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Tuesday, April 18, 2017
CLIFTON JAMES HAS PASSED AWAY AT 96
ACTOR APPEARED IN 'THE UNTOUCHABLES' & 'BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES'


Clifton James, who had appeared in two Brian De Palma films-- The Untouchables (1987) and The Bonfire Of The Vanities (1990), passed away Saturday at the age of 96. His daughter, Lynn James, told the Associated Press, "He was the most outgoing person, beloved by everybody. I don't think the man had an enemy. We were incredibly blessed to have had him in our lives."

Most of the articles about James' passing highlight his role as a redneck sheriff in two James Bond films starring Roger Moore: Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). "His daughter noted that her father sometimes said actors get remembered for one particular role out of hundreds," states the Associated Press article. "His is the sheriff's, but he said he would have never picked that one," said Lynn James. During the prime of his career, the article states, James "loved working on the stage in New York."

Here's part of an obituary written by Meagan Navarro at ScreenRant:

James was born May 29, 1920 in Spokane, Washington as the oldest of five siblings, and the only son. His mother was a teacher and his father a journalist. He was raised near Portland, Oregon during the height of the Great Depression. A decorated World War II veteran, James served nearly five years in the South Pacific and has earned numerous decorations for his service including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

After leaving the Army, James took classes and acted in plays at the University of Oregon before moving to New York to launch his acting career. His first stage appearance was The Time of Your Life, and he continued to perform in numerous stage plays on Broadway.

Despite being a northerner with a love of theater, his most famous role came on film as the tobacco spitting southern sheriff from Louisiana in 1973’s Live and Let Die. The stark comedic contrast to Roger Moore’s cool, sophisticated James Bond proved to be so popular with audiences that the writers wrote the comic-relief character into the next James Bond film, 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun. This entry saw the popular character bringing even more comedic relief to the film as it took the southern sheriff out of the south and into Thailand. His knack for portraying a cigar-chomping, tobacco chewing southerners carried over in many other film roles, as in his role of Carr in Cool Hand Luke. James also acted opposite to Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Robert De Niro in an uncredited role as a district attorney who prosecuted Al Capone in The Untouchables.

On television, James had appeared in Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Dukes of Hazard, Lewis & Clark, The A-Team, Dallas, and more. As a lover of celebrating holidays with his wife, Laurie, James once played Kris Kringle in a 1996 episode of long-running soap opera All My Children. Perhaps his most notable television role, however, is that of powerful Houston lawyer Striker Bellman in the soap opera Texas, from 1981 to 1982.

James leaves behind his wife, his five children, 14 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, as well his two younger sisters Cicely and Beverley. He will be missed.


Posted by Geoff at 3:21 AM CDT
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Monday, March 27, 2017
GREENGRASS IN TALKS TO DIRECT 'NESS'
ADAPTATION OF BENDIS/ANDREYKO GRAPHIC NOVEL 'TORSO', WHICH FINCHER ALMOST MADE WITH... MATT DAMON

Deadline's Anita Busch reported today that Paul Greengrass is in negotiations with Paramount to direct Ness, an adaptation of Torso, a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko that fictionalizes Eliot Ness' time in Cleveland, hunting down a serial killer. Brian Helgeland is named as the screenwriter. The project, which, according to Busch, Paramount is eyeing as a potential franchise, had obsessed David Fincher for a while about a decade ago. Fincher's version had a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, and in December of 2008, without yet getting the greenlight from Paramount, Fincher was nevertheless quietly preparing to begin shooting with Matt Damon in the title role. Casey Affleck had also been cast, with Rachel McAdams also in negotiations for a role. Paramount pulled the plug on the project soon after. (Meanwhile, De Palma's Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, had been stalled over questions about who owns the rights.)

FINCHER'S VISION: "WE WANT TO MAKE IT THE CITIZEN KANE OF COP MOVIES"
If Greengrass does indeed go forward as director, it does not seem far-fetched in the least to expect that his Bourne franchise star Damon will hop back on board to play Ness. Paramount is probably salivating over the ads already: "From the director of Jason Bourne," while Matt Damon's face is plastered all over the screen. Although Fincher's interests are probably seen as too dark, bold, and risky to build a potential police franchise around, he had told MTV's Kurt Loder in 2007 that it wasn't the torso killings that interested him so much, but rather "the de-mythologizing of Eliot Ness. Because, you know, The Untouchables was only two or three years of the Eliot Ness story. There's a whole other, much more sinister downside to it. And so that's of interest to me. We want to make it the Citizen Kane of cop movies."


Posted by Geoff at 11:33 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, March 27, 2017 11:38 PM CDT
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Monday, February 13, 2017
TWEET - 'UNTOUCHABLES' A 'SWEET SERENADE'

Posted by Geoff at 8:10 AM CST
Updated: Monday, February 13, 2017 8:11 AM CST
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Thursday, January 26, 2017
TWEET - EDWARD HOPPER / 'THE UNTOUCHABLES'

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2017 12:10 AM CST
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Thursday, January 19, 2017
PASTE SUGGESTS 'THE UNTOUCHABLES'
"CHEERFUL CONTENT" TO HELP "FEEL BETTER THIS WEEKEND"
Paste today posted its "Official List of Cheerful Content," which consists of staff "suggestions for how to feel better this weekend." Staff writer Jason Rhode explains, "Paste friend Sean Doyle had a suggestion: during this highly fraught week, while Paste will certainly be publishing plenty of serious features, it might be helpful if we put together a list of light-hearted/cheerful/delightful media or ideas that we turn to in these moments; really, anything that keeps us sane during the next several days. I asked Paste staffers to compile a staggering list of heart-dazzling brilliance, so all may taste the rainbow. In this winter of discontent, we bring you the winners of this content."

Rhode himself begins the list with his choice of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables:

When I consider media which brings me good cheer, one movie immediately comes to mind. In any moment, for any reason, for any question, there is a single answer, and that is Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables. You know that movie you love? Well, all the movies you love secretly adore this flick, and have been writing fan letters to this piece of pure American kino. Oh, the greybeards and Philip Roth will say that this is not a cheerful movie. You know what makes me cheerful? Knowing when they go to sleep and wake up they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Untouchables is one of most encouraging movies ever made. I’ll spare you a recitation of the plot, since we have all watched at least five minutes of TBS in our lives and thereby absorbed DePalma by means of osmosis. What can account for the cultural cachet of this epic tale of brotherhood and bloodspill?

You know all of those empires which have fallen? Looks like they weren’t Untouchable. There are Oscar-winning movies that cover tweens learning violin, kids discovering that dinosaurs were just like us, and how the yam farmer is the noblest of God’s creatures … but they don’t have Kevin Costner pushing a Prohibition baddie off a roof and into a car. Does your beloved Jennifer Lawrence vehicle feature Sean Connery chasing an assassin out of his house in his suit-vest, only to be shot himself? No? Oh, how disappointing that must be for you.

Does your movie happen to be the most heartwarming bro-picture of all time? In the other movies, does an accountant discover in the moment of trial that he can go full truffle-shuffle and wreck shop on Capone’s illegal hooch empire with a gun in his hand, and an even bigger gun in his chest—his heart? Yes, the heart is a gun. The Untouchables teaches this lesson, and so many more. DeNiro’s Capone isn’t even acting; it’s as if the memes from all his Scorsese movies (“To-day! To-day! To-day!”) plugged into an feedbacking amp the size of the world. This movie does not chew the scenery, it devours the backdrop for the fuel to rise above the concept of scenery. That’s the Chicago Way.


Posted by Geoff at 11:50 PM CST
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Sunday, June 5, 2016
'THE UNTOUCHABLES' IN 70MM
AT MUSIC BOX IN CHICAGO JUNE 22, AT SOMMERVILLE IN BOSTON JUNE 13


In case you missed this before, Brian De Palma's The Untouchables will screen in 70mm at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago on Wednesday, June 22nd, at 7:30pm. The Music Box had built a 40-foot screen in anticipation of the 70mm release of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight this past December, and have subsequently been screening a series of films in that format. The screening is also part of the Music Box's De Palma retrospective, which runs that entire week (June 17-23).

A 70mm print of The Untouchables will also screen at the Somerville Theatre in Boston on Monday, June 13th (7:30pm). This will kick off a four-day series called "The World Is Yours: Brian De Palma on Film," which is presented by the Independent Film Festival Boston in partnership with A24, and ends with a free screening of the De Palma documentary.


Posted by Geoff at 8:42 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 14, 2016
TWEET: VIOLENT FEMMES DRUMMER
"ALMOST MADE IT INTO THE UNTOUCHABLES"

Posted by Geoff at 11:27 AM CDT
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Sunday, February 21, 2016
MORRICONE: DE PALMA MADE RIGHT CHOICE
IN DECIDING WHICH PIECE OF MUSIC TO USE FOR 'UNTOUCHABLES' COURTROOM CLIMAX


Ennio Morricone recently discussed a handful of his film scores with Entertainment Weekly's Madison Vain, and included a story about The Untouchables:
For the unforgettable final scene of Brian De Palma’s gangster epic, in which Prohibition agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) brings Al Capone (Robert De Niro) to justice, Morricone presented nine possible options. As he remembers it, he hoped De Palma would choose any of them except the seventh—which, of course, is exactly the one the director wanted. “In the end, he was absolutely right,” the composer says. Celebratory music is a rare mode for Morricone, who favors more hypnotic, moody creations. “But De Palma chose the piece that was most like [the ending]—it showed the triumph of the police over the bad guys.”

Posted by Geoff at 11:54 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 21, 2016 11:58 PM CST
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Monday, April 13, 2015
'UNTOUCHABLES' TUESDAY IN CHICAGO
CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION EVENT HOSTED BY PETER SOBCZYNSKI
Brian De Palma's The Untouchables will screen twice on Tuesday, April 14-- at 1pm and 7pm at the Elk Grove Theatre (sometimes referred to as the Elk Grove Cinema). This is a Chicago Film Critics Association special event, and will be hosted by Peter Sobczynski, who will also lead a post-film discussion. De Palma is Sobczynski's favorite director, so it should be lively.

Posted by Geoff at 11:32 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 13, 2015 11:36 PM CDT
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Monday, March 9, 2015
VIDEO: 'THE 20 GREATEST SLOW-MO SCENES'
ONE MAN'S OPINION, SURE, BUT EDITED QUITE NICELY; INCLUDES 'UNTOUCHABLES'

The video above, called "The 20 Greatest Slow-Mo Scenes," was posted to Vimeo four days ago by Invenire Films, with the description, "The 20 greatest, or most powerful, uses of slow-motion in film, based solely on my personal opinion." Off the top of my head, I can think of some obvious things that probably should have been included, such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, and The Godfather, as well as so much more De Palma. But this video is so well-edited, and apparently personal to its maker, it's hard to complain.

Posted by Geoff at 8:09 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2015 8:12 PM CDT
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