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Monday, June 27, 2011
LARRY KARASZEWSKI ON 'GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT'
AT TRAILERS FROM HELL

Posted by Geoff at 6:14 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, June 27, 2011 6:24 PM CDT
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Sunday, June 26, 2011
'LOVE CRIME' REVIEW
POSSIBLE SPOILERS, IF YOU CARE ABOUT THAT SORT OF THING

Alain Corneau's Love Crime is teasingly taut and seductively compelling in all the right places. The main tease comes in the form of a mystery wherein the viewer knows that the protagonist is up to something, and the film challenges us, dares us, to try to figure out what the details might be prior to the climactic comeuppance. While watching this film study of "the perfect crime," I wasn't reminded so much of Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder as I was of Kieślowski's Three Colors: White. In both films, the main character begins doing things that at first don't seem like much more than personal ways of coping with recent humiliation and lost love. Only as they keep going on does the viewer begin to realize that every detail of their behavior has been carefully, almost silently planned. This is perhaps a bit less so in Corneau's film, which, as I suggested above, delights in teasing the audience.

There are other teases, as well: a lesbian subtext at one point begins to bubble over before being interrupted at just the right moment, a harbinger of chaos for everybody involved, from the seducer, to the subordinate, and, finally, to the interrupter. Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier are brilliant in their roles-- so good, it's a shame they most likely will not reprise their roles in De Palma's remake. Speaking of that remake, as the film began by taking us right into a work session between the two women at the boss' home, and with the lesbian subtext teasing from the start, I couldn't help but think of how De Palma might begin his remake with the sort of subconscious message from the id he is known for.

In other areas of the film, I could definitely see where De Palma could push the envelope visually, especially with the flashbacks, which Corneau displays in perfunctory black-and-white. Corneau's film has a nice visual motif throughout of Sagnier at her desk-- every time we see her at her desk she is nothing less than compelling, whether she is busy with work, waiting for a lover that never comes, or gazing straight ahead, frozen with alternating fear/regret/vengeance. The sparse soundtrack touches the right notes of unsettled business, leaving the viewer to wonder where the story will go from where it nevertheless ends.


Posted by Geoff at 11:05 PM CDT
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Monday, June 20, 2011
'VIVA RIVA!' DIRECTOR LOVES 'CARLITO'S WAY'
DJO MUNGA NAMES IT AS THE FILM HE WISHES HE HAD MADE

Viva Riva! is an African film about a gangster who makes a big score in the hijacked gasoline trade. The film, currently making its way through select cities in the U.S., was written and directed by Djo Munga. Munga was interviewed by Out Of Africa, who asked him to name his three favorite films, which are: (1) Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time In America, (2) Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari, and (3) Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way. When asked what one film he wished he had made, Munga replied with Carlito's Way. In the interview with Out Of Africa, Munga says that he used to tell stories through wordless drawings, but now has evolved his storytelling into the cinema, with its dialogues, music, and atmosphere.

Posted by Geoff at 11:12 PM CDT
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Friday, June 17, 2011
'PHANTOM' PART OF '70S MUSICAL SERIES IN NY
SCREENS TONIGHT WITH '200 MOTELS', NEXT FRIDAY WITH 'ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL'
Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise will screen at 9:30 tonight as part of Anthology Film Archives' series, "Hollywood Musicals Of The 1970s & 80s, Part 1: The 1970s." Tonight, Phantom will be paired with Tony Palmer and Frank Zappa's 200 Motels, and next Friday, the De Palma classic will be paired with Allan Arkush's Rock 'N' Roll High School (Phantom screens at 7pm that night, June 24th). Other films in the series include Martin Scorsese's New York, New York and Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love. The New York Press' Craig Hubert posted a write-up of the series the other day.

Posted by Geoff at 6:31 PM CDT
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Saturday, June 11, 2011
HACKFORD TAKES 'PARKER'
JASON STATHAM TO PLAY ICONIC CHARACTER FROM RICHARD STARK
Somehow I missed this, but a couple of months ago, Variety's Justin Kroll announced that Taylor Hackford will be directing Parker, a new movie based on the Donald Westlake/Richard Stark character that screenwriter John McLaughlin had been developing for a while with Brian De Palma, who had been attached to direct (see my post from last January). De Palma has since committed to make Passion this year. Jason Statham will play Parker, and Hackford, who says he hopes to make more than a mere genre picture out of it, will produce as well as direct.

Posted by Geoff at 5:50 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 11, 2011 5:52 PM CDT
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Friday, June 10, 2011
SASHA IN THE HOUSE OF 'BODY DOUBLE'
SHOT BY RICHARD PHILLIPS, ON LOCATION IN THE JOHN LAUTNER CHEMOSPHERE HOUSE
Sasha Grey jokes that she was making Body Double 2.

SASHA GREY from V Magazine on Vimeo.


Posted by Geoff at 12:53 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 10, 2011 4:34 PM CDT
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Monday, June 6, 2011
GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBITS & BEAVERS
SPIELBERG-PRODUCED SERIES MAKES SLY NOD TO DE PALMA'S 'HOME MOVIES'
In his review of Jodi Foster's The Beaver last month, Armond White makes mention of "the genial psychosis" of Harvey and the "ribald bunny rabbit Nancy Allen used as her unleashed id in the shrewdly titled filmmaking satire Home Movies." At the end of that latter film, directed by Brian De Palma, Allen discards her bunny, and it is picked up by a younger girl, and the bunny begins working on her id, as well. De Palma echoes this ending at the conclusion of Raising Cain when Jack brings Amy a bunny, and she drops it as she heads into the woods, where she is sure she can sense her father waiting for her.

The Steven Spielberg-produced Showtime series The United States Of Tara stars Toni Collette as a mother with multiple personalities. On a recent episode ("What Happens in the Corn Maze, Stays in the Corn Maze!"), Tara walks through a corn maze holding a bunny before her mind is taken over by the infantile "Chicken," who runs away and is eventually found sans bunny laying in a corn crib. At the episode's conclusion, Tara has a sudden feeling and goes back to the corn crib. Finding the bunny has been shredded, she is overcome with the knowledge that "Chicken" is dead-- one of her other personalities appears to have killed her.

The bunny seems a deliberate homage by Spielberg to De Palma's Home Movies, and, perhaps, to Raising Cain as well. Spielberg previously nodded to Home Movies about a decade ago with a key shot in The Terminal. In an interview with Vulture's Patti Greco last month, United States Of Tara creator Diablo Cody said that Spielberg is "always incredibly involved in everything he does. He does not just put his name on something. His soul and his input were with Tara throughout the entire journey, and I can’t believe I had the privilege of working with him." With his hands-on approach, Spielberg appears to have inserted a sly homage to De Palma's cinema. Unfortunately, United States Of Tara was canceled by Showtime last month, and is now playing out its final season.


Posted by Geoff at 8:54 AM CDT
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Friday, June 3, 2011
VAUGHN LOVES 'SCARFACE' & 'UNTOUCHABLES'
'X-MEN/FIRST CLASS' DIRECTOR NAMES DE PALMA, SPIELBERG, LUCAS, AND MORE AS INSPIRATIONS
Several reviewers of Layer Cake, Matthew Vaughn's 2004 debut film as director, pointed out that that film carried strong echoes of Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way. Now, as Vaughn's latest film, X-Men: First Class, hits theaters this weekend, Vaughn gives Comic Book Movie's Josh Wilding a whole list of his inspirations, which includes De Palma, and specifically De Palma's Scarface and The Untouchables. Here is Vaughn's response to Wilder's query of the filmmakers and films that inspire him:

Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark", Brian De Palma's "Scarface" and "The Untouchables", Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future", Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", John Frankenheimer's "The Manchurian Candidate", and George Lucas' "Star Wars" and also his business model.

WWII, SPIES, LESBIANS, A POSSIBLE TRANSVESTITE... AND MYSTIQUE?
Meanwhile, Spout's Christopher Campbell, inspired by the release of the new X-Men film, has produced a list of "10 Mutants Who Need an X-Men Origins Movie." Campbell mentions that a previously mentioned Mystique movie, preferably directed by Brian De Palma, is still their first choice. Of that potential movie, Campbell wrote:

X-Men Origins: Mystique” would be very cool, because Raven Darkholme is such a fascinating villain. Her solo film should be set during WWII in her days as a spy and feature her lesbian partner, Destiny (or hetero partner if you subscribe to the theory that Mystique was born a man and has been disguising herself primarily as a woman “as the ultimate in transvestism”). Brian De Palma should probably direct this spin off, since it’ll kind of be like a cross between “Mission: Impossible” and “Femme Fatale.”

Of course, Rebecca Romijn, who played Mystique in the original X-Men films, was De Palma's Femme Fatale. While a younger actress would undoubtedly have to be cast in such a prequel, it would be exciting to see De Palma mixing it up with these elements within the WWII genre. The only problem with that is, the new films have altered the timeline to where Raven would be a toddler during WWII. Even so, perhaps Vaughn and Bryan Singer should give De Palma a call...


Posted by Geoff at 9:54 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 4, 2011 6:20 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 2, 2011
'CARRIE' STAGES A CAST FOR OFF BROADWAY
AND 'TRUE GRIT' STAR RUMORED AS FRONTRUNNER FOR MGM REMAKE
Can you stand one more post about upcoming Carrie action? This is becoming Carrie central all of a sudden. Back in October, a New York Times article effectively announced that MCC Theater had aquired the revamped Carrie musical, planning to open the show Off Broadway as "a major production at the Lucille Lortel Theater during the 2011-12 season." An official announcement came Tuesday, according to CBC News, which stated that preview performances would begin January 31, 2012. In the upcoming show, Molly Ranson will play Carrie White, and Tony-nominated actress Marin Mazzie will play her mother. MCC Theater director Bernard Telsey is quoted enthusing, "What can I say about Carrie? We've been in love with this piece since we heard a reading two years ago. It's so moving and Marin Mazzie and Molly Ranson are going to knock people out." According to Playbill, this "newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of this gripping tale" will be set in present day Maine.

OSCAR-NOMINATED HAILEE STEINFELD RUMORED AS TOP CHOICE FOR 'CARRIE' REMAKE
Sissy Spacek was Oscar-nominated for her role as Carrie in 1976, and if rumors are to be believed, producers of the planned remake are looking toward another Oscar-nominated actress to cast in the role. According to Cinema Blend's Josh Tyler, one of that site's "most proven sources" suggests that said producers "are eyeing Hailee Steinfeld as a top candidate" to play Carrie White in the remake. Steinfeld was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance last year in Joel & Ethan Coen's True Grit. "That doesn’t mean, of course, that Hailee has it," Tyler writes, "or even wants it. The script is still being written and they won’t make any decisions until it’s done, nor are the film’s producers likely to confirm which direction they’re leaning." If this rumor is true, it suggests that the makers of this remake may be looking to make a film that, like De Palma's original, will be remembered at Oscar time.

Posted by Geoff at 8:57 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:52 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
HOLLYWOOD ACTRESSES WANT TO PLAY 'CARRIE'
LINDSAY LOHAN & MEGAN FOX SAID TO BE PSYCHED FOR LEAD ROLE
Well, MGM's remake of Carrie received quite a boost from Stephen King's off-the-cuff mention of Lindsay Lohan as a potential Carrie White. The gossip sites that quote unnamed sources are abuzz. According to TMZ, "sources close to" Lohan said the actress was "stoked" to hear that King mentioned her name, adding that working with the author "would be epic." Even more surprising, Megan Fox is said to be gunning for the lead role in Carrie, according to ShowbizSpy. Like TMZ, ShowbizSpy quotes a "source close to" Fox as saying, "Megan is a huge fan of the original and would love the chance to play the lead. She’s 25 now but she’s sure she could still do justice to teenage Carrie. She’s told her people to make it happen." In 2009, Fox played the antagonist in the Carrie-esque Jennifer's Body, and later had a public falling out with Michael Bay over her role in his Transformers series. The ShowbizSpy article stresses that Fox wants to get away from her "Transformers image," and is hoping to start mixing theater work with her film career.

GLEIBERMAN ON 'CARRIE': "THE ULTIMATE PROM MOVIE"
Speaking of Carrie, a couple of weeks ago, in the print version of Entertainment Weekly, critic Owen Gleiberman reviewed the new Disney film Prom, pointing out that "a mere decade ago, the event was still called 'the prom,' but in Prom... it is never referred to as anything but 'prom'-- as in, Who are you asking to prom? It's not even fully clear whether prom is now a noun or a verb (are you going to prom? We're going to prom like it's 2099!). And that signals that the prom is no mere party but, in fact, a state of mind."

In the print version of his review, Gleiberman includes a section in which he tours through proms as depicted in various films, including Napoleon Dynamite, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Pretty In Pink, Saved!, and Footloose, while devoting a separate paragraph to Brian De Palma's Carrie:

There's no doubt that the ultimate prom movie is Carrie (1976), a suburban Cinderella daydream-turned-blood-drenched nightmare. As the pale senior-class mouse who gets duped into becoming prom queen (all so she can get a bucket of blood dumped on her during the crowning), Sissy Spacek makes Carrie the cringing wallflower in all of us: one who both covets and fears acceptance. Then she becomes an avenging angel, and the film's slow-motion majesty turns it into the most lyrically emotional of all modern thrillers, a vision of high school as hell.


Posted by Geoff at 8:29 AM CDT
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