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Warren Beatty's
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moving forward

Filmmaker Mike
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Rie Rasmussen
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Mentor Tarantino
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AV Club Review
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Scorsese tests
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with De Niro,
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James Franco
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& star in
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Coppola on
his recent films:
"What I was
trying to do with
those films was to
make three student
films in order to
try and set a new
trajectory and try to
say, 'Well, what
happens if I have no
resources?' Now, having
done that, my new
work is going to be
much more ambitious
and bigger in scope and
budget and ambition,
but now building on a
new confidence or
assurance. The three
little films were very
useful. I'm glad I did
it. I hope George Lucas
does it, because he
has a wonderful personal
filmmaking ability that
people haven't seen
for a while."

Sean Penn to
direct De Niro
as raging comic
in The Comedian

Scarlett to make
directorial feature
debut with
Capote story

Keith Gordon
teaming up
with C. Nolan for
supernatural
thriller that
he will write
and direct

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-Picture emerging
for Happy Valley

-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
for Paterno film
Happy Valley

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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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italkyoubored

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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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Tuesday, March 11, 2014
'FEMME FATALE' CLOSES DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE
WED. NIGHT AT CHICAGO'S DOC FILMS; ROSENBAUM ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT
As we've noted several times over the past few months, Doc Films in Chicago has been hosting a Brian De Palma retrospective, running every Wednesday since January 8. The retrospective ends tomorrow (Wednesday) night with two screenings of Femme Fatale. Programmer Dan Wang writes of the film at the Doc Films website: "Beginning with a rapturous set piece at the Cannes Film Festival, and ending with a statement not only of cinematic aesthetics but also of ethics, Femme Fatale is De Palma's most ambitious, vexing, and confounding work. It is also beautiful, drawing from a more vibrant and painterly palette than earlier films. Starring Rebecca Romijn as a jewel thief and Antonio Banderas as an opportunistic photographer, this film calls to be seen and seen again."

And while we're at it, this is a great time to revisit Jonathan Rosenbaum's capsule review of the film for the Chicago Reader:

"Try to imagine a synthesis of every previous Brian De Palma film; you'll come up with something not very different from his first made-in-France movie (2002), a personal project for which he takes sole script credit. I enjoyed every minute of it, maybe because De Palma took such obvious pleasure in putting it all together. If you decide at the outset that this needn't have any recognizable relationship to the world we live in, you might even find it a delight."


Posted by Geoff at 8:37 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:38 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 7, 2013
MUST-SEE VIDEO: DE PALMA DIRECTING 'FEMME FATALE'
B-ROLL FOOTAGE: STUNTMEN, BRIDGE, BALCONY, POOL TABLE FIGHT, CANNES 2001

Posted by Geoff at 5:23 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 7, 2013 5:23 PM CDT
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Friday, December 7, 2012
'FEMME FATALE' AT NY MUSEUM OF MOVING IMAGE
SCREENED FRIDAY AS PART OF SERIES "THE CINEMA AND ITS DOUBLES"
Sorry about catching word of this too late (the screening is happening as I write this), but I had to note that Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale is screening tonight at New York's Museum Of The Moving Image, as part of the series "The Cinema and its Doubles." I especially like the quote at the Moving Image site from Jonathan Rosenbaum, which I don't recall ever reading before. According to the site, Rosenbaum called Femme Fatale "a synthesis of every previous Brian De Palma film... I enjoyed every minute of it, maybe because De Palma took such obvious pleasure in putting it together."

Posted by Geoff at 8:40 PM CST
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Monday, August 6, 2012
'FEMME FATALE' CLIMAX MAY HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY SAUTET
ARMOND WHITE SAYS NO DOUBT ABOUT INFLUENCE OF STUNNING MONTAGE IN 'THE THINGS OF LIFE'
Armond White, writing about the current Claude Sautet retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, says that "a stunning montage" in Sautet's Les Choses de la Vie (The Things Of Life) "no doubt inspired Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale climax." Sautet's film, released in 1970, established his international reputation. White states that it is "a more operatic version of the usual Sautet melodrama." According to White, "The montage details life in shocking, lyrical increments. Jean Boffety’s cinematography captures natural light and existential tragedy in captivating, musical counterpoint. Sautet may be practiced in face-to-face contretemps but the car crash sequence–a Nouvelle Vague salute to the crisis/memories/fate flashbacks of Hollywood’s classic Slattery’s Hurricane–is one of cinema’s most exquisite examples of melding kinetics to philosophy."

The Saute retrospective, running through August 16, is named after The Things Of Life, and includes that film along with 12 other Sautet features.

Posted by Geoff at 1:11 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 6, 2012 1:12 AM CDT
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
ALMODOVAR'S 'SKIN' DRAWS DE PALMA COMPARISONS
ARMOND WHITE: "EVOKES THE NARRATIVE FLOW OF 'FEMME FATALE'..."
Armond White states that with The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar has made a horror film that "is the most self-conscious, intellectually ambitious film yet from a director who has previously used self-consciousness in the form of camp irony." White mentions Luis Buñuel and Brian De Palma as partial influences:

I’ve avoided plot details because Skin would not synopsize well. But it’s full of feeling—a genuine art experience, even when Almodóvar fights his own conceits. Villainy and martyrdom overlap, as do dream and terror. That’s why the film embraces Buñuel’s acerbity yet neglects his humor, evokes the narrative flow of De Palma’s Femme Fatale then shrinks from the omniscience that De Palma synthesized out of Hitchcock, Michael Powell and Warhol.

Others have noted a De Palma influence on The Skin I Live In. DVD Talk's Jason Bailey concludes that a De Palma comparison doesn't hold water, yet his argument suggests structural links to De Palma's Femme Fatale:

The Skin I Live In has been diagnosed in countless reviews as the Spanish filmmaker's homage to Hitchcock, and on the surface, that's true enough; you can hear it in Alberto Iglesias's gloriously, almost deliriously over-the-top score, and you can see it in the dirty kick of certain scenes that alternately call to mind Hitch and his cinematic pupil, Brian De Palma.

But the picture is just too damn strange for those comparisons to hold water; Almodovar lets his narrative get out of his control in a way that those filmmakers seldom did. He takes an interesting structural strategy, basically starting out in the middle of the story, then taking the second act to catch us up (at one point, from two different points of view). It's a risky storytelling gamble, and one that doesn't always pay off--he certainly keeps you guessing, but we get the unnerving feeling, at times, of merely having our chains pulled.

The A.V. Club's Noel Murray and Scott Tobias suggest a cross between Cronenberg and De Palma, while a discussion last May at Plunderphonics brought in comparisons to De Palma's Femme Fatale and Body Double.


Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:02 AM CST
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Sunday, May 15, 2011
CANNES 10 YEARS AFTER FILMING 'FEMME FATALE'
MELANIE GRIFFITH & ANTONIO BANDERAS CELEBRATE 15TH ANNIVERSARY
It was ten years ago that Brian De Palma filmed a portion of Femme Fatale in Cannes, immediately following the close of the Cannes Film Festival with a recreation of a film premiere, during which an elaborate heist is performed. Yesterday, Randomaniac posted a piece in which he calls Femme Fatale "De Palma's signature film." Randomaniac continues, "In no other movie does he have such free reign over his scenario. His script reaches far beyond absurdity into realms of the subconscious where the borders between dream and truth become insignificant, and his rapturous, James Bondish fetish for technogadgetry make the film one of the more surreal expressions of fantasy in cinema." The post is accompanied by several wonderfully large frames from the opening section of the film.

It was Melanie Griffith who encouraged her husband, Antonio Banderas, to work with De Palma on Femme Fatale, and now the happy couple are in Cannes, celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary (they are pictured here from last Wednesday in Cannes). "They said when we got married we wouldn’t last three months," Banderas joked to Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman. "But we knew they were wrong." Friedman reveals that Banderas is "getting ready to produce a series pilot for Melanie called Neurasthenia.”

Meanwhile,it was announced last week that Banderas' production company, Green Moon, is teaming up with Femme Fatale producer Tarak Ben Ammar's Quinta Communications, along with Vertice 360 to produce Banderas' next two films. Banderas will produce and star in the alliance's first film, Automata, a futuristic story that will shoot in in Tunisia and Egypt at the end of this year, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Then in 2012, Banderas will produce, direct, and act in Solo, playing a recently returned soldier suffering post-traumatic syndrome. Solo is based on an original story by Band Of Brothers' Erik Jendresen.

Aside from all of that, Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar's highly anticipated horror film, The Skin I Live In, which has its world premiere at Cannes this Thursday.


Posted by Geoff at 5:15 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:16 PM CDT
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Friday, April 2, 2010
ROSENBAUM ON FEMME FATALE
"MIGHT CONSTITUTE A GENUINE QUEST FOR TRANSCENDENCE"
Jonathan Rosenbaum has reposted his 2002 review of Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale. After reading Rosenbaum's review of Snake Eyes in 1998, in which he seemed to feel De Palma had, in his eyes, finally come into his own as a filmmaker whose vision was wholly his own, I remember reading this review of Femme Fatale and really thinking that Rosenbaum was in the midst of some kind of reconsideration of De Palma's work (in the review, he cites Pauline Kael's ebracing "of what she called De Palma’s trashiness" as getting in the way of Rosenbaum's ability to appreciate De Palma "for what he is instead of disliking him for what he isn’t"). We'll see if anything like that ever comes along in his future writing, but back in 2002, Rosenbaum called Femme Fatale "a grand synthesis" of De Palma's oeuvre. "As I watched it the first time two months ago," Rosenbaum states in the review, "I found myself capitulating to its inspired formalist madness — something I’ve resisted in [De Palma's] films for the past 30-odd years." Here are some of the very interesting things Rosenbaum had to say about Femme Fatale (which he labeled a three-star must-see):

However ludicrous the opening heist sequence of Femme Fatale might seem, it proposes a kind of willful symmetry. The movie’s climactic slow-motion catastrophe — which we actually see assembled and disassembled like a jigsaw puzzle in two separate versions — is an equally implausible form of symmetry that’s governed by chance and fate. Both sequences are of course conceived and constructed by De Palma, and the metaphysical distinctions between how and why they unfold add up to a philosophical position, if not a moral or ethical one.

The first time Laure sees Lily playing Russian roulette in a Paris flat, there’s a leaking aquarium in a corner of the room. Since we see the leak before any bullet is fired, we may be puzzled by this detail — which arguably gets explained, after a fashion, when we return to the same scene much later in the film. I was surprised to be reminded of the unexplained rainfall glimpsed inside a house in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, but it occurred to me later that this parallel might not be as implausible as I supposed — and not just because De Palma is a compulsive moviegoer who sees a lot more than Hollywood product. (He has often noted that he’s virtually the only mainstream filmmaker who regularly attends foreign film festivals as a spectator.)

Tarkovsky — a formalist who’s often been misidentified as a humanist, perhaps because of his mysticism — sometimes showed a similar indifference to his characters, such as the family of the hero who burns his house down in the final sequence of his last film, The Sacrifice. Formalism and an absence of humanism don’t necessarily entail a lack of artistic seriousness. Indeed, looking for symmetry and coherence in a universe that seems to consist only of chaotic fragments from other movies — a very contemporary and very real dilemma — might constitute a genuine quest for transcendence.


Posted by Geoff at 10:08 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 7, 2009
POSSIBLE MISSIONS
SOME THINK DE PALMA WOULD MAKE A GREAT MYSTIQUE MOVIE

If Rebecca Romijn ever wanted to paint herself blue again for a few months (something she has said she is through with), there are some out there who think that Brian De Palma would be the perfect choice to direct the actress as Mystique in an X-Men spin-off movie. Of course, after Femme Fatale, who wouldn't want to see these two pair up again. A couple of months ago, Christopher Campbell posted a list of "10 Supporting Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spin Off," which included Mystique. Campbell wrote:

X-Men Origins: Mystique would be very cool, because Raven Darkholme is such a fascinating villain. Her solo film should be set during WWII in her days as a spy and feature her lesbian partner, Destiny (or hetero partner if you subscribe to the theory that Mystique was born a man and has been disguising herself primarily as a woman “as the ultimate in transvestism”). Brian De Palma should probably direct this spin off, since it’ll kind of be like a cross between Mission: Impossible and Femme Fatale.

That sounds like a great film idea, but it would probably end up being an actress other than Romijn, unless someone like De Palma could talk her into it. Meanwhile, Giant-Size Marvel's Richard Guion has posted a "Memo to Fox: Read Marvel Comics for the next Wolverine movie!" Guion would like to see the Wolverine films adapt stories straight out of the original comic books, and has a suggestion for a Mystique story:

I think a good second choice would be Jason Aaron and Ron Garney’s Get Mystique story. Wolverine takes a helluva lot of punishment in this story. Imagine if you got Rebecca Romijn back as Mystique. Do the flashback scenes in the old west and put her in one of the western-madam costumes. Have Hugh Jackman chase Romijn throughout the middle east in the present day, sniffing out her various disguises. That’s highly cinematic and after seeing Romijn outwit all kinds of men in Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale, this is a slam dunk.


Posted by Geoff at 1:31 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 23, 2009
FATALE IMAGES OF THE DECADE
"EVERY IMAGE SCREAMS BRIAN DE PALMA"
Jeremy Richey at Moon In The Gutter has posted a nice collection of select images from Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale, as part of an ongoing series called "Images From The Greatest Films Of The Decade." Richey writes that "every shot in this film screams Brian De Palma. Had I never seen the film, I would still be able to immediately name who directed it just from these ten shots without problem. Femme Fatale will no doubt be one of the most controversial choices for this series, but it is still the only film of the decade that I literally stood up and applauded for at the end."

Posted by Geoff at 2:06 PM CDT
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