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De Palma a la Mod


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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


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

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
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 2010 »
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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


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


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

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema


Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor


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


No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010
A new book out today by TIME magazine's Jim Frederick examines the real life story of the soldiers whose actions inspired the Brian De Palma film Redacted. Frederick's Black Hearts draws on interviews with soldiers from the unit known as "the Black Heart Brigade," with a critical eye toward the leadership, or lack thereof, involved in the soldiers' day-to-day activities. The book, subtitled "One Platoon's Descent Into Madness In Iraq's Triangle Of Death," does not mention De Palma's film. TIME magazine is running two excerpts this week: "The Downward Spiral of Private Steven Green", and "Anatomy of an Iraq War Crime".

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the New York Times' A. O. Scott posted an essay about the apolitical approach to the Iraq and Afghansitan wars taken by Kathryn Bigelow and others. Scott notes the cluster of war films from 2007 that dared to deal with the politics involved:

There have been some exceptions to this rule. Brian De Palma’s “Redacted” and Paul Haggis’s “In the Valley of Elah,” released in fall 2007, questioned the war in Iraq, one in anger and the other in sorrow and both with emphasis on the effects of the fighting on men in the field. Other films from that year, like Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” and Gavin Hood’s “Rendition,” tried to dramatize debates then unfolding in the public sphere about the justice or prudence of American policy. None of these movies were particularly successful, either with audiences or in their earnest, cautious attempts to frame the issues of post-9/11 geopolitics.

It may be that movies, at least as they are currently made and consumed, can’t bridge the gulf between the theater of war and the arena of politics. It is also probably true that the soldiers who are the main characters in fictional and nonfictional war movies don’t talk much about the larger context in which they struggle to survive and get the job done.

Speaking of the politics involved in Redacted, Screen Addict takes De Palma and company to task for the film's product placement deals:

Amongst the credits – after a montage of gruesome and horrific war images – De Palma and his Producers (clearly unaware of the inherent irony) thank numerous luminaries of the military-industrial complex, including Samsung, Toshiba and Panasonic (all electronics manufacturers who have developed goods for military means, earning shedloads of money in the process).

Most notable among the ‘Product Placement Thanks’ is Nokia, a long-term army supplier across the world and a recent industrial partner of Siemens, a company notorious for their operation of factories which were converted into Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. More pertinent to the Middle East, however, is a Nokia-Siemens partnership which sparked controversy – albeit since the release of Redacted – for its plans to provide Iran with telecommunication systems that would allow unprecedented monitoring of its already repressed citizens.

All this is not to suggest that films should be made without the assistance of these companies, or that we should somehow boycott every product that has an investment in the military-industrial complex, these are businesses after all, and military is big, big business.

But with Redacted, Brian De Palma (and his Producers) seem to be taking goods and/or money from such organisations on the one hand, and seeming to preach against the interests of these organisations on the other. Call it an act of subversion if you will, but it seems to be just another symptom of the confused creative approach to a frequently confusing war.

Posted by Geoff at 5:25 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 8:46 PM CST
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Monday, February 8, 2010

The video above comes courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells, who attended a "Directors On Directing" panel yesterday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The panel, moderated by Variety's Peter Bart, featured Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels, Pete Docter, and Todd Phillips. The clip above shows Tarantino going into the anecdote he has told before about the De Palma/Scorsese rivalry, but he really plays it up this time in a highly entertaining way. Speaking of Scorsese, an interview article by Terrence Rafferty published yesterday in the New York Times discusses how, for the new Shutter Island, Scorsese and his music supervisor Robbie Robertson decided to use modern classical music to paint bursts of sound walls, the way Scorsese usually uses rock music. Should be an interesting effect-- looking forward to seeing it.

Posted by Geoff at 10:26 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 8:35 PM CST
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The above trailer for Kevin Smith's Cop Out (originally titled A Couple Of Dicks) features a nasty joke involving Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner in The Untouchables. Meanwhile, an ad for the film that ran on NBC Thursday night had Tracy Morgan, whose character in the film has a habit of using lines from movies to interrogate suspects, quotes a line from Scarface, and then hilariously mouths the word "Scarface" to his partner, played by Bruce Willis. (No word yet on a Bonfire Of The Vanities joke.) On a side note, De Palma's most recent film, Redacted, quotes a line from Kevin Smith's Clerks, when Rush, who has just found out that his unit will be forced to extend its tour of duty, exclaims, "I'm not even supposed to be here today!" Reno then replies, "None of us is supposed to be here," before Rush goes on a tirade about how they keep telling them they're going home tomorrow, but then telling them they have to stay.

Posted by Geoff at 1:21 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 6, 2010 7:29 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Geekweek's Mike Le has posted his list of the "20 Greatest Extended Takes In Movie History." The list, which tops off with the famous nightclub entrance in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, includes two scenes from Brian De Palma films. The opening scene that follows Bruce Willis in Bonfire Of The Vanities is number 16, while the shot that follows Carlito on the run through Grand Central Station in Carlito's Way is number 7. (Thanks to John!)

Posted by Geoff at 3:43 AM CST
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Friday, January 29, 2010

The Swan Archives recently discovered that Brian De Palma does indeed make a brief, small cameo in his 1974 film, Phantom Of The Paradise. The shot above, captured from the climactic wedding sequence, shows the bearded De Palma up in the corner of the balcony (look to the top left of the photo). As noted on the Swan Archives "Production" page, there has been some debate over whether or not a seated figure seen as the curtains open for Phoenix before she sings "Old Souls" is De Palma (the Swan Archivist does not believe it is De Palma, due to the lack of beard), but this balcony figure does indeed appear to be the real deal.

Meanwhile, Vinnie Rattolle recently visited the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, where Phantom Of The Paradise was shot. (Appropriately enough, he went there to see a stage presentation of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps). After the show, Rattolle took some pictures in the dimly-lit theater, and in one photo of the stage, he thinks he sees a glimpse of the Phantom himself lurking at stage left. Could it actually be the Phantom? Take a look and decide for yourselves...

Posted by Geoff at 10:30 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:04 PM CST
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Thursday, January 28, 2010
Gurinder Chadha's It's A Wonderful Afterlife premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival, and Dark Horizons' Paul Fischer wrote yesterday that the screwball comedy, which has been described more than once as My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Shaun Of The Dead, has references to Frank Capra, as well as to Brian De Palma's Carrie. Now today, ScreenCrave's Brendan Walsh offers more details about the Carrie reference:

It’s a Wonderful Afterlife is entirely over the top. Ms. Chadha makes no attempt at subtlety in any regard; from the exposition of the plot via dialogue, to the makeup effects on the ghosts, even to the references to the films that inspired her as a filmmaker. In fact, there is a hysterical, if a little long, scene that is basically what would happen if the climax from Brian De Palma’s Carrie took place at an Indian wedding.

Screen Daily's David D'Arcy's review of Wonderful Afterlife provides yet more details:

The script salutes everyone from Capra to Ealing classics, Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud, and the whole zombie-spoof genre. Chadha’s directing approach is warmhearted chaos. Characters collide with each other as food flies through the story, culminating in - what else? – a wedding, where the spirits settle scores in a spoof of Carrie with paroxysms of anything edible.

Posted by Geoff at 1:46 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:18 PM CST
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Sunday, January 24, 2010
A couple of reports in recent weeks suggest that Bollywood filmmakers are looking to collaborate with Brian De Palma and other Hollywood directors. According to India Times, Bollywood producer Firoz Nadiadwala recently met with De Palma, and also Tony Scott, in the U.S. about making Indo-American projects. The meetings are said to have been set up by Slumdog Millionaire actor Anil Kapoor, who has been in the U.S. shooting his role in the current season of FOX-TV's 24. According to Mid-Day, Kapoor (who is also a producer, writer, and sometimes director) is quoted as saying he has met with De Palma, as well as Christopher Nolan and Ben Stiller. Kapoor is also quoted as saying that he and Stiller discussed making two films together, "one in English and one in Hindi." The India Times report above about Nadiadwala is given added weight by a report from last October in Variety (relayed here by Monsters and Critics) that Scott is working on an as-yet-untitled film about Chippendales creator Somen “Steve” Banerjee. That project will be coproduced by Nadiadwala and financed "from a private equity fund raised out of India" by Permut Presentations.

Posted by Geoff at 10:03 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 24, 2010 10:11 PM CST
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Friday, January 15, 2010
A Variety article by Peter DeBruge, posted a couple of days ago, looks at the evolution of documentary techniques, highlighting recent films such as Redacted, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Bruno, and In The Loop, all films that, according to the article, have evolved the docu-form in the wake of the Blair Witch Project. Below is an excerpt led by thoughts from David Bordwell:

Of course, filmmakers didn't wait until 2009 to experiment with documentary techniques. As Bordwell points out, "From World War II on, nearly every country had some sort of neorealist impulse." In America, the crime genre combined docu-style shooting with voice-of-God narration in such late-'40s/early-'50s entries as The Naked City and Panic in the Streets. Later, directors who got their start in documentary, including Stanley Kubrick and William Friedkin, incorporated verite-based techniques in such films as Paths of Glory and The French Connection. "It reaches a culmination in Medium Cool, where you have that immediacy of filming in the Chicago riots," Bordwell adds.

Nearly 40 years later, Brian De Palma advanced the hybrid form with his 2007 Iraq War thriller Redacted, weaving jihadi websites and Al Jazeera-style footage into a tapestry of "found footage" not unlike the elaborate collage of District 9. By comparison, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker seems downright conservative, even though it marks a radical departure from the director's more classically constructed earlier work. To achieve the immersive effect she wanted, Bigelow turned to cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, whose background in documentaries had served him well with such verite-inclined directors as Ken Loach (Ladybird Ladybird) and Paul Greengrass (United 93).

"The reason she got in touch with me was because of United 93. She wanted that sense of immediacy and urgency," explains the d.p., who coached Bigelow in Greengrass' strategy of shooting long, continuous takes and letting the action move from one camera to the next. While the actors played close to the script, the camera crew was encouraged to improvise and avoid ever repeating the same take. "If in the end, the shot is out of focus, that's the equivalent of a beautifully framed shot because it betrays the emotion in it," Ackroyd says.

Posted by Geoff at 10:32 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 17, 2010 8:09 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Collider's Todd Gilchrist interviewed Allen and Albert Hughes on the set of their new movie, The Book Of Eli, which opens Friday. Albert explained to Gilchrist how the long-take scene they were shooting that day was inspired by Welles, Scorsese, De Palma, and Woo. Gilchrist writes:

The day we visited the set, the Hughes brothers were putting together the pieces of one of the film’s biggest scenes, a showdown at a rundown old home that unspools in one uncut shot. Albert indicated he and Allen were interested in evoking some of the great long-take scenes in movie history, but wanted this sequence to be their own. “It’s influenced by all of the cinematic shots through history, like the shot Orson Welles did in Touch of Evil. Then you have Scorsese, of course, and you have Brian De Palma, and we’ve always done long shots. I showed Hard Boiled for one reason - there’s a lot of action in that two minute and 32 second shot. Some people misinterpret it and say “is that the shot you want?” But ours is more rugged and handheld and going through things, but [I liked] the energy of what he did there.”

Posted by Geoff at 11:05 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:06 PM CST
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Monday, January 11, 2010
Last week's episode of ABC's Modern Family (on Wednesday nights) hilariously brought Brian De Palma into prime time sitcom. In the episode, titled "Up All Night," a gay couple are fighting over the best way to get their daughter, Lily, to learn to sleep. Mitchell is trying to "Ferberize" the baby by allowing her to cry herself to sleep, but Cameron cannot stand to hear her endless cries in the middle of the night. Mitchell confronts Cameron, who is holding Lily in his lap in front of the TV. Cameron gives Mitchell an excuse for why he is holding Lily in the middle of the night, and the following exchange ensues:

Mitchell: No, no, you got up to comfort her, but that only teaches her that every time she cries her daddy will come in and cuddle her and put on her fave—[turns to the TV with shock on his face] What are we watching?!?

Cameron: Brian De Palma’s controversial masterpiece Scarface.

Mitchell: For the baby?!?

Cameron: She happens to like it. I don’t know if it’s the colors, or the sounds… Oh here comes the nightclub massacre, she loves it. Watch her little eyelids, it’s so cute, they get so heavy.

Posted by Geoff at 2:34 PM CST
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