• Drunk Napoleon

    What did ya watch?

    • Drunk Napoleon

      The Wire, Season Four, Episode Eight, “Corner Boys”
      One of Prez’s students takes deep offence at being corrected by another kid, which is ludicrously true to life. Prez keeps bumping up against the kids learning the wrong solutions to problems, and when he vents about the curriculum the other teachers are sympathetic and try to get him to find a balance between it and actual education. “This first year isn’t about the kids. It’s about you surviving.”

      Carcetti spends a few days in Homicide, and for once I didn’t make the thematic connection to the school plot until sitting down to write this. I’d been thinking of how to connect Carcetti to Marlo and Avon, I hadn’t even thought of connecting him to Prez. Like Prez, he’s idealistic and disturbed by the casual cynicism he sees everywhere. In conversation with Daniels and Rawls, he ends up quoting the gangs, referring to people as soldiers. There is a kind of nobility to Carcetti, but it’s different to Avon’s nobility. The Enlightenment nobility to Avon’s classical nobility, I suppose.

      (Also, after he tells the cops he’s not the hall monitor, them all relaxing is hilarious)

      Bunk ends up pulling a McNulty, offending the other cops by looking into their case and turning Omar’s fake robbery/murder from black to red. This is what happens when McNulty’s not going full McNulty; his McNultiness gets spread around to everyone. It goes so far that Bunk gets a reverse McNulty line – “The fuck did you do?”

      Herc gets a police brutality complaint (where’s Vic Mackey when you need him), and ends up having to rely on Fuzzy Dunlop again. His hardass lieutenant is, like, a classic Stupid Chief, except he doesn’t have a guy who gets results. In fact, his existence is driving Herc to Mackey-esque corruption. Incredible.

      All the Corner Boys are pretty cynical, and it’s only when Bunny starts taking them and their viewpoint seriously that they start to actually get along in school.

      Proposition Joe faking three different voices in three minutes is one of the best fucking scenes in the show.

      Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Two, “Madrigal”
      The cold open to this episode is one of the top tier BB cold opens – it’s the one with the German Madrigal guy who kills himself. It has the classic BB trippiness, but it’s both consequence to the actions that lead up to it, and has immediate and massive consequences now.

      The scene after it is just as great, having Walt and Jesse’s phone conversation about the ricin playing over footage of Walt replacing Jesse’s ricin with salt, and hiding his ricin behind a power socket. He then ‘helps’ Jesse look for the cigarette, and his comforting of Jesse through his guilt is vile; my hatred for him isn’t as pulsing as my first watch, but it’s still sickening. He then does the first of two steps this episode to losing me: saying they have to cook. From there, this becomes Mike’s episode, when the two of them visit him to convince him to join their venture. Mike says no, because Walt is a timebomb and Mike is a rationalist.

      After a meeting with the top Madrigal people, the DEA team convene to go over what they know. This is when we find out that they probably wouldn’t have gotten anything off the laptop anyway, which always seemed just a step too cute to me. More important is Hank’s boss reflecting on having known and liked Gus Fring so much, only for him to turn out to be a monster, something that Hank will surely never need to hear.

      A woman who was at the Madrigal meeting at the DEA meets up with Mike – Lydia! I always thought she was an interesting new presence in Breaking Bad’s world, because she seems even less comfortable than Walt initially was in the criminal world, despite being much much higher up. She stammers, she takes a long time to express herself, and she just looks uncomfortable in her own skin. As Son Of Griff said, this has generally been a world of kitchen sink drama characters (Walt, Jesse, Skyler) and crime thriller stock characters (Saul, Tio, Gus); Lydia is from another show entirely.

      This is where we learn about the list of guys from Gus’ operation; they’ve been compromised, and Lydia is worried they’ll spill the beans, so she tries to passive-aggressively talk Mike into killing them. Mike is about as offended as Mike can get without punching someone, and shuts her down completely – there’s no way he’s killing his guys.

      Mike is then called in by the DEA, and we get a brilliant scene, where Mike’s professional sarcasm bangs up against Hank and Gomey’s douchey cop routine. Officially, Mike was in Gus’ corporate security, and we learn his tenure as a cop ended rather “dramatically”, which is unnecessary but serves as a nice spice to a dramatic stew. We also learn about the money in Mike’s granddaughter’s name at the same time we learn that it’s the only thing that saved Mike – those compromised guys have been caught with their names on everything, but Mike chose to put his granddaughter’s name on it, which gave him just enough distance to slip out of their hands, though without the money. He politely tells the DEA to get fucked, and walks out with a sneer on his face. Mike needs money.

      We check in with Walt, Jesse, and Saul, who have everything they need but where to cook and precursor (Jesse references the fan nickname for the RV: the Crystal Ship). When Saul tries to recommend cutting and running, we get to the exact point Walt lost me: he says he’s forty grand in the hole, counting what he owes Jesse. He owes Jesse precisely jack shit – it’s the most paper-thin excuse to cook meth Walt has come up with in the entire show. He has a running business, he could walk away easily now.

      Chau gives Mike a call and asks him to come around, but he’s actually been threatened by a guy with a gun. We get some classic Mike ownage (really, every Mike scene is one bit of ownage after another) when he gets the drop on the guy, finds out Lydia paid him to kill all of them (a useful demonstration of the fact that all these guys are out of good money), and gently kills him.

      Mike goes after Lydia himself, and it’s only waiting on the nanny to leave that lets him ask for her last words, and she turns out to say the one thing that would appeal to him to drop his reason-based morality – don’t hurt me in a way that will hurt my daughter. He can’t kill her and leave the body behind, but he can’t kill her and make her body disappear, so he takes the third option and offers her a job supplying methylamine.

      He calls Walt and says he’s in, and Walt simply says “Good” and hangs up on him. He then goes to bed with Skyler, who tried sleeping in earlier; his kisses are as vile and repulsive to us as they are her. Like a born-again Christian, like an atheist who left the church, like a wannabe writer who discovered Aristotelian drama, Walt thinks what works for him will work for everybody, and tries to spread the good word; but it just comes off as a toxic man spreading his disease.

      • I remember Lydia getting a lot of dislike from commenters and reviewers but I thought she was a great, even necessary person for Walt to encounter–the corporate criminal, non-mastermind division. Breaking Bad did a good job of keeping Walt’s antagonists/collaborators from repeating themselves. Also, Breaking Bad followed The Shield in not creating a supervillain for the endgame–no Gus Fring or Armadillo or Antwon in the final season. The final battle has to be among the protagonists.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          It made a kind of sense, in that she’s a very annoying person, but I agree in that how she was annoying was important. This is a woman who generally isn’t around the kind of things Walt has spent the last year around; he’s now upgraded to being so powerful that he frightens a random “normal” person. It was the writers’ hatred for her that bothered me more – they took way more delight in her death than I thought was really warranted.

          • Yeah, that was one of the many things that went sideways in the finale. The tone went from the Terrible Awesome Origin of Heisenberg to Methamphetamine Dad (He Just Wants His Kid’s Legacy Back!)

          • Miller

            As Wallflower notes, Lydia is a corporate criminal — she refuses to get blood on her own hands (which everyone up to this point, good or bad, has been able to do, it is the core competence of the show’s characters) but demands that blood be spilled for her benefit. You are damn right I took delight in her death.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            See, I get that, it’s just by the time she shows up my hatred for Walt was so vivid that he sucked up all the hatred I would have had for Lydia, like a hate black hole.

          • The Ploughman

            I don’t know that I’m the first to have this thought, but to me the character of Lydia was lifted straight from Tulsa Swinton’s performance in MIchael Collins.

          • I’m guessing you meant Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton (and got autocorrected to hell), in which case, I did have that thought–the sense of someone extremely competent in their own sphere trying to work in a different one and getting about 75% there, which just ain’t gonna do it.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I’m glad you clarified that, because I looked up Tulsa Swinton and Michael Collins and got really confused.

          • The Ploughman

            Yes, autocorrect has been extremely aggressive on my phone of late. Work fatigue and stress are not helping my cause. Not quite to Lydia levels, but enough to affect proofreading apparently.

        • ZoeZ

          Lydia is a great consequence to Gus’s fall, too. Walt goes into season five either having killed off or alienated all the real professionals–and he’ll take care of the rest soon enough–and that leaves him with people like Lydia and Todd, who are problems not because they represent obstacles but because they’re themselves, fidgety in one case and sociopathic in another. It’s like a more personalized version of the way the Armenian mob’s presence in LA shrinks and destabilizes over the course of The Shield.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I have issues with late s6/early s7 Shield but the fact that Vic and Shane have killed basically every Armernian criminal in LA is definitely not one of them.

        • Belated Comebacker

          Weeeeellllll…there is “Uncle Jack.” (Funnily enough, there’s a completely different Uncle Jack in “Justified.” How’d that happen?

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I always thought it was a missed opportunity, in a show that riffs on Westerns so much, to not have a scene where Todd helps his Uncle Jack off a horse.

            But per wallflower’s point, notice the Walt/Jack confrontation comes after the Walt/Hank one, and the latter is more emotionally satisfying.

          • Belated Comebacker

            I can see where you’re coming from now, but given my stubborn literal tendencies, Jack is still there as a villain, come endgame. To the point where you find Heisenberg has lost his leverage as a kingpin, since he can’t stop Jack and his Neo-Nazi buds from killing Hank. (Something I should be surprised by, given how killing a federal officer has major consequences. But eh. At this point, “Breaking Bad” is in full-on Western mythos, so yeah, I can overlook it.)

          • Jack is goddamn amazing, but he’s a force, not a character the way Gus or even Lydia is. There’s no story to him, he’s just pure malevolence. Usually that kind of character gets criticized (often by me) as only existing as a plot element, but that’s why he works. There’s no possibility of negotiation with this guy.

          • Belated Comebacker

            “There’s no story to him, he’s just pure malevolence.”

            I think that’s what I enjoy most about him, upon reflection. He is most clearly the logical endpoint for Walt. Everyone else, he was able to negotiate his way around other opponents (before flailing his way into success), whereas here, Jack doesn’t give any quarter. So the great ‘Heisenberg’ is stuck. He’s met his proverbial rock in the hard place (drawing down on his DEA Agent-brother-in-law).

          • clytie

            There’s another “Uncle Jack” on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            With his weak, weak hands.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I’m looking forward to the Wire season 4 finale just so we can talk about your reactions/disgust.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Nooooooooo

          Whatever it’ll be, I’ll be unhappy

          • Yes, you will be.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            If The Shield is the Michael Myers of premium shows, The Wire is Pinhead: it’ll TEAR YOUR SOUL APART.

        • The final two episodes of S4 provided one of three ugly cries that the show gave me. The other two were in S5.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            NOOOOOOOOOOO

          • Miller

            Here’s the best part — I know what you’re thinking, and it’s worse!

            On the other hand, the boys really shoudn’t have bought that yacht and named it the Liv-4-Ever.

      • ZoeZ

        Between Walt undressing behind a terrified, paralyzed Skyler and Walt hugging Jesse while talking about how they need to stick together, this episode really hammers home how Walt’s love has become as poisonous, and as much about dominance, as his hate.

        I really have to admire the innovative suicide technique in the cold open, and I just have to hope that the guys who invented Franch know that they didn’t play role in driving him to it. I don’t want them to blame themselves.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Every scene of Walt expressing love in this episode is utterly vile. Come to think of it, they all involve him intimately touching people – he’s massaging Jesse’s shoulders as he speaks to him. I think also the fact that we’re still heavily empathising with him makes it worse – we can feel that there’s a better option every step of the way, which makes our disgust more potent.

          I was actually thinking that it seemed like a socially responsible representation of suicide by using a form very few people would have access to.

    • 24 Hours of Le Mans – So I only watched half of it (I like sleep), but it’s such a strange and fascinating race. You have 60 cars and 180 drivers, in 4 car classes, racing around an 8.5-mile circuit for 24 hours – it’s as much about not breaking down as it is driving skill. The LMP cars look like spaceships, making the Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Corvettes look slow. It’s tough to actually follow the race, given the number of cars and similarity between paint jobs, but it’s wonderful to leave on in the background, perking up when something major happens. Plus it’s just so damn cool to watch them race into dusk, through the night, and then as the sun rises.

      Last year had one of the most dramatic endings in motorsports history, with Toyota’s lead car breaking down on the last lap with only 3 minutes left. This year they were leading again… until reliability issues killed their car again. Porsche won for the 19th time, and 3rd year in a row, with a car that was in last place at one point due to spending over an hour in the garage on repairs. Heroic driving to win, esp with navigating all the slower GT cars on the track. Helluva race.

    • Fresno Bob

      Hail, Caesar! – Not a Coen Brothers masterpiece, but it had a great cast, looked amazing, and they got to re-create some classic Hollywood setpieces in grand style. It felt lightweight and inconsequential, but I enjoyed it.

      Twin Peaks Season 3 Episode 7 – I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a TV show. People planning to binge this when it’s all done will benefit from keeping the threads straight, but the anticipation and delight when the newest episode is finally available is part of the experience for me. This was a supremely satisfying episode, providing a primer for past events while moving certain plot points forward. It was as close to mechanical as this new Twin Peaks has been, but it was still amazing and hypnotic. I really, really love this show.

      • Well now I’m even MORE excited to see this week’s episode. And I was already at, like, 14 out of 10.

      • Belated Comebacker

        This may be a long shot (because it means I’m going to have to go a long ways toward explaining myself, unless Son of Griff shows up), but I’ve actually found–upon re-watch–“Hail Caesar” to be a rather intriguing dissertation on movies and Hollywood as a form of mass media ‘religion. Alternatively, you could view this as their opus on “Christianity,” much like how “A Serious Man,” was their opus on Judaism.

        • Fresno Bob

          Huh. Could be. Damn, I guess I should re-watch it. The confessional scenes, and the professional choice laid before Mattix (which is clearly an ethical choice as well) does dovetail with that. Also, the perspective between viewing it as a capitalist machine (like the communist writers which come across as pathetic and angry about being cut out of the profits), and the way Mattix views the industry is pretty stark. Jesus, this movie really IS operating on a few levels here, eh?

          • Belated Comebacker

            Jesus, this movie really IS operating on a few levels here, eh?

            Also Known As: The Coen Brother effect.

          • Fresno Bob

            It’s embarrassing because I’ve seen so many of their movies, and can usually pick up on their themes. It just felt like a surface pastiche of tremendous beauty and craft while I was watching it. Must have been asleep at the wheel.

          • PCguy

            Remember that Breen and Hayes were big time Catholics and sought to impose their own morality in the scripts (which they had final approval of).

            The communism aspect of CAESAR was handled surprisingly well. There were a ton of communists in Hollywood and McCarthy/Cohn were not the first people to realize that it would be a good place to find social pariahs. Cohn was a master media manipulator, many of Trump’s plays were passed down directly from him, and the film does a great job of setting the stage for spectacle of the show trials that would play out during the blacklisting period.

            However the Cohen’s are playing inside baseball with this movie. There are just so many details that you are never going to get unless you are extremely old or a huge Hollywood nerd or both.

          • Son of Griff

            One of the things I appreciated with HAIL CAESAR! is its non-hagiographic depiction of the the Communist Party that doesn’t seem based on the filmmaker’s political ideology.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It’s howlingly funny and reminded me of some of the more prickly Trotskyists I’ve met.

          • pico79

            It’s non hagiographic in an ideological sense, but it’s literally hagiographic in a semantic sense: they’re constantly replicating Christian hagiography with the communist characters (Tatum is erstaz Christ, the writers are his disciples waiting for his return, etc.)

          • Son of Griff

            Good point: It’s hagiographical as a rhetorical strategy but it is divorced from its ideological component. What I meant to say is that this ain’t TRUMBO or GUILTY BY SUSPICION.

        • I’ll second this – it’s about the power that stories have over us. Whether you want the story of Jesus’s crucifixion, or of the inevitable stages of history, or simply hollywood glamour, the characters need stories to feel like they know where they’re going.

        • Babalugats

          Hail Caesar! is interesting in the way it feels like a rebuttal of much of their work. It’s Christianity to A Serious Man’s Judaism. Artistic populism to Inside Llewellyn Davis’s artistic purity and authenticity. It’s Hollywood romanticism to Barton Fink’s horrifying surreal Hollywood. It’s pro Capitalism instead of anti-greed. It’s universe is forgiving instead of cruel and vindictive.

          • And “man behind the desk” as the protagonist.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            This may be why I prefer Llewellyn Davis at heart – cruel, vindictive universe ftw.

          • I’d usually go for the romanticism and forgiveness but – and it’s a BIG but – Inside Llewyn Davis has significantly more cat.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            And it has no scrotum.

          • Not to mention atmosphere, music, character depth…

            I enjoyed Hail, Caesar! fine but I still feel like it’s the 18th best Coen brothers movie. There are undeniably all these ideas and threads that you can pick up on while watching it, but it’s only about them in the most dry, scattered way. It felt like they just threw together a first draft and went “Okay, this’ll do”, which, given that we are talking about the Coens here, still means there are moments of gold (“Would that it were so simple”, etc.), but on the whole it struck me as one of their least essential films.

          • Son of Griff

            Ir feels like the grand summation of their themes, to me, but with cleverness and surface beauty rather than emotional nuance. @tristannankervis:disqus’s piece yesterday reminded me of how the Coen’s mis-en-scene paints a bigger picture to their stories than their plot’s suggest. HAIL CAESAR ha a great sense of period but feels a bit too programmatic to rank with their best work despite its virtues.

          • PCguy

            CAESAR is such a mash note to old Hollywood that I couldn’t help but be enchanted with it but I think it’s too hyper-specific to be considered a success. Same problem with INSIDE LLWEYN DAVIS. That twee piece of shit was scientifically designed to enrage me. Overall I’m almost done with the Cohens. I feel like I can get pretty much everything out of their later movies by watching the trailers.

          • Whoa, how is Inside Llewyn Davis twee? That movie’s brutal.

          • Son of Griff

            But with a little bit of Brecht in it.

          • Miller

            I definitely see it as a rebuttal/companion to Davis and Fink, and part of that is its protagonist is a businessman and not an artist, and his work is for the collective instead of the individual. Utter perversion of a core artiste myth, I love it.

          • Belated Comebacker

            I sometimes wonder if part of my initial perceptions to “Hail Caesar!” come from the realm of expecting something more in line with their previous, more pessimistic movies. (But then I think: nah. I’m willing to give the Coens a loooonnngggg lead, so it probably came down to the trailer being more madcap than the actual movie. Go figure.

        • Son of Griff

          I re-watched it a couple of weeks ago, and the structure seemed, to me, about its characters reconciling dualities on a number of levels, using a comic lens to create a sense of distance between the drama and the audience. Whether it be the dialectic of enlightenment or the struggle of the spirit against the flesh, philosophy and faith demand a coupling. Unless you are Hobie, and who you are and what you represent are exactly the same thing.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I wanted a last scene for Hobie and the lady he was on a date with, they were adorable together (also I watched it and immediately went “Ohhhhh I totally get why he’s going to be Han Solo”).

          • Agreed, I’d love to have seen more of them. I think my favourite thing about Hail Caesar (which I think is somewhere in the middle of my Coens ranking) is that I’d happily spend more time with pretty much any of the supporting characters. Even the Tilda Swinton twins. Maybe.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I like Hail Caesar! but it was a little ruined for me because of the You Must Remember This episode partly about how the real Eddie Mannix was an abusive piece of shit who had deep connections to the mob.

        • Aw… I hate it when reality ruins movies.

        • Fresno Bob

          It’s easy to view the movie as a work of pure fantasy. Always fraught is the intersection between historical fact and using the facts for fictional ends.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Oh sure, I just didn’t adore the movie enough that it was easy to look over. Inside Llewellyn Davis in contrast is nothing like Dave Van Ronk but I think the movie’s amazing.

        • Belated Comebacker

          These things happen when these two go historical (I highly doubt Clifford Odets was as insufferable as…Barton Fink). So as a result, I’m willing to cut Mannix slack.

        • John Bruni

          Wow. That makes the film even better for me–especially the ending which I had a funny feeling wasn’t meant to be taken sincerely.

          • Miller

            Gambon’s last lines are delivered in an extremely pissy tone, he doesn’t believe in them, that’s for sure.

        • Miller

          I think this is part of the game they are playing — the Coens have been coy in the past, alluding to Odets and Faulkner and van Ronk without naming them outright (there are probably legal reasons here too), but here they purposefully use a real name and bowdlerize the hell out of the man. In a movie about bowdlerization.

      • PCguy

        Twin Peaks question about ep 7:

        Who was the guy that Cooper left jail with? I know I’m missing something really obvious but it was late last night and I couldn’t catch it.

        • Ray, his associate from the premiere who was supposed to get the “information” he wanted (not needed). He was introduced together with Darya.

    • lgauge

      The Prestige (re-watch): While it’s tied for my favorite of his, this is probably Nolan’s best film so far. It’s not as interesting visually as some of his later efforts, but the screenplay is more or less perfect. Everything is just so damn clever. If I have a small complaint, it’s that it could have slowed down its brisk pacing a couple of times to dwell at some of the more emotional moments, which I don’t think had quite enough time to breathe and hence didn’t land as hard as they should have. This being being the Nolan with TWO dead wives, I’m not sure the impact is felt enough, at least not the second time a death occurs. Still, every twist and every reveal is done so well with all the information being there the whole time for those who know where to look. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t necessarily want Nolan to return to “smaller” films, but it would be nice if he could combine the cleverness of the writing here with the visual splendor of films like Inception and Interstellar. I don’t think he’s made a truly great film yet, but I’m fairly sure he’s capable of it.

      Force Majeure: Good, almost great in some scenes, but slightly disappointed it wasn’t better overall given the reputation. It does nail its portrayal of the Scandinavian middle class though and certainly tears into a certain kind of frail ego faux-machismo with welcome vigor. Looking forward to The Square.

      The Beguiled (Siegel): Delightful film. While seen through a male lens, this film takes female desire and sexuality surprisingly seriously [straight white guy speaking caveat], albeit in the most melodramatic way. Eastwood is great as a handsome scumbag and the film does a nice balancing act between the sexual tension and the more serious tensions that result from the setting and some of the overall character dynamic. While it remains entertaining throughout and Siegel directs with a good hand and a nice eye (perhaps my favorite small detail is the visual device of sepia toned visuals as bookends), it never quite amounts to a truly memorable film for me, but it’s certainly worth watching. I can see where Coppola has room for re-interpretation and perhaps improvement, but most of all I’m now looking forward to seeing Kidman, Dunst and Fanning in these roles. If nothing else, that should be magnificent.

      Memento (re-watch): Ironically, I had forgotten most of the plot, so this was a nice revisit. It’s a bit too small in scope, too visually flat and a bit too “neat” to rank at the top of Nolan’s filmography for me, but it sits nicely above the middle. The structure is of course very well conceived and executed, though I think my favorite aspect of how the film is written is how it suddenly seems like it’s going to end like a classical ironic tragedy, almost Kafka-esque, but then makes a final turn into something more ambiguous and possibly even more unsettling.

      From What Is Before (Diaz): Having felt guilty for like half a year for missing every Diaz since the first one in the MUBI retrospective, I finally sat down and watched another. Despite the fact that this was only half as long as the other one, I struggled much more. There’s still an undeniable quality to the work (sound issues or no), but I was never really caught up in this as much as I wanted to be. That’s a little bit of a problem for a movie that’s over 5 and a half hours long. For whatever reason, neither the visuals (despite several impeccably composed shots) nor the story (despite a certain elusive expansiveness that I often like) properly grabbed me. Part of it was probably a general confusion about what was going on, with multiple storylines and a severe lack of connective tissue making it a bit hard to parse (despite being much smaller in scope than Evolution of a Filipino Family) until about an hour before the end where you kind of start to understand a bit more, but then it was a bit too late. The lack of some cultural familiarity probably also doesn’t help. Perhaps I could have been more rested and in a more suitable mood for it, but overall this felt like a more middling affair compared to the many wonders of Evolution of a Filipino Family. I’ll have to check out more Diaz on my own accord somewhere down the line, but I’m really hoping I get the chance to watch one in a cinema.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Memento does contain one of my favourite jokes in a Nolan film.

        “I’m chasing him? No, he’s chasing me.”

        • lgauge

          Yeah, that’s pretty good as both a written gag and the way it’s conceived of visually.

        • Fresno Bob

          It’s a gag that works because of the conceit of the movie:

          “Okay, so I’m chasing this guy.”
          *guy points gun at Pearce*
          “No, he’s chasing me!”

          Shit, I think this is still my favourite Nolan film.

      • ZoeZ

        I like how Force Majeure introduces different and complicating kinds of marital betrayal into the mix: there’s the physical abandonment of the husband running away in the face of the avalanche, but also the sense of social betrayal in the wife detailing it all to the other couple. The question of whether we expect more physical or interpersonal protection from our spouses, whether we want to know whether we’ll be safe or just safe to be flawed, is a good and suitably contentious one, and I like that it doesn’t clearly break up along gendered lines here. (Especially by the end.)

        And, man, I need to rewatch The Prestige.

        • lgauge

          I read the social betrayal more as punishment for his actions and as her having a very strong need for talking about it, though it’s for sure very uncomfortable and a bit careless. Though I’m not sure if it’s worse for the husband or worse for the friends who get caught in the middle. That was probably my favorite scene in the movie.

          • Tormund Giantsbane getting caught up in another couple’s marital problems was so great.

      • Force Majeure is a key entry on my (currently imaginary) list of “films that have a really good ending, but it isn’t the ending, and it carries on going a bit for some reason”, along with Clouds of Sils Maria. I thought it was pretty great, though.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Me too. Should’ve ended with the mom being forced to hug him. If that was the last shot it’d be great.

          • Yep, that’s the one! I hate that feeling where a film feels like it has peaked at just the right moment and then… oh, there’s some more.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            My old roommates hated the ending and I tried to defend it but I’ve concluded that they were in fact correct.

        • lgauge

          I see the point of it though. It’s a way of showing how the relationship might ultimately survive this ordeal, but how much of a toll the events have taken on the wife and if the marriage does fail then it’s not because of his cowardice, but because he’s so bad at understanding his wife’s emotional needs.

          It might have been better to end earlier, but I don’t think the film suffers much for it.

          • Fair enough – it took the sheen off an otherwise excellent film for me, but it’s certainly not critical.

          • lgauge

            I guess since I wasn’t quite as taken by it general, the effect might have seemed smaller.

          • John Bruni

            Yeah that’s a great point: it’s not like there’s one moment that ruins a relationship; rather, it’s a gradual process over time.

          • lgauge

            Yes. A failed marriage being the result of many small blows. Kind of like how the film keeps showing us all these small explosions in the mountains before one of them finally triggers an actual avalanche and then the explosions keep on happening without incident.

        • John Bruni

          But I think the point of FM’s “carrying on” keeps ramping up the level of discomfort as it emphasizes just how much everyone is caught up in a bourgeois lifestyle. My review: http://www.the-solute.com/plot-is-a-four-letter-word-the-misdirection-of-force-majeure/

          • Just had a read, and it’s a fine review, but… there seems to be an odd thing with that particular film where every time I try to understand the ending more, I end up liking it a little less. That final scene didn’t ramp up the discomfort for me – it felt like a conversation where somebody perfectly delivers their side of the argument, but they get overexcited and keep talking, basically just saying the same thing again and lessening the impact. This is a clunky analogy, sorry.

    • Mulholland Drive – the last time I saw this it was 2003, I was 21, and I don’t think I’d seen any other Lynch (if I had, it would have only been The Straight Story). I… didn’t get much out of it. 14 years later and with my head wrapped more firmly around Lynch’s unique style, I was finally able to see this as the absolute masterpiece that it clearly is. So mysterious, so thrilling, so scary – and packed with dark humour, too. Naomi Watts gives one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. Wonderful.

      Red River – this really puts the “cow” into “cowboy”! I’ve never seen so much cattle. Really strong Western, not quite perfect (the diary-page scene transitions seemed pointless to me, and the late introduction of a love interest feels like it’s been spliced in from a different Hawks film with a LOT more dialogue – i.e. any of them) but very much up there at the top end. Montgomery Clift is great (and swooooooooooningly handsome) as the young gun, John Wayne is reliably solid, and there’s another supporting role for Hank Worden, who I always love seeing for obvious Twin Peaks-related reasons! The cattle-heavy action is superb, too.

      Mostly too hot to watch anything else, but I did also see Kraftwerk play a show last night, with 3D visuals and an extensive, killer set list! They were fantastic.

      • Fresno Bob

        Yeah, my re-watch of Mulholland Drive last week was under very similar circumstances. It’s a movie that benefits from being very much ensconced in Lynch’s work, as well as NOT being a stupid undergrad (which I was when I first saw it).

        • Yeah, Lynch – more than any other director I can think of – has a sort of cumulative power, where the more you watch the better it gets. I forgot to mention that I also watched the ‘Slice of Lynch’ extra from the Twin Peaks box set this weekend too, which is ridiculously charming (if a little slight). His pet names for Kyle MacLachlan and Madchen Amick made me smile for a solid hour.

          • Fresno Bob

            What are the names? You can spoiler tag them if you’d like.

          • They’re probably not as fun without hearing Lynch explain them in his oddball way, but “Kale”, due to Dino De Laurentiis’ inability to pronounce Kyle, and “Madgkin”, which Amick says she THOUGHT was a mispronunciation of her name for weeks of filming, finally confronting Lynch to find out he was doing it on purpose. Or was he?

      • Son of Griff

        The original theatrical cut of RED RIVER uses Brennan’s voice over in place of the diary entries, and eliminating those comprises the bulk of the seven minutes missing in that version. Even Hawks preferred that one.

        • I thought it was an odd decision. The pages are barely shown for long enough to read them, and don’t really contain any information that isn’t shown during the course of the film anyway. That’s seven valuable minutes that could have been used to show more cows!

    • ZoeZ

      The Lego Batman Movie: Less visually inventive than the first Lego movie, but on a squishy, feelings-based level, I liked this one more, and the humor also hit a little better. “Then I would say I don’t currently have a bad guy. I am fighting a few different people right now.” “What?” “I like to fight around.”

      Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: It won the Twitter poll of my indecision! And I am always in the mood to watch this. This is the first time I’ve rewatched it since seeing The Nice Guys, and I was struck by Harry pulling down the drowned girl’s dress to hide her lack of underwear as the prefiguring of the boy taking off his pajama shirt to hide Misty Mountain’s nakedness. The verbal pyrotechnics of Shane Black’s work is always stunning, but this made me also notice his attention to a kind of essential decency and chivalry.

      Get Out: I’m still impressed by how perfectly this is plotted–we see Chris’s habit of scratching reflexively at the arms of his chair when he’s distressed and we see that he can get his head down by his hands when they’re tied up, and those two facts come together brilliantly. The tone is very different, but the style reminds me of Edgar Wright.

      • Fresno Bob

        Lego Batman is pretty good! I’ve watched it a few times since Tuesday (once with and once without the commentary, the other times in varying states of consciousness while I fell asleep). The commentary does illustrate that the director, writers, and animators were frustrated with the too tight timeline, lamenting some of the scenes needing re-writes to make the emotions land more, or tighten up some jokes. I can see what they mean, but it’s still one of the better Batman movies that has been released. Batman laughing at Jerry Maguire is ALWAYS hilarious.

    • MST3K: Carnival Magic. There have been more incoherent films in the new season, but this one is probably the most amateurish. Possibly the most amateurish full length film that MST or its spinoffs could ever cover. Yes, worse than Plan Nine from Outer Space. I think I spent more on my last haircut than was spent on this film. Given that last time out I said that Wizards of the Lost World 2 barely qualifies as a film, the depths that Carnival Magic sinks to are remarkable. The only redeeming quality to this one is that the plot at least seems to make relative sense. But at about the halfway mark, I was pausing every so often to stop my mind from wandering.

      It’s a tribute to the writers and the cast that the bulk of the riffs and sketches were at least witty (with the possible exception of the use of some props, which is a little too much of a reminder that the riffs ARE scripted). The final riff, a two minute long “history” of the Carnival Magic franchise, might be the funniest thing the show has done since its return. Oh, and there is a priceless cameo in one of the sketches that had me grinning from ear to ear.

      • John Bruni

        This is one of the episodes I would argue ranks up there with the best of MST3K Joel and Mike riffing.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Hannibal S02E12 – In a lot of ways the turning point of the series, in that Will realizes on instinct that he doesn’t really want to kill Hannibal (one of the unconscious truths of their therapy is that Will and Hannibal are the most truthful characters only with each other – they can be themselves) and there’s no case of the week. We are firmly in the plot to catch Hannibal and the Verger madness.

      There’s imagery in Hannibal that freaks me out but nothing quite like the reveal of a drugged out Mason cutting his face off piece by piece, I think because the dark lighting done for S&P makes it far, far worse. It looks like a bloody, terrible maw, a vortex where no light can get in.

      The Shield Up to Season 2 Episode 4 – Vic and Aceveda alliance! HOLY SHIT VIC JUST BURNT THAT GUY ON A STOVE, Shane and Vic reconcile once the latter gets shot, tons of other stuff happens (including Claudette not buying a fucking word Vic and Aceveda are spitting out) and the Money Train is introduced that apparently will play hugely into the rest of the series. Carl Weathers is pretty great as Vic’s fallen ex-partner, a warning about how being a rogue cop only pays off if you steal enough money and don’t get caught doing what rogue cops do.

      One of the big themes and characterizations on the show, encapsulated in the supporting cast (and its a flaw that has devastating consequences for Vic’s separation from his family even if he’d never see it that way), is not knowing your own limitations, assuming some level of omnipotence and authority to handle all situations when people are unpredictable and won’t just do whatever you believe they can and should. Dutch is a perfect example of this – he’s a damn good detective but he slips and falls in “Partners” because he assumes that he can be right about everyone’s motivations (and as I think one av clubber pointed out Dutch can’t read women very well – he has the classic Geek tendency to see them as the one thing his brain has trouble with, except Claudette, who he clearly adores).

      One of the touches I love is everyone using Aceveda’s political aspirations as a move, whether its Vic using it to get an okay on a questionable operation or just as an insult. Aceveda is probably a good card player but politics are his one tell. In the Barn your weaknesses can be used against you.

      American Gods – Finale. Great ending and I loved the bittersweet triumph of Easter at last showing her power. I think you can tell they ran into script troubles in the second half of the season and I’m not quite sure if the anthology/serialized plot mix works that well. Nevertheless this is a gorgeous, gorgeous show and worthy of attention. If Hannibal is Fuller using sensationalism for a depiction of hell and beauty merging, then American Gods uses those same elements and aesthetic to indicate that the divine is everywhere, beautiful and terrible.

      The Legend of Drunken Master – Fuck. Yeah. All I have to say, this movie is wonderful.

      • I don’t know whether to count Legend of Drunken Master as a sequel, a remake or a reboot, but it’s definitely one of the best examples of whatever it is. Top-level Chan.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I’m a super casual fan of wuxia and martial arts films but I recognize excellence when I see it.

      • Belated Comebacker

        That’s a good episode right there in “Hannibal” since one can appreciate how Lecter got one over ol’ Mason, while also being squicked out when you see what exactly Hannibal persuaded Verger to do. Also, here is where you can see glimpses of Will Graham that you sympathized with from Season 1: he clearly doesn’t want to go so far as to kill someone in front of Hannibal who’s drugged out of his mind. “He’s your patient,” was a pretty excellent retort.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Bedelia’s belief that Hannibal’s talent is not coercion but persuasion is important. Hannibal doesn’t make you do anything, he just has you believe its the right thing to do – fitting for a therapist.

          This also has Hannibal taunting the Sardinian and quoting Melville, which is hilarious.

          • Belated Comebacker

            (Verger henchman pulls scalpel out of femoral artery)
            Henchman: Gah!
            Hannibal: Oh, he shouldn’t have done that.

            Such a great gag. (Missed the Melville reference)

      • “They’re not happy with how you turned a scandal into a fifteen-point lead.”
        “Seventeen points.”

        Aceveda’s drive for power is the one thing about himself he completely accepts, and it’s never not funny any time he’s called out on it.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          The show having a higher up who’s *not* the Stupid Chief and is even complicit with whats happening is pretty great. Aceveda could be the clean, cool saint in comparison to Mackey but he’s so severely flawed.

          • It’s in “Blowback” that The Shield first makes clear it has no interest in the old rule of “higher-up” = “not corrupt” = “incompetent,” and that becomes even clearer in season two.

      • pico79

        People tell me that dead wife is a really minor character in the novel American Gods, and this makes me not want to read it, because she’s amazing. I was actually getting kinda bored with the Shadow stuff – although at least, finally, we don’t have him staring at clearly miraculous stuff anymore thinking “this is weird but I’ll just keep running with it.” Chenoweth was especially great in this. I don’t quite understand the mechanics of the Jesus thing, though (there are multiple denominations for the other gods, too, so do they also have doppelgangers everywhere?)

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Not to spoil anything for the novel but its suggested that yes, there are other incarnations of other gods in different places. These are the American ones specifically.

          • pico79

            Cool, thanks.

    • Belated Comebacker

      Justified: Season 5, Episodes 8-10: I think what unifies this season as a whole is Raylan Givens’ fear of letting his kid down as a father. Think of the first episode of this season: Raylan goes back to Miami to deal with the Crowes, and meets his better half: a U.S. Marshal by the name of Greg Sutter, who is more capable at maintaining a work-life balance. Much like how Sutter, earlier in his career, made excuses to stay in Kansas City throughout the weekend, so too does Raylan make excuses to avoid going down to Florida, choosing to instead harass the admittedly small-time Crowes, a family that needs no prodding from law enforcement in order to tear itself apart.

      That being said, it is fun to see the show send Jay and Roscoe out in such high fashion in “Wrong Roads.” Those two are enormously entertaining, and somehow they manage to carve out their own ‘bad-guy’ niche (no easy thing in this universe, where the show regularly cranks out colorful bad guys all the time). Needless to say, they were able to run relatively roughshod over the other henchmen, right up until Raylan and Miller show up. (And yes, Eric Roberts gives as great a performance here as DEA Agent Miller as you may recall).

      Boyd Crowder is also at the end of his rope, so it was funny to see him offer up the job of delivering heroin to Roscoe and Jay if they shot Daryl Crowe Jr. (no such luck there).

      Long story short: I can see what @disqus_wallflower:disqus was saying about this being the most Elmore Leonardish season: The way Danny Crowe meets his untimely end, much like what happens to White Boy Bob is both hilarious and fitting. Like I said in my last review, props to A.J. Buckley for making such a distinctly Floridian character. Even managed to wring some pathos out of him with Chelsea’s death. Clearly, the Crowes are relatively predictable enough for Raylan to guess what they’re about to do, allowing him to head off any of their schemes in advance, but sooner or later, provoking them will come back to bite him. Hard. It’s sooner.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Season five has the biggest problems of any Justified season but it is fun watching Boyd and Raylan both spinning their wheels and fucking up. Both of them are relatively able to do whatever the hell they want so this feels like the arc that showcases their flaws.

        • Belated Comebacker

          Agreed on that front. As the rather talented Alisdair Wilkins put in in his initial reviews of each episode from Season 5, neither of them are fully prepped to work well against the Crowes, who both lack the guile and know-how of the Detroit outfit at its peak, and the deep, deep background and roots of Harlan County that gave Mags Bennett and Bo Crowder an edge. This season is clearly more about the protagonists than anything else (other than the final season, but that’s more of a clearinghouse, where all bets are off).

      • Bhammer100

        Season 5 does have problems – Ava’s arc was a classic case of “I can see what you were going for but the execution was a little off” – and I think some people do exaggerate a little in saying just how bad this season is. For whatever faults this season has it also has some great stuff. You already mentioned the death of Danny Crowe but I would also add the death of Picker as being one of the great Justified deaths for how unflinchingly bloody and violent it is. It’s a great HOLY FUCK! moment.

        As for Leonardish seasons, I still prefer season 3. I always thought season 3 had 2 Leonard stories going on throughout the season. One dealing with Boy and Quarles and the other dealing with Dickie trying to find his birthright. I always said to myself if I had any skills at editing videos I would condense each season down to 2 maybe 3 movies.

    • The Straight Story–Beautiful. I thought I was going to cry during the movie, but I didn’t. That came afterward, when I looked up Richard Farnsworth on Wikipedia and found out that he killed himself after a long battle with cancer. This was nearly twenty years ago, but reading about it was a knife to the heart. Has that happened to anyone else here? Finding out about something long after the fact but still being moved?

      Also finished Adventure Time, Season 6–Probably the weakest Adventure Time season yet; it’s the first season where I wouldn’t put any of the episodes in my top-20 AT episodes, and the stuff with Finn’s father doesn’t really work for me. But it’s still pretty good, and that final stretch of episodes is magnificent and exciting. This show always does a good job of making its finales signal a new direction.

      Also started Master of None‘s second season. It’s not a show that means a whole lot to me personally (though I suspect a younger version of myself would have connected quite a bit), but it goes down so easily. It’s one of the only shows I can truly binge like people talk about binging–I usually can’t watch more than one or two episodes of a show at a time, but I watched four back-to-back episodes here.

      • Son of Griff

        I got to hand out with Farnsworth and some of his family a few times back when I worked at the Autry museum, and he was exactly the guy you’d expect him to be from his film appearances.

        • That’s awesome. It’s always great when an actor is kind of the person you experience him as on film (when that experience is a pleasant one, that is). On another note, I didn’t realize just how long he’d been acting. My main encounter with him was as a kid watching the Anne of Green Gables miniseries, but his filmography is long.

          • Son of Griff

            When you put his uncredited stunt work into the mix his filmography is endless

    • clytie

      Friday:
      The Originals – The main plotline is boring, but the girl that plays Hope is a terrific little actress.

      Reign – Series finale. The parallels between Mary and that Clinton creature were as ridiculous as they were lame. I did enjoy the obviously tacked on ending though, including the silly soap opera happy ending dream/afterlife.

      Saturday:
      Better Call Saul – The most recent episode. Jimmy’s manipulations are as disturbing as they were impressive.

      Zoo – I missed the last 3 episodes of season 2 because I moved last year.

      Unsolved Mysteries – A scary amount of unsolved murders that later get solved seem to be over drugs.

      The Leftovers – I finished season 2. Not sure how I feel about Jesus Kevin.

      Twin Peaks – The new one. I FINALLY got around to watching the first 4 episodes. Every time I was going to something happened (I was in the hospital or there was an issue with my downloads, etc.). Loved it. My favorite Lynch films tend to be the ones people find most unsettling, and this fits right in with them.

      • Better Call Saul is doing some interesting things with audience sympathies here. It’s pivoting away from Jimmy, for sure.

        • clytie

          It really does. What Jimmy does is terrible, but the audience knows how desperate he is.

          • I’m wondering how long it’ll be before I turn on him completely, though. All last season, I was in his camp, despite him doing absolutely illegal things, because Chuck was trying so nefariously to destroy him and Kim. But this season, Jimmy’s single-mindedness in destroying Chuck right back, while maybe justified on a karmic level, is pushing him down a road that’s getting him farther and farther away from the basic decency that bought him so much goodwill from me to begin with.

    • silverwheel

      The Shield: “Pilot,” “Our Gang” – Doggone it, guys, there are plenty of other things in the backlog that I need to get through, but I’ve been reading so much good Shield writing here lately, and then I stumbled across Steve Hyden’s “A Friendly Reminder That ‘The Shield’ Had The Best Final Episode Ever” in the Grantland archives… and I just couldn’t help myself. So here I am, watching this again. I could say that I’ll just watch a little just for a taste and then move on to other things, but we all know that’s not how this works.

      With the pilot, I’m struck by just how much this is just an episode. It is absolutely good enough to hook someone in and guarantee that they’ll keep watching, and I remember when I first saw this my reaction was a hearty “oh HELL yes, I am absolutely on board with this show.” But knowing how ludicrously good this show will get in the future, the pilot comes across as rather normal and ordinary. Part of it is that the best Shield-ian touches are in the details rather than the foreground. This is especially true with Dutch – his introduction is quite out of character for him, but passes for normal banter on a normal cop show. Dutch’s real introduction comes later when he’s mad about his missing Ding-Dongs – just as Michael Chiklis can make himself the biggest man in the room despite his short stature (through a time-honored practice known as acting), Jay Karnes can frequently make himself the least intimidating person in the room despite his height. We’ll get plenty of moments of wonderful insecure Dutchness in the future (and someday I’ll edit together a music video for “Hungry Like The Wolf” built entirely around clips of Holland Wagenbach), but it begins here with his wonderfully un-threatening line read of “I need my Ding-Dongs.” Also in the pilot is the very first installment of a show that tragically never got enough episodes, Everybody Fucks Ronnie. His first appearance in the show is at Vic’s barbecue, flirting with a random blonde woman, and given what we know of Ronnie’s love life later on, it’s a decent guess that this is a first or second date. But even though the show hasn’t found its voice yet, it’s fitting, even necessary, than it began its life as a normal cop show. The sense of a normal cop show going off the rails is an essential part of its identity, and it’s dramatically appropriate for the show to appear outwardly normal before the cardinal sin takes place. After that, all bets are off, but until then, enjoy the last normal times for these characters.

      “Our Gang is a heck of a lot more like the Shield that we know and love. Gone are the somewhat strained attempts at wit and much more natural dialogue taking its place. That natural quality to the speech is a big part of what will keep the show grounded and believable throughout its run – it will keep us inside the story, where writerly dialogue would have separated us from the characters and situations. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its moments of almost poetry – the young gang member’s last line of the episode is one such moment. His acceptance of going to prison at such a young age (“at least I’ll have family there”) is a devastating rebuke to his mother, but is also an attempt at reassurance (his line read was much more tender than I remembered). He won’t be alone in prison, which is both a good thing and absolutely terrifying at the same time. I’m also struck that The Shield did a fine job depicting the forces that corrupt the city’s youth, as well as the hostility and distance between the police and the citizens. In classic Shield, it does not editorialize on the subject, but the show is damn well aware of it, and does not gloss over the reality of it. The show is also very much in command of its storytelling and its characters – after emphasizing Shane squinting when he lies, we get an uninterrupted close-up of Vic Mackey as he lies to Gilroy. We’re only two episodes in and we already know a hell of a lot about our characters, and the show will keep that depth and consistency throughout its run.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        As far as pilots go this is a really really good pilot – its gonna take a moment to balance itself but once it takes off its like a damn rocket. I was also totally on board with the start too.

      • One of the things that was done really well in the second season was to show how Mackey would come to a decision like the one we see in the pilot. The Shield was really economical in its storytelling, showing things only once.

        By the way, almost all my reviews are now here; any review you don’t find will go up later this summer. Search by episode title and feel free to comment!

      • silverwheel

        Something I only noticed this time around: Vic looks completely out of place in his own house, what with that yellow, flowery wallpaper all around him. He looks just as out of place there as he does in an office wearing a suit. Not even the slightest hint of his personality or preferences anywhere around him – it’s almost like his conception of family and home is a purely abstract ideal (shades of James Caan in Thief). It’s a sign of how little Vic really knows himself, and how deep his denial is, that he will continually fight for the preservation of this ideal even though it does not suit him. I have no doubt that Vic loves his kids, but the inauthenticity of the home he made effectively prevents him from being a truly good father.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          In a recent episode he gets an award and he just looks so uncomfortable standing up in front of an audience and speaking. Vic is truly himself on the street in a leather jacket and t-shirt about to bruise someone. That’s who he actually is.

        • Somewhere we got into a discussion about just how much Vic loves his home life; if you compare it to Heat, which of course you do, there’s a real pull in the relationships there that isn’t there for Vic. (I don’t think he ever once says he loves Corrine.) I’m about 75% sure he loves his children, but we see that manifests as providing for them, not communicating or being honest with them.

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          it’s almost like his conception of family and home is a purely abstract ideal (shades of James Caan in Thief).

          I fully agree with this. Vic’s self-concept– and it’s one he needs as self-justification for everything he does– is that he’s a good, righteous, family man, who is doing what he does to a)clean up the streets and b)provide for his wife and children (EDIT: Arguably, just his children). Vic’s family is only important to him as the signifier that he is, in fact, the good father and good family man he fancies himself to be.

    • The Hidden. I’ll always have time for a solid, straightforward, fun ’80s genre flick. And I demand a 30-years-later sequel in which Kyle MacLachlan returns and once again fights an evil human-inhabiting alien slug whose only motivation is that it takes everything it wants, and, at a crucial point, declares “I want to be president”. Call me crazy but I think audiences today might just go for something like that.

      Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 7 – just when I started to get a bit frustrated with the revival, they pulled me back in with the best episode since the premiere, if not the best, period. A little more straightforwardness and a pickup in momentum in the Dougie-free storylines were exactly what was needed right now, and Lynch and Frost still found ample time both for complete and utter gleeful insanity (the scene outside Dougie’s workplace) and a scene of “you gotta be kidding me” levels of nothing happening (which, just to clarify, I loved, in large part precisely thanks to its contrast to everything else, and because it was a great set-up to what happened immediately afterwards). Laura Dern and Naomi Watts are just owning it in this, and it’s lovely to see both old and previously introduced new faces getting more involved in the proceedings.

      • The Hidden is one of those movies I immediately want to see again any time anyone mentions it. There is actually a sequel, but it appears to be a direct-to-video monstrosity featuring none of the original cast. I like your idea much better!

    • Twin Peaks S3 Ep 7…

      Did anybody catch the last line of the episode? Nobody in my crowd did. And we didn’t have subs or rewind to help us out due to viewing conditions.

      Why haven’t we been back to Buenos Aires yet?! Its been two weeks!! I’m chomping at the bit!

      • “Has anybody seen Bing?”

        Then Riley Lynch was credited as “Bing” in the, uh, credits.

        • Who was the guy that Andy was talking to that owned the truck and disappeared?

          • Edward ‘Ted’ Dowling credited simply as “Farmer”. Has to be connected to Richard Horne or Red or both in some way. I wonder if he’s already met his fate.

          • Huh. Damn. We were assuming that the kid was running around looking for the missing farmer. Well, another mystery added.

    • PCguy

      THE GOOD MARRIAGE (1982)

      I think I have an approach-avoidance thing with Rohmer. I don’t really like his films but I am inexplicably drawn to them–especially when I’m not in the mood for this sort of pretentious art-house shit. This one is from a series of films he did called Comedies and Proverbs which seems to indicate some sort of overarching premise but I’ll be damned if I can draw much of a message from this one. The only other film I’ve seen in the series was PAULINE AT THE BEACH which was a mildly pleasing coming of age story about a girl who finds love by learning to be herself. This one is just a series of nasty little events that terminates with the prospect of more of the same.

      But hey, at least there’s actual sex in this one! That shows at least that Rohmer can actually go through with it instead of just having his characters talk about it. Maybe you could read something like MY NIGHT AT MAUDE’S as a metaphor for impotence–or at least a very French sort of worry about it. The sex is terrible however, interrupted by a phone call. How very Rohmer: any action is just a pretense to get back to talking.

      Our main interlocutors are Sabine: a young grad student who finds herself both distanced from her current partner, a fancy but married artist, and intensely desirous of a new one. Her girlfriend Clarisse is the married proprietress of a twee little lamp shop–the sort of improbable business that you only see in movies and has no doubt been bulldozed long ago to make room for a Monoprix. The two chat endlessly about Sabine’s unmet desires–her lack of ambition in her career and lack of satisfaction in her love life. After breaking off her affair with the married artist Sabine becomes fixated on the tediously bourgeois idea of getting married; insisting to her friends and family that it’s merely a matter of immediately finding the right guy.

      Enter Edmond, Clarisse’s cousin. Sabine quickly realizes that he’s the perfect catch–single, handsome, and a lawyer no less. Cue a shitload more talking as the two ladies discuss the merits of love and the process of hooking a man. Sabine is made to be eminently dis-likeable as a character. She’s narcissistic–insisting repeatedly that she can get any man she wants–frivolous and aimless. Her character is intent on justifying her existence by acquiring a husband and Rohmer gives her an ugly piece of dialog where she justifies quitting her job in anticipation of becoming a homemaker to reinforce the fact that she’s a spoiled girl who doesn’t have a solid grasp of the way life works. This film seems determined to drag the viewer into a superficial realm of ugliness.

      To that end the plot endlessly hammers home the fact that Sabine is way out of her potential beaux’s league. She plays coy at first then throws herself at him both to thoroughly futile ends. If Clarisse was really such a good girlfriend she would look her friend in the eyes and go “girl, he’s just not that into you”. The film culminates in a painfully awkward sequence where Sabine barges into his office to have her intentions made plain and it ends up being ridiculous. It would be hard for the viewer to not sympathize with this poor guy who seems to be too busy with work anyways to commit to a serious relationship. She even throws a tantrum in his office hallway on her way out as if we didn’t need another reason to view her as a petulant child.

      The French New Wave is full of characters behaving badly: think of the protagonist in THE 400 BLOWS or the devious criminality of L’ARGENT. But Rohmer here seems to be wallowing in adolescent ennui rather than making a larger point. As a director he just doesn’t have the style or visual chops of Truffaut or Rohmer. He’s a much more writerly filmmaker and his endless two-shots combine with the gobs of dialog to make his scenes frequently visually fatiguing. His endless obsession with mulling over sex (at least there’s no religion in this one) rather than depiction people actually having and enjoying it seems indicative of some sort of complex.

      As an outlier from French New Wave cinema Rohmer is notable for his distinctness. There hasn’t been any Marxism in the films I’ve seen and, anyways, Rohmer was a Catholic which seems like it would set him apart from many of the characteristics of the New Wave manifesto. There’s no doubt that he has some redeeming qualities as an artist, but in a film like this they are drowned out by the endless torrent of frivolous dialog.

      ROBOCOP 3

      Am I misrembering that this film was critically reviled? In any case it shouldn’t be. While it’s no CITIZEN KANE it retains the acerbic anti-American sense of humor that made the original so fucking great. Rip Torn as the evil corporate overlord is an added bonus.

    • pico79

      Funeral Parade of Roses, in a crisp new restoration. Impossible to describe: like if Kubrick remade Carnival of Souls while taking acid with Bugs Bunny in drag. Or: it’s equal parts Sophocles, Godard, John Waters, and Errol Morris. Basically, it’s a wild, mixed up bit of experimental cinema about – funny enough, “gay boys” (literally in Japanese: geiboi) who are men living as women in 1960s Japan, starring two Kurosawa actors, smooshed into an avant garde blender, much like Nobuhikio Obayashi does in House a decade later. Like the best works of experimental art, it’s also constantly skewering its own pretentiousness, like when a stoner filmmaker solemnly quotes “Menas Jokas” and someone slaps him on the back of the head for spoonerizing up Jonas Mekas.

      All of this somehow made The Voices seem mundane by comparison, and this is a film about a serial killer who gets advice from his cat, dog, and severed heads of his victims. Ryan Reynolds is pretty good in this (not on par with his very best work, The Nines, but still a big stretch for his abilities), but Marjane Satrapi’s direction is a little too austere at times for the tone to make sense. Still, some really unexpected left turns, and worth at least for the big swing for the fences it makes.

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces. We’re all in on the new season over here, and that means getting caught up on as much of the mythology as possible. It is a bit strange to go back to seeing these characters and actors as they looked twenty-five years ago, in the middle of watching the new season. There’s not a plot here, just some extended and deleted scenes. (My favorite are the Philip Jeffries scenes– disturbing in a way that adds mystery to the Twin Peaks universe– what exactly happened to him? What is he?)

      Oh, Hello on Broadway— From its humble beginnings on Kroll Show as prank show “Too Much Tuna,” John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s bitchy old New Yorkers, George St. Geegland and Gil Faison, have become something of a phenomenon, the characters outgrowing the show itself, taking on a life of their own, and– yes, as the title of this Netflix special suggests, getting their own Broadway show. It really works– it’s a strange nesting doll of meta-fiction– Kroll and Mulaney put on a play, where they play characters, who are putting on a play based on their own lives, where they play characters– and it meanders quite a bit, but in a way that’s very true to the characters and remains funny. Some great guest appearances; there’s a terrific bit of comedy with Matthew Broderick toward the end. Would recommend.

      The Santa Clarita Diet, Episodes 3-5— Victor Fresco is back! We put this one on hold after seeing the first couple of episodes, because there’s so much other TV going on, but it turns out– this is better than I remembered and better than I expected. It’s funny, it’s got that particular Victor Fresco touch of surrealness, and– rare in a comedy, and certainly not how I would have described Better Off Ted or Andy Richter Controls the Universe— the plot actually moves along at enough of a pace to trigger the “What happens NEXT?!” reflex at the end of each episode. Great performances all around, particularly in the main family. (Everyone knows how good Drew Barrymore and Tim Olyphant are by now; Liv Hewson was a surprise to me, as she mixes the kind of empathy, toughness, and independence that would have caused high school me to crush on her pretty hard. (In other words, I empathize quite a bit with next-door neighbor Eric.) I should recommend this to the Avocado; didn’t they vote in Better Off Ted as “Most Unjustly Cancelled Sitcom” or something like that?

      Twin Peaks, The Return, Episode 7. This one had more plot movement than any episode to date, which I think has a lot to do with why so many people loved it. (This or episode 3 is my favorite, because the Purple Room sequences in episode 3 are my favorite thing I’ve seen on TV all year.) Many disparate threads seem to be pointing to the same conclusion; I wonder when they’ll all come together. Hawk has the message that “the Good Dale is trapped in the Lodge and can’t leave”; Ben Horne gets the Great Northern key back from the room Cooper was staying in “about 25 years ago”; Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield realize that Dark Cooper is not the real Dale Cooper. (And thanks to Gordon for making me realize, which I didn’t on first watch, that Evil!Cooper says the first “very” in their greeting backwards.) Oh, and how good was Laura Dern in her scenes this episode?

      Old Favorites: The Kids in the Hall, Season 1, Episode 19. I stumbled upon Sean O’Neal’s old TV Club 10 for this show, one of my all-time favorites, and decided to check out an episode that had a lot of my favorite sketches. It’s still good, in case you were wondering.

      Da Ali G Show Season 2(US)/3(UK), Episode 3. My wife had never seen the series before, so I decided to start taking her through it last week, but after two episodes I decided to jump directly to “Throw the Jew Down the Well.”

  • One thing im amused by, my trashing of American Folk got retweeted the producers of the film as well as the film’s Twitter itself. Huh. I guess when there’s are only two movie reviews out there, every review counts?

    • “[S]weet and unassuming. . .this feel-good crowd pleaser actually is. . .joyful unity[!] [T]ake take take. . .the rich tapestry of Americana. . .right in the ear. Make America Great Again[,]. . .unicorns[!]” –@JuliusKassendorf:disqus, The Solute

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      That’d be like the posters for North advertising Ebert’s review!

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    So we’re all hopelessly excited for fucking BABY DRIVER right? Nasty Jon Hamm, critical comparisons to a musical, lovers against the world crime drama, Edgar Wright making a new movie?