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Saturday, March 26, 2011
'OBSESSION' DVD COMING AUGUST 30TH
SPECIAL FEATURES ARE STILL BEING WORKED OUT
British company Arrow Video has announced August 30th as the release date for its release of Brian De Palma's Obsession on DVD and Blu-Ray. They are still touting the same special features as mentioned earlier this month, although these are still being worked out.

Posted by Geoff at 1:23 PM CDT
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Friday, March 25, 2011
MARSHALL FINE ON 'SUCKER PUNCH'
SNYDER "HAS BECOME THE MOST DISTINCTIVE VISUAL STORYTELLER SINCE BRIAN DE PALMA"

While most critics seem to be panning Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch for not making sense, Marshall Fine says that is you want to see a film that makes sense, "see another film," because Snyder "isn't making that movie." Fine continues in his review, "There is something so unique about Snyder’s vision – right down to the most miniscule bit of background shmutz in any single frame of film – that he has, in the space of his last three films, become the most distinctive visual storyteller since Brian De Palma." The Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez says "No, Sucker Punch doesn’t make any sense. But none of that matters, because the ride Snyder takes you on is so vividly conceived, so deliriously bizarre and wonderful. The movie provides all the bearings you need in this imaginary world, so that you’re never really confused, even when the action is set inside a dream within a dream, a la Inception." Snyder himself says that he was inspired by One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Brazil.

Posted by Geoff at 12:27 PM CDT
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Thursday, March 24, 2011
AL ISRAEL HAS DIED
ACTOR APPEARED IN THREE DE PALMA FILMS; 'SCARFACE' HITS BLU-RAY IN SEPT.

Al Israel, best known for his role as "Hector the Toad" in Brian De Palma's Scarface, died a week ago today at the age of 75. Israel appeared opposite Al Pacino again a decade after Scarface in De Palma's Carlito's Way. Israel also hilariously portrayed a porn movie director in De Palma's Body Double, delivering one of the film's best lines by asking Craig Wasson's Jake Scully if he was some kind of method actor for wanting to know what he was supposed to be "watching" when he says he likes to watch. In 2006, Israel lended his voice to the video game based on Scarface.

'SCARFACE' ON BLU-RAY
Meanwhile, Universal sent out a press release today that Scarface will be released on Blu-Ray September 6th. "For a limited time only," reads the press release, "Scarface Special Limited Edition Blu-ray™ comes with collectible SteelBook™ packaging, ten exclusive art cards, a digital copy of the film and a DVD of the original 1932 Scarface." The package will include most of the same extras as the previous DVD edition of the film, but there will be one new documentary called "The Scarface Phenomenon," which is described as follows:

This all-new documentary presents Scarface as a unique phenomenon in cinema history. It explores how a film plagued by controversy leading up to its release has become a Hollywood classic, influencing a whole new generation of filmmakers and leaving a lasting imprint on popular culture.

NATIONAL FAN ART CONTEST
There will also be a national fan art contest regarding those ten exclusive art cards:

To celebrate the film's Blu-ray™ debut, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design Scarface-inspired artwork using classic Tony Montana images from the film. Universal will select the Top 25 submissions based on creativity, originality, quality of composition/design and utilization of the Scarface theme. Fans will vote on their favorite 10 submissions which will then be featured as exclusive art cards in the Scarface Limited Edition Blu-ray™. The designer who garners the highest number of fan votes will become the Grand Prize winner, and will have their art featured on both the art card and on a high-profile billboard in a major US city to promote the release.

For more information on the art contest, go to www.facebook.com/scarfacethemovie.

DANIEL MARSHALL-CRAFTED 'SCARFACE'-THEMED HUMIDOR, LIMITED TO 1000 WORLDWIDE
Finally, there will also be a limited edition bonus:

For the ultimate collector and cigar enthusiast, an elegantly hand-crafted Scarface-themed humidor will be made available in an exclusive, never-before-available, limited edition. Created by the renowned Daniel Marshall, the humidor's exterior is hand painted and polished with the Marshall's trademark "1,000 coat brilliant finish." The interior – made with untreated Spanish cedar – will properly condition and age approximately 100 cigars at optimal humidity levels. Limited to 1,000 worldwide, each individually numbered humidor comes embellished with custom medallions inspired by the iconic film and includes a certificate of authenticity.

EMPIRE has a trailer for the upcoming Blu-Ray.


Posted by Geoff at 6:41 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, March 26, 2011 12:55 AM CDT
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HELEN STENBORG PASSES AWAY
PORTRAYED SHERMAN'S MOTHER IN 'BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES'
Helen Stenborn, who played the mother of Sherman McCoy in Brian De Palma's film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire Of The Vanities, died Tuesday of cancer in her Manhattan home. She was 86. Stenborn was primarily a stage actor who appeared in supporting roles on Broadway, and was nominated for a Tony award in 1999 for her role in Noël Coward's Waiting In The Wings. Her role in Bonfire is small, but by casting a New York mainstay as the mother of the main character, De Palma added a certain gravitas of presence to his film.

New York Times obituary
Los Angeles Times obituary

Posted by Geoff at 12:20 PM CDT
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Thursday, March 17, 2011
'LIMITLESS' NYC CHASE SCENE IS 'DE PALMA-ESQUE'
NEIL BURGER-DIRECTED THRILLER OPENS FRIDAY
Neil Burger's Limitless, which opens tomorrow, has a New York City chase scene that has reminded at least two viewers of Brian De Palma. Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macaulay, who interviewed Burger for the magazine, states that "Limitless explores these ideas in a thriller that boasts a smooth performance by [Bradley] Cooper, a great De Palma-esque New York City chase scene, Robert De Niro in a supporting role, and at least one Park Chan-Wook-style bloodbath." Macauley adds that Limitless also has "something of the unsettling vibe of a Seconds or Manchurian Candidate as Cooper’s brainpower reveals not only his own inner strengths but conspiratorial patterns in the larger world."

Variety's Robert Koehler says that the film, written by Leslie Dixon (adapting the Alan Glynn novel The Dark Fields), mixes "Tony Scott's dazzle and Martin Scorsese's Gotham darkness, with just a few stumbles along the way." One of those stumbles, in the view of Koehler, is the above mentioned NYC chase scene. "The film's tone is momentarily thrown off by a poorly staged chase through Central Park," writes Koehler, "with Lindy trying to elude the so-called Man in Tan Coat (Tomas Arana), in a sequence that plays like a bad Brian De Palma spoof." Koehler says that De Niro seems "re-energized" in his role as a financial tycoon.

BURGER'S "FRACTAL ZOOM"
In the interview with Macauley, Burger discusses some of his visual ideas for Limitless:

...we were trying to do it in a way that was fresh, with things we hadn’t seen before. The Matrix’s bullet time, that frozen moment, would have been fantastic for this movie. But it’s so overused — it’s in the most basic Channel 9 news bumpers. Speed ramping or time-lapse, racing through the city at high speed — I love all that, but I can’t go there either. It’s just been used too much. So, instead of rushing through the city, I came up with this idea of a fractal zoom. It’s like you are rushing through the city streets but not at high speed — you are at an infinite zoom, moving relentlessly at real time but faster than everyone around you. Nobody could figure out how to do it until, after shooting, we brought on this company called Look Effects. This great guy Dan Schrecker was able to figure out how to execute this idea that I had. Some people were like, “Well, that’s not related to the flipping numbers [a visual idea Burger discussed previously in the interview], which isn’t related to the burned-in thing,” and I was like, “They’re all related, because there’s a physical nature to all of them.” I didn’t want [these effects] to feel digital. I wanted them to feel physical, that in his mind they are really happening.


Posted by Geoff at 6:24 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011
'DIONYSUS' AT SAN FRAN MOMA THURSDAY
POP-UP MAGAZINE SIDEBAR PRESENTS SCREENING AS PART OF WINE-THEMED EXHIBIT
Another early Brian De Palma documentary is getting attention this week, this time at the San Francisco Musuem Of Modern Art, which has been running an exhibition titled "How Wine Became Modern." Pop-Up Magazine, a quarterly live-on-stage format "magazine" that exists for only one night, in one place, debuts a new "Sidebar" series Thursday at SFMOMA to tie in with the wine theme. As part of the evening, Dionysus In '69 (a film produced, directed, shot, and edited by De Palma, Robert Fiore, and Bruce Rubin) will screen at 7pm. The film documents in split-screen the Richard Schechner-directed restaging of The Bacchae by the Performance Group. The evening kicks off at 6pm with a wine and food tasting curated by Meatpaper magazine and Blue Bottle Coffee, and then following the film screening, the Pop-Up Magazine Sidebar will commence with various artists, authors, and filmmakers tackling "the politics, humor, history, art, science and craft of California's favorite drink," according to the Pop-Up website.

Posted by Geoff at 2:38 AM CDT
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Saturday, March 12, 2011
WATCH DE PALMA'S 'THE RESPONSIVE EYE' ONLINE
1966 DOCUMENTARY SHORT, COURTESY UBUWEB
UbuWeb, the independent resource that posts materials for noncommercial and educational purposes, recently uploaded Brian De Palma's 1966 documentary The Responsive Eye, which was filmed at the opening night reception of a now legendary OP ART exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. De Palma shot the film in four hours with two additional cameramen, Gardner Compton and David Moscovitz. De Palma edited the film himself.

Posted by Geoff at 1:04 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:17 AM CDT
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Friday, March 11, 2011
DE PALMA DISCUSSION ACROSS THE WEB
FROM THE 'BRIAN DE PALMA FILM CLUB' TO AN A.V. CLUB PRIMER
Discussion about the films of Brian De Palma across the web are currently at a high point after The A.V. Club's Noel Murray and Scott Tobias posted a critically thorough "primer" on De Palma yesterday. As of this writing, "292 reasonable discussions" have been posted as comments in response to the three-page article, debating everything from the underrated status of Snake Eyes to the balance of style and emotional content in De Palma's films. The article covers every feature film in De Palma's oeuvre, each one falling under one of five headings: "101: The Thrillers," "Intermediate: The Genre Exercises," "Advanced: The Experiments," "Demerits," and "Misc." The article concludes with a list of "The Essentials":
1. Blow Out
2. Carlito's Way
3. Femme Fatale
4. Casualties Of War
5. Phantom Of The Paradise.

Meanwhile, about a month ago, The Abbott Gran Old Tyme Medicine Show opened up the "Brian De Palma Film Club," asking readers to watch a chosen De Palma film that everyone could then discuss together. The first film they watched was The Fury, and this week, Raising Cain. Each film has led to some terrific discussion, so check it out and, if so inspired, add to the dialogue.

Posted by Geoff at 1:37 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, March 12, 2011 11:20 AM CST
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Thursday, March 10, 2011
DE PALMA THRILLERS AT BAM IN APRIL
NOAH BAUMBACH TO CO-PRESENT 10 CORE FILMS, ALL IN 35MM
Noah Baumbach, who filmed an hour-long interview with Brian De Palma for Criterion's upcoming release of Blow Out*, will bring ten core De Palma suspense thrillers to Brooklyn's BAMcinématek in April. Baumbach is this year's BAM Cinema Club chair. A press release states that "De Palma has set himself apart from his contemporaries by fashioning some of the most boldly stylized suspense films from this or any country." It also touts "an impossibly rare 35mm screening of Sisters." In fact, over the nine days between April 8-13, and April 18-20 (with the Criterion Blow Out to be released April 26th), BAMcinématek will screen the following core De Palma films in 35mm: Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise, Obsession, Carrie, The Fury, Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Raising Cain, and Femme Fatale. An incredible line-up to be sure. A complete schedule and tickets will be available within a couple of weeks, so keep an eye out.
(Thanks to Gabriele!)

*Incidentally, it appears that Criterion has now secured De Palma's Murder a la Mod for inclusion on its Blow Out DVD and Blu-Ray!

Posted by Geoff at 1:14 AM CST
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
LEGUIZAMO ON GETTING SLAPPED BY SEAN PENN
VIDEO FROM ABC'S 'GOOD MORNING AMERICA'

Posted by Geoff at 12:53 PM CST
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