a truly delightful journey.

Much credit has to be given to Robert di Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, who filled up the screen with their charisma. In his campiest and most outlandish role ever, di Niro has completely outdone himself and really, one can never look at him the same way again. The luminous Pfeiffer, on the other hand, vamped it up as the evil witch-queen who is bent on carving out Yvaine’s heart. Her obsessive vanity and incessant rage were brilliantly showcased in that slowly decaying body.

It helped, too, that they had the gravitas to carry their characters through much of the movie, which was slightly unwieldy. Charlie Cox was pleasant (and really cute!) in his role as Tristan Thorne, the boy who went off on a fool’s errand but he came across as bland and single dimensional. Claire Danes was beautiful as the star but I was slightly miffed that her happy-go-lucky character was not the despairing, sharp-tongued fallen star of Neil Gaiman’s creation.

Movies being movies, the screenwriters had tweaked a large part of the original storyline. The ending has been modified into a saccharine sweet, typical Disney movie denouement. But it took away the edginess that Gaiman is known for – the bittersweet fact that Yvaine had to live forever in loneliness after losing her one true love to mortality is one reason why the story resonates and feels so real.

But overall, I loved the feel of the movie, as superficial as it was. It made me miss the feeling of falling in love again and it made me wish I was born in the same magical world as Tristan was. Go catch it!

Everything Else

The Dark is Rising

I just saw the trailer for the movie of a well-loved book and it’s left me feeling deflated.

Somehow, the magical, mythical quality of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence is lost amid the loud bangs and technical wizardry. Will Stanton is supposed to be a quiet, unassuming young man who is wiser than his years suggest. And yet in the trailer, he comes across as a little brat who is nursing a huge crush on his schoolmate, something that is definitely conceived by the wildly imaginative scriptwriters.

The series has stayed with me throughout the years since I first picked it up when I was 11. I’ve read and re-read the books at least once a year since then and I have a suspicious feeling that much of the beautiful serenity has been transformed into huge, crazy effects.

It’s probably going to be a disappointing show. But on the upside, tickets to Stardust have been booked for Friday evening and I cannot wait!