Tag Archives: twin peaks

The Greencine Five, Part VII: Zulu, Fire Walk with Me, Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany, Kontroll, Twin Peaks

The ANSWER of another day

Zulu is a classic, one of the best movies ever made. It stands with Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia as a movie that does everything right. At one level merely the story of the defense of Roark’s Drift by the British against the Zulus, so much is happening as to boggle the mind. Anti-war protests, a 1GW v. 0GW struggle, class and ethnic divisions, and of course heorism are everywhere to be seen. Mind-numingly beautiful, Zulu is an adventure/war movie that transcends both genres. A must see. 10/10.

A drugged-out trollop asking for trouble

On the plus side, Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland play FBI agents for the first twenty minutes. Also on the positive ledger, this movie ties together the three ephocs of Twin Peaks (the immediate fall-out of Laura’s murder, the search for Laura’s killer, and the Windom Earle half-season) together than I had thought possible. On the negative side, everything else. Lacking humor, the most interesting characters, warmth, suspense, dramatic tension, or anything else of interest, it’s no surprise that Fire Walk with Me movie was “greeted at the Cannes Film Festival with booing from the audience and met with almost unanimously negative reviews.” Stay away from this one, unless (like me) you’ve declared finishing the Twin Peaks universe to be your mission.

How bizarre

Like Fire walk with me (reviewed above), Heimat is slow. Unlike Firewal, Heimat’s actually good. A nostalgic look at a lost rural way of life, Heimat Disk 1 is the first episode in a miniseries charting life in a small German town from the end of World War I to 1980. The area is under French occupation as a war veteran returns home and short-wave radio becomes available. The love triangle is slow, and sad, and sweet, and realistic. Worth seeing, but only with patience.

An ex- communist underworld

Set in Budapest’s underground, Kontroll tends toward heavy symbolism, especially Catholic and Communist. The story of of a nation living in purgatory, the young hero does not go upside and has troubling dreams of descending farther. With less screen-time but equally important, a drunk conductor remembers happier times controlling above-ground trains until an accident “that could have happened to anyone” led to his banishment. With an amazing soundtrack and an uplifting if confusing

The Answer

Twin Peaks Season 2 (Disk 6 of 6)
Both LOST and Twin Peaks stumbled badly, LOST in the beginning of Season 3 and Twin Peaks at the beginning of the second half of Season 2. Both took far too long to regain their footing, after distracted producers and meddling network executives degraded a once fantastic TV show. Both came back full force, LOST with Tricia Tanaka is dead and Twin Peaks with “Beyond Life and Death.” Luckily for one and happily for the other, LOST’s resurrection occurred with twelve episodes left in the season; Twin Peaks with their season finale. LOST’s run will stretch over three more seasons, but Twin Peaks was sadly burried after an amazing finale that revealed an apparently unrelated and sub-par story arc to be a continuation of all that had come before.

The Greencine Five, Part VI: The Knack… and how to get it, Raise the Red Lantern, Twin Peaks, Why has the Bodhi-dharma left for the east?, Doomed Megalopolis

It makes no sense. Hahaha.

I imagine in fourty years watching “Family Guy” will feel just like viewing The Knack… and how to get it. The physical and absurdist comedy is identical. The incongruous combination of conservative dress and risque subject matter is the same. And even the character of British accents on Family Guy (they “don’t so much speak English as chew on it”) is evocative of the strange enunciation and jargon of post-war British balinghou. The only difference is that, compared to The Knack, family guy is a cartoon and in color. And also funny.

A House with Many Mansions

Raise the Red Lantern
From filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower) and actress Gong Li (2046, Hannibal Raising), comes this story of realpolitik among four wives of a prosperous man in northern Republican China. Centered around deception and zero-sum strategy. Raise the Red Lantern is a beautiful tragedy, as if House of Flying Daggers had all the kung-fu removed and diagogue about relationships thrown in. Recommended.

The Question

Twin Peaks Season 2(Disc 5 of 6)
Imagine if LOST reveals that the “island” is actually an uninhabited peninsula of Mindanao, in the Philippines. Further, imagine if (embarrassed by the whole “lost for months and months” things, the Filipino government grants the survivors rights to the peninsula, and they just had so much fun they stayed (minus Ben Linus, who is whisked away on multiple charges of kidnapping and never heard from again). Further, imagine that Jack Shepherd’s old nemesis from medical school, Megariath McEvilster III, sets up camp down on a nearby beach and causes all the predicable troubles. That’s about the story of Twin Peaks (Disc 5 of 6), four episodes in an increasingly derivative series that’s a mere shadow of what it once was.

It’s a threat!

Imagine a movie that dares not to be good. Imagine a movie that has much to say for it, intellectually, if one had infinite patience. Why has the Bodhi-Dharma left for the East? is just such a movie. A modern retelling of the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama, in the same way that Death of a Salesman is a retelling of Greek tragedies, Bodhi-Dharma is a tale of an master monk, a brother monk, and a young boy living in a hermitage somewhere in the mountains of South Korea. The chronology jumps back and forth, making an accurate retelling of the “story” difficult. Bodhi-Dharma is a profoundly Buddhist movie, and perhaps introduces the nothingness of Buddhism in the way that The Passion of the Christ retells the crisis of Christianity.

Blah blah evil curse blah blah

A thoroughly typical anime of the early 1990s, , Doomed Megalopolis (Disk 1) includes all the original suspects (Tokyo, evil spirits, ancient prophecies, etc). The artwork is mediocre, the soundtrack is mediocre, the story is mediocre. The heroine is ugly, so at least that aspects truly does stand out as sub-par. I’m writing this review as the episode is going off. I won’t be renting Disk 2.

The Greencine Five, Part V: Seven Men from Now, Story of a Prostitute, The Work of Director Spike Jonze, Twin Peaks, Wishing Stairs

The ex-Sherrif and the Cavalry

The best Western I have ever seen, Seven Men from Now could easily be set in contemporary Anbar Province, Iraq. A former sherrif hunts down the seven men who killed his wife in a hold-up amidst a backdrop of tribal unrest, federal patrols, and general lawlessness. A favorite of French existentialists (according to the commentary), Seven Men from Now throws you into action and doesn’t let up. Unimaginably good.

No one comes back from the KMT…

A wildly misnamed drama, Story of a Prostitute is a Japanese version of Catch 22 set in Manchuko. Actually the story about a philosophical ex-officer who is proudly Japanese but disenchanted with the war effort, the film follows him from being a disrespected personal assistant, to KMT captive, to finally increasingly lost in CYA over his would-be-court-martial. So much is right with the movie that with time it becomes increasingly easy to overlook the overacting of the title character.

Making it up as they go along

A sad parody of what it want was, Twin Peaks continues its march into oblivion with the fourh desk of season two. The Laura Palmer now solved and forgotten, elements and characters who once helped move the story forward now prance aimlessly to no purpose or effect. One wonders if the cast and crew was as uncomfortable with what the series had become as they filmed it as I am watching it.

Videos of Choice

Think of your favorite music video. Odds are it was directed by Spike Jonze. From the Christopher Walken epic “Weapon of Choice” to the 1970s send-up “Sabotage,” to “Praise You” (VH1’s Best Music Video Ever), each of these three-minute works deserves to be watched in full DVD quality. A pretty good 20 minute documentary about Houston bull riding teenages is also included, for reasons which are not entirely clear.

Who’s the best dancer?

Memento Mori (previously reviewed) without anything that made it special, Wishing Stairs revisits the theme of supernatural-revenge-at-a-girls-school but opts for Japanese-style New Wave Horror instead of the complicated psychological/romantic plot of the previous film. The director’s previous film was a better psychological horror, and both Ringu and Ju-On are better new wave horrors. Not terrible, but not particularly worth watching.

The Greencine Five, Part III: 12 Monkeys, Signs of Life, Twin Peaks, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Idiocracy

So many possible screenshots…

In the brief period after Catholic terrorists went away but before Islamists terrorist showed up, ecoterrorists were all the rage. 12 Monkeys joins Rainbox Six in the ecoterror subgenre, but adds timetravel that cannot change the past but can only observe it. What is most striking about the film is the chaos of visual style, from exploitive shots of women (as above) to Brazil-style futures, naturalistic cityscapes to Moorish insane asylums. PS: DVD cover art aside, Bruce Willis is not a robot, and never claims to be one.

German v. German; Germany v. Germany

Signs of Life is two stories at once: the tale of a post-traumatic-stress suffering soldier and an apology for Germany. An injured German soldier in Greece is given a posh assignment on a collaborationist island, where even the local gypsies like the Germans. He’s liked by his friends, loved by his wife, is smart, careful, and industrious. But tragically, suffering from his psychic war wounds, he becomes a threat to himself and others. Signs of Life recalls nothing so much as Underground, that apologia for Yugoslavia previously featured on tdaxp.

David Duchovny, Why Wont’t You Love Me?

It’s not brilliant, it’s not terrible: Twin Peaks Season 2 Disk 3 marks the transition of a one-of-a-kind quasi-soap-opera into a pretty good soap opera. Laura’s Palmer’s death is solved and the loose ends are tied up. Now minor subplots come to the front, and while some are exciting, nothing can ever replace the memory of Laura.

Soviet Hokkaido

The Place Promised In Our Early Days is the best animated Japanese movie I have ever seen. Beginning as a coming-of-age-love-story and ending as a sci-fi-geopolitical-thriller, Place centers on the northern tip of Honshu, separated from Hokkaido by the Tsugaru Strait. At some point in the past, the north island of Hokkaido had become Ezo, surrounded by forces of the [Soviet] Union. Beyond this I don’t want to say anything, out of fear of spoiling a truly excellent movie. Only one criticism, though: the movie is purposefully slow. The dreamy quality is intention, but you have never checked the clock so many times on such an enjoyable movie.

Luke Wilson at the Supreme Court

An uneven movie that is hilarious at best and merely dull at worst, Idiocracy tells the story of Luke Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Royal Tennenbaums) as a man transported to a world five centuries in the future, where the stupid have inherited the earth. Like Gattaca (see my earlier review), Idiocracy is based on a well known fact: the domestication of animals decreases their individual intelligences and can atrophy an otherwise normal development (see wolves v. dogs, wildcats v. housecats, early homo sapiens v. modern humans, etc).

The Greencine Five, Part I: Curse of the Golden Flower, Phantom India, Twin Peaks, I’m Not Afraid, They Came Back

I have a home office, but I don’t have cable. The experiment is working out quite well. To keep the TV in use, I upped my Greencine subscription from 3 DVDs at a time to 5. The first batch of DVDs arrived by Friday, and today the last of them are watched. Below are reviews, from the most recently watched to the first viewed.

To Kill a King, Queen, or Prince

A Hamletian epic of faithlessness and betrayal, Curse of the Golden Flower centers around the Chrysanthemum Festival of the late Tang Dynasty. The style shifts through the movie from the lush beauty of House of Flying Daggers to the dead beauty of the Godfather Saga. Some of costumes and choreography are reminiscent of 300. Sadly, Zhang Ziyi does not make an appearence, though Man Li is not a poor substitute.

Orientalism in its truest form

1969’s Phantom India (Disk 1), by Marxist / Cultural Relativist / French documentarian Louise Mille, is perhaps the least explanatory film possible about that country at that time. Yet its hypnotic qualities cannot be denied. From the theosophist dance academy to the Right Communists, the two themes are that a western mind absolutely cannot understand the east and that a Maoist revolution would be for the best. The best line (paraphrased): “After becoming nearly extinct decades ago, the tradition has regained popularity. Thus it is dead. What was once living now is folklore.”

The owls are not what they seem

It is impossible to describe Twin Peaks (Season 2, Disk 1) without mentioning LOST. Both are mystery-shows set in remote locations that take a deep plunge into mythology their second time around. From Bob to Dharma, Twin Peaks’ influences on ABC’s hit show are clear. But equally clear is what Twin Peaks did wrong that LOST did right: character development. The people of Twin Peaks are weird people in a weird environment. The magic of the Lostaways and Others, however, is that they were normals before they got to the island. Everyone who ever visited Twin Peaks was always weird.

Looking up and down

Kidnapping movies have never been so good. The sub-genre, which is so cliche that Ransom (1996) feels like the “scenes we forgot to shoot the first time around” to Ransom (1956), is given new life by I’m Not Scared (Io non ho paura). The coming-of-age drama is likewise hackneyed, and likewise revived, by this story of a southern Italian boy who finds another his age down a well. The two boys — one lost in comic books, the other in cotard delusion — behave in the irrational, non-introspective way of all youth.

Not brain-eating. Just slightly disoriented.

If I’m Not Scared shows how kidnapping movies can be done right, They Came Back (Les Revenants) demonstrates that they can be done… differently. While traditional zombies are slow-moving and flesh-devouring, and the hip new zombies of 28 Days Later are fast-moving and flesh-devouring, the undead of this French drama are slightly agitated by generally easy to get along with. Focusing on three zombie-human love stories (a father and son, a young couple, and an elderly couple), They Came Back is a moving metaphor for any sickness that hollows out one who depends on you. Like Phantom India this film is French, and it’s worth seeing for its ethnography alone: the French declare zombies to be internally displaced persons in keeping with UN treaties, Zombie worker protection laws make the undead a protected class, and zombie sleeping medicine (their sluggishness prevents them from being tired for long) is created by an American researcher