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Thursday, March 20, 2014
'PASSION' TIED FOR #42 ON 2013 MURIEL AWARDS LIST
AWARDS ARE VOTED ON BY 'A RAGTAG BAND OF SCATTERED CINEPHILES'
Brian De Palma's Passion has made yet another list of the best films of 2013, this one from a "ragtag band of scattered cinephiles" that strives to "recognize noteworthy achievements from the previous year in cinema, unswayed by awards-season hype." Together, they vote for the Muriel Awards. The 2013 list features several ties, including Passion, tied with Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives at number 42. Each of the films had three votes. The Golden Muriel for 2013 went to Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, with 32 votes.

Posted by Geoff at 12:02 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:04 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014
BEN SACHS RECALLS LUNA'S 'ANGUISH'
"COMPARABLE TO DE PALMA IN ITS OVER-THE-TOP SUSPENSE SET PIECES & HALL OF MIRRORS PLOT"


Above is the opening image of Bigas Luna's Anguish, which the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs felt compelled to write about this week. Here's the opening segment of his Bleader blog post:
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Since invoking Spanish genre entertainment in my review of Non-Stop, I've been thinking a lot about Bigas Luna (Jamon, Jamon), the Spanish writer-director who passed away last year at the age of 67. Luna excelled at the flamboyant stylization that I associate with a particular strain of Spanish filmmaking, coupling deliberately outlandish plots with deliberately show-offy camerawork. "Luna's point," Fred Camper wrote of his 1998 film Chambermaid on the Titanic (released in the U.S. as The Chambermaid), "is that one can enjoy [overblown] fantasies and still acknowledge them as false," a sentiment conveyed by all of his work. Here was a filmmaker who worked hard but didn't take himself too seriously—even the shallowest movies of his I've seen have made me smile.

Of the Luna works I know, I'm most partial to his English-language horror film Anguish (1987) because a large section of it takes place in a movie theater. It's comparable to Brian De Palma's work in its over-the-top suspense set pieces and its hall-of-mirrors plot. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend saving the rest of this post until you do. You'll have to rent it, though, as I doubt if any theater will revive it soon, for reasons I'll explain below.

Anguish begins as a quasi-spoof of psycho-killer movies, in which a timid optometrist (Michael Lerner, an actor I've always enjoyed for his resemblance to Randy Newman) murders people and plucks out their eyes while acting under the telepathic control of his overbearing mother (Zelda Rubinstein, best known as psychic Tangina Barrons in the Poltergeist movies). I say "quasi-spoof" because the scary sequences really deliver the goods. Like De Palma, Luna deconstructs the mechanics of suspense filmmaking without sacrificing suspense, acknowledging that sometimes it's just fun to be scared.

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Posted by Geoff at 8:29 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:30 PM CDT
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'THIS SCENE SHOULD BE LIKE EARLY DE PALMA'
SCREENWRITER USES ABOVE QUOTE AS EXAMPLE IN WORKING WITH CAPTAIN AMERICA DIRECTORS
At a press junket for Captain America: Winter Soldier, Den Of Geek's Don Kaye interviewed the film's screenwriting duo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The movie, which will be released in theaters April 4, was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. In giving an example of what it is like to work with the directors, McFeely mentions Brian De Palma, suggesting a possible influence, at least for a scene. Here's the interview excerpt:
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Den Of Geek: What’s your interaction been like with the Russos? Is it interesting for you guys to work with a co-directing team?

Markus: It’s been really great, very collaborative. It is interesting to work with another team, because I think when there’s two versus one on either side it can feel unintentionally like ganging up. But when there’s four people it just becomes this very free flowing exchange where, you know, one of us and one Russo can side against the other Russo and the other writer.

McFeely: That happens a lot.

Markus: It’s like whole new teams have developed. It’s a different Marvel team-up.

Den Of Geek: Right.

Markus: But seriously, we had a draft before they came in and they saw everything we were trying to do and, you know, took it to another level and it had all the right reference points.

McFeely: When directors come in and say this scene should be like early Brian De Palma, we go, oh yeah, of course it should.

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Screen Daily's Mark Adams has an early review for Captain America: Winter Soldier in which he says it "is closer to a 1970s conspiracy thriller than a muscle-bound superhero effects-driven romp." Adams adds that the casting of Robert Redford "helps consolidate" this link, evoking films such as Three Days Of The Condor.

Posted by Geoff at 7:51 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:38 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
'HERE COMES THE DEVIL' DIRECTOR CITES DE PALMA
AS WELL AS FULCI, ON DVD/BLU-RAY COMMENTARY TRACK


According to The Oregonian's Marc Mohan, on the DVD audio commentary track for Adrián García Bogliano's Here Comes The Devil, Bogliano cites Brian De Palma and Lucio Fulci, among others, as influences on the film. "With its incestuous intimations, over-the-top violence and sometimes brazen sexuality, Here Comes the Devil isn't for the faint of heart," states Mohan, "but Bogliano's alternately tense and disorienting 1970s style works as more than an affectation. On the disc's audio commentary track, he cites influences including Richard Stanley's Dust Devil, the Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci and Brian De Palma. Fans of any of those should find much to appreciate here."

Posted by Geoff at 11:35 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:37 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 7:18 PM CDT
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Monday, March 17, 2014
MORRICONE ON 'THE UNTOUCHABLES'
SAYS DE PALMA WASN'T ORIGINALLY KEEN ON COMPOSER'S UNION STATION MUSIC
Ennio Morricone recently talked to the New York Times' Robert Itomarch about several of his best-known film scores, including The Untouchables:
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THE UNTOUCHABLES, directed by Brian De Palma (1987). The composer said he enjoyed Mr. De Niro’s "dramatically comic” take on Al Capone in this factually squishy retelling of that mobster’s takedown by Eliot Ness. In the film, Capone takes a baseball bat to the noggin of an employee who doesn’t put team first, and scenes like that didn’t put off Mr. Morricone. “He killed people in a very spectacular way,” he said.

Mr. De Palma had already finished the film when he showed a cut to Mr. Morricone, asking him specifically to come up with something for the “triumph of the police” at the end. The two got on well, but the director originally wasn’t keen on the music Mr. Morricone created for one of the film’s best-known scenes, a two-minute sequence in which a baby carriage, complete with a sweet-faced child, rolls down the steps of Union Station in Chicago in the middle of a heated gun battle.

“He didn’t want that music,” Mr. Morricone recalled. “Later he gave an interview and said that he thought that the music for that scene was perfect, so he must have rethought the whole idea.”

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Posted by Geoff at 11:46 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 16, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 11:19 AM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 11:14 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 16, 2014 12:37 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 11:09 AM CDT
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Saturday, March 15, 2014
WOULD YOU CONSIDER THE CINEMA OF THE UKRAINE?


From the beginning of an article by Rob Nelson in today's Minnesota Star Tribune:

"Early in Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible reboot from 1996, a flight attendant offers a selection of videotapes to Jon Voight’s mysterious spy team leader, who, sitting in first class, drolly replies that he prefers the theater.

“'Would you consider the cinema of the Ukraine?' the attendant asks. The agent accepts the 'Ukrainian' tape, whose secret message concludes with the news that the tape will self-destruct in five seconds.

"It probably wasn’t De Palma’s intent to say that Ukrainian cinema is dangerous, although the nation’s current crisis should remind us of the perils of knowing about the art and culture of a country on the brink of war mainly through a brief reference in an 18-year-old Hollywood blockbuster.

"Fortunately, a handful of Ukrainian films — two of them certified classics of world cinema — are widely available for streaming on demand."

(Nelson then goes on to describe four notable Ukranian films available for streaming: Aleksandr Dovzhenko's Earth, Sergei Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Pavla Fleischer's The Pied Piper of Hutzovina, and Sergei Loznitsa's My Joy.)


Posted by Geoff at 8:02 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, March 15, 2014 8:04 PM CDT
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