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: 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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REVIEW: How to Save Us [2014]

“Have you seen mom and dad yet since they’ve died?” A plague has decimated Tasmania to the point where everyone is either dead or evacuated. Everyone but Sam Everett (Coy Jandreau), the youngest of three siblings yet to cope with the death of his parents, present to visit his family’s old vacation home on the island. The reason he has gone despite warnings stems from the fact that ghosts have taken over—shimmering visages from another world drawn to electricity that communicate over radio waves through recorded messages caught in the…

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REVIEW: RoboCop [1987]

“The future has a silver lining” It started with a passing thought by screenwriter Edward Neumeier as he walked by a poster for Blade Runner—a movie his friend explained was about a “cop hunting robots”. What if he combined those two nouns to make a robot cop? A machine with the computational power to judge right from wrong tinted gray due to a latent morality combined with the extra strength and invincibility being constructed out of metal could provide? Yes, please. Partnered with Michael Miner, however, their dystopian script was…

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REVIEW: Top of the Lake, Parts 1-3 [2013]

“You know, you were my first kiss. Was I yours?” A young boy on a bus—this is the indelible mark left by the first three episodes of Jane Campion and Gerard Lee‘s miniseries Top of the Lake and it sticks less than five minutes in. Anonymous throughout these three hours of crime drama, this boy is the only one who seems to care about twelve-year old Tui (Jacqueline Joe) after she walks into their small New Zealand town’s cursed lake. His text “R U OK” goes answered as she is…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Ahí va el diablo [Here Comes the Devil] [2013]

“Frightened eyes never lie” If ever a horror film begged for multiple viewings, Ahí va el diablo [Here Comes the Devil] makes a good case. In fact, until a little over halfway through I was completely checked out. I saw what writer/director Adrián García Bogliano was doing, but the on-the-nose sexual juxtapositions of womanhood, devil rape, and a lust for violence lost me. Highly carnal, full of allusions to demonic possession, and presented so matter-of-fact that it becomes discomforting, a streak of cruelty without justified reason introduces how evil exists…

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DESIGN: Twin Peaks – The Black Lodge

Titled “The Birds Sing a Pretty Song”, any fan of the show “Twin Peaks” should be intimately familiar with the Black Lodge. Looking to create an identity/logo that mimicked hotel/lodging locales, I took the obvious jagged striped pattern from the Man From Another Place’s room and attached it to one of the unique lamps bookending the couch residing at its center. Adding the tag “There’s always music in the air” puts the final touch on the graphical representation of the surreal land threatening to consume Special Agent Dale Cooper. Available…

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REVIEW: The Naked Kiss [1964]

“You want a medal?” Here it is, my first foray into Samuel Fuller’s world of pulp, The Naked Kiss. I still don’t quite know what my feelings are. When the ending credits rolled, I was a bit indifferent, but after a heady discussion with my viewing friends, that initial ho-hum—“it was entertaining at least”—thought process became, “yeah, I guess it does have a lot more going for it, if you take the time to look”. And I think this is the point to get across. The Naked Kiss is chock-full…

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REVIEW: 色, 戒 [Lust, Caution] [2007]

“I have a mission” I can’t stand American film distributors and how they handle foreign films. With their money-scheming minds, they give us movie trailers without any dialogue, trying their best to disguise the fact that the work is not in English. If they don’t let us hear a strange language or show a single subtitle, people may just think that it was a minimal piece meant to strike our senses. Unfortunately, for someone like me, I know before seeing the trailer that it is a foreign film—I’ve probably been…

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REVIEW: Unknown [2006]

“He must be tied up for a reason” Here is a little known film that never reached theatres in Buffalo, despite its all-star cast of talented actors. When you have guys like Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Peter Stormare, and Joe Pantoliano, with Jeremy Sisto and Bridget Moynahan thrown in, and an intriguing trailer about five men waking up with amnesia in an abandoned warehouse, not knowing which side of good they are on, (a couple people are hurt and/or tied up), how could this film not be raking…

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