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De Palma a la Mod


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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


Warren Beatty's
Howard Hughes
moving forward

Filmmaker Mike
Cahill believes
he has world's
first double-
vertigo shot

Rie Rasmussen
to direct remake
of Cronenberg's

Mentor Tarantino
says she's the "perfect
choice" to direct

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

Spielberg Predicts
'Implosion' of
Film Industry

Scorsese tests
new Zaillian
script for
The Irishman
with De Niro,
Pacino, Pesci

James Franco
plans to direct
& star in
adaptation of Ellroy's
American Tabloid

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
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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Monday, August 18, 2014

Posted by Geoff at 5:04 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 18, 2014 5:10 PM CDT
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Writing about Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, South Philly Review's Kurt Osenlund states that "Branagh’s approach helps at virtually every turn, from getting us through verbose debriefing scenes that might bog down the pace to de-cluttering Jack’s relationship to Cathy, who’s uncannily understanding of her partner’s secrecy, then brought into the fold for a remarkable con sequence (Branagh channels Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible, and that’s a huge compliment). Car chases are swift and compelling, scam specifics are choreographed with great sleekness, and in moments that need to underscore Jack’s dueling competence and inexperience, Pine delivers as a leading man."

And it turns out there is a good reason Branagh's film might channel De Palma's Mission: Impossible, because David Koepp was a key screenwriter on both projects. But the route taken by the Jack Ryan screenplay is an interesting one. Once upon a time, Adam Cozad wrote a spec script titled Dubai that made the Black List of best unproduced screenplays in 2007. Paramount (home of the Mission: Impossible franchise), looking to reboot a Jack Ryan franchise, bought Dubai and hired Anthony Peckham to rework it, and the title changed to Moscow, with Cozad doing another rewrite after Peckham. Interestingly, at that point, Paramount talked to Steven Zallian (who had worked with De Palma on the initial structure of Mission: Impossible) about working on the Moscow script, but he passed, and they then hired Koepp, who took over with gusto, working on it for well over a year with Branagh at the helm (Jack Bender had been the director initially attached in the early stages of the project).

I saw Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit yesterday, and liked it quite a bit. Branagh gives a terrifically strong performance as the Russian villain, there are some nicely-shot sequences, and the story is compelling enough, even with a typical time-bomb ending. Aside from the M:I-style con sequence mentioned above, I noticed a bit of dialogue that seems to echo De Palma's Carlito's Way, which was also written by Koepp. In Carlito's Way, after their little "boat ride," Carlito angrilly gives Kleinfeld some advice: "You ain’t a lawyer no more, Dave. You’re a gangster now. You’re on the other side. Whole new ball game. You can’t learn about it at school, and you can’t have a late start."

We posted last week some quotes from Kevin Costner about taking on the "Sean Connery mentor role" in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. In the film, after Jack Ryan has a deadly run-in with a baddie out to kill him, Costner's shadowy CIA agent tells him, "You're not just an analyst anymore. You're operational now." That clip is below:

Posted by Geoff at 11:14 AM CST
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Monday, September 3, 2012

David Koepp's action-packed thriller Premium Rush finally opened in theaters last week. The film takes off from a terrific opening slow-motion shot set to The Who's Baba O'Riley, and never lets up from there, with a great soundtrack by David Sardy. The dialogue is rapid, matching the speediness of the bike messengers at the center of the film. Koepp and John Kamps have written a screenplay that manages to connect all of the characters in ways that sometimes seem too coincidental to be true, but it all moves so fast that it is easy to let go and just go with it.

Premium Rush jumps back and forth in time, somewhat like Brian De Palma's Murder A La Mod, showing certain scenes from different characters' perspectives. Koepp also did a bit of this with De Palma on Snake Eyes, although in that film, the jumps in time were presented as flashbacks. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is very good as the lead, and Michael Shannon has a role that allows him freedom of explosion, and he seems to have fun following that muse. (Also of note: Koepp cast his screenwriter friend Brian Koppelman as a mostly dialogue-free loan shark. Koppelman co-wrote the original draft of the as-yet-unmade Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising.)

This is Koepp's fifth feature, and all have been inventive works of well-crafted entertainment, from the horror-tinged thrillers he started off with (The Trigger Effect, Stir Of Echoes, and Secret Window), to the comedy Ghost Town, and now this action thriller. Hopefully it will be sooner than four years before we get another one.

Posted by Geoff at 3:06 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 3:07 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 6:08 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 6:13 PM CDT
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Sunday, February 6, 2011
CJ Simonson at Collider has posted a synopsis for David Koepp's upcoming Premium Rush, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a bike messenger, and was filmed last summer on the streets of New York. Here is the official synopsis:

A New York bike messenger is given an envelope by a young woman at an uptown Manhattan college and is told he has 90 minutes to deliver it to an address in Chinatown. Complications ensue when an undercover police office appears and demands the envelope on special grounds. The truth, hidden motivations, and the life-and-death stakes on all sides are revealed through a series of flashbacks as the cop and the messenger engage in a length-of-Manhattan chase, racing against time after the messenger discovers the precious nature of the envelope’s slender contents.

Last June, Carson Reeves at ScriptShadow reviewed the screenplay by Koepp and John Kamps, and was pleasantly surprised by what he initially expected to be an "old hat" premise. "I didn’t expect to like this," wrote Reeves. "Mainly because I thought bike messengers were extinct once the internet hit. It just seemed like old hat to me. But it turns out it actually has the opposite effect. The zipping and zapping through New York City felt fresh and alive, different from anything I’d recently read or seen." Reeves said that the best part of the script was "bike-o-vision. Yeah, you heard that right," Reeves continued. "Koepp and Kamps have created their own Matrix-style stop-motion technique. When Wilee’s zipping through the streets and gets into a tough spot (door opening, cross-traffic ahead, baby stroller), everything slows down so he can assess his options. Then, out of nowhere, a small area will light up, and that’s the direction he zips into." Sounds intriguing...

Posted by Geoff at 4:17 PM CST
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Monday, August 30, 2010
David Koepp is currently shooting a new movie, Premium Rush, in New York City. The other day, Hollywood Elsewhere posted two pictures of the New York shoot sent in by a reader of that site, Eran Evron. The film, which was written by Koepp and his longtime creative partner John Kamps, involves a New York City bike messenger (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, pictured on the far right) who is pursued by a dirty cop (played by Michael Shannon, in the center of the picture wearing a tie). Dania Ramirez (wearing a blue top in the photo) plays a fellow bike messenger. Koepp is wearing a red ball cap, all the way on the left side of the photo. Premium Rush will be released on January 13, 2012. About a month ago, Gordon-Levitt posted a video on his site, that was shot by Koepp himself, showing the bloody arm he got from crashing into the back of a cab during filming. Gordon-Levitt wrote, "My first real wreck today. Busted through the rear window of a cab. Luckily got my elbows up. Coulda been way worse. No, but it was my fault, I was going too fast. The director, Dave Koepp, was extremely concerned for my well-being, but I made him RECord the wound. Anyway, Premium Rush is gonna be awesome. Gratuitous ER footage to follow, stay tuned…" A few more set pics of Gordon-Levitt and Ramirez can be seen at Accidental Sexiness

Posted by Geoff at 11:50 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 30, 2010 12:04 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 4, 2008
Film Fest Items of Interest


David Koepp's latest film as director, Ghost Town, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow. While the new film, which Koepp cowrote with John Camps, shares certain supernatural themes with Koepp's previous directorial outings, this one is a comedy that stars Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Téa Leoni.

Also premiering at the Toronto fest this weekend will be two new films featuring Brian De Palma's step daughter, Willa Holland. Holland stars alongside Colin Firth and Catherine Keener in Michael Winterbottom's Genova, and also stars with Susan Sarandon in John Stockwell's Middle Of Nowhere. Holland will also appear on TV's Gossip Girl this fall.

Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker will also appear at Toronto, but it makes its world premiere today at Venice. At the Venice press conference today, according to Variety, Bigelow said of the film, "My interest was to give this conflict a human face, and to enable the audience to actually experience what a soldier experiences, based on personal observation from the battlefield." Screenwriter Marc Boal described the film as "primarily observational, as opposed to polemical." Boal added, "It's almost a dirty little secret of war that, as horrible as it is, there are some men who through the intensity of the experience come to find it alluring."

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 8, 2008 9:09 AM CDT
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