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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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Thursday, November 1, 2012
DE PALMA NO LONGER ATTACHED TO 'HEAT'
SIMON WEST & CORY YUEN TO EACH RETEAM WITH JASON STATHAM
News has come (from Deadline, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, etc., etc.) out of the American Film Market in Santa Monica today that Simon West will direct Jason Statham in the remake of William Goldman's Heat. Brian De Palma had previously been attached to direct the picture, telling journalists at recent film festivals that he was working on a revision of the screenplay with his Passion co-screenwriter, Natalie Carter. The film was sold to various territories at the Berlin Film Market, with Statham and De Palma's names attached, this past February. West has previously directed Statham in two films, The Mechanic, and this year's The Expendables 2. Cory Yuen, who directed Statham in The Transporter, joins Heat as action director and fight choreographer. Statham is producing along with Steven Chasman.

"I met De Palma in New York and, you know, he's one of the living legends," Statham told The Playlist's Drew Taylor about the project back in April. "Scarface is one of my top five movies of all time, so the chance to work with that kind of quality is something I never saw happening. It just happens to be an old movie from the past and we're going to do the best we can with it."

Posted by Geoff at 6:05 PM CDT
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012
PARK THOUGHT OF DE PALMA WHILE MAKING 'STOKER'
'OLDBOY' DIRECTOR'S FAVORITE DE PALMA FILM IS 'DRESSED TO KILL'


In an article for Entertainment Weekly, Solvej Schou interviews three South Korean directors who each are getting ready to release their English-language debut. Park Chan-wook, best known for his Vengeance trilogy (Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance), is directing Stoker, a thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska that will be released March 1, 2013. In this excerpt from the article, Park discusses how the films of Brian De Palma influenced him while making Stoker:
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"Park cited Martin Scorsese’s Hugo as a recent English-language movie he enjoyed, though his favorite contemporary English-language movie is David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. 'Cronenberg is my hero,' Park said. While Wentworth Miller drew on Hitchcock for Stoker’s script, Park said, the director himself channeled sleek, stylized, sexy Brian De Palma. 'Stoker is a film with cross-cut scenes in it. In making such a film, I couldn’t help but think of De Palma,' said Park, who noted his favorite by the director is 1980 murder thriller Dressed To Kill. 'Once upon a time, I used to write film reviews for a living, and I reviewed Dressed to Kill. While I was conscious of De Palma, I wanted to make Stoker differently. How could I make it different from De Palma, maybe through less use of slow motion?'”
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(Thanks to Rado!)

Meanwhile, down below, check out the music used in the second half of the trailer for Stoker, and see if it reminds you of a trailer for a more recent De Palma film...


Posted by Geoff at 6:32 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 9:41 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
CAHIERS' DE PALMA REVIEWS TRANSLATED
ON 'PASSION': "ONE OF THE MOST INTENSE PLEASURES OF THE FESTIVAL"
A big thanks to David Davidson at Toronto Film Review, who yesterday posted summarized translations of Cahiers du cinéma's reviews of Brian De Palma films from the 2000s. A couple of weeks ago, Davidson posted a translation of a Cahiers roundtable discussion from 1981, which he described as "the catalyst to take De Palma seriously at the magazine, which would last to the present day."

Davidson notes in yesterday's post, "De Palma is usually brought up in relation to Cahiers du cinéma, where the main reference point being how Carlito’s Way was voted to be the number one film of the 90’s. But little is actually written about what their critics have actually written in their reviews of De Palma’s films and what they have to say about the auteur himself." To that end, Davidson provides edited translations (he leaves out the synopsis, mostly) of the Cahiers reviews of Mission to Mars, Femme Fatale, The Black Dahlia, Redacted, and a festival brief about Passion.

Also check out an edited version of Davidson's recent speech, "The Fakery of Brian De Palma: Truth Hinging Upon the Absurd," which was delivered at this month’s edition of the Toronto lecture series "What We Talk About."


Posted by Geoff at 1:11 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 1:11 AM CDT
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Monday, October 29, 2012
EXCERPT FROM DONAGGIO-'CARRIE' SUITE
AT GHENT WORLD SOUNDTRACK AWARDS & CONCERT LAST WEEKEND

Posted by Geoff at 12:35 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:38 AM CDT
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Friday, October 26, 2012
GREAT TRANSCRIPT OF TIFF DE PALMA CHAT
DE PALMA SAYS 'TOYER' NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN


A couple of days ago, Flickering Myth's Trevor Hogg posted a transcript from a group chat with Brian De Palma, which took place at last month's Toronto International Film Festival. De Palma discusses the fact that it has gotten more difficult for any filmmaker working for a studio to have final cut on a picture. "I’ve always been able to work within the studio system," De Palma is quoted as saying. "If your budget gets big you have a lot more meetings which was true on Mission to Mars [2000] which was the most expensive movie I’ve ever made. It was the early 1990s, around Bonfire [1990] when you started to get stacks of notes. Everybody would have notes for you. That’s when I remember there was a lot more hands on in the studio system. Normally you would have a few meetings and they would let you go off and make the movie. You would have to deal with them in the previews stage. In the day of the director, long and far gone, you could bowl your way through them like with Scarface [1983]. We had a preview in Texas. There were walkouts and cards in which people said, ‘It’s the worse movie I ever seen.’ I basically said, ‘Sorry. That’s it. I’m not changing it.’ That was lucky in those days but it has gotten harder. I don’t think the young directors have final cut the way we older directors do. The studios would prefer to deal with a director who they can control and control the cut. They don’t like working with directors of my generation because we’re stubborn, old and crotchety."

Someone asked De Palma about situations in which a director is told by a studio to convert a film into 3D. "That’s a sad position to be in as a director because you shouldn’t do it. 3D is a specific technique like split screen, split diopters, long steady cam shots, and montages. It needs a specific use. To throw it in in order to charge five or six dollars more for the glasses is a mistake and you’re going to finally say, ‘I’m not going anymore because this has nothing to do with 3D.’"

When asked about his long-planned adaptation of Gardner McKay's Toyer, De Palma replied, "It was bought by a guy who went out of business so I don’t think we’re going to see that one."

The end of the discussion takes off from Peter Biskind's book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, which looked at the lives of the young Hollywood filmmakers of De Palma's generation in the 1970s. De Palma chose not to participate in the book. "The first thing you discover," De Palma told the TIFF group, "and this is probably true of a lot of biographies is, ‘Who talks to the biographer?' Is it the bitter ex-wife, the unhappy girlfriend or the partner who got screwed out of a deal? They do a lot of talking. The people who like and respect the filmmakers they don’t talk at all like me. That’s why you see me very little in this book. I would know all of those situations. I was there in the 1970s. I saw it all. I could see this was taking a gossipy, drugs, girls, rock ’n’ roll, and I shied away from it immediately.”

Regarding those Hollywood days early on in his career, De Palma told the TIFF group, “We worked hard trying to get into the studio system. We helped each other. We helped with scripts and casting. [Paul] Schrader came to me with Taxi Driver [1976]. I read it. I gave it to Marty. I introduced Marty [Scorsese] to Bobby [De Niro]. I helped Marty with Mean Streets [1973]. We were all living in the same area. I got an email from Steven [Spielberg] the other day. I met Steven because my girlfriend at the time Margo Kidder knew him from the lot at Universal. The first time I met Steve we were going to homosexual baths in Manhattan scouting locations for Cruising which I reminded him of and we started to laugh."


Posted by Geoff at 1:23 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Posted by Geoff at 6:55 PM CDT
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VIDEO: DONAGGIO @ GHENT PRESS CONFERENCE



Posted by Geoff at 6:29 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012
NEW 'PASSION' STILLS & REVIEWS
MICAH GOTTLIEB: "GLEEFULLY OLD-FASHIONED PSYCHODRAMA"
Lindsey at Rachel McAdams Online has some new stills from Brian De Palma's Passion, some of which you can see below, along with a couple more courtesy Noomi Rapace Online. (Big thanks to Lindsey!)

We also have links to some more Passion reviews.

Tiny Mix Tapes' Micah Gottlieb:
"The hallmarks of Brian De Palma’s cinema du look — sweeping camerawork, narrative reflexivity, visual and verbal double entendres — are fully present in this gleefully old-fashioned psychodrama of high-business office politics, which doubles (oh, those doubles!) as a canny survey of modern technology’s manipulative power. A blonde (Rachel McAdams) and a brunette (Noomi Rapace) pithily jab at each other’s throats in a Berlin advertising agency, a dome of shimmering glass in which MacBooks, smartphones, and security cameras become agents of deception. As ever, De Palma’s images range from starkly artificial to gracefully restless, a stream undercut by the severe beauty of his actresses: the ghostlike McAdams and Rapace’s tight grin seem built from a century’s worth of repressed desires. Indeed, the film’s latter half turns dream-life into a shaggy dog story, lit through Venetian blinds, which finally unspools as one girl’s fantasy of entrapment, stuck in a reality where she can never truly get off. Who said De Palma isn’t a personal filmmaker? With the sultry score by De Palma vet Pino Donaggio and a typically mesmerizing split screen sequence, Passion finds the director delightfully riffing on himself."

At the Brian De Palma Discussion forum, "bdpinnyc", who caught the film at the New York Film Festival, wrote that Passion owes a lot to Robert Altman's 3 Women, a film that some have mentioned in connection to De Palma's Femme Fatale, as well. "Well, I liked it and am eager to see it again as I need to take it all in some more," wrote bdpinnyc. "As with any DePalma film, there is more than meets the eye. On first glance I do not think it's one of DePalma's finest works, but there [are] a lot of interesting things happening in it. Curiously, the first half of the film has been criticized by some as being too plodding or straightforward and the back-end is all crazy DePalma and exciting. I rather liked the first half! The satire of corporate politics and vicious back-stabbing was fun for me as a corporate guy myself.

"The second half gets really interesting but I think the film loses of a bit of focus. Again, I need to re-see it to clarify where dreams start and end... and start up again. I won't give away the ending except to say that it was so similar to Dressed to Kill that it made me slightly uncomfortable. Was it a parody? There's certainly a twist. But even the Pino Donaggio score (which I loved overall) employed the same music cues from Dressed to Kill. I will say, it seemed to lack the crispness of DePalma at his best, and yet, there were many fascinating ideas at work, so I don't want to imply that he's gone soft in any way. I'm actually happy to see that many of the critics in NY have responded well to the film."

Cutting Edge's Niko Hendrix groups Passion in with a "bizarre trio" alongside William Friedkin's Killer Joe and Francis Ford Coppola's Twixt, all movies that, for Hendrix, show that these film icons are not concerned about prevailing conventions, and seem to be subscribing to the motto, "It's better to burn out than to fade away." Contrary to bdpinnyc above, Hendrix found that after very stiff early going, "Passion stirs the pot turns into a dislocated fever dream that seems completely built from De Palma’s subconscious and its slivers of sardonic pleasure. Thus, with the exaggerated score of Pino Donnagio, the whole thing becomes a caricatural tongue-in-cheek atmosphere in which De Palma decomposes all his demons in a string of elegant setpieces."

Knack's Piet Goethals states that it is clear from the beginning that De Palma has thoroughly revised the script of Love Crime, although the first half stays relatively faithful to the original. Once the murder is introduced, writes Goethals, the film's style becomes "stylish in an expressionistic realism and nightmarish atmosphere, full of oblique angles, a pressing play of light and shadow, theater masks, twin sisters, split screen and high heels. All this is deeply lathered with a swollen soundtrack by Pino Donaggio, who in his composition brings a synthesis of Carrie and Dressed to Kill.

"Formally, it seems like a De Palma 'best of' of his most remarkable stylistic servings. What happens is quite grotesque. The very slow start to the massacre, split screen, the impressionistic mood shades of Debussy on the soundtrack and the parallel mounting between ballet and manslaughter, is vintage De Palma. And the final, which tends toward autoparody."

Nashville Scene's Jason Shawhan reviews the NYFF slate. "Speaking of amazing female duos," writes Shawhan, "Brian De Palma's Passion marks a delicious return to form for the master of art-sleaze. Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams play beautiful corporate warriors doing awful things to one another, and the end result is a delirious fusion of Assayas' Demonlover and Mean Girls."


Posted by Geoff at 8:55 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 1:26 AM CDT
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