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Friday, July 18, 2014
MORODER: JAY Z WANTED 'SCARFACE' SOUNDTRACK
RAPPER WANTED TO REWORK SOME OF THE SONGS, BUT DE PALMA SAID NO
In preparation for his set as a DJ tonight at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Giorgio Moroder was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune's Allison Stewart. "There was a time when Jay Z wanted to (remake) some of the songs from [Scarface]," Moroder tells Stewart, "but it didn't work out because Brian De Palma didn't want to do it. But I talked to several (rappers) like Jay Z, and they loved the movie. Some of them had seen the movie like twenty, thirty, forty times, and people remember the dialogue. It's one of those cult movies."

Back in 2003, as the film was turning 20, the Los Angeles Times' Elaine Dutka reported that the chairman of Island Def Jam, Lyor Cohen, had met with De Palma to suggest that the artists on his label compose a new soundtrack for Scarface, "with or without Moroder." Dutka added, "Though [Martin] Bregman and even [Al] Pacino made the case for the proposal, the director was aghast."

Dutka quoted De Palma: "They said it would help promotion, presenting the film in a different way. But Giorgio's music was true to the period, I argued -- and no one changes the scores on movies by Marty Scorsese, John Ford, David Lean. If this is the 'masterpiece' you say, leave it alone. I fought them tooth and nail and was the odd man out, not an unusual place for me. I have final cut, so that stopped them dead."

Dutka's article then continues:

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Universal's [Craig] Kornblau hasn't given up on the thought of creating a "reinvigorated and more relevant soundtrack," however. Nor has Kevin Liles, president of Def Jam/Def Soul Records. "Hip-hop, as Chuck D says, is the 'CNN of the ghetto,' " Liles points out. "Incorporating it into a classic like this would convey the current reality. The message, unfortunately, is as relevant today as when the movie emerged. I'll be the first up to bat to rescore the film, which touched such a nerve in the 'hood. Though Montana is Latino, all those kids identify with his job in the burger shop, idolizing guys with the big Benz and flashy women. Music is the soul of any movie, and a new soundtrack would increase its power."
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Within a year after Dutka's article was written, Cohen and Liles had left Def Jam, and Jay Z had been appointed president of the record label.

Posted by Geoff at 12:30 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014 12:34 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
AN ACIDEMIC LOOK AT DE PALMA & ARGENTO
BLOGGER: BORN SIX DAYS APART, THEY SHARE A "BIZARRE PSYCHIC TWIN CONNECTION"
Acidemic's Erich Kuersten takes a deep stab into the cinema of Brian De Palma and Dario Argento, dispensing early with the obvious Hitchcock comparisons (although Hitchcock does figure into the discussion) to focus on the pair's "bizarre psychic twin connection, a shared reptile dysfunction that springs from Catholicism, ancient Rome, and [a] kind of scopophilia-driven sexual obsession." Kuersten adds, "And I didn't even know this when I started this post, but they were born the same month (September) of the same world war-ridden year (1940), six days apart. They are both Virgo, sign of the virgin, sign of obsession, poring over film strips and sound boards with the repressed energy of a thousand unreached orgasms!"

Illustrated with a fascinating array of juxtaposed images from the films of both directors (as well as some other filmmakers thrown into the mix), Kuersten explores shared themes and motifs such as blindness, avenging angels, mirrors and doubles, dreams, photography, metatextuality, art, and more. A terrifically eye-opening and entertaining read, the post comes a year after Kuersten's post about Scarface, Suspiria and Carrie.

Posted by Geoff at 12:51 AM CDT
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Monday, July 14, 2014
VIGALONDO TALKS DE PALMA, 'OPEN WINDOWS'
'BLOW OUT'-INSPIRED THRILLER SCREENS AT FANTASIA FEST IN MONTREAL THIS WEEKEND


Nacho Vigalondo's Open Windows, which he has previously indicated was partially inspired by Blow Out, will screen at this year's Fantasia International Film Festival, as part of a themed section dubbed "Antisocial Media." Fantasia's co-director, Mitch Davis, tells the Montreal Gazette's T'Cha Dunlevy that Open Windows "takes place entirely on a character’s computer screen. It’s almost like a Brian De Palma thriller, by way of Mike Figgis. It’s super-dynamic, volume-11 storytelling. Vigalondo sets these bizarre limitations, but by going into close-ups of all these different (computer screen) windows — hence the title — and shifting focus in a propulsive way as the lead character goes into a rabbit hole of criminality and conspiracy, it works brilliantly."

Meanwhile, Sensacine's Alejandro G. Calvo interviewed Vigalondo a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that with Open Windows, there is a lot of talk about Alfred Hitchcock, "but the truth is that [it] has a lot of Brian De Palma. Blow Out, of course, but also Redacted."

To which Vigalondo responded, "Well, Blow Out is my favorite De Palma film. That is a reference with which I feel very comfortable. I think he's a very ambitious, but at the same time, very human filmmaker. His films have both virtuosity and weaknesses, all wonderful. I feel much more comfortable with De Palma with Hitchcock, as I name them. If you allow it to be tagged as such, it is a beast of an ambition that seems an unattainable task. Then people write things like "this guy is trying to be the Hitchcock of the 21st Century" and, well, I do not mean anything! They are the ones who have written it! (laughs). So I prefer to think about De Palma, someone who I see as like family."


Posted by Geoff at 8:32 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 13, 2014
ROBERT ENGLUND STILL SCARED BY 'SISTERS'
"IT'S REALLY, TRULY CREEPY"
News.com.au's Alice Clark asked Robert Englund to reveal his "10 deepest fears" ahead of his appearance last weekend at Melbourne's Oz Comic Con. At number 8, Englund lists "Conjoined twins," which leads him, of course, to think of Brian De Palma's Sisters. "There’s a 1973 film by Brian De Palma," Englund tells Clark, "it’s a very early film in his canon called Sisters about Siamese twins and it stars Margot Kidder in the absolute blush of her most beautiful moment on Earth. She’s playing these French-Canadian Siamese twins and it’s really, truly creepy. It’s great filmmaking, but I think down deep I’m scared of Siamese twins in a way.”

Englund has mentioned Sisters in several interviews in which he is asked to name some favorites. Last October, Englund was asked by the Chicago Daily Herlad's Josh Stockinger if he has a favorite scary movie, to which Englund named two films. "It's constantly changing," Englund replied to Stockinger, "but I always recommend the 1974 Brian De Palma film, Sisters, starring Margot Kidder and William Finley. I just think it's brilliant. It's sexy and there's a lot of surprises that make you jump. It has some of the best use of split screen for suspense ever done, very low-budget but great. I also love the 1961 version of The Innocents with Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave. It obviously has the Henry James' turn of the screw, and there's a really kinky follow-up with Marlon Brando that's really interesting, too."

Posted by Geoff at 7:22 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 12, 2014
ARTIST'S SCARY INSPIRATION MAY HAVE BEEN 'THE FURY'
CHANNEL-SURFING AS A CHILD CIRCA 1985, MOVIE ABOUT TELEKINESIS
The painting pictured here, by Janet Hill, is titled At The Ursula Academy For The Supernaturally Gifted, Fawn Fielding Enjoyed Medieval Poetry, Spoke Fluent Italian, And Possessed Above Average Telekinetic Abilities. In a post on her blog, Hill recalls the inspiration for the painting, which her husband told her is The Fury. "This [painting] is actually born out of a scary experience for me when I was young," Hill explains in her post. "I have this memory of turning on the television in the middle of the afternoon- likely on a Saturday. I seem to recall that I was enjoying a grape freezie and wearing my pink jelly shoes, but that could be my imagination just playing games on me. I likely did some channel surfing with one of those clunky looking channel changers circa 1985 until I came across this weird movie. There was a girl with big curly hair moving things with her mind. WITH HER MIND!! This terrified me but I didn’t understand why. I think I was familiar with the idea of telekinesis having spent many a bored afternoon focused on my Barbie trying to get it to move WITH MY MIND, but it must have been the way it was presented in the film. I mentioned this to John as I was painting this painting and he immediately recognized it as The Fury which was directed by Brian De Palma. It all made sense. No one can creep me out as much as Brian De Palma, thank you very much. John also mentioned that we own the movie so guess what I’m going to do tonight. Perhaps I’ll watch it while enjoying a cool and refreshing grape freezie too."

Posted by Geoff at 7:39 PM CDT
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Friday, July 11, 2014
LEND A HAND TO 'SCARFACE REDUX'
MIAMI GROUP'S GLOBAL COLLAB EFFORT TO REMAKE DE PALMA'S 'SCARFACE'


The Borscht Corp., an open-source collaborative dedicated to telling Miami stories, according to its web site, has started a project called Scarface Redux. The project is described as "a global collaborative effort to remake Brian De Palma’s Scarface." The web site (pictured above) lays out three steps: "First, Brian De Palma's Scarface is cut up into 15-second chunks"; "Then, you pick a scene, shoot and remake it however you like"; "Finally, we put it all together into a completely new version of Scarface."

You can see all the 15-second clips (636 of them) on the site, as well as the few scenes that have already been submitted for the project. In an e-mail about the project sent to Film School Rejects, the group states, "For better or worse, Scarface had held Miami’s image in a vice grip since it came out... As our mission is to redefine cinema in Miami (and vice-versa) we thought it was about time to get literal and take back our image! Or something."


Posted by Geoff at 6:38 PM CDT
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Thursday, July 10, 2014
ANTHONY GOLDSCHMIDT HAS DIED
DESIGNED POSTERS FOR 'SCARFACE', 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE', 'E.T.', MANY MORE
This news is a few weeks late, but graphic designer Anthony Goldschmidt died June 17, according to the Swan Archives. He was 71. After founding Intralink Film Graphic Design in 1979, Goldschmidt, often with longtime collaborator, the art director John Alvin, designed iconic posters for Scarface (for which Alvin was said to have worked on uncredited), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Princess Bride, and many more. Prior to Intralink, Goldschmidt and Alvin created the poster for Phantom Of The Paradise (the version that also graced the cover of that film's soundtrack album), as well as posters for several Mel Brooks films, including Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.


Posted by Geoff at 1:22 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, July 10, 2014 1:24 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014
EDGAR WRIGHT TO HOST 'PHANTOM' SCREENING


It was announced this morning that Edgar Wright will host the 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, which takes place July 30th at the Arclight in Hollywood. Tickets are still on sale for the event, but going fast. Note that the time of the event has been changed to 7:30pm.

Posted by Geoff at 7:40 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:03 PM CDT
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
R.I.P. PAUL MAZURSKY, 1930-2014
CAST AS JUDGE IN 'CARLITO'S WAY'; WAS DE PALMA'S ORIGINAL CHOICE FOR 'DTK' DETECTIVE


Paul Mazursky, film director, screenwriter, and actor, has died of pulmonary cardiac arrest. He was 84. Mazursky was a longtime, good friend of Brian De Palma's. In the early 1980s, Mazursky lived in one apartment of a duplex in Greenwich Village, while De Palma and his wife, Nancy Allen, lived in the other apartment. When De Palma was casting Dressed To Kill, he had wanted Mazursky to portray Detective Marino. However, Mazursky was busy preparing his next film, and Dennis Franz took the part instead.

Mazursky, of course, did end up acting for De Palma about a decade later, portraying Judge Feinstein in Carlito's Way. In Richard Sylbert and Sylvia Townsend's book Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist, Gregory Bolton, who was the art director on Carlito's Way, recalls shooting the courtroom scene. "It was interesting," he tells Townsend, "because there was Brian De Palma, Paul Mazursky, and there was Al Pacino, all those people in that room, all powerful forces, all directing the scene. And Dick (Sylbert) sat back and we all sat back and watched each person direct the scene, wondering who was going to win." Bolton tells Townsend that after "going all different ways," De Palma's was the way it ended up.

Writing in 2003, Movie City News' Leonard Klady relayed a story from the fall of 1990 in which "Brian De Palma arrived for breakfast and greeted [Farmers] Market regular Paul Mazursky with a query about Disney's decision to postpone the release of Mazursky's upcoming movie. A rather vague story had appeared in the trades the prior week announcing that Scenes from a Mall would open in early 1991 rather than in the fall of 1990.

"It was clear that Mazursky had been exhausted by the process of finishing the comedy with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, screening and test screening it, tweaking it and arguing the finer points with senior production executives at the studio. He let out a sigh and told De Palma and the table that the film had scored well with audiences. It was testing in the high 70s but the folks at the studio wanted it to score in the 80s.

"When he finished, De Palma let out a hardy cackle (he has a very distinctive laugh) and when he recovered said, 'you're lucky.' He went on to explain that his new picture, according to the marketing people at Warner Bros., had scored the lowest of any major release in the studio's history. He said it tested at about 55% and didn't see how any amount of tinkering would ever significantly boost audience response. Though likely tinged with hyperbole, that picture was the subsequently infamous Bonfire of the Vanities."

Among Mazursky's other films is An Unmarried Woman, which starred Jill Clayburgh, for which she earned an Oscar nomination for best actress, while Mazursky earned best screenplay and best picture nominations. Other films include Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, Harry And Tonto, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Enemies, a Love Story.

Mazursky's first acting role was in 1953, as a psychopath in Stanley Kubrick's first feature film, Fear And Desire. Twelve years later, Mazursky and Larry Tucker wrote the original pilot for the TV series The Monkees. Mazursky and Tucker have cameos in the episode.


Posted by Geoff at 7:31 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 7:35 PM CDT
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MORODER TRIBUTE OPENED WITH 'TONY'S THEME'
BRITAIN'S HERITAGE ORCHESTRA AT VIVID FESTIVAL IN SYDNEY


The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Stacey interviewed Giorgio Moroder last week. In the introductory paragraphs to his interview article, Stacey notes that Moroder "recently traveled to Sydney for the Vivid Festival, where a series of events paid tribute to his career. The highlight: a symphonic survey of his music by Britain's Heritage Orchestra, a world premiere that featured live performers on Moog synths; strings and horns; a choir and a rock drummer; and young British singers Anna Calvi, Liela Moss and Shingai Shoniwa.

"The orchestra opened with Tony's Theme' from Brian De Palma's Scarface, and ended with an audience singalong to new-wave chart topper 'Together in Electric Dreams,' a 1984 collaboration with the Human League's Philip Oakey. Mr. Moroder joined the orchestra for a rendition of 'Giorgio by Moroder,' the song from Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories that last year brought him a new generation of fans. Afterward, the high-energy septuagenarian played a 1½-hour DJ set to an adoring audience in the depths of the Sydney Opera House."


Posted by Geoff at 1:55 AM CDT
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