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Warren Beatty's
Howard Hughes
moving forward

Filmmaker Mike
Cahill believes
he has world's
first double-
vertigo shot

Rie Rasmussen
to direct remake
of Cronenberg's
Shivers

Mentor Tarantino
says she's the "perfect
choice" to direct

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

Spielberg Predicts
'Implosion' of
Film Industry

Scorsese tests
new Zaillian
script for
The Irishman
with De Niro,
Pacino, Pesci

James Franco
plans to direct
& star in
adaptation of Ellroy's
American Tabloid

Coppola on
his recent films:
"What I was
trying to do with
those films was to
make three student
films in order to
try and set a new
trajectory and try to
say, 'Well, what
happens if I have no
resources?' Now, having
done that, my new
work is going to be
much more ambitious
and bigger in scope and
budget and ambition,
but now building on a
new confidence or
assurance. The three
little films were very
useful. I'm glad I did
it. I hope George Lucas
does it, because he
has a wonderful personal
filmmaking ability that
people haven't seen
for a while."

Sean Penn to
direct De Niro
as raging comic
in The Comedian

Scarlett to make
directorial feature
debut with
Capote story

Keith Gordon
teaming up
with C. Nolan for
supernatural
thriller that
he will write
and direct

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-Picture emerging
for Happy Valley

-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
for Paterno film
Happy Valley

« February 2009 »
S M T W T F S
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
Country Cinephile

So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

Entries by Topic
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 4, 2009
BASHIR COMPARED TO REDACTED
AS BOTH FILMS CONCLUDE WITH REAL IMAGES
Filmbo at Filmbo's Chick Magnet has posted a comparison between Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir and Brian De Palma's Redacted. Filmbo had a problem with Folman's use of real video at the end of his mostly animated film (the film was drawn and animated after using actors to stage scenes for reference). Filmbo writes:Though more egregiously, the videos at the end of Waltz with Bashir attempt to garner support for the film's political agenda by appealing to the emotions of the spectator. The film actually uses pictures of dead, Palestinian babies to manipulate the opinions of its audience. It's quite a decision by the filmmakers, who up until this point resembled Alain Resnais and Richard Linklater.

It reminded me of the end of Brian De Palma's Redacted and the film's near-decision to commit the exact same manipulation. But Redacted is a smarter film. I'm not sure whether it is important to credit Magnolia with this and believe the Hi Mom!-esque controversy over their decision to redact De Palma's images, or whether you should credit De Palma and see the controversy as a scripted "Be Black, Baby" stunt meant to emphasize the film's satire over its politics. The impact of the film's ending carries the same treasure trove of meaning either way. The redaction of the "dead baby" images are the final punchline to Redacted, for it says that even De Palma's film can not exist without some form of censorship. And like the youtube clips that run throughout the film, Redacted's finale is yet another jab at the empty means and empty language with which some people express their politics.

Actually, it's final punchline is Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir, a film Redacted prophetically satirized more than a year in advance.


Posted by Geoff at 1:23 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 1:24 PM CST
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Saturday, January 31, 2009
DE PALMA'S FLASHDANCE PARODY
UPDATED February 3 2009
 IN THE SEEMINGLY FORGOTTEN VIDEO FOR "RELAX"


Pop Music Notes yesterday ran a post about music videos that have been reshot for certain markets. Included is a comparison of the three videos shot for Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax. The first one "featured what can best be described as a leather bar/sex club setting," according to the post, which was perhaps a little risque for regular music channels. Godley & Creme then directed a more standard performance video with a laserbeam theme. And later on, to help promote Body Double, which featured the song as kind of a centerpiece, Brian De Palma directed a video for the song that included scenes from his film. However, there is often confusion about this rare clip, as the scene in the film itself plays much like a music video (the clip taken directly from Body Double is all over YouTube, and that is the one originally posted at Pop Music Notes-- it has since been corrected).

The actual music video (posted above) features extra shots that are not in the film, including a close-up of the "Indian" walking around the club, and the members of the band on stage (laserbeams included), and later, looking through telescopes set up at the club's window and seeing several scenes from Body Double, including said "Indian" about to murder Gloria Revelle (the video ends with the suspension of the murder and the lead singer turning his head from the telescope, looking directly at the audience as he sings "Come" and the frame freezes-- as if to say "go to the movies to see what happens!"). Also included in the video is a very funny parody of Flashdance, a film De Palma was almost coerced into directing. Around 1982, De Palma had signed on to direct Flashdance believing that if he did this one for the team, the producer would help De Palma get his pet project on the Yablonski murders in gear. However, De Palma quit Flashdance after two weeks.

In the Relax video, a man (who may or may not be a member of the band) dressed up as a woman in a wig and a dress (another De Palma staple given extra weight in a film called Body Double) does a Flashdance-type routine on stage that culminates with the money shot of the transvestite pulling the chain that lets the water loose onto his/her body as it sits in a chair, just as the music breaks (and just before the lead singer lets out the song's trademark "huh!"). As Drew points out in a comment to this post, the joke's origin also seems to lay in the fact that "the Flashdance filmmakers famously used a male body double for several of Flashdance-star Jennifer Beales' more complicated dance moves," including a breakdance audition scene. (Thanks, Drew!)

They should really include this video on any future DVD release of the film.


Posted by Geoff at 12:17 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 12:12 AM CST
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Monday, January 26, 2009
"BE BLACK, BABY" & INAUGURATION DAY
BLOGGER CITES IDEAL TIMING OF HI, MOM! SCREENING IN AUSTIN LAST WEEK
At Tractor Facts this past Thursday, "Fox" posted an essay about last Tuesday's screening of Hi, Mom! in Austin, Texas. According to Fox...Before the show, our emcee prefaced it with a shaky disclaimer of "if you're offended by anything in this film, just remember what era it's from". He also admitted feeling a tad uneasy knowing that "this was the movie we were showing on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated". Having seen Hi, Mom! before, I immediately knew what our timid host was referring to, and that was the (in)famous "Be Black, Baby" sequence that practically takes over the second half of the film.

But what our host completely misunderstood, was that "Be Black, Baby", and the entirety of Hi, Mom!, makes for the most ideal type of viewing on a day when a black man was sworn into our nation's highest office. Because even though we just elected our first African-American president - and probably because of that - our culture has become more gun shy and eggshell aware than ever before. The elephant in the room that is "race" has been shrunk and is now hanging around the neck of every American daring to engage in a discussion of social politics.

Once again, in taking a step toward "political progress", what's sadly come along with that is an underbelly of weak-kneed cultural distress and a hesitation over open discussions.

SOCIAL RELEVANCE IN THE AGE OF OBAMA
Fox's post was challenged in the comments section by The Cooler's Jason Bellamy, which led Fox to clarify in a subsequent comment:

So to take the elephant in the room being "shrunk" thing, yeah, it does sound like I'm saying it's lessened, but what I meant to imply was that everyone now carries it with them wherever they go. It's not just in the room, it's around our necks, hanging over our heads, behind our eyes, etc.

More clearly, yes, I think race is even more touchy a subject now that Obama is president. That's not the President's fault, it's just the current climate...

But I think you may be missing my point about Hi, Mom!. (And again, I will concede that I may have done a not so swell job of laying it out...).

I'm not saying that it's so socially relevant today because it openly confronts race issues (which it does), but rather because it highlights both a soft-headed, submissive mentality (the audience members in Hi, Mom! who feel that going through the Be Black, Baby gauntlet grants them instant enlightenment the way many people feel an Obama election grants the country instant salvation) and militant-style discourse (the radicals that who put on the play and confront people on the streets with the notion that only their point-of-view is the just one) that is currently dominating our political culture.

Mind you, I don't mean to imply that the above is exclusive to a leftist/liberal ideologie, it's just the phase we're currently in, and what DePalma chose to target for this particular film. (Still, he makes it clear that Jon slides along the ideological scale, becoming a right-wing bigot in the end after commiting a terrorist attack).

JON RUBIN, IDEOLOGICAL CHAMELEON
Fox mentions this latter point in his original post:

The final scene in Hi, Mom! brings us back to Jon Rubin, who, overnight, has gone from leftist urban guerrilla to hawkish right-wing bigot. DePalma is showing the fine line that exists between these two ideological fringes of extremism. As a good friend often says to me, when you move too far along either end of the political spectrum, eventually you may find yourself around onto the other side.

After ripping through a slur-filled rant to a news reporter, Jon looks at the screen and says "Hi, Mom!". Freeze shot, the end. And what a timely image for a post-Election '08 American audience to take in in this age where the cult of personality is raging like I've never seen it before.

Also in the insightful essay, Fox says a few words about De Palma and the many labels attached to him over the years before delving deeper into the context of "Be Black, Baby" within the whole of Hi, Mom!, using frames from the film to illustrate the confused motivations between promoting and participating in the radical theater production.


Posted by Geoff at 3:11 PM CST
Updated: Monday, January 26, 2009 7:52 PM CST
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Thursday, January 22, 2009
CAHIERS CHOOSES REDACTED
AS BEST FILM OF 2008
The editors at Cahiers du cinéma have chosen Brian De Palma's Redacted as the best film of 2008. Number three on their list is Matt Reeves' Cloverfield, a film that shares a similar technological theme with Redacted. Joel & Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men was number four on the Cahiers list. You can see the entire top 10 list by clicking here-- if you go down the page a bit, there are several links to articles about Redacted stemming from the magazine's cover story last February.

OTHER TOP 10 LISTS
Redacted, which was released in the U.S. in 2007, had made at least six critics' top 10 lists for that year: Glen Schaefer (#6 on his list), Mick LaSalle (#5), Scott Foundas (#10, tied with No End in Sight and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Stephanie Zacharek (#10, tied with No End in Sight), Christoph Huber (#6), and Bill Krohn (#10). Now for 2008, there are at least two more French critics who have placed Redacted on their top 10 lists. According to the January-February issue of Film Comment, French film critic and radio personality Frédéric Bonnaud has placed Redacted at number 10 on his list. Bonnaud's number one film was James Gray's Two Lovers, which was number five on the Cahiers editors' list, and which seems to have made the top 10 lists of many in France-- Gray's film opens in the U.S. on February 13th. Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited was number three on Bonnaud's list.

Fiches du cinéma critic Pierre-Simon Gutman listed his top 10 in no particular order-- it includes Redacted, Appaloosa, Grace is Gone, and, listed first (although there is "no order" intended), Two Lovers. The latter film was also chosen as best of the year by the Fiches editors. Sean Penn's Into The Wild topped the Fiches readers' poll of best films of 2008.


Posted by Geoff at 12:33 AM CST
Updated: Monday, January 26, 2009 12:43 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
LOFT NODS TO DE PALMA
BELGIAN HIT IS A THRILLER WITH ONE TWIST AFTER ANOTHER
Erik Van Looy's Loft, written by Bart De Pauw, opened to great success last October in Belgium. The film apparently features several nods to Brian De Palma. Variety's Boyd Van Hoeij wrote that the film features "a nod to Brian De Palma in a standout sequence at a casino." FilmFreak's Alex De Rouck mentions that Van Looy and De Pauw emphatically wink to De Palma "in his Hitchcock period (especially in the long scenes in Dusseldorf and in the casino)." The film currently has no release date for the U.S., but, despite both critics' feeling that the film has one twist too many, it seems worth keeping an eye out for...

Posted by Geoff at 6:01 PM CST
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Monday, January 19, 2009

A poster designed by Methane Studios for the upcoming Austin Film Society screening of Carrie...


Posted by Geoff at 11:36 PM CST
Updated: Monday, January 19, 2009 11:38 PM CST
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A poster designed by Tim Doyle for the upcoming Austin Film Society screening of Phantom Of The Paradise...

(Thanks to Adam!)


Posted by Geoff at 11:32 PM CST
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Saturday, January 10, 2009
AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY DRAWS DE PALMA'S "FIRST BLOOD"
WITH SCREENINGS OF EARLY WORKS JAN. 13-Feb. 10
The Austin Film Society is running a program this month called First Blood: The Early Films Of Brian De Palma. The program kicks off this Tuesday, January 13, with a screening of the DVD of Murder a la Mod (the 7pm screening is already sold out, but there are still tickets left for the 9pm screening). The 7pm screening of Greetings (also from a DVD) on January 17th is also sold out, as is the 7pm screening of Dionysus In '69 (from a DVD) on January 24th. The 9pms are still available in both cases. The other films being screened are Hi, Mom! (35mm print from the MGM archive screens January 20th), Sisters (35mm print from the Academy archives screens January 27th), Phantom Of The Paradise (digital version from Criterion Pictures to be screened via DVCam February 3rd), and Carrie (35mm print from the MGM archive screens February 10th). See the website for specific screening locations, but also to read the terrific summaries provided by the Austin Film Society's Guest Curator Bryan Poyser, who writes the following as part of an introduction to the program:

The seven films presented here display a provocative, free-wheeling, politically subversive sensibility, rich with sarcasm and gleeful satire, bent on jolting the audience into thinking about what they’re seeing rather than lulling them with fantasy or romanticism. Undoubtedly, it is this rigorous and contrarian agenda that keeps most audiences and critics from fully embracing De Palma, but perhaps also makes him both the most frustrating and addictively watchable filmmaker of his generation.


Posted by Geoff at 11:19 PM CST
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Thursday, January 8, 2009
2 NEW ESSAYS ON DE PALMA
ROMAIN COVERS "DEBUTS"; GREVEN ON "SPLIT WORLD" OF CARRIE
The Virtuoso of the 7th Art's Romain Desbiens has posted a new summary of Brian De Palma's early works on a page titled, Les Debuts New-Yorkais 1961-1971. The page, which is currently only available in French, features Romain's usual array of well-chosen and well-layed-out images from De Palma's films, as well as those of his influences. Meanwhile, David Greven has written an essay called "Medusa in the Mirror: The Split World of Brian De Palma's Carrie." You can read it at the Australian online journal Refractory. Greven's essay is part of a special issue devoted to split and double screens.

Posted by Geoff at 2:57 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2009 2:58 PM CST
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Thursday, January 1, 2009
CRUISE CONSULTS SCHWAB
VALKYRIE'S 2ND UNIT DIRECTOR & VISUAL CONSULTANT

Eric Schwab, who advanced from location manager to second unit director under Brian De Palma's wing throughout the '80s and '90s, is credited as second unit director on Bryan Singer's new film, Valkyrie, which stars Tom Cruise. Schwab is also credited as "visual consultant" on Valkyrie, a credit he was also given on Cruise's last big action film, Mission: Impossible III. It is nice to see Cruise putting his trust in the eye of Schwab after working with him and De Palma on the first Mission: Impossible film in 1996.

I saw Valkyrie recently, and found it a solid work of suspense that could be considered something like Mission: Impossible goes to World War II. The film moves quite rapidly, demanding the viewer's attention to keep up with the mechanics of the characters' plot to kill Hitler, and throwing us into moments of suspense that are deliciously fun to watch. It all leads to some pretty powerful scenes near the end as the coup plot comes undone.

Schwab was trusted by De Palma in 2007 to shoot all of the faux "French documentary" footage for De Palma's Redacted himself. In 2001, Schwab wrote and directed his own feature, The Learning Curve.


Posted by Geoff at 2:47 PM CST
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