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Friday, November 13, 2009
...and I don't really see any deliberate nods to De Palma. I loved the film-- I was one who was impressed with Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, which I felt displayed the mark of a brilliant filmmaker, even if it wasn't a complete success. I have never seen Donnie Darko, even though I am aware that by all accounts, that is the one I need to see (several people have told me not to start with the director's cut, as they feel that Kelly didn't know a good thing when he had it). After seeing The Box, I am convinced that Kelly is a major filmmaker, and will see Donnie Darko as soon as possible. But it is kind of interesting that most people seem to be disappointed with Kelly's two most recent films, and are getting ready to write him off after making a film they loved so much, while I have never seen that first film, and have been very impressed with his recent work.

The thing that strikes me as most De Palma-ish about The Box is the Herrmann-esque music that dominates from start-to-finish. This, combined with Kelly's success at making The Box seem in every way like it was actually made in the 1970s, gave me a strong feeling of De Palma's Sisters. Alternately, the music score by Arcade Fire also brought to mind John Williams' work on De Palma's The Fury, and Ennio Morricone's work on De Palma's Mission To Mars, with its serene sense of inevitable mourning. Yet I never felt these were direct homages-- simply that they seemed to share a certain sensibility (although, --SPOILER ALERT--, Mars ultimately plays a huge part in The Box, so who knows). With The Box, Kelly has taken a brief idea and expanded it with his sense of paranoia in creepy and unexpected ways that I found fascinating. Between Southland Tales and this new movie, Kelly seems to be building toward some sort of perfect beast-- something that will carry his apocalyptic, Twilight Zone-tinged sprawls to a level of cinematic beauty and brilliance. Which means that I am very much looking forward to seeing what he does next.

On a side note, the box's red button under the gleaming dome recalls Kubrick's HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and there was one point as characters are going through a library maze where I got a creepy flashback from Kubrick's The Shining.

Posted by Geoff at 6:34 PM CST
Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009 6:48 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

According to Jerry Dennis at Viva La Geek, Richard Kelly's The Box uses Alan J. Pakula’s The Parallax View and Brian De Palma’s Blow Out "as reference points throughout." Dennis, who likes The Box quite a bit, says the film also has shades of De Palma's Obsession, stating that the score by Arcade Fire " has a deliberate Bernard Herrmann feel to it, specifically his score to Brian De Palma’s Obsession." Dennis writes that while there are "some Lynchian touches in the film," it "has a deliberate Kubrickian style to it as well." Dennis specifically mentions Lynch's Lost Highway and Kubrick's The Shining as having left traces on The Box.

Posted by Geoff at 12:49 PM CST
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible will play on the world's biggest movie screen tonight at England's Pinewood Studios, where parts of the film were shot. De Palma's film will kick off a winter series of drive-in screenings that includes Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket, among others. The studio's water filming facility is being "temporarily transformed into the world's largest cinema screen," according to the press release, which continues:

The largest movie screenings ever recorded have been to mass audiences in Norway and Japan. In 1996 the Oslo Spektrum’s 70mm film screening of Independence Day measured 40.24m in width, and in 2008 the Tokyo Dome played host to a 37m wide IMAX premiere of Speed Racer. Pinewood aims to break the existing world record for the largest ever movie projection with its outdoor drive-in screening of Mission: Impossible this Saturday 7th November.

Managing the projection of Pinewood’s Drive-In, QED Productions Director Paul Wigfield says "We’re projecting onto the world’s largest screen at Pinewood, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for QED to demonstrate the very latest projection technology from Christie, the world leaders in digital cinema. Mission: Impossible seems the perfect choice to beat the existing world record and it will look absolutely sensational."

Posted by Geoff at 1:09 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, November 7, 2009 1:11 AM CST
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Friday, November 6, 2009
Richard Kelly's third film, The Box, opens in theaters today. At left is a shot from the film juxtaposed with the key shot from Brian De Palma's Blow Out, courtesy of Peet Gelderblom at Directorama (thanks Peet!). Back in June, Kelly talked about the film to Aint It Cool's Mr. Beaks, discussing how he wanted The Box to have the feel of a 1970s picture, even though he shot it digitally with the Genesis camera. When Beaks brought up Vilmos Zsigmond, Kelly talked about how actor James Marsden was reminded of De Palma:

It's funny. When Marsden saw the film last week, he brought up DRESSED TO KILL and early De Palma for some reason. We do use a lot of zoom lenses. But because it's the Genesis, it has clarity that's beyond that. But it still does not feel digital. I've seen it digitally projected and I've seen a print, and I have to say I prefer the print because Genesis transfers to film beautifully. It's such a great camera system. Normally, when I see digitally-photographed films, I prefer to seem them digitally projected. And I do prefer digital projection only because I hate cigarette burns at the reel changes. And I hate it when the plate system is not well calibrated and you sometimes lose a few seconds in between changes. That drives me crazy - especially when it's a film I directed. My biggest nightmare is having a press screening where the projectionist is not quite hitting the reel changes right. That's upsetting. And that's why I'm like, "Please, just digitally project it." But I'm really happy with the print.

(Thanks to Rado!)

Posted by Geoff at 4:22 PM CST
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Friday, October 30, 2009
Just in time for Halloween, a Carmike cinema in Bloomington, Illinois, is screening Brian De Palma's Carrie-- it opened today (Friday), and is scheduled to play all week long, at least three times a day, just like all of the other modern multiplex titles that litter its boxes this week. How much fun is that?

Meanwhile, we're hearing that Jacob Gentry's My Super Psycho Sweet 16 has a strong Carrie vibe, especially in its final third. The movie was made for MTV, and will air on the channel twice on Halloween day (Saturday)-- at 1pm eastern, and again at 7pm eastern.

Posted by Geoff at 11:37 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:07 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 12:43 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Out of all the movies in Brian De Palma's oeuvre that could be turned into a haunted house idea, who would have thought someone might consider a scene from one of De Palma's early comedies might be the one that sticks out? Well, anyone who has seen the riveting "Be Black, Baby" sequence in De Palma's Hi, Mom! will surely never forget it. Steve Biodrowski at Hollywood Gothique feels that Hollywood's Theatre 68 Halloween Haunted House, which runs through October 31st on Sunset Boulevard, "is the closest anyone has ever come to realizing our dream of a haunted house attraction, which would be a Halloween version of the interactive ”Be Black, Baby” sequence from Brian De Palma’s early black comedy, Hi, Mom!" Biodrowski describes the Theatre 68 haunted house further by contrasting it with Universal's:

In a dramatic sense, Theatre 68 succeeds where Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios fails: Universal’s theme park Halloween attraction promises to make you feel as if you have entered into a horror movie, but the experience is more like walking through a living museum recreating horror hits from your favorite franchise; even without a proscenium arch, you are one step removed from the scenes that play out in front of you, and you get the feeling they would continue with or without your presence. Theatre 68, on the other hand, really makes you feel like an active participant; in fact, you are the centerpiece of the show, which cannot go on with you. There are many Halloween haunts that hurl horrors of every kind at you; Theatre 68 is the only haunted house that truly immerses you in the action every step of the way.

Posted by Geoff at 11:13 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
According to Variety, the stage musical version of Carrie, a notorious flop on Broadway in 1988, is being touched up for a potential upcoming production. Producer Jeffrey Seller told Variety that the show's original creators are reworking the script. These include composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and librettist Lawrence D. Cohen, the latter having adapted Stephen King's novel for Brian De Palma's film in 1976.

Meanwhile, Clyde at Clyde's Movie Palace has written a very entertaining remembrance of seeing De Palma's film for the first time on the big screen. Clyde talks about how the crowd was completely stunned at the film's final scene, but also about his appreciation for the locker room sequence:

It was my first journey inside a fully occupied girl’s locker room. Heck, it was probably the first time a lot of guys were inside a fully occupied female locker room filled with half dressed women, completely undressed women, and a few fully dressed women that you’ll barely notice are there. So before I go any further, I want to thank the cast, the cinematographer, and of course Brian DePalma for the experience.

Posted by Geoff at 11:36 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Captain Lou Albano

Posted by Geoff at 7:03 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:03 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009
According to Sci-Fi Blast, J.J. Abrams spoke at a press conference for the DVD release of his Star Trek film last week. The blog quotes Abrams, who directed the third Mission: Impossible film, and who is currently producing a fourth installment, as being shocked to learn that the TV series' original Jim Phelps, Peter Graves, is interested in a part in the new film. "I just got a call that Peter Graves is in great shape, which would be a very bizarre bend in the space-time continuum, for obvious reasons."

Jon Voight played Phelps in the first film, which was directed by Brian De Palma. Phelps was, of course, killed in that film, so bringing Graves into the picture would/could be a tricky move in a franchise known for its tricks. As Sci-Fi Blast points out, Graves has since created a more recent comedic legacy via his role as Captain Oveur in the Airplane film series. "I almost feel like you could make him serious again and bring him back," Abrams is quoted as saying. Abrams also mentioned the possibility of bringing back Leonard Nimoy, who joined the TV show in its fourth season. Abrams, who had cast Nimoy as Spock in his Star Trek film, reportedly said, "Whether it's Nimoy, who I have an incredible affinity for, or Graves, or anyone, we'll see."

Abrams also revealed that for the third film, he had wanted to cast Martin Landau, who was the TV show's original master of disguises. "I actually tried to get Martin Landau in Mission 3, in a very small little moment just for fun, and was told that he had no interest in doing it," Abrams said, according to Sci-Fi Blast. "But then, when I met him after the movie came out, it was the greatest thing. We were at this restaurant in New York, for one of the TV up-front parties, and someone introduced me to Landau. They took me over and Martin Landau came over to me, extended his hand and [pretended to lift his face off]. That was the greatest thing I'd ever seen."

Posted by Geoff at 12:58 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:29 AM CDT
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