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Non-Review Review: Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a fascinating piece of work, in no small way due to how it has been re-evaluated and reclaimed since its premiere.

Despite the urban legend, Fire Walk With Me was not booed on its premiere at Cannes. Nevertheless, the widely-reported rumour that it was says a lot about the film’s reception and the ensuing mythology around it. Young provocateur Quentin Tarantino even took the opportunity for a pot shot at David Lynch, lamenting that the director had disappeared so far up his own ass.” The film earned just over four million dollars at the United States box office. Those watching at the time would (fairly, in context) have deemed the film’s failure as the end of the line for Twin Peaks.

In darkness…

Of course, hindsight has reversed a lot of these opinions. Critics like Mark Kermode are willing to make impassioned arguments in support of Fire Walk With Me, and the tone of coverage of the film leading into the television revival two decades later was largely positive. Modern reviews tend to speak about Fire Walk With Me as a “harrowing tour de force”, and as a key part of both Lynch’s evolving filmography and in the development of what Twin Peaks could be. It is an impressive reversal of public opinion, in a relatively short amount of time. (Lynch’s in-between success with Mulholland Drive might have helped.)

It is possible to see both of those films wrestling within the finished product, to understand how the film could once be a provocative disappointment and an insightful statement. In some ways, this wrestling match within Fire Walk With Me feels entirely appropriate with the themes of both the film itself and the series leading into it. Lynch’s oeuvre is populated with doppelgangers and twisted reflections, and it feels strangely appropriate that Fire Walk With Me should exist as its own shadow self.

A singular maniac.

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Watch! New All Is Lost Trailer

Universal sent over the latest trailer for All is Lost. Starring Robert Redford as a man adrift, the movie is written by and directed by J.C. Chandor. Chandor made a name for himself as the writer and director of Margin Call, a peek behind the curtain at the events leading up to the financial crisis. All is Lost looks to be an entirely different animal. With only one credited role (Redford as “our man”), it looks like a showcase for the leading actor’s talents.

The film has been generating good buzz (I hear it was well-received at the Galway Film Fleadh), and it looks like a fascinating old-school man-against-unforgiving-nature survival drama. Check out the trailer below.

Carrey On: Jim Carrey’s Eternal Oscar Pursuit Less Likely Than the Man on the Moon?

It was Jack Nicholson himself who reportedly recognised Jim Carrey as the Jack Nicholson of his generation. That’s high praise indeed, particularly when you consider the size of Nicholson’s ego. It’s true that Carrey is a very talented actor – his slapstick ability is unmatched in the modern day and age, and he seems able to invest a huge amount of humanity in his dramatic characters. Still, despite my faith in his dramatic abilities, I’m not sold on the Jack Nicholson comparison. Partially because Carrey looks far less scary than Nicholson does (Stephen King famously denounced The Shining because he felt that the audience never doubted Nicholson would go axe-crazy), but also because despite Nicholson’s prolific Oscar track record, Carrey has yet to secure even a nomination. Maybe I Love You Phillip Morris will be that film.

Carrey is very good at doing fake smiles...

Carrey is very good at doing fake smiles...

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Cannes in Review

Well, it’s almost over. The Cannes film festival – generally praised as the height of sophisticated cinema – will wrap up on Sunday evening. I may have been a bit negative in my coverage of Cannes this year – with jabs at Lars von Trier and Quentin Tarantino who were screening at the festival – but I’m absolutely delighted with how the festival seems to have gone, and with the weather the way it is over here, I figured it was time to run some good news.

Things I like about Cannes #1: I like that it's always sunny in Cannes...

Things I like about Cannes #1: I like that it's always sunny in Cannes...

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Try Harder, Von Trier

Okay, I get it. We’re sick. We need help. We’re a culture obsessed with violence and pain and suffering. I miss the days when the gory slasher (or torture porn or gorn, depending on your preference) was solely the affairs of one-week-wonders produced on shoestrings and making a bit of money for studios to pump into other projects. However, with the autuer circuit’s growing fascination with paracinema (making the low brow high brow), it seems that these disturbing little films have become an arthouse favourite. Lars Von Trier’s effort at Cannes with Antichrist seems to have shown that critics are growing tired of it, but what on earth convinced artsy directors that this was a good genre to tackle?

This is another sort of gorn. It is also the only worksafe image we have on the topic.

This is another sort of gorn. It is also the only worksafe image we have on the topic.

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Yes We Cannes!

So, Cannes is well and truly underway. And without (for the most part) the bitchiness or grumbling that usually accompanies it. What? Journalists might actually enjoy a film festival? Pish-posh. Still, despite the huge backlash against Lars Von Trier, the festival is going down a treat. When a Disney film can open Cannes to universal acclaim (no easy feat), you know something’s off. With the general lack of pithiness that defines Cannes journalism, I don’t know what to make of coverage of Inglourious Basterds. The reviews are mixed at best. I miss the Tarantino who won the Palme d’Or for Pulp Fiction. What happened?

Quentin Tarantino, master of the pop culture cocktail

Quentin Tarantino, master of the pop culture cocktail

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