Posted by: ckckred | April 18, 2015

Thoughts on The Force Awakens (and Star Wars in general)

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A few days ago, the first full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released and promptly caused the Internet to go insane.  Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve already seen the video several times as well as scrutinized the ad nauseam of press about its release.  The frenzied hype behind the trailer (much of it do to featuring a brief clip of Han Solo and Chewbaca) has pretty much already secured The Force Awakens as the biggest release of 2015, and possibly the decade so far.

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Posted by: ckckred | April 9, 2015

Is a David Lynch-less Twin Peaks Worth Seeing?

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A while ago, the TV world rejoiced when Showtime announced that they’re bringing Twin Peaks back on air after twenty five years since Agent Dale Cooper disappeared into the Black Lodge.  But some things are too good to be true: David Lynch has now announced that he’s stepping down from the director chair of the project, citing payment issues with Showtime.  While the network insists that the negotiations aren’t off the table, it’s not a good sign for the upcoming revival (if it does continue without Lynch).

While reports are circling that Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost have already finished all the scripts for the new episodes, Twin Peaks without David Lynch directing just wouldn’t work (and if you don’t believe me, you obviously didn’t see the second season).  Much of the cast and crew has already sided with Lynch and it’s difficult not to see why.  While I don’t know how much money Lynch wants, he’s the mastermind and creative voice behind the series.  Losing him would mean losing the essence of Twin Peaks, and even if the new episodes don’t suck, the fan reaction will still be tepid just because Lynch didn’t direct them.  Showtime needs Lynch, and seeing their current lackluster programming, so does everyone else.

Showtime should take notes from Fox (something I’d never though I’d say), who are similarly rebooting The X-Files for a six-episode run, which has excited me even more than Twin Peaks‘ return.  Fox has already signed contracts with creator Chris Carter as well as David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and William B. Davis, meaning that the episodes will happen the exact way fans want (and it’s likely that alumni like Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Glen Morgan, and James Wong will return).  Showtime should have gotten these deals ahead of time so Lynch would be obligated to work on the season before announcing the reboot; now they’re just setting up fans’ disappointment.  The best thing they can do is suck it up and give Lynch what he wants, but I’m not sure things will go down that smoothly.

But what do you guys think?  Can Showtime make Twin Peaks good without Lynch?  Or will the whole project fall apart?

Here’s Anthrax’s “Black Lodge” to cheer up sullen Twin Peaks fans

Posted by: ckckred | March 27, 2015

The Best Movies of 2014

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2012 and 2013 were both great years for cinema, but 2014, at least for me, had a lack of great cinema.  Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of films I loved (and I haven’t even seen such acclaimed pictures like A Most Violent Year or Nightcrawler), yet there weren’t too many movies this year that genuinely moved me.

Though I feel I’m selling 2014 short; it was overall a stellar year for cinema and all ten movies I name below are highly recommended.  Honorable mentions go to the Lamb of God documentary As The Palaces BurnThe Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Zero Theorem

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Posted by: ckckred | March 25, 2015

The 10 Best TV Shows of 2014

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Yes, I’m aware this post is coming out a few months late, but I never really got the chance to write up about my 10 favorite TV shows of last year.  In a post-Breaking Bad landscape, 2014 was a solid year for television, with plenty of great new series as well as veterans showing their strength.  Stay tuned for a post about 2014’s best movies as well as a write-up of the return of The X-Files.

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Posted by: ckckred | March 7, 2015

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu must think he’s the Howard Beale of cinema, shouting out the fallacy of Hollywood today. His previous films like Babel and 21 Grams were loudmouthed and shallow pictures over-swept with critical praise about how modern they were, addressing issues of the contemporary world. But much like Paul Haggis, Iñárritu possesses little understanding of reality outside his constraints and can’t help but shout out messages to his audience at the top of his lungs.

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Posted by: ckckred | February 21, 2015

R. I. P. Bruce Sinofsky

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Tragic news: documentary filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky has passed away at the age of 58 after a fight with diabetes.  Sinofsky was one of the finest documentarians working today.  Alongside fellow director and partner Joe Berlinger, Sinofsky made Paradise Lost, a documentary about the infamous West Memphis Three trial in Arkansas.  Paradise Lost produced two sequels, but it’s also noted for being the first time Metallica allowed their music to be in a movie.  That relationship between the documentarians and the band continued in Some Kind of Monster, dealing with the making of St. Anger as well as the therapy sessions conducted by Phil Towle with James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett.  Other than providing an honest portrayal of its subject matter by examining Jason Newsted’s departure, Napster, and Hetfield’s exit to rehab, Metallica attributed Some Kind of Monster for keeping the bandmates sincere during the time as well as saving the band from splitting up.

By pressing his subjects to be truthful, Sinofsky created some of the most compelling documentaries of the past two decades.  He will be missed.

Posted by: ckckred | February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart to Leave The Daily Show

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For sixteen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has dominated the late-night landscape, bringing a new standard to satirical news.  Stewart’s cutting edge provided dynamite comedy as he viciously attacked cable news outlets like Fox News and CNN as well as political insight during the Bush and Obama presidencies.  Not to mention without The Daily Show, we would have never seen talents such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, and John Oliver take air.

During yesterday’s taping, Stewart announced that he will be departing The Daily Show and Comedy Central stated that Stewart will leave at the end of the year.  The news is a huge blow to the channel and comedy fans alike, as it’s almost been two months since The Colbert Report concluded.  While Last Week Tonight is certainly as sharp as The Daily Show and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore has been going at it strong for the past month, Stewart’s exit will leave a huge void in the satirical news genre.  Hopefully Stewart will continue to commentate on politics if he plans to direct another film after 2014’s strong Rosewater.  Whatever the case, I wish Stewart and everyone on the staff of The Daily Show the best of luck.

Posted by: ckckred | January 13, 2015

Editor’s Note: Hiatus and Obligatory Twin Peaks News

Hey everybody,

As you have most likely noticed, over the past couple of months posting has become more and more irregular.  The reason isn’t just my same old excuse that I’m finding less and less time to blog (though that is partially true), but I’ve also been having a bit of a writer’s block (I have unfinished drafts of Inherent Vice and my ten favorite TV series of 2014 sitting on my desktop), plus I’ve been spending more and more of my free-time watching classic X-Files and Simpsons episodes.  Now I hope know you are all disappointed, but I promise to keep blogging if at a slower pace, so this is not the end of Cinematic.

But hey, I’ve also got some good news to tell.  It’s just been announced that Kyle MacLachlan will return for Twin Peaks‘ newest season.  It’s been about twenty-three years since David Lynch’s and MacLachlan’s last collaboration (Fire Walk With Me), so it’s great to see the two work again, plus Twin Peaks wouldn’t be the same without Dale Cooper.  Get ready for some damn good coffee in 2016.

The end of 2014 is approaching and rather than inquiring on what was your favorite movie of the year, I want to ask what was the best film you saw over the past twelve months that didn’t come from 2014?

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The best new-to-me movie that I saw was Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, though I also loved Orson Welles’ The Trial as well.  But what about yourself?

Posted by: ckckred | December 19, 2014

The Colbert Report: “We’ll Meet Again”

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Truthiness (noun)

  1. the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true

Back on October 17th in 2005, Stephen Colbert first anointed the word “truthiness” on the first episode of The Colbert Report to satirize the irony of Bush politics. By 2006, both Merriam-Webster and the American Dialect Society recognized truthiness as the word of the year and now just about everyone from newscasters to social media bloggers use truthiness in their day-to-day lives. On Thursday night on the final episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen recalled the impact that truthiness had on the world and by an extent the show’s. Stephen has had a NASA treadmill, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, and a hockey team named after him, he had filmed the show in Iraq back in 2009, he began a presidential campaign sponsored by Doritos, he helped support the U. S. Olympic speed skating team in 2010, he skewered George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he created his own Super PAC, and led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart. More importantly, Colbert managed to complete all of these accomplishments and the show in his character, a right-wing Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity-like commentator, and always kept a straight face.  Even during interviews, Stephen maintained his faux blowhard and egomaniacal persona, an almost impossible task.

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