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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-De Palma attached
to The Truth and
Other Lies

-De Palma wants
Lights Out to be
M:I meets Wait
Until Dark

-40th anniversary
Carrie 2-disc Blu-ray
out Oct. 11th

-Shout's Raising Cain
Blu-ray to include
Gelderblom's Re-Cut
(Due Sept. 13)

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Friday, February 17, 2017
AV CLUB LOOKS AT SPLIT SCREEN IN '500 DAYS'
MIKE D'ANGELO: "SPLIT SCREEN IS EMPLOYED SO INFREQUENTLY THAT I ASSOCIATE IT ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY WITH DE PALMA"
A.V. Club's Mike D'Angelo analyzes the split screen sequence in today's "Scenic Routes" column:
Resolved: Split screen is an underutilized cinematic device.

That’s how I would have phrased it back in my high-school debating days. Which seems appropriate, because—as was often the case with debate resolutions—I’m not 100 percent certain that I believe it, even though coming up with arguments that support it isn’t terribly difficult. For one thing, split screen is employed so infrequently that I associate it almost exclusively with Brian De Palma, who loves to construct elaborate, suspenseful set pieces that show two or more events unfolding simultaneously. And it’s easy to wonder, after being thrilled by one of De Palma’s dual orchestrations, why he’s long enjoyed a near-monopoly on this approach, which takes such striking advantage of the medium’s intrinsic qualities—that is, of the ability to manipulate time and/or space. I still haven’t seen Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, which I believe is split screen from start to finish… but I have seen Forty Deuce, a 1982 drama directed by Warhol associate Paul Morrissey, in which, throughout the film’s very stagy second half, the frame constantly offers two separate angles of the same action, side by side. It’s mostly a distraction—as I said, I’m not entirely convinced of my own thesis here—but I’ve always sensed untapped potential in the idea.

My favorite recent use of split screen, though, involves the manipulation not of time or space, exactly, but of the protagonist’s consciousness. (500) Days Of Summer is a gimmicky movie in a lot of ways, starting with the parenthesis in its title; it has an omniscient narrator, jumps all over the place chronologically, and at one point sees its hero, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, perform an impromptu musical number, accompanied by dancing extras and animated birds. Most of this quirkiness can be filed under “cutesy,” and will either delight or irritate, according to taste. But the movie does have a more downbeat side, which comes most strongly to the fore during a brief sequence toward the end, when Gordon-Levitt’s Tom shows up at a party being thrown by ex-girlfriend Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber want to show us how what happens at the party deviates from what Tom imagined would happen, and either they or director Marc Webb decided to do so by splitting the frame down the middle, with “Expectations” on the left and “Reality” on the right...

...What finally makes this sequence so effective, though, is how credibly mundane both Expectation(s) and Reality are—a choice that the use of split screen enables. Had the two versions of the party been presented one after the other, it probably would have been necessary to exaggerate them slightly, in order to highlight the differences (especially since that almost surely would have meant discovering that the initial version is Tom’s fantasy only after the fact). Showing them simultaneously lets the viewer’s darting eyes, rather than memory, do all the work, allowing each side of the frame to be unremarkable in and of itself. Tom’s romantic expectation(s) of Summer on the left are entirely consistent with what we’ve seen of their relationship earlier in the movie, and real-life Summer on the right doesn’t ignore or belittle him. What we get is a vision of bland sweetness opposite the sort of friendly awkwardness and moderate avoidance that you’d expect of two people not long out of a failed relationship. Only when Tom sees that Summer has gotten engaged to someone else does the hammer truly fall… at which point the Reality half of the frame pushes the Expectation(s) half (in which Tom and Summer are making out) entirely offscreen. And only one Tom descends the stairs.


Posted by Geoff at 6:23 PM CST
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Sunday, February 5, 2017
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY TWEET - OVERTIME RULES

Posted by Geoff at 11:31 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017
DE PALMA TO VISIT NY FILM ACADEMY WEDNESDAY


Previously:
De Palma speaks at class in New York


Posted by Geoff at 8:29 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 8:45 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017
PORTLANDIA'S 'MEN'S FILM FESTIVAL' SKETCH
PROMISES NOT TO LET BRIAN DE PALMA'S VOICE BE SILENCED

"We've gotta preserve films made by men." That is the skewed perspective of the sketch above from an upcoming episode of IFC's Portlandia (this one will air February 9th). "If you look at a newspaper, blog, television show," begins one of the two male programmers in the sketch, "what do we hear about? Women in film." The small group of men in the audience nod in agreement. Soon after, the programmer played by Fred Armisen begins by pulling from a container one of the audience's anonymous suggestions of films and directors to showcase: "I see the name Brian De Palma." [Applause] Turning to a young boy in the audience, he asks him if he's heard of Brian De Palma. "No. I was born in 2003." The other programmer (played by Carrie Brownstein) chimes in, "So, you've probably only heard about female film directors." They bring up Kathryn Bigelow, and the boy nods in agreement. After riffing on her, the Armisen male gets animated: "Brian De Palma is this guy who worked overtime to make movies." Brownstein: "Carrie. The Untouchables. Scarface." Armisen: "Do you guys know these movies? No, not so much. Well, we're going to educate you." Brownstein: "We will not let his voice be silenced."

Posted by Geoff at 9:39 PM CST
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Monday, January 9, 2017
TWEETS - ELDER STATESMEN OF CLASSICISM

Posted by Geoff at 12:11 AM CST
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2017 8:18 AM CST
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Saturday, January 7, 2017
PIC - DE PALMA w/SCORSESE & JAY COCKS
AT LUNCHEON TUESDAY TO CELEBRATE PARAMOUNT'S NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW WINNERS
The photo at left, taken by Marion Curtis, shows Brian De Palma with Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks at a luncheon hosted by Paramount Pictures this past Tuesday to celebrate the studio's National Board of Review award winners (Scorsese and Cocks won best adapted screenplay for Silence). The three have been friends, of course, for many many years. Cocks did the documentary-within-the-film for De Palma's Sisters, and the two are also credited together with rewriting George Lucas' opening crawl for Star Wars (back when it was just called Star Wars). In 1998, Cocks co-wrote De Palma's unrealized project Nazi Gold.

As for the luncheon, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg included a brief description in an article about that night's awards ceremony:
Other big winners included Arrival's Amy Adams for best actress, introduced as a "badass" by Chris Messina; and Silence's Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese for best adapted screenplay, introduced by the film's supporting actors Adam Driver and Liam Neeson. (Adams, Cocks and Scorsese also were feted earlier in the day with a Paramount-hosted, Academy member-packed luncheon high above Manhattan in Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room; many attendees of that gathering subsequently hustled over to the 21 Club, where Lonergan and Affleck were at the center of a similar event, hosted by Manchester distributors Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions; and later to The Monkey Bar, where The Weinstein Co., which was shut out of the NBR Awards, toasted Lion lead actor Sunny Pawar, supporting actor Dev Patel and supporting actress Nicole Kidman.)

Posted by Geoff at 6:33 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, January 7, 2017 6:38 PM CST
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
NEW PEET GELDERBLOM VIDEO
EXAMINES INFLUENCE OF 'PSYCHO' SHOWER SEQUENCE ON THE CINEMA OF DE PALMA

Peet Gelderblom posted the above video to Vimeo last week. In it, he examines, in very precise side-by-side split-screen detail, just how deeply the entire shower sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has embedded itself within the cinematic sensibility of Brian De Palma. Be warned that when the blood comes in this video, it does so rather prolifically, as Gelderblom spins out the sparks of stabbing violence from various De Palma films like a DJ spinning fireworks. And he does it expertly as one who has studied the shots from De Palma's films, as well as from Psycho. I myself have looked at De Palma's Mission: Impossible literally dozens of times, and have never before made the connection between this shot (below) and Psycho:

At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz posted Peet's video today, as well, writing, "Gelderblom's piece clarifies the relationship between the two directors by showing just how completely De Palma absorbed particular bits of Hitchcock's artistic DNA into his own body of work. Not content to rework the plots and themes of particular Hitchcock films ("Vertigo" as "Obsession" and "Body Double," for instance, or "Psycho" as "Dressed to Kill"), he has integrated discrete stylistic tics into his own directing, cherry-picking individual shots that run as short as one or two seconds into scenes in De Palma films where you might not necessarily expect to see them. And yet these appropriations are transformed into something uniquely De Palma; this becomes much more clear via Gelderblom's use of split-screen, a technique that Hitchcock didn't lean on with the same geometric playfulness as his most famous disciple has displayed in fifty years' worth of his own work."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 12:02 AM CST
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Sunday, December 4, 2016
DE PALMA VISITED 'GILMORE GIRLS' SET, YEARS AGO
BROUGHT HIS DAUGHTER, SAT IN ON DIALOGUE SCENE, ACCORDING TO SCOTT PATTERSON


Scott Patterson, who plays Luke on the TV series Gilmore Girls, was a guest on last week's Vulture TV Podcast. At about the 47:26 mark of the podcast, Patterson talks about the day Brian De Palma visited the Gilmore Girls set with his daughter, Lolita:
Vulture: I wanted to ask, we were talking before about the scene in the kitchen that you guys did for "A Year In The Life," and what a great experience you said that was. Looking back at the original seven seasons, is there an episode that is your favorite, either because it challenged you in some way, you have fond memories of working on it, or it just turned out really great? Are there certain moments from the original seven that stand out in your mind?

Scott Patterson: Oh, there’s one. Ah, yes, there is.

Vulture: Okay.

Scott: Well, it was the day that Brian De Palma, the famed director, came to visit the set to bring his daughter by—Lola, who was a big fan of the show. And, I came off the diner set, into the back area, because they were taking a little break for them to set some lighting. And somebody said, “Scott, I’d like you to meet Brian De Palma” [starts laughing]. And I went, “Holy crap!” So, anyway, I know a little bit about him. He’s a Philadelphia boy, we share a birthday, I knew a little bit about how he grew up, why he got into the film business, and why he got into the gory, gory, gory Carrie side of the film business to begin with. And, so I was quite pleased to meet him and chat with him a little bit.

And then we were in the diner shooting—Lorelei and I were shooting a scene in there, and it was a really, really daunting scene for both of us, because she comes in to the diner in this real rush and huff, spitting out all kinds of dialogue, and I didn’t have a lot of lines. But that’s even, maybe, harder, because you don’t want to screw up the other actor by missing a cue, and like, she’s got a big chunk of dialogue, and then you go, “Huh?” Or, “What?” Well, I didn’t, you know, it’s all timing, right? So, the pressure was on me not to screw up her timing, because she had such a daunting monologue to do. And so De Palma came in, on the set—no, no, he didn’t come on the set, he was in video village watching her side of it. Then when they turn the camera around—and she, you know, she executed flawlessly—and we were both pretty nervous, because Brian De Palma’s like watching us on a monitor—so we’re thinking, God, if we do really well, you know, we could be in, like, you know, we could be in a big movie, you just never know. So when they turned the camera around to do my coverage, and do my close-ups, Brian De Palma, the famed director, the Oscar-nominated-winning director, decided to come in and sit right next to the camera, where I’m supposed to look. [Starts laughing] So it was Brian De Palma’s head next to the camera lens, and Lauren’s head right above his. [Laughing some more…] And I had to try not to look at Brian De Palma while I was doing my six or seven little lines while she was spitting out all of this dialogue. It’s hysterical. After it was done, he gets up and waits and he goes back to video village, and Lauren looks at me, and she goes, “How did you possibly get through that?” I said, “I don’t know, I was scared shitless” [laughing].


When the Vulture host asks Patterson if he recalls which season that might have been (when De Palma visited), he said it might have been season 5 or 6, but he really couldn't remember.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Monday, December 5, 2016 12:03 AM CST
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Monday, November 14, 2016
ZOE KAZAN LEANS TOWARD DE PALMA FILMS
WHEN IT COMES TO HORROR, THAT IS
Talking to Metro.us' Matt Prigge, to promote her new movie, Bryan Bertino's The Monster, Zoe Kazan discusses the types of horror films she enjoys. "I have a pretty high bar when it comes to horror," she tells Prigge. "Most of the movies I enjoy within the genre are movies that don’t rely on gore. I have a really hard time with violence onscreen. Even movies I can really respect, like Halloween, because it’s a slasher film, I don’t have a great stomach for it. Even though I have huge respect for Eli Roth, I don’t want to watch a Hostel film. I don’t want to watch people’s limbs severed. I lean more towards Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, or even films like Repulsion or a whole bunch of Brian De Palma films — Carrie and Sisters. But I like horror movies. I like going to be scared."

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2016 12:08 AM CST
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Sunday, November 13, 2016
AMY ROTH WOULD LOVE TO WORK WITH DE PALMA
"SOMETIMES WHEN YOU WATCH HIS MOVIES, YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN ANOTHER WORLD"
Costume designer Amy Roth, the niece of costume designer Ann Roth, was interviewed recently by LRM's Gig Patta. "You have an amazing career," Patta asks Roth at one point, "with working from a comic book like The Avengers to American Gangster to even TV shows like Madame Secretary. What kind of projects do you love to work on? You have such a diverse career."

Roth responds, "It may sound negative, but working in the Marvel community can sometimes be difficult. You are working with a group of people who already created something. They're big and wonderful movies, but things are dictated from the Marvel comics down to you.

"My idea of a great piece is something along those lines—maybe fantasy. I love period movies. But, after doing this period movie, I would like to do something more inventive and people don’t tell you on what somebody wore 'cause you haven’t invented it in that world yet.

"It would be something like Blade Runner. Somebody like Ridley Scott, who likes to invent his own world. Or even somebody like Brian De Palma. Sometimes when you watch his movies, you feel like you’re in another world. I like to create your own reality.

"That would be fun right now for me."

Amy Roth's aunt, Ann Roth, has worked with De Palma on Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, and The Bonfire Of The Vanities.


Posted by Geoff at 5:23 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, November 13, 2016 5:39 AM CST
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