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Friday, February 27, 2015
Back in 2013, I posted some quotes from Fantasia Film Fest co-director Mitch Davis enthusing about Big Bad Wolves as a mix of the Coen Brothers, Park Chan-wook and Brian De Palma. Later that year, Quentin Tarantino declared the film his favorite of 2013.

Today, Impact's Sam Todd posted an interview with Navot Papushado, who co-directed Big Bad Wolves with Aharon Keshales. Prior to Wolves, the pair had made a feature called Rabies (pictured here), and they more recently provided a short film for the horror anthology ABCs of Death 2.

When asked by Todd to talk about what films or filmmakers have influenced Papushado and Keshales, Papushado replies, "Rabies was not only influenced by horror films. Our favourite directors, if I had to list them, would be Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski and William Friedkin. We realised that many of the great directors started in horror. Specifically for Rabies, we wondered what it would be like if Robert Altman directed a horror film, or something like Magnolia, where all these people are brought together by terrible circumstances. We drew inspiration from a lot of genres, horror films and just films we liked. We also took influence from recent Korean films, specifically their blending of genres, it’s dramatic, it’s horrific, it’s funny, it’s everything. We are great fans of the Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino. Rabies was our first attempt at mixing it all up. We took everything we liked and mixed it up in one crazy film."

Near the end of the interview, Todd asks, "Which director should every aspiring filmmaker be familiar with?"

Papushado: "I’d go straight for the source: Sergio Leone, especially The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, it was the bible for me as a kid. I watch it every time I begin shooting a movie. Obviously Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, the way Spielberg uses the camera to tell a story is a masterclass, it’s the best school for moving the camera. Of course Tarantino and the Coen Brothers from recent years. I can’t not put Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma. Everyone is inspired by these 70’s filmmakers because they invented everything."

Posted by Geoff at 11:20 PM CST
Updated: Friday, February 27, 2015 11:27 PM CST
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Thursday, February 26, 2015
Slit, written, edited, and directed by Colin Clark, will be released online in the coming weeks, according to the film's Facebook page. The description at the Slit website reads, in part:

"Passion and murder are in store for two party girls whose steamy sexual encounter turns bloody when a black-gloved killer follows them home.

"Taking its cue from Italian 'giallo' thrillers of the 1970's, SLIT is a contemporary horror experience that mixes together a color-saturated visual style, vivid sensuality, and shocking violence, set to a pulsating synthesizer score.

"'Giallo' - Italian for 'yellow' - refers to a genre of films inspired by pulp mystery novels published in Italy with distinctive yellow covers. 'Giallo' films of the 1960's-1970's bear a distinct, baroque cinematic style -- and are known for their vivid colors and bizarre camerawork, fetishistic close-ups, iconic black-gloved killers, and nerve-jangling scores. Practitioners of the 'giallo' arts include Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, and Lucio Fulci.

"SLIT was envisioned as a mashup between the sizzling eroticism of early Brian De Palma (his Body Double, Dressed to Kill and Blow Out are unofficial 'giallos') and the colorful-yet-brutal cinematic overkill of Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red), accompanied by an 80's-style electronic score reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder (Cat People, Scarface), Jan Hammer, or Tangerine Dream."

There is also a trailer for the film on YouTube.

Posted by Geoff at 12:06 AM CST
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Damián Szifrón's Wild Tales is one of the five movies Oscar-nominated this year for best foreign-language film. And according to the New York Times' Larry Rohter, "In Argentina, Wild Tales has become both the country’s all-time box office champion and a genuine social phenomenon that has made folk heroes of some characters." Rohter adds that the Spanish-language title of Szifrón's film is actually closer to "Savage Tales," and notes that "the opening credits unfurl against a backdrop of tigers, sharks, wolves and other predators in their habitats."

The film is made up of six episodes, each with a different cast and characters, in which someone goes into a vengeful rage. Building on the imagery of the opening credits, Szifrón explains to Rohter, "What differentiates us from animals is our capacity to restrain ourselves. An animal can’t, and is condemned to its instincts. In contrast, we have a fight or flee mechanism, but it comes with a very high cost. Most of us live with the frustration of having to repress oneself, but some people explode. This is a movie about those who explode, and we can all understand why they do. Any time I read about someone who has committed a supposedly irrational or barbarous act, that person doesn’t feel foreign to me." Szifrón later adds that while the six stories may be stylistically different from each other, "they are vital organs of the same body" and "to sustain itself, the movie needed all of them."

In this excerpt from the end of Rohter's article, he discusses Szifrón's influences, which include Brian De Palma:

Born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires into a Jewish immigrant family with roots in Poland and Russia, Mr. Szifrón was a cinephile as a boy. His father dealt in electronic equipment, and his son early on acquired a VHS player and a digital camera. As a result, Mr. Szifrón said, “I saw all the classics at a very early age.” He began making his own shorts at the age of 9, and before Wild Tales, he had written and directed two movies and a pair of television series that were hits in Latin America.

Wild Tales contains echoes of some of his childhood favorites, among them Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma, as well as The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But in the end, the movie is a very personal distillation of “themes that are in the collective unconscious,” Mr. Szifrón said.

“There are a lot of different things from daily life being processed and given free rein in Wild Tales, violence and vengeance among them,” he continued. “But at its core, what stands out is this pleasure of losing control and the desire for liberation. This is a movie about the desire for freedom, and how this lack of freedom, and the rage and anguish it produces, can cause us to run off the rails.”

Godfrey Cheshire reviews the film at RogerEbert.com, and concludes that "with a confident, coolly elegant visual style somewhere between Demme and DePalma, Szifron emerges from Wild Tales an international auteur to be reckoned with."

Posted by Geoff at 5:16 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 21, 2015 4:21 PM CST
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Pictured here from left-to-right are Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Wes Anderson, posing last month at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles. The Frame's John Horn interviewed Anderson recently at his suite at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, where, according to Michelle Lanz' written introduction, "he was working on a screenplay with Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola for a planned animated film!"

Late in the interview (which can also be listened to at the Frame website), the following exchange takes place:
[John Horn] You co-wrote "Budapest" with Hugo Guinness. What advantages are there working with a writing partner and what is it like? Are you guys throwing lines out or are you doing it all electronically?

[Wes Anderson] Roman and Jason should be walking in the door in two-and-half minutes and this is how we do it: I'm just pointing to a notebook with a stack of notes and pages here...

With some incredibly neat handwriting...

Oh, I keep it very neat, yes. As you can see, this is, you know: "De Palma Sequence." It has nothing to do with De Palma. That's a person we're trying to steal from. It's actually an action sequence we're trying to write for an animated film that we have in mind. It's a kind of scene where, really what we ought to be doing is we ought to be bringing in the De Palma blu-rays and imitating them very precisely. Right now we're winging it a bit. We're going De Palma-esque but we probably just need to go De Palma.


Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CST
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Sunday, February 8, 2015

One of last year's best films was Alex Ross Perry's bitingly sardonic Listen Up Philip. Perry's new film, Queen Of Earth just premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, and many are highly impressed. "A deep-dish cinephile with a pronounced affection for late 1960s/early 1970s alt-Hollywood cinema," writes Variety critic Scott Foundas, "Perry is working this time in a style that seems equally influenced by doppelganger narratives like Bergman’s Persona and Brian De Palma’s Sisters, as well as by the claustrophobic domestic terror of Repulsion and Chantal Akerman’s seminal Jeanne Dielman. (Perry himself has also cited Woody Allen’s Interiors as a key influence.)"

Perry tells Indiewire's Eric Kohn about making a smaller film this time around, and movies that inspired Queen Of Earth:

"All this came together during a Fassbinder retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. I went to a double bill of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Martha. I knew that was the kind of movie I wanted to make. From there, it became this fun little maze of what other kind of movies you can fold into this — you can take a very sad, emotional drama and find yourself talking about a cheap horror movie like Carnival of Souls and realizing it's more connected to those other films than they seem.

"The common thread here is these really interesting women stories — these unique, threatening and occasionally frightening stories about the troubles of broken women. That's the driving force behind almost all of Fassbinder's films. So immersing in a retrospective gives you time to marinate in this theme of women under extreme duress. But then you look at Carnival of Souls, or Roman Polanski's Repulsion, and it takes the form of exaggerated gothic horror. Then you look at Robert Altman's Images, which straddles both lines and becomes a fascinating text of its own. In his body of work, at the time of that film and now, that one sort of sticks out as this quasi-horror experiment. Then I was also thinking of Woody Allen's Interiors, which is as quiet a drama as you can have. I wanted this movie to live in this cinematic world of broken women."

Last September, Perry tweeted an image from De Palma's Body Double in response to being tagged to post a #cinephilephoto. And he mentions De Palma in an interview with Richard Porton in the Winter 2014 issue of Cineaste. Asked by Porton how working at Kim's Video influenced his film education, Perry replies, "That overlapped with my time at NYU. I distilled it down to one point: Working at a place like that taught me not to be afraid of what I liked. Film school teaches you to be very afraid of what you like. You don't want to be the one who stands up in class and says, 'I think Sylvester Stallone is an incredible director.' You're going to look like an idiot, especially at NYU where everyone is trying to be as highbrow as possible. Working at Kim's taught me, working with people like Sean [Price Williams], to like what you like. But you have to defend what you like about these films. You could come into Kim's and say, 'I want to rent the two-tape edition of The Mother And The Whore.' Eustache is an incredible filmmaker. But you needed to defend why you were renting Staying Alive or Rocky IV. Stallone is an incredible filmmaker and even Jean Eustache respected him.

"That's a lesson you'll never be taught in an academic setting—how to equally appreciate high and low cinema. At NYU, people might see Brian De Palma as a trashy filmmaker who made pulpy movies in the Eighties. When you were working at Kim's, Brian De Palma was the master."

Posted by Geoff at 2:09 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 8, 2015 2:11 AM CST
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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Martin Frawley, singer/guitarist from the band Twerps, was asked by Under The Radar's Mark Redfern which well-known filmmaker would he most like to direct one of Twerps' music videos. Frawley responded, "Spike Jonze so we could do kickflips together. Or actually probably Brian De Palma, he has made some of my fave films of all time. I would have said Richard Linklater but his last score on Boyhood was cringe-worthy."

Posted by Geoff at 6:56 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:52 PM CST
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Wrap's Robert Hofler posted a review tonight of the National Theatre of Scotland's stage version of Let The Right One In, now playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. In his opening paragraph, Hofler writes, "For those veteran theatergoers who saw Paris but didn’t visit the Grand Guignol before it closed shop in 1962, the new stage adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and screenplay Let the Right One In is a must-see. Stage director John Tiffany offers some superb reincarnations of the bloodsucking and bloodletting that distinguishes Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 vampire film, and he adds another grizzly touch, inspired by Brian De Palma, that will shock no matter how many times you’ve seen Carrie."

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
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Saturday, November 1, 2014
Last month, I posted a link to Austin Garrick's top 10 Criterion releases, which included Brian De Palma's Blow Out. Earlier this week, Entertainment Weekly posted a playlist created by Electric Youth, the Toronto duo made up of Garrick and Bronwyn Griffin. Their collaboration with College, "A Real Hero," was used prominently in Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive. They couldn't help but cap off their playlist with that track, but they also included a couple of tracks from De Palma films-- here are those two choices, with the duo's comments:

Debbie Harry – “Rush Rush” (from Scarface)
[Number 2 on their list was Giorgio Moroder's "Chase Theme" from Alan Parker's Midnight Express] "Credit on this one as well to Moroder, who produced the entire soundtrack for De Palma’s Scarface. Debbie Harry and Moroder collaborated on the amazing American Gigolo OST/Blondie classic “Call Me” as well, but this one is our fave from the two."

Pino Donaggio – “Telescope” (from Body Double)
"Another great song from another great Brian De Palma movie, this one from our favorite, Body Double."

Posted by Geoff at 5:25 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 30, 2014
Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
"As sociopathic self-starter Louis Bloom, Gyllenhaal has refashioned himself as a version of the Tony Perkins of Psycho, an Adam's apple with a sick, brilliant mind attached. Gyllenhaal is the polestar of Nightcrawler — just as he's fixated on the grisly crimes and accidents of his city, we can't look away from him. That seems to be part of writer-director Gilroy's design. He's infused Nightcrawler with a number of ideas, free-floating through the movie like fireflies: Gilroy takes on the news media's lust for increasingly prurient stories and graphic news footage, the way crimes against white people take precedence over anything that happens to a person of color, and the downside of citizen journalism in a world where everyone wants to be a star. But on the strength of Gyllenhaal's performance, Nightcrawler works best as a character study. It's chilling, but also wickedly funny and strange, like a good, dark Brian De Palma joke — in short, it's everything the stolid and humorless Gone Girl should have been."

Katherine McLaughlin, The Arts Desk
"First-time director Dan Gilroy sets his grisly and blackly funny satire of modern media practices and the American dream on a seedy night-time LA canvas which oozes style, and recalls the aesthetic of Brian De Palma's Body Double and more recently Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. Jake Gyllenhaal turns in an incredibly convincing performance as a sociopath – repellent enough to sit alongside Travis Bickle and Patrick Bateman – who is grasping ruthlessly for success in the vilest of ways. Gyllenhaal's character is a petty thief turned self-taught freelance cameraman who makes his money from trawling the streets at night, searching for the most gruesome accidents to sell to the local news channels. His sunken eyes and pale complexion add to his unnerving presence, and while Gilroy's film may not say anything particularly original, Gyllenhaal's committed turn ensures a skin-crawling experience."

Brian Formo, Crave Online
"And while an 'it bleeds it leads' tv news critique has been done numerous times, Gilroy has his sights set on a film that’s more Brian De Palma than Network."

Simon Reynolds, Digital Spy: "5 movie antiheroes to watch before experiencing Nightcrawler's Lou Bloom"
Rupert Pupkin, Tony Montana, Suzanne Stone, Tom Ripley, Patrick Bateman.

Posted by Geoff at 1:27 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 30, 2014 10:44 PM CDT
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Monday, October 20, 2014
Damien Chazelle, who wrote and had originally planned to direct the De Palma-esque Grand Piano, is getting consistently great reviews for a new movie for which he is the writer/director, Whiplash. Chazelle tells RedEye Chicago's Matt Pais that Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma are among the directors who inspired Whiplash. "In a sense," Chazelle tells Pais, "obviously the influences in this movie are a lot of old filmmakers and Scorsese and De Palma, but the people who actually really get me off my ass and actually motivate me to, ‘All right, [bleep] it, I gotta do some work’ are the young people, the people in my generation who are doing great [bleep]." The two younger directors Chazelle mentions by name are Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

Meanwhile, in a review of Whiplash, Screen Invasion's Mel Valentin writes, "Credit also extends to Chazelle’s cinematographer, Sharone Meir, who lights both interiors and exteriors like ’70s-set urban dramas and crime-thrillers popularized by Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, William Friedkin, and Brian De Palma (among others)."

Posted by Geoff at 1:21 AM CDT
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