Tag Archives: Ray Wise

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.

Twin Peaks (1990-1991) TV Review

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Twin Peaks

Cast:
Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper
Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman
Mädchen Amick as Shelly Johnson
Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs
Richard Beymer as Benjamin Horne
Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward
Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne
Warren Frost as Dr. Will Hayward
Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings
James Marshall as James Hurley
Everett McGill as Ed Hurley
Jack Nance as Pete Martell
Ray Wise as Leland Palmer
Joan Chen as Jocelyn “Josie” Packard
Piper Laurie as Catherine Martell
Kimmy Robertson as Lucy Moran
Eric Da Re as Leo Johnson
Harry Goaz as Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan
Michael Horse as Deputy Sheriff Tommy “Hawk” Hill
Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer and Madeline “Maddy” Ferguson
Russ Tamblyn as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby
Kenneth Welsh as Windom Earle
Creator: Mark Frost and David Lynch

An FBI agent, Dale Cooper, is assigned to investigate the murder of a 17-year old schoolgirl, Laura Palmer, in Twin Peaks.

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Twin Peaks was one of those shows I had been hearing about for a while. It’s a show by David Lynch that seemed to have an significant impact on pop culture and heavy influence on various forms of media following it. It also spawned a movie called Fire Walk with Me, and a revival series called The Return in the late 2010s. I was curious about it and wasn’t sure what to expect from it, or whether I was going to like it at all. Eventually I checked it out and it quickly became one of my favourite shows.

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As discouraging as it might sound, Twin Peaks is something that you’ll have to persist at when watching it. Not that it starts out bad, in fact the first episode is very well handled. Its just that you have to get used to the slower pace, large amount of odd characters and storylines, and the weird tone. Within the first three episodes however, I got on board with the show. The mystery itself is intriguing, initially focussing on the death of a girl named Laura Palmer. There’s a lot that is unclear, not there’s plenty of things aren’t explained, and in some instances you’ll have to theorise an answer or just accept it and move forward. You’ll get used to that eventually though. I found myself being quickly addicted to the show, slower paced as it was. The handling of tone is great, it is strange how weird how well it balanced the grief and camp elements. There is this level of ironic soap opera to it and it is weird in that David Lynch way, yet it is funny with the quirky dark humour. It also does a good job at conveying grief and how people would react to a death. The show takes the time to really focus on the grief and emotional responses of the people who knew Laura. Its very sincere and does this very well. Season 1 is fairly short at 8 episodes, and it is abrupt in how it ends. But at the very least, it gets you on board to check out season 2.

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Season 2 is where a lot of people are somewhat mixed on the show. From what I could tell, at a certain point, original creators Mark Frost and David Lynch becomes less involved with the show, However I liked it for the most part. There’s a lot there that I liked more than season 1, it definitely picks up the pace more. Then after a particularly major episode where a lot of things have been resolved, the movie really winds down and staggers onwards. People who have watched the series know about this section. It stretches the mystery further and adds plenty of plotlines that were hit or miss, some of them feeling like timewasters (one of them not even taking place in Twin Peaks). It felt so weird for this show to become a grinding experience. At a certain point however, it picks up and I became interested again, and it culminates in an incredibly memorable finale. The final episode is one of the most shocking and haunting episodes in a show I’ve seen, especially considering that it ended on the most gripping cliffhanger in a show of cliffhangers.

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There are plenty of memorable and strange characters in this show, too many to list them all. There are definitely some characters who are better than others, some really fall flat and are either annoying or boring. More often than not though, they work, same with the acting. However, the highlight for me and many people is Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper. Watching the first episode, it quickly becomes clear why Cooper became one of the most iconic characters of all time. As the FBI agent looking for who killed Laura Palmer, he’s charismatic, likable, smart, enthusiastic and confident. Even in the show’s lowest points, it picks up whenever he’s on screen. There’s some other great performances, including Sheryl Lee, Dana Ashbrook, and Ray Wise. Even David Lynch gets to make an impression, and he is entertaining whenever he’s on screen.

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Twin Peaks quite strong on a technical levels, everything from the cinematography (even the aspect ratio), environments, locations, use of colour and shadow, all of it really works. I wouldn’t say that the show is strictly horror, but it is definitely a notable part of it. The moments of horror are incredibly effective and creepy. The editing and visuals could be off kilter and quirky or surreal and off-putting. The Black Lodge is an example of everything being made to feel strange. The music is fantastic, Angelo Badalamenti has composed some fantastic themes for the show. From the title theme to Laura Palmer’s theme, all of it is excellent and adds to the atmosphere of the show.

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Some have call Twin Peaks one of the greatest tv shows, and I can’t disagree. Mark Frost and David Lynch has made an iconic show. It is very flawed in parts, some storylines are messy or don’t hold up, and there is a decent chunk in season 2 where the show meanders aimlessly. But I can’t help but love Twin Peaks, flaws and all. The characters, performances, tone, and writing all work together to make a satisfying experience and one of my favourite TV shows.

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Review

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The Killing Joke

Time: 76 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence and Sexual References
Cast:
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Mark Hamill as Joker
Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl
Ray Wise as Commissioner James Gordon
Director: Sam Liu

Batman (Kevin Conroy) must save Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise) from the Joker’s (Mark Hamill) twisted quest to drive him insane.

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I like The Killing Joke graphic novel. I’m not crazy over the story like so many people are, but I do understand why it was so famous. I was actually quite interested to see the adaptation of this story, especially as they got Batman and Joker voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to do voicework for the film. Having seen the movie, I have to say that I actually liked the film quite a bit. Aside from the first 30 minutes which do have some problems (and really the majority of the problems of the film), I think that this film adapted The Killing Joke quite well. Looking at the reception though, this film seemed to have divided people, shame really, as I think this is a very solid movie. I do think that it is worth checking out though.

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By far the biggest flaw of this movie is the first 30 minutes, and I think that’s something that most people will agree on. It’s a prologue largely focussing on Barbara Gordon and her as Batgirl. It dragged quite a bit, felt quite weak, didn’t connect in any way to the Killing Joke segment and felt quite out of place, especially when you’re going into an adaptation of the Killing Joke. I can understand why she would have this focused on her, considering that a criticism of the graphic novel was that Barbara wasn’t given great treatment, and they wanted to give her more development and characterisation. The thing is if you cut that out of the movie, you’d just get the Killing Joke story and you wouldn’t notice that anything had been taken out. And yes, for some who know, there’s a controversial scene between Batgirl and Batman during these 30 minutes. All I’ll say is, it felt really out of place and didn’t work at all, and felt forced in and awkward. I think the 30 minutes was also added in just to make the movie longer, without it the movie is about 46 minutes long but I think that’s preferable to having a forced in prologue. I really liked the rest of the film. It’s very similar to the graphic novel, the story and dialogue are all there and if you liked the graphic novel, you will most likely love this section. And in that it’s worth noting that if you don’t like certain things in the graphic novel (like Joker having a tragic backstory, what happened to Barbara during it) you will feel the same way about that in the movie. There is an end credit scene, while not bad, it felt unnecessary.

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The voicework by Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong and others are great, and do suit the characters (unsurprisingly since they have been voicing the Batman characters for a long time). I personally like the animation of the movie, a lot of people have complained that it looked quite cartoonish, but I think it’s trying to imitate the comic books. Then again this is the first animated Comic Book Movie/Cartoon/TV show I’ve seen, so I can’t measure the Killing Joke up against any other animations.

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This film seemed to have divided some people. If you didn’t like the Killing Joke story, it’s highly likely that you won’t like this movie. It doesn’t go any more or less extreme than what was done in the graphic Novel. However I think it’s at least worth a look for those interested. It’s not perfect, once again the first 30 minutes really doesn’t work the best in the story (and had the majority of the flaws of the movie), but I still think it’s a solid DC animated movie with the voice talent and the telling of the Killing Joke.

The Lazarus Effect (2015) Review

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The Lazarus Effect

Time: 83 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Horror
Cast:
Mark Duplass as Frank Walton
Olivia Wilde as Zoe McConnell
Sarah Bolger as Eva
Evan Peters as Clay
Donald Glover as Niko
Ray Wise as Mr. Wallace
Director: David Gelb

Medical researcher Frank (Mark Duplass), his fiancée Zoe (Olivia Wilde) and their team have achieved the impossible: they have found a way to revive the dead. After a successful, but unsanctioned, experiment on a lifeless animal, they are ready to make their work public. However, when their dean learns what they’ve done, he shuts them down. Zoe is killed during an attempt to recreate the experiment, leading Frank to test the process on her. Zoe is revived — but something evil is within her.

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Most horror movies nowadays are terrible, with the exception of a few gems like The Babadook and Oculus. Most of them are by the numbers, have bad horror clichés and straight up aren’t scary at all. So how does The Lazarus Effect hold up? It doesn’t, it’s not scary (and as you probably guessed, relies on unscary jump scares), it felt dull and failed to thrill despite its initially interesting premise. However I wouldn’t call it a terrible movie. It does have a decent cast and the direction for the most part is fine and it’s nowhere near as bad as some other horror movies of today. But still, it’s not a good movie and not worth your time.

M182 (Left to right.) Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde star in Relativity Media's "The Lazarus Effect". © 2013 BACK TO LIFE PRODUCTIONS, LLC Photo Credit: Suzanne Hanover

This movie does have an interesting premise with the whole resurrection element, and what happens after people die. Despite this, at many points this movie just feels boring and dull, and there were so many missed opportunities to take the film into a scarier or at least more interesting level. Olivia Wilde dies like 30 minutes into the movie before getting brought back, that’s a third into the movie, so you can imagine how boring the road felt leading up to it. The tension only appears during certain scenes of the movie, it’s not maintained throughout most of the movie. It doesn’t help that this movie isn’t scary at all, but I’ll get to how the ‘scares’ are handled later on.

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This movie has a great cast, which was one of the few things that this movie had going for it. The cast was filled with talented actors such as Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters and many more. I thought that they did well with what they were given, despite not having very well written characters. They might actually be the best part of the movie and might be the only thing that sort of works, which is sad really.

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With the exception of the actual horror scenes, the movie is generally well directed and the production value is quite decent. Unfortunately when it comes to the horror scenes, it follows plenty of horror clichés. The Lazarus Effect, like other horror movies of today rely on jump scares, there are at least 10 of them, I counted them. Most of the jump scares I saw coming, though I will say that out of all the jump scares only 1 of them was a fake jump scare, but that’s hardly a compliment at this point in time.

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Overall The Lazarus Effect could’ve been an interesting horror movie with an interesting premise and a great cast but given the reception of this movie I didn’t go in expecting much and I got what I was expecting. It was brought down by unscary ‘horror’ scenes and a somehow bad plot, even though it promised a somewhat interesting result. It’s one of those movies like Transcendence which have good ideas but still doesn’t culminate in a good movie. Still, it’s nowhere near as bad as other horror movies of today like Ouija, that’s not saying much though as most movies aren’t at that level of horribleness.