• Twin Peaks, third season, second episode

    Second episode: The stars turn and a time presents itself / The Return, Part II

    Content: Bill Hastings struggles with his predicament. When his wife Phyllis visits him he attempts to confide in her about a dream he had in which he was in the victim's apartment, but Phyllis quickly turns on him, accusing him of carrying out an affair with her. It is also revealed that Phyllis herself had been having an affair with Bill's lawyer George. Bill returns to his cell, and a ghostly entity is seen sitting two cells away from him. Phyllis is shortly murdered in her home by the dark Cooper. In Las Vegas, a businessman tells one of his employees that a woman has received a job opportunity and that he is forced to do cruel things because someone terrible has entered his life. Attempting to obtain information through Darya, Ray, and another associate named Jack, Dark Cooper quickly perceives that his associates have turned on him. He toys with and murders both Jack and Darya, learning that Ray was apparently arrested and the three of them were hired to kill him. He also reveals that he is due to return to the Black Lodge soon, but has a plan to avoid this. The Cooper in the Black Lodge encounters both Laura and Leland Palmer, as well as an evolved form of the Man from Another Place, now manifesting as a skeletal tree topped with a flesh pod for a face. He is tasked with returning to the real world and returning his evil doppelgänger to the Lodge. The patterned floor of the Black Lodge gives way under Cooper, and he falls into the glass box in New York, manifesting seemingly moments before the young couple was killed. Cooper is then plunged into space. Meanwhile in Twin Peaks, Hawk continues his investigation into the Log Lady's cryptic words, and James Hurley shares a nostalgic moment with Shelly Johnson at the Bang Bang Bar..

    Analysis: If we analyze Dale Cooper's comment and his appearance in South Dakota, it's probable that Phyllis is an evil doppelganger of a person from the Black Lodge and that she managed to control her husband and make him commit the murders of Ruth and the unknown man. Dale Cooper might kill her to buy some time. Maybe killing other doppelgänger makes him more powerful and could make him stay longer outside the Black Lodge than just twenty-five years. It's also possible that the evil Dale Cooper controls the businessman from Las Vegas that could recruit people to commit crimes for the evil Dale Cooper. The good doppelgänger from the Black Lodge seem to encourage the good Dale Cooper to get back to the real world in order to track down and find his evil doppelgänger and stop his killing spree. The person that hired the three associates of the evil Dale Cooper could be an entity that tries to become the most powerful one in the Black Lodge. Maybe this entity wants to gain the negative energy of the evil Dale Cooper to become the ultimate form of the devil. My guess would be that this entity is also behind the murders in New York and South Dakota in the first episode and that it somehow forces the businessman from Las Vegas to collaborate. Even though Dale Cooper's doppelgänger is truly evil, he might actually be the only one who could stop that other entity from becoming hell on earth. Maybe the fact that Dale Cooper's doppelgänger doesn't want someone else to become more dangerous than him is what pushes him not to return to the Black Lodge. He needs to face that other evil entity and exterminate it. This means that Dale Cooper's doppelgänger has to face several enemies: his three associates, the good Dale Cooper, the evil entity, the FBI and even several members of the Black Lodge who want him to come back.

    Description: The second episode is much more surreal than the first one. It's also much darker even though ''only'' three people are getting killed in this episode. Especially the scenes in the Black Lodge with the tree are absolutely memorable. The talking tree and its doppelgänger make me think of the deformed baby in David Lynch's Eraserhead, representing something haunting and undesirable. In the real world, Kyle MacLachlan really convinces as sinister criminal without morality. His speech to his three associates about the fact that he doesn't do things because he needs them but rather because he wants them, is very dark, deviant and impressive.

    Favorite scene: The second episode contains numerous memorable scenes but the conversation between the good Dale Cooper, the One-Armed Man and the plant in the Black Lodge is pure gold and could actually become a first cult scene of the strong third season.

    Rating: 9/10

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

    My favorite television series of all times is back and I have just watched the first four episodes. I will briefly describe and analyze each of these episodes and hope to get you interested in the most innovative television series ever created. Enjoy!

    Twin Peaks, third season, first episode

    First episode: My log has a message for you / The Return, Part I

    Content: Twenty-five years after the events of "Beyond Life and Death", Agent Cooper remains trapped in the Black Lodge. In Twin Peaks, Dr. Jacoby receives a shipment of shovels. At the Great Northern, Ben Horne introduces his brother Jerry to his new secretary, Beverly, and chastises him for consuming too much of the marijuana the brothers now traffic legally. Deputy Chief Hawk gets a call from the Log Lady, Margaret, who cryptically tells him something is missing, which relates to Dale Cooper, and the key to finding it has something to do with Hawk's heritage. In New York City, Sam Colby, a young man, has a peculiar job to pay for college, sitting in a large warehouse watching a glass box at the center, periodically changing SD cards in the cameras monitoring the box as well. His girlfriend Tracey visits him with coffee. Though he is not allowed to let visitors into the room, the security guard is absent during Tracey's second visit. The young couple have sex in front of the glass box, when a faceless, translucent entity finally materializes inside of it, breaking out and mauling them to death. In South Dakota, the physical form of Dale Cooper—now a sinister, long-haired man with black irises—retrieves two associates named Ray and Darya for an unspecified task. Police find a local librarian in the South Dakota town of Buckhorn, Ruth Davenport, murdered with her decapitated head placed on the headless body of an unknown man. The fingerprints of the local school principal, Bill Hastings, are found all over the scene and he is promptly arrested. Bill denies any guilt but fumbles his alibi, casting further suspicion on him.

    Analysis: I believe that the good Dale Cooper from the Black Lodge will try to face his evil doppelganger and that the Log Lady's message is a way to try to help the good Special Agent Dale Cooper to prepare his return safely. I think Bill Hastings is possessed by a smiliar entity as BOB and committed the two crimes without actually remembering them. Sam and Tracy must have been killed by an entity from the Black Lodge that has been provoked by their sexual intercourse. The evil Dale Cooper seems to plan a way to avoid going back to the Black Lodge and might try to use Darya and Ray for his plans. Only one of the two Dale Coopers might survive and they will probably try to exterminate each other or to fusion in a most schizophrenic way. This means that one might have to deal with at least three antagonists: the evil Dale Cooper, the possessed Bill Hastings and a violent entity from the Black Lodge. The main protagonists seem to be Dale Cooper, The Log Lady and Tommy "Hawk" Hill so far.

    Description: Even though twenty-six years have passed since the last episode of the second season, the first episode of the groundbreaking television series picks the audience up where it was left such a long time ago. The episode even starts with a flashback of a conversation between Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer in the Black Lodge that took place in the previous episode twenty-six years earlier. Several mysteries from the past are resolved while the series obviously introduces plenty of new questions. The most important element is that Dale Cooper is still caught in the Black Lodge while his evil doppelganger has been on a killing spree. The first episode introduces new and mysterious characters like Darya and Ray who help Dale Cooper's evil twin. It also shows what has happened to several characters from the first two seasons such as the Giant and the One-Armed Man in the Black Lodge but also the Log Lady and Deputy Hawk in the real world who are still investigating the mysteries in and around Twin Peaks. The first episode also introduces us to strange events happening in the states of New York and South Dakota. A total of four characters are getting or are found murdered in the first episode. The tone is as sinister as it has always been. The images are gloomy, the camera work is hypnotizing and the soundtrack is numbing. The acting performances are memorable. Among the new characters, I liked Melissa Bailey's quirky character and among the older characters, a thoughtful Deputy Hawk has much more screen time than in the first two seasons. This opening episode isn't as memorable as the opening episodes of the previous two seasons but it comes quite close.

    Favorite scene: There were many great scenes but seeing a terribly worried and very sick Log Lady calling Deputy Hawk sent shivers right down my spine. 

    Rating: 8/10

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

    I have finally managed to watch Takashi Miike's Black Society Trilogy which consists of the movies Shinjuku Triad Society (1995), Rainy Dog (1997) and Ley Lines (1999). The trilogy focuses on foreign gangsters who are trying to find a purpose in life. These three Japanese gangster movies show us outcasts that are fighting for acceptance. Each film combines melodramatic and philosophical elements with quite brutal action sequences and deviant eroticism in a very unique way. Takashi Miike breaks with traditional Japanese values and revolutionizes his country's cinema with this stunning trilogy that has finally been released in a boxed set in North America earlier this year. Find my detailed reviews for each movie below and make sure to watch these great movies.

    Sincerely yours,

    Sebastian Kluth

    Black Society Trilogy

    Shinjuku Triad Society (1995)

    Shinjuku Triad Society was Takashi Miike's first movie that wasn't a direct-to-video release but that made it to Japanese movie theatres. It's also the first part of what would later become the Black Society Trilogy that focuses on gangsters living in foreign countries. This film is also a movie that establishes many trademarks that can be found in numerous Takashi Miike movies until today such as having controversial anti-heroes as protagonists, focusing on a slightly depressing, melancholic and at times surreal atmosphere and including a lot of cold-hearted violence including several anal rape scenes between both homosexual and heterosexual partners, an eyeball being ripped out of an old woman's face and a police officer that nearly gets beaten to death in this particular case. This movie shows the ugly sides of life and how each and every single human being has some serious flaws. Takashi Miike's movie aren't for the faint-hearted but that what makes them so unique after all.

    It has also become a trademark that many of Takashi Miike's movies feature numerous characters and are at times difficult to follow. This is also the case here and it might take about half an hour to figure out who is who and on whose side. You patience will be rewarded with a movie that is equally entertaining and profound.

    The movie shows how a Chinese-born Japanese police officer who isn't fully accepted by either society tries to take care of his old parents who have failed to integrate into Japanese society, protect his younger brother who gets involved as a lawyer for a local triad group and hunt down a homosexual Taiwanese-born gangster boss who is specialized in organ trafficking. The movie shows us flawed but very profound characters who are trying to find a way to be accepted and have a decent life but struggle to succeed in one way or another. This film is a brutal action movie and a suspenseful gangster thriller but also a thought-provoking drama. Despite the depressing settings and the desperate main plot, Takashi Miike also includes a few moments that lighten things up such as his absurd and black humour but also some short moments of compassion between the main character and his parents, a prostitute and his brother. 

    Shinjuku Triad Society is a charismatic masterpiece in Takshi Miike's early career that already shows how unconventional and unique his approach to film-making was back then. This movie's brutal, direct and gloomy attitude breaks several taboos in traditional Japan and that's why this film has developed a cult following among younger audiences over the years. If you like twisted dramas, gangster movies and neo-noir cinema, you should not only watch this outstanding movie but the entire Black Society Trilogy that has recently been released in North America with a detailed booklet, analytical commentary and exclusive recent interviews.

    9/10

    Rainy Dog (1997)

    Rainy Dog is the second film in Takashi Miike's Black Society Trilogy that focuses on foreign gangsters with inner struggles that are trying to find a purpose in life. Despite a similar topic, Rainy Dog is very different from the first film Shinjuku Triad Society.

    The first movie focused on Chinese-born Japanese gangsters and police officers that were fighting each other in Tokyo's flashy suburb. This movie here focuses on a Japanese gangster who had to leave the country and settle in Taiwan after committing a crime.

    While the first movie focuses on a more complex plot, includes numerous characters and relies on quite brutal action sequences, this second film is almost an antithesis of the predecessor. Rainy Dog focuses on the solitary main character who works as a hit-man for a local gangster boss after his Japanese boss got killed in his absence. He ultimately tries to run away from his depressing everyday life. The solitary main character is followed by a mute boy that was dropped at his desolate dwelling by a woman the main character had sexual intercourse with many years ago but whose name he doesn't even remember and who claims that he is his son. This unusual duo teams up with a prostitute that wants to start a new life. The trio gets tracked down by three parties: another Japanese hit-man who was asked to avenge the crime that forced the main character to leave his home country, the friends and family members of a guy the main character executed in Taiwan and even the Taiwanese gangster boss the main character was working for in the beginning of the movie that decided to betray him.

    Rainy Dog is a quite revealing title because the main character and those who follow him behave, feel and run way like beaten dogs. In addition to this, it's almost constantly raining throughout the entire movie which adds to the desperate, melancholic and monotonous tone of the movie. Most scenes are set on abandoned beaches, in dark back alleys, in muddy forests and in small impersonal dwellings. This lethargic atmosphere is a little bit harder to digest than the vivid predecessor but it gives the film a very own style. The minimalist acting, the short dialogues and the desolate landscapes only add to this unique approach. The acting performances might be restricted at first sight but that was clearly the director's intention and it's actually quite interesting how the emotionless main character very slowly opens up to not only accepting but even feeling sympathy for the boy that might be his son and the prostitute that is his soulmate.

    The gloomy atmosphere from start to finish leads to a very fitting ending that you wouldn't get in a Hollywood movie and that even some of the actors involved disliked as you can hear and see in the additional interview included on this disc of the Black Society Trilogy package that has been released earlier this year. Personally, I really liked this movie's conclusion. 

    In my opinion, Rainy Dog convinces with its profound atmosphere and three main characters that are as flawed as they are fascinating. The downside of the movie is its plot that is average at best and the mostly static action sequences that fail to add some much-needed punch to the lethargic movie. Fans of original Yakuza flicks and director Takashi Miike should give this film a try. Occasional fans of gangster movies can skip the second part of the Black Society Trilogy.

    7/10

    Ley Lines (1999)

    Ley Lines is the third and last instalment in Takashi Miike's Black Society Trilogy that focuses on foreign gangsters with inner struggles trying to find a purpose in life. Ley Lines both shares similarities and differences with Shinjuku Triad Society and Rainy Dog. Despite overall positive critics, I think this movie is the weakest part of the trilogy even though it's still slightly above average.

    Just as the first film, Ley Lines focuses on Chinese-born Japanese that have to face a lot of prejudice and racism which is made clear right from the start in a beautiful and surreal opening sequence. Just like in the second movie, the main characters team up with a prostitute that is also looking for a purpose in life. The main characters clash with local gangsters that also have a foreign background which is also typical for the trilogy.

    On the other side, Ley Lines focuses on three characters instead of a lone wolf. It tells the story of two brothers and their school friend who leave the countryside on a train and hope to become rich, famous and accepted in Tokyo. Upon arriving, they get tricked and robbed by a prostitute but she gets beaten up by her pimp and crosses the path with the trio again and decides to accompany and help them this time. The trio first sells petroleum-based inhalant toulene for a weird local low-level criminal. When they realize that they are still living like outcasts, they plan on moving illegally to Brazil on a cargo ship. In order to finance such a resettlement, they rob a local gangster clan that chases them down until the final showdown at the port.

    Ley Lines has a few brutal and explicit scenes like the other two movies, for example when the prostitute gets beaten up by her pimp and when she has to serve two weird clients which are events that convince her to change her profession, life and identity. On the other side, the film has some situation comedy as well. The brothers' friend is weird, overenthusiastic and eccentric which adds a lot of humour and pace to the film but also feels somewhat exaggerated and redundant at times. The prostitute is also quite quirky and has sexual intercourse with all members of the trio to cheer them up which is portrayed in a surprisingly neutral way as this doesn't provoke any conflicts between the four characters.

    The film is overall less brutal and intense than the first movie and less melancholic and solitary than the second instalment. It's somewhere in between those two films and feels directionless at times when weird situation comedy and uplifting moments are followed by rather depressing or boring sequences. Despite a few solid ideas like showing the constant shift of ups and downs in the lives of the three outsiders, Ley Lines is somehow missing its own distinctive identity and has a few minor lengths. 

    In conclusion, Ley Lines is still a slightly above average movie and if you have watched Shinjuku Triad Society and Rainy Dog, you won't regret watching this third and last part of the Black Society Trilogy either. If you haven't watched the other two films, there are numerous other Japanese gangster movies of much better quality you should watch first. Let me suggest you Another Lonely Hit-man, Gozu and Outrage.

    6/10

    Black Society Trilogy

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

    After some delay, here are the pictures of the final day of my short Easter road trip. The weather wasn't what I had been hoping for but at least it didn't rain much last Monday. My next trip out of region will take place in about one month from here. Stay tuned.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    The Spirit Catcher on the shore of Kempenfelt Bay in Barrie, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    A view of downtown Huntsville, Ontario and its marina.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Huntsville Civic Centre on Main Street in Huntsville, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    A look of Fairy Lake as taken from Lions Lookout in Huntsville, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    A look of downtown Huntsville, Ontario and its shallows.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Muskoka Heritage Place in Huntsville, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Hardwood Lookout Trail with a view of Smoke Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    A lookout with a view of Fork Lake on the left and Norway Lake on the right in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Entrance of the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    A female moose somewhere between Whitney and Madawaska in Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Old train station in Barry's Bay, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Zurakowski Park in honour of a former test pilot in Barry's Bay, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Polish Kashub Heritage Museum and Skansen in Wilno, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Look of Bonnechere River in Eganville, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Eganville Centennial Park in Eganville, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    War memorial in front on Renfrew's Town Hall, Public Library and Baptist Church in Renfrew, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Four: Barrie - Gatineau

    Archway to Ottawa's Chinatown in Ottawa, Ontario.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

    Today was a crazy day. The weather was particularly bad and I was almost running out of fuel but I still managed to visit a few new spots and take some gorgeous pictures. Tomorrow will be the last day of my short road trip and the weather is supposed to be much better. Let's wait and see.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Wanapitei River on the border of Sudbury and Wahnapitae, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Neilly Lake on the left and Sawmill Lake on the right in Burnwash, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Killarney Marina, looking east through Killarney Channel towards Killarney Mountain Lodge and Georgian Bay, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Killarney Marina, looking wets through Killarney Channel towards Killarney Harbour and Georgian Bay, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Saint Bonaventure's Church in Killarney, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Recollet Falls on the French River in Killarney, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    French River in Killarney, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    William E. Small Suspension Bridge for squads, snowmobiles and pedestrians across the French River in Killarney, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    The French River, looking east where one can see a highway and a railroad bridge in Killarney, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    The French River, looking west towards Georgian Bay in Killarney, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    French River Visitor Centre in Killarney, Ontario. Beware of thornbushes, rattlesnakes and mosquitoes.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Heritage Park in downtown Barrie, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Barrie Marina and Lake Simcoe in Barrie, Ontario.

    Short Easter Road Trip - Day Three: Sudbury to Barrie

    Barrie Marina with Spirit Catcher sculpture in Kempenfelt Bay, Barrie, Ontario.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire


    Suivre le flux RSS des articles de cette rubrique
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires de cette rubrique