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The Cool Handmade Digital Nightmare May. 4th, 2016 @ 04:11 pm

It's ironic one of the most highly regarded technological dystopia films is a great example of hand painted backgrounds. 1995's Ghost in the Shell used many computer techniques that were novel at the time but looking back the film seems far more remarkable for what at the time was quite unremarkable. The drizzled rust and sandwiched skyscrapers, the splotchy square signs, all have a ragged, organic quality that doesn't come with computer painted backgrounds. It complements a film with beautiful animation that is much more about mood and aesthetics than Akira or Blade Runner.

The "Ghost" of the title is another way of saying "soul" as synthetic characters like Motoko (Atsuko Tanaka) ask themselves whether or not their ghosts are real. The movie doesn't try to compete with Blade Runner on this but rather covers the topic just well enough to put us in the right frame of mind for the cinematic exercise.

The credit sequence, which features loving close-ups of Motoko's naked body being assembled, might recall Jane Fonda undressing at the beginning of Barbarella. The unwise critic who is comfortable using the term "male gaze" would easily miss the point here with the dull, recursive observation that these male filmmakers are examining a woman's body to serve heterosexual men. Thinking on this line misses the question posed by the visuals; at what point does what we're seeing stop being a doll and start being the shape of a creature we instinctively respond to as human? Yes, it's erotic because eroticism is part of human nature.

Director Mamoru Oshii's recent comments that Motoko was never meant to look Japanese are redundant to anyone who's seen the original film. Even compared to Japanese characters in anime who look European for no apparent reason, Motoko's chin and nose are distinctly not Asian. The fact that she has a Japanese name is a reflection of the cultural mishmash in the environment common to this and other cyberpunk stories where, like all other aspects of identity, the origins of names or facial features are lost in an impenetrable haze of intermingling groups of people. There's the kaleidoscope not only of genetic mixture but artificial augmentation based on both practical and aesthetic influences borne of who knows what traditions, propaganda, or fads.

Like the contemporaneous Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell is ultimately about the loneliness of inevitable psychological isolation and the panic of merging identities. Ghost in the Shell, though, only touches on the topic in explicit dialogue, primarily making its argument in visuals of beautiful, mutilated android bodies and similarly mutilated cityscapes.
Current Location: A power line
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: "A Thousand Hours" - The Cure

The Squirrel Stands Again May. 3rd, 2016 @ 08:13 pm

I saw the Standing Squirrel at the trolley station again this morning. I managed to get stabler video this time. And this time the battery on my camera ran out before the squirrel moved. In fact, the squirrel never left the rock while I was there.

Music is from the ballet Gayane by Aram Khachaturian.

Twitter Sonnet #867

Ovid's avocado ovulates gods.
In Keats, the cleats unseats the peats of ghosts.
If Moses knows his poses throws his odds
Then Pac-Man tax man klaxons clamp on hosts.
A game regained the claim to blame the tot.
Informed, the born have shorn the loris wig.
It chafes the mace apace with lace for plot.
I trust we must combust the lusty pig.
To free the bee from glee we see your sock.
When tongues or lungs expunge the plunge we fall.
When each impeach of leeching breeches talk
The chances ranches branch to Blanche are tall.
We go to grow the slowest flowing moss.
Against the fence, the wince evinced the gloss.
Current Location: A rock
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: "Think!" - James Brown

Game of Clouds May. 2nd, 2016 @ 03:00 pm

Being on Game of Thrones must be one of the greatest acting gigs ever. In two episodes, Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, has done basically the same thing in the same place for a scene that lasts maybe five minutes. Everyone has about five or ten minutes of story and then they're getting cast in Star Wars or X-Men or any number of prestigious or high paying films. It results in a show that's made up of five or six brief scenes where something dramatic needs to happen. Normally the collectively twenty minutes or so of story from the first two episodes set in Castle Black would be pretty naturally placed in a single episode. But with all these fragmented tid bits of drama in every episode, for some reason it's only recently occurred to me that the show is a soap opera.

Well, it still has one key difference from soap operas--things that happened four years ago are still relevant to the characters now. Whereas on a soap opera, a character who is one year a street thug might next year be a CEO with few of the characters showing any real recollection of this character's previous economic and social standing. But like a soap opera, Game of Thrones is decreasingly interested in making sense or being consistent. The show has always had a problem for its blind spot regarding the lower classes, but the hyperspeed melodrama in which the show has engaged since last season has made this problem even clearer. The show remains entertaining to watch thanks to genuinely good performances, beautiful locations and costumes, and surprising character developments and juxtapositions--those last two being characteristics of soap operas, too. But, hey, I'm not here to knock soap operas. Churning out a script every day is an impressive feat for the writers and delivering decent performances is a perhaps even more impressive feat for the actors, which is why so many of the best actors in films have had their beginnings in the world of soap operas. But when a show has the time and money of Game of Thrones, one tends to expect more substance.

Spoilers after the screenshot

We actually have one moment among the lower classes in last night's episode where a man in tavern in King's Landing makes drunken boasts regarding Cersei's "Walk of Shame" last season. This is a reminder of the distinctly unrealistic and unexplored reactions from the crowd last season. The point of the scene now is not to explore the thoughts and feelings of the common people but rather to show Cersei is taking vengeance on each and every heckler with her cool new zombie Mountain.

I do find the contrast between the zombie magic versus the High Sparrow's religion to be an interesting, vague mirror of Catholicism versus Protestantism. Though of course the philosophy of atonement the Sparrow's people are into is very Catholic. Speaking of the High Sparrow, it's nice to see Jonathan Pryce back again.

Though even he still can't carry all the weight of establishing a religious sect made up of the common people without actually introducing us to any of those common people. Since he invoked this idea again in his confrontation with Jaimie maybe we'll actually see it explored. Mostly, though, when the Sparrow talked about how all of his followers are poor, I thought, "Yes, as extras without lines or even faces in focus they're probably being paid far less."

But the real, big problem with the episode involved the lamest character on the series to date: Ramsay, and his father, Roose, and it is again related to the blind spot for the lower classes I mentioned above. Roose lays into Ramsay for yet another display of bad foresight and stupidity about politics in the younger Bolton. Then Ramsay stabs him in the gut, instantly killing him.

This is because another Bolton son has come into the world and Ramsay's claim to the Bolton throne is imperilled. And yet, as Ramsay has long been worried about this, one has to ask, why didn't he kill his father sooner? It's obviously not due to sentimental attachment--Ramsay sheds no tear now. The answer to the question is obvious--Ramsay needed his father; presumably it was Roose the men rallied around--Roose had all the political capital both within the Bolton territories and in terms of relations with lords of other territories. Why does he feel comfortable killing his father, his brother, and his brother's mother now? He's intimidated the maester into saying Roose was poisoned, how's he going to explain the death of the baby and mother, particularly when everyone in the crowded courtyard saw him leading the woman and kid to the kennel?

One can explain all this the lazy way and say, "Ramsay is crazy." But that wouldn't explain why Roose, a man obviously so concerned with politics, has no loyal friends among his people. Is Ramsay charismatic? We hear the Boltons have lots of men, how do they feel about Ramsay? Or Roose? I ask the question again and again--who are these people?

The problem, I would say, is that the writers are coming from the perspective of modern men who have no connexion or interaction with the people who produce their clothing, food, or other basic needs so they don't know how to show how a society really works from the ground up. They also don't care and neither, I think, does the average viewer. Something with a simpler logic is desired--a soap opera. Which is fine. But it makes anyone who complains the show is too dark look pretty silly. Too dark? This is your daydream. It's a reflection of you.

I liked the ending of the episode, I like how long they milked the resurrection scene, even though we inevitably got the sudden deep breath shot. Thank the gods they preserved Kit Harrington's modesty with the cloth over his junk, heaven forbid we see the naughty bits.

Current Location: The north
Current Mood: groggygroggy
Current Music: Students talking

Gods at Hand May. 1st, 2016 @ 05:44 pm

A mute, unbeatable killer is held captive, wandering through the wilderness with a group of men who force him to fight for sport. The captive is a Norseman and he has one eye, the movie is 2011's Valhalla Rising so, if you're like me, you'll assume this man is Odin. But this is never said in the film--it's a movie of few words, almost more like a series of beautiful still images. The carefully posed nature of every shot interferes a little with the effect of the story but for the most part it's an entrancing rumination.

Mads Mikkelsen plays One-Eye who, after he escapes from his captors, falls in with a small group of Christian crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. One-Eye never speaks a word and seems mainly in it for the pleasure of killing. A little boy (Maaren Stevenson), who previously belonged to One-Eye's captors, seems to interpret One-Eye's silences for the Christians.

This works as an interesting metaphor and commentary for religion. The Boy is like a priest to One-Eye's god--the Boy says things people take as One-Eye's word partly because the Boy knows a little more about One-Eye than the others and can infer some things and partly because One-Eye's silence would be too infuriating to accept. As with God, in the absence of real knowledge of his will, a representative's word on the subject is needed to fill the void.

The Christians tell the boy stories of Christ which eerily match with One-Eye's story, too. Most of the movie, though, is silence as carefully composed shots with shadows arranged with perfect calculation play on faces and standing figures.

When they arrive somewhere that is definitely not Jerusalem, the Christian in charge (Ewan Stewart), seems to start channelling Aguirre, the Wrath of God. The Christians look mad next to the cool, quiet reality of One-Eye.

Current Location: A river
Current Mood: groggygroggy
Current Music: "The Heart's Filthy Lesson" Trent Reznor remix - David Bowie

The Super Pit Apr. 30th, 2016 @ 03:02 pm
It seems directors are jumping ship from various upcoming DC movies--to-day James Wan has made noise about leaving the upcoming Aquaman movie after the director of the Flash film left. Both directors are talking about creative differences with the studio. The only thing that checks my amusement is thinking of how much better spent all this money could be. But I really can't help laughing at the fact that the studiio is in panic mode because Batman v Superman didn't succeed when it's been obvious for almost two years it wasn't going to, if it wasn't obvious two weeks into Man of Steel's theatrical run. Of course, James Wan, director of the lousy Saw and the downright execrable Conjuring likely does not have better ideas than the studio. I actually think if the studio caves to Ben Affleck on his stand alone Batman film, that one won't be bad. Argo wasn't really bad, despite being rife with stereotypes, just not the masterpiece people act like it is, and an average superhero film might just be Affleck's speed as a director, however miscast he is as the title character.

Of course, DC/Warners does have a hit incoming with Suicide Squad. Its success is as obvious as Batman v Superman's failure. It's all because of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, and possibly Jared Leto's Joker. If DC/Warners had any kind of reliable compass, they'd be throwing out the Justice League shit now and making Harley Quinn/Joker movies. But that would take way more courage than there is between ten of the people behind the scenes.

I just did a Google image search for Margot Robbie because I wanted to gaze at her beauty and noticed one of the refined search options was "Margot Robbie Focus" which I misread as "Margot Robbie Foetus" and thought, wow, people have some strange fetishes.

I didn't have much time for Doctor Who this week or anything else, really. I listened to one very short Fifth Doctor audio play from 2007 called Urban Myths, a pretty funny one about a bunch of Time Lords who meet at at restaurant to discuss killing the Doctor only to find all their memories about him are wrong. Meanwhile Peri is their waitress. It's sort of a short Rashomon comedy.

Twitter Sonnet #866

A random anger has rebuked my ship.
A guess for gusts amends a lamp abaft.
Retractions nurse a bruised cloud for kip.
A clam, an eel, a drop of rain, a raft.
Accosted cake accepts a bath tub term.
The winds of cholera adjoin the still.
A grog reverts to quench the captain's worm.
In wooden visage sat a tree-ish will.
In troubled swirls of spiteful barques, they watch.
In pockets pulled at bars of no reprieve.
A rudder stock decayed for carvéd notch.
The clouds in blue vortex a hand conceive.
A system turns in suds long left on deck.
The eyes of mirror lands grew from a speck.
Current Location: The search
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" - David Bowie
Other entries
» A Shadow Father

When a man disengages from human emotion to become a pure embodiment of his occupation, how far might he affect the people around him? 1997's Character (Karakter) gives little more information than that about its fearsome bailiff; the movie is plainly but pleasantly shot, slightly dreary. The story itself is intriguing but its lack of detail both make it provokingly mysterious and insubstantial.

The story centres on Katadreuffe (Fedja van Huet) who as the film opens has just been arrested for the murder of Dreverhaven (Jan Decleir), the infamous bailiff who's known for mercilessly evicting people from their homes and collecting debts. Katadreuffe tells a panel of authorities his life story, beginning before he was born with the tale of how Dreverhaven, who is his father, met and impregnated his mother (Betty Schuurman), possibly in a rape (it isn't made clear), who was employed as his maid.

The encounter could not be described in more vibrant terms--the seemingly emotionless Dreverhaven seems well matched by the woman who rarely says more than a few words, seemingly content to perform her duties silently. When she becomes pregnant and moves out, she responds with refusal to Dreverhaven's repeated telegrams and letters simply asking her, "When will we be married?"

Why is she so reserved? We never find out. We might assume Dreverhaven's stony heart comes from his occupation in which compassion would be a liability. Katadreuffe becomes obsessed with succeeding in life seemingly as revenge for Dreverhaven's actions against his mother or perhaps as a rebuke for everything Dreverhaven represents. Though Katadreuffe befriends a Communist and attends a rally but mostly it seems as though Katadreuffe is just as capitalist as his father.

The obsession of Katadreuffe's life seems to imperil his own chances at healthy personal relationships but this avenue is never fully explored despite a love interest (Tamar van den Dop) Katadreuffe may never end up with. The movie presents many beginnings of issues but few endings. Dreverhaven is a continually interesting character, his coldness evolving into a death wish, leading him to do things like cross a military barricade to evict gun wielding rebels. Dreverhaven just keeps walking with his big black coat and hat.

» The Ghost of Her for Him and for Her

She was the dreams and the dreamer, the object of delusions and bearer of her own delusions. 1941's Lydia is a romantic film that muses sadly over the illusion of romance. At times stunningly gorgeous with perfect performances from Merle Oberon and Joseph Cotten, its screenplay co-written by the great Ben Hecht, Lydia is a bittersweet contemplation of infatuation.

Oberon plays Lydia. We meet her with pretty bad ageing makeup after she's led a long life as an admired administrator of orphanages for blind children. Even this is a reflection of the film's central theme, that Lydia chooses to become the custodian of blind children. Joseph Cotten plays Michael, one of the four men whom she considers the great loves of her life, and he brings her to a gathering with two of the others. Most of the film is a flashback as Lydia and the three men recount their relationships and Lydia discusses Richard (Alan Marshal), the only man who is not present, whom she loved more than the others.

Another of the men, Frank (Hans Jaray), is a blind pianist who works at the orphanage. He becomes infatuated with Lydia though he erroneously believes she has blue eyes and blonde hair. Bob (George Reeves) immediately corrects Lydia's story about a ballroom where she first met him--first we see a filmed version of her story; a great room with mirrored walls and an orchestra fit for kings; Bob remembers a small room with a third rate orchestra and, crucially, he remembers Michael looking pretty miffed when he whisked Lydia away onto the dance floor.

Again and again, the movie presents these wouldbe lovers having an impression inspired by their own feelings crushed by reality. Lydia, in her recollections, at one point consciously dissociates herself from the woman she remembers--even for her, Lydia is a being perceived, not a being that could have its own point of view.

Lydia comes from a wealthy Boston family--her mother is played with wonderful, sharp strictness by Edna May Oliver. Lydia is incredibly beautiful and it seems as though she and the men spend their lives trying to figure out what to do with this rare treasure that is an exceptionally beautiful woman with exceptional means. She seems like she was meant for a great romance, so they all go through the effort of making one, yet none of it quite seems to pan out. Through it all, Michael is solid and always there for her, but as we know from the beginning of the movie, even that romance doesn't actually connect. The beautiful dream Lydia becomes the real woman who leads blind children through the world.
» Familiar Faces on the Dock

If I were to guess the top two anime works most popular with Westerners who don't like anime I'd probably name Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. Which makes it pretty funny there's apparently an uproar about Scarlett Johansson being cast as the main character in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live action film even though her character is an android and the creator of the original series approves of the casting. Thousands of voices who don't complain about Japanese students who routinely look Caucasian in anime have complained about a white woman playing a synthetic life form with a Japanese name.

Anyway, lately I've been watching through Cowboy Bebop again, watching it through for the sixth or seventh time, I think, marvelling again at how good it is and how it seems to just get better with age. And it does, in many ways, feel more Western than Japanese. It lacks many attributes of the artform with its starkly demarcated traditions for targeting demographics. There's a central male character but he's not surrounded by a harem of girls lusting after him, openly or secretly. There's little of the psychological exploration that marks some of the best anime aimed at boys and young men, girls and young women. Instead, there are references to French films of the 60s and American films of the 70s. Spike Spiegel has more in common with Barry Newman than Ikari Shinji. Faye Valentine may be closer to a standard anime character but even she has something of Anna Karina in her.

Despite the greatness of Cowboy Bebop its creator, Shinichiro Watanabe, has, since the end of Cowboy Bebop, failed to equal his success with that series either artistically or in terms of popularity in his subsequent series. I'd lay the blame at the feet of misguided devotion to post-modernism. On might assume the mishmash of cultural and artistic references in Cowboy Bebop would mean that the fusions in Samurai Champloo and Space Dandy would also work. But without the commitment to the reality of a universe that Cowboy Bebop had, intentionally or not, the other series could only be insubstantial and unsatisfying. Like the French New Wave films Watanabe pays homage to, Cowboy Bebop endures because of its respect to the characters and the motives of the characters, not because it is an erudite collage of media.

But it turns out that Samurai Champloo and Space Dandy aren't the only series Watanabe's worked on since Cowboy Bebop. I somehow failed to hear about, until last week, an eleven episode series Watanabe did in 2014 called 残響のテロル; Terror in Resonance in the U.S. but I prefer the literal translation of the original title "Terror of the Echo". I watched the first episode this morning.

This, unlike Cowboy Bebop, feels very much like an anime--a shojo anime, one aimed at girls. With two attractive, vaguely bisexual young men as protagonists who are charmed by a shy, bullied, pretty girl, one is reminded of shows like Kimi no Todoke, Fushigi Yugi, or even Death Note, given the dangerous nature of those two male protagonists. They're terrorists.

Since the very real world threat the characters embody sets them apart from the supernatural or softball misdeeds that define "bad" boys in typical shojo, Watanabe seems to have been doing something interesting and daring with the well worn genre. He certainly avoids the pitfall of post-modernism. Well, so far--I have only watched the first episode; for all I know, one of the characters will turn into Miles Davis while the girl plays guitar on a Titanic made of gum wrappers.

The first episode has exceptionally good animation and Yoko Kanno's music is really nice. I particularly liked the ending theme.

Twitter Sonnet #865

Replete with timely chokes, the coke was hot.
When all the retinue was in their seats,
The mead could only make a softer cot.
A navy strained the oats into the beets.
Depressing dogs have grabbed the stage from law.
The babies in the snow will fight again.
A flock of cannibals arrived for raw.
No eyes for kings bereft of giant djinn.
A fifty year divided piece of pig
Ascends to push us off a petal chair.
An inconvenient lamp was broke to rig
Our basic needs and quality healthcare.
The varied paints appeared in black and white.
Narrators sank in sand from sound and sight.

» It Happened Somewhere in the Paragraph
I missed my trolley stop this evening because I was caught up in Trevelyan's England Under the Stuarts. It's just so much like listening to some charming professor rambling on from memory rather than like reading a history book. He goes on a lovely soliloquy at some points and even forgets to include the actual historical event he's referring to, putting it in a foot note like some slightly embarrassing formality.

About Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon:

Yet though he clung with the honesty of an earlier age to his political principles of Anglican intolerance and royal prerogative, he was too ready to sacrifice his dignity as a man in order to retain his office as a Chancellor. In his sly and curious method of defending his daughter's honour when James hesitated to acknowledge her as wife, in his dealings with the Queen, in his love of splendid living and of high place, he recalls the sordid side of Coke or Bacon. It had been his fate to live too many years among mean men. Clarendon had lost the nobility of Hyde. But when, again in exile, he was thrown back on the resources of his own virtue and intellect, and again set himself, an old and broken man, to complete the great literary work of his life, he seemed once more to enter the pure presence of the friend who had deserted him on the field of Newbury, of whose love he had once been worthy and was again worthy at the end.*

*The King compelled him to resign the Great Seal, August 1667. Parliament impeached him, he fled and was banished, November 1667-April 1668. He remained in exile till his death at Rouen in 1674.

On Sunday night I watched Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright again. What a delicious, perfect film. I guess if there's a weak point it's Jane Wyman as the main protagonist but she's not bad at all. Jean Simmons might have been better or--ou!--Audrey Hepburn! But she wasn't a star yet and Wyman had just won best actress. Anyway, about a film that also has Marlene Dietrich, Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell, and Michael Wilding I can't complain. And it's Hitchcock coming out of his long take phase all the stronger at the editing he was so self-conscious about early on.

It seems to me that of all of Hitchcock's protagonists, Alastair Sim is an avatar for his perversity unlike any other. The scene where Sim cuts his hand and rubs his blood on a doll to intimidate Dietrich--and save the day!--reminds me of the story about Hitchcock sending Tippi Hedren a doll in a wooden box. One wonders how often Hitchcock sent people dolls to make point. There are plenty of people who do weird things in Hitchcock movies but none with Sim's self possession and good humour.
» Game of Peaks

Don't be fooled by the tranquil atmosphere of this picture of a spider looking wistfully out my bedroom window. He was jumping about quite vigorously and he spent one night with me before I finally managed to catch him and release him outside, where he clearly longed to be.

I also finally managed to get pictures of the parrots that roam the neighbourhood. I've often heard them but up 'til now I'd somehow never seen them. A couple days ago I saw two on the power lines outside my kitchen.

I suppose I ought to talk about last night's premiere of Game of Thrones but, to be honest, I'm much more exciting about the official cast list that's been released to-day for the upcoming revival of Twin Peaks. A cast list of 217 names, a great number of which are interesting for their celebrity or their ties to Twin Peaks and David Lynch's other films.

Jay Aaseng, Alon Aboutboul, Jane Adams, Joe Adler, Kate Alden, Stephanie Allynne, Madchen Amick, Eric Ray Anderson, Finn Andrews, Elizabeth Anwies, Dana Ashbrook, Joe Auger, Phoebe Augustine, Melissa Bailey, Tammie Baird, Matt Battaglia, Chrysta Bell, Monica Bellucci, Jim Belushi, Leslie Berger, Richard Beymer, John Billingsley, Michael Bisping, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Kelsey Bohlen, Sean Bolger, Rachael Bower, Brent Briscoe, Robert Broski, Wes Brown, Richard Bucher, Page Burkum

Scott Cameron, Juan Carlos Cantu, Gia Carides, Vincent Castellanos, Michael Cera, Richard Chamberlain, Bailey Chase, Johnny Chavez, Candy Clark, Larry Clarke, Scott Coffey, Frank Collison, Lisa Coronado, Catherine E. Coulson, Grace Victoria Cox, Jonny Coyne, James Croak, Julee Cruise, Heather D'Angelo, Jan D'Arcy, David Dastmalchian, Jeremy Davies, Owain Rhys Davies, Ana de la Reguera, Rebekah Del Rio, Laura Dern, Neil Dickson, Hugh Dillon, Cullen Douglas, Edward 'Ted' Dowlin, Judith Drake, David Duchovny, Christopher Durbin, Francesca Eastwood, Eric Edelstein, John Ennis

Josh Fadem, Tikaeni Faircrest, Eamon Farren, Sherilyn Fenn, Jay R. Ferguson, Sky Ferreira, Miguel Ferrer, Rebecca Field, Robin Finck, Brian Finney, Patrick Fischler, Erika Forster, Robert Forster, Meg Foster, Travis Frost, Warren Frost, Pierce Gagnon, Allen Galli, Hailey Gates, Brett Gelman, Ivy George, Balthazar Getty, James Giordano, Harry Goaz, Grant Goodeve, George Griffith, Tad Griffith, James Grixoni, Cornelia Guest, Travis Hammer, Hank Harris, Annie Hart, Andrea Hays, Stephen Heath, Heath Hensley, Gary Hershberger, Michael Horse, Ernie Hudson

Jay Jee, Jesse Johnson, Caleb Landry Jones, Ashley Judd, Luke Judy, Stephen Kearin, David Patrick Kelly, Laura Kenny, Dep Kirkland, Robert Knepper, David Koechner, Virginia Kull, Nicole LaLiberte, Jay Larson, Sheryl Lee, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jane Levy, Matthew Lillard, Jeremy Lindholm, Peggy Lipton, Bellina Martin Logan, Sarah Jean Long, David Lynch, Riley Lynch, Shane Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, Mark Mahoney, Karl Makinen, Malone, Xolo Maridueña, Berenice Marlohe, Rob Mars, James Marshall, Elisabeth Maurus, Josh McDermitt, Everett McGill, Zoe McLane, Derek Mears, Clark Middleton, Greg Mills, James Morrison, Christopher Murray, Don Murray

Joy Nash, Priya Diane Niehaus, Bill O'Dell, Casey O'Neill, Johnny Ochsner, Walter Olkewicz, Charity Parenzini, Elias Nelson Parenzini, John Paulsen, Sara Paxton, Max Perlich, Linas Phillips, Tracy Phillips, John Pirruccello, Linda Porter, Jelani Quinn, Ruth Radelet, Mary Reber, Adele Rene, Mariqueen Reznor, Trent Reznor, Carolyn P. Riggs, Kimmy Robertson, Wendy Robie, Erik L. Rondell, Marv Rosand, Ben Rosenfield, Tim Roth, Rod Rowland, Carlton Lee Russell

Elena Satine, John Savage, Amanda Seyfried, Amy Shiels, Sawyer Shipman, Tom Sizemore, Sara Sohn, Malachy Sreenan, Harry Dean Stanton, J.R. Starr, Bob Stephenson, Charlotte Stewart, Emily Stofle, Al Strobel, Carel Struycken, Ethan Suplee, Sabrina S. Sutherland, Jessica Szohr, Russ Tamblyn, Bill Tangradi, Cynthia Lauren Tewes, Jodee Thelen, Jack Torrey, Sharon Van Etten, Eddie Vedder, Greg Vrotsos, Jake Wardle, Naomi Watts, Nafessa Williams, Ray Wise, Alicia Witt, Karolina Wydra, Charlyne Yi, Nae Yuuki, Grace Zabriskie, Christophe Zajac-Denek, Madeline Zima, Blake Zingale

The inclusion of Balthazar Getty makes me wonder if he's playing Pete from Lost Highway since Lynch has commented that Lost Highway is set in the same universe as Twin Peaks. I wonder how much the impressive number of musicians will be contributing to the soundtrack. It's great to see Julee Cruise on the list and I would be very surprised if we don't see her singing but there are several others who have contributed to Lynch soundtracks before--Trent Reznor from Lost Highway, Crysta Bell, and Rebeka Del Rio from Mulholland Drive. Considering the large number of episodes, maybe we'll be seeing all of these people on stage eventually within the context of the story.

It's nice to see Lynch evidently managed to track down Everett McGill who had retired not only from acting but apparently from civilisation. It's also nice to see Russ Tamblyn's health issues didn't prevent him from appearing on the show. It's great to see David Duchovny confirmed and hopefully the writing for his transgender FBI agent Denise will now equal the sensitivity and intelligence he was already bringing to the role.

It's nice to see both Ben and Jerry Horne confirmed.

I worry a little that this massive cast with so many celebrities is going to end up a show that feels scattered and unfocused. But mostly I'm just excited and I want it to be 2017 now.

Ernie Hudson?

Oh, yeah, Game of Thrones. Well, like most seasons the first episode seems to mostly be about getting the audience reoriented. I saw a lot of people in comments sections for online articles about the episode were shocked by the ending which I didn't think was particularly exciting one way or another. I was only surprised the episode ended on this particular revelation which didn't feel any more extraordinary than when we learned Julian Glover's character is in better shape than he lets on. I was sorry Glover wasn't in this episode and I also missed Bronn.

I still don't see how Sansa and Theon weren't killed or seriously injured in that fall.
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