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  • Twin Peaks XI

    Eleventh episode: There's fire where you're going / The Return, Part XI

    Content: A group of children discover a severely injured Miriam crawling from the underbrush. Becky learns Steven has been cheating on her with Gersten Hayward. She drives to Gersten's apartment and shoots through the door, but the couple are elsewhere. At the diner, Becky's parents, Shelly and Bobby, chastise her over the incident. Red arrives and Shelly leaves to kiss him. After a child accidentally fires a gun through the diner window, Bobby discovers an anxious woman with a sick girl in her car. At the location where Hastings met Briggs, the FBI finds Ruth's body with coordinates written on one arm. Gordon sees woodsmen in a portal and is drawn back by Albert. A woodsman kills Hastings. While Hawk and Truman study an ancient map, the Log Lady calls Hawk and tells him "There's fire where you are going." Dougie's boss sends Cooper to give the Mitchums a $30 million check. The Mitchums plan to kill Cooper, but after Bradley has a prophetic dream, they decide he is not their enemy and take him for drinks and cherry pie.

    Analysis: The killing of Hastings seems to prove that the otherworldly dimension related to the Black Lodge seems to open up more regularly which will probably lead to an important clash between both worlds towards the end of this third season. Since Hastings knows too much about this dimension, he gets killed just like the librarian and Garland Briggs before. Gordon Cole might also be in a dangerous position. He seems to be aware of both dimensions and even had a vision of Laura Palmer in the last episode and of the three murdering woodsmen in this episode. Gordon Cole was rather a side character in the first two seasons but his determination and knowledge could become a key factor in this season's finale. I also think that Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield are trying to trick Diane Evans and Evil Cooper. They show Diane Evans some coordinates that she could transmit to Evil Cooper. This place could be a trap since Cole and Rosenfield know that something is wrong with Diane. Another important element is one of the dreams one of the Mitchum brothers had that actually saved Douglas Jones' life. This dream isn't a coincidence and I believe that Douglas Jones got some help from Mike and possibly other helpful characters from the Black Lodge in this case. One last thing I was thinking about are the strange behaviors of several citizens in Twin Peaks. Think about the vomiting young lady, the aggressive woman in her car, the boy that accidentally fires a gun, an unusually aggressive Becky and so on. I'm convinced that these aren't just random stories but parts of something bigger. Since a portal to the Black Lodge will open up right there in Twin Peaks, these strange behaviors can be seen as elements of foreshadowing and prove that the entire town is in danger when Douglas Jones and Evil Cooper are bound to meet there. 

    Description: This eleventh episode is quite entertaining and fast-paced. The first half is rather gloomy as we witness a severely injured Miriam, an overtly aggressive Becky and the mysterious murder of Hastings. Things get a little bit more light-hearted towards the end when Douglas Jones becomes friends with the Mitchum Brothers that initially wanted to kill him. The closing scenes at the restaurant where a confused Douglas Jones meets a former slot-addict are beautiful in an almost optimistic way.

    Favorite scene: This episode is filled with memorable scenes. The weirdest one involves a very convincing Bobby Briggs who meets an exaggeratedly upset elderly woman and a strange younger woman who pukes. This scene manages to be both strangely amusing and uneasily disgusting at the same time. This contradictory mixture seems to be one of David Lynch's specialities and goes back to his earliest films such as Eraserhead.

    Rating: 8,5/10

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  • La Isla Minima / Marshland (2014)

    La Isla Minima, also known as Marshland, is a Spanish thriller that has won ten Goya Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards. For once, this film truly deserves the praise it got. The story revolves around the mysterious disappearance of two teenage girls in the desolate countryside deep in Spain's south. Two homicide detectives need to work together and soon uncover more mysterious disappearances related to their case.

    There are numerous elements that make Marshland an outstanding movie. One element are definitely the landscapes and locations. The southern marshland looks desolate and raw as one can discover both beauty and despair in such a place. The movie takes us into shady bars, into spare hotel rooms, on dusty roads and into numerous abandoned and isolated buildings. Most characters don't really like to live in this place which has an impact on the gloomy atmosphere of this movie.

    A key element behind this movie's success are its two charismatic main characters. Pedro Suarez is a young, motivated and ambitious homicide detective who is openly critical of Spain's past during the Franco dictatorship. His critical and direct attitude helps him to solve his cases but it also creates conflicts with his more conservative superiors which is the reason why he got sent away from the Spanish capital to the marshland. On the other side, Juan Robles seems to be a calm and sociable homicide detective who doesn't question his superiors and who gets along with local people which helps him to get more information than his colleague because people trust him and don't only see him as police officer. On the other side, he can get quite brutal and emotional at times and seems to have a shady past as well as a dark future.

    Another convincing element of this movie is its mixture of genres. Even though it is mainly a thriller and focuses on a story with a few gruesome twists, this movie is also the portrait of a country that is going through important changes. The movie takes places in the early eighties, just a few years after the end of the brutal Franco dictatorship. Some characters desire to embrace democracy, move on and open the country towards the world. Others are still stuck in the old system and use bribes, corruption and violence to become or remain influential. Some characters seem to be lost between both worlds as they face demons from the past but are also afraid of what lies ahead. This movie is an authentic drama, historical portrait and character study all at once. It's also a road movie as the main characters walk, drive or take the boat to investigate their case in the marshland numerous times.

    To keep it short, Marshland is a very convincing thriller that stands out thanks to a coherent yet diversified mixture of genres, two very interesting and profound main characters portrayed by the excellent actors Raul Arevalo and Javier Gutierrez and atmospheric, charismatic and unique landscapes and locations. La Isla Minima is one of the very best thrillers in recent memory and I would definitely recommend it and watch it again myself.

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  • Edguy - Monuments (2017)

    One can always discuss the necessity to release a compilation but Edguy's first and last greatest hits collection was released thirteen years prior to this release and the band has released five studio albums that hadn't been included on Hall of Flames. In this case, I would say it's acceptable to come around with such a release to celebrate the band's twenty-fifth anniversary.

    Monuments offers twenty-two songs covering twenty-five years. Obviously, the band had to make certain choices regarding the songs that might disappoint some fans. I was surprised this record didn't include the powerful first single from the last record "Sabre & Torch", the band's best epic in form of the Savatage-inspired symphonic power metal anthem "Sacrifice" or the band's overlooked first epic "The Kingdom" with a narrative part involving Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl. On the other side, the compilation covers power metal tracks from the band's early years such as "Key to My Fate", hard rock and heavy metal fun athems of the middle years such as "Lavatory Love Machine" and more epic recent material like the folk-inspired "Rock of Cashel". Despite a few essential tracks missing and the Kingdom of Madness album being completely ignored, the overall mixture of old and new material, short and epic tracks, power metal anthems and hard rock party tunes is balanced and represents the spirit of the band very well.

    To make things more interesting for faithful fans of old date, this compilation even includes a respectable six unreleased tracks. Five are completely new songs with lyrics inspired by the band history. These songs also represent the band sound very well as they vary between up-tempo European power metal in "Ravenblack" to slightly slower and more grooving and rocking hard rock anthems such as "Wrestle the Devil". These five songs aren't particularly great but solid and typical material for the band. Ironically, the most interesting unreleased tune is a song recorded during the Savage Poetry recording sessions twenty-two years ago when the band members were still unknown teenagers and not famous rock Icons. "Reborn in the Waste" is a little bit darker and more rhythmic than the usual Edguy sound and Tobias Sammet's grounded vocals sound surprisingly variable. This song shows what stunning potential the band already had back then and this outtake sounds much better than many regular songs on this compilation despite its demo sound.

    In addition to the two CDs, this release also includes a DVD that might be the most interesting part for old fans. Edguy had recorded a live show in Brazil back in 2004 but due to some technical problems, the live show had never been fully released. The first three songs of the show had been included on the Superheroes DVD. The audio version of the ballad "Land of the Miracle" was included as a bonus song on the limited edition of the Rocket Ride album but all other songs haven't been released so far. Instead, the band decided to record another show in Sao Paulo two years later which was released as "Fucking with Fire". The Sao Paulo show from the Hellfire Club tour in now available in its full length. The band performance is energizing, the crowd is enthusiastic and the set list includes a few great rarities such as André Matos' guest appearance during the Avantasia song "Chalice of Agony". The image quality of the show is slightly below average, the camera work is a little bit blurry and shaky at times and there is a weird cut with some missing sounds in the opening "Mysteria" but otherwise the concert is of very good quality. The DVD also includes all eight official Edguy video clips including the unreleased "Two Out of Seven" video clip which isn't very original though.

    To keep it short, Monuments is a very good introduction to the band for new or occasional fans. It's also an above average release for faithful fans thanks to the six unreleased tunes and the bonus DVD. The booklet with numerous pictures is also quite entertaining to go through. Don't hesitate to purchase this collection at a reasonable Price.

    Final Rating: 80%

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  • Twin Peaks 2017

    Tenth episode: Laura is the one / The Return, Part IX

    Content: Richard Horne confronts Miriam, who tells him she has written to Sheriff Truman about the hit-and-run. He kills her, turns on the gas and lights a candle in her trailer, then has Deputy Chad intercept the letter. The Mitchums see a news story about Ike's arrest, and recognize Cooper as "Mr. Jackpots". After noticing Cooper's new physique, Janey-E has sex with him. Nadine Hurley watches Dr. Jacoby's latest broadcast from her drapery store. Richard attacks his grandmother Sylvia in her home and robs her. She calls Ben and demands money from him. Duncan Todd orders Anthony Sinclair to frame Dougie for the denial of an arson insurance claim that lost the Mitchums $30 million. Gordon has a vision of Laura. Albert informs him that the FBI has intercepted a text message from Diane informing someone of Hastings' arrest. Tammy shows them a photo that places Cooper's doppelgänger at the location of the New York murders. Hawk receives another call from the Log Lady, who tells him "Laura is the one.".

    Analysis: This episode manages to relate different characters and events from Buckhorn, Las Vegas, New York City and Twin Peaks and slowly prepares for this season's final showdown. Some questions are answered but others emerge. It seems obvious to me that Dale Cooper's evil doppelgänger has manipulated, still manipulates and will continue to manipulate people across the country to eliminate Douglas Jones or the real Dale Cooper. It also seems obvious that the villain Richard Horne must be Audrey Horne's son. This isn't precisely stated but he calls Silvia Horne his grandmother and must therefor be Johnny or Audrey's child and since Johnny is severely mentally disabled and he doesn't react to him when he sees him, it seems more probable that he is Audrey's son. Since his behavior is so mean, I think it's probable that Dale Cooper's evil doppelgänger could be his father and that he may have raped Audrey Horne when she was at the hospital after the explosion of the bank witnessed at the end of the second season. Concerning Diane Evans, she seems to be quite manipulative. It's hard to believe that her fear regarding Evil Cooper's doppelgänger was only faked but maybe he has information to pressure her and make her collaborate with him because of something that has happened in the past. Maybe he had made Diane Evans break the law in the past and now uses that undiscovered crime to increase her dependancy upon him.

    Description: After a transitional ninth episode that had too many lengths, this tenth episode quickens up the pace. This episode starts with one of the third season's most brutal scenes and develops Richard Horne and Chad Broxford as intense main villains in Twin Peaks. Meanwhile, the Mitchum Brothers as well as Duncan Todd and his associates are developed as manipulative villains in Las Vegas. A few more light-hearted scenes such as Albert Rosenfield's date with Constance Talbot as well as the hilarious sex scene between Douglas Jones and Janey-E Jones make this Episode even more diversified, fluid and gripping. This episode also includes two minor twists when the FBI realizes Diane Evans seems to collaborate with Dale Cooper's evil doppelgänger and that this same doppelgänger seems to be connected to the brutal penthouse murders in New York City. Overall, there are a lot of things going on in just forty-six minutes. This episode is only fifty-three minutes long and the last six minutes are dedicated to a new band performance at the Roadhouse and the credits.

    Favorite scene: There were many great scenes but my favorite one was Richard Horne's conflict with a helpless Silvia Horne in front of a desperate Johnny Horne. This scene was intense and represented a new negative peak for this gripping family who even uses and abuses his own family members. 

    Rating: 9/10

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