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Thursday, July 31, 2014
'PHANTOM' 40TH VIDEO, ETC.
EDGAR WRIGHT LEADS DISCUSSION WITH PAUL WILLIAMS, JESSICA HARPER, GERRIT GRAHAM, PAUL HIRSCH, PETER ELBLING, JEFFREY COMANOR, AND, LATER, SUSAN FINLEY




The Swan Archives' Principal Archivist was at the event, and reports on that site's News Page that it was "spectacular." The Archivist spotted Eli Roth in the crowd, as well as Phantom bass player Colin Cameron. More from the Archivist report at Swan Archives:

"Creature Features' Taylor White introduced the film," reports the Archivist, "which was followed by a generously long panel discussion hosted by Wright, and a short talking head video from Guillermo del Toro was screened, in which he spoke eloquently of his longstanding love for Phantom, and of how influential and inspirational it, and De Palma in general, have been to his own art. Ed Pressman had provided a video as well, which was not screened due to 'technical difficulties'." Maybe Ed will let us post it to the Archives, so it can be seen... Our Principal Archivist was very happy to have a chance to chat with Paul Hirsch, who hadn't seen the film in forty years, and was immensely gratified to see it with the sort of responsive audience that had been hoped for, but never attained, in the film's initial release, and, in particular, that the laugh lines fell how they were supposed to, that people broke out in applause after the musical numbers, and that the film 'worked'."






Posted by Geoff at 12:43 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, August 1, 2014 5:21 PM CDT
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
JENNIFER SALT TALKS DE PALMA & 'SISTERS'
"NEW HOLLYWOOD" PODCAST INTERVIEW


Jennifer Salt was the guest last week on Brian Flaherty's The New Hollywood, a podcast that focuses on the films of the 1970s. As you might expect, Salt discussed, among other things, Brian De Palma, Sisters, the Malibu Beach House she shared with Margot Kidder, and much more. Here are some notes from the interview, with direct quotes from Salt in bold:

-She & Jon Voight became a couple on Midnight Cowboy
-Salt & De Palma were pals who'd met at Sarah Lawrence College; they dated for a little while, but mostly stayed close through the years.

“I quite adored him. He was so dark and funny. And… nobody’s like Brian [laughs]. He has the best sense of humor. The darkest sense of humor. It completely lines up with mine. And so in some way I felt like we were soul mates.”

Flaherty: "Did they invent the term, 'Does not suffer fools lightly,' for him? I mean, is he the type, does he have little patience…?"

“Very little patience. Yeah.”

Flaherty: "But it’s kind of charming. He’s so smart and he’s charismatic if he wants to be."

“Well, it’s charming to me, when he’s being… when I’m not the target. I think there are plenty of people who are scared to death of him. But that’s just who he is.”

-Salt and Margo Kidder met during auditions for Fat City (John Huston movie)
-Malibu Beach House – they hosted many new wave of Hollywood directors

“The truth is it all started because Brian came out to visit, because Brian and I were tight. And he began bringing his friends out, and Marty was his friend, Trader was his friend, Harvey Keitel was anywhere Marty was, um, and Spielberg was, you know, a little acolyte.”

Paul Schrader was following De Palma around as a journalist.

“One of the people who came out was a director named Paul Williams, who I had made a movie called The Revolutionary with, and his producing partner was Ed Pressman. They had gone to Harvard together. And they came out and they loved the scene, and became part of it, and Ed Pressman became friendly with Brian. And somehow, Brian convinced Ed to finance the movie Sisters. Now, the thing is, I didn’t know much about it. Because Brian was off doing his thing, I was off doing mine, and whatever, but it was Christmastime, Christmas Day, we were all together and we had a big Christmas tree. Brian was living there. He was dating Margot, and he was living at the house. And so, we all were sitting around the Christmas tree, giving out presents, and he went over to the Christmas tree and took out two presents and handed one to Margie and one to me, and we opened them up, and it was Sisters. The script! And he said, 'Girls, we’re going to New York, we’re gonna make this turkey in April! Pack your bags. Go to the gym.' So, and that’s what we did… Ed was the producer, and Ed financed the movie.”

Flaherty: "That’s amazing. And you shot it all in New York?"

“Mostly Staten Island.”

Flaherty: "It is such a beloved movie. By the way, I own that poster. Print, framed, hanging in my garage, not in the house, but I love it."

“My friend Tim Hunter gave that to me. He found it somewhere.”

Flaherty: "And how was Sisters? You had already worked with Brian. I mean that’s just a crazy… it’s like Hitchcock on acid a little bit, right?"

“I think it’s a fantastic movie. And I mostly think Margie is brilliant. That’s the thing I think more than anything. She’s so amazing that I can’t believe it. And I love... it’s so original, and the way he shot it, when you look at it now, I mean, it’s like, everybody and their mother has been shooting like Brian shot that movie, since then. You know what I mean?”

Flaherty: "He loves Hitchcock so much, you know, you’re like Margo’s looking for the pills, and the cake, and the guy’s starting to write ‘Happy Birthday’ and he’s barely …"

-Salt said they pay homage to De Palma on a daily basis on American Horror Story, for which Salt is a co-producer and screenwriter.


Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:07 AM CDT
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Monday, July 28, 2014
FINLEY ART PRINT TO BE RAFFLED OFF
AT WEDNESDAY'S 'PHANTOM' 40TH EVENT, ALONG W/OTHER POSTERS & ART


Susan Finley has donated an exclusive William Finley framed art print (pictured above, 4' x 3') from her private collection, to be part of a raffle at Wednesday night's 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise at the Arclight in Hollywood. All proceeds from the raffle, which will include other posters and art donated by Susan, will go to the William Finley Scholarship Foundation. Raffle tickets will be $20 each, and the drawing will be that evening.

Posted by Geoff at 7:14 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

"[Scarlett] Johansson plays Lucy as a mouthy hanger-on who’s transformed into a ninja Carrie White in The Matrix."
David Edelstein, Vulture

"For himself, Besson manages two intriguing bits: When Lucy kisses an Arab cop (Amr Waked) and tells him 'You’re a reminder' and a DePalma-style scene where she likens fast-motion film to human experience: 'Time is the only measure of existence.' Flashy and pithy. Take that, Richard Linklater!"
Armond White, National Review

Posted by Geoff at 2:08 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:11 PM CDT
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Thursday, July 24, 2014
'PHANTOM' SCREEN PRINT REVEALED
NEW ART BY TOMMY LEE EDWARDS CREATED FOR NEXT WEEK'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT
At left is new art created by Tommy Lee Edwards for the 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, which happens Wednesday, July 30th, at the Arclight in Hollywood. The limited edition screen print, which will be available for purchase at the event, will also be given to those with VIP tickets, according to the Swan Archives.

Posted by Geoff at 6:25 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 20, 2014
FORMAL ASPECTS OF 'PROXY' DEEMED DE PALMA-ESQUE
"STRIKINGLY STYLIZED SET PIECE" UPENDS THE NARRATIVE
The A.V. Club has posted a midyear look at the best films of 2014 so far, dubbing the article "a halftime report in superlatives." For "most jarring mid-film gear change," Mike D'Angelo writes about Zack Parker's Proxy, stating that the "slow-burn thriller about the dark side of motherhood is among the year’s most divisive movies, and a specific scene at its midpoint tends to divide yea-sayers from naysayers. The first half follows a young woman (Alexia Rasmussen) who turns to a support group after she’s viciously attacked while in the late stages of pregnancy, losing the baby as a result. Her subsequent friendship with another grieving mother (Alexa Havins) takes a series of increasingly odd turns, with Parker repeatedly upending assumptions about who these people are and what they want. Then comes the scene: a strikingly stylized set piece, equal parts Brian De Palma and Lars Von Trier, upending the narrative so completely that it takes a while to realize it wasn’t a dream sequence. Not everyone will appreciate Proxy’s abrupt new direction, which shifts focus to a degree meriting comparison to Psycho, but Parker’s willingness to risk failure and alienate viewers heralds an ambition too infrequently seen in contemporary genre fare. He’s the real deal."

Back in April, D'Angelo reviewed Proxy for The Dissolve, writing that Parker "combines a Hitchcockian penchant for disorientation with a Brian De Palma-esque formal bravado, and he’s made the rare film that’s impossible to peg all the way up to its final minutes—a truly unnerving study in multiple pathologies."


Posted by Geoff at 8:38 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 19, 2014
'SEX TAPE' HAS CRITIC WONDERING:
"WHERE DID HOLLYWOOD'S SEXINESS GO?"


Writing for Complex, Nick Schager uses this weekend's release of Jake Kasdan's Sex Tape to ask, "Where did Hollywood's sexiness go?" Schager begins by suggesting that in the current Hollywood cinema, sex is either funny, scary, or "uncomfortable and upsetting (at least when it’s not embarrassing and ridiculous)."

"Over the past decade," Schager states, "sex has remained an ideal subject for ribald comedies and brainy, tortured character pieces. But when it comes to actually being sexy, in a mature and serious way? Or even a tawdry, titillating, vulgar-but-hot way? Hollywood is no longer interested.

"This wasn’t the case very long ago. As recently as 2002’s Unfaithful, mainstream American movies were perfectly comfortable tackling stories built around steamy scenarios. However, since that Diane Lane-Richard Gere marital thriller (marked by sizzling extramarital encounters between Lane and co-star Olivier Martinez), the pickings in this arena have been woefully slim. There was the rough-and-tumble tussling of Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello in A History of Violence (2005). And the psychosexual tango of Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke in Taking Lives (2004). And just about everything in Brian De Palma’s undervalued 2002 masterwork Femme Fatale (which should have forever established Rebecca Romijn’s superstardom). And, um, well...that’s about it."

Schager points out that this could all change with "one out-of-left-field eroticized hit—perhaps, for instance, next year’s hotly anticipated adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey."

Meanwhile, Edge On The Net's Jake Mulligan mentions De Palma in his review of Sex Tape, which he points out was co-written by Nicholas Stoller, who also wrote and directed this year's Neighbors, "a somewhat similar movie, with completely identical jokes." Much of Mulligan's review highlights how the two movies are similar. "Director Jake Kasdan tries to do something with the material," Mulligan writes, "whipping... his camera back and forth across dinner tables with emphatic abandon like he's Brian De Palma. But you can't put spicy cinematography on a leftover script and then pretend we're being served a fresh meal." Mulligan also points out some of the product placement featured in the film, which, according to him, includes Scarface.


Posted by Geoff at 5:23 PM CDT
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Friday, July 18, 2014
MORODER: JAY Z WANTED 'SCARFACE' SOUNDTRACK
RAPPER WANTED TO REWORK SOME OF THE SONGS, BUT DE PALMA SAID NO
In preparation for his set as a DJ tonight at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Giorgio Moroder was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune's Allison Stewart. "There was a time when Jay Z wanted to (remake) some of the songs from [Scarface]," Moroder tells Stewart, "but it didn't work out because Brian De Palma didn't want to do it. But I talked to several (rappers) like Jay Z, and they loved the movie. Some of them had seen the movie like twenty, thirty, forty times, and people remember the dialogue. It's one of those cult movies."

Back in 2003, as the film was turning 20, the Los Angeles Times' Elaine Dutka reported that the chairman of Island Def Jam, Lyor Cohen, had met with De Palma to suggest that the artists on his label compose a new soundtrack for Scarface, "with or without Moroder." Dutka added, "Though [Martin] Bregman and even [Al] Pacino made the case for the proposal, the director was aghast."

Dutka quoted De Palma: "They said it would help promotion, presenting the film in a different way. But Giorgio's music was true to the period, I argued -- and no one changes the scores on movies by Marty Scorsese, John Ford, David Lean. If this is the 'masterpiece' you say, leave it alone. I fought them tooth and nail and was the odd man out, not an unusual place for me. I have final cut, so that stopped them dead."

Dutka's article then continues:

---------------------------

Universal's [Craig] Kornblau hasn't given up on the thought of creating a "reinvigorated and more relevant soundtrack," however. Nor has Kevin Liles, president of Def Jam/Def Soul Records. "Hip-hop, as Chuck D says, is the 'CNN of the ghetto,' " Liles points out. "Incorporating it into a classic like this would convey the current reality. The message, unfortunately, is as relevant today as when the movie emerged. I'll be the first up to bat to rescore the film, which touched such a nerve in the 'hood. Though Montana is Latino, all those kids identify with his job in the burger shop, idolizing guys with the big Benz and flashy women. Music is the soul of any movie, and a new soundtrack would increase its power."
------------------------------

Within a year after Dutka's article was written, Cohen and Liles had left Def Jam, and Jay Z had been appointed president of the record label.

Posted by Geoff at 12:30 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014 12:34 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
AN ACIDEMIC LOOK AT DE PALMA & ARGENTO
BLOGGER: BORN SIX DAYS APART, THEY SHARE A "BIZARRE PSYCHIC TWIN CONNECTION"
Acidemic's Erich Kuersten takes a deep stab into the cinema of Brian De Palma and Dario Argento, dispensing early with the obvious Hitchcock comparisons (although Hitchcock does figure into the discussion) to focus on the pair's "bizarre psychic twin connection, a shared reptile dysfunction that springs from Catholicism, ancient Rome, and [a] kind of scopophilia-driven sexual obsession." Kuersten adds, "And I didn't even know this when I started this post, but they were born the same month (September) of the same world war-ridden year (1940), six days apart. They are both Virgo, sign of the virgin, sign of obsession, poring over film strips and sound boards with the repressed energy of a thousand unreached orgasms!"

Illustrated with a fascinating array of juxtaposed images from the films of both directors (as well as some other filmmakers thrown into the mix), Kuersten explores shared themes and motifs such as blindness, avenging angels, mirrors and doubles, dreams, photography, metatextuality, art, and more. A terrifically eye-opening and entertaining read, the post comes a year after Kuersten's post about Scarface, Suspiria and Carrie.

Posted by Geoff at 12:51 AM CDT
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Monday, July 14, 2014
VIGALONDO TALKS DE PALMA, 'OPEN WINDOWS'
'BLOW OUT'-INSPIRED THRILLER SCREENS AT FANTASIA FEST IN MONTREAL THIS WEEKEND


Nacho Vigalondo's Open Windows, which he has previously indicated was partially inspired by Blow Out, will screen at this year's Fantasia International Film Festival, as part of a themed section dubbed "Antisocial Media." Fantasia's co-director, Mitch Davis, tells the Montreal Gazette's T'Cha Dunlevy that Open Windows "takes place entirely on a character’s computer screen. It’s almost like a Brian De Palma thriller, by way of Mike Figgis. It’s super-dynamic, volume-11 storytelling. Vigalondo sets these bizarre limitations, but by going into close-ups of all these different (computer screen) windows — hence the title — and shifting focus in a propulsive way as the lead character goes into a rabbit hole of criminality and conspiracy, it works brilliantly."

Meanwhile, Sensacine's Alejandro G. Calvo interviewed Vigalondo a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that with Open Windows, there is a lot of talk about Alfred Hitchcock, "but the truth is that [it] has a lot of Brian De Palma. Blow Out, of course, but also Redacted."

To which Vigalondo responded, "Well, Blow Out is my favorite De Palma film. That is a reference with which I feel very comfortable. I think he's a very ambitious, but at the same time, very human filmmaker. His films have both virtuosity and weaknesses, all wonderful. I feel much more comfortable with De Palma with Hitchcock, as I name them. If you allow it to be tagged as such, it is a beast of an ambition that seems an unattainable task. Then people write things like "this guy is trying to be the Hitchcock of the 21st Century" and, well, I do not mean anything! They are the ones who have written it! (laughs). So I prefer to think about De Palma, someone who I see as like family."


Posted by Geoff at 8:32 PM CDT
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