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Monday, March 29, 2010
SCARFACE SCHOOL PLAY
"CAN'T YOU STOP SAYING FUDGE ALL THE TIME?"
If the online identity is to be believed, a 38-year-old mother of 5 boys and 1 girl posted this video on YouTube today, with the note, "Jaydon's school put on a kids production of Scarface." The viral video is spreading rapidly over the internet, with some questioning the authenticity of both the video and the user who posted it. At least something seems certain: there were these kids who performed "Scarface" in front of a crowd who applauded at the end. And it is very entertaining!

Posted by Geoff at 8:38 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 28, 2010
GREENGRASS ON GREEN ZONE
WANTED TO MAKE FILM WITH BROADER APPEAL THAN DE PALMA'S
Paul Greengrass's Iraq-themed Green Zone was released a couple of weeks ago to indifferent critical reception. Some felt the film tried to turn a non-fiction story into a Jason Bourne-type action/adventure and played too loosely with facts, while some appreciated Greengrass turning the subject of the Iwaq war and the search for mysterious WMDs into something audiences could ingest. Prior to the film's release, Greengrass himself discussed with Coming Soon's Edward Douglas why he wanted Green Zone to be something different than his United 93, and how his three most recent films developed from an interesting continuum:

In actual fact what happened was, after I made "[Bourne] Supremacy" which was summer 2004 I actually went out to lunch with Stacey Snider, who's been running head of Universal. She said, "What do you want to do next?" I said, "Well, I don't know, but I definitely want to be between 9/11 on the one hand here and the war in Iraq here." I wouldn't have called it the war in Iraq 'cause bear in mind, we're only a year after (it started). I made that film throughout that whole thing. I started it just as they invaded really. I said, "I don't know quite what the story (will be), but I'll find a story that I want to make. Maybe it'll be a true story, maybe it'll be a fictional story. I just don't know, but I'll go off and I'll figure it out and I'll come back." She said, "Oh great, okay, off you go."

Well, one thing happened and another thing happened. As it turned out, though I didn't know that then, it became two separate films 'cause the following early summer I decided to make "United 93," one film about a true story, very scrupulously kind of fact-driven about that central event of 9/11. I always knew I was then gonna go and make "Bourne Ultimatum." As soon as I made that, it all seemed to make sense, because I went, "Oh, okay, I get it now. I'm gonna do '93' then I'm gonna go and do a big 'Bourne' movie and then I'm gonna do something about Iraq, I don't know quite what." So I'm doing "[Bourne] Ultimatum" and I'm puzzling away what that film beyond "Ultimatum" was gonna be. I'm talking with Brian Helgeland who's a mate of mine; we'd worked together on "Bourne Supremacy" and he's a fantastic writer, and I said, "If you don't want to come and do this with me," and he said, "Sure." We're going back and forth, and to both of us, it was very obvious, several things that were at the heart of this film. Firstly, the whole point of doing the film really only worked if you were making a film that had broad appeal. In other words, to follow it up by making another "United 93"-type film didn't feel quite right 'cause I'd sorta done "United 93." I did think about it. I did think about doing a small film, but it felt to me like other people were doing that.

"THAT AUDIENCE WAS EXACTLY THE AUDIENCE THAT WAS BEING ASKED TO FIGHT THIS WAR"
Douglas then interjects, "Right, I was curious about that, because there were a lot of people making Iraq movies – Brian De Palma for instance." And then Greengrass continues:

Exactly and I sort of thought that to me, that didn't feel right. I wanted to make a film with broad appeal. Why? For this simple reason that you couldn't make a "Bourne" film--and this was my second one--without being very aware that there was a big audience of particularly young people who were coming out and really loved those movies. Of course, that audience was exactly the audience that was being asked to fight this war. The young boys who were being asked to go and fight this thing, were going to see "Bourne" movies. On the other hand, right around the other side of the spectrum, the young kids who were most opposed to this war were also going to see "Bourne" movies, see what I mean? They're not going to see small art house movies about Iraq, so to me it was like I want to make a film that those people are gonna want to go and see. It's a broad audience film, okay? Next, the whole point about the "Bourne" films was that when you distill a "Bourne" film down, what is it? Obviously, it's a conspiracy action thriller, which is a genre everybody loves.

Greengrass discusses his rationale that Green Zone needed to be somewhat recognizable as the very thing he and Matt Damon are known for. "So here's the question," he says to Douglas, "if you liked Bourne Ultimatum, will you be disappointed with this film?" Douglas then replies, "I don't know. It's hard for me to say because like I've said, I've seen far too many Iraq movies." To which Greengrass stresses...

It's nothing to do with Iraq movies. If you saw "Bourne Ultimatum" and liked it, would you be disappointed with this? 'Cause that's the prism through which people are gonna come to this, not through Brian De Palma's film 'cause they're never gonna have seen it. No disrespect to those movies, but that's the issue here. In "Bourne Supremacy" and "Bourne Ultimatum," I tried to push the envelope with those movies as close to the real world. "Ultimatum" felt like it was ripped out the headlines, didn't it? With the water boarding and the war on terror and all that stuff in there, and the journalism and the source and it felt very, very strongly contemporary.


Posted by Geoff at 2:29 PM CDT
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Friday, March 26, 2010
DE PALMA NOT DIRECTING PARANORMAL SEQUEL
Oren Peli posted the following message on the Paranormal Activity website earlier today:

Posted by Geoff at 12:38 PM CDT
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Thursday, March 25, 2010
BARUCHEL ON DE PALMA, CRONENBERG
"GEEKED OUT" AND PICKED DE PALMA'S BRAIN ON A PLANE

Horror fan, director, and actor Jay Baruchel has been making the rounds to promote How To Train Your Dragon, in which he voices the main character (Baruchel can currently be seen on screens in She's Out Of My League, a film he doesn't even seem to be mentioning in interviews). Baruchel, who is from Montreal, told Film.com's Amanda Mae Meyncke that he would like "to be able to write and direct horror movies in Montreal for the rest of my life." Baruchel also mentioned that his "heroes" for directing horror are David Cronenberg and Brian De Palma ("I'm a huge Brian De Palma fan," he told Meyncke). In the video above, Baruchel tells Zap2it's Elizabeth Snead that if he could work with anyone, it would be either Cronenberg or De Palma. Baruchel then mentions a time when he ended up on a plane with De Palma and picked his brain...

I would absolutely kill for the opportunity to work with Brian De Palma once. Those are the guys that I really really love, and would do anything. And I geeked out with Brian De Palma one time. The poor guy had the displeasure of having to travel beside me on a plane from Toronto to Los Angeles once. So I had him captive for five hours, and I just talked his ear off. I never do that kind of stuff, and it's just rare that I get... you know, if I'm starstruck, then I don't have the balls to ask anyone. But him, it's just, his movies have meant so much to me for so long that I was like, "Screw it-- when else am I gonna have his ear for five hours straight?" And so I just like laid in to him about, well, I just asked him about every single one of his films, and how'd you do this shot, and all that. So that was a "pinch me" moment for me.

Posted by Geoff at 6:17 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
RODRIGUEZ ON VIOLENCE IN REPO MEN
"MAKES SCARFACE SEEM LIKE THE LITTLE MERMAID"
The Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez shared an interesting story on his blog last week about seeing the new film Repo Men and overhearing a mother tell her son just before the start, "If this movie gets too gross, we're leaving." Rodriguez' blog post continued:

What followed was, quite possibly, the most violent R-rated film I've ever seen - this thing makes Scarface seem like The Little Mermaid - and yet the mother and son remained in their seats, munching happily on their popcorn, bonding over a fun night out at the movies.

Rodriguez surmises that kids today have "an infinitely higher tolerance for gore" than he did in his youth, and also that "the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board has become just as desensitized to violence as audiences." Rodriguez stresses that he doesn't state this as a criticism of the film itself...

I was just struck by how much the film gets away with, while Brian De Palma had to trim the motel room/chainsaw sequence in Scarface repeatedly in order to avoid an X rating. In Repo Men, that scene would qualify as boring character exposition.

I've never thought of myself as squeamish - quite the opposite - but eavesdropping on that mother-son conversation tonight, and then watching the movie that followed, made me feel like a bit of a wuss. Or maybe I'm just getting old.


Posted by Geoff at 1:15 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 1:15 PM CDT
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Monday, March 22, 2010
SCARFACE TOPS IMDB-DE PALMA POLL
OBSESSION GETS 46 VOTES AS BEST DE PALMA FILM
The poll below was suggested by a user at the Internet Movie Database, which ran the poll yesterday as part of its "Daily Poll" series. Some of the most interesting (and telling) votes were the non-votes (alas, I wonder how many voters thought Obsession was "that movie with Beyonce"). However, 98 voters would have chosen a De Palma film not offered on the list-- as this is the IMDb, one would think voters would be able to choose from any one of the director's films.

Posted by Geoff at 8:45 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, March 22, 2010 8:51 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
PARANORMAL DIRECTOR TO BE NAMED "SOON"
PRODUCTION TO BEGIN IN MAY; IMDB LISTS DE PALMA AS DIRECTOR
Ryan Rotten at Shock Till You Drop reported early yesterday that Akiva Goldsman was "close" to being announced by Paramount Pictures as director of the upcoming sequel to Paranormal Activity. Rumors began spreading all over, with some sites actually stating that Goldsman had the job, until Deadline Hollywood's Mike Fleming debunked the rumor, stating that while Goldsman has boarded the project, his role will be as an executive producer, not director. What Fleming's article had in common with Rotten's is that both of them suggest that a director will be in place "soon." Fleming adds that production on the sequel is set to begin in May. Meanwhile, the Internet Movie DataBase is already listing Paranormal Activity 2 as one of four projects that Brian De Palma has in development.

Posted by Geoff at 3:17 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010
TOM CRUISE ASKS FANS:
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIRECT MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE IV?
Tom Cruise is asking fans to name their "dream director" for Mission: Impossible IV, the franchise that Brian De Palma got off to a bang as director of the first installment. Cruise's official blog post states that a director has not yet been chosen, and then runs down the list of directors who helmed the first three films. The little bio for De Palma goes like this:

Known for his psychological thrillers like Carrie and Dressed to Kill, as well as graphic violence in gangster films like Scarface, The Untouchables, and Carlito’s Way, De Palma is often considered to be a member of “New Hollywood” generation of directors along with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola. In Mission: Impossible, De Palma made sure to kick off the franchise with lots of over-the-top action and explosions, including helicopters flying in train tunnels and a restaurant fish tank explosion.

Fans can submit director choices on the blog site, Cruise's Twitter page, or his Facebook Fan Page.


Posted by Geoff at 3:50 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 7:33 PM CDT
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SCARFACE AS HEALTH REFORM STORY

Posted by Geoff at 8:58 AM CDT
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Monday, March 15, 2010
PETER GRAVES DIES
AND SOME STILL BITTER ABOUT M:I LEADER-BECOMES-TRAITOR TWIST
Peter Graves, the actor who became famous for his role as Jim Phelps, leader of the Impossible Missions Force on the Mission: Impossible TV series, passed away over the weekend. He was 83. The tributes are proliferating over the web, and some are still bitter about the big twist in Brian De Palma's film adaptation of Mission: Impossible that turned the "heroic" Phelps into a traitor, embittered by the end of the cold war and the subsequent diminishing of his own power and status. Driven by greed, Phelps sells out his fellow spies and, as leader, directs many on his very own team to their own deaths. Nick Leshi at The Man Behind The Curtain calls De Palma's film a "travesty" because of the Phelps turn, calling it "a slap in the face." Yes it was a slap in the face, and it was meant to be. This kind of treason happens in the real world, and here was a great opportunity to take a character whose work is based on deception, and to show that the world he lives in is not as cut and dry as the old TV series might have us believe. These are spies, through and through. John Woo even toyed with the idea of an evil Ethan Hunt in his sequel to De Palma's film (the villain of that film wears a mask to look like the Tom Cruise character). Mitchell Hadley feels that Graves was right to turn down the role in De Palma's film, writing, "You know, just as fans of the show know, that Jim Phelps would never betray his country. Sure, Jon Voight, who winds up playing the role in the movie, is a good actor, as well as a good patriot in real life. But he’s no Jim Phelps, and both you and everyone else knows it." Voight was a great choice for the role, but Graves really should have taken it (if he was actaully ever asked to)-- it would have been fantastic.

Posted by Geoff at 4:35 PM CDT
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