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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.”

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Monday, June 12th

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

“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.”

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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.”

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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.

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Monday, January 16th

The Niles Files: Cutting a Man to Pieces

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.

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Friday, January 6th

The Niles Files: Like a Prayer

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.

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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.

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Thursday, July 14th

The Niles Files: Reboot of Laughter and Forgetting

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday, January 6th

The Niles Files: My 2015 Film Prom

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

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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.

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Friday, December 18th

The Niles Files: Manplanet Comes Back to Earth

After a 12 year hiatus, local space band Manplanet returns Saturday night to the Triple Rock, and we’ve received some special transmissions from them before they land back on earth.

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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.

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Wednesday, December 9th

The Niles Files: ‘Twixt Myth and Ornament
In the Heart of the Ocean

Though intermittently vivid, Ron Howard’s whaling adventure “In the Heart of the Sea” demonstrates how easy it is to go soft in the face of both literature and history.

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