Music is a big part of David Lynch’s work, from the eerie soundscapes of his early films to his own studio releases. As his career continued and full length feature films became a rarer sight, he began to make his own music—and now has five albums and a record label to his name. Twin Peaks‘ season 3 revival looks to include more music than ever, with appearances by Trent Reznor, Sky Ferreira, Eddie Vedder, Sharon Van Etten as well as Lynch alumni Rebekah Del Rio and Julee Cruise. Continue reading →
Ayesha, High Priestess of The Sovereign sits on an opulent throne, boasting of the perfect evolutionary state reached by her species. The Sovereign are covered in gold, from their clothing and skin all the way down to their eyes. In sharp contrast to the supercilious society and their conceited leader stands the Guardians of the Galaxy, a damaged group of misfits barely keeping it together. It’s one thing to create an ensemble as engaging as this, but it’s another to know where to place them.
Lucky for us, James Gunn knows exactly what he’s doing.
The messy dynamic of these imperfect heroes is why the original space opera worked so well back in 2014, and Gunn is wise enough to use new scenarios to deepen and expand on what was previously established. The plot this time is fairly straightforward, garnished with a gleeful weirdness, yet always in service to its characters and themes. Its ambitions are internal despite its planet-sized special effects, so the expected references to infinity stones and the road to Infinity War are minimal.
Allusions to Thanos are included solely to flesh out the sibling rivalry between Gamora and Nebula, while doing a hell of a lot more to establish him as an intimidating presence than his physical appearance in the last movie did. The sisters are given little room to develop individually, but are captivating as a duo, with a backstory that would be fascinating to see in full.
- I wrote about War for the Planet of the Apes for Audiences Everywhere’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2017
- My entry for their anxiety-soothing list was Spider-Man 2
- I contributed to Little White Lies’ Top 100 Films of the 1990s
- As well as their Summer Blockbusters Preview
- And a write-up of the excellent new documentary on Hayao Miyazaki
The following is a piece I wrote for Audiences Everywhere as part of a feature they ran in March. The third month of this year is trilogy month for AE, with various interesting pieces being written about different three-film sagas and thematic trilogies, from the original Star Wars series to John Carpenter’s apocalypse trilogy. Here’s mine, articulating some thoughts I’ve had about Steve Roger’s relationship with his own symbolism across the three Captain America movies.
Iconicity is the relationship of similarity between the two sides of a symbol—its form and its meaning. The closer the form and meaning are to one another, the more memorable the symbol is likely to be. An iconic symbol is one whose form resembles its meaning in some way; the opposite of this iconicity is arbitrariness. The red and white stripes, star, and ‘A’ of Captain America’s costume is pretty clear as to what it represents, but the man is less clear. Part of the difficulty of communication and judgement through language is the physical world’s resistance to being reduced to the same rules. The costume can be evaluated by this standard, but with a man wearing it, humanity will often fail to settle between the lines that are drawn in linguistics.
While his fame may not have spread far from the domain of comic book fandom until mainstream audiences saw him in Captain America: The First Avenger, and to a greater extent The Avengers, Captain America is an iconic character in popular culture. Whether his image, wearing the stripes and stars of the American flag, incites a positive or negative reaction to the uninitiated, it’s an undeniably recognisable one. While a simple idea, the connotations of a human being a symbol of a country and its ideals are complex.
Is Steve Rogers embodying the spirit of a nation that only exists in the imaginations of his creators and audience? Is what we see an idealised version of what we would like to believe is true? And within the pages of the comic, how does he function as a human being when he is representative of something abstract? Steve Rogers didn’t develop his symbolic status intentionally as Batman does, nor is that symbolism one of destiny as with Superman. Steve Rogers’s path to becoming Captain America is one of choice working within and often in opposition to the boundaries set by military, government and other authoritative forces.
A fired-up Shia LaBeouf tries and fails to salvage this muddled war drama.
An assembly of soldiers wade through the shallows of the sea, approaching the forested coast with guns in hand. One laughs as he takes in the scenery. “Fucking beautiful!” he says. Yet the image Man Down presents is of a world drained of colour – the film’s pallid hue inspiring lethargy rather than awe. It could be that Dito Montiel’s ambitious psychological thriller is not what it thinks it is.
“Bullshit”. That’s what David Lynch thinks about product placement. Yet the American filmmaker has shot more than 30 commercials over the course of his career, from perfume ads to public service announcements. “I do commercials to make money,” he remarked in a 2008 interview, “but I always say, every time I learn something: efficiency of saying something, and new technologies.” With that in mind, here are the best of the bunch.
‘Obsession’, Calvin Klein (1988)
This series of ads for Calvin Klein interprets quotes from F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and DH Lawrence. Interestingly, two of the ads feature models who would later go on to star in Twin Peaks just a few years later. The Hemingway ad features James Marshall, who played the solemn biker James Hurley in the director’s landmark show, while Fitzgerald’s presents a kiss between Heather Graham (a late addition to TP’s second season) and a 21-year-old Benicio Del Toro.
An extraordinary new film called Dear Angelica sees the young medium take a giant leap forward.
A girl’s bedroom at night. Jessica lies on her bed, a pen in her hand, writing a letter. Her TV glows, almost floating near the end of her bed, and the night sky outside tints everything in a tranquil blue sheen. Crickets croak in the undergrowth outside.
A sublime virtual reality film called Dear Angelica, by Saschka Unseld, takes the viewer on a journey through dreams, thoughts and fantasies. It’s an animated work made up of still images given life and motion by the fluidity of the art. Brushstrokes drift as if they are breathing with young Jessica, who is in the depths of slumber.