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Saturday, February 9, 2013
'SIDE EFFECTS' MAY INCLUDE HITCHCOCK, DE PALMA
ALTHOUGH CREATORS CITE LYNE & KASDAN FILMS AS INITIAL SPARKS
Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects opened yesterday. Reviews have been coming in all week long that call the film Hitchcockian, and in some cases, Brian De Palma's name has been mentioned, as well. While at least a couple of the reviews and articles mention De Palma's Body Double, [possible spoiler here] there is one key scene that reminded me of a key scene in De Palma's Sisters. [End of spoilers] In any case, the less you know about the movie going in, the more you will enjoy it.

Indiewire's Drew Taylor this week posted "10 Psychosexual Thrillers To Get You Ready For Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects," and included Body Double, along with Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction (which he notes was Soderbergh's "principle inspiration" for Side Effects), Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat (which Taylor notes was one of screenwriter Scott Z. Burns' "chief inspirations" for Side Effects), Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In (with which Taylor notes that Almodovar "was able to synthesize" the styles of Hitchcock and De Palma), the Wachowski Brothers' Bound, David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (which, like Side Effects, stars Rooney Mara), and Richard Marquand's Jagged Edge. Here's what Taylor wrote about Body Double:
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"If there's a king of the psychosexual genre, then Brian De Palma should probably be the one to wear the crown. Beginning with his debut feature, Murder A La Mod (1968) and continuing through to Passion (which will be released later this year), De Palma has been working over themes of obsession, violence, and betrayal, in particular during a string of profitable and highly controversial movies in the '70s and '80s. (Detailed lovingly in the recent, pseudo-academic book Un-American Psycho by Chris Dumas.) While Dressed to Kill might be the most psychosexual of his psychosexual heyday, there's something sleazier and steamier about Body Double, his unheralded classic from the period, that was unjustifiably thrown under the bus for perceived misogynistic undertones and what critics viewed as too many lapses in logic in De Palma's dreamlike narrative. (He's admitted some things in the movie just don't work.) But it's for all these reasons, not in spite of them, that Body Double is such a whacked-out delight. Like Dressed to Kill, which liberally cribs from Psycho, Body Double finds De Palma riffing on Hitchcock, in this case Rear Window, with a struggling actor (Craig Wasson) agreeing to housesit for a friend. After her watches a woman get killed (in a sequence that caused the public outcry – she gets speared by a giant phallic drill), he's drawn into the underground world of Los Angeles pornography. (It was originally intended as a micro-budget film with an NC-17 rating.)" [Editor's note: the NC-17 rating did not exist at the time Body Double was released; De Palma had originally talked about making a film that would receive a pure, unadulterated X rating.] "Body Double is goofier than Blow Out, De Palma's masterpiece, but it's still a sparkly crown jewel for the king of the psychosexual thriller.
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Here are some of the reviews with quotes:

Randall King, Winnipeg Free Press
"Soderbergh, working from a script by Scott Z. Burns, delivers a genre mash-up, a murder mystery that strives to address the social ills that attend prescription pharmaceuticals. This has the capacity to be a hot-button movie playing on the all-too-pertinent link between violence and prescription meds. But Soderbergh seems to be gingerly avoiding head-on confrontation. Instead, he bottles a more mundane thriller of the type that might have appealed to Brian De Palma a decade or two earlier."

Jeff Myers, Metro Times
"From Soderbergh’s head-scratching opening homage to Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby to a plot that, at first, seems to be a cautionary legal tale of big pharma abuses, Side Effects unexpectedly develops into a postmodern Hitchcockian thriller —which is actually akin to one of Brian De Palma’s chilly psychological puzzles. That’s an awful lot of cinematic referencing for one movie. But let me put a cherry on top, won’t you? With its eventual double-cross plot turns, paranoid wrong-man drama, and corrupt corporate subtext, Side Effects plays like a particularly nasty episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent had it been directed by Robert Altman."

Josh Board, Fox 5 San Diego
"Now, this is about all I will tell you regarding the plot. Even the trailers, and the stars of the movie on talk shows, have given away too much. I went in knowing nothing about it when I saw it last month. And I loved the way it went from a bit of an ethical dilemma to a psychological thriller. It was Hitchcock-light. More like Brian De Palma."

Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger
"To even begin to describe the plot would be a disservice to anyone who has not yet basked in the film’s psychotic pleasures. Just know that nothing – and I mean, nothing – is what it seems, right up to the superbly composed final shots that come courtesy of Soderbergh, who serves as both editor and cinematographer (under the pseudonym of Peter Andrews) as well as director. It’s easily his finest – and most commercial – effort since Oceans 13. It’s also like nothing he’s ever done before, as he boldly treads into the domain normally reserved for masters of suspense like Hitchcock (think Vertigo) and Brian De Palma (Body Double, anyone?)."

Kurt Loder, Reason.com
"Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects is a grippingly 'Hitchcockian' movie, but not in the manner of, say, Brian De Palma, who blithely appropriated the master’s narrative elements and visual techniques for ’80s films like Dressed to Kill and Body Double. Soderbergh’s picture is something else, a bracingly lurid tale of a man trapped in a thickening web of circumstance—the sort of story that Hitchcock might well have wanted to tell himself. In the late director’s absence, Soderbergh, who over the course of 24 years has demonstrated a rare facility in a wide array of genres, proves to be just the man for the job."

Brian Tallerico, Hollywood Chicago
"Side Effects not only draws on Soderbergh’s career but has conscious echoes of Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, and Alfred Hitchcock as well...

"That first act has echoes of Polanski’s wonderful, urban paranoia films like Repulsion as Soderbergh (under the pseudonym of Peter Andrews) shoots the 'wounded bird' of Mara often from below or above, heightening the claustrophobia of a city in which millions can feel alone despite being in such close proximity. Then the film twists and Soderbergh/Andrews & Burns bring a different, pulpier style that’s more reminiscent of De Palma when he so blatantly mimicked Hitchcock. Technically, it’s a marvelous piece of work as Soderbergh proves defter with his camera with every film."

Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
"Yet, Side Effects seems more intent on toying with its viewers’ expectations than in really crafting its own internal cat-and-mouse game. The actual meat of its full storyline is unexpectedly trashy and tawdry, like some unholy mix of Brian De Palma film and Lifetime Original movie."


Posted by Geoff at 7:40 PM CST
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'THE FURY' LIMITED ED. BLU-RAY COMING MARCH 12
AND 'CARRIE' UK BLU-RAY COMING MARCH 4
Back in Decmber, it was announced that Twilight Time will release a Blu-ray version of Brian De Palma's The Fury on March 12. A week or two ago, the cover art (at left) was revealed. Our old friend Bill Fentum notes in the comments below that the Blu-ray will include an isolated track of John Williams's score, as well as the theatrical trailer. The Fury Blu-ray will be a limited edition, to 3000 copies. The cover art is the original poster art for the film's original release, but with a new, crazy font (I liked the original one better).

Meanwhile, in the U.K., MGM had timed a Blu-ray release of De Palma's Carrie to coincide with the upcoming Kimberly Peirce remake. When the latter film's release was pushed back to October 2013, they almost changed the Blu-ray release date, as well, but now it looks like they will move forward with the original release date of March 4. The U.K. Blu-ray may or may not include a new 5-minute feature titled Bringing Back Carrie.
(Thanks to Chiel!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:38 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 9, 2013 7:47 PM CST
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Posted by Geoff at 7:38 PM CST
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Monday, February 4, 2013
'PASSION' MAKES TWO MORE 2012 TOP 10 LISTS
THE LISTS APPEAR IN CURRENT ISSUE OF 'FILM COMMENT'
Film Comment's January-February 2013 issue is out, and it includes the "20 Best Films of 2012" list, as chosen by "over 100 North American colleagues." As usual, the magazine includes the top 10 lists of several critics from all over the world. Three of those lists include Brian De Palma's Passion. One of those three lists is a reworking of Manuel Yanez-Murillo's list as posted to Twitter in December. Here are the other two:
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Nico Baumbach (New York)
1. The Turin Horse
2. Like Someone In Love
3. Holy Motors
4. This Is Not A Film
5. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
6. Moonrise Kingdom
7. The Kid With A Bike
8. Leviathan
9. Passion
10. Cosmopolis

Chris Chang
(New York)
(Listed alphabetically with no ranking preference)
Amour
Araf: Somewhere In Between
Frances Ha
Hail
Leviathan
Nervous Magic Lantern
performance, 12/12/12, Ken Jacobs/Aki Onda
Night Across The Street
Passion
Patience (After Sebald)
Tabu

Posted by Geoff at 7:40 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 7:41 PM CST
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Saturday, February 2, 2013
VIDEO: DE PALMA TALKS POLITICS, 'ZERO DARK', MORE
10-MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH RUSSIAN JOURNALIST:
ORWELLIAN PARANOIA, TORTURE, OBAMA, GUNS, WOMEN, 'PASSION', 'REDACTED', ETC.



In the video above, Brian De Palma is interviewed by a Russian journalist, RT.com's Valeria Paikova, who asks him plenty of political questions relating to the cinema. Beginning with a quote from Oliver Stone about how the U.S. is living in an Orwellian state, De Palma says that he understands Stone's paranoia, because both men share strong views on America's foreign policy. After some elaboration, De Palma added that since he himself has been making anti-war pictures since the 1960s, he understands "why Oliver thinks we're being followed all the time," because "we probably are." And from here, the interview gets only more and more interesting, as the discussion covers the gun situation in the U.S., the depiction of torture in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (which De Palma found to be realistic), how Obama is trying to change things, etc., etc. The interview actually slows down a little at the end when De Palma is asked for the umpteenth time about the misogyny question, and whether his new Passion, as a film "exclusively about women, for women," is something of an ultimate answer to such criticisms. But it's a terrific interview, nonetheless.

Posted by Geoff at 1:12 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2013 1:16 AM CST
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Thursday, January 31, 2013


Posted by Geoff at 4:45 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
DE PALMA & DONAGGIO INTV'D IN FEB CAHIERS
DE PALMA LIKES 'SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK', ACCORDING TO ONE CAHIERS READER
The February 2013 issue of Cahiers du cinema features a section devoted to Brian De Palma's Passion, including separate interviews with De Palma and composer Pino Donaggio, as well as an essay by Stéphane du Mesnildot, titled "De Palma au carré" ("De Palma Squared"). Dimitry Heu-Mojaïsky has his copy of the magazine already, and tweeted today that in this issue, we learn that De Palma liked David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.

Meanwhile, a tweet from TheWickerWoman goes something like this: "No matter what: Caleb Landry in Antiviral + Passion by De Palma = best post coitus cinema ever."

And Steven Tuffin tweets from Belgium, "Writing #Passion review. Even lesser #DePalma is still great #DePalma in my book. Fuck that digital look though!"


Posted by Geoff at 11:35 PM CST
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Sunday, January 27, 2013
'BLOW OUT' UK STEELBOOK ARTWORK
ARROW VIDEO BLU-RAY EDITION COMING MAY 27
Arrow Video will release a BluRay SteelBook edition of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on May 27th. Below is a list of the special features expected so far:

Special Features:
- Limited Edition SteelBook packaging
- New, restored digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Brian De Palma
- Original Dolby 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Black and White in Colour: An Interview with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond
- Rag Doll Memories: Nancy Allen on Blow Out
- Return to Philadelphia: An interview with Producer George Litto
- A gallery of on-set photos by photographer Louis Goldman
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Atkinson, a conversation between Quentin Tarantino and Brian De Palma and more to be confirmed!

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
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Friday, January 25, 2013
TARANTINO HAD 'DJANGO' CREATIVES WATCH 'CARRIE'
PLUS: TARANTINO & WRIGHT INCLUDED 'CARRIE' ON THEIR SIGHT&SOUND LISTS


As the IFC Center in New York screens Brian De Palma's Carrie tonight and Saturday at midnight (as part of its series, "The Scary '70s"), it seems an appropriate time to delve into some various Carrie notes. The January 2013 issue of American Cinematographer features a cover story interview with Django Unchained lenser Robert Richardson, who tells the magazine's Iain Stasukevich that Carrie was one of several films Tarantino showed his crew in preparation for his latest.

"It has long been Tarantino’s custom," writes Stasukevich, "to screen dozens of movies for his key creatives early in prep to help establish the language of the universe they will create. For Django Unchained, Richardson recalls, these screenings included Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, Dario Argento’s Suspiria, Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling, Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, Max OphülsThe Earrings of Madame de …, Brian De Palma’s Carrie, Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More and Howard HawksRio Bravo. 'That’s by no means a complete list,' adds Richardson."

In 2009, Tarantino agreed "vigorously" with one interviewer who suggested that the fiery climax of Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds channeled De Palma's Carrie. It is worth noting that Django Unchained marks the second film in a row in which Tarantino stages a bloody climax amidst the setting of a palatial balcony, such as that in the conclusion of De Palma's Scarface. In his review of Django Unchained, Life Goes Strong's David Weiss suggests that the film keeps Scarface in mind toward the end. "Though one could take a nap in the expository first hour," Weiss states, "the second and third acts are reeling headlong to a brutal barrage of bullets mindful of Brian De Palma's much-satirized ending of Scarface." The critic John Kenneth Muir has noted at some length the way the climax of Inglourious Basterds quotes heavily from the works of De Palma, particularly Carrie and Scarface.

WRIGHT: "A FULL-BLOWN & FULL-BLOODED TEENAGE POP OPERA"
Meanwhile, last September, Sight&Sound ran its once-a-decade lists of the greatest films of all time, as chosen by critics (there was much chatter at the time about Vertigo supplanting Citizen Kane on the list as the greatest film of all time). As a side article, the magazine included the top 10 lists of several international directors, including Tarantino and Edgar Wright, who both included Carrie on their lists.

Tarantino characteristically listed 12 films instead of ten, with no other comments. He listed Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad And The Ugly on top (at least, that's how it's listed in the print version), and everything else alphabetically: Apocalypse Now, The Bad News Bears, Carrie, Dazed And Confused, The Great Escape, His Girl Friday, Jaws, Pretty Maids All In A Row, Rolling Thunder, Sorcerer, and Taxi Driver.

Wright listed each of his in alphabetical order, and included brief explanations of each choice. Wright's films were: 2001: A Space Odyssey, An American Werewolf In London, Carrie, Dames, Don't Look Now, Duck Soup, Psycho, Raising Arizona, Taxi Driver, and The Wild Bunch. "In Carrie," Wright commented, "Brian De Palma takes Stephen King's horror of adolescence and turns it into a full-blown and full-blooded teenage pop opera. They didn't need to turn it into a musical-- it already was one."


Posted by Geoff at 9:12 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, January 26, 2013 9:37 AM CST
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Thursday, January 24, 2013
TWO NEW 'PASSION' STILLS
COURTESY OF THE ARP SELECTION WEBSITE


The two pictures above appeared on the ARP Selection website, along with other pics we've seen previously.


Posted by Geoff at 5:18 PM CST
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