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Friday, April 25, 2014
'OBSESSION' SCREENS SUNDAY IN CLEVELAND
35MM PRINT IN SCOPE, PART OF BERNARD HERRMANN WEEKEND AT CINEMATHEQUE


A 35mm color and scope print of Brian De Palma's Obsession will screen this Sunday (6:30pm April 27th) at the Cinematheque, at the Cleveland Institute of Art. The screening is part of the Cinematheque's Bernard Herrmann weekend, which began Thursday. Other films in the series include Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground, Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie, William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster, Nathan H. Juran's The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.

Posted by Geoff at 1:37 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 24, 2014
DE PALMA ON RALPH STEADMAN
"I'VE NEVER MET A WARMER, GENEROUS... HE IS NOT HIS PAINTINGS!"
TIME's Richard Corliss posted a review yesterday of Charlie Paul's For No Good Reason, a documentary portrait of artist Ralph Steadman. Steadman's "interlocutor is Johnny Depp," writes Corliss, "a friend of [Hunter S.] Thompson who also starred in Terry Gilliam’s movie of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Bruce Robinson’s film of Thompson’s The Rum Diary. In 1998, Depp and Thompson visited the TIME offices and raised some merry hell (or so I’m told; I wasn’t invited). After Thompson’s death, Depp funded the funeral service: shooting the writer’s ashes from a cannon to the accompaniment of 'Mr. Tambourine Man' (the Bob Dylan song to which the Las Vegas book was partly dedicated). Among the mourner-celebrants were Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Bill Murray, Charlie Rose and Ralph Steadman.

"Depp’s appearance in the doc, however appreciated, doesn’t bring much but the patronage of a famous, friendly dude. Nor is Paul quite up to the challenge of synopsizing and illuminating an artist’s long career. As if to prove this is a coffee-house movie and not a coffee-table book, the director uses split screens, animation and rapid montage. But the salient, liveliest parts of For No Good Reason — the title comes from Thompson’s reply when Steadman once asked him, 'Why are we doing this?' — are to be found in the artist’s display of his work and recollections of the eccentrics he met."

In a later paragraph, Corliss discusses the seeming contrasts between Thompson and Steadman, and includes a quote from Brian De Palma that is apparently in the movie:

"While in America [Steadman] got an assignment to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlans magazine; the writer would be Hunter Thompson. He quickly realized that he had 'scored a bull’s eye the first time, and met the one man I needed to meet in America.' The two seemed a chronic mismatch. 'To me he was weird,' Steadman says. 'To him, I was weird.' The artist rarely took drugs or alcohol; the writer never stopped. Director Brian De Palma says of Steadman, 'I’ve never met a warmer, generous… He is not his paintings!' Yet Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner, who hired Steadman to illustrate Las Vegas after another artist dropped out, says that Steadman was the more daring one, Thompson the more cautious."


Posted by Geoff at 10:05 AM CDT
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 12:56 AM CDT
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Monday, April 21, 2014
'FANTASTIC' VISUAL ESSAY ON ARROW'S 'SISTERS'
ACCORDING TO AN EARLY REVIEW AT [SIC]
An early review at [SIC] of Arrow Video's new edition of Brian De Palma's Sisters includes a paragraph about the special feature supplements. "In the absence of a commentary," the reviewer states, "the main feature is a fantastic (albeit spoiler-heavy) 45-minute essay on the film, recorded specially for Arrow, which tallies up the references as well as providing a wealth of information on the creation of the film, how De Palma's later films build on his experiences, and any number of other interesting facts and anecdotes. Supplementary material includes a selection of interviews with cast and crew, of which Jennifer Salt's is particularly interesting. There's also a breathless half-hour summary of De Palma's career that made me want to watch everything he's ever made, and the hilarious original trailer, which makes the film look about ten times trashier than it actually is."

As for the film itself, the reviewer is again very positive: "De Palma is now known primarily for his suspense thrillers, but prior to Sisters he had mainly made low-budget counter-cultural comedy films. Sisters was an attempt to make his name more 'bankable' by making a more mainstream film, so it would be understandable if it had not aged too well. However, there's no feeling of cynicism to the plot - it's a pulpy thriller that is heavily rooted in exploitation, but even within that fairly rigid framework, De Palma can't help experimenting. The ways in which Sisters stands out from the pack make it a real treat that holds up to anything else in the director's filmography."

Posted by Geoff at 10:49 PM CDT
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Friday, April 18, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 2:02 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 17, 2014
SET PICS FROM 'SISTERS'


Goregirl's Dungeon yesterday posted several production stills from the set of Brian De Palma's Sisters, including the one above, of De Palma and Margot Kidder.

Posted by Geoff at 12:33 AM CDT
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FINLEY, FISK INTERVIEWS INCLUDED IN NEW BOOK
ALSO SUPPLEMENTAL INTERVIEWS WITH FINLEY'S CO-WORKERS, FRIENDS & FAMILY
Justin Humphreys, who has a 47-minute visual essay about Brian De Palma's Sisters on the upcoming Arrow Blu-ray and DVD, also has a new book out called Interviews Too Shocking To Print!. The book includes separate interviews with William Finley and Jack Fisk. The long interview with Finley is supplemented with interviews of several people who had known and worked with De Palma and Finley during their early years, providing many details about Wotan's Wake, Dionysus In '69 and other projects, including some that were aborted. I haven't yet seen or read the book myself, but hopefully soon... It can be ordered at Bearmanor Media.

Posted by Geoff at 9:55 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 12:41 AM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
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Friday, April 11, 2014
GIRL MEETS FREAK MEETS 'DRESSED TO KILL'
DISCUSSION ENSUES


Girl Meets Freak describes itself as "a horror blog where an expert and a newbie discuss films from the canon." The theme of the blog for April is "perverted killers," which of course led to a discussion of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. And a very lively discussion it is. Here are some excerpts (but definitely check out the entire blog discussion)...
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Sean: The whole concept behind that first shower scene is that this is what Kate is imagining while Mike is ineptly servicing her. I’m wondering if the fantasy scene here (and the other female fantasies articulated throughout the movie, like how Liz talks about sex) work as actual women’s fantasies, or are they just totally straight male ideas of what a “kinky” woman might imagine?

Kristine: I don’t feel comfortable or qualified to speak for all ladies, but I think intruder fantasies are pretty common. I wanted to be into Kate as a sexually adventurous and liberated woman, but I have to say that I found her extremely vocal and almost instantaneous orgasm a little over-the-top and frantic.

Sean: In the cab?

Kristine: Yeah. That seemed like a straight male fantasy of how a horny, kinky woman would respond to “a man’s touch.” I did think the preceding scnee, with Kate cruising for anonymous sex in the museum, was awesome and convincing...

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Sean: I wanted to ask if the painting she was looking at is a recognizable or iconic piece?

Kristine: Yes! That’s an Alex Katz painting she is sitting in front of, considering.

Sean: Tell me about it. It reminded me of those 1930s/’40s soap opera comic strips like Mary Worth or Rex Morgan, M.D.

Kristine: I don’t know that particular piece, but I knew it was Katz right away. He has a very recognizable style. Lots of portraits, especially of women. I think he is known for images of quiet angst. Like, a beautiful couple by a beautiful pool in a perfect L.A. setting, but instead of feeling tranquil and aspirational, it seems to reek of alienation. That is my take, anyway. That painting speaks to my Theory No. 1. However brief, there are several points in the movie where two women survey each other, and each time it seems very meaningful and poignant, though I can’t say I understand what exactly is supposed to be conveyed each time. Kate and lady in Katz portrait is one of the first instances of this female-on-female meaningful gaze of assessment.

Sean: I didn’t catch these lady moments of recognition, other than Liz thanking the lady cop who shot Elliott at the very end. What other ones were there?

Kristine: See, I would exclude that moment from the tally (but I also thought the movie totally fell to pieces at the end). The moments I am talking about are: Kate + Katz portrait, Kate + unfortunate-looking little girl in elevator, and Kate + Liz when the elevator doors open. Significantly, Bobbi is always wearing sunglasses, so that direct eye-to-eye contact is impossible...

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Ratings Roundup

The Girl’s Rating: Sleazesterpiece! AND Mucho racisto AND Neo-Hitchcockian gorgeousness AND Poses great questions, fumbles the answers AND This movie IS the ‘80s.

The Freak’s Rating: Sleazesterpiece! AND Pop perfection

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Posted by Geoff at 3:16 AM CDT
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