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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
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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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Friday, February 17, 2012

The MCC Theater's new Off Broadway musical version of Carrie officially opens March 1st, and has been in previews for the past couple of weeks. Betty Buckley, who played the gym teacher Miss Collins in the Brian De Palma film, also played Carrie's mother in the 1988 Broadway musical version that has become the stuff of legend. Buckley is pictured above with the stars of the new version, Molly Ranson, who plays Carrie, and Marin Mazzie, who plays her mother. Buckley told the New York Times' Patrick Healy that she "completely enjoyed" the new production, and is thrilled for the team that put it together: composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and book writer Lawrence D. Cohen, the latter having previously adapted Stephen King's novel for De Palma's film. "I always felt their work in this show was ahead of its time, really provocative and very passionate theater,” Buckley told Healy of the team that also worked on the 1988 version. “I’m really proud of the work we did back then, and I’m a huge fan of these guys. I always wanted the score and the story to be seen for its intensely, emotionally moving qualities, and I think you can see those qualities in this production.” Healy's article continues:

The major difference between the new Carrie and the Broadway production, in Ms. Buckley’s view, is that the current director, Stafford Arima, has created a “homogeneity” in tone, design, and performance that makes for “focused, consistent, understandable storytelling.”

“The problem with the original production,” she continued, “was that the directorial concept was very abstract, and the director Terry Hands thought the piece resonated as Jacobean drama. He achieved that through some very, very bloody scenes. Linzi [Hateley] and I presented a psychologically accurate portrayal of a deeply, emotionally disturbed mother and daughter.”

Ms. Buckley described the Off Broadway revival as “the PG-13 version of the original,” then added: “I would love this production to be more dangerous. I think that’s what we had going on that made it resonate for all these years. It’s not about adding camp to this production, but about adding even more truth. The show is perfectly timed right now, because we’re so aware of the sort of bullying in schools that Carrie experiences.”

Healy begins his article with an account of the 1988 show's opening night:

When the lights went black at the end of the first Broadway preview of Carrie, on April 28, 1988, the actress Betty Buckley recalled hearing something she had never experienced in her 20 years in theater: Boos from the audience. Ms. Buckley, who had won a Tony Award in 1983 for Cats, played the fanatically religious mother Margaret White in the musical, and her character had just been killed by the telekinetic powers of her daughter, the title character. Both Ms. Buckley and Linzi Hateley, who played Carrie, lay on the stage in the dark, hearing the boos; Ms. Buckley recalled that Ms. Hateley, making her Broadway debut, whispered, “What do we do?”

“We get up,” Ms. Buckley said in reply. They stood, the lights came on, and the boos turned to cheers and applause for the performers in the show, which would go on to close after 21 performances, one of the biggest flops in Broadway history.

Another New York Times article by Healy from earlier this month looks at the two versions of the musical, with picture comparisons, as well as quotes from Cohen, among others. "The three of us did not exactly have the best time with the Broadway production," Cohen told Healy. "We had a dream 30 years ago for a show about outsiders,” and “now every day the three of us look at each other and we’re like, ‘We’re getting closer.’"

Meanwhile, Mark Kennedy at the Associated Press interviewed Ranson, who told him that she loved De Palma's film, and thinks the story is particularly relevant today. "Really, at its core, it's the story of a girl who's trying to fit in," Ranson told Kennedy. "It's the story of an outsider, which I think everyone can relate to in one way or another. Especially now, with all this bullying. It's kind of a great time to be doing this." Ranson, 22, was not yet born when the original Broadway version happened in 1988. The new version tones down the blood, especially during the prom scene. Regarding the blood, Ranson says, "It'll look good. It'll look real. It's going to be done really beautifully and subtly — artistically, kind of abstract."

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012 12:54 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Lana Del Ray graces the cover of the February issue of the British music magazine Q. According to Famous Monsters Of Filmland, the singer/recording artist "asked to be shot in tribute to one of her favorite films, the 1976 Brian De Palma classic Carrie." Five of the six photos inside the magazine show Del Ray in various bloody Carrie poses, including the one shown here in the middle. The Famous Monsters site also has some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot, including the one at the very bottom below.
(Thanks to Ryan!)

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:12 AM CST
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Giorgio Armani may have designed the costumes for Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, but for tonight's Grammy Awards, the iconic designer worked with Rihanna on a gown that looks back to an earlier De Palma gangster classic, Scarface. According to Gather, Rhianna told E! Online's Ryan Seacrest that she was channeling Michelle Pfeiffer's Elvira in Scarface. You can see the dress in full, all the way around, via the mesmerizing E!'s GlamCam 360.

About a year ago, in February of 2011, Gwen Stafani continued her Elvira fetish with a runway show at New York Fashion Week that included several models walking the catwalk in Elvira-inspired gowns, as a dance mix of Giorgio Moroder's Scarface theme and Deborah Harry's Rush Rush played in the background. The gowns are part of Stefani's fashion label, L.A.M.B. The video below, put together by music video director Sophie Muller, is what played on the screen behind the models.

In the last couple of minutes of the video below, you can see clips from the Scarface part of the show...

Stefani first channeled Pfeiffer's Elvira in a heavily-stylized pose for the cover of her 2006 solo album, The Sweet Escape. The following year, she debuted Elvira-inspired fashions in a presentation for her L.A.M.B. label. In 2004, Stefani met De Palma when she auditioned for the role of Madeleine in The Black Dahlia.


Posted by Geoff at 9:30 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012 10:26 PM CST
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An article by Patrick Wildermann published today in Der Tagesspiegel looks at the booming star system in Germany, and includes quotes from Anja Dihrberg, a German casting director who is, according to the article, currently working with Brian De Palma, presumably on Passion. Dihrberg tells Wildermann that De Palma "prefers actors who come from the theater and mastered their craft accordingly." It is undoubtedly through Dihrberg that Karoline Herfurth was cast in Passion, as Dihrberg was the casting director for Berlin '36, a 2009 film which starred Herfurth as a Jewish athlete competeing to be on the German Olympic team. Dihrberg tells Wildermann that she appreciates the fact there is still a nice gap between Hollywood star concerns and that of the German film industry. She emphasizes a focus on "character roles," and expresses a kind of horror at the Hollywood machine of uniformity that drives actresses toward anorexia and plastic surgery. Dihrberg tells Wildermann she hopes that "a Nina Hoss will not look like Nicole Kidman at some point."

Posted by Geoff at 4:49 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 6:52 PM CST
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Thursday, February 9, 2012
An article yesterday by Variety's John Hopewell mentions who plays who in Brian De Palma's Passion, which begins a ten-week shoot in Berlin on March 5th. According to the article, Rachel McAdams will play the CEO (the role played by Kristin Scott Thomas in Alain Corneau's Love Crime), Noomi Rapace will play her deputy (the role that was played by Ludivine Sagnier), and Karoline Herfurth will play Rapace's assistant. The latter role is particularly interesting, as it was portrayed by a male actor, Guillaume Marquet, in Corneau's film.

The Variety article, which is primarily about SBS Productions having closed key pre-sales on the film, states that the Passion screenplay is "by De Palma, with additional dialogue by novelist Natalie Carter." Carter is also credited as Corneau's co-writer on Love Crime, which, like Passion, was produced by Saïd Ben Saïd's SBS Productions. The article states that Passion will be released in France in early 2013. It is expected to be released in the U.S. before the end of 2012.

Posted by Geoff at 12:55 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 12:58 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brian De Palma had been developing a movie based on the Donald Westlake underworld character Parker for a while between 2010 and 2011, and that project ended up in the hands of Taylor Hackford, with Jason Statham starring. But now it looks like De Palma will pair up with Statham on a remake of Heat, the 1986 movie that starred Burt Reynolds. The film was based on a novel by William Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay. According to a press release from Sierra/Affinity (which Collider has provided in its entirety), Goldman will also write the screenplay for this modern take on the material. The film was announced in Berlin ahead of the festival that begins tomorrow, and appears to be creating quite a buzz. Statham will co-produce the film with Steven Chasman, who is also a producer on Statham's Parker (which was also sold by Sierra/Affinity at last year's Cannes market).

The press release describes the film like this:

This tightly-wound, fun action-thriller, tells the story of a tough recovering gambling addict (Statham) who makes his living providing protection in the rough edges of the gambling world. Statham’s character refuses to resort to gunplay, strictly using hand and edged weapon combat. When a dear friend is brutally beaten by a high-rolling mobster, he helps her get her revenge and he ends up in more trouble than he ever imagined.

Sierra's Nick Meyer states in the press release, "We are pleased to once again be working with Jason and Steve on another project which in this case is based on great source material from a rare combination of an acclaimed novelist who is also at the top of his game as a screenwriter. We look forward to bringing this elevated action-thriller from Brian De Palma to distributors around the world. We feel this project has it all—a first rate piece of material, a legendary director and a global action star."

The 1986 version of Heat is currently streaming on Netflix.

Mark at Good Efficient Butchery recalls seeing the film back in the day, and notes that the Netflix version is different from the U.S. theatrical release. "It seems this alternate version was released on the budget-priced R1 DVD by Platinum Disc," he writes, "and is not the version released in US theaters or on the Paramount VHS." This could possibly be the U.K. version of the film, which was released in 1986. Heat was not released in the U.S. until 1987.

According to Mark, the film seems a "noble failure" that shows its behind-the-scenes troubles on screen. According to Mark, who seems to know his stuff, Heat "was started by Robert Altman, who left after a day of shooting. He was replaced by Tootsie producer Dick Richards, who helmed most of the film (and got his ass kicked by Burt), then veteran TV director Jerry Jameson was brought in to finish it. Richards gets sole credit, under the name 'R.M. Richards.'"

Posted by Geoff at 12:41 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:07 PM CST
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Monday, February 6, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 11:14 PM CST
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Looks like Chronicle isn't the only movie opening this weekend that pays homage to Brian De Palma's Carrie. Promoción fantasma (Ghost Graduation) opened Friday in Spain, and features the scene above, in which two boys pour fake blood over a girl as she showers in the school locker room. That clip can be caught briefly in the film's trailer, and it's not the only moment in Ghost Graduation that has Carrie on its mind. The film is a comedy about a paranormal professor who tries to help a group of dead boys (ghosts) graduate high school. According to CINEMANÍA, Ghost Graduation spoofs high-school moments from the likes of The Breakfast Club, Carrie, Back To The Future and Glee, with a little Ghostbusters thrown in for good measure.

In another Carrie reference, the article states, one of the young protagonists becomes the laughingstock of his classmates when he is kissed by a ghost at a big dance. The film's director, Javier Ruiz Caldera, told CINEMANÍA about yet another: "The scenes in which the students play volleyball has a lot to do with Carrie: on a formal level, it's a film that has been much in my head." A bit of the volleyball scene (as well as a bit of the scene at the dance) can be seen in the trailer linked to above. De Palma's Carrie, of course, opens with a scene of the high school girls playing volleyball during gym class.

With all of these recent homages, Rado, the webmaster of The De Palma Touch, has put together a page he calls De Palma's Brutal Legacy in the 2010s.

Posted by Geoff at 3:57 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 5, 2012 4:03 PM CST
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Saturday, February 4, 2012
Several German newspapers are reporting this morning that German actress Karoline Herfurth has joined the cast of Brian De Palma's Passion. Herfurth made quite an impression a few years ago as "The Plum Girl" in Tom Tykwer's Perfume (pictured here). According to the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten's Jana Haase, the Berlin-Brandenburg Media Board's Kirsten Niehuus revealed Herfurth's casting as part of an announcement ahead of the start of the Berlin International Film Festival, which opens Thursday, February 9th. The Media Board will promote the film with 400,000 euros. The article states that Passion will film in Berlin, and also perhaps Babelsberg, which is home to Studio Babelsberg, the oldest large-scale film studio in the world, according to Wikipedia.

Speaking of Tykwer, the ambitious film he is making with the Wachowski brothers, Cloud Atlas, recently completed filming and is now in post-production. According to the IMDB, Patrick Herzberg, who worked as a set designer on Cloud Atlas, has joined Passion as assistant art director. Herzberg has worked with Passion's production designer Cornelia Ott on the Wachowski-scripted V For Vendetta, as well as Paul Verhoeven's Black Book. Also listed at IMDB now is Ute Bergk, who will be the set decorator on Passion. Bergk has also worked with Ott and Herzberg before on V For Vendetta, and was assistant set decorator on Christopher Nolan's first two Batman films.

Posted by Geoff at 8:35 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2012 8:38 AM CST
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chronicle is a new film that opens tomorrow, written by Max Landis (son of John Landis) and directed by Josh Trank. According to several critics, the film calls to mind Brian De Palma's adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie, as well as a blend of other influences. In January, Landis explained to Comic Book Movie's Ed Gross that he wrote Chronicle "very much intending to be an antidote to all of the other superhero movies. We've sort of forgotten in this slew of comic-based superhero movies that what made those characters iconic is not the giant set pieces or the action that happens in comics. All of those movies feel like the same film by the second act; they all blur together.

"I wrote Chronicle specifically to show people that a movie about people with powers doesn't have to be the way it's been presented so far. It can be something character based. Chronicle is closer to Carrie than Captain America. It's definitely not Stephen King, but it's definitely got an edge to it that these movies don't usually have. It doesn't exist in a fantastical world. Ultimately the consequences aren't Spider-Man has to save the girl from falling off the bridge; there's a more serious set of consequences than that."

The New York Times' Manohla Dargis explains that one of the main characters is seen at the beginning of the film recording himself in his bedroom mirror on a digital camera, and that later, after breaking that camera, he gets a new, more expensive one that he begins to operate via newly found powers of telekinesis. Dargis states that the visual polish derived from this plot turn "truly lifts the movie."

Dargis calls Chronicle "a slick, modestly scaled science-fiction fairy tale with major box-office aspirations... It’s a classic pop creation in that its hook — three teenage boys mysteriously acquire fantastic powers — seems fresh even if the whole thing feels inspired by someone’s Netflix queue: a revenge-of-the-outsider tale like Brian De Palma’s Carrie; the first-person perspective of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield; and average Joes turned super-Joes as in the television shows Heroes and No Ordinary Family.”

Later in the review, Dargis writes, "For a while the mysterious hole and its cave hold out the promise that Chronicle will be as creepy-freaky as Carrie, and that the filmmakers will mine the cavity’s depths for all its psycho-sexual terror instead of settling for a boy’s super-neato adventure. No such luck."

Meanwhile, TIME's Richard Corliss' review has the headline, "Chronicle: It's Carrie Plus X-Men, With Found Footage." Corliss, who finds Chronicle "simultaneously diverting and annoying," concludes his review with a wry discussion of how the film plays with the current trends of the "Found-Footage Faux-Doc" (FFFD):

The obvious liability of an FFFD is the requirement that the main character lug a camera everywhere, like Sisyphus with his damned rock, no matter how mortal the peril. The convention turns Chronicle sillier than it needs to be at times, as when Matt and Steve are trying to save a man’s life and Andrew can’t help because he’s filming. Things will be so much simpler when someone markets a camera that can be inserted in the customer’s forehead — the iBrain.

The movie does offer two innovations in the form. First, Andrew can make his camera levitate, giving moviegoers an occasional God’s-eye view of the action. And it happens that Casey (Ashley Hinshaw), a school friend of Matt’s, is also a compulsive videographer; when Matt visits her, we see her reflected in a mirror as she talks to him.

The second camera! This could be a breakthrough in found-footage movies, similar to but not quite on a par with the moment in ancient Athens, when Aeschylus introduced a second character — the deuteragonist — to Greek tragedy, thus turning the theatrical art from monologue to dialogue. (Voilà: drama!) Chronicle‘s second camera opens up dizzying possibilities: the footage of Andrew and Casey’s cameras could be edited into reaction shots, or into coverage of the same action from different vantage points. Or Casey could become the sleuth-heroine in a movie deficient in essential females.

Alas, she proves a minor character, and her camera doesn’t figure important in the story, as Andrew and Matt climactically reprise the two-man air battle from the end of the first Iron Man movie. Landis and Trask — preoccupied with aping and synthesizing other films into an ultimately ordinary one of their own — don’t exploit the opportunities they created with their second camera. It’s as if Edison thought his light bulb had no other function but to inspire jokes about how many people it took to screw it in.

The Boston Herald's James Verniere calls Chronicle "surprisingly insightful, terribly titled." Verniere says the film's found-footage conceit is more like Cloverfield than The Blair Witch Project. He concludes his review by writing, "You might describe Chronicle as The Office of teen superhero movies and say it owes a debt to Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) and The Fury (1978). But it’s also remarkably resonant and, yes, smells like teen spirit."

Finally, FEMPOP's Alex Cranz states, "Take Carrie. Now rub it up against the seminal Japanese film Akira. Now take out all the cool 'superpowers as allegories for teenager junk' stuff. And add a ton of fight scene that are really really fun. That is Chronicle." While Cranz was put off by some of the film's "incredibly dogdy" special effects, he also loves the shots produced by telekinetically-operated cameras. "Shots that are impossible in most found footage films are liberally used," Cranz writes. [Minor SPOILER] "If the characters are controlling the cameras with their minds then yes we can see all of them at once without worrying about whose holding the camera and yes we can do cool crane shots and yes we can get multiple angles on a scene because they’ve stolen a dozen cameras and are controlling them all with their minds."

Posted by Geoff at 7:54 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2012 11:47 PM CST
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