Sunday, June 24, 2012

List of my favourite David Lynch films

David Lynch is one of my favourite film-makers.  Hopefully he will find the money and motivation to transfer his thoughts to film a few more times.  Until then, here is my ranked list of Lynch's feature films.

1. Eraserhead
A unique experience, a total-body transfer to another plane of existence with gorgeous black-and-white photography and immersive sound.

2. Elephant Man
Beautiful black-and-white images paired with heart-breaking emotion.

3. Lost Highway
Perhaps Lynch's most under-rated film.  A creepy, moody mind-screw.

4. Mulholland Drive
Mostly wonderful, slightly weakened structurally by the fact that it began life as a pilot for a TV series.

5. Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
Less than the best moments of the series but still a powerful tale of evil lurking in the northwest.

6. Blue Velvet
I haven't watched this is a while and I'm almost afraid to.  Dennis Hopper's performance is the stuff of dreams -- very bad dreams.

7. The Straight Story
A quiet but strong film with powerful Lynchian brushstrokes.

8. Inland Empire
A bit scattered and dense but it still has a lot to offer for those willing to make the effort.

9. Dune
An interesting failure with some strong production design.

10. Wild At Heart
I like my Lynch slow and sumptuous; this is Lynch at his most frenetic.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

LOST Auction: Razzle Dazzle!

I've always felt that Nikki and Paulo were the least understood and most under-appreciated characters on LOST.  I might even go so far as to say that they among my favourite characters on the show.  Their presence in the first half of season 3 helped propel the plot forward.  The writers provided crisp, thoughtful dialogue.  The actors showed both depth and range.  The Pikki-centric Exposé stands alongside The Constant and the pilot as LOST's greatest episodes.

And if you believe that, I have some prime real estate on The Island to sell you.  Some call it the Dark Territory, but don't let that scare you, it's actually quite nice.

But seriously, although most of Nikki and Paulo's time on-screen was useless if not annoying, I do thoroughly enjoy Exposé and feel that it (almost) redeems their stultifying screen time in earlier episodes.  Lot #526 of the official LOST auction contained several props from Exposé and when one of these, a chair back, appeared on eBay in 2011 I jumped at the chance to purchase it.

Unfortunately the item never arrived, and given an unresponsive seller I was forced to submit a claim to have my money refunded (which thankfully I was able to do).  Then in 2012 a second chair back became available from a different seller.  Yet again my purchase didn't arrive.  The curse of Nikki and Paolo had struck again! Fortunately this time it turned out to be an honest mistake on the seller's part and shortly afterward my mailbox was filled with LOST prop goodness.

Various chair backs appear in the scene where Nikki, shortly after wrapping her last scene on the show, walks through a backstage area.  I had little to no expectation that the chair back I purchased appeared onscreen.  Happily, my expectations were exceeded.

A closer examination of the shot reveals that it is indeed Cört's chair that shares the screen with Nikki.  Umlaut FTW!

 A copy of the Certificate of Authenticity was also provided.  Razzle dazzle!

Friday, June 8, 2012

LOST Tour: The Search is Over

During our day tour of Oahu's LOST locations with Hawaiian Escapades we caught a brief drive-by glimpse of a familiar vessel moored within one of Oahu's marinas.  When I set out on a walking tour of Honolulu the following day I meant to track her down -- Searcher, the boat on which Penny Widmore eventually made her way to The Island to rescue her beloved Desmond and his compatriots.

Though it was a little farther walk than I had imagined, my search finally ended at the Kewalo Basin Boat Harbour.

I suspect the bloke who owns this boat got a little more than he bargained for.  I wonder how many LOST fans have circled his vessel over the years, snapping photos and gazing in delight?  You can count me in their number, as I tried to get pics from every angle I could manage.






Although I thought Searcher was unoccupied during this photoshoot, near the end someone emerged from inside so I wrapped things up and set out on the long journey back to the hotel.  En route I stayed along the water as much as possible, again passed by Ala Moana beach park, then the yacht club, then weaved my way through Waikiki's strip of hotel beaches toward the Park Shore Hotel.

Thus marked the end of my third and final day visiting LOST locations:
Day1: An Oahu4 self-tour of a few locations in eastern Oahu, followed by a 2-hour KOS tour of Kualoa Ranch.
Day 2: A full-day tour with Hawaiian Escapades of locations throughout Oahu
Day 3: A solo tour of a few additional locations in Honolulu

Looking back, it was an incredible amount of excitement packed into 3 short days.  Thanks to my partners in crime LotteryTicket, Kiwilostie, and Scoutpost for a wonderfully memorable adventure.  At the risk of stating the obvious, WE HAVE TO GO BAAACK!  Hopefully we will meet up again in 2014 for LOST's 10-year anniversary celebration.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

LOST Tour: Marina

Scattered between Honolulu's beaches are several marinas housing hundreds if not thousands of watercraft.  LOST made good use of these areas during the series run.  "PRODUCTION VALUE!" as the kid in Super 8 says.

The iconic photo of Desmond and Penny that appears several times uses a Honolulu marina for its backdrop.  One of my favourite fake-outs occurs in season 3's Flashes Before Your Eyes when it is revealed that Des and Pen are actually standing in front of a fake marina backdrop in London.  This photo has an interesting production history -- when it first appeared during season 2 a different actress was shown in the photo, since Penny had not yet been cast.  (The inconsistency was fixed for repeat airings and the DVDs.)  The scene in Flashes where the photograph is taken also doesn't quite match up with the original -- is it a production continuity error or a hint that Desmond's flash isn't the same history that he had already lived?

The marina made an even earlier appearance in season 1's Hearts and Minds.  It is the setting for a confrontation in Australia between Boone and Shannon's "abusive" boyfriend.

Honolulu stood in for Long Beach Marina in several season 5 episodes -- those that featured Jack, Ben, Sayid, Kate and Sun in the evening, as well as the scenes from the following day where Ben intended to kill Penny but ended up shooting Desmond instead.  The latter incident also resulted in yet another Ben beat-down.

The high-rise with the turquoise balconies in the photo below can also be spotted in the screencap that follows.

LOST returned to the marina for the season 6 episode Happily Ever After.  Charlie takes extreme (and extremely wet) measures to spark Desmond's awakening.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

LOST Tour: Beach Blanket Hugo

Whereas Waikiki beaches tend to be packed with oiled-up tourists, just a few minutes away the Ala Moana Beach Park has a decidedly different vibe.  This area tends to be favoured of the locals, and during my stroll along the beach I noticed many family get-togethers and work events set up under tents, hundreds of people young and old enjoying picnics and mid-day barbeques.

In the season 6 episode Everybody Loves Hugo, Hurley and Libby finally enjoy the beach date that was so rudely interrupted by Michael back in season 2.

I'm fairly sure that the 2 screenshots above are taken along the narrow portion of the beach which runs along Ala Moana Boulevard.  The first shot of Libby below also looks to be at Ala Moana, though possibly a little closer to the Waikiki side.  I'm not so sure of the final screenshot below -- the background doesn't seem to match my memory; probably it is either CGI, a different location, or a brain fail on my part.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

LOST Tour: Eight Story Fall

While wandering Honolulu between LOST locations I snapped various photos of buildings I found appealing.  One of these shots turned out to be the Waikiki Landmark which doubled as the building housing Anthony Cooper's condo in season 3's The Man from Tallahassee.

It seems that the interior scenes were actually filmed within one of the condos rather than on a soundstage.  I believe the glimpseout the window is a genuine view of Honolulu rather than CGI.

It took two-and-a-half seasons but we finally found out how Locke became paralyzed!  A shocking moment very well executed.

The same instant is revisited in the season 5 finale -- it is revealed that Jacob was present on that day and it is highly implied that Locke would have died if not for Jacob's intervention.