[Black Lodge Day] Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Director: David Lynch

Cast: Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise, Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick

Screenplay: David Lynch, Robert Engels

134 mins. Rated R.

 

Today is a big day for Twin Peaks fans. Today is the official day that Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, Inside Out, TV’s Carol’s Second Act) entered the Black Lodge on the television show. To celebrate that, I decided to revisit Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the only official feature film for Twin Peaks, which followed the series as a sequel/prequel which covers a lot of the events leading up to the first episode while also setting the stage for what was to come in 2017’s revival series.

Fire Walk With Me dives deeper into several pivotal events in the larger Twin Peaks mythos, including the investigation into the death of Teresa Banks, the missing of several FBI agents, and the days leading to the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee, Vampires, Cafe Society) at the hands of the killer BOB.

Without a doubt, this is not a film for the uninitiated. This is a Twin Peaks film but this is not a good way to jump into the world of Twin Peaks. It’s constructed as the first in a potential series of films or possibly a trilogy, each one exploring the world and creating a conclusion. That in itself is a mistake that I made going into it. I had expected to find answers, and that’s not what David Lynch is all about. His films create more questions that provide answers, and the expectations that you will understand everything that happens in Twin Peaks the television series or Fire Walk With Me will lead you nowhere. It’s only if you sit back and drink in the experience of being in this world, it goes a lot better.

Sheryl Lee is pretty damn solid as Laura in this, her first real chance to play the character. Up to this point, she’s been a presence in Twin Peaks, but from the moment the first episode begins, Laura’s dead, so it’s nice to deep dive into the Laura’s mind, and the way she permeates the rest of the series. I really liked diving into her mind and the way she interacts with her father, Leland (Ray Wise, Batman: The Killing Joke, TV’s Fresh Off the Boat). Leland takes the death of Laura so painfully in the show that it is nice to dive further into that contentious relationship.

Outside of the Laura and BOB story, which I found quite interesting, I felt the absence of my personal favorite characters, like learning more about the fate of Dale Cooper or Pete Martell. I would’ve liked a few more minutes with the Horne family or perhaps Lucy Moran, but this narrative, for however unfocused it is, is intent on Laura, and in that arena, it shines.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a frustrating experience upon first viewing, but allowing oneself to sink into its mystery and mysticism only furthers the emotional ride of Laura Palmer’s last days in a way that adds to the world of Twin Peaks, not in a story-furthering sense, but an emotional and spiritual-furthering sense. This one is for Lynch fans and specifically Twin Peaks fans only, all others need not apply. You probably wouldn’t know what the hell you were watching in the first place.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Early Review] The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)

Director: Eli Roth

Cast: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renee Elise Goldsberg, Sunny Suljic, Kyle MacLachlan

Screenplay: Eric Kripke

104 mins. Rated PG for thematic elements including sorcery, some action, scary images, rude humor, and language.

 

I never would’ve expected Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Death Wish) to direct a family film. I did expect him to cameo in it.

The House with a Clock in its Walls is based on the 1970s book of the same name, and it is set in 1955 after Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro, Daddy’s Home, Fun Mom Dinner) is sent to live with his estranged uncle Jonathan (Jack Black, School of Rock, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) at his home in New Zebedee, Michigan. Uncle Jonathan’s home is considered to be one of the strangest in town, and Lewis quickly learns his uncle is a warlock, and his neighbor, Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett, Carol, How to Train Your Dragon 2) is a witch, and a year earlier, a very tortured warlock named Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan, Inside Out, TV’s Twin Peaks) died in the house. As Lewis begins training to become a warlock like his uncle, he struggles with the task of not revealing his new powers to a popular boy in school named Tarby (Sunny Suljic, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot), and Lewis makes a grave mistake that risks the lives of not just his newfound family, but all life on Earth.

Let me tell you about the things I didn’t like in The House with a Clock in its Walls because overall, I rather enjoyed myself. I think Owen Vaccaro really struggles to play the leading role here, and most of the best scenes in the film are based around Black, Blanchett, and MacLachlan. His performance tends to fall back on back theatrics and disappointing crying and screaming. I understand that may be how he is portrayed in the book, but it just doesn’t work here.

The pacing is a little chunky as well, particularly in the middle of the film. There’s a lot going on, but most of the scenes at Lewis’s new school simply bog down the film and should’ve been drastically trimmed to keep the pace going.

All that being said, I had a grin on my face for a large portion of the movie. I was reminded of children’s horror from the 1990s like the Goosebumps TV show and films like Hocus Pocus, Casper, and The Witches. The movie was actually rather creepy and discussed some gruesome things, and I saw kids in the theater with me covering their eyes and keeping two fingers split so as to keep watching. Some kids really love being scared, and I’m glad that Hollywood is recognizing that again. Eli Roth does a fine job of mixing the horror with the fun, aided by a nice screenplay from Eric Kripke (Boogeyman, TV’s Supernatural).

Most of the scenes outside of the school actually left me wanting more mythology. Lewis keeps bringing up a character from television called Captain Midnight and I feel like we only barely scratched the surface. I wanted more Captain Midnight, I wanted more creatures and spells in the house, I wanted more backstory from Izard. I just wanted more. Learning that the book is part of a series makes me really want to see this become a franchise.

The House with a Clock in its Walls stumbles a bit here and there, but I still had fun watching it. It’s the kind of film that you can bring your kids to and still have fun. It feels like it could be the Hocus Pocus of this generation, staying with youths as they grow up and show their kids, and I hope you give it a try. I mean, they are releasing it with Thriller in 3D (something I did not get to see last night), so go for that at the very least.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, click here.

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 26 – Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)

Director: Monte Hellman

Cast: Richard Beymer, Bill Moseley, Samantha Scully, Eric DaRe, Laura Harring, Elizabeth Hoffman, Robert Culp, Richard C. Adams

Screenplay: Rex Weiner

90 mins. Rated R.

 

I’m probably going to get some shit for a Christmas movie right now. Whatever, I just wanted to see this one.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! continues the B-Movie horror franchise with Ricky Caldwell (Bill Moseley, The Devil’s Rejects, Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival) in a coma. Overseeing his health is Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer, West Side Story, TV’s Twin Peaks), who has been using blind psychic Laura (Samantha Scully, Best of the Best, Bloodsuckers) to access Ricky’s mind for…reasons. Laura is successful at awakening Ricky, though she doesn’t know, and she leaves to celebrate Christmas with her brother Chris (Eric DaRe, Starship Troopers, Ted Bundy) and their Granny (Elizabeth Hoffman, Dante’s Peak, TV’s Sisters). But Ricky is soon on her tail, and Dr. Newbury is on his. And…yeah, you know, it really does get very convoluted for a shit sequel.

Of the first three films in this franchise, Better Watch Out is the worst. It doesn’t really make sense. There’s this whole thing with Ricky where his brain is encased in a dome outside his head and he kind of reminds me of Chop Top mixed with Krang. The inclusion of a blind psychic is weird, especially because her powers kind of work but then don’t work, and his motive for chasing her down is altogether absent.

In fact, this third entry feels so wasted for the kind of talent involved. You have three David Lynch faves in Beymer, DaRe, and Laura Harring (Mulholland Dr., Inside), who plays Chris’s girlfriend Jerri. Robert Culp (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, TV’s I Spy) appears as Lt. Connely, a cop on the case with Dr. Beymer. And I cannot forget the wonderfully talented Bill Moseley (who is famed far too little for his genre work) as Ricky. This film had the talent in front of the camera. It just didn’t have it behind nor on the written page.

Better Watch Out is fun for its kitsch but the movie is quite bad, but going into this franchise, you also know what you are getting into, so at least it isn’t surprisingly bad. If you sat with it this long, I guess the third installment is still worth your time, but this is one Christmas gift worth regifting.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For my review of Charles E. Sellier Jr’s Silent Night, Deadly Night, click here.

For my review of Lee Harry’s Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, click here.

For my review of Steven C. Miller’s Silent Night, click here.

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

Inside Out (2015)

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Director: Pete Docter

Cast: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan

Screenplay: Pete Docter, Meg LaFauve, Josh Cooley

94 mins. Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action.

iMDB Top 250: #57 (as of 9/27/2015)

 

Where did Pixar go? It’s been a few years since they have released something epic. Well, here comes their biggest risk: Inside Out.

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Inside Out is the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), a young girl who is moving away from her childhood home in Minnesota for the new world of San Francisco with her mom (Diane Lane, Man of Steel, Every Secret Thing) and dad (Kyle MacLachlan, TV’s Twin Peaks, Justice League: The New Frontier). But the story is about so much more than that. It also follows Riley’s emotions, specifically the struggling partnership of Joy (Amy Poehler, TV’s Parks and Recreation, They Came Together) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith, TV’s The Office, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked). After Sadness creates a sad core memory for Riley’s first day of class in her new school, Joy feels the need to isolate Sadness from accessing Riley’s emotional control, sabotaging Joy’s friendship with her emotional partners.

Inside Out is a simple yet complex concept. It isn’t a kids movie; it’s an adult film that also appeals to children. This film challenges viewers and engages them in a thought-provoking story. The voice work from Amy Poehler, Lewis Black (TV’s The Daily Show, Accepted) who portrays Anger, and Richard Kind (TV’s Spin City, Obvious Child) who voices Bing Bong, Riley’s old imaginary friend.

The visual look of this film is glorious considering most of it is spent in a few specific locations. I didn’t find myself pulled out of the story in either Riley’s story or that of her emotions. The emotional characters too have such stunning animation that really brings out the individual emotions as characters rather than stock one-note beings.

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Looking back on Inside Out, I get the feeling that it may be Pixar’s riskiest move, but also one of their biggest successes. The company continues to leap forward in the storytelling medium by choosing difficult subject material and conveying it in such a unique and enjoyable way. Great job all around, Pixar, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

So what did you think of Pete Docter’s Inside Out? Did it open you up or bring you sadness? Let me know!

R.I.P. Log Lady: Catherine E. Coulson Passes at 71

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So, I love Twin Peaks. I love it with a passion for the mystery and sheer oddity of the town and its inhabitants. That’s why I was so sad to hear of Catherine E. Coulson’s passing. The actress and camera assistant was most well-known for playing the Log Lady on David Lynch’s strange television saga. The role is one of the most iconic and memorable on the television series.

Coulson and Lynch collaborated together on the ideas that eventually formed Twin Peaks, and she portrayed the Log Lady in multiple episodes as well as the follow-up film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. She was also set to appear in the upcoming revival series, but it is unknown if any scenes were actually filmed before her passing.

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Rest in Peace, Catherine.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

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