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Friday, September 6, 2013
DE PALMA/PACINO AT THE NEW BEVERLY FRI/SAT
'SCARFACE' 30TH ANNIVERSARY / 'CARLITO'S WAY' 20TH ANNIVERSARY

Posted by Geoff at 11:48 PM CDT
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BOX OFFICE COLUMNIST TAKES CRITICS TO TASK
FAILURE TO TAKE ART OF FILM SERIOUSLY LIMITS OUTLETS FOR ARTISTS SUCH AS DE PALMA & MALICK
In his "Box Office Rap" column, The House Next Door's Clayton Dillard (at Slant) rips into film critics for their lack of support for the artists of the cinema. "The cultural sins of critics who consistently refuse to treat the very art form they cover seriously prevents Passion from getting picked up by Sony Pictures Classics or Fox Searchlight," states Dillard, "thus ensuring its financial and artistic demise, since Entertainment One lacks the resources or track record to entice exhibitors, thus getting the film into just a handful of theaters and simultaneously On Demand. Although [Brian] De Palma ranks among the greatest living American filmmakers, with revisionist academic work and thoughtful online features pleading the case, critics continue to miss the point. Successful cultural historicity depends on a fluid engagement with delineating significance over a period of time that encompasses more than simply the immediate moment. When critics make no mention of De Palma's past work or controversy, it bastardizes film discussion and, frankly, only exists a notch or two above the YouTube comments sections.

"David Edelstein's claim that the film is 'entrancing and narcotizing in equal measure' carries a glibness that speaks to such faulty consideration—as does the capsule-length entirety of his review, with nary a mention of another De Palma film. Serious film criticism should either engage with a work in light of the filmmaker's past work or, at least, thoroughly explain the viewpoint being offered; Edelstein does neither. Even Alan Scherstuhl's positive review for The Village Voice undercuts its enthusiasm by saying 'Passion is pretty good. If you cared enough to make a list, it might be your fifth or sixth favorite De Palma.' Two issues: By claiming the film 'pretty good,' then placing it in the top fourth of De Palma's work, Scherstuhl's uses the same glib tone as Edelstein, as if to belittle the significance of 'a new De Palma film,' as Quentin Tarantino once called it; and by relegating film culture simply to listing of 'favorites,' the implication is that De Palma's work isn't worthy of more serious contemplation or consideration, as rankings will suffice.

"De Palma isn't the only casualty here, as the same thing happened earlier this year with Terrence Malick and To the Wonder, which likewise received a simultaneous On Demand and limited theatrical release, while critics thumbed their noses with rampant claims of 'self-parody.' If critics fumble at identifying important cultural markers (whether Passion is 'good' or 'bad' is less important than the track record of its filmmaker), then what chance do audiences have of being expected to perform anything remotely similar? This is less about 'bad reviews' than unthinking reviews: Obviously, for a critic to dislike the film is perfectly within bounds, but to neglect giving the film more attention, prominence, and a word count exceeding 116—now that's irresponsible. So, if you want to see a thriller this weekend, the multiplex offers Closed Circuit or Getaway...take your pick."


Posted by Geoff at 1:21 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 1:22 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 5, 2013




Posted by Geoff at 11:17 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:40 PM CDT
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JIM RIDLEY TO INTRODUCE 'PASSION' IN NASHVILLE
FROM HIS REVIEW: SET IN BERLIN AD AGENCY "WHERE THE GLASS PLANES & SLASHING ANGLES SUGGEST THE APPLE STORE OF DR. CALIGARI"
Add one more to the list of theaters that will be adding Brian De Palma's Passion tomorrow: The Belcourt in Nashville, Tennessee (it has been added to both the eOne list in the sidebar, and to our post from yesterday). Nashville Scene's Jim Ridley, who has written one of my favorite reviews of the film, will introduce the 9:30pm show of Passion tomorrow night (Friday) at the Belcourt. Ridley's review is a great read, so I suggest reading the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:

"De Palma borrows the hothouse plot of Alain Corneau's 2010 French thriller Love Crime — its co-writer, Natalie Carter, gets a dialogue credit here — but gives it a cold-to-the-touch sheen and a clammy metallic palette that's at ironic odds with the title. (It was shot on 35mm but transferred to digital, which mutes the steamy lushness that marks De Palma's thrillers.) When color bleeds through this sterile environment, it's typically the siren-red lipstick worn by Christine (Rachel McAdams), a coolly kinky executive at a Berlin advertising agency where the glass planes and slashing angles suggest the Apple Store of Dr. Caligari.

"So self-obsessed she likes her lovers to wear a doll-mask facsimile of her own features, Christine is grooming an avid protégé, Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), who covets her boss's power and modernist digs down to the upholstery on her sofa. De Palma poses them in the frame like mirror images, and Christine can't help but try shaping her underling into a human selfie. 'You need some color,' she coos to Isabelle, applying her lipstick as well as her lips."

Ridley concludes his review with these words:

"The justly famous centerpiece of Blow Out has Travolta reconstructing a sequence we've already watched using magazine stills, adding elements of cinema — sound, editing, projection — to reveal a crime that took place right before our eyes. The underlying theme of [De Palma's] movies is that people are so accustomed to looking that they've forgotten how to see. A viewer's impatience with Passion's dull police procedural all but guarantees he'll be blindsided by the elaborate trap the director is laying in plain sight.

"When De Palma springs it, in a denouement of spiraling delirium that deploys tropes from across his career, the laughter it produces is eruptive — part giddiness at watching the dominoes topple, part amused acknowledgement of how thoroughly we've been suckered. But in some ways, the altered media landscape De Palma sends up has the last laugh. The first new film in six years by the movies' most extravagantly gifted visual artist made its arrival via video on demand — consigned to TV and the tiniest of portals except in relatively few cities, of which Nashville is one. Pace Norma Desmond, the picture is big; it's the screens that have gotten small. But this portability has a side effect. It means this devious little gem can be passed around forever — like a secret, like a virus, like a clip you've just gotta share."


Posted by Geoff at 7:44 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:22 PM CDT
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'BLOW OUT' TO PLAY MILWAUKEE FEST SEPT. 28
PRESENTED BY THE DISSOLVE STAFF AS ONE OF ITS FAVORITE FILMS
Brian De Palma's Blow Out will be screened at the Milwaukee Film Festival at 4pm on Saturday, September 28, at the Oriental Theatre. The screening will be presented by four staff members of recently-launched online journal The Dissolve: Tasha Robinson, Keith Phipps, Nathan Rabin, and Scott Tobias. Earlier that afternoon (at 1pm), the four will take part in a roundtable discussion "about the present and future of film and film criticism," moderated by Steven Hyden. The MFF website states that Blow Out was "collectively selected as one of their favorite films."

Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013
'PASSION' TO PLAY SITGES FEST IN OCTOBER
AS A HIGHLIGHT OF CRITICS' SEVEN CHANCES SECTION


Brian De Palma's Passion will be "one of the stars" of the Seven Chances section of this year's Sitges Film Festival, which takes place October 11-20. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Seven Chances, which is prepared in collaboration with the Catalan Association of Film Critics and Writers (ACCEC). Here is the description of Passion from the Sitges site:

"Passion, the latest erotic thriller by maestro Brian De Palma, will be one of the stars of Seven Chances 2013. The film, that has remained incomprehensibly unreleased on our country’s movie screens one year after its premiere at the 2012 Venice Mostra, is a free remake of Alain Corneau’s Crime d'amour (2010). Once again, De Palma drags us through a labyrinth of desires and obsessions via the dangerous relationship two women strike up, Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, in a struggle for power taken from work to the bedroom."

Posted by Geoff at 11:28 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:06 AM CDT
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'PASSION' BOX OFFICE REPORT
AND SOME THEATERS BEING ADDED NEXT WEEK; DVD & BLU-RAY NOV. 5
Having been available on VOD for a full month prior, Brian De Palma's Passion finally opened in 14 U.S. theaters this past weekend. Deadline reports that over the four-day holiday weekend, Passion "grossed just over $40K from Friday to Monday, with a slight $3,087 average." (Box Office Mojo puts the average-per-theater for Passion at $2,864.) eOne has said that it will expand the film into 25 markets depending on the strength of its box office results, and while those results weren't mind-blowing, Passion will be playing at a few more theaters this next week. Here are the theaters we know about so far:

Bow Tie Criterion Cinemas
New Haven, CT

Sundance Cinemas Houston
Houston, TX

Lefont Sandy Springs
Atlanta, GA

The Showroom Cinema
Asbury Park, NJ

The Belcourt
Nashville, TN

Music Box Theatre (9:50pm nightly, with Midnight Showings Fri/Sat)
Chicago, IL

Del Mar Theatre (8:45pm nightly, with Noon showings Sat/Sun)
Santa Cruz, CA

Nitehawk Cinema (Midnight Showings Fri/Sat)
Brooklyn, NY

Passion will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the U.S. on November 5th.


Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 7:14 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013










Posted by Geoff at 7:48 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 10:33 PM CDT
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Monday, September 2, 2013




Posted by Geoff at 11:43 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 7:09 AM CDT
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PIC: AFTER THE ROUGH CUT OF 'STAR WARS'
DE PALMA, HIRSCH, KURTZ, SPIELBERG, LUCAS, FROM LEGENDARY EVENT


In 1977, George Lucas showed a rough cut of Star Wars to a group of his friends to get their feedback. The picture above, which was tweeted today by Will McCrabb, shows part of the group after the screening: Brian De Palma talking to editor Paul Hirsch, with Gary Kurtz, Steven Spielberg, and Lucas himself all standing behind them, to the right. (Not sure where the picture originated from.)

Posted by Geoff at 11:29 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 11:33 PM CDT
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