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Sunday, July 26, 2015
SUNDAY TWEET

Posted by Geoff at 2:29 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 26, 2015 2:30 PM CDT
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015
LEGUIZAMO 'BIG INTERVIEW' WITH DAN RATHER
DISCUSSES WORKING WITH DE PALMA, PENN, PACINO - AIRS JULY 14 ON AXS TV
John Leguizamo will be the guest on the July 14 episode of Dan Rather's The Big Interview, which airs on AXS TV. According to a press release posted at Monsters & Critics, "multi-talented actor, producer, comedian, and writer John Leguizamo talks about working with Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brian DePalma and Al Pacino; studying method acting; fist-fighting with Patrick Swayze in full drag; his troubled relationship with his father; and his career goals."

Posted by Geoff at 4:09 AM CDT
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Friday, July 10, 2015
SAYING GOODBYE TO THE DISSOLVE
WEBSITE CLOSES AFTER ALMOST TWO YEARS OF TERRIFIC FILM WRITING & DISCUSSION
After almost two years online, The Dissolve posted a farewell editorial on July 8, by founder and chief editor Keith Phipps (today would have marked the site's two-year anniversary). In the editorial, Phipps made it clear there is no one to blame for the shut-down, other than the "various challenges inherent in launching a freestanding website in a crowded publishing environment, financial and otherwise." Here at De Palma a la Mod, we will miss The Dissolve, not just because the site's talented group of writers were consistent proponents of the work of Brian De Palma, but also for the consistently engaging devotion to cinephilia that bled from the digital pages those writers regularly produced.

Here are some highlights from the De Palma-related articles published by The Dissolve over the past two years:

Passion review by Noel Murray

"With Passion, De Palma is on more familiar ground, using the world of the erotic thriller to note how Skyping, sexting, and tiny pocket cameras are changing behavior, putting everyone in the spotlight and distracting the eye. That’s ultimately what makes Passion a more effective film than the one it’s remaking. While Corneau and Carter were telling a story about what their characters do and don’t see, De Palma is more engaged with what the audience sees. There’s always something to look at in the background of Passion, from the erotic paintings on the walls of Christine’s flat to the video billboards posted around Berlin, and always something eye-catching in what the characters wear, or how they’re posed. The movie is one long game of misdirection, playing tricks on viewers from scene to scene, and showing how easy it is to steer a crowd into missing something important. That’s the real De Palma touch, even more than the operatic overtones and excess."

Scott Tobias interviews Brian De Palma about Passion

The Dissolve: Does it frustrate you as a filmgoer to see the language of a film employed less carefully than that? All that work is elided in a lot of movies.

De Palma: Yes, I would agree. I’m astounded by—whether you’re making a science-fiction movie, a zombie movie, a Star Trek, a Marvel Comics Spider-Man movie—these action sequences that seemingly go on endlessly, without any type of shape or form. So much in action has to do with choreography, and orienting the viewer in where everything is. And I’m amazed all the time that nobody seems to pay much attention to that. So you basically get action and reaction, and it’s like an endless drumming without any shape.

The Dissolve: It seems like they’re trying to make up in sheer, visceral force things that could be done much more elegantly.

De Palma: And obviously, in order to have a crescendo, you have to have some silence. It’s just so simple, but nobody seems to pay much attention to it. They’re basically banging at you constantly. And then in a movie, it’s two hours, too, and then everybody says, “My God, when is this going to be over?” [Laughs.]

Noel Murray's Favorite Scene of 2013: Afternoon Of A Faun, Passion

"Brian De Palma’s Passion starts out as a fairly flat and faithful adaptation of Alain Corneau’s Love Crime, but then after about half an hour, De Palma loosens up and starts making his most visually expressive and delightfully delirious movie since Femme Fatale. In Passion’s best sequence—and one of the best setpieces of De Palma’s formidable career—a ruthless businesswoman played by Rachel McAdams is stalked by a killer on half the screen, while the other half shows her protégée (Noomi Rapace) watching a performance of The Afternoon Of A Faun. The score rises to a peak, and the dancers look directly into the camera, underlining Passion’s theme of misdirection. De Palma keeps pulling viewers’ eyes back and forth, while heightening the tension to the point of distraction. He also calls back to some of his earliest films, like Dionysus In ’69 and Hi, Mom!, where the theater played a central role. Passion isn’t one of De Palma’s top-tier films, but it’s playful and creative, and the Afternoon Of A Faun sequence is a model of how to layer images and move characters with a multiple frames."

Alan Jones investigates why Phantom Of The Paradise was/is Big In Winnipeg

"Regardless, it became a weekly ritual for young Winnipeggers, playing into May of the following year, and encouraging repeat visits. A columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press claimed he had met many people who had seen it 13 or 14 times. 'In many ways, it was almost like a big rock ’n’ roll party for us,' says Carlson. 'At that age, the most subversive thing we might have seen would have been Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo or something.' Perhaps the permissiveness of Winnipeg parents played a role in Phantom’s success, but the film may have also been a generation’s introduction to rock ’n’ roll. For this audience, Williams’ glam rock played as the real thing, their first introduction to 'adult' music, a ripe starting point for a film and musician whose reputation within the city grew with nostalgia and age."

The double vision of Phantom Of The Paradise by Noel Murray

The devil’s bargains and unsparing satire of Phantom Of The Paradise, a discussion by Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, Nathan Rabin, Matt Singer, and Scott Tobias

(Thanks to Drew!)


Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015
GEEK JUICE RADIO PODCAST LOOKS AT DE PALMA
PART ONE COVERS 'THE WEDDING PARTY' THROUGH 'BODY DOUBLE'
When the show begins with one of the hosts saying that De Palma's first feature, The Wedding Party, was "such a clunker" he didn't even bother watching it prior to the podcast, and another host says he "took one for the team" in watching it, you wonder why you're even listening to this clunker of a podcast. The team then moves quickly past De Palma's early films, because they are "pretty rough"-- really? Come on, guys, do your homework. Anyway, if you can stick with it past all that, they then begin discussing Sisters (and host Alex Jowski justly insists that De Palma is doing much more than simply aping Hitchcock), Phantom Of The Paradise (which Mister X calls "a glorious train wreck," while Mike White gets passionate, telling the others, "I dig it so much"), Carrie (which is one of Jowski's favorite films of all time-- he wrote about it a couple of months earlier, comparing it with Kimberly Peirce's recent remake), and just about everything up through Body Double. The discussion about Home Movies ("the most awkward" in De Palma's filmography, according to one of the podcast hosts) is typically lazy, even with one noting the very autobiographical nature of the film's plot. Moving on to Dressed To Kill, well, give it a listen and see what you think. They also cover Blow Out (which they loved a lot more than Dressed To Kill) and Scarface. Part 2 should be up later this week.

Posted by Geoff at 12:26 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 12:28 AM CDT
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Thursday, June 11, 2015
CHRISTOPHER LEE DIES AT 93
MOVIE BRATS: "WE WERE BROUGHT UP ON YOUR MOVIES"
Christopher Lee died over the weekend at the age of 93. In 2001, at the age of 79, when he was in the midst of making films with George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and Tim Burton (among others), Lee talked to The Guardian's Will Hodgkinson about the Gothic Hammer Horror films he'd made between the 1950s and the 1970s. "Hammer was an important part of my life, and generally speaking, we all had a lot of fun," Lee said at the time. "Fun seems to be a three-letter word these days, although with directors like Tim Burton and George Lucas, it's fun, fun, fun while working yourself to death. But if you compare those Hammer movies to what has been made in the last 20 years, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Wes Craven, Tim Burton and Peter Jackson have all said the same thing to me: 'We were brought up on your movies.' And it certainly shows in theirs."

Posted by Geoff at 7:26 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015
REFN: IT ALL LEADS BACK TO 'SCORPIO RISING'
TALKING ABOUT USING "POP MUSIC OF ITS TIME TO UNDERSCORE THE EMOTION WITH IMAGES"
Director Nicolas Winding Refn has partnered with Milan Records to create a line of deluxe vinyl soundtrack LPs, curated by Refn himself. NWR editions of Oldboy and It Follows are now joined by the soundtrack to Refn's own Bronson, which was released yesterday. July 14 will see the release of Basil Poledouris’ score for Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop.

In an interview with Noisey's Joseph Yanick, the following exchange takes place:

Noisey: What are some other films and/or filmmakers that have soundtracks that particularly inspire you?
Refn: There are a couple of films that define the combination of music and images. The greatest achievement in that collaboration is, of course, Once Upon a Time in the West. That is the most consequential, orgasmic arena of music and images. That’s where it’s like, ‘Fuck. How the hell do you do that.’ And then you have Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo and Ennio Morricone. There’s Psycho with Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann and, even though North by Northwest, Rear Window, and Vertigo have better soundtracks, Psycho is really where it comes together in a different way. Of course you have Fellini and a lot of Dario Argento’s early films, especially his work with Goblin. Suspiria is wonderful. You also have, of course, Martin Scorsese’s ability to use music in his films. I remember when I saw Mean Streets when I was nine years old, and I still remember the scene when Robert DeNiro walks in to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (Rolling Stones), and being like, ‘fucking hell, now I know how it works.’

Noisey: Absolutely, Scorsese kind of transformed the use of pop music in cinema.
Refn: Yea, it’s unique but you know what is weird, for everyone (whether it is Kubrick or Scorsese, or even like the work that Pino Donaggio did with Brian De Palma — and of course, we are not even touching the whole Asian world. All of the Japanese filmmakers that use composers well) all lead back to one movie…Scorpio Rising by Kenneth Anger. That was the first time that a filmmaker would use pop music of its time to underscore the emotion with the images. Its very interesting that it all leads back to that film.


Posted by Geoff at 3:00 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 3:02 AM CDT
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Monday, April 27, 2015
TWEETS & TUMBLRS
'UNTOUCHABLES' & EDWARD HOPPER / 'CARRIE' & 'DRESSED TO KILL' / WOMAN IN WHITE



Posted by Geoff at 11:01 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 27, 2015 11:03 PM CDT
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015
SOUNDCLOUD AUDIO OF DE PALMA / BAUMBACH
AUDIO FROM 2012 COMBINED WITH BAUMBACH DISCUSSING 'WHILE WE'RE YOUNG' FROM LAST MONTH
At the 2012 New York Film Festival, Brian De Palma and Noah Baumbach appeared on stage together, along with moderator Scott Foundas, to discuss their films. That discussion was summarized at the time by The Playlist's Cory Everett, and video clips have been posted to YouTube, but now we have full audio of the on-stage discussion, presented along with Baumbach discussing his new film, While We're Young. The new discussion is first, as it has been posted as a promotional item for Baumbach's new movie, and then the second part is the Baumbach/De Palma discussion. I cannot embed the audio here, but you can play it and listen on SoundCloud.

Posted by Geoff at 11:02 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015 12:13 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015
VICTOR BRUNO ON 'DE PALMA'S SYMMETRY'
ALL OF HIS FILMS "HAVE IN SUCH A PROFOUND WAY A STRUGGLE WITHIN THEMSELVES"
At Desistfilm, Victor Bruno uses the film art of Brian De Palma as an example to help explain what it is that makes a good film good. Stressing in the intro that films are not about their plots, Bruno delves into what he calls the symmetry of Brian De Palma. "How does [this symmetry] come to reality?" Bruno asks. "When do we detect it in his work? The first thing we have to understand is that it is not only visual, but also thematic and spiritual. Like any good filmmaker, he is concerned about bringing ideas into images. I will use two of his films to try to illustrate a little of this idea. The films are Obsession (1976) and Body Double (1984), made almost a decade apart but with common themes and visual logics.

"Both films are primarily about the perception of the truth and truth itself (and here the term 'truth' stands for reality itself). De Palma’s camera is the mediator, the howling beast on the borderline that separates the deception from the ecstasy of the discovery. De Palma is interested in halves. In short, dichotomy: past and future; truth and lie; damnation and forgiveness; me and you; life and death.

A SPIRITUALIST APPROACH TO THE SYMMETRY
"Of course, the most obvious feature he presents to display this interest in halves is the split-screen. Unlike some say, the split-screen is not a 'fetishist' interest that he has; it is not a gimmick. There are, of course, things that it is: It is a heritage from Alfred Hitchcock (the viewer knows everything in advance and thus he suffers more than the unaware character of the film). But it is, also, a spiritualist approach to the symmetry. When the screen is parted in two diametric halves, De Palma is trying to put the viewer in an omniscient position, a place in which we can receive all the information the film has on hand. We assume two perspectives: the one of the victim and the one of the hero (and/or of the villain). When the screen is in a single piece, the maximum the film can present to us is a medley of feelings, emotions and interests (as presented in the long takes), but it lacks a fundamental feature in a Brian De Palma picture: organization. The greatest struggle of a DePalmian character is to understand what he is living and the situation he is in and in order to do it he has to organize the facts and the feelings he is experiencing.

"But until he gets to the organization (and it does not mean you will survive in this world), the character still have to discover what is truth and what is deception. These are the themes of Obsession and Body Double. Early on the former we get what perhaps is the best shot of the career of Brian De Palma: with the left and the right sides of the screen separated by a wall, on the former we see Cliff Robertson’s character reaching for a gun and on the latter we see John Lithgow’s character trying to get information from a little kid who may or may not know anything about the kidnapping of Robertson’s daughter and wife.

"Of course, De Palma is not Wes Anderson: the screen is not split pin-point on the middle. Of course, later in his career he would be more demanding about the way he symmetrically splits his screen (more pronouncedly in Blow Out with the split diopter). But right now it doesn’t matter—it is a split screen. We have to different actions happening in two different places. Both are acts of violence—Robertson’s mind is going to crack and he is considering to kill someone; Lithgow is making pressure on a young kid. But there is a third layer, the layer that separates truth and lie: Lithgow is not interested at all in helping his friend—the truth is that he wants to drive Cliff Robertson crazy and he wants his money. So there you have it: the borderline of reality and deception. Truth and lie. Friendship and betrayal. Good intentions and bad acts. (And it’s a brilliant use of CinemaScope, don’t you agree?)"

That is just an excerpt-- go to Desistfilm to read the whole thing.


Posted by Geoff at 7:55 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 8:09 PM CDT
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Monday, March 16, 2015
CHARIOTS OF FIRE

Posted by Geoff at 6:29 PM CDT
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