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Monday, July 4, 2011
DAUGHTERS AND DOLLS
THE RAGGEDY ANN FILES, CONTINUED...

Back in 2003, I posted the above stills, which had been sent in to me by Manuel from Spain. Each set shows a curiously large Raggedy Ann doll in a girl's bedroom, each placed prominently enough as to be no mistake in prop or set direction. The Sisters shots are interesting, as they show the feminist-figure Grace infantilized, back in her bedroom in her mother's house, answering a detective's questions with a programmed response that nobody can make any sense of. The shots from Raising Cain show the doll looming large over Amy's bedroom, perhaps foreshadowing the presence of Margot, looming as the guardian of the kidnapped children.

A couple of days ago, while looking through the set of screen shots from the upcoming Obsession Blu-Ray over at DVD Beaver, I noticed something in one of the shots that I had never noticed before: a small Raggedy Ann doll belonging to another girl named Amy, also kidnapped...

I quickly thought about other girls' bedrooms on display in De Palma's films, and set my DVD player in motion to check them out. I found no Raggedy Ann dolls in Gillian's bedroom in The Fury, nor in the girl's bedroom in Femme Fatale. In the comments below, JF says they spotted a Raggedy Ann in Carrie, so I double-checked, and spotted that one, as well. I also discovered another little Raggedy Ann doll, shown in two separate scenes, in The Untouchables...

So, taking the four films' diegetic timelines into account, we have Raggedy Ann dolls in four separate decades: the 1930s (The Untouchables), the 1950s (Obsession), the 1970s (Sisters), and the 1990s (Raising Cain). I'm not sure what these dolls mean, but they are a minor, yet intriguingly consistent, presence in De Palma's work.


Posted by Geoff at 2:16 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, August 31, 2013 9:13 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 3, 2011
'DRESSED TO KILL' BLU-RAY SEPT 6
SAME DAY AS 'SCARFACE' BLU-RAY
September 6 will be a big day for De Palma fans who have a Blu-Ray player, as two early De Palma classics are released that day. FOX and MGM announced this past week that they will release Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill on Blu-Ray September 6th, with all the same extras as the regular DVD a few years ago. Earlier this year, Universal announced its Scarface Blu-Ray, also for September 6th. Judging by the cover of Dressed To Kill, shown here, the Scarface date may have had a lot to do with FOX's strategy to release Dressed To Kill on the same date (re: "From the director of Scarface).
(Thanks to Paul and Christopher!)

Posted by Geoff at 12:38 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 3, 2011 12:43 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 2, 2011
'OBSESSION' REGION-FREE BLU-RAY OUT JULY 11
U.K. ARROW VIDEO RELEASE INCLUDES 'WOTON'S WAKE' & 'RESPONSIVE EYE'
DVD Beaver has a review (including several screen grabs) of Arrow Video's Blu-Ray edition of Brian De Palma's Obsession. The region-free package will be released July 11. And what a package-- included on a region-free disc for the first time are two of De Palma's early short films, Woton's Wake and The Responsive Eye (the review says the shorts are "in rough shape," but at least they are there. Also included in the package is an exclusive collector's booklet featuring a new essay on Obsession by Brad Stevens, and Paul Schrader's original, uncut screenplay for the film.
(Thanks to Sergio for the link!)

Posted by Geoff at 4:11 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
WATCH 'DIONYSUS IN '69' ONLINE
COURTESY UBUWEB
UbuWeb, the independent resource that posts materials for noncommercial and educational purposes, has uploaded Dionysus In '69, the split-screen documentary of Richard Schechner's play filmed by Brian De Palma, Robert Fiore, and Bruce Rubin that was released in 1970. Back in March, UbuWeb uploaded De Palma's documentary The Responsive Eye.

Posted by Geoff at 12:15 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:16 AM CDT
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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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