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Monday, February 21, 2011
'UNKNOWN' CRIBS FROM 'DRESSED TO KILL'
MUSEUM SEQUENCE SAID TO BE NOD TO DE PALMA

Several critics have noted that a museum sequence in Jaume Collet-Serra's Unknown (which opened Friday and led the box office this past weekend) pays tribute to the masterful museum sequence in Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. indieWIRE's Drew Taylor mentions "a moment cribbed from Brian De Palma‘s exemplary Dressed to Kill that takes place in an art museum" as one of a handful of "perfectly timed and orchestrated" suspense set pieces. NPR's Jeannette Catsoulis was less impressed, stating that "a swirling museum scene featuring blown-up photographs of unidentified faces — which in the hands of Brian De Palma could have been delicious — is almost laughable in its complete lack of subtlety." Chris Hewitt at the Pioneer Press feels that Collet-Serra is "heading confidently" into a Hitchcock/De Palma level, and mentions that De Palma's Dressed To Kill is "saluted in a museum scene." Taylor riffs on Unknown some more at High-Def Digest, referring to the film as "yellowed paperback fun." Taylor writes:

The thing about ‘Unknown’ is that the implausibility never really slows it down. As the mystery becomes deeper and more complex, you go along with it. [Liam] Neeson hires a Soviet-era spook played by Bruno Ganz to do some private investigating, while Diane Kruger becomes his de facto partner-in-crime. Shadowy killers stalk our hero. In a great scene lifted from Brian De Palma’s ‘Dressed to Kill’, he tries to reconnect with Jones while dodging goons in an art gallery. The mayhem steadily intensifies, straining credibility until the breaking point, which culminates with a giant third act plot twist that threatens to dismantle the whole thing… But doesn’t. Maybe it’s the appearance of Frank Langella as a dapper villain, or the fact that Neeson is just a compulsively watchable character. He’s very much channeling his everyman avenger from ‘Taken’, but ‘Unknown’ is an altogether more stylish, sophisticated beast.


Posted by Geoff at 10:58 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 21, 2011 11:00 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (6) | Permalink | Share This Post

Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 5:05 PM CST

Name: "Harry Georgatos"

The museum sequence maybe slightly reminisicent of the museum piece in DRESSED TO KILL but UNKOWN at least has a better and more complete screenplay then all the plot-holes in MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE. The premise to MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE doesn't ring true. There is no way CIA would implicate ETHAN as the mole and assassin of his IMF espionage team without recovering all the dead bodies first! Unless CIA had Jim Phelps and Claire's dead bodies on a morgue slab Ethan would not be implicated. MISSION 1 is a travesty of screenwriting aimed at 15 year old kids. The only reason MISSION works to a certain degree is because of De Palma's visual planning of a dumb script with obvious twists. When one see's what Christopher Nolan did with INCEPTION, MISSION 1 should have been that ambitious and demanding! De Palma would have been better served if he had the screenplay to UNKOWN as it would have been one of the better films in the genre with De Palma's masterful visual compositions. The two missed opportunities by De Palma was not making THE DEMOLISHED MAN and especially AMBROSE CHAPEL that would have been more financially successful at the world-wide box-office then MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE. Instead De Palma is making a remake of a french film that deals with female corporate murder. I doubt this film will make the necassary money that would welcome him back to Hollywood. De Palma hasn't had a hit since MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE and it would seem more sensible to making films such as THE DEMOLISHED MAN and AMBROSE CHAPEL as his sensibility is more suited to those concepts.

Friday, February 25, 2011 - 12:31 AM CST

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.briandepalma.org

But the CIA was watching everybody during that whole mission, because they already suspected the mole was on that team. As the only member "apparently" left standing afterwards, surely they would at least want to bring him in and question (and perhaps torture) him until they were convinced he was not the mole. They could be fishing for dead bodies in the meantime, no?

As for the DEMOLISHED MAN, yeah, I think even De Palma would love to be making that film right now (or years ago), but who is going to give him the budget for it right now when he hasn't had a box office hit in so many years?

Do you really think AMBROSE CHAPEL would have brought in more money than MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE?

Friday, February 25, 2011 - 4:33 PM CST

Name: "Harry Georgatos"

The CIA is a huge infrastracture that they would have had one team locating the missing IMF bodies while another team would be locating the IMF members that got away. The CIA is too smart to not suspect Phelps staged his own murder. The CIA portrayed in this film is a CIA for young teens. No matter what one thinks of the plot-holes to MISSION the twists are obvious to any 15 year old kid. With Jon Voights body mannerisms he was a dead giveaway as the mole and assassin. MISSION is a travesty of screenwriting. Christopher Nolan's INCEPTION is a mission:impossible movie set in the dream-world and MISSION 1 should have been that ambitious and demanding. The reason why MISSION 1 was a box-office hit was because of Tom Cruise box-office clout before he started jumping on Oprah's couch. The film was well directed by De Palma but the IMF sting operation was bland and predictable. With De Palma involved I expected a hybrid of THE FURY, BLOW OUT and SCARFACE instead we get a homogenized and too safe a film for teenagers. With AMBROSE CHAPEL it comes down to the treatment of the material and a recognized box-office star to lead the film. With INCEPTION the studio thought they had a film that wouldn't make an impression at the box-office because they thought the film was too complex, it went on to make $823 million because Nolan made something extraordinary. AMBROSE CHAPEL with a similar approach could produce the same results from an inspired script and inspired direction.

Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 8:15 PM CST

Name: "Katie"

A chimpanzee could have seen Jim Phelps was the traitor. Brian De Palma hasn't had a hit because of his choices after mission impossible.

Films such as the black dahlia, which was a period crime drama wasn't the type of film that would attract huge numbers to cinemas.

Readated had no chance whatsover with it's subject matter. It seems more of a film for film festivals.

I agree with Harry. De Palma needs to do films like The Demolished Man or even films like Nazi Gold which are the type of films that work in mainstream cinemas.

 Hopefully this french film may prove to be his calling card to studio pictures.

Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 9:10 PM CST

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.briandepalma.org

But the magic trick of the MI villain was predicated on the idea that people familiar with the TV show would never suspect Jim Phelps on the basis that he was their "hero" on the show-- that he would never betray his teammates, his country, etc. In fact, it really made a lot of people angry that "they did that" to Jim Phelps.

Choices post MI-- well, he almost got AMBROSE CHAPEL going, but that fell through, so he moved on to SNAKE EYES, a slightly compromised film that did not continue the box office momentum of MI. He was hoping it would be a hit so that he and Nicolas Cage could make MR. HUGHES, a passion project for De Palma for many years. Despite some pre-SNAKE EYES opening interest, that film did not get off the ground. Then he almost set up NAZI GOLD at MGM, but the parties could not agree on the budget, so that project fell through.

De Palma jumped onto MISSION TO MARS, which was a minor financial hit, and then went to France and poured some of those SNAKE EYES/AMBROSE CHAPEL/NAZI GOLD ideas into FEMME FATALE, a masterwork. He'd hoped to make TOYER right after that, and when that stalled, he jumped onto THE BLACK DAHLIA, a book he'd enjoyed and that he made into a film that, while great, did not seem to be what audiences had been expecting. After that, he toyed with TOYER again, and also a prequel to THE UNTOUCHABLES that is still in development (and would surely be a mainstream hit). Indifference over REDACTED combined with economic tightening within the industry seems to have stalled De Palma's other projects.

De Palma would love to make THE DEMOLISHED MAN-- he said so himself recently when asked what his dream project would be. But he would probably need a hit first before anyone would give him the kind of budget needed. I agree in hoping this new remake of the French film will be a hit.

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 2:27 AM CST

Name: "rado"
Home Page: http://rado.bg

I saw "Unknown" and it was a mess with potential. The exhibition scene being relatively good, but suspense was sorely lacking. What's with all the film being shot on telephoto lens? That really annoyed me to no end. You would think people have general cinema literacy by now. Both "Taken" (action masterpiece) and "From Paris with Love" were vastly superior.

Of course I enjoyed thinking what De Palma would do with such story, it was dynamite (hehe).

Meanwhile, I really enjoyed "The Green Hornet". Did anyone else catch Bennie Blanco from the Bronx in the villain introduction? So funny.

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