Get Wild at Heart and Weird on Top at the Trylon this Weekend!

tumblr_m33fl5Bk7Z1qg03pro1_500Our David Lynch: Surreal Marvel series continues with a white hot director’s cut screening of Wild at Heart.

Wild at Heart review by Trylon volunteer Caty Rent.

Blazing fire, crutches/canes, car accidents, lit cigarettes, rape, lipstick fetish, boobies, and several passionate sex scenes between star-crossed lovers are just a few flavors in this tasty layer cake of Lynchian decadence.

Enter Sailor Ripley, (Nicolas Cage) a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks who didn’t have much parental guidance. With his Elvis Presley swagger and snakeskin jacket he was able to woo his “Peanut,” young Lula Fortune (Laura Dern.) Lula is a gum chewing, skinny blonde with breasts that stick out and say hello. She’s got a deep love for Sailor and will do anything to be with him.

Unfortunately, Lula’s mother, Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd,) doesn’t approve of the match and does her Wicked Witch trickery to manipulate men to do her bidding. Marietta is also bitter because Sailor turned down her offer to fuck in a men’s bathroom. She told him he wasn’t worth S-H-I-tut and that she was going to send someone to kill him. Pretty soon after the encounter, Bob Ray Lemon (Gregg Dandridge) attacked Sailor with a knife. Sailor brutally killed Bob Ray with his bare hands and was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

When Sailor is released, Lula picks him up and they spend the night together in Cape Fear. When they are out dancing at a club, some punk is trying to dance with Lula. Sailor stops the band, beats up the guy, and charms the whole crowd with his rendition of the Elvis tune, “Love Me.” Cut to bedroom scene where Lula asks Sailor why he didn’t sing her “Love Me Tender.” Sailor calmly answers matter-of-factly that he will only sing that song when he has a wife.

The next day the couple decide that it’s time to flee Cape Fear. Marietta finds out and convinces Johnnie Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton) to head to New Orleans to catch the pair in the Big Easy.

Johnnie is a detective and a good guy that was roped into this situation by the conniving Witch. While Johnnie is traveling, Marietta also introduces Marcelles Santos (J.E. Freeman) to the mix. Santos appears to be some smooth criminal from the top of the chain. He’s got charisma, and he wants Marietta all to himself. He says he can take care of Sailor, but only if Johnnie gets it too. Marietta agrees and Santos contacts Mr. Reindeer (William Morgan Shepard).

Here’s where Eau de Lynch really starts to reek and things become much more confusing. This entire film is so raw and feels more like multiple films squashed together; where certain characters know information about other characters and it all ties together in an oddball fashion.

Mr. Reindeer sends out two silver dollars as a symbol to his assassins that there are hits out on Sailor and Johnnie. Two duos of killers are charged with one hit each. The first set of Juana (Grace Zabriske) and Reggie (Calvin Lockhart) aren’t on the screen for too long. They are quite successful at kidnapping Johnnie Farragut and torturing him, finally allowing him to see the ring of Santos before he is to die.

The second set are in Big Tuna, Texas. Perdita (Isabella Rossalini) and Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) have the hit for Sailor. Without a doubt, Bobby Peru is one of the most memorable villains of this picture. He is an ex-Marine who is able to walk the uncomfortable line of being way too intense and still smiling grotesquely about it. He is an utter and complete pervert, yet captivating.

Wild At Heart is one of the better films for someone first getting into Lynch as a director. It has a dreamy, musical quality to it, but doesn’t skimp out on the dark humor or quick awkward moments. Like the short part about Lula’s cousin, Dale (Crispin Glover,) or the moment after one of the car accidents where a random guy comes up to the victim and says, “The same fucking thing happened to me last year, man. Shit.”

What I personally enjoy most about it though is how tender Sailor and Lula are with each other. They have this beautiful purity that shines through the constructed twisted nightmare of a world.

Caty Rent pretty much lives coffee and is obsessed with the Batman.

Wild at Heart screens Friday and Saturday at 7:00 & 9:30 and Sunday at 5:00 and 7:30. Purchase tickets here.

Sound Unseen Presents “Sick Birds Die Easy”

1240247_442962952496189_1302926162_nTonight Sound Unseen presents Sick Birds Die Easy, with a special appearance from director Nik Fackler, composer Sam Martin, and the star, Ross Brockley, introducing the movie and answering your many questions afterwards!

How do you describe this one? “Exploring the worlds of white privilege, magical realism and the apocalypse, Director Nik Fackler takes a drug addled conspiracy theorist, an entitled love drunk musician, and an American film crew deep into the jungles of Western Africa, searching for Iboga, an extremely potent psychedelic plant said to have the ability to heal drug addiction. What initially begins as a trip towards enlightenment, becomes a desperate attempt at maintaining sanity.With a mad mix of compellingly hilarious characters, experimental drug use and an array of expertly wielded lo-fi and hi-fi cameras. Fackler capably explodes the fiction / non-fiction divide with an alarming self consciousness and ever more surprising degree of sincerity. Delving into mysticism, politics, colonialism and human nature, “Sick Birds Die Easy” is a mind bending, fantastical social experiment that will leave you laughing and questioning your own understanding of reality.” There, that’s how you describe it.

Sick Birds Die Easy screens tonight at 7:00 and 9:00. Purchase tickets here.

3 Women: Robert Altman’s Dream of Sissy Spacek

hero_EB20040926REVIEWS08409260302ARThe Trylon is proud to present Sissy Spacek: Seemingly Lost, a tribute to one of the more unheralded actresses working today. Today we’ll let the late, great Roger Ebert wax rhapsodic about this little-seen masterpiece, which he considered to be the best film of 1977:

“And so I descend once more into the mysterious depths of 3 Women, a film that was imagined in a dream. Robert Altman’s 1977 masterpiece tells the story of three women whose identities blur, shift and merge until finally, in an enigmatic last scene, they have formed a family, or perhaps have become one person. I have seen it many times, been through it twice in shot-by-shot analysis, and yet it always seems to be happening as I watch it. Recurring dreams are like that: We have had them before, but have not finished with them, and we return because they contain unsolved enigmas.”

Read the rest of the review here–the Great One saw this movie multiple times and seemed to get something entirely new with each viewing.

You’ll have four opportunities to watch 3 Women at the Trylon: Monday at 7:00 & 9:30 and Tuesday at 7:00 and 9:30. Purchase tickets here.


Mae West Double Feature at the Heights!

imnoangelposterMae West? Who the heck’s Mae West? Really? Well, she ain’t no cancelled stamp, we can tell you that, and if you check out our sockdollager double-feature at the Heights Theater tonight, you, too, can finally say “I know my onions” about the greatest film comedienne of the first half of the 20th Century.

That’s enough jazz age slang for now (or forever), but we will say that the double-feature of I’m No Angel and She Done Him Wrong, continuing our happy Ain’t We Got Fun: Pre-Code Hollywood series is just about the best introduction you’re ever going to get to the wonderful world of West.

The night’s festivities kick off with I’m No Angel, which pairs her with the dapper Cary Grant, and sees Mae fighting to win her man (and, man, does she ever!) “A story about a gal who lost her reputation – and never missed it!”

She Done Him Wrong is a crazy melodrama full of music and double entendres, and once again sees West getting Cary Grant all hot and bothered.

Don’t miss these fabulous pictures–once you see Mae West on the big screen, you’ll see why she was the top box office attraction of the late 20s!

I’m No Angel screens at 7:30; She Done Him Wrong shows at 9:20. One ticket gets you into both shows; however, if you are using a Take-Up Productions Punch Card you need TWO PUNCHES (one per show) for both movies. Purchase tickets here.

Just a taste of She Done Him Wrong to whet your appetite…

Lynch: Dune and Drive this weekend at the Trylon


David Lynch: Surreal Marvel continues with one of the director’s most critically maligned films and one of his most lauded movies–Dune and Mulholland Drive. The first was a flop, which Lynch himself couldn’t stand, and the second was one of only two films of the twenty-first century to make Sight & Sound’s 50 Greatest Movies of All-Time. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever have a chance to see such two disparate pictures from the same director in one night. Don’t miss it!

Dune review by Trylon volunteer Amy Neeser.

The typical David Lynch crowd doesn’t often appreciate Dune because in many ways it is a classic sci-fi film and remains true to Frank Herbert’s original text. The literary Dune universe is incredibly complex, and consequently the film suffers from the classic problem of adaptation. Herbert’s genius ultimately hurts the movie, making it seem rushed and the characters flat. While Dune can seem long and overly detailed, it could have easily been at least an hour longer to fully appreciate and understand the vast complexity of Herbert’s universe.

In the very distant future, interstellar trade depends on a mind-bending spice that is only found on Arrakis (aka, Dune). Feuding families fight over control of the planet in a tale of betrayal, murder, and prophecy. The viewer is quickly overcome by a vast amount of information and terminology in a bizarre alien world that consists of space / time bending through drug use, Sting in a latex codpiece, and giant sandworm battles all set to a score by Toto and Brian Eno.

Dune has been cut and re-cut many times and Lynch eventually replaced his name with the pseudonym Alan Smithee in order to disassociate himself with the underappreciated space epic. Nevertheless, this ambitious cinematic undertaking is visually stunning and while it is often misunderstood, remains a favorite by many.

Amy Neeser is a scientific research librarian at the University of Minnesota. She has a background in film and specializes in New German Cinema, animation, and representations of the apocalypse. 

Dune screens Friday and Saturday at 7:00, Sunday at 5:00. Purchase tickets here. Mulholland Drive shows Friday and Saturday at 9:30, Sunday at 7:30. Purchase tickets here.

Dune & Mulholland Dr.: The Key to David Lynch


The Trylon microcinema is proud to continue the Surreal Marvel: David Lynch series with two of the director’s most talked about films: his sole big-budget epic, Dune, and the mysterious Mulholland Dr.

Review of Mulholland Dr. review by Trylon volunteer David Berglund.

For many, David Lynch’s surrealist films present disorienting and unpleasant experiences.  The same disjointed narratives, oblong character motivations, and odd tonal shifts that serve to excite his fans also generally confuse and alienate much of the viewing public.  As a surrealist, he is an artist who is committed to his dark visions and all they entail, and the nightmarish bent of these films creates a spontaneity that is both intriguing and disturbing.

Mulholland Dr. represents something of an answer to Lynch’s naysayers.  It is as if he heard people say too many times of his films, “That didn’t make any sense!” and replied with, “Au contraire, it made perfect sense – you were simply watching it wrong.”  With Mulholland Dr., Lynch not only crafts a thoroughly cinematic masterpiece of mood and desire, but provides a key with which to process all Lynchian viewing experiences.

To put it simply, there is a moment in Mulholland Dr. which is unique to any of Lynch’s surrealist films – a moment in which the protagonist awakes.  By splitting the narrative between dream and reality, Lynch reveals a logic in his film that beforehand went unnoticed.  While reality proves to be in many ways as confounding as dream, it is how the world outside of dream informs previous oddities that serves as our guide.

To cite one small example, there is a moment early in the movie in which the story digresses to the subplot of an inept hit man who badly botches a job.  There seems to be no logical reason for this scene to exist.  Yet, when we are taken out of the dream world, we see that in this new context which birthed the old, the thought of a hit man is a source of great anxiety.

After Mulholland Dr., I never watched a Lynch nightmare in the same way.  I once tried in vain to find ideological and thematic connections – this is, after all, a strong suit of Bunuel’s surrealism.  But Lynch is not Bunuel.  He is far more humanistic.  So now I simply ask, “Who would be having this dream, and what does this tell us about this person’s psyche?”  Usually, I can come to a pretty strong conclusion.

Of course, this is not to say that every piece of Mulholland Dr., or any other of Lynch’s offerings, makes perfect sense – after all, dreams rarely do.  In that regard, while still providing a key, this film does not fall into the trap of tidy conclusions and wrapped up loose ends, but like the rest of Lynch’s surrealist offerings, remains committed to providing truly unadulterated, weird as we all know they really are, dreamscapes.

David Berglund is a proud Longfellow resident and ardent cinema junkie who previously wrote on film with his wife, Chelsea Berglund, on their Movie Matrimony blog.

Dune screens Friday and Saturday at 7:00 and Sunday at 5:00–purchase tickets here. Mulholland Dr. screens Friday and Saturday at 9:30 and Sunday at 7:30–purchase tickets here.

Eraserhead Means Father’s Day in February at the Trylon

eraserhead4Eraserhead review by Trylon volunteer Dave Gomshay.

This time of year in Minnesota provides ideal conditions for sinking into David Lynch’s Eraserhead.  The midwinter weather has by now encrusted everything in dirty shades of black and white. A lonely wind howls constantly. Cabin fever is making you tense, paranoid, and a bit loopy. You warm yourself by the hissing radiator that may or may not have a little lady nestled in its heart. Eraserhead’s Henry Spencer lives in this kind of world for eternity. Welcome to his fever dream.

Is there a more hapless hero than Henry? His hair flares out from his head as if trying to flee the premises before things get even weirder than they already are. Wearing a perpetual look of consternation on his brow, Henry doesn’t purposefully navigate his way through his environment as much as he shuffles from one bewildering predicament to another. Henry is really just a simple guy trying to make his way in the world. But hoo boy, what a world. Everyday objects and events that are normally innocuous in our humdrum lives become threatening and otherworldly in a heartbeat in Henry’s world. Surprisingly, this also makes for some moments of great comedy.

We are introduced to Henry as he finds his way home through a barren industrial graveyard, surely the worst neighborhood on Earth (if it is indeed on Earth.) Soon we are witnessing Henry having dinner with his estranged girlfriend, Mary X, and her peculiar family, a scene that is best described as Extremely Awkward. Before long, Henry and Mary are saddled with a not-quite-adorable baby swaddled in bandages, though, truth be told, “the doctors aren’t sure it even IS a baby!” All the while, Henry finds his troubling affections torn between his anxious girlfriend, his mysterious and seductive neighbor across the hall, and a happy-go-lucky lady who likes to smile and sing, and who just happens to be living in his radiator. Life is complicated for Henry. Then things get much more complicated.

Things aren’t necessarily less complicated for the viewer. It would be best to check your real world logic circuits at the door. Henry is our sympathetic guide through the surreal. He’s unsettled, ambivalent, and unsure of what to say or do in circumstances that would baffle anyone.

Lynch, well-known for his decades-long devotion to Transcendental Meditation, claims this is his most spiritual film, and indeed the seemingly mundane bristles with a chaotic, animating energy: light bulbs, radiators, and even, um, dead chickens flare to a kind of life as if another dimension is starting to crack through.  As one character croons to Henry about heavenly bliss, her soothing, mantra-like lullaby seems to contain all the secrets of the universe. Lynch is equally obsessed with the gritty and intricate machinery at work within objects both living and dead. He shows us what lies beneath the surface of things, often in ways we’d much rather he not. (Let’s just say that Henry struggles at being a good dad.) Adrift in a decaying landscape, repulsed and entranced by the body in its many states, Henry Spencer certainly grapples with his material existence and a potentially transformative salvation.

It’s a wonder that Lynch’s first feature film ever got made, let alone found an appreciative audience. It took years to complete, during which time Lynch held down a part-time paper route and basically lived 24/7 on the set (the abandoned back lots of the American Film Institute where he was a student for a while). Production proceeded in fits and starts. The tiny but dedicated crew consisted of friends and fellow oddballs who would become regulars in later Lynch films. When it was finally released in 1977, the movie somehow did not achieve the blockbuster status of that year’s Star Wars but instead grew in popularity only slowly over time, finding its niche on the burgeoning midnight movie circuit.

Eraserhead manages to be simultaneously gorgeous and grotesque, truly horrifying and truly funny. Few film debuts show a young director so confident and preternaturally talented in his (very) unique vision and its execution. This weekend in the Trylon microcinema, everything is fine.

Dave Gomshay grew up in the untamed wilds of suburban Long Island but has called Minneapolis home going on twenty years. He is interested in religion and mysticism, and he also enjoys reading weird fiction, noodling around on untuned guitars, and meditating like the dickens.

Eraserhead screens Friday and Saturday at 7:00 & 8:45, Sunday at 5:00, 7:00, & 8:45. Purchase tickets here.

BAM! Tom Tykwer Twice at the Trylon!

600full-run-lola-run-screenshotThis weekend, the Trylon’s happy as heck to present two films from one of our favorite filmmakers, Tom Tykwer.

We open with perhaps the most fun we’ve ever had in an arthouse theater, Run Lola Run, in which our eponymous hero has to try and raise a bundle of cash for her boyfriend, less he gets blown away by some thugs. Lola races through Berlin not once, but in three totally different scenarios (once as a cartoon heroine,) in her desperate attempt to save her lover’s life. All this to some insane German Techno music!

Rarer still is Tykwer’s previous effort (Lola put him on the map), Winter Sleepers, a complex and melancholy film in which five people with profound secrets collide, physically and emotionally, at a remote ski chalet. Don’t miss this rare screening!

Run Lola Run screens Friday at 7:00, Saturday at 9:15, and Sunday at 7:15 (PLEASE NOTE THAT TIMES IN THE PRINTED CALENDAR ARE INCORRECT!) Purchase tickets here.

Winter Sleepers screens Friday at 8:45, Saturday at 7:00, and Sunday at 5:00. Purchase tickets here.


Who Is, Or Rather, Was Chris Marker?


Who is, or rather, was Chris Marker? —Emiko Omori

This is the question that has dogged filmmaker Emiko Omori for over a decade, and guides his documentary To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter, screening tonight and tomorrow at the Trylon. Omori had met Marker in 1974, after a screening of La Jetee, where he  proceeded to try and convince Marker to be the subject of a cinematic homage. Startled, Marker simply said, “But I won’t be in it.” Originally thinking to title his project Portrait of an Invisible Man, Omori created a documentary of sorts, interviews of fellow filmmakers and fans, and images that might have inspired Marker.

“The ‘portrait’ would be built on the Rashomon principle,” Omori explains on the film’s website. “[I]mpressions and (imperfect) memories from various points of view–interpretations of their own reality while watching Marker’s reality.”

The result is an affectionate and mysterious movie which, though it may not be the documentary about Marker that his fans ardently desire, captures the essence of the man.

Marker’s last letter to Omori sums up the challenge of making a film about this most elusive of subjects: ” I understood you had ‘a project on me’… Perhaps you mentioned it already, and my unconscious simply erased it, for obvious reasons.  If you knew how much I’d prefer to be forgotten now.  The films are there, I did my share, the rest is silence.”

To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter screens Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7:00 & 9:00 at the Trylon microcinema. Purchase tickets here.

Check out the Chris Marker “Assembled” Vietnam War Doc at the Trylon


Review by Trylon volunteer Patrick Vehling.

There was a period in my early twenties where war films took up a large part of my film viewing, particularly films that portrayed the part of the philosophical soldier–always questioning the authenticity of war, or rather, a more humanistic approach. Definitely not the generic “heroics” of most 50s-60s Hollywood war films, with their chiseled-chinned good-ol’-boys grinning while blowing up a U-boat, barely breaking a sweat.

Obviously there are exceptions to that formula, but the typical ease and lack of grit was something that wasn’t portrayed nearly as often in Vietnam war films, especially films made by younger directors that were directly impacted by the social upheaval in America in the 60s and 70s. With this youthful enthusiasm and cynicism a more realistic vision of war emerged, especially in the intimate documentaries like Hearts and Minds and the important character studies of Oliver Stone’s and Francis Ford Coppola’s classic anti-war films, a trend which continues to this day.

Far From Vietnam (Loin du Vietnam) is presented in a series of montages by prominent, mostly French, film directors, as assembled by Chris Marker. It is filled with typical stock footage of anti-war protesters, a strange Godard segment where the camera focuses on Godard himself in various angles as he talks and moves another camera around, and a stilted exposition from a rather bad French actor on some generic philosophy with an attractive women staring awkwardly at him as he expounds and emotes with extreme gesticulation. There is also an interview with Fidel Castro presented in a intriguingly staged jungle locale in typical guerrilla garb where he restates many of his viewpoints on armed struggle and shows support of the Vietnamese people. He reiterates Che in the need to create “many Vietnams” so the peasants can throw the yoke of exploitation – a viewpoint defended by the filmmakers.

The most interesting and important segment is the history behind the war from the French perspective, based on their multiple, decades-long colonization and  downfall directly caused by the paramount failure at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. There, thousands of French died and many more thousands were wounded and captured, including two American soldiers killed in action, information of which was only recently declassified in 2004.

This path to America’s involvement is typically passed over, particularly the fact of America’s involvement in Vietnamese politics reaching as far back as the early 50s. Bernard Fall’s excellent and exhausting book Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu (1967, J.B. Lippincott Company) explores in great detail the amount of money and strategy tossed around in preparation for this battle–as the pages go on, the absurdity level increases while simultaneously respect for the Vietnamese increases more quickly.

The tale of modern Vietnam is the classic story of a group of people rejecting imperialist ideals and exploitative colonialism for centuries, a rejection that many powerful countries continue to ignore out of arrogance and greed–a general theme in Loin du Vietnam’s nearly two hours. Much of the documentary portrays that youthful protest and longing explored in the Vietnam war film canon I was weaned on. Despite its flaws, I recommend it as a good starting point to further study of the battle of Dien Bien Phu, and as a refresher of alternative viewpoints to modern American media coverage of war and all its humanity so highly exploited.

Patrick Vehling was raised in Minneapolis, weaned by Kurosawa, Tarkovsky and Herzog, interested in travel, linguistics, coffee, whiskey and sometimes has been known to make a film on Super 8.

Far From Vietnam (Loin du Vietnamscreens at the Trylon microcinema Monday and Tuesday at 7:00 & 9:15. Purchase tickets here.