LATEST ARTICLES / Film

Sunday, September 3rd


The Fingernail Letters, 16: The Sleeper Awakens


The Roadhouse sweeper being a metaphor of painting, “Twin Peaks: The Return” unmasked stagecraft is part of a play of mirrors between art, its construction, and its exhibition and ultimate effect on the audience.




Read More
Sunday, September 3rd


The Fingernail Letters, 15: Mothers and Moons


Study of the significance of lunar cycles in “Twin Peaks,” and how this possibly reflects the series’ treatment of gender.




Read More
Sunday, August 27th


The Fingernail Letters, 14: Dougie’s Dream and Dale’s Desengaño


The intertextual significance of “Sunset Boulevard,” electrifying Dale Cooper to action, reinforces a theme of the nebulous boundaries between art and life, and between dreams and waking.




Read More
Sunday, August 20th


The Fingernail Letters, 13: “The Open Air” (Part 2 of 2)


A continuation of the significance of bodily functions in “Twin Peaks,” where scatological reductiveness surprisingly leads to the sublime.




Read More
Saturday, August 19th


The Fingernail Letters, 12: Nature Calling (Part 1 of 2)


“Nothing quite like urinating in the open air,” Agent Cooper said in the original “Twin Peaks,” 26 years ago. And so, in “The Return,” bodily evacuations serve a theme of nature colliding with culture, or materials with ideals. Also it’s funny.




Read More
Sunday, August 6th


The Fingernail Letters, 11: Who’s Afraid of Audrey Horne?
Sherilyn Fenn

The emergence of Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) in Part 12 of “Twin Peaks: The Return” feels like a nod to absurdist playwright Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, magnifying a theme of authorial games the show is having with its characters–and audience.




Read More
Tuesday, August 1st


The Fingernail Letters, 10: Marks of the Ancient Flame


“Twin Peaks: The Return” lovingly quotes other films, and then subverts them, reminding us our own relationship to the images on hand are a crucial variable in Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer’s respective journeys.




Read More
Monday, July 31st


The Fingernail Letters, 9: Being There and Being Here
Gordon and Laura

With allusions to “Sunset Boulevard,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” and “Being There,” “Twin Peaks: The Return” examines the pull of mass media images and their independent power to energize viewers.




Read More
Sunday, July 23rd


The Fingernail Letters, 8: Rancho Rosa Presents the Body as Theater


Beginning with a message from Jerry Horne’s foot and similarities with Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant” (1976), this edition of the Fingernail Letters examines the performers’–and the audience’s–relationship to the bodies on display in “Twin Peaks: The Return.”




Read More
Saturday, July 8th


The Fingernail Letters, 7: From Hulot to Dougie
Tati Playtime

Exploring the soulful influence of French director Jacques Tati on David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: The Return.”




Read More
Tuesday, July 4th


The Fingernail Letters, 6: “Of my life.” The Miracle of Dougie Jones


Why Kyle MacLachlan’s Dougie Jones, an avatar of human innocence, is the most joyful, beautiful character in current American movies, pointing to our sympathetic capabilities as viewers.




Read More
Saturday, June 24th


The Fingernail Letters, 5: “A Lovely Turn of Phrase”
Atomic Bomb

“Between two worlds” from the Fire Walk With Me poem not only pertains to the supernatural and secular, the surface countenance and the internal, but also to the literal and symbolic. Forms burst through the safe space of abstraction.




Read More
Sunday, June 18th


The Fingernail Letters, 4: “There they are, Albert. Faces of Stone.”


What is the relationship between the images in “Twin Peaks: The Return” and the reality they represent?




Read More
Wednesday, June 14th


Fingernail Letters, 3: Through a Glass Box Darkly


“The conclusion of the Glass Box sequence is not a Puritanical horror movie trope of unrestrained sexuality being punished. Rather, the monster is summoned by voyeurism.”




Read More
Monday, June 12th


The Fingernail Letters, 2: “Listen to the sounds.”
Cooper

“The false-starts, arbitrary incidents, and dead-ends amounting to a hill of beans are less of a conceit than a leitmotif leading to an overarching theme.”




Read More
Thursday, June 8th


Fingernail Letters, 1: A Twin Peaks Blog (Introduction)


Introduction to a summerlong blog about David Lynch and Mark Frost’s return to “Twin Peaks.”




Read More
Friday, February 24th


The Kids Are All Right: The High Charms and Low Stakes of “La La Land”
La La Land

A reference in “La La Land” to a little-seen postwar Kurosawa film sheds light on some flaws of this year’s Oscar front-runner; plus a slate of predictions for Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.




Read More
Monday, January 16th


The Niles Files: Cutting a Man to Pieces
Paterson

Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” starring Adam Driver as a bus driving poet, is the director’s warmest film, examining the thin lines between creator and creation, fortune and misfortune, comedy and tragedy.




Read More
Friday, January 6th


The Niles Files: Like a Prayer
Silence

Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” is an astounding and challenging work undermining the expectations of its audience as much as it upsets the aspirations of its characters.




Read More
Wednesday, November 23rd


The Niles Files: Kelly Reichardt’s Animal Kingdom
Certain Women

“Certain Women,” Kelly Reichardt’s latest marvel, examines history, dialogue, and the clarity between human beings and animals.




Read More
Thursday, July 14th


The Niles Files: Reboot of Laughter and Forgetting
Ghostbusters

The new “Ghostbusters” mostly dances to its own beat rather than pandering by syncing up to its classic brand. What emerges is a solidly cast Paul Feig comedy.




Read More
Wednesday, May 25th


The Niles Files: Born Again
The Christians

An overview of Walking Shadow’s stellar production of “The Christians,” at the Mixed Blood Theater, alongside Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “The Book of Mormon,” currently at the Orpheum, which in tandem dig into a contemporary American spiritual crisis.




Read More
Thursday, March 24th


The Niles Files: Superheroes on Celluloid at Willow Creek
Batman V Superman

Starting this weekend, the local Willow Creek Theater will be screening “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” in the rare 70mm format.




Read More
Friday, March 11th


The Niles Files: A Flood of Particles
Knight of Cups

Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” opens this weekend, a bewildering and astonishing movie-as-museum-exhibition.




Read More
Wednesday, February 24th


The Niles Files: Don’t Have What I Ordered: Annual Probing Oscar Analysis Yo!
The Revenant

Film critic Niles Schwartz finally weighs in with his predictions for the 2016 Oscars.




Read More
Wednesday, January 6th


The Niles Files: My 2015 Film Prom
Chi-Raq

Pairing together 20 films on a Top Ten List of waltzing motion pictures, it’s the 2015 Year in Film.




Read More
Tuesday, December 29th


A Few Of Our Favorite Things: The Best Of 2015


l’étoile presents its annual list of the best people, events, and things in the Twin Cities this year!




Read More
Friday, December 25th


The Niles Files: Funny and/or Die
The Big Short

Adam McKay leaps from farcical comedies to true-life satire with his adaptation of “The Big Short,” a self-congratulating examination of bankers who saw the recent economic collapse looming.




Read More
Wednesday, December 23rd


We Will Rock You: The Top Horror Films (yes, FILMS) of 2015


What? FILM? Yeah. Since Niles decided to do a little music writing, I thought “what the heck” — here’s my 10 favorite horror films of 2015. And believe me, I watch a lot of ’em.




Read More
Thursday, December 17th


The Niles Files: The Force a’Shakin’
Star Wars

The Star Wars saga continues with J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens,” an effective though all-too-safe mystery box that is so focused on the future that it never quite sees where it is or what it’s doing.




Read More