House of Cards.
(photo credit: PR)
The word “dreamlike” is an adjective that is used a great deal, but it truly applies to the work of director David Lynch, whose iconic television series Twin Peaks just got a reboot. It’s airing now on YES VOD and YES Oh on Mondays at 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The first two episodes of the 18-part series were just released this week, with great international fanfare. I was not an aficionado of the original series, but I have seen key episodes and clips.
While, like all of Lynch’s work, the new Twin Peaks has incredible atmosphere, which mixes the mundane and the mind-blowing, in some ways it is a victim of its own success. Television today is not the desert that it was 27 years ago, and there are many series that deal in nightmarish visions and bizarre twists. The True Detective series comes to mind, as well as Tony’s dream sequences in The Sopranos and even moments in Desperate Housewives. The new Twin Peaks series just won’t startle and shock the way the original did because it has had such a widespread influence on television.
It’s hard to describe the plot, which mixes a murder in South Dakota with a facility in New York, where a young man is meant to watch a strange glass tank for supernatural visions, and has scenes in a sinister Las Vegas office, as well as in Twin Peaks itself. Much of the original cast is back, including Kyle MacLachlan, who alternates between a present-day identity where he is an unhinged hipster/trailer trash guy with long hair and a snakeskin print shirt, and dream visions where he is the buttoned-up Agent Dale Cooper, menaced by an apparition meant to be Bob, the spirit of evil. Sheryl Lee, Madchen Amick, Kimmy Robertson, Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook and many other members of the original cast are back.
Grace Zabriskie, who played Bill’s mother on Big Love, has an appropriately weird scene where she watches a gory nature show on television.
The Log Lady, played by Catherine E. Coulson (who passed away in September) has one last scene, where she calls the police deputy, Hawk (Michael Horse), to let him know what her log is telling her.
Much coffee is drunk and pie consumed, jokes are cracked and pleasantries are uttered in the series, but some scenes are so weird and scary, they will haunt your sleep.
“I just feel like such a total putz,” says Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff to Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff in the new television movie The Wizard of Lies, directed by Barry Levinson, which just started airing on YES VOD.
Pfeiffer does her best as a loyal Jewish spouse who has been married to Madoff for 50 years, and it’s intermittently entertaining to watch the 59-year-old WASP actress in this role, but that isn’t enough to make the movie rewarding.
Madoff was arguably the most successful con man in history, so why isn’t his story more interesting? The trouble is, Madoff is the dictionary definition of a sociopath, a man with no conscience, and there’s not much in his head you can relate to.
It’s also hard to feel sorry for his clueless family. Except for the moments when his son Mark (Alessandro Nivola) takes his own life and his son Andrew (Nathan Darrow) dies of cancer, it’s almost fun to watch his family contemplating life in small rental apartments and without a beach house as if it were hell on earth.
But almost fun isn’t enough to sustain interest in a two-hour movie.
The entire new season of House of Cards will be released on YES VOD and HOT VOD on May 31 and will be broadcast starting on June 1 on YES Oh on Thursdays at 10:45 p.m. and will also be shown in a marathon from June 1 to 3 and on HOT HBO from Sunday to Thursday at 9:05 p.m. The series’ creators will have a great challenge trying to mirror the new reality in Washington, which has been described as House of Cards played out by the cast of Veep.