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Monday, December 23, 2013
EXPERIMENTAL FILM SOCIETY'S FAVE FILMMAKERS
DE PALMA MAKES IT ONTO FIVE OF THEIR LISTS
Experimental Film Society member Rouzbeh Rashidi "asked members of EFS, some of its friends, associates, critics, programmers, and filmmakers to send in lists of their twelve favourite filmmakers for publication on the EFS website. The criteria were simple: to list the filmmakers who had the most impact on your life and art." Brian De Palma appeared on five of the lists submitted.

In his introduction, Rashidi adds, "Contributors all found the task hard, even almost impossible, but in the end they all submitted a list of more or less twelve names. I personally am a huge fan of such lists and make them all the time. They are fun, revealing and, I believe, something we're all curious about. Obviously, they are subject to change as we grow and develop, and the love/hate relationship we inevitably have with them (so much has to be left out!) is amusing and challenging. I was very surprised with the results and hope you enjoy reading them."

Those listing De Palma as one of their twelve favotite filmmakers are Hamid Shams Javi, Kamyar Kordestani, Adrian Martin, Michael Koresky, and David Del Valle. Check out the lists here.

(Thanks to Chris!)


Posted by Geoff at 9:57 PM CST
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013 9:59 PM CST
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Saturday, December 21, 2013
DONAGGIO INTERVIEW FROM ITALY
"DE PALMA TRUSTS ME SO MUCH, HE ONLY LISTENS TO MY WORK IN THE HALL WITH THE ORCHESTRA"
Il Giornale's Antonio Lodetti caught up with Pino Donaggio in Venice, where the composer discussed his beginnings, as well as upcoming projects. Along the way, of course, he discussed his work with De Palma. Here is an excerpt from the article, translated with the help of Google Translator:
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Such destiny struck one morning when, on board a steamer at 6 am, back from a concert, he was noticed by a young producer. "He said I had the face to write music on a film of parapsychology, maybe he smoked too much. However, the film was starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, I composed the score, and director Nicolas Roeg was delighted. Thus was born the soundtrack to Don't Look Now, which came out in Italy as A Venezia... un dicembre rosso shocking, and in England it was awarded as the soundtrack of the year." So, fate again, he arrived for a meeting with Brian De Palma. "It was just after the death of Bernard Herrmann, the composer of his confidence, but Brian had listened to the music of [Don't Look Now] on the disc of the same name , which he had bought in England, and I wanted at all costs to work with him. Thus was born the winning combination of Carrie. We understood each other on the fly, even if I lived in his house and, not knowing the language, we understood gestures. But there was a translator for the job and he was happy with what I wrote. I’m called on for the suspense films, in fact last year I set to music his Passion. He trusts me so much that only listens to my work in the hall with the orchestra, the finished work."
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Donaggio tells Lodetti that he is working on a fictional movie about Enzo Ferrari with Robert De Niro, and also an adaptation of Giulio Andreotti's The Listener, to be directed by Carlo Lizzani. That latter project has Al Pacino attached to star.

Posted by Geoff at 1:37 PM CST
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BEN SACHS ON SPIKE LEE'S 'OLDBOY'
"THE MOST IMPRESSIVE MOVIE OF ITS KIND TO HIT CHICAGO SINCE DE PALMA'S 'PASSION'"


I saw Spike Lee's Oldboy a couple of weeks ago. While I prefer Chan-wook Park's original (which I revisited again right after seeing the remake), Lee's film is a stylistic tour de force, with some nice personal touches. In his review of Lee's film, the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs links it stylistically to Brian De Palma's Passion.

"Taken as stylistic exercise," writes Sachs, "Spike Lee's remake of Oldboy... may be the most impressive movie of its kind to hit Chicago since Brian De Palma's Passion. Lee ornaments the film with elaborate tracking shots, theatrical lighting schemes, and multitiered compositions containing screens within screens. He shifts dramatically between 35-millimeter, 16-millimeter, and even 8-millimeter film, and playfully disregards conventional flashbacks, editing, and good taste. Regardless of whether Lee succeeds here as a storyteller, he communicates such pleasure in the filmmaking process that you might appreciate it for the showmanship alone.

"Full of gruesome acts of revenge and dirty family secrets, the film is a sick extravaganza comparable to recent efforts by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and Danny Boyle (Trance), but it's a more controlled work than either. The directorial curlicues don't feel random—indeed, the film has a sustained, streamlined momentum that feels unlike much else in Lee's body of work. The Brooklyn-based director has never lacked for energy or imagination, but his movies tend to be all over the place in terms of what they want to say and do. To see him working with such focus is striking. If the movie is just an exercise, then at least it's a purposeful one. Lee's trying new things here, working in a different register than he normally does."


Posted by Geoff at 1:30 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, December 21, 2013 1:32 AM CST
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
EXCERPT: SCRIPT ABOUT MAKING OF 'JAWS'
SCENE FEATURES DE PALMA, SPIELBERG, MILIUS, SCORSESE, LUCAS DISCUSSING HOLLYWOOD
The Black List of best unproduced screenplays for 2013 was unveiled this week. It includes two screenplays about the making of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, and at least one of them includes Brian De Palma as a character, along with fellow "movie brats" Martin Scorsese, John Milius, George Lucas, and (of course) Spielberg. That screenplay, titled The Shark is Not Working, was written by Richard Corinder. Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere shared these samples from Corinder's screenplay:


In his post, Wells says the script is "about 28 year-old Steven Spielberg going through hell to make Jaws in ’74 and ’75." He adds that he's "skimmed through about half of it. It’s funny, smart, very well-written, entertaining. But I mainly like it because it simultaneously (a) makes fun of Spielberg for being a talented but shallow popcorn shoveller, and (b) admires and sympathizes with the poor guy for managing to survive a hellish production experience. The big breakthrough happens when Spielberg hits on the idea of (a) barely showing the shark and (b) deciding to rely on John Williams‘ creepy music to excite the audience’s imagination."

The other Black List script about the making of Jaws is The Mayor of Shark City, written by Nick Creature and Michael Sweeney. Wells points to a SpecScout coverage page for the latter screenplay, in which the truncated synopsis is as follows: "STEVEN (5) is at the cinema with his father ARNOLD (age 35). They are seeing The Greatest Show on Earth, Steven’s first movie experience. The young boy is blown away by the magic of cinema, and is captivated by his wonderful imagination. Steven’s imagination takes over as the screen is spilled open by a giant wave of rushing water. STEVEN (27) a scrawny man with shaggy hair awakens from a nightmare. He is being tormented by the film shoot he is directing, Jaws. The film production is now over 80 days over schedule. It is now a year prior to the shooting of Jaws. A young and energetic Steven Spielberg enters RICHARD ZANUCK’S office (38) a hotshot producer at Universal studios. Steven notices the manuscript titled Jaws that captures his eye. Without permission, he steals a copy of the script to read. Immediately, he is engrossed in the engaging story of a killer shark. His vivid imagination takes over as he dreams of what the movie can look like. Steven knows that he must direct this film. He begs Zanuck for the opportunity but is told that they already have a director for the project. Meanwhile, PETER BENCHLEY (33) the..." [the synopsis cuts off there for casual browsers]

The locations listed at SpecScout for The Mayor of Shark City are as follows: "1950s/1960s Locations/Decor for FLASHBACKS Old Movie Theater, middle-class home, Vietnam mockup on soundstage, submarine, aircraft carrier, fighter plane cockpit, underwater, fantasy meteor shower, fantasy animatronic Disneyworld-style ride. 1970s Locations/Decor Universal studio bungalow, Hollywood hills home, New York upmarket club, Hollywood production and studio executive offices, Martha's Vineyard, Old fishing ship, Soundstage (Universal Studios stage 12), Harbor, Hotel, Bar, Diner, Beach, Ferry, Cabin, Ocean, Tavern, Small town Movie Theater, Large Movie Theater, Cinerama Theater, Drug Store, Sunset Boulevard."


Posted by Geoff at 12:56 AM CST
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
NEW TRAILER FOR 'GRAND PIANO'
INCLUDES QUOTE, "PROBABLY THE BEST BRIAN DE PALMA MOVIE HE NEVER MADE"


'GRAND PIANO' REVIEWS CITE DE PALMA, HITCH & ARGENTO

Posted by Geoff at 6:51 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 6:53 PM CST
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Monday, December 16, 2013
JEFFREY WELLS ON 'WOLF OF WALL STREET'
In a Hollywood Elsewhere post on Friday, Jeffrey Wells calls Martin Scorsese's Wolf Of Wall Street "the new Scarface," making a case as to why it might be disliked by a certain faction of viewers.

"I saw Wolf with critics the first time," Wells explains, "but last night’s screening played to a more mixed crowd and they were howling at times, trust me. Losing it, laughing hard. Were they absorbing what Scorsese and DiCaprio were really saying? Sure, of course, but I could sense that they were getting tingly contact highs. For The Wolf of Wall Street takes you back to your wildly irresponsible carousing days, allows you to laugh uproariously at the dumb (and perhaps reprehensible) things you did and have probably forgotten about, and then sets you free when it’s over.

"And yet for older, stodgier types who never went there in their teens or 20s or did and are determined to keep those memories in a locked box (or for those who can’t handle the crude sexual exploitation of women, which has always been a nocturnal characteristic of arrogant Wall Street types), Wolf is going to be seen as an ugly three-hour romp and nothing more. It’s not judgmental enough, Belfort is too much of a prick, what’s the point of this? and so on.

"This is why I’m calling The Wolf of Wall Street the new Scarface. It has so far been shat upon in certain quarters by the same kind of harumphy industry crowd that despised Brian De Palma‘s 1983 crime pic. And just as Scarface eventually became a cult flick (especially among 'urban' rapper/hip-hop types who idolized gangsta culture and the swagger of Al Pacino‘s Tony Montana) it’s probably going to be embraced by (a) present-day party animals and by (b) 40- and 50-somethings those who remember their druggy days and want to enjoy them once again by proxy — a three-hour tour."

Wells continues, "The Scarface Wiki page interprets the film’s reception as follows: 'According to AMC’s "DVD TV: Much More Movie" airing, Cher loved it [but] Lucille Ball, who came with her family, hated it because of the graphic violence and language, and Dustin Hoffman was said to have fallen asleep. Writers Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving were among those who allegedly walked out in disgust after the notorious chainsaw scene. At the middle of the film, Martin Scorsese turned to Steven Bauer and told him, "You guys are great but be prepared, because they’re going to hate it in Hollywood…because it’s about them."

“'Leonard Maltin was among those critics who held a negative opinion of Scarface,' the page says. 'He gave the film 1 1/2 stars out of four, stating that ‘…[Scarface] wallows in excess and unpleasantness for nearly three hours, and offers no new insights except that crime doesn’t pay.’ In later editions of his annual movie guide, Maltin included an addendum to his review stating his surprise with the film’s newfound popularity as a cult-classic.'

"This is why The Wolf of Wall Street is the only truly bold and nervy film in the Best Picture circle right now. It’s both appalling and gutsy as hell — a wild-ass moralistic 'comedy.' It’s clearly condemning Belfort’s behavior and yet…"


Posted by Geoff at 12:30 AM CST
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Saturday, December 14, 2013


Posted by Geoff at 9:40 PM CST
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Friday, December 13, 2013
AND IT HAPPENS JUST LIKE THAT
EDGAR WRIGHT, PAUL WILLIAMS IN TWITTER-TALKS WITH SHOUT FACTORY FOR 'PHANTOM' COMMENTARY


Posted by Geoff at 6:07 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, December 14, 2013 9:49 PM CST
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Thursday, December 12, 2013
SCREAM FACTORY RELEASING 'PHANTOM' BLU-RAY
LATE SUMMER REGION 1 COLLECTOR'S EDITION WILL HAVE NEW EXTRAS
Scream Factory today announced on its Facebook page that it has just signed a deal to release a Blu-ray edition of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The announcement states that the Blu-ray will be released as part of the company's "Collector's Edition" series in the latter half of summer, 2014, and will include "new extras," but there are no further details to report at this time. In a comment to the Facebook post, Fangoria editor-in-chief Chris Alexander wrote, "FANGO cover here we come!"

As we look forward to this February's Region 2 Phantom Blu-ray from Arrow Video, we wonder whether Scream Factory will be working with Arrow as it prepares its release, or if the company will strike its own master and extra features. It would surely be tough to beat the Arrow version, which has the participation of Ari, the Principal Archivist at The Swan Archives, who recently shared on that site's News page that "the Arrow Blu-Ray is going to include The Swan Archives' deleted Swan Song footage in a brand new featurette that we've been working on with them. And, as Winslow might say, 'there's more...MUCH more!'" The more the merrier, we say!

Posted by Geoff at 5:52 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 5:54 PM CST
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'AHS' CONTINUES TO PAY HOMAGE TO 'CARRIE'
RYAN MURPHY: "WE ALL LOVE BRIAN DE PALMA IN THE WRITERS' ROOM"
In last week's (December 4) episode of FX's American Horror Story, a fanatically religious mother, not unlike the mother in Carrie, insists to her son that he has been made "unclean" by the witches next door, and after disturbingly attempting to cleanse him from the inside out, she locks him in a closet, bound and gagged. The episode was written by series co-creator Ryan Murphy, who tells Vulture's Denise Martin that the recurring "closet thing" (there was a mother/daughter closet scene in the first season, as well) comes from Brian De Palma's Carrie.

In the Vulture article, which contains several SPOILERS for the current season of American Horror Story, Martin querys Murphy, "When Nan finds Luke trapped in the closet by his mother, it reminded me of when Constance threw her own daughter [also played by Jamie Brewer] into the closet. Are those callbacks intentional given that each season has a different story?"

Murphy replies, "We do it more than you know. It’s fun for us. I call them the goodies, 'Where are the goodies buried?' People go on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, they catch up with seasons they’ve been watching and then they re-watch it with passion and fresh eyes. So we’re very cognizant of that. There’s usually one goodie per episode. The closet thing was very much based on Carrie, and we’ve done riffs on that and other things in that movie many, many times because we all love Brian De Palma in the writers' room."

As we've noted before, one of those writers in the AHS writers' room is Jennifer Salt, she of many early De Palma pictures. In the season premiere episode of season two, two of Pino Donaggio's music cues from De Palma's Carrie were used very specifically. Murphy has talked about being obsessed with De Palma while making season two last year, mentioning Dressed To Kill as a major influence, as well.


Posted by Geoff at 12:34 AM CST
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