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Thursday, November 15, 2012


Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CST
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
MARGOLIS INTRODUCED ON AHS AS NAZI HUNTER
'SCARFACE' ACTOR ALSO APPEARS IN UPCOMING 'STAND UP GUYS' WITH PACINO
As co-creator Ryan Murphy stated last month, the current season of American Horror Story is under the influence of Brian De Palma. The first episode featured repeated music cues from Pino Donaggio's score for De Palma's Carrie, and the whole season so far has echoes of De Palma's Sisters here and there. Tonight's episode introduced a new character: a Nazi hunter named Sam Goodwin, played by Mark Margolis, who is perhaps best known as Alberto "The Shadow" in De Palma's Scarface. Margolis also made an uncredited appearance as a patient in De Palma's Dressed To Kill, another film Murphy mentioned as a direct influence on this season of American Horror Story. (Margolis has also gained recognition of late in another Scarface-influenced TV show, Breaking Bad.)

Margolis and Al Pacino appear in the upcoming Stand Up Guys, which, judging by the trailer below, has surface echoes of De Palma's Carlito's Way. And when Margolis appears in the trailer as some kind of crime boss ordering a hit on Pacino, who has just been released from prison, one can't help but think of their roles in Scarface, where Pacino as Tony Montana ends up killing Margolis' Alberto, and sealing his own fate in the process. Stand Up Guys is directed by Fisher Stevens, who incidentally once dated Scarface's Michelle Pfeiffer for about three years in the early 1990s. The film had its world premiere last month at the Chicago International Film Festival, and The Hollywood Reporter's Duane Byrge called it "a raunchy and touching comedy" that "lubricates its old joints—of the plot, genre and actors—quite entertainingly." Variety's Alissa Simon states that the film incorporates "conventions from and sendups of countless other pics," but feels that the "talky, tongue-in-cheek feature is most likable when the main characters are simply playing off each other."


Posted by Geoff at 11:27 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:33 PM CST
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NEW DE PALMA INTERVIEW
"I'M ONLY INTERESTED IN ART THAT IS EMOTIONAL, THAT WITHSTANDS THE TEST OF TIME"
Ipsilon's Francisco Valente posted an interview with Brian De Palma yesterday, in relation to the De Palma retrospective currently running at the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival. Here are some of De Palma's quotes from the article:

On the turmoil of the 1960s:

"The Vietnam War and the assassination of Kennedy made us aware that the government was deceiving us. When we realized that they lied about the war, and when we saw that the government was making excuses for the Kennedy assassination, none of that made sense to our eyes. For us, who trusted in our political leaders, it was a revelation. Today, obviously, we doubt everything they say."

On Redacted:

"With Iraq, we fell, again, to the lie of a war, and we sent kids there helpless to fight for something that they had no idea what it was. They had horrific experiences and then they too responded to them in a terrible way."

On establishing the idea of deception with the viewer:

"Film can be the art of deception. You can create movies that lie and deceive the public with pictures, and there are elements of it in my movies."

On the visual language of motion pictures:

"Many of the images developed in the movies are inspired by the material with which we work, but the advantage of thriller and horror films is that they rely on a specific visual language... Voyeurism is a staple of the cinema. It is intrinsic to the art, because the movie has to do with observing an action: we're pointing a camera at a person who pretends to not have a lens pointed at her... There is a vast reservoir of movies from the past which show how the way to tell a story visually has evolved, something that originated in the silents. We saw what happened when sound came in and made films in static forms, which worsened with television."

On beauty in cinema, and studio resistance:

"Beauty is an important idea for me, and there is not enough beauty in film, because it costs a lot of money to the studios... Making Scarface was a terrible struggle. Studios said it was too violent, and they had immense fear. We always find that kind of resistance in the industry and I don’t believe this has improved in the last two decades."

On the pictures getting smaller:

"Much of what we see on the screens [phone] and television coverage is just for boring dramatic events, instead of formats that seem to have the aspects necessary to tell a story in a visual way. They’re not able to create exciting visual experiences, which I feel are an important part of the cinema: large images made for a big screen... A film like Lawrence of Arabia or Once Upon a Time in the West would not make sense on a small screen. This part of the achievement has been lost today, and we see how movies are mechanical and do not have well choreographed sequences. And images that are repeated endlessly because they are programmed by a computer."

And in closing, Valente notes that De Palma's cinema has a sentimental layer underneath the suspense, and quotes De Palma once more:

"I'm drawn to classical tragedy because I see it as a way to tell a more emotional story. I'm only interested in art that is emotional, that withstands the test of time."


Posted by Geoff at 1:08 AM CST
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Posted by Geoff at 6:19 PM CST
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Friday, November 9, 2012
'CARRIE' WITH BILL KROHN DISCUSSION TODAY
AS LISBON & ESTORIL FILM FEST OPENS; 'PASSION' TO SCREEN NOV. 16
When I first posted about the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival, I stated that it would feature a complete Brian De Palma retrospective, up to and including his new film, Passion. Well, as it turns out, the retrospective features a select 16 films from De Palma's filmography, which is not bad for a ten day festival (LEFF runs November 9-18). The festival opens today, and while The Master and Beasts Of The Southern Wild are the official opening night films, earlier in the day, at 12:30pm, De Palma's Carrie will kick off the retrospective. Following the screening, internationally respected critic Bill Krohn will be on hand for a Q&A discussion of the film. In fact, Krohn will be on hand to discuss De Palma's Passion when it screens out of competition at the fest next Friday, November 16. And in between, on Sunday, November 11, Krohn will be the featured guest at screenings of De Palma's The Responsive Eye and Dionysus In '69.

A couple of side notes: In 2007, Krohn placed De Palma's Redacted at number 10 on his list of top 10 films of that year; the closing night film of this year's LEFF will be Cloud Atlas.

Posted by Geoff at 1:01 AM CST
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Thursday, November 8, 2012
TRAVOLTA & WATERS IN CONVERSATION SATURDAY
TRIBUTE TO TRAVOLTA FUNDRAISER FOR MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL
The Maryland Film Festival presents "A Tribute To John Travolta" at the MICA Brown Center this Saturday (November 10) at 7pm. The event will raise funds for the festival, and will be highlighted by an "Open Conversation" with Travolta and John Waters, the fifth in the fest's annual "Open Conversations" series. Travolta will also be awarded the MFF "Reel Guy" for achievement in film.

In preparation for the event, director of programming Eric Allen Hatch has been reviewing several Travolta films on the MFF blog, including Blow Out. "Travolta is perfectly cast here," writes Hatch. "Already known as a stylish and dynamic star for his work on enduring favorites such as Grease and Saturday Night Fever a few years earlier, he begins the picture as an easily relatable leading man for the audience. Smooth and sly, he’s also heroic—ready to jump into the mouth of danger to save a stranger—and so it becomes all the more startling when obsession takes over, and his search for the truth recasts him as a figure on the margins."

Posted by Geoff at 7:05 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 7:06 PM CST
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
CARLITO ACTION FIGURE FROM BLITZWAY
COMING IN DECEMBER; TONY MONTANA FIGURE WAS RELEASED LAST YEAR


The face above may look like Al Pacino from Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, but it is actually an action figure of extraordinary detail. The Carlito action figure will be released in December from Blitzway, a South Korean company that specializes in action figures of mostly Asian cultural icons. Last year, Blitzway found some success with its first "global figure," Tony Montana from De Palma's Scarface. Both 12-inch figures come with extra sets of hands, among other accessories. Tony Montana goes for $180, while Carlito goes for $195. Pics of each are below.


Posted by Geoff at 11:54 PM CST
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 4:37 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012
'DIONYSUS IN '69' RECREATED IN NEW YORK
RICHARD SCHECHNER TO JOIN DISCUSSION AFTER FRIDAY NIGHT PERFORMANCE
New York Live Arts presents a reconstruction of the Performance Group's Dionysus In '69 (a re-imagining of The Bacchae) beginning with a preview tonight, and continuing through Saturday. The production is by Rude Mechs, the Austin-based theatre collective which first staged a painstaking recreation of the original 1968 production in Austin in 2009. Not only did the group use Brian De Palma's film of the play as a key source material, but they even got Richard Schechner himself, who staged and directed the 1968 production, to lead some of the early rehearsals. They now bring Dionysus In '69 back to New York City, 44 years after its premiere there, notes the Live Arts website. Schechner will join a discussion following Friday night's 7:30 performance.

Posted by Geoff at 12:34 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 12:36 AM CST
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Monday, November 5, 2012
VIGALONDO REFERS TO 'BLOW OUT'
IN HIS DESCRIPTION OF HIS NEW FILM, 'OPEN WINDOWS'
Nacho Vigalondo, whose 2007 film Timecrimes is said to be a variation on Brian De Palma's Body Double, mentioned another De Palma film, Blow Out, in his description of the currently-shooting Open Windows. Screen Daily's Melanie Goodfellow had the exclusive on Friday:
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Elijah Wood has boarded Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo’s first English-language picture Open Windows, an innovative, high-tech suspense thriller unfolding on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet.

Shooting began this week on a high-security set in Madrid. It is Vigalondo’s third feature after the 2008 time-travelling tale Timecrimes and Extraterrestrial, a hit on the fantasy film festival circuit over the past 12 months...

Open Windows develops in real time, delivering 90 minutes of suspense in a tense, fast-paced, high-tech thriller with action and terror, updating the key elements of 70s paranoid thrillers through today’s computer and online environment,” said Wild Bunch sales chief Vincent Maraval.

The plot revolves around a desperate search by Wood’s character for an actress, played by The Girlfriend Experience lead Sasha Grey, who has been abducted by vicious villain Chord, played by British actor Neil Maskell.

“Just as in Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, the girl is captured. The hero will have to use every means at his disposal to discover where she is, and rescue her from the villain before its too late,” said Vigalondo.

The director began developing the picture three years ago with Apaches Entertainment and his own production company Sayaka.

“The action will be followed on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet – an approach that has excited us all from the outset. Something like this means going beyond high concept films like Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield or Chronicle,” he said. “Instead of simulating a home video camera, we will be representing a computer desktop. The movie screen becomes a computer screen, and the spectator becomes the protagonist of this adventure.”

Spanish producer Lavigne revealed the production would use 12 different types of camera, including webcams, head cameras, tablets, mobile phones, 3D mapping cameras as well as security and satellite cameras to shoot the multi-format picture.

Open Windows is full of twists, but it’s essentially a 90-minute chase, a continuous climax with unrelenting tension… it is also a powerful viral tool, with a wide potential for different audiences,” he said.


Posted by Geoff at 1:54 AM CST
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Friday, November 2, 2012
MORE FROM DE PALMA ON 'PASSION'
SPOILERS ABOUND THIS TIME AROUND
Flickering Myth's Trevor Hogg posted a second batch of quotes from Brian De Palma spoken during a group chat at the Toronto International Film Festival (Hogg's first batch was posted last week). This latest batch includes quite a bit of spoilers about Passion, as De Palma was presumably chatting with people he believed had just seen the film at the festival. I won't share the spoilerific parts (you can read the source post for those), but here is an excerpt that goes from more discussion about De Palma's Inception riff, to De Palma's description of some of Pino Donaggio's music cues from the film, and then to the blond/brunette/redhead aspects of the main characters:
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As for the origins of the Internet ad that triggers the lethal rivalry between the characters portrayed by Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, Brian De Palma reveals, “At one point I had this incredibly complicated commercial based on Inception with three dreams on top of each other, they finally get to the vault and there’s the phone. It was elaborate and some of my director friends looked at this and said, ‘Come on! Get rid of that Inception thing. Do something else.’ I said, ‘I love this Inception thing.’ I was looking on the Internet seeing what they were doing with phone commercials. I stumbled across this thing which these two girls [created]. It’s almost exactly what they did. They walked around L.A. with people looking and the commercial went viral. We discovered later they were two advertising executives.”

In regards to the film score provided by frequent collaborator music composer Pino Donaggio, De Palma notes, “The cues are specific. In the beginning it is go to work music. Then it is the erotic music. Danni [Karoline Herfurth] is in love with her boss [Noomi Rapace] who won’t go out to dinner with her. Danni is hurt as she looks out the window. There is the lyrical sad music when Noomi gets humiliated. It is a simple piano thing as she stumbles down the hallways, drops everything, and goes into the elevator and her car. Then we have the dream music which is this strange obsessive odd stuff and we have the dream music in the end which is emotional and climatic. With Pino, I worked on temp tracks for each of the cues. I changed them. As he composed something I said, ‘No. It’s not right. Maybe I’m giving you the wrong direction.’ I’ll try something else until we came to something that seemed to work for the particular section of the film. One of the most difficult things was Noomi’s breakdown because I used the opening of Contempt; there is nothing more beautiful than that.”

There was nothing thematic or archetypal about having a blonde, a brunette and a redhead on the big screen. “Rachel came with her blonde hair,” recalls Brian De Palma. “Noomi decided we should go with the black look for her because she creates everything in her brain and is not concerned with what’s around her. Rachel is the politician, the wheeler and dealer. Noomi is constantly thinking and trying to get ideas. Danni is the beloved assistant who is in love with her boss. I saw Karoline [Herfurth] in Tom Tykwer’s Perfume; she had this great red hair and I said, ‘Lets keep it red.’” The American helmer kept in the mind the genre of the tale. “This is a murder mystery. The characters have certain aspects but they have to fit in to the architecture of the murder mystery. In this movie everybody seems to be in love with Noomi, a very mysterious girl.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:49 PM CDT
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