Wednesday, May 20, 2015


The following is a viewing diary I wrote as I watched the show for the first time, pausing after each episode to collect my thoughts. As such, it is spoiler-free for upcoming episodes (although the comments section may not be).

Oh boy, now we're really getting somewhere!

I didn't want to be tough on the previous episode but in light of this one it feels even more like filler. I was worried the show would waste Ginger and sure enough, he's hog-tied with duct tape within the first five minutes of "The Secret Fate of All Life," but that's ok because we have way bigger fish to fry. Where to start? Well, how about at the beginning...in which the '95/Reggie Ledoux/Dora Lange case is resolved, or "resolved," way sooner than I expected.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Every month, I will be offering one post on Twin Peaks...up until Showtime re-airs the original series. Then I will post extensive coverage of each episode (mixing new reactions with my many older pieces) immediately after they air. Stay tuned.

I always thought he'd be back - I swear!

Late Friday night, David Lynch and Mark Frost simultaneously tweeted: "Dear Twitter Friends, the rumors are not what they seem ..... It is !!! Happening again. #TwinPeaks returns on @SHO_Network." Fans quickly noted that Lynch, who loves numerology, had chosen May 15 to announce his return, the one-year anniversary of the Missing Pieces announcement. One fan (kmkmiller) even pointed out that he'd tweeted at 5:02pm and 5 + 2 = 7 (Lynch's oft-cited favorite number). Synchronicity strikes again? Or everything going according to plan?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


The following is a viewing diary I wrote as I watched the show for the first time, pausing after each episode to collect my thoughts. As such, it is spoiler-free for upcoming episodes (although the comments section may not be).

Hart is now a hot mess. About halfway through this episode, his family has left him, he's threatened to "skull-fuck" his mistress, security has nearly ejected him from his wife's workplace, and he spends the rest of his time wandering around in an alcoholic daze and dirty wife-beater, threatening suspects at a rave while off-duty. Hart even moves in with his partner and oddly it's Cohle who is the more anchored of the two (this in an episode where Cohle lies to his superiors, steals police evidence, gets high, and participates in a deadly raid with a biker gang).

Monday, May 11, 2015


Last week my first video essay for Fandor was posted. From now on I will be contributing videos regularly to the site, probably in addition to videos for my own YouTube and Vimeo channels. So after the break following Journey Through Twin Peaks, I am very much escalating the video pace this year. You can read the introduction to my contribution on Fandor, and I would also encourage you to check out the link to the short story in my description:

The Quay Brothers’ stop-motion masterpiece Street of Crocodiles presents a dream world composed of eerie objects, sharp movements and cryptic visual associations. The film borrows its title and one of its scenes from Bruno Schulz‘s avant-garde short story about a small-town neighborhood that imitates big-city life (select “Ulica Krokodyli” to read the story here). Likewise, the onscreen puppets experience both uncanny promise and frustrating limitation. “Manufacturing Dreams” is an open meditation on Street of Crocodiles, exploring the Quays’ techniques and dramatic motifs through a series of questions and observations.

The video follows the jump, along with some pictures...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


The following is a viewing diary I wrote as I watched the show for the first time, pausing after each episode to collect my thoughts. As such, it is spoiler-free for upcoming episodes (although the comments section may not be).

We don't hear much about the Yellow King this time. For that matter, we don't hear much about Dora Lange. The mystery is getting bigger and the case goes from checking up on local dives and flophouses to investigating organizations (beginning with the traveling ministry inhabiting that burnt-out church). Meanwhile the detectives pull all-nighters to sift through endless files, hoping to stumble across a corpse whose dead eyes will tell them what they need to know.

Cohle spends much of the episode ranting: nothing adds up, there's no "closure" or "fulfillment" and dreams of religious salvation are a hoax. Yet it is Cohle who most obsessively attempts to see the bigger picture at play in the Dora Lange murder, who refuses to let the case go, who seems intensely invested in determining not only what the answers are but establishing that there are answers, period. His general pessimism is belied by his faith in the hunt and its destination.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Three and a half years ago, I recorded some of my frustrations with writing about and watching movies. In VertigoVertigo Variations, and Watching Movies While Blogging, I wrote about "a disengagement from actually experiencing, enjoying, and understanding the movies themselves" that resulted from almost obsessively trying to organize that experience. Since then I have experienced both an escalation of that process and a re-discovery of the central phenomenon that was getting eclipsed at that time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


The following is a viewing diary I wrote as I watched the show for the first time, pausing after each episode to collect my thoughts. As such, it is spoiler-free for upcoming episodes (although the comments section may not be).

The first episode of True Detective left me uncertain whether the show would go for mood and texture or character and plot, but "Seeing Things" definitely emphasizes the latter qualities. It is very investigation-oriented. We learn about the "ranch" where Dora Lange turned tricks before her murder. We also meet her drugged-up, mentally ill mother (Tess Harper) and in an episode full of creepy touches, the picture of Dora as a little girl surrounded by men in Klan regalia is one of the creepiest. (Turns out it's not Klan regalia - ed.) And through Dora's eerie sketchbook/diary we glimpse more details about the "Yellow King" who may have lured her into a pseudo-Christian cult, whose burnt-out church we discover near the end of the episode. This is one of the show's most memorable locales thus far, especially after Cohle's intuition leads to the discovery of a mural on its wall - featuring a naked woman crowned with antlers and crouched in a position similar to Dora's in that field.

Monday, April 27, 2015


A shot-by-shot breakdown of Asuka's meltdown in Neon Genesis Evangelion episode 22: "Don't Be." (Director's Cut)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The following is a viewing diary I wrote as I watched the show for the first time, pausing after each episode to collect my thoughts. As such, it is spoiler-free for upcoming episodes (although the comments section may not be).

As it happens, just yesterday I started reading an anthology of mystery stories. In the introduction, author Tony Hillerman writes about the change in mystery-writing over the course of a century, from when the primary purpose was solving an intellectual puzzle to when the story's purpose became, in Dorothy Sayers' phrase, "literature of expression." By way of example, Hillerman cites one of the last stories in the anthology:
"Now, skip ahead to 1998 and 'Poachers.' In Tom Franklin's story the puzzle matters hardly at all. Here you meet real people - three orphaned and brutish brothers who live as predators in the wet woods of the Gulf Coast south, the old widower who loves them, and the sheriff who pitied them all. Who killed two of these brutal boys and blinded the third? You never really know. If you care, you can take your pick. In any case, the muddy river, the endless rain, the half-wild hunting dogs, are more important than the plot."

Monday, April 20, 2015


Jacques Rivette's work is unusual because it evokes the uncanny by slightly skewing ordinary reality. Rather than emphasizing surreal, disorienting imagery, his scenes usually play out at a leisurely pace, allowing the actors to embrace strange idiosyncrasies and expand upon them. L'Amour Fou is often cited as the beginning of this trend, the moment where (after the restrained adaptation of La Religieuse) Rivette began to let his freak flag fly. For a while, the underseen film was generally positioned as his breakthrough but many more recent reviews generally peg L'Amour Fou as a transitional project in which Rivette works his way toward the themes and approaches he will pursue in his subsequent magnum opus, the thirteen-hour Out 1 (which was even more rarely seen than L'Amour Fou until 2007). I don't entirely agree with either interpretation since the director's debut, Paris Belongs to Us, already presents Rivette's vision fairly intact if not quite fully-formed. However, the director's experimental approach to L'Amour Fou's was a bold new step for Rivette, building upon playful improvisation and mixed media rather than a solidified screenplay.