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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Hollywood Reporter reported today that "Amos Vogel, creator of the influential Manhattan avant garde film club Cinema 16 and co-founder of the New York Film Festival, died Tuesday in his apartment off Washington Square Park. He was 91." At Cinema 16, Vogel, who has been called the ultimate cinephile, juxtaposed films the way filmmakers such as Eisenstein collided images. In the documentary named after his seminal book, Film As A Subversive Art (which can be viewed here), Vogel explained, "When I showed five or six films on the Cinema 16 program, they were always selected from the point of view how they would collide with each other in the minds of the audience. On one program there would always be an abstract film, a scientific film, an avant-garde film and a political documentary, because my intention at all times was to subvert audience expectations by showing such diverse and different films on one and the same program." Cinema 16 was founded in 1947 by Vogel and his wife, Marcia.

In the 2005 book A Critical Cinema 4: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers, Jim McBride (David Holzman's Diary) was asked by author Scott MacDonald if he used to go to Cinema 16. "I was a member for a couple of years, I think," said McBride. "When I was at NYU, Brian De Palma, who I knew from the neighborhood, was making these little 16mm movies and getting them shown at Cinema 16, which I thought was kind of amazing. I remember going to see Woton's Wake [1962]. We did see some interesting stuff at Cinema 16. Certainly Maya Deren, but I'm not sure what else. In those days, anything you could see was a plus."

The Hollywood Reporter article quotes Martin Scorsese: "If you’re looking for the origins of film culture in America, look no further than Amos Vogel. Amos opened the doors to every possibility in film viewing, film exhibiton, film curating and film appreciation. He was also unfailingly generous, encouraging and supportive of so many young filmmakers, including me when I was just starting to make my first pictures. No doubt about it — the man was a giant." In 1963, Vogel founded the New York Film Festival with Richard Roud.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 28, 2012 4:19 PM CDT
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The Playlist's Drew Taylor spoke briefly with Jason Statham at a recent press junket for Boaz Yakin's Safe, which opens Friday. Taylor made sure to ask Statham about his connection to Brian De Palma, who had earlier been developing Parker, which Statham wound up signing on for and filming with director Taylor Hackford. De Palma will direct Statham in a remake of the Burt Reynolds movie Heat later this year. "I met De Palma in New York and, you know, he's one of the living legends," Statham told Taylor. "Scarface is one of my top five movies of all time, so the chance to work with that kind of quality is something I never saw happening. It just happens to be an old movie from the past and we're going to do the best we can with it."

When asked by Taylor what drew him to make Safe, Statham said, "It sounded like something that maybe people would want to go see." Statham then elaborated on how he approaches such decisions. "The whole purpose of doing these films is, 'Would you want to go see these films? Do you think anyone else would?' And 'Would it be a good experience?'" Taylor calls Safe one of Statham's better films. Salon's Andrew O'Hehir feels that Safe is perhaps the most authentic of recent thrillers that "partake of a ’70s-flavored dystopian and/or paranoid vision." Aware of the upcoming Heat remake, O'Hehir suggests that Statham "seems on course to becoming a modern-day [Charles] Bronson or Burt Reynolds."

Statham seems like he will be a great match for De Palma. The actor, who loves to do his own stunts, fights, etc., told Ivan Solotaroff in the April 2012 issue of Details about his disdain for special effects. "Fahkin' hate green screen," Statham is quoted as saying. "Pay significant amounts of money never to do it again. You cannot fake adrenaline." Sounds like an actor tailor-made for De Palma's brand of No Net Productions and long, continuous, choreographed takes.

Posted by Geoff at 10:38 PM CDT
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Paul Williams will be at the Nashville Film Festival Thursday night (April 26th) for a closing night screening of the Stephen Kessler documentary Paul Williams Still Alive. Showtime is at 7:15pm. Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise screens at the fest tonight.
(Thanks to Nashville Scene's Jim Ridley!)

Posted by Geoff at 9:47 PM CDT
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Monday, April 23, 2012
The Sissy Spacek memoir My Extraordinary Ordinary Life will be published on May 1. The book was written by Spacek with Maryanne Vollers. The current issue of Entertainment Weekly (the summer movie preview double issue with Batman and Catwoman on the cover) includes an exclusive excerpt from the book in which Spacek tells the story of working on Brian De Palma's Carrie. There's not really anything new here that hasn't been told elsewhere (Spacek having to convince De Palma she was the right choice for Carrie; De Palma explaining to Spacek that discovering the blood in the shower should be like getting hit by a mack truck; husband Jack Fisk helping her grasp the right sense of shock by describing how he got run over by a car, etc.), but it is told in a clear and compelling narrative, filtered by Vollers. The excerpt concludes with this:

The script called for all the high school girls to be partially nude as they romped around the locker room at the end of gym class-- a fantasy scenario that only a man could dream up. Some of the girls were balking. That is, until we all watched the rushes from my shower scene.

I had it written in my contract that I would not appear fully nude on screen. But that was a trick of the editing room; the camera saw everything. Every time Brian shot another take of the shower scene, the clapper board was placed in front of me. And each time the board was pulled away, the camera was right where my contract said it couldn't be. Now, I'm not a shy person-- you can't be in this business!-- but by the time the rushes were over, I didn't know if I should laugh or crawl under my chair. I decided to laugh.

"Thanks a lot, Brian!" I said, as sarcastically as I could.

After that, Brian later told me, the female cast members stopped complaining about their topless locker scene.

Spacek is interviewed about the memoir at The Hook. The book is also likely to have stories about making De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, as Spacek worked as a set designer on that film with Fisk, who was the production designer on Phantom, and the art director on Carrie.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 12:07 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 22, 2012
The Swan Archives News Page has a post with details about the passing of William Finley last weekend, as well as a memorial service which Finley's wife, Susan, dubbed a "celebration of Bill's life." Gerrit Graham, Jessica Harper, and Jared Martin were among the ten friends and family members who spoke at the celebration. Martin read letters of condolence from Brian De Palma and Richard Schechner, and Finley's son, Dashiell, read letters sent by Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro. There was also a slide show set to Finley's performance of Faust from Phantom Of The Paradise. The slides included family photos as well as images collected from the span of Finley's career. More details can be found on the Archives' News Page, including a version of the statement read by Harper that she modified specifically for the Archives, and a photo of De Palma in a tuxedo filming William and Susan's wedding back in 1974, a month before Phantom was to open in theaters.

Posted by Geoff at 10:06 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

According to the notice in the Instagram image above (posted by henninx), filming for Brian De Palma's Passion was to have taken place at Berlin's Margaux Restaurant from 6:30pm this past Thursday, April 19th, until about 5am the next morning. The notice provides details about traffic and parking during the filming times.

Posted by Geoff at 9:18 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 19, 2012
Leila Rozario, the actress who filmed an elevator scene yesterday with Noomi Rapace for Passion, tells De Palma a la Mod she thinks that working on a Brian De Palma film is something she had on her bucket list as an actor. "Have you seen Scarface," she asks rhetorically. "Have you seen The Untouchables or Carlitos Way? I mean these are films that stick with you for life." Rozario has a role in the film as one of the people working at the corporation headed by the Rachel McAdams character.

I asked her how working with De Palma differs with some of the other projects she has worked on in the past. "The difference between working with someone like De Palma and say someone less experieced," Rozario says, "is that he knows and understands actors. That's something every director should, but a lot of them don't and that can make the work very difficult. Brian is a very calm man, the set is rather small, very unexpected. The way he directs is just perfect for an actor. He gives you the feeling of being totally relaxed, and if he needs adjustments you know you can trust him, so it works. The people he has closely working with him seem also very trusted, like a family, which is very Italian. I love that!"

For the elevator scene shot yesterday, Rozario had to speak German, "which is always a challenge for me because my native language is English," she says. "Even though I can speak German fluently, its still a whole different way of talking, thinking, body language." And she was very impressed with Rapace. "I loved watching Noomi work," says Rozario, "she always blew everyone on set away with her performance, each take got better and better, and you could really feel what she was putting across. Normally you can only have that when the movie is done."

Posted by Geoff at 6:35 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2012 11:34 PM CDT
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Leila Rozario, an actress from New Zealand who is part of the cast for Brian De Palma's Passion, posted on Twitter and Facebook today about working with De Palma and Noomi Rapace on the set. The tweets about today's filming started yesterday, when Rozario wrote that she was "Looking forward to shooting an elevator scene with #BrianDePalma and #RachelMcAdams tomorrow." As it turns out, however, McAdams was not involved in the scene after all. Earlier today, Rozario tweeted, "On set with [N]oomy Rapace and Brian De Palma. I love my job." Then about six or seven hours later, Rozario posted the following to her Facebook page: "I always enjoy watching and learning. Like watching Brian De Palma direct Noomi Rapace on the set of Passion today. Its a wrap*." Rozario, who speaks German as well as English, appeared in the Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer, which, like Passion, was filmed in and around Berlin.

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:51 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 15, 2012
September 9, 1940 - April 14, 2012

William Finley passed away yesterday morning following a surgery, details of which are unknown at this time. He was 71. Born in 1940, Finley met Brian De Palma at college, and began acting in De Palma's early films, beginning with the award-winning short, Woton's Wake. It is next to impossible to think of De Palma's cinema without William Finley. He appeared onscreen in seven of De Palma's feature films: The Wedding Party, Murder à la Mod, Dionysus In '69, Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise (Finley's most famous and beloved role), The Fury, and The Black Dahlia. Finley also provided the offscreen voice of Bobbi in De Palma's Dressed To Kill. In the early 1980s, Finley helped one of De Palma's Home Movies students from Sarah Lawrence College, Charlie Loventhal, by contributing to the script of Loventhal's directorial debut, The First Time. Finley appeared in three films by cult horror director Tobe Hooper: Eaten Alive, The Funhouse, and Night Terrors. Filmmaker Edgar Wright, who counts Phantom Of The Paradise as one of his favorite films, posted on his blog tonight about hearing the news of Finley's passing. Wright notes that Finley's other roles "included Marshall Brickman’s underseen and underrated comedy Simon with Alan Arkin," and "the bonkers Silent Rage." Finley also had an uncredited role in John Huston's Wise Blood.

Below is the intro to De Palma's Murder à la Mod, which features a theme song written and performed by Finley, who also stars in the film as Otto.

Listen to internet radio with MOVIE GEEKS UNITED on Blog Talk Radio

Posted by Geoff at 8:37 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2012 4:35 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wenn mich nicht alles täuscht, könnte vllt am Montag Ridley Scott in der Torstraße seinen Film Passion drehen. Türzettel lässt es vermuten

— Janos Matuschewski (@IamNoSuperman) April 13, 2012

In the above tweet from Janos Matuschewski, he writes, "If I'm not mistaken, one could probably watch Ridley Scott on Monday on Torstrasse shooting his film Passion. A note on a door there suggests it." A couple of minutes after that post, Matuschewski clarified that he meant Brian De Palma, not Ridley Scott. Meanwhile, the IMDB page for Passion has added the name of the film's costume designer (Karen Muller Serreau) and art director (Astrid Poeschke). Serreau was the costume supervisor on Alain Corneau's Love Crime, and she actually did work with Ridley Scott as the wardrobe supervisor on A Good Year. She was also Robert De Niro's dresser on John Frankenheimer's Ronin. In recent years, Serreau has become a regular costume designer for French director Anne Fontaine, and has also worked on a couple of Luc Besson productions. Poeschke has worked with Passion's production designer Cornelia Ott on Black Book, Valkyrie, and V For Vendetta, and was also the supervising art director on Timo Vuorensola's Iron Sky, the sci-fi comedy about Nazi's invading Earth in 2018, after having set up a secret base on the moon in 1945. The latter was one of the most talked-about films at the Berlin Film Festival this past February.

Posted by Geoff at 3:27 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012 3:31 PM CDT
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