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Domino is
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De Palma on Domino
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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, September 2, 2011
There is a lot of misinformation going around the web right now regarding a trial that began Wednesday in Germany for the man who attacked American soldiers at the Frankfurt International Airport in March of this year, killing two and injuring two others. Several reports are citing other sloppy reports that claim that the Frankfurt shooter, Arid Uka, told a court in Germany yesterday that he was motivated to kill American soldiers heading to Afghanistan after he watched the movie Redacted. However, this is not what Uka said at all. What he said was that prior to the attack, he had been influenced by radical Islamic propaganda online. According to Stars And Stripes, Uka told the court that the night before the crime, he followed a link to a video posted on Facebook that purported to show American soldiers raping a teenage Muslim girl. According to a New York Times report from last March, Uka believed the video took place in Afghanistan. The video he viewed carried the title, “U.S. soldiers raping our sisters, wake up oh Ummah!” The video appropriated clips from Brian De Palma’s Redacted, sometimes with extraneous chanting and other audio over the clips. After the shootings, YouTube pulled the video from its site, but someone was able to capture it before it was pulled. It can be viewed at The Daily Caller.

According to German reporter Florian Flade, Uka, “a 21 year-old born in Kosovo, was member of a Facebook group spreading Islamic content.” It was on that group’s website that he found the link to the video described above. Campusblog captured parts of Uka’s Facebook page before it was taken down back in March. The blog claimed that Uka’s friends list “reads like a Who's Who of the German Islamist scene.” A separate New York Times article by Souad Mekhennet states that Uka had posted a link on his Facebook page to a jihadist battle hymn: “I can no longer stand this life of humiliation among you. My weapon is ready at all times.” The same article (from last March) states that “a German security official who is involved in the investigation but not authorized to speak about it said that Arid Uka had been friends with men known for their radical interpretation of Islam.” Mekhennet’s March 5th article mentions another video on Uka’s Facebook page:

On his Facebook page, Mr. Uka had a link on February 15 to a 4:42 minute-long Youtube video, with pictures of detainees in Guantanamo, chanting in Arabic with German subtitles: "I can not stand this life of humiliation." The video also features pictures of fighters and the clattering of machinegun fire.

German authorities believe that Arid Uka acted alone in the attack on March 2, 2011, and was not part of any terrorist organization, nor did he have any accomplices. A New York Times article by Jack Ewing and Souad Mekhennet from July 6 lays out what happened that day:

Mr. Uka, who had a temporary job sorting mail in the airport complex, went there armed with a pistol and two knives on the afternoon of March 2, prosecutors said, as they provided additional detail on the attack.

Authorities said that Mr. Uka spotted two airmen emerging from a baggage claim area in Terminal 2 of the airport, and followed them to an exit where a United States Air Force bus was waiting. Mr. Uka watched as 16 American military service members gradually arrived, then, shortly after 3 p.m., asked one of them for a cigarette and where the soldiers were heading.

After the airman confirmed that they were on their way to Afghanistan, Mr. Uka turned around, reached into his backpack and loaded a magazine into the pistol concealed there, authorities said.

Mr. Uka waited until almost all the airmen had boarded the bus, then shot one of them, 25-year-old Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, in the back of the head from about five feet away, prosecutors and Air Force officials said. Airman Alden died at the scene.

Boarding the bus, Mr. Uka then fatally shot 21-year-old Airman First Class Zachary R. Cuddeback in the driver’s seat and — repeatedly shouting “God is great” — seriously wounded two other men standing in the aisle of the bus, prosecutors said. One of them was blinded in one eye as a result.

The Air Force identified the two wounded men as Senior Airman Edgar Veguilla and Staff Sgt. Kris Schneider.

Mr. Uka next aimed the pistol point-blank at a 22-year-old airman who was trying to hide behind a seat, but the weapon jammed, prosecutors said. Mr. Uka then fled, pursued by an airman. He was captured by two German police officers in the terminal.

An Associated Press report about the trial, while not as detailed as the Star And Stripes report, stated that the clip Uka viewed from a Facebook link the night before the attack turned out to be “a scene from the 2007 anti-war Brian De Palma film Redacted, taken out of context.” The AP report was carried by most American media outlets. However, a BBC report simply stated that the video Uka viewed was “a scene from Brian De Palma's anti-war film, Redacted,” with no mention of context. This BBC report is used as the main source in a Daily Caller post with the headline, “Terrorist credits Hollywood for his recruitment.” This post by Neil Munro is blatantly inaccurate. It opens with the following statement: “A Balkan Muslim who killed two U.S. Air Force servicemen in March has told a German judge Wednesday that he was motivated after seeing the movie Redacted, made as a political statement in 2007 by Hollywood director Brian De Palma, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and several high-profile movie industry producers.” So now, all of a sudden, Uka had actually watched Redacted, in context and all? Definitely not.

That same paragraph is copied verbatim at the beginning of a Washington Times article, which in turn is linked to in an opinion piece by Yahoo’s Mark Whittington, who apparently thinks he is sourcing from the Washington Post (his link goes to the Washington Times article). With the headline, “Did Redacted Cross the Wrong Line Between Art, Life?”, Whittington seems to think that a man named “Arid Uki” was “one of the few” people in the world who “saw an anti-American, anti-war movie called Redacted.” Whittington stretches it again by stating that “a Muslim terrorist is citing an anti-American, anti-war movie directed by a famous American director as the motivation for his crimes.” (Redacted may be anti-war, but it is certainly not anti-American.) Meanwhile, Breitbart’s Christian Toto went back to the Daily Caller’s citing of the BBC article, which led him to state that Uka “saw the film [Redacted] and went on to kill two U.S. Air Force servicemen in March.” Toto continues, “Uka told a judge this week he was inspired by ‘the movie’s graphic depiction of U.S. soldiers raping a girl in Iraq,’ says The Daily Caller citing a BBC report.” As we have seen above, the video Uka watched was a video clip that appropriated clips from Redacted. These guys are suggesting that Uka watched De Palma’s movie in full and in context, which is so far from the truth it is incredibly embarrassing. Another one who sourced from the BBC article is Adam Martin at the Atlantic Wire, who posted the misleading headline, "Kosovo Man Says He Shot U.S. Airmen After Watching Redacted."

In any case, The Daily Caller’s Munro did get ahold of Redacted producer Jason Kliot, although he unfairly asked Kliot questions based on its own stretched truth (that Uka actually viewed Redacted). “I honestly had not heard about it,” Kliot told Munro. “I’m terribly sorry to hear that, but I don’t understand how my movie would impel anyone to commit murder. The real culprit here is the tragedy of war, it is not Brian De Palma’s brilliant film. I don’t see how people would be made to commit acts of violence [after watching Redacted], any more than they would for watching Fox News,” Kliot is quoted as saying.

Later in the article, Kliot is quoted again:

“War movies… show the nature of war,” Kliot said. “There is nothing more incendiary about telling the truth of what is happening in war.”

“Do Americans kill people in wars? Yes … [but] this is pro-American film, this is a pro-troops film… [because it shows the consequences] when soldiers are put in an impossible position,” Kliot said. “Right-wing nut-jobs” criticized the movie even though they had not watched it, he said.

Kliot said his movies show many sides of warfare, and cited his 2005 movie, The War Within, which shows a Pakistani preparing to murder Americans in New York’s Grand Central Station after he was radicalized by U.S. counter-terrorism policy. “Redacted is about ending wars, not starting them,” he said.

The Stars And Stripes article describes Uka’s confession on Wednesday (the first day of a trial that will take ten days, spread out on select Wednesdays between now and January). Here is the Stars And Stripes account of Uka’s confession (written by David McHugh and David Rising):

No pleas are entered in the German system, and Uka confessed to the killings after the indictment was read, telling the court "what I did was wrong but I cannot undo what I did." He went on to urge other radical Muslims not to seek inspiration in his attack, urging them not to be taken in by "lying propaganda" on the Internet.

Uka, dressed in jeans, sneakers and a crisp white shirt with rolled-up sleeves, smiled at his attorneys as he was brought in and his handcuffs were removed. But he wept repeatedly as he recounted the attack and watched the jihadist videos he said motivated him.

"To this day I try to understand what happened and why I did it... but I don't understand," he said, at times speaking so softly that court officials had to bring in a microphone and put it directly in front of him.

Cooperating with authorities and confessing can help reduce a defendant's sentence - but Uka refused to tell the court where he obtained the 9mm semi-automatic pistol he used, which Presiding Judge Thomas Sagebiel said meant his confession was incomplete.

Uka described becoming increasingly introverted in the months before the attack, staying at home and playing computer games and watching Islamic extremist propaganda on the Internet.

The night before the crime, Uka said, he followed a link to a video posted on Facebook that purported to show American soldiers raping a teenage Muslim girl. It turned out to be a scene from the 2007 anti-war Brian De Palma film Redacted, taken out of context.

He said he then decided he should do anything possible to prevent more American soldiers from going to Afghanistan.

"I thought what I saw in that video, these people would do in Afghanistan," he told the court, his voice choking with emotion as he wiped away tears.

Uka conceded when asked by prosecutor Jochen Weingarten that the airman driving the bus had not been going to Afghanistan. On the bus on the way to the airport to look for victims, he said he listened to Islamic music on his iPod while nursing doubts that he'd be able to follow through with his plan.

"On the one hand I wanted to do something to help the women, and on the other hand I hoped I would not see any soldiers," he told the court.

He says he now does not understand why he went through with the killings.

"If you ask me why I did this, I can only say ... I don't understand anymore how I went that far."

Prosecutors introduced evidence from Uka's laptop, cell phone and iPod, which included hundreds of files containing jihadist videos, literature, sermons and songs.

One song went, "Mother be strong, your son is on jihad," and "do not mourn for me." A video showed rifle-toting Islamic fighters in Pakistan, and a bullet-holed target with "Obama" scrawled on it.

Posted by Geoff at 12:10 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 5, 2011 6:34 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Posted by Geoff at 7:49 PM CDT
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Friday, August 26, 2011
As we are in the midst of what has turned into an impromptu Scarface week, we might as well point out that several critics/viewers are noting Scarface references in the new Luc Besson-produced Colombiana, which is directed by Olivier Megaton, and opens today. (The film is loosely based on Besson's orginal idea for a sequel to Léon.) The main character in Colombiana, according to one blogger, has a poster of Scarface, which was already in the room she inherits when her uncle takes her in (the room belonged to the uncle's late son). A couple of people also mentioned Mission: Impossible as a reference for scenes such as the one pictured here. Below are some links and quotes:

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir
"...a trashy and ridiculous blend of La Femme Nikita, Scarface and Fast Five."

The New York Times' Mike Hale
"Colombiana isn’t content to be a comic-book joyride (though it is that); it has pretensions to a more turgid class of revenge melodrama, along the lines of Tony Scott’s Man on Fire. It also has pretensions, period: Mr. Megaton sprinkles in homages to Francis Ford Coppola (Ms. [Zoe] Saldana’s rising out of the water like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now) and Brian De Palma (the climactic sequence at a drug lord’s lair is redolent of Scarface). The overall effect is distancing; there are some early comic moments that have you laughing along with the movie, but eventually the clashing tones and preposterousness just have you laughing."

Advance Screening's Matthew Fong
"Were your parents murdered in front of you as a child? Well Cataleya’s were and she instantly plotted revenge. There’s something eerily cute when a little 9 year-old girl replies to the question, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' with 'a killer' (in a Colombian accent). She reads Xena: Warrior Princess and wants to become a warrior princess herself. Cliff Curtis plays Emilio Restrepo, Cataleya’s uncle, who takes care of her and trains her to become an assassin. He sets her up in his late son’s room which is filled with guns and a poster of Scarface so you can see what her influences were."

Movieline's Jen Yamato
"...watching the film there are a handful of notable nods to Colombiana’s genre predecessors — basically, every Luc Besson movie, The Professional and La Femme Nikita, and even a touch of Scarface."

indieWIRE's Drew Taylor
"Instead of a young American girl tutored by an aging French hitman, though [as in Léon], Colombiana is first set in Colombia, with the aforementioned parent-murdering (the little girl’s father was involved in some shady cartel business). The little girl then goes to Chicago where she’s taken in by her equally shady uncle (Cliff Curtis). The little girl, named Cataleya Restrepo, after a rare Amazonian orchid, wants her uncle to teach her how to murder, which he rejects by randomly firing his gun at a passing car (and presumably killing a perfectly innocent pedestrian). “Is that what you want?” he asks her, passion bubbling in his Al Pacino-in-Scarface-accented voice. She says no, she’ll wait, but it’s a shocking, clumsy moment that the audience barely has any time to recover from.

The movie then snaps forward 15 years, to Los Angeles, where Cataleya is now grown and carrying out a cleverly elaborate hit job in a local prison. Her target is Latin American, and she brands the corpse with her signature (a curlicue scribble of her namesake), so we assume that this victim had something to do with her parents’ murder. It adds a juicy jolt of thrills to the ingeniously plotted maneuver, which has all the hallmarks of a great Mission: Impossible jaunt, with the added bonus of Saldana pouring herself into a slinky black catsuit."

Not A Supermom
"And after a hard day of killing, there’s nothing Catalaya likes to do better than to return home, strip off, do a little sexy-dance around her empty apartment, take a shower and then spend a full minute eating a lollipop. Just like Pacino in Scarface! There are a few call-backs to Scarface in this movie, as well as the Lethal Weapon franchise. When she visits the FBI agent tracking her, you can almost hear him say that he’s 'too old for this'…stuff... Thankfully, Catalaya abstains from post-mortem one-liners. But feel free to add some in your own head throughout the movie. When she is standing on a balcony in the mansion and raining bullets down on the cartel henchmen, I defy you not to think 'Say hello to my little friend'."

Tr3s' Michael Lopez
"The final invasion on El Don is something straight out of Scarface, complete with machine guns, grenades, and choreographed head butts. Unfortunately, every action moment in this movie felt a bit too familiar. Cataleya's jail escapes mirrored Mission Impossible, her fights seemed like Guy Ritchie retreads, and so on. Colombiana definitely brings the action, but somehow lacks the punch."

Posted by Geoff at 7:46 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

My San Antonio interview with card set contest winner

Total Film


Posted by Geoff at 8:00 PM CDT
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recaps of last night's Scarface cast reunion have flooded the web today, so below is a list of links to a few of them. Also, Livestream has been replaying the hour-long cast discussion from last night, so if you missed it, you can go two posts below this one and click the play icon to watch it. I've noticed in some of these recaps, quotes are sometimes attributed to the wrong person, and some are taken out of context of the longer story, so I will try to get my own transcription of some of these a bit later. For now, suffice it to say that Al Pacino kept talking about the melding of Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone, two forces he had expected to clash, but somehow blended very well (although producer Martin Bregman is said (by Bauer, I believe) to have banned Stone from the set to avoid such arguments). Also, Livestream was showing clips from what appears to be a new documentary for the Blu-Ray that comes out September 6th. The clips showed several people talking about the imact of Scarface, including Scarface Nation author Ken Tucker (the book received a shout-out from Pacino last night), L.A. Banks, author of the prequel novel, Scarface: The Beginning, that came out in 2006, and Jillian Reynolds, among others.

Associated Press

Movieline's 9 Revelations About the Gangster Classic

Collider Attends the SCARFACE Blu-Ray Party

The Daily Mail

The Montreal Gazette

Home Media Magazine

The Wrap - 'Scarface' Gang Thanks Spielberg & Scorsese for Early Support at Reunion Bash

The Examiner - Ludacris joins Al Pacino, Robert Loggia, and Steven Bauer in ‘Scarface’ reunion

MTV - 'Scarface' Hip-Hop Fans 'Really Get It,' Al Pacino Says

ABC Local - KABC

Entertainment Tonight

Big Hollywood's Jim Nolte:
"Scarface ranks in the Top 10 Most Re-watchable" DVDs

Posted by Geoff at 10:39 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:40 PM CDT
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Posted by Geoff at 10:09 PM CDT
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Monday, August 22, 2011
Watch live streaming video from scarface at livestream.com

Watch the Live Scarface cast reunion tomorrow night (Tuesday, August 23rd) at 11:15pm eastern, on livestream. Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham, and producer Martin Bregman are all expected to take part in the live reunion. All but Loggia have worked with Brian De Palma on more than one occasion, so it should be a fun discussion.

Posted by Geoff at 6:59 PM CDT
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Sunday, August 21, 2011
This Tuesday, August 23, the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will pair up Brian De Palma's Sisters with Roy Boulting's Twisted Nerve for a double feature as part of its series, "Music for Movies: Bernard Herrmann Centennial," which began in early July and concludes August 30th. Herrmann's eerie whistled theme from Twisted Nerve was used by Quentin Tarantino in a De Palma-esque sequence of Kill Bill Vol. 1.
(Thanks to Jim!)

Posted by Geoff at 1:31 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, August 21, 2011 1:32 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 18, 2011
Brian De Palma has just closed a deal to direct a thriller, with financing and distribution already in place, according to Deadline Hollywood's Michael Fleming. But let's go back to the beginning:

Last month, Deadline Hollywood reported that Open Road Films ("the new distribution company created by exhibitors AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment") had aquired the U.S. rights to The Key Man, a thriller written by Joby Harold (pictured here, he is the writer and director of 2007's Awake). The Key Man, about a single father targeted by U.S. government agents who are apparently aware that the man's body contains answers to important national secrets, already had financing in place from QED International. QED's founder Bill Block told Deadline that the screenplay "recalls great films like Three Days Of The Condor and Marathon Man and is built on a fantastic story in the vein of The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure, and will appeal to a broad global audience." Open Road promised "a significant P&A [print & advertising] commitment," which is exactly what one might expect from a distribution company backed by the two largest U.S. theatrical exhibitors. Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg told Deadline that The Key Man is "one of the smartest, most original scripts we've seen," and that he expected it to "attract top notch talent."

Well, they're off to an excellent start with that top notch talent by signing De Palma to direct the picture, which will be produced by Harold, Block, Tory Tunnell (Awake, Trumbo) and Paul Hanson (Oliver Stone's W.).

Deadline's original story stated that principal photography was "due to begin by early 2012," and today's post from Fleming states that production will begin "by year's end." TheWrap's Joshua L. Weinstein, following up on Fleming's Deadline report, states that "with the De Palma deal closed, QED is starting to make offers to actors."

Harold has cited early Roman Polanski as one of his main inspirations for making films. Last year, he was signed to Tunnell's Safehouse Pictures to apply his talents to commercials as well as feature films. Safehouse is mentioned by Fleming as one of the companies involved in The Key Man. Harold has had his hand in many a project of late. At Safehouse, he wrote a treatment for the Meryl Streep/Tina Fey comedy Mommy & Me, which he is co-executive producing with director Stanley Tucci. He has also written Fountain City, currently in development at Safehouse with Andrew Adamson directing. After hiring Harold a few years ago to work on a draft of Zach Snyder's "ultimate zombie movie," Army Of The Dead, Warner Bros. more recently set Harold to rewrite an adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's time-travel space opera All You Need Is Kill, with Doug Liman attached to direct.

Posted by Geoff at 8:08 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:15 PM CDT
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Richard "Dicky" Deats, who worked as a key grip on Brian De Palma's Blow Out and The Black Dahlia (both with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond), passed away July 14 at the age of 66, according to Below The Line. Just prior to working on Blow Out in 1981, Deats and Zsigmond built the first portable crane, which Deats called "the Little Big Crane," because it was lightweight and could be disassembled and carried around anywhere. The pair put it to good use on Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980), and Deats later won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 1984 for the Little Big Crane's design and manufacture.

Posted by Geoff at 10:08 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 10:09 PM CDT
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