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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016
ON DE PALMA'S 'FEMME FATALE' & 'PASSION'
"DOUBLE VISION" COLUMN NOTES HOW THE TWO FILMS "RHYME WITH EACH OTHER", DREAM IMAGERY & LOGIC, ETC.
Dim The House Lights began an “occasional column” this week called “Double Vision,” and the second installment finds Ross Birks linking Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale with his most recent feature, Passion. “If you’re going to pair up two Brian De Palma erotic thrillers,” Birks writes, “nine times out of ten you’d go for Dressed to Kill and Body Double. Upon recently revisiting De Palma’s canon for the umpteenth time, however, I found a better pairing: Femme Fatale and Passion. Made ten years apart these two films showcase a late-career De Palma returning to the genre he helped define with a newfound enthusiasm and experimentation."

In between writing about the two films, Birks notes how Raising Cain, made ten years prior to Femme Fatale, "foreshadows what De Palma would explore" in these two later works. "In that film," Birks writes, "John Lithgow plays Cain, a psychologist suffering from multiple personality disorder and De Palma constantly shows us the world from Cain’s POV in each of his different guises making reality increasingly difficult to pin down. The same can be said for the final act of Passion. After being accused of murder, Isabelle (Rapace) appears to regress into her own consciousness. De Palma teases the audience with multiple fake outs and double fake outs, sometimes never clarifying what is real and what isn’t."

While Birks does not leave out mention of the use of dreams in De Palma's previous films, his focus on these three actually makes for an intriguing trilogy, each conveniently ten years apart (it is an odd recent phenomenon that a movie's film festival screening year has become its official year of release: Passion, which played several fests in 2012 but was not officially released in any country until 2013, is referred to in most cases, even the IMDB, as a 2012 film). Each of the three feature long, extended dream sequences in the middle of the film. The dream at the center of Femme Fatale is clearly delineated, yet the whole film comes to seem marked by a transcendent sort of dream logic that feels sprung from multiple dreamers. As such, it does make for a graceful centerpiece in a trilogy that would keep any audience on its toes, as the nightmares from Raising Cain and Passion keep the viewer guessing what is dream, what is real, and by the way, whose dream are we in now?

Birks continues, "Passion‘s centerpiece, at least from a De Palma obsessive’s point of view, is an extended split screen sequence that intercuts a ballet performance with a stealthy murder in the giallo tradition and culminates with Isabelle jolting awake in her bed just as Christine (McAdams) has her throat slashed open. For a time, it isn’t clear if the previous scene really occurred or was just a variation of what actually transpired. From then on the film becomes hyper-real, bathed in expressionistic shadows and Dutch camera angles that are at odds stylistically with the film’s rather composed first hour. Even the story becomes excessively nonsensical with twist piling on after twist to the point of absurdity. The 'it was all a dream' trope has become one of the most groan-worthy in cinema so De Palma’s commitment to it in both Passion and Femme Fatale is all the more daring and admirable. It’s as if he saw utilizing that twist as a challenge in itself and wanted to explore the possibilities. Perhaps if he was subtler about it audiences would have been more receptive (see Mulholland Dr.) but De Palma has never been about subtlety, which is actually one of things I respond to most in his work."


Posted by Geoff at 4:19 AM CST
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Monday, February 8, 2016
CINEMATARY LOOKS AT 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'
FIRST PART OF A SERIES ON DE PALMA, WEEKLY PODCAST
Cinematary, a weekly movie podcast, begins a series on Brian De Palma with this week's episode. The second half of the hour-long episode features Zach, Dylan, Lydia, and Nathan discussing Phantom Of The Paradise. All but one of the four watched De Palma's film for the first time in preparation for the discussion. The discussion is worth listening to, as it becomes quickly apparent that the participants have a smart, invested interest in cinema. While it is disappointing to hear two of them agree in the wrap-up that De Palma "tries" to cram too much into this film, they also have the insight to note that Phantom seems socially and culturally aware of the time in which it was made. At one point, one of the participants states that the thing about De Palma is, "the more you see his movies, the more everything makes sense."

Some of the most interesting comments come from Lydia. When asked to explain her first impressions of the film, she says, "It starts off, and you’re not really sure you’re with it, because it just goes so fast, the plot points, it doesn’t waste any time. But then, I was kind of into it by the time we got to the staging of Faust, and the big performances. I kind of got on board with it, because De Palma has a very specific vision and cinematic goals. I mean, whether or not you like it, it’s very clear he’s an artist, and is able to put what he wants on screen, every second. And I really appreciated that."

Posted by Geoff at 11:49 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 8, 2016 11:51 PM CST
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Saturday, February 6, 2016
EVERY '70s MOVIE LOOKS AT 'DIONYSUS IN '69'
"AS HEADACHE-INDUCING AS IT IS MIND-EXPANDING"
Today at Every '70s Movie, Peter Hanson looks at Dionysus In '69. "Experimental theater being what it is," Hanson begins, "any document of this offbeat genre is sure to divide audiences. As such, something like Dionysus in ’69 can’t be appraised in only one way. Those with adventurous spirits and an eagerness to see postmodern rethinks of longstanding storytelling conventions will be able to appreciate Dionysus in ’69 as a form of artistic exploration. Concurrently, those who enjoy understanding what the hell they’re watching will lose patience quickly. Even those who seek out Dionysus in ’69 because of Brian De Palma’s involvement are likely to be confounded. The picture has a couple of significant connections to the director’s later work, but he didn’t conceive or singlehandedly helm the piece, [and] the execution is avant-garde in the extreme."

In the concluding paragraph, Hanson focuses on the film's use of split-screen throughout: "De Palma, who shares an 'a film by' credit with fellow NYU students Bruce Joel Rubin (later an Oscar winner for writing the 1990 hit Ghost) and Robert Fiore, employs one of his favorite cinematic devices, split-screen photography. Therefore, the entire 85-minute film comprises two angles of grungy-looking black-and-white images projected side-by-side. As with everything else about Dionysus in ’69, the split-screen effect is as headache-inducing as it is mind-expanding. Incidentally, Dionysus in ’69 received an X-rating during its original release, though its edgiest elements are full-frontal nudity, rough language, and simulated sex."

Posted by Geoff at 5:44 PM CST
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Friday, February 5, 2016
FANGORIA LOOKS AT 'THE FURY'
DE PALMA'S SUPERB THRILLER NOW ON NETFLIX STREAMING & OTHERS
Brian De Palma's The Fury is now available to watch on Netflix Streaming, as well as on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube. Fangoria's Ken W. Hanley writes about the film in a column called "Crossing Over," which looks at films and series that are not considered part of the horror genre, yet have undeniable elements of horror, all the same. "To be honest," writes Hanley, "this writer heavily debated featuring this film for this particular column because on many levels, The Fury is a horror film. With make-up FX from Rick Baker, a post-Carrie Brian De Palma and an tension-ramping score from John Williams, The Fury has some truly shocking moments of bloody insanity throughout. And yet with all the aspects of action, mystery and political thriller strewn throughout, the horror of The Fury often becomes a footnote in the film’s legacy, which is a damn shame."

Read the full column at Fangoria.

Posted by Geoff at 12:42 AM CST
Updated: Friday, February 5, 2016 12:43 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016
DE PALMA AT 'HAIL CAESAR!' PRESS SCREENING
WITH JAKE PALTROW, NOAH BAUMBACH & WES ANDERSON IN NEW YORK, ACCORDING TO TWEETS & BLOG REPORT



Meanwhile, Roger Friedman at Showbiz 411 reports that Jake Paltrow also joined his friends for the Coen Brothers screening: "There was no official star studded premiere in New York for Joel & Ethan Coen’s Hail, Caesar!,” states Friedman. "But the 'all media' screening on Tuesday night yielded quite a powerful foursome in the [front] row. This jury of the Coens’ peers included Brian De Palma, Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, & Jake Paltrow sitting together. They went mostly unnoticed, but it’s hard to miss Wes’s hair. And Brian De Palma is not someone you see everyday at a press screening."

Posted by Geoff at 6:00 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 6:10 PM CST
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Sunday, January 31, 2016
ANYTIME THERE'S A SPLIT SCREEN THESE DAYS...

Posted by Geoff at 6:41 PM CST
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Saturday, January 30, 2016
TRAILER: DE PALMA DVD COLLECTION IN BRAZIL
ALL-REGION INCLUDES 'BLOW OUT' - 'SISTERS' - 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'

The trailer above is for the just-released Versátil limited edition 2-DVD set, "A Arte de Brian De Palma". The set includes "restored versions" of three films: Blow Out, Sisters, and Phantom Of The Paradise, as well as extras that include separate interview segments with De Palma, Pino Donaggio, and Vilmos Zsigmond discussing Blow Out, De Palma talking about Phantom Of The Paradise, the making of Sisters, and the usual trailers.

Posted by Geoff at 5:54 PM CST
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Thursday, January 28, 2016
'CARRIE' ON IMAX AT GLASGOW FILM FESTIVAL
IMAX PRESENTATION CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARIES OF FOUR FILMS FROM 1976-1996


Brian De Palma's Carrie will be one of four films to get an anniversary IMAX presentation at next month's Glasgow Film Festival. Carrie, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will be screened on Friday, February 19th-- otherwise known as the day after De Palma's Obsession, which also turns 40 this year, will screen in Hollywood as part of a double feature in remembrance of Vilmos Zsigmond. The other film on that Zsigmond double-bill? De Palma's Blow Out, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

Two of the other four films in the Glasgow "Anniversaries at IMAX" series are James Cameron's Aliens and Tony Scott's Top Gun, both released in 1986. A 1996 film will be voted on and chosen by readers of The List from among three candidates: From Dusk Till Dawn, Scream, and Trainspotting.


Posted by Geoff at 9:49 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016
'BLOW OUT' & 'OBSESSION' - FEB 18 IN HOLLYWOOD
PART OF AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE TRIBUTE TO VILMOS ZSIGMOND AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATRE

Posted by Geoff at 9:56 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 9:56 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016
PODCAST COMMENTARY TRACK FOR 'DTK'
INFORMED DISCUSSION ENSUES
A Podcast titled Illusion Travels By Streetcar posted a commentary track yesterday for Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. The informed discussion/commentary is designed to run while you watch the film with the sound not-too-loud, and is actually pretty good. Near the beginning, Tom Sutpen shares the De Palma quote from early in his career about wanting to be the American Godard, and asks Jeremiah McNeil what he thinks of the idea that later De Palma films such as Dressed To Kill are seen "as an abandonment of that early intention."

"There is a critical misunderstanding in that assumption," McNeil replies. When asked to elaborate, he says, "There is no De Palma film that bears the mark of his authorship that is not in some way a comment on the film itself. And the fact that the person watching is committing an act of voyeurism, and is engaging with an art object. That kind of self-reflexivity is Godardian in its intention, or even Brechtian in some cases." And then the podcast is off to the races after that.

Posted by Geoff at 1:22 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 1:22 AM CST
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