Monday, August 3, 2015


This True Detective viewing diary is being written while the new series airs. As such, future readers need not worry: there are no spoilers for upcoming episodes.

Once again, my True Detective coverage has been bumped up to a Monday; this week's random post (my latest video) will go up on Thursday instead. The season 2 finale will probably go up on Tuesday next week.

"Black Maps and Motel Rooms" is certainly the most straightforward True Detective episode title in two seasons, suggesting that the show has burnt through its reservoirs of cagey artfulness and is ready to settle for straightforward procedural description. Well, so am I. I'm thankful for last week's episode but as expected it was a glimpse of season 2's potential greatness, not a sign that this greatness would be consistently realized. How could it be, when this glimpse arrived nearly 3/4 of the way into the season? Episode 7 continues the plot-heavy trend of the post-shootout episodes; similarly to episode 7 of the first season, it sidelines character development in favor of escalating the investigation and leading us to the doorstep of the killer. Although this time we are not provided with a definitive answer, most signs point toward Caspere's secretary, who was probably the orphaned girl from the jewelery heist in '92. In several significant ways, however, this penultimate episode differs from season 1's.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


A round-up of fan responses to major turning points in Twin Peaks
(spoilers, obviously!)

Every month, I will be offering at least one post on Twin Peaks...up until Showtime re-airs the original series. Then I will post extensive coverage of each episode (mixing new reactions with my many older pieces) immediately after they air. Stay tuned.

A year ago, in an online forum, I asked Twin Peaks fans to share their memories of watching the show, either when it originally aired or years later on video. About a dozen users responded, in greater or lesser detail. Now I have collected and reorganized their memories here (attributing each to the username that posted it). You can read my own responses to these turning points in "My first reactions to Twin Peaks", shared a month ago, but the point of this collection is to display the amazing diversity of reactions (consider it a complement to my previous round-ups of media & alt.tv Usernet commentary). The replies have been edited to unfold point-by-point rather than person-by-person. I may add new entries if/as they come in, so if you'd like to add yours, visit the forum thread where it all began.

Each response ranges from a single word to several paragraphs. You can read them straight through, skip around to the most interesting turning points, or scroll through to follow your favorite participants


MY ORIGINAL POST on Dugpa's "World of Blue" forum

I first watched the series and film on DVD in 2008 and have been fascinated with it ever since. I can't think of any other story - film, television, you name it - that takes the viewer on such an emotional roller coaster. I'm really curious to know how other people reacted to it, particularly people who watched it when it was first aired on television in 1990-91 (I was only 6-7 at the time). I've read a lot of archived articles and columns from the time but on this thread I'm more interested in anecdotal, personal memories. What did these events mean to you? What reactions did you observe around you (either watching it in groups or talking to people later) - were they similar to your own?

Here are the responses I received:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


This series is an episode guide to the Japanese anime television show Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 - 96) and the spin-off films. Each entry includes my own reflection on the episode, followed by a conversation with fellow bloggers Bob Clark and Murderous Ink.

In one of the show's boldest beginnings, we witness the infamous Armageddon of 2000. A stark title card places us in the past: "fifteen years ago" (and of course watching the show now, this chronology is as true as it is surreal). We are in outer space, hovering over the moon as in the distance a silent explosion ripples along the earth's surface. From this cold, omniscient viewpoint we move closer to discover a scarred, exhausted figure moving through the blistering fallout. In his arms is a young girl and as he carries her toward a capsule that can shield her from this destruction he looks like Abraham carrying Isaac, only the role has been reversed: this man is sacrificing himself to save his daughter from the wrath of angels.

Monday, July 27, 2015


This True Detective viewing diary is being written while the new series airs. As such, future readers need not worry: there are no spoilers for upcoming episodes.

Finally! It's impossible to ask a single episode to do the heavy lifting for an entire season but "Church in Ruins" comes way closer than I could have expected after five disappointing entries of True Detective. You want Velcoro's paternal pathos to actually land, so that you can genuinely empathize with both his and his son's (and his ex-wife's) discomfort? Check. Looking for the various strands of the mystery to come together in ways that don't just involve characters discussing their connections onscreen (if we're even lucky enough to get that)? Got it. Tired of Rachel McAdams simmering in the background, giving her all but mostly wasted in a "gotta give 'em a female cop, but damned if we know what to do with her?" role? Well damn, she not only gets a piece of the action (after being sadly sidelined in the heat of episode 4) and really well-handled, disturbing character development (a flashback to childhood molestation, presumably on her father's compound, which is convincingly intermingled with her involvement on the party). Ani Bezzerides also features as the dramatic centerpiece of the show's final twenty minutes, in a fashion that has so far been reserved only for the other characters. And Chekhov's knives are not wasted.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


This series is an episode guide to the Japanese anime television show Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 - 96) and the spin-off films. Each entry includes my own reflection on the episode, followed by a conversation with fellow bloggers Bob Clark and Murderous Ink.

Every now and then, Evangelion likes to test its futuristic, techno-savvy characters by robbing them of their basic resources. They typically prove themselves inventive, if not exactly cool under pressure. Perhaps our cast has an advantage over most sci-fi ensembles in that they are all (at least those in adulthood) survivors of an apocalypse; while they may be blessed with sophisticated technology, they don't particularly take it for granted. Even the children have had the carnage of the "Second Impact" drilled into them, with the recurring challenge of Angel visitations keeping them on their toes. As in Operation Yashima the machine city of the future loses all electrical power. But this time it is not a military decision and the cause is unknown (sabotage is suspected - as Cmdr. Ikari sagely muses, "Mankind is still its own worst enemy"). The results display a fair amount of admirable ingenuity, if also some inadvertent ridiculousness as the challenges mount.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


This True Detective viewing diary is being written while the new series airs. As such, future readers need not worry: there are no spoilers for upcoming episodes.

This episode left me confused, but with a better sense of how this season is going to shake out for better and, sadly, for worse. A few minutes in, I had really perked up. As expected from last week's preview, the shootout represents a huge turning point in the story. Finally, I thought, we're moving! No more endless repetition of True Detective's two basic templates: a) the detectives question someone who reveals that (surprise) Caspere was a pervert, b) Semyon shakes down an old ally in passive-aggressive fashion. Sure enough, the case has officially been closed (with last week's dead pimp unsurprisingly pinned as the culprit), the characters variously resigned, traded, or demoted from their jobs, and Semyon even gets a nice role reversal when two creepy goons show up at his casino to threaten him (he manages to chase them away, but we're left with the distinct impression that they have the upper hand). With everything unsettled and uncertain, we've nowhere to go but up. Again, Pizzolatto is echoing the structure of last season, as he did in the previous episode. Unfortunately, if True Detective is beginning to move, it is also tripping over itself. There are quite a lot of stumbles in this episode, a few big ones due to the writing, and many small ones due to the direction.

Monday, July 20, 2015


featuring video, description, further thoughts and quotes from Maya Deren & Martha Nochimson

Original Vimeo introduction

My latest video essay pairs images from Maya Deren's experimental short films with physicist Arthur Eddington's quantum description of taking a single step through a door. Deren's avant-garde cinematic worlds operate with a freewheeling approach to physical reality. Characters float and fall through space in defiance of gravity, leaping across different planes in defiance of logic...or so it seems. By combining Deren's dreamlike visuals with Eddington's words we are reminded that perhaps the "real world" is less stable and certain than we like to think...maybe the boundless artist and the man of science have a great deal in common after all.

The concept behind this video was inspired by the work of Martha Nochimson in the book David Lynch Swerves, which uses quantum physics as a prism through which to view David Lynch's later films.


The video, along with further context (including passages from the book), follows the jump.

Thursday, July 16, 2015



I don't usually blog on Thursdays (except for last week's delayed True Detective episode) but today is the seventh anniversary of Lost in the Movies, so what the hell. Plus I've long been looking for an excuse to post this cool picture from Celine and Julie Go Boating.

I don't have too much to say, just thanks for reading, viewing, commenting (or lurking), and especially for sharing my work with others over the past, um, 7/10 of a decade. If you're new to the site, or you've only read posts past a certain point, I encourage you to explore my archives through the following options (all fully updated as of today):


(click on an image to visit the post where it was featured)


(in order of film/TV release date)

(exploring films released 10-100 years ago on a given date)


(recently reformatted)


If you're still hungering for more commemorative content, and don't mind extremely excessive meta-musings, check out my 5th anniversary retrospective of the blog's history.

And perhaps most importantly, because this is about the future as well as the past, I encourage you to view my most recent work, Across the Threshold with Maya Deren, a short video essay juxtaposing images from Deren's wild avant-garde dreamscapes with the clever words of Arthur Eddington, a physicist who memorably framed the quantum reality of taking a single step.

I will be officially posting the video here on Monday along with some further commentary on the ideas that motivated it but for now, if you like it, share the Vimeo link.

The blogosphere has changed quite a lot in seven years (to the point where, with all the social media outlets and multiple fronts, I'm not sure it even makes sense to call it the "blogosphere" anymore). But we're still here, with much more to come.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015



This series is an episode guide to the Japanese anime television show Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 - 96) and the spin-off films. Each entry includes my own reflection on the episode, followed by a conversation with fellow bloggers Bob Clark and Murderous Ink.

As every Hollywood romantic comedy has taught us, the ideal couple must bicker and clash before they come together. Although Asuka's and Shinji's entaglement won't necessarily follow such a clear-cut outline, they are at least true to this principle. And as is often the case in such tempestuous trysts, the female initially overwhelms and overshadows the cowed male. As "Magma Diver" begins, Asuka is still the new star of the show (three episodes into her arc, it's clear Anno is still far more excited by her presence than that of Shinji, Misato, or especially Rei). We see her shopping with her bemused and much older crush Kaji, who teases her about her obsession with revealing bathing suits (she's preparing for a school trip to a hot springs resort). Kaji isn't the only one teasing - the episode drops numerous hints that Asuka will soon be diving and swimming in something far less refreshing than spring water; and sure enough before long her trip has been cancelled and she has volunteered to extract an Angel egg from deep beneath the earth's surface. Is it really a spoiler to say things don't go well?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


This True Detective viewing diary is being written while the new series airs. As such, future readers need not worry: there are no spoilers for upcoming episodes.

I thought this episode would decide True Detective's season two potential for me, determining whether or not I should have any expectations beyond standard cop procedural. After all, nearly halfway through the series nothing really big had happened so far - except for Ray Velcoro getting shot, which proved to be little more than a red herring tease. If episode four didn't introduce some juicy new material, or offer a mindblowing twist, I felt it would be time to accept that were not going to get anything on par with season one. Instead, I am just as uncertain as ever. The season still hasn't convinced me it has something more compelling up its sleeve than the conventional small-city corruption noir plot, and the characters remain potential - perhaps they are all just too reserved compared to Cohle and Hart. Nonetheless, for reasons both subtle (breathing room for character moments) and obvious (that catastrophic shootout in the last ten minutes), I'm not ready to dismiss the season's potential. I've already glimpsed some negative headlines, but for me this was probably the best episode so far - not to say it was great.

Monday, July 13, 2015


The film begins in brutal fashion with the rape and murder of a serial killer's first victim (or so it seems). If the filmmakers - in this case director Tai Kato and his co-writers Haruhiko Mimura and Yoji Yamada - want to make sure we don't sympathize with this murderer, they couldn't have picked a much better way to open their story. And yet following the death of the victim, so far the only person whose face we have seen onscreen, we get several shots of the killer, Isao Kawashima (Makoto Sato), including one iconic close-up featured above. The trick of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho comes to mind. If our only possible protagonist has been removed, won't our allegiance shift to the next character we meet and/or spend a sustained amount of time with? Will this be true even if he is a cold-blooded criminal? In a way, the entire movie is a test of this thesis, with a few other troublesome twists thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


This True Detective viewing diary is being written while the new series airs. As such, future readers need not worry: there are no spoilers for upcoming episodes.

There is a certain mordant self-awareness to this episode's title, though it would be better called "Maybe Next Week." After the anticipation-charged debut of episode 1 and the memorable close of episode 2, episode 3 feels very much like a placeholder. In this it resembles "Who Goes There" from season one, with a crucial difference. That chapter of the investigation embraced its episodic function by telling a standalone story in the midst of its ongoing saga (in that case, Rust Cohle's infiltration of a biker gang, culminating in a memorable heist). I was frustrated by this decision at the time, wishing that the show would continue to focus on the big picture. But in retrospect, that approach is preferable to merely treading water, as "Maybe Tomorrow" does. The last line of the episode is that very title, as if the characters themselves know they haven't made much progress in learning who killed Ben Caspere - or, more importantly, hinting at why we should care.