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Monday, April 5, 2010
SCARFACE AS MUSICAL
CAN RAISING CAIN BE FAR BEHIND?

A member of the Australian comedy group The Complete First Season has an idea for a Scarface musical that he can't seem to get out of his head-- at least until he saw last week's "Scarface School Play" video. In any case, First Season's Jimmy laid out several of his ideas:

•Tony arrives on a boat from Cuba with his best friend Manny and dreams of making it big (“The World Is Yours”).

•A Sondheim-like conversation-song with the two officers joking around with him (“The Interrogation”).

•The Sunset Motel sequence in interpretive dance (“The Chainsaw Ballet”).

•A Do-Re-Mi style teaching song where Tony tells his lovelorn friend Manny how to impress a girl (“You Get The Money, Then The Power, Then The Women”).

•Frank pleads with Tony not to kill him, and offers him Elvira. Tony refuses. (“Stay Loyal”).

•The good times montage (“Take It To The Limit”, from the original movie) where Tony marries Elvira.

•Tony, out of his mind on cocaine, sings a tormented solo of how he’s betrayed/murdered so many of his friends and family (“Oh Manolo”)

•… which transitions into Tony’s explosion of rage (“My Little Friend”) and a spectacularly choreographed dance piece with explosions and gunfire.

•The finale with Tony and all of his victims rising from the grave, warning the audience about the dangers of having too much ambition and greed (“The World Is Yours (Reprise)”).

•The show ends by exploding talcum powder (i.e. cocaine) over the front row of the audience.


Posted by Geoff at 9:27 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 3, 2010
HOME MOVIES GETS SOME LOVE
AND A BLOGGER GETS THE "DE PALMA LECTURE" FROM HER MOTHER
I Fry Mine In Butter's snarkysmachine has posted a highly entertaining summary of her feelings about Brian De Palma and her favorite film of his, Home Movies. There are also some words about getting the "De Palma lecture" from her mother:

My mother enjoys BDeP but must first always preface this by reminding me and anyone else in earshot that he does that violent sex/sexy violence thing and denounce his misogyny and obsession with violence. Then will proceed to wax on and on about The Untouchables.

It goes a little something like this:

“Oh that De Palma” said in a tone very similar to one a person might use to say, “Oh that Eddie Haskell!” Usually there’s a sigh and depending on the film the lecture might be deeply reflective or deeply dismissive. To be fair, any version is great, but the one used when a really provocative BDeP film is mentioned, just happens to be my favorite.

“Brian De Palma does that sexy violence/violent sexy thing and some times he just goes too far!” This always sound like a dissatisfied client complaining about her favorite hairdresser. The lecture is often riddled with caveats and grammatical landmines. Say the wrong thing and KABOOM.

I always say, “That’s so true, Ma.” because I don’t actually call her La Mommie and because, of course, it’s the right answer. Like me, La Mommie can seem deceptively lightweight when discussing pop culture, but she’s not. Heck, she made me the BDeP and Kube fan I am today. Yeah, send your complaint letters there. Though, I should also point out I gets my mellow harshing powers from her as well.

The lecture – if we’re getting the unabridged version – then goes on to compare and contrast his films in order to effectively illustrate her point. There is usually mention of Caine in drag, Connery crawling across the floor dragging his vital organs behind him and possibly – if the dogs haven’t started any herky jerky – a mention of the “race against the sun” scene in Bram Stroker’s Dracula, which while not being a De Palma film, is one of HER favorite scenes, thus applicable to any discussion (even when it’s not).

“And the way Sean Connery just played that scene,” she might say, “he really earned that Oscar. He did win it for that, right? Still, I don’t think we needed all of that!” All of that, meaning the blood, the crawling on the floor, the vital organs trailing behind like streamers and the seventeen thousand shotgun blasts it took to win the Oscar.

Speaking of The Untouchables, snarkysmachine states that she likes to watch that film, but only while folding laundry and organizing her closet.


Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
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Friday, April 2, 2010
ROSENBAUM ON FEMME FATALE
"MIGHT CONSTITUTE A GENUINE QUEST FOR TRANSCENDENCE"
Jonathan Rosenbaum has reposted his 2002 review of Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale. After reading Rosenbaum's review of Snake Eyes in 1998, in which he seemed to feel De Palma had, in his eyes, finally come into his own as a filmmaker whose vision was wholly his own, I remember reading this review of Femme Fatale and really thinking that Rosenbaum was in the midst of some kind of reconsideration of De Palma's work (in the review, he cites Pauline Kael's ebracing "of what she called De Palma’s trashiness" as getting in the way of Rosenbaum's ability to appreciate De Palma "for what he is instead of disliking him for what he isn’t"). We'll see if anything like that ever comes along in his future writing, but back in 2002, Rosenbaum called Femme Fatale "a grand synthesis" of De Palma's oeuvre. "As I watched it the first time two months ago," Rosenbaum states in the review, "I found myself capitulating to its inspired formalist madness — something I’ve resisted in [De Palma's] films for the past 30-odd years." Here are some of the very interesting things Rosenbaum had to say about Femme Fatale (which he labeled a three-star must-see):

However ludicrous the opening heist sequence of Femme Fatale might seem, it proposes a kind of willful symmetry. The movie’s climactic slow-motion catastrophe — which we actually see assembled and disassembled like a jigsaw puzzle in two separate versions — is an equally implausible form of symmetry that’s governed by chance and fate. Both sequences are of course conceived and constructed by De Palma, and the metaphysical distinctions between how and why they unfold add up to a philosophical position, if not a moral or ethical one.

The first time Laure sees Lily playing Russian roulette in a Paris flat, there’s a leaking aquarium in a corner of the room. Since we see the leak before any bullet is fired, we may be puzzled by this detail — which arguably gets explained, after a fashion, when we return to the same scene much later in the film. I was surprised to be reminded of the unexplained rainfall glimpsed inside a house in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, but it occurred to me later that this parallel might not be as implausible as I supposed — and not just because De Palma is a compulsive moviegoer who sees a lot more than Hollywood product. (He has often noted that he’s virtually the only mainstream filmmaker who regularly attends foreign film festivals as a spectator.)

Tarkovsky — a formalist who’s often been misidentified as a humanist, perhaps because of his mysticism — sometimes showed a similar indifference to his characters, such as the family of the hero who burns his house down in the final sequence of his last film, The Sacrifice. Formalism and an absence of humanism don’t necessarily entail a lack of artistic seriousness. Indeed, looking for symmetry and coherence in a universe that seems to consist only of chaotic fragments from other movies — a very contemporary and very real dilemma — might constitute a genuine quest for transcendence.


Posted by Geoff at 10:08 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 1, 2010
TOOTSIE 2: THE CURSE OF DOROTHY MICHAELS
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY
It's been a week of pranks, what with the "Scarface School Play" video making the rounds. For April Fools Day today, Kindertrauma's Unkle Lancifer has posted a preview of Tootsie 2: The Curse Of Dorothy Michaels (also known in the article as "The Revenge of Dorothy Michaels"), a new "Brian De Palma film" with plans for a 3D version, no less. Originally poised to go "head-to-head" with James Cameron's Avatar, according to the article, the once "Oscar hopeful" film, which sees Melanie Griffith replacing Jessica Lange from the original Tootsie, will now go straight to DVD. According to "Dustin Hoffman," "Dorothy is alive and well and living inside Michael, whether she’s a crazed, blood thirsty killer or just a friendly entity on hand to help solve the riddle is the film’s big mystery!" The victims are played by "an Oscar Who’s Who," including "Marisa Tomei," who refers to the film as "The Tootsies," and says that "Brian's plan was to outdo Hitchcock. Only instead of a shower, he’d use a bidet." The article suggests that De Palma "shot over four hundred hours of footage for the three minute scene." Hoffman, alluding to De Palma's Carrie, tells Kindertrauma, "As an actor you know when a character has outlived their welcome and I don’t see that ever happening with Dorothy. I’ve made sure that each and every ending we’ve filmed whether on the Earth or on the moon includes a shot of her hand coming up from the grave." He then suggests a sort of Predator vs. Alien sequel involving his Dorothy and Julia Andrews' Victor from Victor Victoria.

Posted by Geoff at 11:11 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 11:12 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
KLASFELD: WHAT IS OPPOSITE TO CHILDREN? SCARFACE
AND ILLINOIS GRADE SCHOOL FIELDS SCORES OF CALLS

In the video above, CNN's Mike Galanos acts mightily perturbed by the viral video showing Scarface reenacted by kids. To emphasize his point that the subject matter is naturally appalling when represented by children, one of the clips shown from the Marc Klasfeld-directed video actually censors out some of the "motherfudging" dialogue with audio beeps. Galanos aggresively chastizes Klasfeld, hardly giving him a chance to speak his mind much of the time. Of course, Klasfeld is really only there to sell commercials for CNN, which is using his video for the entertainment of its viewers while simultaneously denouncing it with stern introductions such as "Watch this...".

A more even-tempered article by Ninette Sosa appears on the CNN website, where Klasfeld states that in comedy and satire, opposite is what attracts. "What is the most opposite film there is to children? It's Scarface." In both the video (where he is accused of nothing more than self-promotion) and the article, Klasfeld suggests that his aim is to start a dialogue about how our media culture is saturated with sex and violence, and, as Sosa puts it in the article, "how it blankets children on a daily basis." Regarding the art of viral videos, Klasfeld is quoted, "I love the aesthetics, and it's a brand new avenue of expression for filmmakers to express themselves freely."

FLURRY OF ATTENTION IN BARTONVILLE, ILLINOIS
Meanwhile, NBC Chicago reports that parents of Grade School District 66 in Bartonville, Illinois (which "cindymomof6", the identity of the person that posted the clip on YouTube, listed as "her" hometown), have been concerned. According to the report:

Superintendent Shannon Duling has fielded scores of phone calls about the video that range from incensed to disappointed.

“We’re a really small school so most people know that it didn’t happen here,” Duling said. “Most of our parents are just upset that we’re getting a bad rap.”

But a few callers fell for the hoax.

“One called and was upset because they thought it actually happened here,” he said. “I think it’s interesting how quickly people jump to conclusions.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:54 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 2:35 AM CDT
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"SCHOOL PLAY" WAS CREATED BY VIDEO DIRECTOR
AND OLIVER STONE ON THE MOST FAMOUS LINE FROM SCARFACE
The Scarface as school play video that caused a stir yesterday was created by the award-winning viral, commercial, and music video director Mark Klasfeld and his company Rockhard Films. According to TMZ, the Scarface video was produced in Los Angeles "within the last few weeks and the audience members were a mix of cast family members, colleagues and friends." The child actors were "selected through a casting agent known for finding child actor look-alikes for adult stars."

Klasfeld told Geoff Boucher at the L.A. Times blog Hero Complex that (as Boucher puts it) he is "smitten with the wildfire immediacy of viral video." Klasfeld told Boucher, "It's a rare place where you can be creative and express yourself freely and it's a very democratic process and I'm very excited to part of it. It was a lot of fun." Boucher's post continues:

With the quirky homage to "Scarface," Klasfeld said "we had a great cast, great kids and great parents ... they enjoyed the process." The director said it was amusing to watch the pockets of outrage as the purposely provocative video spread out across the Internet.

"We definitely suspected that would happen," said Klasfeld, a father of two who says he wonders why the most vocal critics of the ironic video don't speak out more against the sexualization of young girls in American culture or the relentless violence on screens of all sorts.

"Everyday when I wake up with my daughter and I turn on the television for her and we're constantly guarding her against all these unnecessary sexual [messages] bombarding her ... so for us to see the reaction against this, well, that was a little shocking," Klasfeld said. "I found it all fascinating."

What's next? Klasfeld said he's going to sit back and enjoy the parodies, mash-ups and imitations of "Scarface School Play" that have already begun. Despite the success of his viral video he quickly dismissed the idea of making a sequel like, say, "Taxi Driver School Play" or "Leaving Las Vegas Schoolplay." "No, I don't see that happening."

OLIVER STONE ON "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND"
Meanwhile, Oliver Stone was asked by New York Magazine's Vulture blog if he thought there might be a line in his upcoming Wall Street sequel to match his "greed is good" catch phrase from the first film. "When I wrote Scarface," Stone replied, "I wouldn’t have been able to say what people would pick up on. I mean, ‘Say hello to my little friend!’? Who the fuck thought they’d pick up on that?"


Posted by Geoff at 2:02 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 6:22 PM CDT
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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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