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Balthazar Getty (#110 of 3)

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 6

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 6

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 6

Many of the events in the latest episode of Twin Peaks: The Return seem to depend on the toss of a coin, inviting speculation about the balance between chance and necessity in the lives of the characters. When Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) buys a load of a drug called “sparkle” from Red (Balthazar Getty), the latter bewilders Richard with a surreal coin trick. The coin impossibly hangs in the air for some time, before then manifesting in Richard’s mouth. Except it hasn’t, because it’s back in Red’s palm. Red tells Richard: “Heads I win. Tails you lose.” Chance obviously isn’t a factor in their deal. The game is rigged, as the house always wins—and it’s an encounter that sets in motion a series of events that reverberates throughout the episode.

Sundance Film Festival 2013: Upstream Color and Big Sur

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Sundance Film Festival 2013: <em>Upstream Color</em> and <em>Big Sur</em>
Sundance Film Festival 2013: <em>Upstream Color</em> and <em>Big Sur</em>

With his 2004 debut, Primer, Shane Carruth challenged the long-held conventions of the sci-fi genre, taking the traditional time-travel narrative and twisting it into a dense examination of human relationships. With Upstream Color, Carruth once again offers up an imaginative but deeply disorienting film that he himself has admitted is virtually “impossible to spoil.”

From beginning to end the viewer is bombarded with a series of bizarre images, beginning with a woman, Kris (Amy Seimetz), being kidnapped and forced to ingest a maggot that subjects her to a sort of mind control. Forced to perform strange tasks and undergo a transplant surgery with a pig (seriously), she’s finally compelled to give up her entire life savings to a mysterious man, who later leaves her battered and bloody on the side of a road. Over a year after the ordeal she attempts to regain control of her life, a traumatized shell of her former self. A chance meeting on a train with a man named Jeff (played by Carruth) leads both to realize that they may be connected in a strange, possibly otherworldly conspiracy. Nothing makes sense.

Feast or Famine? Why Reality Television and Filmmaking Don’t Mix

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Feast or Famine? Why Reality Television and Filmmaking Don’t Mix
Feast or Famine? Why Reality Television and Filmmaking Don’t Mix

Last weekend marked a dubious footnote in movie history. After nearly a year’s worth of delays, Feast, a.k.a. “The Project Greenlight movie,” was finally released in theaters. Not that you heard about it. The movie was barely advertised, with much of the heavy lifting done by niche media and the internet; it was booked onto a handful of screens, predominantly in small art-house theaters in major cities. If hadn’t been charting its release myself, odds are the film would have come and gone without my realizing it.

In an industry climate where $60 million productions are left for dead by their distributors after a disappointing Friday opening, there’s nothing surprising about an inexpensive movie with questionable financial upside like Feast getting less than first-class treatment. But this is no ordinary act of disrespect. Feast was’t just dumped, it was buried—given a two week release, playing just two days of the week (Friday and Saturday) for one show per day (the latest one theater owners would allow).

Granted, each year hundreds of features—a great many better than Feast—are never even projected in front of a paying audience. Films that five years ago might have gotten snatched up for theatrical distribution after a decent debut at Sundance or Toronto limp along unnoticed before collapsing onto a shelf at Blockbuster. This article won’t address whether the treatment of Feast by its distributor was fair, but whether Feast—or for that matter, any film produced under the microscope of television cameras—has a chance at any sort of success, critical or financial.