Author: J. Rosenfield

Stranger Things 2 Finds Middling Success in an Old Formula

Overview: One year after the events of the first season, the residents of Hawkins struggle with lingering trauma and new terrors from the Upside Down. Netflix; TV-MA; 9 episodes. The Three Pillars: I never expected to like Stranger Things as much as I did. I’m generally allergic to ‘80s nostalgia, with its desperate worship of disposable aesthetic values and misunderstanding of what makes the decade’s best art so good. But the first season of the Netflix original put me on my heels. Rather than simply imitating the imagery of its creators’ pop culture childhoods, it remixed and reconstructed them....

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Twin Peaks: The Return is a Monumental Achievement

A couple days before the premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return, I wrote a poll on Twitter. At the time, no one had seen more than a handful of images from the show, none of them particularly informative about what viewers should have expected from it. In the poll, I asked what previous David Lynch project The Return would most likely resemble. Would it recapture the creative heights and more broadly popular tone of the show’s first season? Would it take more from the darker and more erratic prequel film Fire Walk With Me? Perhaps we’d see something akin...

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The More Things Stay the Same: The Characters of Twin Peaks: The Return

Though he’s undoubtedly the protagonist, Twin Peaks was never solely about Agent Dale Cooper. Its ensemble cast has always been one of its best aspects. With the revival series subtitled The Return, creators David Lynch and Mark Frost go against the reboot grain. Rather than resurrect the characters just as we remember them and parade them around as nostalgia fodder, the show uses its returning cast to tell a story about how people change and don’t change as time marches on and passes them by. It’s also got a stellar new cast, full of characters who instantly entered the...

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me 25 Years Later

Few films have ever deserved critical re-evaluation more than Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Released in 1992, just over a year after Twin Peaks, the TV series, left viewers on a horrific cliffhanger, Fire Walk With Me came to us at exactly the wrong time. The critical and cultural understanding of Twin Peaks at the time was far removed from more modern takes. We tend to view Twin Peaks now as a cult object, a series with alienating eccentricities. The first two seasons of Twin Peaks are remembered mainly for their strangest elements; backwards-talking men dancing around red-curtained rooms,...

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Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 7

Recap: The episode opens with Jerry Horne calling his brother Ben from deep in the woods. He says that he’s high, someone stole his car, and he doesn’t know where he is. Ben, in his office at the Great Northern, seems frustrated. At the Sheriff’s Office, Hawk and Frank look over the pages Hawk found in the bathroom. It turns out that they’re from Laura’s secret diary. One of them details Laura’s dream about Annie, which says that the good Cooper is trapped in the Lodge. Another says that Laura has figured out that her father, not BOB, is...

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Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 6

Recap: We begin where last week’s episode left off, with Cooper staring transfixed at the statue outside Dougie’s office. A security guard arrives to take him home, where Janey-E seems to finally start picking up on his abnormal behavior. She makes plans to take him to a doctor, and sends him upstairs to say goodnight to Sonny Jim. In Sonny Jim’s bedroom, he and Cooper play around with his clap-activated lamp. Downstairs, Janey-E opens an envelope found on their porch and finds a photo of Dougie with Jade. As chews out Cooper for his infidelity, the phone rings, and...

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‘The Fate of the Furious’ Struggles To Keep The Franchise On Track

Overview: A mysterious cyber-terrorist convinces Dom Toretto to turn against his family and aid in her sinister plot. Universal Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 136 minutes. Neutral: The Fast and Furious franchise is getting a little long in the tooth. Now at eight entries, it’s one of the longest-running Hollywood franchises without reboots, remakes, or long breaks between releases. It’s not adapting any pre-existing material, either, and how could it be? These stories can only be told through cinema. The series’ best films revel in that fact, at times seeming to stress the limits of the frame, as if there’s...

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AE’s 2017 Oscars Prediction Showdown

The 89th Academy Awards are coming up this Sunday, and Audiences Everywhere readers know what that means: It’s Oscar predictions showdown time! Josh has seized victory two years in a row. Will the third time be the charm for David? Or will Josh come through with yet another decisive win? Let us know what your picks are and who you think will take the crown this year!   Best Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon Doctor Strange The Jungle Book Kubo and the Two Strings Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Josh Prediction: The Jungle Book – This film was praised almost exclusively for...

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Why Did We Let Mel Gibson Come Back?

Growing up Jewish in New England during the 2000s, your life is punctuated at regular intervals by these little surprises. There’s the first time you learn what the Holocaust was, and you ask your mom why they hated Jews so much, and she doesn’t have an answer. There are uncomfortable afternoons you spend at your friend’s youth group, which he didn’t tell you was a Christian youth group beforehand. Maybe you get to school one day in December and there’s a little manger on your desk, and a patronizing card about “faith” from your classmate’s mom. One year, your...

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Still Looking Out For Us: Shyamalan’s Split & Mental Illness

I knew what we were in for the moment I saw the first trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s new film Split. Critics have long had it out for Shyamalan. Before the release of The Visit in 2015, I wrote about how the cultural consensus has consistently and willfully misunderstood him as an auteur. The Visit ended up opening to the sort of widespread acclaim that had evaded his work for over a decade. But when I saw Split’s trailer, I was sure it was about to come crashing down again, buckling under the weight of (perhaps not unfair) thinkpieces...

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Live Updates to the 2017 Oscar Nominations

Folks, another year has come and gone, and it’s that time once again for film fans across the world to get mad about the taste of insanely rich people. It’s Oscar season, baby! At 5:18 AM PST this morning, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs will be joined by several previous winners to announce the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards. Stay tuned to Audiences Everywhere for live updates on the nominees! Best Picture Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight   Best Director Denis Villeneuve, Arrival Mel...

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5 Great Almost-Films From 2016

Each year here at Audiences Everywhere, I like to take some time during our end-of-year celebrations to look at things that don’t quite fit into any of our other Best Of categories. As we’ve grown to include a greater variety of lists, I’ve had to stretch the definition of “Almost Film” past its breaking point. I could go on about how the definition of cinema itself is becoming more and more unstable, and how the combination of various mediums requires a more open-minded approach, but I’ll spare you. This is just a list of stuff I liked in 2016,...

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Three Rivers Film Festival: Kate Plays Christine is an Astonishing Experience

Overview: As actor Kate Lyn Sheil prepares to take on the role of Christine Chubbuck, a TV news journalist who committed suicide live on air, she finds herself grappling with challenging emotions and ethical quandaries. Grasshopper Film; 2016; Not Rated; 112 minutes. Flip It, Reverse It: Kate Plays Christine isn’t what I would call a provocative film–not in the negative sense that implies pointless deliberacy, anyway–but it does open with something of a provocation to its audience, a challenge to your preconceptions and an attempt to frame your perspective of what follows. The title appears on-screen one word at a...

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Reel Q Film Festival Review: Southwest of Salem Is a Troubled But Empathetic Documentary

Overview: This documentary follows four lesbian women who were wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing children during a nationwide panic about Satanic ritual cults. Motto Pictures/Naked Edge Films; 2016; Not Rated; 91 minutes. The Straight and Narrow: It’s not unusual for true-crime documentaries to play with form to mess with audience expectations. The sub-genre has historically been one of the best sites for that sort of stylistic experimentation. The reason for this recurrence is the familiar structure that these films share. When the film begins, a crime will have happened, an investigation will have taken place, and maybe a suspect...

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Reel Q Film Festival Review: Summertime Is A Confident Success

Overview: In the wake of a breakup, a young woman from the country moves to Paris, where she joins up with a group of feminist activists and begins a relationship with one of its leaders. Strand Releasing; 2016; Not Rated; 105 minutes. Here, Queer, etc.: So much of queer cinema is consumed by trepidation – that slow and cautious build-up to The Moment Of Discovery is often effective but painfully commonplace – that it’s nice when a film comes along that gets straight to the point. Unlike so many of its contemporaries, Catherine Corsini’s Summertime isn’t about a journey...

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