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Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 6:49 PM CDT
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Monday, April 7, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 7:14 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 6, 2014
VIDEO: DE PALMA VISITS SCORSESE IN 1988
ALONG WITH JAY COCKS, AS SCORSESE EDITS 'LIFE LESSONS'


Thanks to Antonios for pointing us toward the video above, which is part two of seven of a cinéma vérité documentary, The Scorsese Machine, following Martin Scorsese as he edits Life Lessons with Thelma Schoonmaker in 1988. The Scorsese Machine, released in 1990, is part of a French documentary series called Cinéma, de notre temps ("Cinema, Of Our Time"). At the beginning of the clip above, on November 17th, 1988, Scorsese and Schoonmaker are visited in the editing room by her husband, Michael Powell, who arrives to celebrate Scorsese's 46th birthday.

Later in the clip, Brian De Palma and Jay Cocks visit Scorsese a day later to have some cake and celebrate. De Palma mentions to Scorsese that he begins mixing in January, and we can surmise that he is talking about Casualties Of War, which would be released the following summer. The three begin to discuss Scorsese's next picture, which ended up being GoodFellas, although that might not necessarily be what they thought might be his next picture at the time. But when Scorsese is asked if it will be a New York picture, he replies, "I don’t know, it might have to be Chicago." Then he starts laughing, pointing toward De Palma, who had just had great success the year before with a gangster picture shot in Chicago, The Untouchables. "Or maybe Toronto," says De Palma. Scorsese replies, "Toronto is a problem because it’s so clean." (A New York Times obituary of former New York film commissioner Richard Brick, who died this past Wednesday, explains that around this time, "the cost of shooting movies in New York had driven both independent and big-budget studio filmmakers to seek alternative locations, even when authenticity would seem to have been called for.")

When Scorsese tells the camera that he had mistakenly told them yesterday that he was 47 years old (he was 46), De Palma is reminded of something he "found out," and wants to tell Scorsese and Cocks. And when he starts whispering it, Scorsese says, "No-- you say that on the camera." De Palma shakes his head, saying, "No, you can't tell anybody." It sounds like he's saying something about Steven Spielberg, who would have been turning 42 exactly one month later. Scorsese mentions that "he" [Spielberg] came by a few weeks earlier. A couple of years later, Scorsese would make Cape Fear with Spielberg producing.

You can watch the entire documentary in easy order at The Playlist.


Posted by Geoff at 7:43 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 12:59 AM CDT
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Saturday, April 5, 2014





Posted by Geoff at 10:31 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 5, 2014 10:54 PM CDT
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Friday, April 4, 2014
DE PALMA INTERVIEWED ON UPCOMING 'PHANTOM' DISC
MORE SCREAM FACTORY EXTRAS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN EARLY JUNE
Earlier today, on its Facebook page, Scream Factory posted this shot of Brian De Palma, along with a message that reads, in part, "We're thrilled to share with you PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE fans that we just finished shooting an all-new interview with legendary Director Brian De Palma!" As previously announced, the Blu-Ray package will be released August 5th. The Facebook post adds that this new interview is "just scratching the surface! We have LOTS of extras planned for the release and will be announcing them all early June."

Posted by Geoff at 6:45 PM CDT
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'CAPTAIN AMERICA' ELEVATOR SCENE
DID IT TAKE SOME INSPIRATION FROM DE PALMA'S 'DRESSED TO KILL'?


The brief clip above is an ESPN ad for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, showing two people waiting for an elevator, unaware of the mayhem taking place as they wait. It shares a comedic/tension cross-cutting tone with the elevator scene in Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill.

Captain America co-screenwriter Stephen McFeely tells Superhero Hype's Edward Douglas how the film's directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, applied other inspirations to the movie, leaving the impression that the elevator scene, at least in part, was perhaps directly influenced by De Palma. "The very first draft of the screenplay looks a lot like the movie," McFeely tells Douglas. "That said, the Russos came in and had all the same and even better touchstones than what we were talking about. They came in and would say, "This feels like a William Friedkin section, feels like a Brian De Palma section," so like that elevator scene was something not quite as interesting as that elevator scene but the Russos came in and went, "Why don't we do this tense built-up elevator thing" and it was all very exciting the whole time we were working on the second draft with them. Chris and I would talk to each other and say, "They're talking a great game. If they can do what they say they want to do, this will be great," and then we had no idea whether the guys from TV would be able to do this. In a way, it was a really great mesh of that they really got the material and they elevated it. It was a real pleasure.

In an interview with Mother Jones' Asawin Suebsaeng, the Russo brothers talk about how the film was influenced by Sydney Pollack's Three Days Of The Condor, itself a film that heavily influenced De Palma, particularly on Mission: Impossible. They also mention several other movie influences, as well as how their film reflects current political anxieties. Here is an excerpt from the Mother Jones article:

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According to Joe, the brothers pushed to make their Captain America political thriller even more political and topical than it initially was. "There were already things in the script that just needed to be pulled out to make it more [relevant]," he recalls. One of the film's stars, Robert Redford, was approached for the role in large part because he starred in the 1975 political thriller Three Days of the Condor.

"[That film] was a big influence on this movie," Joe says. "You could really call this movie 'Three Days of Captain America,' if you wanted to. The structure is so similar...We felt like we had a decent shot at getting [Redford] because the script had a political component to it and we thought that might motivate him."

But don't take any of this to mean the film is a stern lecture on American foreign policy. It's thrilling as hell, and also the best to emerge in the recent string of Marvel movies. "We're action fetishists," Joe says. "And we love '70s thrillers." The brothers drew on the influence of some of their favorite action-flick moments: The famous bank heist and shootout in Michael Mann's Heat. William Friedkin's The French Connection. John Schlesinger's Marathon Man. John McTiernan's Predator. Gareth Evans' The Raid: Redemption. (And for the Washington, DC-set car chase in The Winter Soldier, the brothers consulted YouTube, searching for videos of actual car chases. One video—wherein two escaped convicts in Brazil get stuck in traffic and plow through cars as police pursue them on foot—was especially helpful.) "Choreographing action, it's like choreographing a Broadway show," Anthony says.

But at the heart of the explosion and melee -filled film are the political themes, including targeted killing. "The question is where do you stop?" Joe says. "If there are 100 people we can kill to make us safer, do we do it? What if we find out there's 1,000? What if we find out there's 10,000? What if it's a million? At what point do you stop?"

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Posted by Geoff at 7:19 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 5, 2014 10:41 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 3, 2014



ADRIAN MARTIN & CRISTINA ALVAREZ LOPEZ TO PREMIERE AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY ON DE PALMA

Posted by Geoff at 8:53 PM CDT
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ON-SET PHOTO - 'DRESSED TO KILL'
POSTED BY NANCY ALLEN TO HER FACEBOOK PAGE


The photo above was posted today by Nancy Allen to her Facebook page for "Throwback Thursday." It shows Allen, Brian De Palma, and Dennis Franz filming Dressed To Kill in 1979.

Posted by Geoff at 5:05 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 5:08 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE IN GERMANY
ADRIAN MARTIN & CRISTINA ALVAREZ LOPEZ TO PREMIERE AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY ON DE PALMA
ALSO WORKING ON DE PALMA BOOK, WILL DISCUSS 'PASSION' AT FRIDAY SCREENING

Metropolis Kino in Hamburg, Germany, has been running a fairly thorough Brian De Palma retrospective since February. It continues through April, and includes a screening of De Palma's Passion this Friday, which will be introduced by Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López, who also happen to be working together on a new book about De Palma. (The pair wrote a wonderful piece about Passion for L O L A last September.)

Following the screening of Passion Friday, Martin and López will present the world premiere of an audiovisual essay titled "Count It Out: Motifs and Structures in the Cinema of Brian De Palma." A rough translation of the Metropolis Kino description of the essay goes like this: "The title of Count It Out has a double meaning: on the one hand, it refers to the practice of De Palma, in the editing room, together with his editing masters to specify the assembly of a scene by the rhythmic tapping of his fingers. For another, it means: list-making, inventory." (If anyone has any better translations, please feel free to send them in or write them in the comments.) You can read descriptions of the series and the films at The Wayward Cloud.

Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
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Sunday, March 30, 2014
PITBULL: 'SCARFACE' IS THE TRUTH
SERIOUS MESSAGE SUNK IN: HE'D RATHER BE SOSA THAN TONY MONTANA
In Shirley Halperin's cover story for this week's Hollywood Reporter, rapper Pitbull discusses how Scarface influenced him in his teenage years. The message he took away from the film seems unique in the hip-hop milieu. Here's an excerpt from the article:
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The Pitbull epic began when his mother, Alysha Acosta, arrived in Florida from Cuba during the early 1960s as part of Operation Pedro Pan (or Peter Pan), Miami's Catholic Welfare Bureau's two-year effort to get youth out of communist Cuba. His father also came over seeking asylum, settling in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Their son Armando was born in 1981, a year in which drug-ravaged Miami recorded 621 homicides and was eulogized in a Time cover story, "Paradise Lost." This was the cocaine cowboy era captured in movies like Scarface.

Pit's father and namesake, known in the neighborhood as a charismatic street hustler, often would take his son to the local bars, where the boy would first perform for an audience, reciting Cuban poetry from a bar stool as his father looked on proudly. Pit's parents divorced in 1985.

Bring up the Brian De Palma classic -- not universally beloved in Miami for the cultural stereotypes it spawned -- and Pitbull takes no umbrage. "We all have Scarfaces in our family," he says matter-of-factly. "[The movie] is the truth. It wasn't exaggerated. Scorsese, Oliver Stone, De Palma -- those guys were right on the money." Pitbull says he's seen it too many times to count and that a serious message sunk in: that he didn't want to end up like the protagonist Tony Montana. Rather, says Pit: "I wanted to be Sosa -- educated, good-looking, a good dresser, and he's the one who was running it. And notice, he never got his hands dirty. He sipped his tea. He was nice, not aggressive. And at the end of it all, he was the one that stayed. So I realized around 18 that Tony's the wrong guy to be looking up to."

What Pitbull learned from his immediate surroundings, besides how to sell drugs, which he did for a while, was the skill of connecting with people. That's his most powerful gift -- winning loyalty of everyone he encounters, from strangers on the street to dealmakers in a boardroom. He does this, in part, with a relentlessly upbeat attitude. Pitbull explains his six-year rise to the top in the exuberant idiom of a motivational speaker: "2009 is freedom; 2010, invasion; 2011, build empire; 2012, grow wealth; 2013, put the puzzle together; 2014, buckle up; 2015, make history." It's a mantra he shares with manager Charles Chavez, who says his goal is for Pitbull to become a billion-dollar enterprise. "We have a plan -- with the music, TV projects [Pit boasts a development deal with Endemol, producer of Big Brother], films [he's teamed up with Ryan Seacrest for a TV miniseries on the Bacardi family], his businesses, the brands that we get involved with," says Chavez. "You never know, but it's the plan."

Pitbull is more confident, even willing to time-stamp the future threshold. "Do I think it's realistic to be a billion-dollar company by [age] 35? Absolutely."

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Posted by Geoff at 6:52 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014 6:57 PM CDT
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