DISCUSSION OF DE PALMA AND 'CARRIE' BEGINS AT ABOUT 26-MINUTE MARK
Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
his recent films:
"What I was
trying to do with
those films was to
make three student
films in order to
try and set a new
trajectory and try to
say, 'Well, what
happens if I have no
resources?' Now, having
done that, my new
work is going to be
much more ambitious
and bigger in scope and
budget and ambition,
but now building on a
new confidence or
assurance. The three
little films were very
useful. I'm glad I did
it. I hope George Lucas
does it, because he
has a wonderful personal
filmmaking ability that
people haven't seen
for a while."
a la Mod:
"I wrote Chronicle specifically to show people that a movie about people with powers doesn't have to be the way it's been presented so far. It can be something character based. Chronicle is closer to Carrie than Captain America. It's definitely not Stephen King, but it's definitely got an edge to it that these movies don't usually have. It doesn't exist in a fantastical world. Ultimately the consequences aren't Spider-Man has to save the girl from falling off the bridge; there's a more serious set of consequences than that."
CRITICS: CHARACTERS USE TELEKINESIS TO OPERATE CAMERAS, GIVING THE FILM ADDED VISUAL PUNCH
The New York Times' Manohla Dargis explains that one of the main characters is seen at the beginning of the film recording himself in his bedroom mirror on a digital camera, and that later, after breaking that camera, he gets a new, more expensive one that he begins to operate via newly found powers of telekinesis. Dargis states that the visual polish derived from this plot turn "truly lifts the movie."
Dargis calls Chronicle "a slick, modestly scaled science-fiction fairy tale with major box-office aspirations... It’s a classic pop creation in that its hook — three teenage boys mysteriously acquire fantastic powers — seems fresh even if the whole thing feels inspired by someone’s Netflix queue: a revenge-of-the-outsider tale like Brian De Palma’s Carrie; the first-person perspective of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield; and average Joes turned super-Joes as in the television shows Heroes and No Ordinary Family.”
Later in the review, Dargis writes, "For a while the mysterious hole and its cave hold out the promise that Chronicle will be as creepy-freaky as Carrie, and that the filmmakers will mine the cavity’s depths for all its psycho-sexual terror instead of settling for a boy’s super-neato adventure. No such luck."
Meanwhile, TIME's Richard Corliss' review has the headline, "Chronicle: It's Carrie Plus X-Men, With Found Footage." Corliss, who finds Chronicle "simultaneously diverting and annoying," concludes his review with a wry discussion of how the film plays with the current trends of the "Found-Footage Faux-Doc" (FFFD):
The obvious liability of an FFFD is the requirement that the main character lug a camera everywhere, like Sisyphus with his damned rock, no matter how mortal the peril. The convention turns Chronicle sillier than it needs to be at times, as when Matt and Steve are trying to save a man’s life and Andrew can’t help because he’s filming. Things will be so much simpler when someone markets a camera that can be inserted in the customer’s forehead — the iBrain.
The movie does offer two innovations in the form. First, Andrew can make his camera levitate, giving moviegoers an occasional God’s-eye view of the action. And it happens that Casey (Ashley Hinshaw), a school friend of Matt’s, is also a compulsive videographer; when Matt visits her, we see her reflected in a mirror as she talks to him.
The second camera! This could be a breakthrough in found-footage movies, similar to but not quite on a par with the moment in ancient Athens, when Aeschylus introduced a second character — the deuteragonist — to Greek tragedy, thus turning the theatrical art from monologue to dialogue. (Voilà: drama!) Chronicle‘s second camera opens up dizzying possibilities: the footage of Andrew and Casey’s cameras could be edited into reaction shots, or into coverage of the same action from different vantage points. Or Casey could become the sleuth-heroine in a movie deficient in essential females.
Alas, she proves a minor character, and her camera doesn’t figure important in the story, as Andrew and Matt climactically reprise the two-man air battle from the end of the first Iron Man movie. Landis and Trask — preoccupied with aping and synthesizing other films into an ultimately ordinary one of their own — don’t exploit the opportunities they created with their second camera. It’s as if Edison thought his light bulb had no other function but to inspire jokes about how many people it took to screw it in.
The Boston Herald's James Verniere calls Chronicle "surprisingly insightful, terribly titled." Verniere says the film's found-footage conceit is more like Cloverfield than The Blair Witch Project. He concludes his review by writing, "You might describe Chronicle as The Office of teen superhero movies and say it owes a debt to Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) and The Fury (1978). But it’s also remarkably resonant and, yes, smells like teen spirit."
Finally, FEMPOP's Alex Cranz states, "Take Carrie. Now rub it up against the seminal Japanese film Akira. Now take out all the cool 'superpowers as allegories for teenager junk' stuff. And add a ton of fight scene that are really really fun. That is Chronicle." While Cranz was put off by some of the film's "incredibly dogdy" special effects, he also loves the shots produced by telekinetically-operated cameras. "Shots that are impossible in most found footage films are liberally used," Cranz writes. [Minor SPOILER] "If the characters are controlling the cameras with their minds then yes we can see all of them at once without worrying about whose holding the camera and yes we can do cool crane shots and yes we can get multiple angles on a scene because they’ve stolen a dozen cameras and are controlling them all with their minds."
Rachel: [Big sigh, then delicately] Um... no.
Rachel: I have to work.
Rachel: Work always...
Daniel:That's a good reason to not be going.
Rachel: Yeah, yeah, no, it's great. I'm going to Berlin to shoot a Brian De Palma movie.
Kelly: Oh, that's great!
By the way, Peet has been directing some fine commercials, music videos, and his own short films. Here is a link to one of his latest commercials.
[McAdams] I really like Germany. It is a sophisticated and creative country. Munich, unfortunately, I’ve only seen from inside my hotel, but I’ve already spent time in Berlin and I’ll be going back soon for a film with Brian De Palma, a very dark thriller. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope by then the lilacs will bloom. That was just beautiful last time to ride a bike and smell the scent of lilacs.
(I found out about this article via the terrific Rachel McAdams Online.)
Payne: True. It’s often about compromise. I’m able to make this black-and-white movie because the studio has faith in me, but I’m having to do it with much less budget than I originally asked for had it been in colour. Little tip: it’s always worth over estimating the budget because there’ll always be cutbacks. This is now my fourth film in a row that will make money, so I do have that track record. They’re not huge hits by Hollywood standards, but they make money, so I get the benefit of the doubt more or less.
But you keep your budgets low, also.
Correct. Neat fact: I’ve never gone over budget or over schedule.
This is until you make the ‘big one’…
Bite your tongue. Brian De Palma, after [The] Bonfire of the Vanities, was quoted as saying, jokingly of course, ‘You’re nobody in Hollywood until you’ve brought a studio to its knees’.
Is it possible to recover from a major flop?
Maybe, but it’s hard. Michael Cimino had a hard time after Heaven’s Gate.
Is the fear of tanking motivating or crippling?
Anytime you have a movie that doesn’t do well, which [knocks table] I haven’t had so far, is always worrisome. But I think maybe if this one does well then people may think ‘Well even if he has a gap, he’s still got it’. Who knows…
ALAN RUDOLPH: "BRIAN DE PALMA SAID ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS I'VE EVER HEARD"
Payne's De Palma quote above led me to Google the quote, and the only thing I came up with was this great article about Alan Rudolph's Trixie that was originally posted at About.com, but now only seems to be available at The Fabulous Brittany Murphy Fan Page. The article, by J. Sperling Reich, features interviews with Rudolph and Nick Nolte (among others) as their new movie, Trixie, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2000. In the following excerpt, Nolte leads into a discussion about the ironies of success and failure in Hollywood:
Nolte is surprised Rudolph ever had any doubt of his abilities as a filmmaker. "There isn't a thing he wants to do that he doesn't do," he said of Rudolph. "He does everything he wants to do. Now another brilliant director will complain, and will say, 'Well I wanted to do that but they wouldn't do it.' Well, to Alan, there is no 'they'. He just does it. He doesn't care about the arena, and the reason the other guys can't do it is because they care about the arena, not about the film."
Not all of Rudolph's seventeen films have been critically well received, and few have ever been big winners at the box office, a fact that Nolte shrugged off. "Failure is very important," he added. "I mean, Alan uses it as a metaphor, he says, 'I have never had a successful film, therefore I get to do anything I want'."
Rudolph began to laugh when he heard Nolte start in on this line of reasoning. He broke in before things got out of hand again, "We had a fun time one night at some festival, and Brian De Palma said one of the greatest things I've ever heard. He said, 'You're nothing until you've brought a studio to its knees'. And Nick said, 'You know why Alan's a success? Because he's never had any [success] and he doesn't need it. They think he's a failure, but he's a real success because he doesn't have to deal with that.' I don't know what success is. Success in Hollywood is if they think you are. I've left that game years ago. I can't imagine anybody more successful, maybe because I managed to figure out how to get my movies made. I must say, except for a few missteps early on, no one has ever told me what to do. I won't accept that. I've had more articles written about me. About, 'How the hell does this guy keep going?' Angry, jealous, bitter articles. Because it means I get to work with people like this. And I'm just starting to get good at this game inside."
Interviewer Eddie Muller said he thought DRESSED TO KILL was her best role and that she should have gotten an Academy Award for it. “I had met BD at a (Canadian) film festival and some time later he sent me a script...I read it and I said Brian...in the back of a taxi..? We’ll use a double, he said...I said ok. The reason he had trouble getting an actress for that part was that she had to be someone the audience liked instinctively, since there wasn’t time to give her any backstory, and she had to die 25 minutes into the picture (and there was a third reason she gave: I believe it was due to the perceived explicitness of the scenes)
paraphrasing: “BD was great, had a vision of what he wanted and made everyone work hard to get it”: Michael Caine told her there were 27 takes of him coming down the stairs in Bellevue. She agreed that she deserved an Oscar for the role (as supporting actress); said that due to it being a Filmways production there was no big studio to give a push to get her nominated, and that doing such a thing oneself was extremely expensive and she thought it was too much of a longshot to be worth the gamble.
She said she thinks THE UNTOUCHABLES is BD’s best film, and advised everyone to see it. When Muller asked if she loved Sean Connery in it she said yes but then — in a way that made it clear where her interest lay, and got a big laugh — said , “and, um , Andy Garcia”
She says she loves movies, goes all the time and current faves are MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, HUGO (“they sold it as a film for kids...it’s a film with kids, for adults”), THE ARTIST (“love it...I’ve seen that many times”) and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. She’s also a fan of runpee.com (which I’d never even heard of -- subject came up because interviewer mentioned that Angie doesn’t appear in POINT BLANK until about 30 minutes in, at which point she interjected “so if you need to pee, that’s when to go”).
Jonathan Farrell provides another account of the evening over at Digital Journal.
(Thanks to Chris!)
Very interesting, indeed... And here we have a picture of the once-happy couple, and a tinge of the dialogue scenes that may have been...