A Movie A Day #239: Act of Vengeance (1986, directed by John Mackenzie)


Act of Vengeance is an uncompromising look at union corruption and how it hurts the workers while benefitting the bosses.

The year is 1969 and the United Mine Workers of America is one of the biggest and most powerful labor unions in the country.  The UMWA was founded to protect the rights of miners but the current union president, Tony Boyle (Wilford Brimley), is more concerned with enriching himself and consolidating his own power.  Despised by the workers that he represents, Boyle has managed to stay in power through fixed elections and his own fearsome reputation.  When 80 West Virginia miners are killed in an accident, Boyle defends the owners.  That is the last straw for Jock Yablonski (Charlies Bronson), a lifelong miner and proud union man.  Yablonski runs against Boyle for the UMWA presidency and, when the election is stolen from him, Yablonski challenges the results.

Boyle’s solution?  Working through one of his supporters (played by Hoyt Axton), Boyle hires three assassins (Robert Schenkkan, Maury Chaykin, and a young Keanu Reeves) and orders them to kill not only Yablonski but his entire family too.

With a name like Act of Vengeance and a star like Charles Bronson, it would be understandable to assume that this is another Cannon action film where Bronson gets vengeance by blowing away the bad guys.  That’s not the case, though.  Made for HBO, Act of Vengeance is based on a true story of union corruption and murder.  There is violence but very little of it comes from Bronson.  Instead, this is a well-made docudrama about what happens when workers are betrayed by the very people who are supposed to be looking out for them.

Bronson grew up working in the mines and he never forgot the poverty of his youth.  He knew men like the men depicted in this movie and Bronson gives one of his most naturalistic performances as Yablonski.  Brimley is at his gruffest as Boyle and the performances of the actors playing the three hapless but deadly assassins also feel authentic.  Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Barkin are also well-cast as, respectively, Yablonski’s wife and the wife of the main assassin.

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Pre Code Confidential #14: THE HALF-NAKED TRUTH (RKO 1932)


cracked rear viewer

Director Gregory LaCava is remembered today mainly for a pair of bona fide classics: MY MAN GODFREY and STAGE DOOR. LaCava, who started his career in early silent animation, was also responsible for THE HALF-NAKED TRUTH, a Pre-Code screwball comedy begging to be rediscovered. It’s a crazy, innovative, pedal-to-the-metal farce headlined by fast-talking Lee Tracy and “Mexican Spitfire” Lupe Velez as a pair of carny con artists who work their way up to The Great White Way in grand comic style.

Tracy does his rapid-fire spieling schtick as a carnival barker promoting hot-tempered tamale Lupe, a hootchie dancer who spends most of the movie wearing next to nothing. Together with pal Eugene Pallette , they leave the carny life behind (with the law on their tails!) and head for Broadway, where Lee promises Lupe he’ll make her a star. The trio pawn Lupe off as Turkish Princess Exotica (with Tracy pawning off an unwitting…

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This Week’s “Peaks” Addendum : Some Quick Additional Thoughts On The Finale


Trash Film Guru

Yeah, it’s a holiday, but you’d never know it if you follow any number of Twin Peaks-related fan sites, or even any “entertainment” sites in general. The long-dormant wheels within any number of Lynch-nerd minds are spinning and churning, ganglionic gears grinding in a way not seen since Mulholland Drive first hit theaters. We want to know what we just watched, and since David Lynch isn’t exactly telling us, we’re doing the work for ourselves. In other words, the fun is just beginning.

So — that finale. Yup, it was a doozy. And many a wiser and more astute critic than I appears to have met their match when it comes to trying to decode what Lynch and Mark Frost were “getting at” not just with it, but with the entirety of Twin Peaks 2017/Twin Peaks : The Return/Twin Peaks season three. Hell, they’re even second-guessing…

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TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 18 (dir by David Lynch)


The Twin Peaks finale, which began with Part 17, concludes with an episode that we’ll probably still be debating 25 years from now.

The Doppelganger sits in the waiting room of the Black Lodge and bursts into flame.  MIKE (Al Strobel) uses the Doppelganger’s soul to create another Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan).  One scene later, that Cooper is arriving at his home in Las Vegas, where he is embraced by Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon).

In the woods outside Twin Peaks, the real Cooper leads Laura (Sheryl Lee) by the hand.  Again, Laura vanishes and we hear the sound of her screaming.

Suddenly, we are again in the waiting room of the Black Lodge.  Cooper sits in his chair.  MIKE asks him, “Is it the future or the past?”  Events from Parts One and Two repeat.  Cooper again meets the Arm but this time the Arm asks him not if he remembers the Doppelganger but if he knows the story of the little girl who lived down the street.  Again, Laura whispers in Cooper’s ear before being pulled away by an unseen force.  Again, Leland (Ray Wise) tells Cooper to find Laura.

And, once again, Cooper starts to walk through the Black Lodge but this time, he finds a room that is full of dead trees.  And in that room, Diane (Laura Dern) is waiting for him.  “Is it you?” she asks him, “is it really you?”  Cooper is shocked but happy to see Diane.

(Is it possible that, even after saving Laura Palmer and therefore eliminating the event that led to him going to Twin Peaks in the first place, Cooper still found himself trapped in the Black Lodge for 25 years?  But now, instead of being sent to destroy his Doppelganger, could it be that Cooper has been allowed to leave specifically to track down Laura?)

In the next scene, Cooper and Diane are driving down a desert road.  It looks like the same road in South Dakota where the Doppelganger crashed his car when Cooper previously escaped from the Black Lodge.  It does not look like it’s anywhere near Odessa, Texas, which will become important shortly.

They pull over to the side of the road.  “Exactly 430 miles,” Cooper says.  Cooper gets out of the car.  He looks at the power lines above.  Remember — in the world of Twin Peaks, electricity is magic.  Cooper gets back in the car and asks Diane to kiss him.  “Once we cross,” he says, “it could all be different.”

They drive forward.  Electricity crackles.  Suddenly, they’re driving down a highway in the middle of the night.  They pull into a motel and get a room.  They make love, with Cooper telling Diane to keep the lights turned out and Diane placing her hands over Cooper’s face.

(It was around this time that I started to realize that a lot of unanswered questions — like what’s going on with Audrey and why Sarah Palmer can remove her face — were probably destined to remain unanswered.)

The next morning, Cooper wakes up in a room that appears to be different from the one that he fell asleep in.  Diane is gone but there’s a letter on the nightstand.  It is addressed to Richard and it is from Linda.  Linda’s letter says that she’s leaving because, “I don’t recognize you anymore.”

(Remember during Part One, when the Giant told Cooper to remember Richard and Linda?  I’m going to assume that, just as how Cooper was previously Dougie Jones, the “crossing over” that he and Diane did transformed them into Richard and Linda.)

Cooper leaves his motel and it’s a totally different motel from the one that we previously saw him checking into.

A city limits sign indicates that Cooper is in Odessa, Texas.  (Lynch does not make my home state look very good in this episode but I’ll forgive him because he’s otherwise awesome.)  As Cooper drives down the street, he sees a sign for Judy’s coffee shop–

JUDY!

Cooper pulls into the parking lot and enters Judy’s.  He asks the waitress (Francesa Eastwood) if there’s another waitress who works there.  She tells him that there is but it’s her day off.  When a few rednecks in cowboy hats (really, David?) start to harass the waitress, Cooper beats them up and drops their guns in the deep fryer.  Explaining that he’s with the FBI, Cooper asks for the other waitress’s address.

Cooper’s drives up to the waitress’s house.  He sees that she has an electric poll (marked No. 6) outside of her house.  When Cooper knocks on the door, it’s answered by Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee)!

Except that she says that her name isn’t Laura Palmer.  She insists that her name is Carrie Page and, when she hears that Cooper is FBI, she immediately asks, “Did you find him!?”  Cooper tells her, “Your father’s name is Leland.  Your mother’s name is Sarah.”  When Carrie hears Sarah’s name, she appears to be momentarily shaken and asks.  “What’s going on?”  Cooper tells her that she is Laura Palmer and that she needs to come with him to Twin Peaks, Washington.

“D.C?” Carrie asks.

“State,” Cooper replies.

Carrie agrees to go up to Twin Peaks with him.  Her willingness may have something to do with the dead man who is propped up on her couch.

Cooper and Carrie drive all the way from Texas to Washington State.  That’s quite a long journey and, as I watched them slightly driving down yet another dark highway, I again resigned myself to the knowledge that the show would never reveal just why exactly Audrey was screaming in that white room.

Hey, Coop, I know you’re busy but remember Audrey?

(My theory is that, after raping her, the Doppelganger sent Audrey to the Black Lodge, and, just as he did to Diane, manufactured a replacement.  But if Cooper saved Laura and the Doppelganger never entered our world, is Audrey in the Black Lodge?  In fact, if Laura never died then Ben never had to sale the Ghostwood Estates to get an alibi, which means that he never pushed Audrey to become an environmental crusader and, hence, Audrey was probably not at the bank when the bomb went off.)

Finally, Cooper and Carrie reach Twin Peaks.  They drive past the Double R.  Carrie says she doesn’t recognize anything, not even the Palmer House.

Cooper and Carrie walk up to the house.  (Rather sweetly, Cooper and Carrie hold hands as they approach.)  What follows is Lynch at his creepiest, his best, and his most frustrating.

Alice Tremond was played the actual owner of the house that’s used for the exterior shots of the Palmer House.

When Cooper knocks on the door, it’s answered by the house’s owner, Alice Tremond.  (Longtime fans of the show will recognize the Alice Tremond name as belonging to one of the inhabitants of the Black Lodge.  However, Cooper never met Mrs. Tremond.  Only Donna met her and her odd grandson.)  Mrs. Tremond says that, as far as she knows, no one named Palmer has ever lived un the house.  When asked, she says that she bought the house from Mrs. Chalfont, another Black Lodge inhabitant that Cooper never met.

Stunned, Cooper and Carrie walk away from the house.

“What year is this?” Cooper asks.

Carrie shrugs.

Suddenly, from inside the house, we hear Sarah Palmer’s voice.  “Laura!”

Carrie screams.  We hear a burst of static electricity and it appears that lights in the house go off.  The screen fades to black.

The screaming fades.  Again, we see Cooper’s passive face as Laura whispers in his ear.

End credits.  Sheryl Lee is credited twice.  Once for playing Laura Palmer.  Once for playing Carrie Page.

And so it ends.

We’re going to spend years debating what all this means and I don’t want to say too much until I get chance to watch the entire series a second time.  (I plan on watching all 18 hours next weekend.)  It does appear that, no matter how much Cooper and Laura try to avoid it, all paths lead back to not only Twin Peaks but also to the unspeakable horror that occurred in the Palmer House.  Much like Dana Andrews’s obsessive P.I. in the classic film noir, Laura, Cooper is obsessed with saving a dead woman.

I’ll write more on this later, after I’ve had time to rest.  For now, I just want to thank everyone who has followed our Twin Peaks coverage here on the Shattered Lens.  And thank you to Jeff, Leonard, and Ryan for contributing!

It’s a strange world, isn’t it?

Twin Peaks on TSL:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  27. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  28. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (directed by Jonathan Sanger) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  29. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  30. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.21 “Miss Twin Peaks” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Leonard Wilson
  31. TV Review: Twin Peaks 22.2 “Beyond Life and Death” (directed by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  32. Film Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  33. Here’s The Latest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  34. Here’s The Newest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  35. 12 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two by Lisa Marie Bowman
  36. This Week’s Peaks: Parts One and Two by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  37. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  38. 4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Twin Peaks Edition by Lisa Marie Bowman
  39. This Week’s Peaks: Parts Three and Four by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  40. 14 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Three by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  41. 10 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Four by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  42. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts Three and Four (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman 
  43. 18 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  44. This Week’s Peaks: Part Five by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  45. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return: Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  46. 14 Initial Thoughts On Twin Peaks Part 6 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  47. This Week’s Peaks: Part Six by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  48. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  49. 12 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  50. This Week’s Peaks: Part Seven by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  51. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  52. Ten Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  53. This Week’s Peaks: Part Eight by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  54. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  55. 16 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  56. This Week’s Peaks: Part Nine by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  57. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  58. 20 Initial Thoughts On Twin Peaks: The Return Part 10 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  59. This Week’s Peaks: Part 10 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  60. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 10 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  61. 16 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 11 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  62. This Week’s Peaks: Part 11 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  63. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 11 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  64. 20 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 12 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  65. This Weeks Peaks: Part 12 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  66. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 12 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  67. 22 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  68. This Week’s Peaks: Part 13 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  69. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  70. 22 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 14 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  71. This Week’s Peaks: Part 14 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  72. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 14 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  73. This Week’s Peaks: Part 15 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  74. 24 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks; The Return Part 15 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  75. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 15 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  76. 32 Initial Thoughts about Twin Peaks; The Return Part 16 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  77. This Week’s Peaks: Part 16 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  78. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 16 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  79. 18 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 17 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  80. 16 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return part 18 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  81. This Week’s Peaks: Parts 17 and 18 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  82. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 17 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman

Music Video of the Day: My Own Worst Enemy by Lit (1999, dir. Gavin Bowden)


This music video totally has to with Labor Day. It’s not just something I came up with at the last minute because I watched the 2016 American film called Split that was supposed to have to do with bowling.

Yes, I did have to be that specific. There are not only three films with the title Split that came out in 2016, but another one, from Korea, also has to do with bowling. The one I watched is a terrible film that you shouldn’t have to sit through. This video on the other hand, is one that everyone should be made to sit through.

I remember when this song hit the radio and TV. It was catchy the first time, and annoying from then on. I couldn’t get the chorus out of my mind. The one kind thing I can say is that it can be fun to swap different things in for the actual lyrics:

Please tell me why my brain is on the front lawn?
And I’m pissing with my clothes on?
I fell down chimney last night.

It was 1999, I was sick and out of school on permanent independent study. I had to make my own fun. It was easy to do so with its lyrics and it being played all the time.

As for the video, its people obsessed with Kingpin and The Big Lebowski making a video so that we think of them more like Blink-182 than their previous videos that made them look like Soundgarden and pseudo-STP.

Based on their Wikipedia page, they’re exactly what I thought at the time: a flash in the pan. I lump them right in with groups like Eve 6. Incidentally, director Gavin Bowden made a video for Eve 6. He also worked with similar groups such as Silverchair and Lifehouse. He’s done around 30 videos.

Jed Hathaway did construction on the video. I think that’s the first time I have come across that credit.

The person with the most credits is editor Nabil Mechi. Mechi has edited about 100 videos ranging from The Roots to Paris Hilton.

Enjoy these repressed memories of the late-90s whether you were there or not.