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Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

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Scarface: Make Way
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Carrie: The Movie

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De Palma a la Mod

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Friday, October 14, 2011

We've seen anniversary tributes this year to Carrie and Obsession, but one film in the De Palma canon that doesn't usually get much respect is celebrating its anniversary in style this weekend. That's right: Brian De Palma's Wise Guys turns 25 this year, and will play this Sunday night at the Screening Room on the 13th floor of Resorts Atlantic City Casino Hotel, where much of the film was shot. Joe Piscopo, who this past July opened Club Piscopo in the Starlight Room on the second floor at Resorts, will be on hand to introduce Wise Guys, and will also conduct a Q&A after the screening, which begins at 4:45pm (the event is scheduled to go until 7pm). Admission is free. The screening is the closing event (just prior to the Awards ceremony) at this weekend's Atlantic City Cinefest, an annual series of events presented by the Downbeach Film Festival.

Posted by Geoff at 10:35 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 9, 2011
No, That's not Brian De Palma pictured at left, but Ralph Fiennes, who, as Malene Arpe notes, "kinda looks like Brian De Palma." Fiennes was at the Toronto International Film Festival with his directorial debut, Coriolanus, which sets the play by William Shakespeare in contemporary Europe.

We don't know whether or not De Palma had a chance to catch that film while he was at the festival, but, thanks to various tweets and other posts online, we're aware of about a handful of screenings the director was spotted at last month. According to indieWIRE's Meredith Brody, De Palma attended a screening of Bruno Dumont’s Outside Satan on the first day of the festival (September 8th). Brody writes that the film, which she likes, is classic Dumont: "simple rural people in pastoral landscapes, interesting compositions, brutal sex, brutal violence, brutal religion." At the screening, Brody met up with Atom Egoyan and his wife, Arsinée Khanjian, and they all ran into De Palma outside the theater. Brody told De Palma that she was looking forward to seeing A Separation, but De Palma had to be at the Talent Lab later that night at the time of that screening.

Later into the festival, De Palma was spotted with his friend, filmmaker Noah Baumbach (who interviewed De Palma for Criterion’s recent Blow Out package) at a screening of Whit Stillman’s Damsels In Distress. On another day, De Palma was spotted at a screening of ”an Egyptian doc” that was most likely Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad and the Politician, a three part documentary that looks at the recent uprising in Egypt from the points of view of three Cairo-based filmmakers.

In his entry on Fandor’s TIFF wrap-up, Slant’s Simon Abrams wrote about seeing De Palma twice:

Seeing Brian De Palma (twice!) at the festival was frankly more thrilling than several of the films I saw at the festival. Seeing him seated just across the aisle from me at Dark Horse, Todd Solondz’s newest and maybe best film, was a delight. Mostly because I identify with Solondz’s latest to a freakish degree and think its a potent and deeply unnerving film. But also because I could look straight ahead and freak out one way and then look to my right and freak out another. Diversity rules.

De Palma was later spotted at a screening of Terence DaviesThe Deep Blue Sea. John R. Kennedy noted that “Fans outside Intercontinental on Front don't recognize iconic director Brian De Palma as he strolls past them.” Jesse Hawkin said it made his day when he got to “directly assist Brian De Palma.” Hawkin added, “Resisted the urge to thank him for all his great films.” And finally, the win for best tweet from the festival goes to Erik Childress, who wrote, “Earlier today saw Brian DePalma enter men's washroom and then exit immediately. Assume he saw no lesbians making out & just left.”

Posted by Geoff at 10:05 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:00 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 2, 2011
Monday night at 8pm eastern, TCM premieres The Horrors Of Stephen King, the third special in its Dreamworks-produced series, A Night At The Movies. The documentary consists of an hour-long interview with King, and was directed by Laurent Bouzereau, who also made the first two specials in the series, The Suspensful World Of Thrillers, and The Gigantic World Of Epics, each of which aired in 2009. The Stephen King edition will air several times throughout October, and each Monday of the month, TCM will feature a night of classic horror films.

Dread Central posted a few of King's quotes from the upcoming special, including this one regarding the Brian De Palma adaptation of King's novel, Carrie:

Carrie was a terrific piece of work. At the end of the movie comes, when Amy Irving kneels down to put the flowers on Carrie’s grave, a hand comes up through the grave and seizes her by the arm. The audience went to the roof, totally to the roof. It was just the most amazing reaction. And I thought, ‘We have a monster hit on our hands. Brian De Palma has done something new. He’s actually created a shock ending that shocks an audience that was ready for a horror film.’ And there were several people who did it after that.

Scott Holleran provides a rundown of some of the things King discusses on the program, including this bit about Carrie: "Discussing Brian De Palma’s 1976 version of his novel Carrie, King says he wasn’t even invited to attend a screening and, when he did see it, it was a double feature with Norman, Is That You?, a black-themed film, and he was surprised that the predominantly black audience responded to Carrie."

Meanwhile, our old friend John Demetry finds plenty of room for criticism of King's description of De Palma's film as a "terrific piece of work." Demetry writes, "King repeats variations on that term—'piece of work'—throughout, as if horror films were only reaction-making machines, thus limiting the value of all horror films to the level of product. This might explain King’s own prolific output. However, De Palma transformed King’s 'piece of work' into a work of art." Demetry then elaborates:

King’s voice-over lands on a still from John Boorman’s Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977): “Even psychologists who’ve studied the genre don’t understand what works and what doesn’t work.” Boorman takes film audiences way beyond King’s conception of how horror “works.” The freedom afforded by the horror genre allows Boorman to realize astonishment: primal imagery (tapping the collective unconscious) and mystical social metaphor (the wings of Pazuzu). This visionary (corrective) sequel to William Friedkin’s 1973 film contradicts King’s thesis. Transcending the realm of “psychologists,” the engaged spectator discovers the full terror of The Heretic: Evil exists. But so does Good. It represents a total metaphysical statement. The achievements of De Palma and Boorman suggest an alternative (auteurist) history of horror to the one presented in The Horrors of Stephen King. Carrie and Exorcist II represent high points in film history where the genre market provided the possibility for an artist’s personal expression to reach a mass audience.

For his own part, King went into detail about the differences between his novel and De Palma's film in his 1981 book, Danse Macabre, in which King states, "De Palma's approach to the material was lighter and more deft than my own—and a good deal more artistic."

Meanwhile, last month, Fangoria #306 included an interview by Lee Gambin with Sissy Spacek, who discussed what she brought to the movie that was different from King's novel:

I read the book before I knew the film was being made, but then I reread it the day before auditioning. The thing about the novel that really stood out for me was that this girl was so pathetic, she was such a loser, and I believe that what I added when it came time to shoot the movie was to give the character a little bit of hope. I felt, "Here's this girl who has all these special powers, but she doesn't care about that; she just wants to be normal and fit in and have friends, a boyfriend, go to the prom." She was an artist, she wrote poetry in secret up in her room; she had this freak of a mother who destroyed her life, and Carrie just wanted to be happy, and for a moment, she gets to experience happiness—just for a moment.

Asked by Gambin how she channeled the dynamic energy required for the role, Spacek responded:

The script by Lawrence D. Cohen was so good and I was so into the story, and during production I really kept myself away from the rest of the cast. I felt very sorry for myself and isolated and different, just like Carrie did. And I really believe Brian did such a beautiful job directing it; he knew exactly what he wanted, his shots were so planned out. One of the main reasons I love him as a director is that he'd say, "OK, I want you there and then there and I need you to do this, this and this," and anything else you wanted to do, as long as it fit within his framework of the overall piece, you had the freedom to do, and that was great.

Fangoria included Carrie in its special 300th issue earlier this year, in which Ginger Snaps actress Emily Perkins stated that as an actress and a woman, she loves Carrie, "the best horror movie ever." Also in that issue, director Norman J. Warren (Satan's Slave) called Carrie "a perfect picture," and "the best horror movie." "Beautifully constructed and beautifully photographed," Warren told Fangoria, "the film captured me right from the opening scenes."

Posted by Geoff at 8:59 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Edgar Wright has provided his list of his top ten Criterion DVDs, and Brian De Palma's Blow Out is at the top. "I have heard people call themselves Brian De Palma apologists," states Wright. "I am proud to say that I am a huge fan without any caveats." Here is the rest of Wright's entry regarding Blow Out:

There’s a reason that, back in the seventies, fellow movie brats Spielberg, Lucas, and Scorsese would defer to De Palma as “the filmmaker.” When on form, his work is something to behold. Even the lesser works of De Palma contain flashes of genius, while the best of his movies rank as pure cinema. Blow Out is certainly one of De Palma’s finest. There’s not a wasted shot, not even a wasted corner of frame. In the telling of this audiovisual thriller, De Palma uses Steadicam work, split screens, split diopter shots, and complex optical effects to utterly exciting but never overly flashy effect. Some directors are great storytellers without their presence being felt, but De Palma, much like his cinematic hero Alfred Hitchcock, is a master manipulator of both his medium and his audience. He plays us like an instrument, maneuvers us like puppets, and frequently makes us look where we’d rather not. Blow Out begins with De Palma turning the camera on himself and criticisms against him, then ends with one of the crueller, blacker chapters in cinema.

The interview on the disc with De Palma and Noah Baumbach is a must-see too; great to hear him talk about Hitchcock, Antonioni, and Coppola and their influence on this film. Filmmakers and film students will be also fascinated to know that Brian thinks coverage is a dirty word. This is a tremendous piece of work that I am very glad Criterion has given the royal treatment.

(Thanks to Jon!)

Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hervé Attia enjoys visiting movie filming locations, but he takes the practice a step or two farther than that: he films approximations of the angles used in the old movies and then edits them side-by-side (often in split-screen) with the original scenes, even inserting himself in the picture, mimicking the actors for good measure. For Brian De Palma's The Fury, Attia visited the Chicago area locations used in the film, adding a coda at the end in which Attia appears to receive a power transfer from a statue that looms over the slow motion escape scene. This final idea was suggested by Jean-François Doppagne, who helped Attia film the video above. At the end of the video, there is a preview for Attia's coming attraction, for which he plans to revisit the Chicago locations used in De Palma's The Untouchables, but he is not stopping there-- he also plans to go to Great Falls, Montana, to cover the film's battle on the Hardy Bridge as best he can. Attia plans to have his Untouchables video completed in 2012.

Posted by Geoff at 12:02 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:04 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Richard Hamilton, credited as one of the fathers of the "pop art" movement, died September 13th in England at age 89. In 1968, the same year that Hamilton created the iconic sleeve and poster insert for the Beatles "White Album," he appeared in Brian De Palma's Greetings, discussing one of his real-life works, "A Postal Card For Mother" (pictured at left), with the character played by Gerrit Graham (the film scene is pictured above). In "A Postal Card For Mother," a series of blow-ups of a beach scene are folded out accordion-like from the source photograph. The Guardian's Jonathan Jones stated that Hamilton remains "the most influential British artist of the 20th century," adding that "in his long, productive life he created the most important and enduring works of any British modern painter." Hamilton's collage, "Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing," is one of the earliest works of pop art. Mark Hudson at The Arts Desk feels that Hamilton's subversive body of work was, in a good way, "too challenging, too difficult to pin down." Jones notes that Hamilton's work had grown increasingly political in his later years, and provides a photo gallery that glances at some of the artist's key works.

Posted by Geoff at 7:38 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:09 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
It looks like that recent Scarface cast reunion may have gotten Martin Bregman thinking about a new version of Scarface. Deadline's Mike Fleming reports tonight that he's heard that Universal Pictures has been meeting with writers to work out a new take on Scarface, to be produced by Bregman and Marc Shmuger, who recently started his own production company, Global Produce. (Shmuger was vice chairman at Universal in 2005, when he visited the set of Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia in Bulgaria. Shmuger was so impressed by what he was seeing there that he picked up the distribution rights to that film for Universal.)

This new Scarface "is not intended to be a remake or a sequel," writes Fleming. "It will take the common elements of the first two films: an outsider, an immigrant, barges his way into the criminal establishment in pursuit of a twisted version of the American dream, becoming a kingpin through a campaign of ruthlessness and violent ambition. The studio is keeping the specifics of where the new Tony character comes from under wraps at the moment, but ethnicity and geography were important in the first two versions."

Posted by Geoff at 11:16 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Robert Loggia talked to QMI Agency's Bruce Kirkland about Scarface, saying he did not enjoy working with Brian De Palma on the film. In contrast to how Steven Bauer describes his experience working on Scarface (that De Palma was "very hands-off" and trusting of his actors), Loggia tells Kirkland that he felt De Palma was too fussy with, as Kirkland writes, "picayune details that the veteran actor felt should be left to the performers." Loggia stated, "I hate to knock a director, but you don't want a director to say, 'Do this, do that, hold the gun up there, higher, higher.' It was difficult working with (De Palma) ... for me. But he's got a career going and I don't want to say anything negative." Despite this, Loggia tells Kirkland, "I think we turned out a pretty damned good movie," counting it among the reasons he loves his acting career. "Acting in general is a feeling of being transported to the heavens," Loggia said. Loggia adds that the film has two separate styles: "The first half of the movie is impressionistic," he tells Kirkland. "The second half of the movie, after I die, is expressionistic. It's completely different. I don't think that was ever articulated (during the shoot) but that was the truth of the matter. We just did it. It was obvious."

Posted by Geoff at 9:12 PM CDT
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Monday, September 12, 2011
Eric Charmelo, who created the new TV series Ringer with his regular co-writer Nicole Snyder, tells dailybreeze.com's Steven Herbert that various films by Brian De Palma, including Dressed To Kill, provided inspiration for the series, which premieres tomorrow night on the CW network. "Just when you think you have it figured out," Charmelo tells Herbert, "we'll throw in a twist that completely takes it in a new direction." Charmelo describes Ringer, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as identical twins, as a "neo-noir thriller" that "will keep the audience guessing," according to Herbert. Charmelo elaborated that he and Snyder have an obsession "with the concept of good twin versus evil twin. We always thought it was kind of funny and campy, but we wanted to play it straight, like a serialized thriller."

Posted by Geoff at 6:19 PM CDT
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

News came late last night that Cliff Robertson died of natural causes Saturday (Sept 10), one day after his 88th birthday. Robertson, of course, portrayed the wealthy real estate developer Michael Courtland in Brian De Palma's Obsession, which was released 35 years ago in 1976. The film, written by Paul Schrader, was just released this past summer in a special region-free Blu-Ray edition from Arrow Video. In addition to winning an Oscar for his lead role in Charly in 1968, Robertson had a number of memorable roles in a long acting career. He played the CIA head in Sydney Pollack's conspiracy thriller Three Days Of The Condor, which was released a year before Obsession, and which provided much inspiration for De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible (Condor has also been used as a comparison point for De Palma's upcoming project, The Key Man). In 1962, President John F. Kennedy personally chose Robertson to portray him in PT 109, which was based on Kennedy's experiences in WWII. More recently, Robertson became known as "Uncle Ben," the great beacon of responsibility in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Robertson also had run-ins with Batman, portraying the cowardly cowboy of crime, Shame, in several episodes of the TV series in 1966. In 1983, he portrayed Hugh Hefner in Bob Fosse's Star 80. Robertson also directed two films: J.W. Coop (1971, which Robertson also co-wrote and produced), has themes similar to that of De Palma's Carlito's Way. It stars Robertson as a cowboy who, after eight years in prison, finds that society is not what it used to be. The film is a western that takes place in the modern American rodeo circuit, and used footage from actual rodeo events. In 1980, Robertson directed The Pilot, a character study about a pilot who is also an alcoholic. Robert P. Davis adapted the screenplay from his own novel, and the film is noted for its realistic depictions of commercial flying.

Posted by Geoff at 1:14 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2011 8:55 PM CDT
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