PAIRED WITH FEMME FATALE AT THE NEW BEVERLY
Film editor Paul Hirsch will be on hand for a Q&A following a screening of Brian De Palma's Blow Out, which Hirsch edited, Tuesday June 8 at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. The Q&A will be moderated by Ain't It Cool News' Jeremy Smith. Aside from Blow Out, Hirsch has worked with De Palma on numerous films, including Hi, Mom!, Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise, Obsession, Carrie, The Fury, Raising Cain, Mission: Impossible, and Mission To Mars. He also worked as editor on the two best Star Wars films, "A New Hope" and The Empire Strikes Back. Also on the inspired bill is De Palma's Femme Fatale, scheduled to start at 9:40pm (Blow Out begins at 7:30pm). The double bill is part of "Phil's Film Explosion Part 2," in which Phil Blankenship, the man responsible for the theater's midnight screenings, focuses on (mostly) 1980s cinema, with an apparent shot to the future with 2002's Femme Fatale. Dennis Cozzalio offers a terrific suggestion for anyone in the Los Angeles area: attend tonight's double bill at the New Bev of Sorority House Massacre and The Slumber Party Massacre to get a taste of the genre that De Palma parodies at the very beginning of the next night's lead-off feature, Blow Out.
Speaking of Hirsch, he recently served as editor on the Robert De Niro/Al Pacino cop/buddy movie Righteous Kill, which I finally watched last week (watch out for SPOILERS here). De Niro and Pacino got a lot of flack for this one, but the project itself I think was a good one to take on. Where De Niro went wrong, I believe, was in taking the project to director Jon Avnet, who has a style akin to television. The script is good, and the idea to cast Pacino opposite DeNiro in this is a good one. However, with that pairing having previously been directed by Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Mann, a stronger director would have worked wonders for this project. That said, there are two sequences that really stand out for being extremely well-edited. The first is a scene where the two cops are being interrogated, and the shots roll at us in rapid succession and from various directions, as the pair are compared to Lennon & McCartney ("not an inch of daylight between them"-- how's that for a contrast to their juxtaposition in The Godfather Part II?). Indeed, De Niro and Pacino tease their interrogators with irreverence as if they were two Beatles at a sixties press conference. A followup scene later in the film becomes a split-screen marvel as the two cops are juxtaposed against each other, and then against themselves, as if we are watching four personalities in the minds of two men. Very creatively done.
Righteous Kill also carries thematic links with De Palma's Snake Eyes. Pacino had turned down the role of Kevin Dunn in the latter film opposite Nicolas Cage's Rick Santoro, but in Righteous Kill his character takes a very similar twist, although the roles in each film, regarding who looks up to who, is reversed. In an odd bit of serendipity, Carla Gugino has been cast in both films as the go-between female figure who is the first to identify the real killer. (John Leguizamo plays a younger cop in Righteous Kill, teaming up with Pacino's cop, but there is no real "Carlito"-type of tension between the two characters in this one.) In the making of docs on the DVD, De Niro says he liked the script, which I agree is a good one, but he should have taken it to a great director. De Palma, Scorsese, Coppola, or Eastwood—even Michael Mann, any of these would have elevated the material, which was already a strong piece of work, especially when combined with the casting.