Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
De Palma Masterclass, ------------- ------------ ------------
Casualties Of War,
and book signing
June 2 in Paris
"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."
"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."
Sundance Cinemas Houston
Lefont Sandy Springs
The Showroom Cinema
Asbury Park, NJ
Music Box Theatre (9:50pm nightly, with Midnight Showings Fri/Sat)
Del Mar Theatre (8:45pm nightly, with Noon showings Sat/Sun)
Santa Cruz, CA
Nitehawk Cinema (Midnight Showings Fri/Sat)
Passion will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the U.S. on November 5th.