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As with pretty much everyone else on the Internet, I’m incredibly excited about The X-Files‘ revival, perhaps even more than Twin Peaks‘ reboot.  We’ve already got the principal cast returning with David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and William B. Davis alongside creator Chris Carter and writers Frank Spotnitz, Glen Morgan, Jim Wong, and Darin Morgan, plus we’ll have Joel McHale and Kumail Nanjiani as guest stars.  But here’s perhaps the most surprising and perhaps pleasing news so far: everyone’s three favorite conspiracy theorists, the Lone Gunmen, will come back, with Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, and Dean Haglund set to reprise their roles.

The reason this news may be startling is because (spoilers) the Lone Gunmen were killed off during the show’s final season after preventing a deadly virus from annihilating thousands of civilians, a move that disappointed and angered many X-Files fans.  Hopefully there’ll be a logical explanation to the Gunmen’s return alongside the Smoking Man’s survival.  The X-Files will return next January.

Posted by: ckckred | July 8, 2015

Goodbye to Language

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There’s no need to go over lengths about Jean-Luc Godard’s accomplishments. The famed French filmmaker rivals Orson Welles as the most pivotal figure in the development of modern day cinema and his status as one of history’s greatest directors is unquestionable. However, Godard, particularly in recent years, also represents the stereotype of the European film elitist snob, one who pompously sneers at pop-culture outside his reach and derides anything that in his eyes is unworthy of artistic value. Goodbye to Language unfortunately epitomizes the latter trait, too often hammering down Godard’s “life is cinema, cinema is life” idealism with Euro art-movie tendencies. At times it almost feels like a parody of Godard films with a usual mix of ambiguity and startling jump cuts to an overwhelming point.

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A few years back, Steven Spielberg announced that he would be adapting Stanley Kubrick’s legendarily unproduced screenplay about Napoleon into a miniseries.  Since then, we haven’t heard any developments but now another Kubrick script may see the light of day: The Downslope, a project the director wrote in 1956 back when The Killing was released.  Set during the Civil War, the film follows several battles in Shenandoah Valley between Union General George Custer and Confederate Colonel John Mosby, an epic perhaps in between the lines of Barry Lyndon or Paths of Glory.

It’s no secret that Kubrick’s my favorite director, and while I’d love to see The Downslope see the light of day (alongside The Aryan Papers), director Marc Forster is set to direct the screenplay, divided into three for a trilogy of films.  Forster’s main credits include doing that James Bond movie no one liked and World War Z, which despite its surprising box office success was one of the most heavily ridiculed films of 2013.  While he’s not a terrible director, Forster doesn’t have the background or sublety to take on the satirical biting edge that defines Kubrick’s work, making the entire project seem misplaced.  The Downslope seems to be more suited for a Kubrick prodigy such as Paul Thomas Anderson, but under the hands of Forster may just implode on itself.

But who knows?  A. I.: Artificial Intelligence is a misjudged masterpiece in my eyes, and The Downslope may end up being as good as that.  On the downside, it could be as messy as 2010 or perhaps just be discarded.  But what do you guys think?

Posted by: ckckred | May 19, 2015

Mad Men: Person to Person

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Spoilers Follow

During the past eight years, Matt Weiner has forced audiences to question who really is Don Draper. Since 2007, we’ve discovered that Don is a liar, a coward, a cheat, and many other things. For most of Mad Men’s run, Don has been steadily amoral about his situation, not often questioning his stature and integrity for his own personal crimes. Over the last seven episodes, though, we’ve seen Don attempt to come to terms for who is really is. He endows a million dollar check to Megan, attempts to forge a real relationship with a waitress named Diana, and ultimately leaves McCann, despite having the once in a lifetime opportunity to work for Coca Cola, to search for his own identity.

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Posted by: ckckred | May 15, 2015

David Lynch Returns To Twin Peaks; World Rejoices

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A while back, David Lynch announced Twin Peaks would be returning to TV.  Lovers of fine television then celebrated with this joyous news, only to be crushed when Lynch withdrew from the project because of a dispute with Showtime over payment.  It would seem that the television as a medium had given viewers a cruel tease, offering a shameless M. Night Shyamalan rip-off instead.  But fortunately both parties have resolved their differences and now Lynch is back on set to direct all of the upcoming episodes.

It’s good to hear that Showtime sucked it up and gave Lynch what he wanted.  In even better news, there will now be more than the nine episodes scheduled, meaning we’ll see more of Agent Cooper and co. come next year.  Between this and The X-Files reboot, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2016.

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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