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Friday, July 3, 2009
PHANTOM INSPIRATION FOR MOULD
Hüsker Dü member says he shows De Palma film to bands
Bob Mould, of Hüsker Dü and Sugar fame, was the guest editor at magnetmagazine.com last week. Mould's initial editor's desk column was all about Phantom Of The Paradise. Mould incorrectly states that Winslow Leach was played by Gerrit Graham (Leach was, of course, played by William Finley), but his enthusiasm for the film is obvious. Here is what Mould wrote:

Phantom Of The Paradise is a Brian De Palma spectacle that combines The Phantom Of The Opera, Faust and glam rock. The film was released on Oct. 31, 1974. Paul Williams is cast in the role of Swan, the svengali of Death Records, who is auditioning musicians for the opening of a revolutionary new club called The Paradise. Winslow Leach, a nerdy songwriter (played by Gerrit Graham), manages to get his song heard (and then stolen) by Swan. Classic rock ‘n’ roll insanity ensues. There is a brilliant scene that depicts Leach in a recording-studio control room, seated at the keyboard, working feverishly to complete his cantata for the opening night of The Paradise. Leach is wearing his owl-like Phantom helmet/mask, speaking through a vocoder/oscillator, surrounded by pills and sheet music. For some reason it reminds me of—or maybe foreshadows—Daft Punk. It is also surely a coincide that the cantata is written for, and about to be sung, by Leach’s love interest, whose name is Phoenix (played by Jessica Harper). Hmm.

The original title of the film was to be Phantom, but it was changed at the last-minute, to avoid potential legal conflict with the copyright holders of The Phantom comic strip. In addition, almost all references to Swan Song Enterprises, the ubiquitous media concern that was headed by Swan, were removed from the film. The instigator of said removal was Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin, who had created Swansong Records (an actual label) just prior to the release of the film. Grant was a major thorn in the side of 20th Century Fox, and his threats to block the release of the film forced De Palma and 20th Century Fox to mask or recut major portions of the film. The original theatrical release was met with the sound of no hands clapping, except for, inexplicably, the city of Winnipeg, where the movie and soundtrack were enormous successes. In the intervening years, two Phantompalooza events have taken place in Winnipeg. I love showing this movie to bands on the eve of recording sessions. It’s a great way to get everyone, including myself, to unwind a bit before the big day.


Posted by Geoff at 12:13 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
PUBLIC ENEMIES ON VIEW
INEVITABLE COMPARISONS TO THE UNTOUCHABLES ENSUE

Michael Mann's Public Enemies opened today in North America, with many critics referencing Brian De Palma's The Untouchables in their reviews of the new film. Here are some samplings:

Marshall Fine at Hollywood & Fine:
As I said, this movie is all about the action: There’s very little that could be construed as scenes of Dillinger planning his heists. The bank jobs themselves are brief – the shoot-outs and get-aways afterward take up more time. There’s little of the flashy melodrama, for example, that made Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables so operatically enjoyable.

James Berardinelli at ReelViews:
Obvious candidates for comparison are Arthur Penn's 1967 touchstone, Bonnie and Clyde, and Brian De Palma's 1987 The Untouchables. Public Enemies lacks the fire and energy of the former and the operatic grandeur of the latter. Mann's approach to this story is businesslike and low-key; he's not trying for something epic. His goal is to demythologize Dillinger - something at which he is only partially successful...

...The director's objective is to emphasize drama over suspense and, as a result, the kind of fast pace and narrative momentum often associated with a thriller is absent here. However, there are individual scenes in which Mann ratchets up the level of tension. The most apparent of these is a seemingly throw-away sequence: after escaping from the Crown Pointe jail, Dillinger and his pals sit at a red traffic light in the stolen car in plain view of everyone in town, including law enforcement officials. It seems that the light will never turn green; endless seconds tick by. Passersby turn to look at the car. The scene, intentionally drawn-out for maximum effect, is as agonizing as De Palma's famous homage to The Battleship Potemkin's Odessa Steps in The Untouchables.

Liam Lacey at The Globe And Mail:
From his first feature, Thief , through his TV series Miami Vice and Crime Story to the epic cops and robbers duel in Heat , Mann has shown himself a poet of shoot 'em up mayhem. Public Enemies should have been his grand opus. Instead, the film feels restrained and pictorial. Compared with the convulsions of Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather or Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, or the raging gangster flicks of the Thirties, it's a coffee-table book.

Armond White at the New York Press:
Public Enemies tries to out-grandiose De Palma’s lavish The Untouchables but pop-satirist De Palma understood genre. Mann’s just a dilettante. There’s no narrative pulse; this is a show-offy, contemplative crime movie, which means the genre is deadened from the get-go. Long sequences of Dillinger’s heists and breakouts contrast G-Man Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) in drawn-out pursuit sequences. Even the shoot-outs seem desultory rather than urgent. Not good guys vs. bad guys, but equalizing crime and virtue, chaos and order. Mann’s decision to delete music from the combat scenes (intended to win critical plaudits) creates a dull pretentiousness. Technical flamboyance meets spiritual aridity. Mann’s B-movie cool is never as hip or craftsmanly as Tarantino’s. Mann takes emotion out of gangsterism. His no-hope gunfights avoid a rooting interest; we’re put in a cynic’s position watching history play out— even though Mann’s J. Edgar Hoover–bashing (portrayed by Billy Crudup) rewrites history with smug hindsight. Every scene’s strangely aestheticized, not dramatically involving, as if Mann was stepping back and observing his own masterly canvas.

J.R. Jones at the Chicago Reader:
The liberties Mann takes with the facts are reminiscent of Brian De Palma’s in The Untouchables, where Eliot Ness decides to get tough with Capone by policing outside the lines. Mann has Hoover (Billy Crudup) ordering Purvis to “take off the white gloves.” Subsequently Purvis’s men torture a suspect in his hospital room by applying pressure to a wound and try to beat a confession out of Dillinger’s loyal gun moll, Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard).

Elliott J. Gorn at Slate:
Ultimately, Mann fails to capture the essence of the Dillinger story because Public Enemies is a gangster movie. The clothes the men wear, the scenes they inhabit, and the language they speak all resonate with that genre. Most of the action takes place in director Michael Mann's hometown, Chicago, and Mann again and again makes references to other gangster films. One can't look at his scenes shot in the lobby of Union Station or at the old financial district on La Salle Street and not think of The Untouchables.

Stephen Schaefer at the Boston Herald:
But what is Public Enemies trying to say really? Unlike Bonnie and Clyde which blatantly and effectively romanticized a pair of Depression era bank robbers as doomed young lovers, Public Enemies presents John Dillinger as too brutal and flawed to be heroic yet hardly a figure of evil. The great Thirties gangster update remains Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables precisely because it was a classic example of the good cop – Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness – determined to bring down the very bad gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro). Mann and company have muddied the waters too much – or not enough – making the good guys slightly sinister and creepy and the bad guys not worth cheering, much less crying over.

Kenneth Turan at the Los Angeles Times:
Mann often wants to do traditional films but do them differently, do them better, enabling the audience to feel both the newness and the tradition. With Public Enemies, he has made an impressive film of great formal skill, one that inescapably has a brooding dark-night-of-the-soul quality about it.

Simultaneously an art film and a crime film, Mann's latest work (he shares screenplay credit with Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman) may not give you a ton to hang on to emotionally, but the beauty and skill of the filmmaking keep you tightly in its grasp...

...The story Mann and company set out to tell is in part the traditional one of the doomed love of outsiders on the run and in part a newer, more socially aware interpretation of gangsterdom, the story of lone criminal wolves, in Mann's words, "being pressed on both sides by twin evolutionary forces -- on the one hand J. Edgar Hoover inventing the FBI, and on the other, organized crime evolving rapidly into a kind of corporate capitalism." We're a long way from The Untouchables here.

AND OTHER REVIEWS OF NOTE...

Sean Burns at the Philadelphia Weekly:
In Mann’s boldest, most controversial stroke, form becomes content in Public Enemies . Dillinger has reemerged into a modern alien landscape he can’t understand, and thus Mann shoots the entire film in handheld hi-definition video. There’s not an establishing shot to be found, or any of the pretty period niceties we expect from pictures like this. The movie looks raw, aggressive and sometimes awfully ugly. 


It also looks wrong —1930s icons are in period dress, yet they’re also in overlit, trembling CNN video, surrounded by inconsistent color-timing and strange blurs from the popping light sources. Somehow this insane choice lends a freakish immediacy to Public Enemies, as if it’s happening right now instead of in the distant past. I spent the entire movie on the edge of my seat even though we all already know everything about John Dillinger at the Biograph Theater and the ending is a foregone conclusion.

Matt Zoller Seitz at IFC:
[Mann is] virtually unique among A-list auteurs shooting in high-def in that not only does he not try to make it look like film, he goes out of his way to call attention to the fact that it’s video. Why? A theory: besides indicating a true artist's respect for the properties of the medium he’s chosen (painters don’t break their backs trying to make watercolor resemble oil paint), Mann is looking to amp up immediacy and shatter the usual subliminal reassurances that we’re watching a movie and it’s not “really” happening. Film is about things that happen to other people, usually people who are a lot richer and prettier than we are. Video is about what happens to us, at a birthday party or memorial service, in line at the bank, on the sidelines at a news event. The video-ness of the video in Public Enemies is discombobulating in a good way; when we look at all these handsome men and women in their period clothes, driving their period cars and speaking their period slang, we’re not seeing something that happened long ago, something safely removed from our own experience. It’s happening right now, live, right in front of us. Not many big summer films help us see familiar situations through fresh eyes. Public Enemies is one such movie: perhaps not minor Mann at all, but something major, a work that needs to be seen, absorbed and argued about more than once.

Manohla Dargis at the New York Times:
Michael Mann’s Public Enemies is a grave and beautiful work of art. Shot in high-definition digital by a filmmaker who’s helping change the way movies look, it revisits with meticulous detail and convulsions of violence a short, frantic period in the life and bank-robbing times of John Dillinger, an Indiana farm boy turned Depression outlaw, played by a low-voltage Johnny Depp. Much of what makes the movie pleasurable is the vigor with which it restages our familiar romance with period criminals, a perennial affair. But what also makes it more than the sum of its spectacular shootouts is the ambivalence about this romance that seeps into the filmmaking, steadily darkening the skies and draining the story of easy thrills.

Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times:
This is a very good film, with Depp and Bale performances of brutal clarity. I'm trying to understand why it is not quite a great film. I think it may be because it deprives me of some stubborn need for closure. His name was John Dillinger, and he robbed banks. But there had to be more to it than that, right? No, apparently not.


Posted by Geoff at 11:39 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
BRILLIANT STRUT
EXTRA RECALLS WORKING ON SET OF CARLITO'S WAY

Nick Leshi posted today about his experience working as an extra on the set of Carlito's Way-- here are some excerpts:

Even though you can't see a glimpse of me in the final film, it's still one of my fondest memories.

I had done some stage work before and had just finished a stint as an extra on Law & Order, so to me this was the big time. I first had to go to Kaufman Studios in Astoria to get fitted for my costume. This was a period gangster film, so they had me decked out in platform shoes, bell-bottom pants, a polyester shirt like the kind Larry used to wear on Three's Company, and big framed slightly tinted glasses. Gotta love the disco era!

The film shoot took place at the Palladium, the old night club in Manhattan. It seemed like there must have been over 200 other extras for the scene in which Carlito Brigante and his lawyer were celebrating his release from prison. Even though I was one of many, I was thrilled to be on the same set as actors Al Pacino and Sean Penn, and director Brian De Palma...

...I was one of the lucky ones chosen to be near the principle actors. They had me walk behind the table where Pacino and Penn were doing their scene. I did it a bunch of times, and each time I strutted like I was the king of the world.

I stayed professional and focused while cameras were rolling. At one point between takes, I made eye contact with Pacino and I couldn't resist giving him two big thumbs up and a goofy grin. (I swear, I was still in character as a goofy nightclub patron!) Al Pacino just rolled his eyes at me. Correction -- Carlito Brigante rolled his eyes at me!

Months later, I went to see the movie and I wasn't surprised to see no trace of my brilliant strut on the silver screen. It didn't bother me too much. It was still a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:04 AM CDT
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Monday, June 29, 2009
RABBIT AVAILABLE JULY 7
AS A WARNER BROS. ARCHIVE TITLE
Get To Know Your Rabbit, which was mostly directed by Brian De Palma (see my post from last week), will be made available as a Warner Bros. Archive title beginning July 7th. You can place pre-orders right now at the Warner Archive shop (thanks to Ryan for the heads up!). So it doesn't look like Warner Bros. is planning a wide DVD release of the title, but we do get to own a widescreen edition of this rare and overlooked work from De Palma. Looking forward to it.

Posted by Geoff at 6:55 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
ARMOND WHIITE ON HURT LOCKER
AND OTHER VIEWS ON REDACTED, CASUALTIES OF WAR

Armond White reviews Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker in this week's New York Press, and the second word of his review is "Brian De Palma"--

Although Brian De Palma lost his artistic bearings on the anti–Iraq War bandwagon, director Kathryn Bigelow found her perfect subject. That’s the difference between De Palma’s confused, preachy Redacted and Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. Bigelow (working from a script by Mark Boal) stays focused on the personalities of soldiers during Bravo company’s last 39 days of rotation in 2004 Baghdad. An early reconnaissance jest (“It’s my dick.”) between Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Sgt. Thompson (Guy Pearce) recalls De Palma’s ribaldry, but it also indicates Bigelow’s erotic view of masculine endeavor—here defining the propensity for violence and bravery during war.

It's nice to know that White is chalking up his dislike of Redacted to De Palma "losing his artistic bearings" because he supposedly jumped on the anti-Iraq war bandwagon, but I would counter that with Redacted, De Palma had just begun to discover new artistic bearings that were compromised even within that film's already meager budget. In the introduction for this interview with the British artist Legofesto, writer Andy Carling describes how De Palma had wanted to use Legofesto's recreation of the rape and murder of a Mahmudiya family by soldiers in Redacted. He quotes De Palma discussing the things he had to leave out of his film:

It started with small things, like the Legofesto site for example. Here’s a site that actually reconstructs the incident with Legos, shows a Lego figure being raped, blood on the floor, etc. and is critical of the event, but the lawyers come and say, we can’t use it because it has a brand name - Lego. Not that they are to blame. If you put it in its real context - an Internet blog using Lego figures to illustrate an event, I could not see the problem, but legal vetting is set to safeguard and in that respect, who wants the possibility of going to war with Lego?

De Palma did not even originally plan to have a screenplay for Redacted, but was forced to write one and to follow it by the studio. He must have realized he would need one to get financing for a future movie in the same vein as Redacted, so he wrote a script tentatively titled Shoot The Messenger, a project which would have used a form similar to that of the purposely fractured yet streamlined Redacted. It is a shame that financing could not be found for a more radical project such as Shoot The Messenger, which purported to use another internet-like web of sources to delve into the way stories are invented and sold to the public as a way of distorting the truth.

In a double-review of Errol Morris' Standard Operating Procedure and Nick Broomfield's Battle For Haditha, Phil Nugent delved into a discussion of De Palma's war films:

In Haditha, as in some of the Vietnam war movies such as Full Metal Jacket, war puts decent young men into situations where they're temporarily driven insane, which means they cannot be judged. Some reviewers--and, it seems, the director himself--have taken the opportunity to use Broomfield's movie as a club against Brian De Palma's Redacted, just as De Palma's Vietnam movie Casualties of War was denounced by the critics who'd hailed Full Metal Jacket and Platoon as realistic and morally tough-minded. Part of De Palma's message in both his war movies was that atrocities happen when there's an instigator there to get the ball rolling. The other Vietnam movies were part of a culture that sought to make peace with Vietnam vets who felt they'd been maligned and even demonized as part of the overall effort to criticize the war when it was going on, and they did that in part by saying that "war" is so deranging that those who'd done bad things in the field shouldn't be held responsible for anything at all, though they did have the option of feeling sorry for themselves. The ball somehow gets itself rolling. Haditha, portraying American soldiers going batshit psychotic for a brief bloody spell and then switching back to their normal selves, like the Hulk turning back into Bruce Banner, just in time to deliver a climactic soul-searching speech to the bathroom mirror, is a continuation of that trend, and it may seem a very comforting approach for people who want to express horror at what goes on in Iraq but who are terrified that if they seem to criticize any individual soldiers, they'll be accused of not "supporting the troops." What's missing from this attitude is any awareness of, let alone respect and sympathy for, the soldiers who don't go batshit and manage to hang onto their moral bearings, such as the soldier who reported the actual abduction and rape that formed the basis for the story told in Casualties of War, or the helicopter pilot who broke up the My Lai massacre, and all the numberless members of the military who go through just as much hell as anyone in war but resist the urge to run amok. One of the most resonant interviews in Standard Operating Procedure is with a guy who explains that he didn't break up the fun at Abu Ghraib and who agreed to take some pictures because, "Me being the kind of person I am, I try to be friends with everybody. I'm a nice guy, so I took [the picture]. I try not to have anybody mad at me." (This sap goes on to say that the fact that he got in trouble for his actions proves that "being a nice guy doesn't pay off," and then laments, or boasts, that since he got home, people say he's not as nice as he used to be.) The Iraq war was unnecessary, and served no good purpose, but once the president decided that he really, really wanted it, it didn't take too much work from the government to sell the media on making it seem that if you wanted to be a nice guy, if you didn't want anybody mad at you, you had to want this war too. The heroes of My Lai and the Casualties of War rape case and other nightmares were the ones who were willing to be disliked, who thought it was more important to do the obvious right thing than to be thought of as nice guys, and who, by their very existence, show the "War makes you crazy and absolves you of responsibility" school of thought for the self-protective, buck-passing line of horseshit that it is. The people at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere did unforgivable, monstrous things for the best and worst of reasons: they didn't want to be thought of as troublemakers.


Posted by Geoff at 12:19 PM CDT
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Sunday, June 21, 2009
RABBIT DVD FROM WB
RUMORED FOR THIS SUMMER...
When Warner Bros. opened up its archive vault last March, making many of its overlooked films available via on-demand DVDs for $19.95 each (or $14.95 for a digital download version), I put in a request for Brian De Palma's Get To Know Your Rabbit, a 1972 WB release that has never been available on DVD. Looks like we won't have to go the on-demand route after all-- according to a posting on GreenCine's Twitter page, Warner Bros. plans to release Get To Know Your Rabbit on DVD this summer (and, mind you, today is officially the first day of summer). If true, this will complete the availability of each of De Palma's feature films in the DVD format, in one country or another (Dionysus In '69 has only been released on DVD in France).

Get To Know Your Rabbit was made right after De Palma's Hi, Mom! in 1970, but, after the studio fired De Palma and completed the film with another uncredited director, it sat on a shelf until Warner Bros. dumped it into theaters in 1972 as part of a double bill. De Palma ran afoul of the studio when he suggested a new ending which would see star Tommy Smothers' tap-dancing magician escape the dual traps of conformity and commodification by appearing to make a bloody mess of a live rabbit on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Smothers also got nervous about De Palma's direction, and since the whole project was conceived as a vehicle for the star, De Palma was locked out. Despite the compromised vision, though, what remains in the bulk of the film is a comedy that flows with De Palma's sardonic sense of the absurd, as a continuation of the countercultural indifference on display in Greetings and Hi, Mom!. There are some nice recent evaluations of the film by Daniel Kremer at conFluence Films and (from 2006) Nicolas Rapold at Reverse Shot.


Posted by Geoff at 9:32 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, June 22, 2009 1:45 AM CDT
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Thursday, June 18, 2009
ANCIENT LAKE ON MARS
DEEP IMPLICATIONS FOR DISCOVERY OF PAST LIFE
From a University of Colorado press release yesterday: A University of Colorado at Boulder research team has discovered the first definitive evidence of shorelines on Mars, an indication of a deep, ancient lake there and a finding with implications for the discovery of past life on the Red Planet.

Estimated to be more than 3 billion years old, the lake appears to have covered as much as 80 square miles and was up to 1,500 feet deep -- roughly the equivalent of Lake Champlain bordering the United States and Canada, said Gaetano Di Achille, who led the study. The shoreline evidence, found along a broad delta, included a series of alternating ridges and troughs thought to be surviving remnants of beach deposits.

"This is the first unambiguous evidence of shorelines on the surface of Mars," said Di Achille. "The identification of the shorelines and accompanying geological evidence allows us to calculate the size and volume of the lake, which appears to have formed about 3.4 billion years ago"...

...The deltas adjacent to the lake are of high interest to planetary scientists because deltas on Earth rapidly bury organic carbon and other biomarkers of life, according to CU-Boulder Assistant Professor [Brian] Hynek. Most astrobiologists believe any present indications of life on Mars will be discovered in the form of subterranean microorganisms.

But in the past, lakes on Mars would have provided cozy surface habitats rich in nutrients for such microbes, Hynek said.


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2009 12:03 AM CDT
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Saturday, June 13, 2009
IS DE PALMA A MAGICIAN?
"NOPE-- IN 1980, HE WAS JUST THAT GOOD"
Billy at Tower Farm Reviews has posted a highly entertaining review of Dressed To Kill. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

Few Hollywood directors in the 70s and 80s were doing things on film as sleazy as Brian De Palma was. Take Dressed To Kill, for example, which is a charming tale involving rape fantasy, adultery, venereal disease, murderous transsexuals, high-priced hookers and Dennis Franz. Now, in the hands of anyone else, this would look like exactly what it is: Tinto Brass-level, grade-Z Eurotrash. Hell, set it in Nazi Germany and you’ve got something like Salon Kitty. But, in the split-screened, slow-motioned hands of Brian De Palma, it somehow becomes a respectable American thriller that is often viewed as the 1980s answer to Psycho.

How is this possible? This is a movie that involves female masturbation in the opening shot! Is Brian De Palma a magician? Are all those fancy crane shots actually just ways to hypnotize the audience into thinking that Angie Dickinson’s nether-regions are artistic statements?

Nope. I’d have to say that in 1980, Brian De Palma was just that good.


Posted by Geoff at 10:27 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 13, 2009 10:28 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 11, 2009
FOURTH MISSION DEVELOPING
ABRAMS INVITED TO PRODUCE WITH CRUISE
According to a blurb in the latest issue of Tv Guide, Tom Cruise has invited J.J. Abrams, who directed MI:3, to produce a fourth feature film in the Mission: Impossible franchise. You can read the entire blurb at left, but Abrams says that he and Cruise have a "really cool idea" for a new film, which may have a new director, unless Abrams decides to stay on and direct again. Cruise is smart to stick with Abrams for such a project, given that Abrams is currently on a high with Paramount, the studio for which he just made the Star Trek movie, which is a big hit. Paramount, of course, owns the rights to the Mission: Impossible franchise.

The scan of the article at left is courtesy of Spoiler TV.


Posted by Geoff at 2:02 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:04 AM CDT
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009
THE FUSS & THE FURY
EMERSON ASKS: "CAN A MOVIE RUIN A GOOD REVIEW?"
Today Jim Emerson's Scanners blog discusses the way a film review can set expectations for a work that make actually viewing the thing a letdown. His first example is Pauline Kael's "intoxicating" review of Brian De Palma's The Fury. Emerson writes: The movie itself was a bit of a letdown for me after that review, but Kael's enthusiasm proved infectious. I'm sure I've seen The Fury at least half a dozen times and it remains one of my favorite De Palmas (and Carrie Snodgress is one of the most heartbreaking of the tender, funny oddball heroines of early-ish De Palma, alongside Sissy Spacek, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, Genevieve Bujold and Angie Dickinson). Kael's description of the movie's climactic crescendo has never left me:

This finale -- a parody of Antonioni's apocalyptic vision at the close of Zabriskie Point -- is the greatest finish for any villain ever. One can imagine Welles, Peckinpah, Scorsese, and Spielberg still stunned, bowing to the ground, choking with laughter.

Well, once that image has been implanted in your head to accompany the one(s) in the movie (and the villain is John Cassavettes, so there's even more auteur glee on display), it's hard to shake it.

Emerson discusses a couple of other examples before getting into a discussion of A.O. Scott's review of Sam Mendes' Away We Go, and how the review impressed him so much that he is now hesitant to see the actual film.


Posted by Geoff at 1:14 PM CDT
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