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Monday, September 29, 2014
MORE ON 'MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE', FROM SUPERVILLAIN
Sean Witzke posted a brief riff on Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible to his Supervillain Tumblr last May:

"De Palma does this amazing thing where he does the Kurosawa show-the-plan-first-in-minature but he reverses it to make it work in a spy movie where they misdirect you by telling you all the obstacles they are about to run through, but he does it by having detailed a third element buried in the telling, where the guy who works at the computer is a pawn in the narrative. And he gets beaten up as the story moves forward, just to show how callous the heroes are. It’s all games, and Hunt actually describes it as a game first. I really love how smart/aware it is for a movie that doesn’t need to be anything but set pieces.

"The movie was regarded, at release, as hackwork. Set pieces strung together by multiple writers and directed by a technician, because of the massive massive push behind it at the time. But it functions at such a high level not only as a spy story - full of reversals, nasty violence, huge scope, intimate details, personal stakes, heists, and of course flashy set pieces - but also as a De Palma movie. His themes of surveillance, misinformation, close-up violence, betrayal, visually literalizing narrative complexity, all of them wrapped around the structure of a massive summer blockbuster. The other Mission Impossible movies (all of which I do love in various ways) are Cruise doing Bond, but Mission Impossible is De Palma figuring out how to do his best tricks for the bleachers."


Posted by Geoff at 3:37 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 28, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 7:52 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 27, 2014
PROGRESSIVE'S 'MISSION' SPOOF COMMERCIAL
AND BRIEF REVIEW OF DE PALMA'S FILM FROM SYDNEY MORNING HERALD


Thanks to Ari for sending us this link to a new commercial for Progressive, which spoofs the vault break-in-through-the-ceiling set-piece in Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible.

Meanwhile, yesterday, The Sydney Morning Herald's Ben Pobjie posted a mini-review of De Palma's film, which played on TV there last night. "The great thing about Mission: Impossible," writes Pobjie, "is that it simply gallops along, chase after chase, fight after fight, technobabble after brief love scene, the pace never slackening for introspection or boring backstory. Director Brian De Palma knew we didn't need to delve into Hunt's tortured past: we just needed to see Cruise riding bullet trains, being tossed about by explosions, and dangling from a wire to avoid sensors in one of cinema's most definitive secret-agent set-pieces. The film tracks the twisted plot through each reverse, double-cross and red herring, wisely keeping exposition brief and speedy - especially advisable when the story is this ludicrous - and focusing on the gadgets, the bangs and Tom's running-from-bad-guys-stress-face."


Posted by Geoff at 5:25 PM CDT
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Friday, September 26, 2014
'SCARFACE' PLAYING THIS WEEK IN SEATTLE
AND 'PEAKY BLINDERS' PRODUCTION DESIGNER INSPIRED BY 'GODFATHER', 'SCARFACE', MORE
Beginning tonight (Friday) at 9:30pm, and playing at that time every night through Tuesday, September 30th, Seattle's Central Cinema, which bills itself as "Seattle's most Fun Movie Theater," will be showing Brian De Palma's Scarface. Tickets are $9, but Tuesday night it's only 99 cents.

Meanwhile, Den Of Geek's Juliette Harrisson interviewed production designer Grant Montgomery on the set of the TV gangster drama Peaky Blinders, series 2. The show takes place in Birmingham, England, just after the First World War. Netflix will begin streaming series 1 September 30th, while the first episode of series 2 will air on BBC Two October 2nd.

As Montgomery tells Harrisson about what viewers can expect series 2 to look like, he refers to such films as Heaven's Gate (for the look of series 1), The Godfather, Inception, Drive, and Scarface. Here's an excerpt:

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Basically, Tommy’s empire has grown. You’ll see him moving to the metropolis of London and taking on the big gangsters that run London, so visually, you’re moving much more into bigger spaces, and you’re leaving behind a lot of the dark working-class world. Because they have money, and Tommy is beginning to use that money, he’s buying up houses in London. The world is opening up, it’s becoming much more expansive, and the spaces become bigger.

It becomes much more like a gangster world, the references become much more attuned to The Godfather rather than Heaven’s Gate. I was using Heaven’s Gate as a reference in season 1, [but] in season 2 the references are really to The Godfather. [Tommy’s] office is a total homage to The Godfather. There’s oranges on the table!

There are a lot of [other] references as well. For example, there’s a huge club called The Eden, which is a big metropolitan club, and again I like to reference things, so there’s a lot of little nods, winks – there’s a scorpion design that’s basically from Ryan Gosling’s jacket in Drive. I wanted to turn it into a really big nod to Inception, there’s a lot of gold. There’s a lot of gold within the whole series, actually, and that echoes season 1.

You’ll see loads of [references] that are just peppered through the whole of the look, and I think that’s playful. That was in the first season, ‘cause it was all from a lot of Westerns, Rio Bravo, Deadwood and all the rest.

[Harrisson] How much freedom do you have to do that, mixing in so many different references? Do you just not tell anyone?

I just do it, because it’s there! Steven [Knight]’s writing is so detailed, but allows you still to bring images and references to the party. So I’ve never felt constricted by what we’re doing, because it’s a mythology, it’s not strictly historically – it’s not a historical recreation, it’s very much a mythology.

Also, I’ve always brought a kind of Americana feel, like for example Tommy’s office, there’s a lot of references to Los Angeles there, the shape of certain curves etc. I’ve always tried to bring an Americana kind of sheen to a British gangster story. I think that’s legitimate because it is a myth.

The Garrison pub has been transformed, because [Tommy’s] gone to see London and he’s brought back an idea and done basically a Scarface on it. He’s done a 1980s Brian De Palma Al Pacino Scarface on his own pub, and it’s turned into this huge golden Las Vegas kind of mecca to his ambition, so it’s completely transformed.

[Harrisson] Is that your imprint, or is that implied in the script?

No, it’s implied in the script. He comes back and says, ‘right I’m gonna give Birmingham what I’ve seen in London. I’m gonna give the masses what they want’, which is this glamour. And he’s quite a glamourous individual. And I think also every location and every set is starting to change because he’s got money, so he buys a house from Polly in suburbia, and he’s buying racehorses, and he’s buying fast cars. You see him with this huge amount of money, and where’s that money going to take him? And I’ve always used gold as a symbol [for] his desire and ambition for money and wealth.


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Posted by Geoff at 5:54 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 29, 2014 3:42 AM CDT
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Monday, September 22, 2014
REVIEW EXCERPTS - FINCHER'S 'GONE GIRL'
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
"But above all, it’s is a delicious exercise in audience-baiting: what begins as a he-said, she-said story of mounting, murderous suspense, lurches at its fulcrum into the kind of hot mess Brian De Palma might have cooked up 20 years ago in his attic."

Graham Fuller, Screen Daily
"Psycho is a touchstone (as is Body Heat), though Fincher utilises suspense as a smokescreen for social critiquing. As it traces what went wrong in the marriage, Gone Girl simultaneously evolves as a mordant satire of the mediating of domestic violence as mass entertainment."

Michael Nordine, Indiewire
"Fincher likely prides himself on turning coal into diamonds at this point, but Flynn's script can feel so retrograde at times that one wonders whether it might have been better served by a De Palma, Bigelow, or even a Verhoeven — which is to say, a filmmaker less concerned with making the lascivious seem prestigious. (It's doubtful anyone else could have filmed a certain blood-soaked scene with such unsettling verve, however.)"

Xan Brooks, The Guardian
"In the meantime the film keeps changing costumes, covering its tracks. It’s nodding freely to everything from Fatal Attraction, to Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion, to The War of the Roses; all but tripping over itself in its rush to the climax. Thank heavens for Fincher, who keeps the tale so coiled and intense that we are prepared to stick with it, even as it pitches towards outright hysteria. He whips up a bracing, scalding sketch of a marriage in meltdown; a banner-headline study of the domestic hell that we make for each other."

Justin Chang, Variety
"Among other things, “Gone Girl” functions as a wickedly entertaining satire of our scandal-obsessed, trash-TV-addicted media culture; this is a movie as conversant with the tawdry true-crime sagas of Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony as it is with classic thrillers of domestic entrapment like Rebecca, Diabolique, Rosemary’s Baby and Fatal Attraction.”

Jake Wilson, The Sydney Morning Herald
"Thematically, the film can be seen as a sequel to Fincher's Facebook origin story The Social Network, engaging rather more directly with the contemporary reality of social media. Once news of the disappearance goes public, TV pundits and everyday folk are equally quick to take sides – Team Amy or Team Nick? – even as the viewer is made to suspect that both parties have plenty to hide.

"As narrators of the book, Nick and Amy address the reader directly, commenting on the distance between their public and private selves. While Fincher can't replicate this effect on film, he achieves an equivalent kind of irony simply by putting the naturally smarmy Affleck in a role that capitalises on the unbelievability of his good-guy screen persona. Other instances of stunt casting are comparably astute, from Tyler Perry as a purring defence attorney to Neil Patrick Harris as the kind of well-spoken nutcase John Lithgow used to play for Brian De Palma."

David Ehrlich, Badass Digest
"Working from a script by Flynn herself, Gone Girl is a domestic horror show that grows more discomfortingly familiar as it balloons to a national scale. As if Brian De Palma remade Hitchcock’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith and set it inside of the wettest dream that Nancy Grace has ever had, Fincher’s latest is perhaps most remarkable for how it exceeds the sum of its parts."


Posted by Geoff at 8:27 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 29, 2014 2:19 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 21, 2014
ROSE MCGOWAN INSPIRED BY ART OF DE PALMA
SHE'LL PRESENT SCREENING OF HER SHORT, 'DAWN', FOLLOWED BY 'CARRIE' WEDNESDAY IN L.A.


Rose McGowan is doing what she really wants to do now, which is to direct films. Her short film, Dawn, is getting positive reviews, and to qualify the short for Oscar consideration, she's been hosting the Dawn Festival at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles. The fest, which began Friday, runs for seven nights. Each night begins with a screening of the 18-minute Dawn, followed by a Q&A with McGowan, who then introduces a feature film in which women are given a strong voice. One of those features is Brian De Palma's Carrie, which will be introduced by McGowan this Wednesday night. (The other films are Ridley Scott's Thelma And Louise, John Hughes' Sixteen Candles, Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, Jonathan Demme's Silence Of The Lambs, Hal Ashby's Harold And Maude, and David Swift's The Parent Trap.

"THE ACTUAL ART OF WHAT [DE PALMA] DOES IS REALLY, REALLY INSPIRING TO ME"

In an interview with Under The Radar, Austin Trunick tells McGowan, "You’ve worked with some great directors across your career, in particular ones who have been known to sometimes handle dark subject matter – such as Wes Craven, Brian De Palma, even Quentin Tarantino to a degree. Was there anything you learned from watching or working with those directors that you brought to your own directing style?"

McGowan replies, "I think De Palma, out of any of them, for sure. I love his tracking shots. I’ve just been inspired by him, as a filmmaker. Even some of his later movies. It’s so hard to make a movie come out right, or do anything like that. But the actual art of what he does is really, really inspiring to me.

"For me, I probably lean more on things from the past than things from the present. People, I should say." When pushed to name some of those older directors who inspired her for Dawn, McGowan replies, "I would say Douglas Sirk, Charles Laughton, Jacques Tourneur … For me, art is a really big part of it, as well. The loneliness that I wanted to capture is what I feel when I look at certain Edward Hopper paintings. The life of an artist should be rich and encompass many different art forms. It can all coalesce into one piece; all of your random bits of knowledge. For me, I hosted a show on TCM for a year, and I’m on the board of the Film Noir Society with Dennis Lehane and [James] Ellroy, people like this. I’m really steeped in the classics, but I love modern film as well, obviously." (Speaking of Ellroy, of course, McGowan appeared in De Palma's adaptation of the author's The Black Dahlia.)

McGowan similarly tells Ain't It Cool's Papa Vinyard, "It's like when you're, I'd imagine, a [sculptor]. Every chip off the block is what you don't want until it's what you do want. And there have definitely been- I worked with De Palma, and I was really inspired by some of his tracking shots, and certain people like that. But by and large, most of the stuff I did as an actor wasn't [incredibly] inspirational to me as a director."

MCGOWAN'S ORIGINAL PLAN FOR A SHORT WAS A FLANNERY O'CONNOR ADAPTATION STARRING PIPER LAURIE

In a Rotten Tomatoes Podcast, host Grae Drake tells McGowan, "Carrie is actually a note that I made while I was watching [Dawn], because Dawn’s mother is like a less-aggressive Piper Laurie to me. And even in a very short amount of screen time, and a very kind of realistic portrayal of a mom, it wasn’t over-the-top. I went, ‘Oooh, she's gonna be lockin’ Dawn in a closet at some point during this movie.’ [Laughter] Like, this is not going to go well. And so without revealing too much, I thought it was a really good way of foreshadowing what was going to go on, and the kind of world that this poor young girl is finding herself in."

McGowan then replies, "Yeah, [she's] trapped. And I really did it for women. You know, my mom is 60, she just turned 60. And I’m kind of fascinated by that era, and that they were raised to be pleasant and da-da-da, and essentially your goal is to take care of a man and his children. And then I’m fascinated by the fact that later in the ‘60s, the sexual revolution happens, and they’re supposed to be loose and free. But you’re actually programmed to please a man. It was just a really interesting era, and my mom was raised by a very similar mother to Dawn’s, and I wanted to bring that to the screen. Ironically, or, oddly enough, I had Piper Laurie cast in the original short I was planning on doing... Except, she’s 86, I had her in the woods, sub-zero temperatures, getting killed by… it was an adaptation of a Flannery O’Connor piece. Which is a heavy, you know, some great material. So well-written. But I think it all turned out for the best."

The Flannery O'Connor piece sounds likely to have been A View Of The Woods.


Posted by Geoff at 10:33 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 20, 2014
THE RUSSO BROTHERS LOOKED TO DE PALMA
AS THEY STRUCTURED TWO TENSE SEQUENCES IN 'WINTER SOLDIER'



About 30-minutes into the directors' commentary on the DVD/Blu-ray of Captain America: Winter Soldier, Anthony and Joe Russo mention their debt to Brian De Palma for two specific sequences in the film. "As we were talking about making a thriller," says one of them, "we went and looked at, obviously, the masters of tension. And nobody had really done a great De Palma-esque sequence in a while, since probably the white vault room in Mission: Impossible. And so we said, can we find a couple of sequences in this film where we put our very likable characters in impossible situations, and protract it, and really keep the audience on edge as to how they’re going to escape the sequence. Fury in his car was one of them, and Cap in the elevator was another one of them."

(Thanks to Andy!)

Previously:
'THIS SCENE SHOULD BE LIKE EARLY DE PALMA'
'CAPTAIN AMERICA' ELEVATOR SCENE


Posted by Geoff at 11:21 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 21, 2014 10:43 PM CDT
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Friday, September 19, 2014
DEADLINE: HBO SUSPENDS PATERNO PRE-PRODUCTION
PROJECT STILL INTACT, BUT ON-HOLD "FOR A MOMENT TO DEAL WITH BUDGET ISSUES" & SCRIPT WORK
Deadline's Nellie Andreeva and Mike Fleming report today that Happy Valley had indeed "been quietly picked up by HBO." The network issued a statement to Deadline today, saying, "We have not killed the project, so to say so [is] inaccurate. We have suspended pre-production for a moment to deal with budget issues, but the project is still intact at HBO with the entire creative team as before." Deadline cites other unnamed sources to say that "the suspension would also be used for additional script work."

The creative team referred to would be Brian De Palma (director), Al Pacino (star actor), David McKenna (screenwriter), Edward R. Pressman (producer), Rick Nicita (producer), Jon Katz (exec producer), and Joe Posnanski (co-producer who wrote the book, Paterno, that the film is using as its source).

According to the Deadline article, "Happy Valley has been undergoing casting, with John Carroll Lynch recently tapped to play [Jerry] Sandusky. Other cast deals had been in different stages too, but we’ve heard that casting sessions on the project had been cancelled and other prep work put on hold..."

Pacino has made two previous films for HBO in recent years: the 2010 Jack Kervorkian biopic You Don't Know Jack, directed by Barry Levinson (who also directed Pacino in his new film, The Humbling), and last year's Phil Spector, which was directed by David Mamet. Happy Valley would complete a trilogy of HBO films from strong directors in which Pacino plays a series of controversial real-life figures. Pacino, who won an Emmy for playing Kervorkian, also starred with Meryl Streep in the 2003 HBO miniseries Angels In America, for which he also won an Emmy Award.

Last year, Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic, Behind The Candelabra, was made for HBO, and yet had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or, and also played theatrically in the U.K. So even though Happy Valley will be an HBO film, there are theatrical and festival possibilities for it, as well.


Posted by Geoff at 7:22 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 19, 2014 7:38 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 18, 2014
THE WRAP: JOHN CARROLL LYNCH AS SANDUSKY?
CITES "MULTIPLE INDIVIDUALS FAMILIAR WITH THE PROJECT"
The Wrap's Jeff Sneider posted yesterday that, according to "multiple individuals familiar with the project," John Carroll Lynch is preparing to play Jerry Sandusky in Brian De Palma's upcoming Happy Valley. I post this with a bit of hesitation, as The Wrap has been known to post exclusives that end up being mistaken. The end of the article states that "Lynch is represented by manager James Suskin, who did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment." However, it seems likely that Lynch is at least in talks for the role, and he would certainly be an excellent fit for the part. I've loved watching this actor since I first recall seeing him, in the Coen brothers' Fargo. And he made a sinister impression in David Fincher's Zodiac. Lynch has also been cast by Ryan Murphy "to portray a version of the Phantom of the Opera, carny style," on the upcoming fourth season of American Horror Story, according to the New York Times' Kathryn Shattuck. (Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack states that Lynch plays the main villain, "a nasty fella (and murderer) named Twisty the Clown.") With Happy Valley ramping up to shoot this fall, that may require a bit of juggling between sets for Lynch.

Meanwhile, Variety reports that APA has booked stunt coordinator Mark Ellis for "HBO's Happy Valley." Ellis was the football coordinator on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Production messages have been flittering around the internet in the past few weeks referring to Happy Valley as an HBO project. However, I have been told that nothing is a done deal yet.

Posted by Geoff at 7:38 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 19, 2014 7:24 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
'BODY DOUBLE' IN LONDON TUESDAY NIGHT
CONCLUDES SERIES "AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 FILMS" FROM LITTLE WHITE LIES
Brian De Palma's Body Double, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will screen Tuesday, September 16th, at the W Hotel London in Leicester Square, as the final film of Little White Lies' "Around The World In Eight Films" series. According to the web site, Body Double was chosen to represent the USA because: "Melanie Griffiths' porn star character is called Holly Body," and "the molten sexual charge and vicarious bodily pleasures are but window dressing for a film that's Hitchcockian thriller on one level and — on a more elevated one — a playful metatextual exploration on the seedy side of cinema." Guests arriving at 6:30 pm will receive a complimentary themed cocktail and a box of popcorn. The film will begin at 7pm.

Other films in the series included John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday (England), Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (France), Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Eclisse (Italy), Jan Švankmajer's Alice (Czech Republic), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Black Narcissus (representing India), Akira Kurosawa's Ran (Japan), and David Michôd's Animal Kingdom (Australia).

Posted by Geoff at 12:23 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:34 PM CDT
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