Tag Archives: Harry Dean Stanton

Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014) Review

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Twin Peaks The Missing Pieces

Time: 91 Minutes
Cast:
Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer
Ray Wise as Leland Palmer
Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper
Mädchen Amick as Shelly Johnson
Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs
Phoebe Augustine as Ronette Pulaski
David Bowie as Special Agent Phillip Jeffries
Joan Chen as Josie Packard
Eric Da Re as Leo Johnson
Don S. Davis as Major Garland Briggs
Mary Jo Deschanel as Eileen Hayward
Miguel Ferrer as Special Agent Albert Rosenfield
Warren Frost as Dr. Will Hayward
Pamela Gidley as Teresa Banks
Harry Goaz as Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan
Heather Graham as Annie Blackburn
Michael Horse as Deputy Sheriff Tommy “Hawk” Hill
Chris Isaak as Special Agent Chester Desmond
Moira Kelly as Donna Hayward
Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings
David Lynch as Bureau Chief Gordon Cole
James Marshall as James Hurley
Everett McGill as Ed Hurley
Jack Nance as Pete Martell
Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman
Jürgen Prochnow as Woodsman
Wendy Robie as Nadine Hurley
Kimmy Robertson as Lucy Moran
Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd
Charlotte Stewart as Betty Briggs
Kiefer Sutherland as Special Agent Sam Stanley
Director: David Lynch

A feature-length compilation of deleted and extended scenes from the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

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As I was watching Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, I was very curious about The Missing Pieces. Essentially it is a compilation of deleted scenes from Fire Walk with Me, there were so many that they were made into a full on movie (which interestingly took over 20 years to come out after the initial release of the movie). While it’s not a movie in the conventional sense, it’s well worth the watch for Twin Peaks fans.

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The Missing Pieces is a hard movie to review. As I said, it is a feature length compilation of deleted and extended scenes from Fire Walk with Me. As such, the movie isn’t cohesive and there isn’t much of a plot structure. However, I’d argue that it’s mandatory to watch this if you’re a Twin Peaks fan. It fills in holes in the series and the movie, and there’s a lot here I wished made it to the final cut. The early scenes of Fire Walk with Me involving the FBI agents felt a little disjointed, as it turns out it wasn’t fully fleshed out and some of the key scenes didn’t make it into that movie. With these additional scenes now in The Missing Pieces, it makes that storyline better. David Bowie appeared briefly in Fire Walk with Me but now gets more scenes here, in some of the most memorable parts of the movie. There are also additional Laura Palmer scenes which makes her story even stronger. It also sheds light on some storylines not in Fire Walk with Me. There are entire appearances from familiar Twin Peaks characters including Sheriff Truman, Deputy Hawke, Dr Jacoby and more here. There’s even an extension on the massive cliff-hanger ending of Season 2 of Twin Peaks

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I will say that it’s probably for the best that some of these cuts happened for Fire Walk with Me, especially when it comes to what it was focusing on; you wouldn’t want to have too much agent stuff when really this is Laura Palmer’s. Nonetheless, its very interesting to watch. Tonally it isn’t as dark as Fire Walk with Me and has more of the quirks and humour from the original show. However, The Missing Pieces aren’t just deleted scenes added to fill in the holes, there are some greatly handled sequences, especially on a directing level. One involved a scene of Laura being possessed by BOB, which was incredibly creepy and memorable.

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If you liked Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me, I would say that The Missing Pieces is essential viewing. Again, it feels like a collection of scenes more than a movie and you can tell why some of these scenes were cut. Nonetheless it helps with the Twin Peaks experience, and I highly recommend it.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) Review

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Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me

Time: 134 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer
Ray Wise as Leland Palmer
Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper
David Bowie as Special Agent Phillip Jeffries
Moira Kelly as Donna Hayward
Chris Isaak as Special Agent Chester Desmond
Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd
Director: David Lynch

In the folksy town of Deerfield, Wash., FBI Agent Desmond (Chris Isaak) inexplicably disappears while hunting for the man who murdered a teen girl. The killer is never apprehended, and, after experiencing dark visions and supernatural encounters, Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) chillingly predicts that the culprit will claim another life. Meanwhile, in the similarly cozy town of Twin Peaks, hedonistic beauty Lara Palmer (Sheryl Lee) hangs with lowlifes and seems destined for a grisly fate.

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Twin Peaks was one of those shows I was late to watching, but once I started, it quickly became one of my favourite TV shows. I knew that the initial run of the show wasn’t the only piece of Twin Peaks media, I then moved onto the film Fire Walk with Me was next, a prequel to the show with particularly emphasis on Laura Palmer before her death. It was also received poorly upon its release but gained a cult following over the years. I heard some great things about it but Fire Walk with Me really surprised me. Its not only one of David Lynch’s best, but also one of my favourite movies.

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As I said, Fire Walk with Me is a prequel to Twin Peaks and in hearing that, some might be tempted to watch it before seeing the show, but I wouldn’t recommend that. While its certainly possible to watch the movie first, it just wouldn’t have the same effect; it plays a lot better when you know about the characters and how they intersect with Laurie, along with knowing what happens. Besides, for those not familiar Twin Peaks, much of the movie would probably come across as a bit baffling considering it plays with strange elements which are quite common through the show (The Black Lodge being an example). Given that Twin Peaks was cancelled after the second season, David Lynch seemed to intend this movie to also serve as a sendoff, and I think it works well as that. Most other filmmakers would’ve just shoved in fan service, but Lynch knows what he is doing. The movie initially begins with a focus on FBI agents as they investigate soon to be killer of Laura Palmer. I like this section, but initially I was wondering the purpose of this segment, especially as I thought that Laura was going to be the main focus of the film. It took away from the flow of the movie a bit, but it eventually paid off, and after 30 minutes it shifts to Laura Palmer.

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Fire Walk with Me is very much Laura Palmer’s story as it shows her downward spiral and her final days in life. The show in its two-season run presented you an image of Laura Palmer, we spent two seasons not knowing about Laura except for what people remember about her. The movie on the other hand actually shows you what happened with her and everything that she went through; the show might’ve mentioned what happened, but as shown here, it was way worse. You can tell it is Twin Peaks, but the tone in the movie is incredibly different to the show. Twin Peaks leaned into the comedic and weird elements. FWWM stays with the darker elements and discards the melodramatic and humorous tone of the show, playing everything straight. Fire Walk with Me really has some of Lynch’s darkest work, it definitely wouldn’t have worked as a show at the time, especially with network television filters. It is constantly unsettling, there is a sense of dread right from the start, especially when you know what happens to Laura. Connections to the TV series aside, it is a breakdown of the human psyche, and it’s an emotionally devastating one at that. Laura’s death is not treated as some big twist or spoiler, but instead as a tragic inevitability, and this is indeed Lynch’s most tragic film.

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The acting is great from everyone. You get some newer Twin Peaks actors involved like Kiefer Sutherland, and even David Bowie makes an appearance. A large part of the cast is made up of returning Twin Peaks actors, it even finds a way to utilise Kyle MacLachlan’s Dale Cooper in a way that doesn’t feel forced. Out of the supporting cast though, its probably Ray Wise who stands out the most as Leland Palmer (Laura’s father), he’s phenomenal here. With all that being said, this really is Sheryl Lee’s movie. We’ve only seen little bits of her as Laura Palmer in the first two seasons of the show, but here she delivers quite possibly the best performance in anything that David Lynch has made. Laura was a bit of an enigma in the show but in the movie she’s a fully realised human being, and Lee brought that incredibly well. It feels so real and raw, and she perfectly conveys Laura’s emotions and struggle with inner demons. Sheryl Lee definitely deserved a lot more acclaim for her work here.

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While you can tell that the movie is very reminiscent of the show, its still distinctly a David Lynch directed movie. There’s a dreamlike atmosphere but it definitely leans more on the nightmarish side. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the imagery is memorable and disturbing, while not falling into being for cheap shocks. Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti returns to make the score for this movie, and as expected he gives some great work here. It is softer, but fitting for the tragic story, with the opening theme particularly setting the tone for the rest of the movie.

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a fantastic film. It’s a great prequel to the main show, and was in itself a fantastic and disturbing portrayal of trauma and grief. Dark, surreal and harrowing, its riveting, visually stunning, and is very well performed, especially from a phenomenal Sheryl Lee. I highly recommend watching it after watching Twin Peaks, and I consider it to be one of David Lynch’s best work.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) Review

Time: 163 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Willem Dafoe as Jesus
Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot
Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene
Harry Dean Stanton as Saul/Paul of Tarsus
David Bowie as Pontius Pilate
Director: Martin Scorsese

Jesus (Willem Dafoe), a humble Judean carpenter beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into revolutionary action against the Roman occupiers by Judas (Harvey Keitel) — despite his protestations that love, not violence, is the path to salvation. The burden of being the savior of mankind torments Jesus throughout his life, leading him to doubt. As he is put to death on the cross, Jesus is tempted by visions of an ordinary life married to Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey).

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I heard about The Last Temptation of Christ for some time, mainly that Martin Scorsese directed it and that it was really controversial when it was released. I really had no clue what to expect going in. I like Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel, and of course I’m a fan of Martin Scorsese. However with the story that has already been done many times before, I didn’t really know what Scorsese would really do with it. I really didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but it really was fantastic.

The Last Temptation of Christ was actually based on a novel of the same name, which in itself was already pretty controversial. There have been plenty of movies about Jesus, so I wondered what would make this one stand out. The film actually begins with a preface that it’s not based on the gospels and not necessarily biblically based, so you should probably know that going in. The thing that immediately got my interest was the more human take on Jesus, he’s even started out not really sure if he’s truly the son of god, and he’s very much a flawed person, like most people are. I can tell that for some people that would be a deal breaker but if anything for me, that’s what got me on board with the movie from the beginning. This whole movie is a character study following him, and I was invested throughout. Then there’s the last 30 minutes to an hour of the movie which was probably the most controversial part to a lot of religious people at the time. For those who don’t know about that section, I won’t reveal it, but it’s not like The Passion of the Christ where it’s from a bunch of endlessly violent scenes (even though this movie does have some violent scenes). It also never feels like it’s being controversial for the sake of controversy. It’s mainly the exploration of Jesus as a human being, and I found that compelling. This is quite a long movie at 2 hours and 40 minutes, so you have to prepare yourself for that. Thankfully I was wrapped up with what was happening, but if you aren’t invested early on, it might be a bit of a chore to get through.

Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ does seem like an odd casting for many reasons, but I have to say that his performance here as the conflicted Jesus is amongst his best work. He’s the main lead of the movie, and the movie relied heavily on him working, and thankfully he brought this performance to life and really anchors the whole movie. The most prominent supporting actor is Harvey Keitel who plays Judas, and it’s a different portrayal of him than most are used to. Yes, Keitel is playing the only Brooklyn Judas (and he keeps his accent) and with that he seems a little out of place at times, but he acts his part really well. The rest of the cast do well, including Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, Harry Dean Stanton as Saul/Paul of Tarsus, and David Bowie in a surprise one scene appearance as Pontius Pilate. Now there comes the obvious when it comes to the casting, the Romans sound like Brits and the Hebrews like New Yorkers. While that’s definitely distracting at first, it’s definitely an intentional choice that paid off in the end.

Martin Scorsese directed this excellently as he usually does. For a budget of 7 million dollars, this movie really looks outstanding and still holds up over 3 decades later. The cinematography is stunning, and the production design and costume design is fantastic. Overall on a technical level, it’s really great.

The Last Temptation of Christ is outstanding and one of Martin Scorsese’s finest films. Scorsese’s direction was excellent, the acting was great (particularly Willem Dafoe), and Scorsese’s take on the story is thought provoking and effectively emotional. Even if you’re not interested in religion or the topics, I think there’s a lot that you can appreciate about it, even if it’s just on a technical and acting level. However there’s a compelling story at the heart of it that I’m sure most people can connect with.

Alien (1979)

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Alien

Time: 117 mins
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Sigourney Weaver as Ripley
Tom Skerritt as Dallas
Veronica Cartwright as Lambert
Harry Dean Stanton as Brett
John Hurt as Kane
Ian Holm as Ash
Director: Ridley Scott

A commercial crew aboard the deep space towing vessel, Nostromo is on its way home when they pick an SOS warning from a distant planet. What they don’t know is that the SOS warning is not like any other ordinary warning call. After picking up the signal, the crew realize that they are not alone on the spaceship when an alien stowaways on the cargo ship.

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The pacing of this movie is slow at first. The first half an hour or so is build up for the rest of the movie, which is absolutely perfect because it manages to create a very tense atmosphere. Alien is one of the best examples of how to create atmosphere in a movie, you take the pacing slower and let it build the atmosphere build up over time. This film also manages to give a feeling of claustrophobia and vulnerability that is present throughout the entire film.

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One reason that the alien is scary is because unless you’ve seen the other movies, you don’t know how this alien works and what it can do. The alien looks different every time we see it, and leaves us wondering what it would look like every time it’s on screen. If there is one thing that the alien represents, it’s the unknown. Like other well-made horror movies it doesn’t give all the answers to the creature that stalks the characters, all the viewer can do is watch. It’s quite a while before the alien gets seen or even mentioned. When it does, it only appears on screen every so often but that’s what made it scarier than if it was frequently popping up. The film’s scares don’t come from jump scares alone, it takes advantage of its atmosphere and uses it to help its scares. This led to one of the biggest scares I’ve ever seen in a movie. I won’t tell which scene it is or any of the other scares; in case you haven’t seen it. Like Psycho, many of the scenes are so easy to spoil it’s best to watch those moments yourself without prior knowledge. Another thing great about this movie is the fact that it doesn’t have action that could’ve ruined the amount of tension. Granted, James Cameron’s sequel manages to balance it out nicely but Alien succeeds in the type of movie it’s aiming to be: a haunted house in space.

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The actors still do a good job reacting to everything that happens despite the fact that they aren’t anything special. When you go to a horror movie you aren’t looking for great acting but fortunately the actors here to a much better job than most actors in most horror movies. While you don’t get to learn much about the characters, again, most horror movies aren’t about the people. We are with these characters for the whole movies so they needed to feel real enough, which they do.

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The alien is always a presence in this movie, even when it’s not on screen. This is due to many things, the camera work, the lighting, the sound design and the score. The score by Jerry Goldsmith in particular gives the movie an eerie vibe. The sound design should also be commended for managing to convey a feeling of emptiness. The camera’s tone is quite bleak and dark. The lighting in this movie in some parts is quite dark, leading viewers to wonder if the alien is on screen or not. All of those film techniques results in the film have a very creepy vibe.

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Although I still personally prefer Aliens over this movie, I will say is that Alien is scarier than its great sequel. Even though Aliens has a lot of action, don’t go into this movie expecting that same thing. It’s a slow, horror movie that builds atmosphere, and actually is a great example of how to create suspense, scares, atmosphere and an overall good horror film.