The 92nd Oscars recap through tweets …

What a weird, wild night. After the debacle that was Kevin Hart’s appointment as Oscar host last year and the straight-up refusal by everyone else to dare take the baton in the wake of his dismissal, The Academy chose right from the start to not have a host for their 92nd annual event. So what do they do after Janelle Monáe’s opening number (itself strange for representing more films that weren’t nominated than those that were)? They ask Steve Martin and Chris Rock—two former hosts—to go on-stage and deliver an…

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REVIEW: Lost Highway [1997]

“I like to remember things my own way” POSSIBLE SPOILERS Every cinephile has a moment when “the movies” became more than entertainment. Mine was David Lynch‘s Lost Highway. It was my first foray into the auteur’s catalog—a viewing that occurred three or four years after its initial release courtesy of a rented VHS cassette tape. My experience with film as an art form had progressed beyond usual action or comedy reprieves from real life challenges, but no indie drama yet seen had quite the same unparalleled effect in its dementedly…

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REVIEW: David Lynch: The Art Life [2017]

“They got along like Ike and Mike” If you remember back to 2007, a documentary entitled Lynch came out portraying an all-access pass into the creative process of auteur David Lynch‘s final feature-length film, Inland Empire. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding its release from the use of a nom de plume where the director was concerned (some even speculated it was Lynch himself at the time) to the notion of a collective known as the Lynch Three Project. This film became “One” with a short named…

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REVIEW: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me [1992]

“And the angels wouldn’t help you cause they’ve all gone away” Without European money, American auteur David Lynch wouldn’t have many features to his name. His style isn’t necessarily conducive to our general population’s tastes, its surrealistic and highly sexualized depictions of the darkness underlying American society’s false façade of harmony a hard sell. So it was surprising he’d have a primetime television show at all, let alone one that sparked as much excitement as “Twin Peaks” during its Season One heyday. But there it was: a goofier and more…

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REVIEW: Blue Velvet [1986]

“Now it’s dark” After finding critical and commercial success with The Elephant Man—earning his first Oscar nominations for directing and screenplay—David Lynch became bankable enough to mount what would end up a large-scale disaster in Dune. Whereas many would probably count the latter as a failure across the board, the truth is that the sci-fi epic is much more attuned to the auteur’s sensibilities. Anyone who had seen his debut feature Eraserhead in all its strange surrealistic glory would concur, but by that time there were surely not many (and…

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REVIEW: Land of My Dreams [2012]

“I want to be gorgeous” The above quote says everything. As do the lyrics to the titular song (originated by Aretha Franklin with Anna Domino providing vocals for the version used in the film) enhancing the melancholic atmosphere presented by writer/director Yann Gonzalez. His Land of My Dreams is just that: a dream. It’s a reunion between mother (Paula Guedes) and daughter (Julie Brémond‘s Bianca) after an unspecified length of time. The first thing we hear the latter say is “I want to be gorgeous,” sentiments that don’t seem to…

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REVIEW: The Unbelievable Truth [1990]

“Are you a priest or something?” The satire in Hal Hartley‘s debut The Unbelievable Truth is so over-the-top that you almost have to read it as a straight comedy. He’s constantly repeating dialogue through straight-faced actors, breaking up scenes with unnecessary title cards delineating arbitrary time lapses, and makes his characters so over-wrought that we can’t help but find them endearing in their existential crises. It’s about love and capitalist ambition in the youth of America as the self-indulgence of the materialistic 80s transitions into the apathetic 90s with a…

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REVIEW: Poison [1991]

“I’ve just captured the sex drive” Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Todd Haynes‘ directorial debut Poison is a wild, outside-the-box ride. It reminded me of David Lynch‘s Eraserhead with a surreally experimental aesthetic and odd relationships sparked between over-the-top and perhaps parodied “freaks” standing-in as metaphors for humanity’s intolerance towards the “different”. It’s three unrelated stories about sexuality told in three different styles: “Hero” as a garish TV docu-mystery; “Homo” as a gritty thriller intercut with vibrant, warped fantasy flashbacks; and “Horror” as a B-movie sci-fi flick…

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REVIEW: P’tit Quinquin [Li’l Quinquin] [2014]

“The dung flies are afraid of moo cows” Comparisons to “Twin Peaks” are easy when it comes to Bruno Dumont’s miniseries P’tit Quinquin [Li’l Quinquin] because there’s definitely an evil running wild within his small French town (or big if it’s up to the kindly, Asperger’s-lite slaughterhouse hired-hand). Unlike David Lynch’s “Bob” who inhabits residents to take physical form and wreak havoc, however, the evil that bumbling County Sheriff Van der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost) speaks of here is a metaphysical “answer” where an actual arrest is impossible to find. It…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Der Nachtmahr [2016]

“What do you want from me?” In great Lost Highway-era David Lynch fashion, visual artist turned filmmaker Akiz‘s Der Nachtmahr switches from linear reality to seamlessly disorienting crosscuts between life and dream. It occurs when soon-to-be eighteen year old Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) passes out drunk while peeing in the woods outside a secret rave full of heavy electronica and piercing white strobe light (a disclaimer cautions epileptics while cajoling everyone else to increase the volume). We don’t realize she’s fainted—and honestly this dizzy spell might be the nightmare instead of…

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FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2016]

“Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark liquid barely contained by a jar in the corner of the room assigned to Parker (Lindsay Farris) for his latest surveillance job. Close-ups of that same fluid dripping down the walls cut in as filler…

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