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Saturday, May 23, 2015
TORNATORE TO FILM MORRICONE DOCUMENTARY
DEADLINE: INTERVIEWS & NARRATIVE WILL EXPLORE SIDE OF COMPOSER NEVER BEFORE REVEALED
Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione reported yesterday from Cannes that Giuseppe Tornatore will direct a "documentary feature based on the life and work of legendary composer Ennio Morricone." Tartaglione writes, "Tornatore first collaborated with Morricone on Oscar winner Cinema Paradiso. He is shooting interviews for the doc in several locales and filming a narrative piece alongside. Both the narrative and the interviews are designed to highlight a side of Morricone that has never been revealed. The narrative component will reconstruct key moments, anecdotes, and situations which have been essential steps of the artistic and personal path that Morricone’s life has taken."

Posted by Geoff at 1:52 AM CDT
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Thursday, May 21, 2015
'BLOW OUT' THURSDAY NIGHT IN ASHEVILLE, NC
HOSTED BY XPRESS MOVIE CRITICS KEN HANKE & JUSTIN SOUTHER


Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015
CRITERION POSTS NEW IMAGE OF NOAH & BRIAN
NEW INTERVIEW FOR THE 'DRESSED TO KILL' RELEASE!


This afternoon, Criterion posted the photo and caption above on its Facebook page. The listing for Criterion's upcoming Dressed To Kill release has also been updated since Monday's initial announcement to add the following: "New conversation between De Palma and filmmaker Noah Baumbach."

On Monday, I mentioned that I had e-mailed Criterion the day before with the idea of including De Palma's Home Movies as a bonus on the Dressed To Kill edition. If they are still adding features to the set, it sounds like perhaps that is still a possibility...

A comment on the Facebook post linked to above mentions that Baumbach's latest released feature, While We're Young, shows a De Palma influence, and I have to say I thought the same thing when I saw the film last month. [Mild spoiler, if you will] Baumbach's film includes a bit of conspiracy, and, like Blow Out (the previous Criterion edition for which Baumbach interviewed De Palma), a character who sees conspiracy "everywhere" has trouble convincing others of his perspective.


Posted by Geoff at 7:03 PM CDT
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Monday, May 18, 2015
CRITERION'S 'DRESSED TO KILL' SET FOR AUG 18
NEW INTERVIEWS W/NANCY ALLEN, LITTO, DONAGGIO, BODY DOUBLE VICTORIA LYNN JOHNSON, RALPH BODE PROFILE, MORE
Criterion announced its August slate of releases today, and included is Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill, which will be released in a one-disc Blu-ray set and a two-disc DVD set on August 18, 2015. Just yesterday, I thought how great it would be if this edition included De Palma's Home Movies as a bonus, since it features Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon together just prior to making Dressed To Kill (not to mention that Home Movies also includes Mary Davenport, who has a humorous cameo in Dressed To Kill, listening in on a conversation between Allen and Gordon in a restaurant). I sent Criterion an e-mail with the suggestion yesterday, but obviously forces were already in motion, and my suggestion was too late. (Who knows, maybe they had already thought of that idea, but just couldn't work it out.)

In any case, here is the description and specs from the Criterion page:

Brian De Palma ascended to the highest ranks of American suspense filmmaking with this virtuoso, explicit erotic thriller. At once tongue-in-cheek and scary as hell, Dressed to Kill revolves around the grisly murder of a woman in Manhattan, and what happens when her psychiatrist, her brainiac teenage son, and the prostitute who witnessed the crime try to piece together what happened while the killer remains at large. With its masterfully executed scenes of horror, voluptuous camera work, and passionate score, Dressed to Kill is a veritable symphony of terror, enhanced by vivid performances by Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, and Nancy Allen.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

New, restored 4K digital transfer of director Brian De Palma’s preferred unrated version, approved by the director, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interviews with actor Nancy Allen, producer George Litto, composer Pino Donaggio, shower-scene body double Victoria Lynn Johnson, and poster photographic art director Stephen Sayadian
New profile of cinematographer Ralf Bode, featuring filmmaker Michael Apted
The Making of “Dressed to Kill,” a 2001 documentary featuring De Palma
Interview with actor-director Keith Gordon from 2001
Video pieces from 2001 about the different versions of the film and the cuts made to avoid an X rating
Gallery of storyboards by De Palma
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Koresky

Cover based on original poster


Posted by Geoff at 6:54 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 18, 2015 6:56 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 17, 2015
'THE CONNECTION' TO DE PALMA & OTHERS
JIMENEZ: "OF COURSE YOU CAN SEE THE '70s AMERICAN CINEMA LIKE SCORSESE, COPPOLA, FRIEDKIN, DE PALMA, FOR SURE"
Some quotes noting the influences on Cédric Jimenez' The Connection:

Brad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon

"Described as a 'European flipside to William Friedkin's The French Connection', The Connection is much more than a marketing blurb intent on piquing the interest of hard-to-attract general audience members. This is a down-and-dirty '70s crime thriller, with all the texture of the 35mm film it was shot on. In fact, marketing blurbs with this one are easy as you'll find odes to [Michael] Mann, Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese. This isn't to say it reaches the heights of those filmmakers, but the debt Jimenez owes to his predecessors is quite clear...

"The Connection isn't without its flaws, however. While the comparisons to Mann, De Palma and Scorsese are apt, it runs into trouble when it can't live up to its influences. Outside of some of the colorful flourishes reminding me of De Palma, this is very much a Michael Mann film though it lacks in Mann's control of sound, the hammering of gunfire Mann jars you out of your seat with, and the score and soundtrack is far from what Mann would deliver. A verbal confrontation between Tany and Michel almost immediately conjures memories of the sit down between Pacino and De Niro in Mann's Heat and if you're going to bring to light those comparisons you better be operating at the highest level and as much as I found it entertaining, The Connection can't stand with the big boys.

"But this isn't to diminish this movie in any way. As a piece of period entertainment, The Connection is rock solid."

Jonathan Harris, The Upcoming

"Jimenez has done well with this high-budget piece, and it’s a sure winner in its native country. The writing is not the best, however, the acting is superb, the soundtrack is fantastic and the cinematography is at times stunning. It’s clear there’s been an influence from the likes of many cat-and-mouse crime thrillers; the work of Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, and even Quentin Tarantino is significant within The Connection, as various scenes clearly remind viewers of those from Goodfellas, The Untouchables, The Departed, and Scarface. Particular moments set in the Krypton club leave viewers almost expecting to see Tony Montana giving the famous stare."

Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

"The Connection mixes elements from other films — Heat, The Untouchables — with its own style to tell a familiar tale well. It creates a world and pulls you in only to remind you at the end that this warm, sunny fantasy is actually the cold, dark world called reality."

Frank J. Avella interviews Cédric Jimenez at EdgeBoston.com

The film's look is dazzling, stunning, yet, quite gritty. "We shot in 35mm, which is always really beautiful. There's something special with 35mm that you can never have in HD. I am very close with my DP (Laurent Tangy). And I told him, we have to adapt the aesthetic of the movie around the story and not the story around the aesthetic...the shooting had to be instinctive."

It's easy to watch the film and get a certain Scorsese/"Mean Streets" sense. Jimenez acknowledges his influences, "Of course you can see the '70s American cinema like Scorsese, Coppola, Friedkin, Brian dePalma, for sure. I also love the French gangsters cinema, too, like Verneull, Melville. And Italian cinema."

What is interesting is that he says he didn't screen any of the works of those filmmakers to prep for "The Connection," Instead he watched Alejandro Inarritu films (like "Babel") and Darren Aronofsky's work, "looking for reality and looking for something very intense and very visceral." He adds, "But in the end you have you make your own movie with your own personality."

"The Connection," which will be released here by Drafthouse Films, marks the self-taught director's third feature after getting his start as a producer a decade ago. He's currently working on an English language film with American actors but didn't want to elaborate further.


Posted by Geoff at 5:52 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015
DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE IN MADRID, MAY-JUNE
CINE DORE SERIES INCLUDES SEVERAL DE PALMA THRILLERS, PLUS 2 FROM HITCHCOCK


Brian De Palma will be the focus of a film series at Cine Doré in Madrid, Spain, beginning tonight (May 13) with a screening of a 35mm print of Hi, Mom!, followed by De Palma's Sisters, projected from DCP. The series features several De Palma films, as well as two Alfred Hitchcock works that heavily inspired De Palma: Psycho and Vertigo. Other De Palma films include Phantom Of The Paradise (35mm), Obsession (35mm), Dressed To Kill (DCP), Carrie (DCP), The Fury (Blu-ray), Blow Out (DCP), Scarface (DCP), Body Double (DCP), The Untouchables (35mm), Casualties Of War (35mm), Bonfire Of The Vanities, and more. Click here to read the full May schedule. According to MCU.es, the series will continue on in June, and all told will screen 21 feature films as part(s) of the series.

Posted by Geoff at 12:05 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 12:08 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015
'SCARFACE' NOTES & QUOTES
PACINO, TARANTINO, VIDEO GAMES, AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
Al Pacino, interviewed by The Star's Graham Walker

"Oliver Stone, who wrote the screenplay and who is in my opinion a great screen writer, wrote it with such alacrity, power and passion and sociopolitical projection or insight. Brian De Palma, a great director, took something that had this underpin of social significance into more of an operatic, over the top interpretation and somehow those two coincided in a way and I think allowed this movie to become what it is.”

Quentin Tarantino, interviewed by Entertainment Weekly's Keith Staskiewicz

The Hateful Eight is currently in production to be released later this year, but at that point it was deader than the runner-up in a quick-draw duel with Tarantino saying he would adapt the script into a novel instead. “I was sad for all of us that possibly he wouldn’t do it or that he would let something like that get in the way of filming,” says [Tim] Roth. “I was glad to hear I didn’t do it, though.”

To complicate matters, Tarantino also filed suit against Gawker Media for copyright infringement when the company’s Defamer website posted a link to download a PDF of the leaked script. The suit would subsequently be tossed out, refiled, and eventually dropped by Tarantino, who now admits that the legal saga ended up serving as more of a distraction than redress. “I almost regret the whole suing Gawker because it actually took the light off of what was important,” he says. “My whole thing wasn’t against Gawker, it was against Hollywood practices that have just been considered okay.”

To that end, Tarantino even ended up attending a morning meeting with the agents of William Morris to hold a discussion on integrity and discretion. He says he doesn’t blame people for wanting to get a early glimpse at his film. “You know, when Brian DePalma was doing Scarface, I wanted to know anything that I could get before it opened,” he says. “A still shot, a shot from the set, anything. I get it.”

After a cool-down period, and a successful live reading of the script, Tarantino decided he would keep the nose rather than continue to spite his face, announcing that The Hateful Eight would, in fact, be going forward. He made a number of changes to the script—including a wholly new ending—and started looking for the actors to round out his cast, albeit slightly more prudently than before. “It wasn’t until I went to audition at his house that he gave me the ending,” Jennifer Jason Leigh says. “He was being really careful by that point.”

The Boston Globe's Ted Widmer: "What the man behind the ‘American Dream’ really meant"

"We all feel drawn to the 'American Dream.' For millions, immigrants especially, the phrase has evoked the full promise of the United States. What it means exactly, though, has shifted significantly over the years, and that accordion-like expansiveness has only increased its usefulness. Like a utility player on a baseball team, it’s a slogan that can play nearly any position, helping writers, politicians, activists, and academics talk about ways our society builds expectations — and occasionally delivers on them.

"But there can be a downside to a phrase that tries too hard, and in his new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam ultimately turns the notion on its head, arguing that the dream has become 'a split-screen American nightmare.' In Putnam’s hands, the phrase lingers as a jab to conscience, a reminder that we can do better — and often have...

"In 1931, amid the Great Depression, [James Truslow] Adams wrote another bestseller, The Epic of America, published in Boston by Little, Brown. This was the launch pad for the immortal quote. In a burst of democratic enthusiasm, he praised 'the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.'

"Adams was careful to separate the dream from mere prosperity — it was not a 'a dream of motor cars and high wages,' but 'a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.' It was a dream that could not exist in the older parts of the world, with their class structures, but needed, by definition, to be available 'for the simple human being of any and every class.'

"Other New Englanders in other centuries had said similar things — John Winthrop’s City upon a Hill, though that was more a collective than an individual dream, or Benjamin Franklin’s relentless schemes for self-advancement. But Adams improved upon them with a succinctness that fit the 20th century.

"Like any great expression, it has enjoyed a life of its own — wildly beyond the expectations of its creator, and often beyond his specific instructions as well. Despite his attempts to define it carefully, the American Dream has been identified with wealth, over and over again, by marketers, media, and the masses. Brian De Palma’s 1983 film Scarface, in which Al Pacino portrays a murderous drug dealer in Miami, included the tagline, 'He loved the American Dream. With a vengeance.' Donald Trump often attacks antipoverty programs for destroying the American Dream. But getting it so wrong is, in a way, a tribute to the idea’s hold on our imagination."

The Guardian's Keith Stuart: "The cliche of the lone male gamer needs to be destroyed"

"Even more tenuous is the idea that boys now completely lack societal role models. [Psychologist Philip] Zimbardo sees a popular culturing teeming with moodles ('man poodles') and infantilised losers like the stars of Judd Apatow’s comedy movies. What he doesn’t seem to have kept up with is the rise of the aspirational geek. Sure, the muscle-bound alpha males of 80s action cinema have largely retired, but tech culture has brought us new figureheads – Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Biz Stone, Palmer Luckey – men who (whatever you personally think of them) reached the top through intelligence and industry, who read the prevailing tech trends and got it all right. David Fincher’s movie Social Network is effectively a modern-age take on Brian de Palma’s Scarface: the analysis of male aspiration and heroism as a symbol for its contemporary milieu. Geeks are heroes now, and they’re a lot more functional and relatable than the movie and sports stars we once adored."


Posted by Geoff at 12:16 AM CDT
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Thursday, May 7, 2015
CRITERION OFFICIALLY TEASES 'DRESSED TO KILL'
POSTS THIS PICTURE ON FACEBOOK, WITH THREE WORDS: "A little tease"

Posted by Geoff at 8:15 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2015 8:21 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015
'GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT' SATURDAY @ NEW BEV
RARE CHANCE TO SEE EARLY DE PALMA FILM IN 35MM PRINT, PROGRAMMED BY TARANTINO


Beginning tonight, and through this upcoming weekend, Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema will celebrate the Orson Welles centennial with several Welles-related films. Welles was born 100 years ago today. Included in the series will be a midnight showing this Saturday (May 9) of Brian De Palma's first studio feature, Get To Know Your Rabbit, in which Welles appears as a tap-dancing magician instructor. Warner Bros. eventually fired De Palma from the film and locked him out of the editing room, but thankfully, De Palma had already begun his no-coverage shooting method, creating passages of film that stand today as unmistakably De Palma-esque, both in style and tone. Also, the casting of Allen Garfield marks a nice throughline continuation of comic absurdity from De Palma's Greetings, to Hi, Mom!, and then to Rabbit.

It is not certain whether the 35mm print of Get To Know Your Rabbit will be from Tarantino's own private collection, or is being provided by the Warner Bros. archives. Thompson on Hollywood's Anne Thompson reports that since Tarantino took over programming the New Beverly, it has been a success, and that Tarantino, with help from three managers, is still very much in charge of programming, even while he continues to shoot his new movie, The Hateful Eight. Thompson writes, "One of [Tarantino's] producers, Coco Francini, reached out to tell me that he's been able to move beyond his own collection--which accounts for about 50 % of the programming-- to pull amazing prints of films people had not seen in a long time from the Paramount and Warner Bros. archives, among others. He programs 90% of the films shown at the New Beverly, enjoying taking breaks from filming to figure out which films go together, she said. Getting art to go with the prints can be a challenge, however."

(Thanks to Matthew!)


Posted by Geoff at 4:16 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 4:23 AM CDT
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Monday, May 4, 2015
ELLROY: 'DAHLIA' SCRIPT WAS NOT GOOD
NOT WITH FINCHER, AND THEN NOT WITH DE PALMA
James Ellroy, promoting his latest novel, Perfidia, tells Telerama's Laurent Rigoulet that the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book The Black Dahlia was not good. The screenplay was written by Josh Friedman, working under the direction of David Fincher. When Fincher dropped out, De Palma took over direction of the project, retaining Friedman as screenwriter. After talking about watching TV series such as The Killing, Homeland (Season One), and Mad Men, Rigoulet asks Ellroy if he is ever asked to work on such series, which leads him to mention that he is currently working on a series with Fincher, which leads him to talk about the Dahlia film:

"Sure, they want Ellroy," Ellroy tells Rigoulet. "One only has to look at all the ideas that True Detective pinched from me! I hate that series, it's a handjob. They order a lot of things from me, but it rarely leads to anything. It takes so much money and compromise ... I'm currently working with David Fincher on a series that would take place in Hollywood in the 50's. The hero is the private detective Fred Otash, who investigated the stars and was in league with tabloids, like in Confidential. I always admired Fincher. He had long tried to adapt The Black Dahlia, but his script was not good, and it was then taken and killed for the version that was released in 2006, directed by Brian De Palma. When the project collapsed, Fincher shot Zodiac, a beautiful thriller about obsession, and one of my favorite movies, much better than LA Confidential."

(Thanks to Luu!)


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 12:05 AM CDT
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