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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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Carrie...A Fan's Site


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Scarface: Make Way
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De Palma a la Mod

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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern has posted a Rachel McAdams-centric review of Brian De Palma's Passion. "After years of playing the good girl," writes Stern in the introduction, "Rachel McAdams returns to her Mean Girls roots with a deliciously entertaining turn as a bitchy, kinky, bisexual ad executive in Passion." Stern's description of some of McAdams' scenes from the movie can be said to contain some minor spoilers:

"The film opens with Christine (McAdams), a Machiavellian executive at a Berlin-based ad firm, cozied together on a couch with rising ad star Isabelle, played by Noomi Rapace. The pair needs to conceive an innovative ad campaign for a new Panasonic mobile phone. Christine is very flirtatious, giggling, caressing, and locking eyes with her ambitious underling. When their brainstorming session is interrupted by the arrival of her sleazy British sex toy, Dirk (Paul Anderson), Christine is noticeably perturbed. She kisses Isabelle goodbye—on the mouth.

"We’re then treated to a tight close-up of McAdams’s face against a bedpost. She is, judging by her half-hearted squeals, receiving mediocre oral sex. Suddenly, a man’s head emerges in the frame wearing a hybrid Phantom of the Opera Kabuki mask.

"This all looks like the start of a beautiful lesbian affair—that is, until Isabelle crafts a knockout ad campaign for the phone, a campaign for which Christine immediately takes credit. Christine, it seems, needs to knock this out of the park so she can receive a promotion and transfer back to the company’s Manhattan offices. Isabelle doesn’t take the move lying down, and immediately uploads her commercial to YouTube. After it goes viral, it’s Isabelle who receives all the kudos from the company brass, and the proverbial claws come out.

"Passion could easily be retitled Mad Women, with its sleazy ad biz setting and estrogen overload. When the pouty Dani (Karoline Herfuth), Isabelle’s redhead sexy assistant—who also has a crush on her—calls out Christine on her shady behavior, Christine replies, 'You want to eat my c--t, don’t you?' before violently kissing her, ripping her own blouse, and threatening her with a charge of sexual harassment. It’s a pretty jarring scene—especially the usage of the c-word—coming from the typically virtuous McAdams, whose cute visage, replete with a small face, a beauty mark, and kind, blue eyes is disarmingly sinister when she flips the switch.

"Later, after Dirk refuses to service Christine, she calls up every man in her phone until someone will come over and pleasure her. The action then cuts to Christine on the phone in a bathtub, as two hands place a shiny diamond necklace around her neck. Then the man’s face comes into frame, and he’s wearing a black leather pig-shaped gimp mask.

"While Passion makes several leaps in logic and is, like so much of De Palma’s recent oeuvre, overstylized, with flashy visuals and a Hitchcockian score, this kinky B-movie is redeemed by Rapace and, in particular, McAdams, who will hopefully take a trip to the dark side more often."

Posted by Geoff at 12:49 AM CDT
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Call Carrie at 207-404-2604

Entertainment Weekly has a description of the teaser trailer that was shown:

The NYCC crowd got an exclusive first look at Carrie‘s teaser trailer, which begins with a helicopter shot showing the school gym on fire, but then shows a trail of destruction leading throughout Carrie‘s small town…ending with a close-up on a blood-covered Moretz. The teaser features a cacophony of voices talking about Carrie — including the memorable line “She wasn’t some monster. She was just a girl.” — implying, perhaps, that the remake would adhere close to the structure of King’s original novel, which was written in a pseudo-epistolary style. (Brian De Palma’s original Carrie film in the late ’70s jettisoned that structure in favor of a more straightforward linear narrative.)

Posted by Geoff at 11:44 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 10:03 PM CDT
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After Noah Baumbach talks a bit about autobiographical elements in his own films (in which he notes that is is most often things no one would think are autobiographical that actually are autobiographical), moderator Scott Foundas asks Brian De Palma if he specifically looked for someone who resembled himself ("the you that you wished you had been at that age?") when he cast Keith Gordon in Dressed To Kill. "Well, we made Home Movies first," De Palma replies, "and that's where we found Keith. And then, he was such a good actor that when I was writing Dressed To Kill, I wrote the part for him. And of course, he went on to be quite a good director, too. It was quite an experience developing him, because he's extremely talented."

Foundas persists, "But did he in some way remind you of yourself at that age...?" De Palma replies, looking over at Baumbach, "Well, I don't think it's that... I don't think you think that way. [Baumbach nods in agreement.] You just, you know... you're not the best specter on yourself, you know. I think what happens when people make autobiographical films, the problem is they have the least insight into themselves sometimes. They usually miscast themselves. {Laughter from stage and audience.] You know, it's like, 'Why did you use that person? That's nothing like you.' And I think you have kind of blind spots about that to some extent."

The discussion in the rest of the video gets into the process of finding locations (and which comes first, the location or the idea). Here, De Palma stresses that if you're willing to do the work, you can find visually striking places that will look good on camera. "And I've told this to my film students, too: You've got to walk the location. And you should physically shoot every angle you're going to use, because if you can't take a picture of it, and it doesn't look right, don't use it. So I haunt the location, I walk all around it, and then when I finally think that it works for what I want to do, then you can also shoot video, too, having the actors walk in the different places. I mean, this is something, if you are hard-working enough, you can test out everything. Certainly in the day of the digital cameras, there's no excuses for having a crummy location. What I find in so much of what I see, all the time, is like, nobody's thinking about what anything looks like. I mean, you know, New York: helicopter shot of New York. Wow. [Laughter] Now there's an idea. I mean, I think they did it in the thirties, maybe the twenties, I mean, how many helicopter shots have you seen of Manhattan? You know, or a car driving up to a house. And also, in the beginning of movies, where they waste all this time, of, you know, coming into the city. You see the second unit going out there, shooting all those, you know, arriving in New York, arriving in Chicago, and all the titles go across. The audience is, in the beginning of a movie, you're ready for anything. You're all excited. And suddenly you start seeing this terrible travelogue... [Laughter]. Drives me crazy."

After Baumbach speaks a bit about beginnings of films, Foundas explains that he is now going to show a clip from Baumbach's Margot At The Wedding and a clip from De Palma's Carlito's Way. In each clip, Foundas' focus is on the introduction of a character: Margot in the first, and Penelope Ann Miller's Gail in the second.

Posted by Geoff at 11:37 AM CDT
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 9:51 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 13, 2012 9:54 AM CDT
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 5:01 PM CDT
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In the above video, taken from the Variety Studio at last month's Toronto International Film Festival, Brian De Palma and Rachel McAdams (each filmed on separate occasions) discuss Passion. McAdams seems to be enjoying herself as she talks about the film (she and De Palma appear to be taking questions from an audience). "I think it's about a lot of things, thematically," she says in the video. "I think it's about possession, wanting to possess another person. I think Brian is dealing with, you know, narcissism, and power struggles, and, you know, all kinds of yummy things like that, too. Yeah, but, I mean, I guess that the tagline is it's a woman terrorizing her co-worker, and all the mayhem that comes out of that."

In a separate segment of the video, McAdams continues, "I hope it's a thrilling ride for them, and I hope De Palma fans will enjoy it. I hope there will be new De Palma fans because of it. I think he's doing a really unique thing. I think he's got his own stamp he's putting on his films, and I think it's very cool, I think it's brave, and brazen. So yeah, I hope new people will join the De Palma club."

Posted by Geoff at 4:48 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, October 12, 2012 4:50 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:53 PM CDT
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In the above YouTube clip taken at the New York Film Festival this past Sunday, Brian De Palma and Noah Baumbach talk about meeting each other for the first time. Meanwhile, The Playlist's Cory Everett posted a nice summary of the whole conversation yesterday, which includes the detail that De Palma and Baumbach first met at Paul Schrader's 50th birthday party in 1996. There are many more great tidbits in this summary, including how Wes Anderson turned to De Palma for advice on visualizing wind for the climax of Moonrise Kingdom. Here is the last part of Everett's summary:

"Sometimes it takes more than one person to come up with creative solutions, and that’s why both directors are happy to have someone they can show their work to for advice. De Palma’s new group of cinematic confidantes includes Baumbach, director Wes Anderson and director Jake Paltrow. He said his friendship with this new group reminds him of his time with the Movie Brats of the '70s. 'When I was starting to make films in the '60s and went out to Hollywood, there were a group of directors known as the Movie Brats: Marty [Scorsese], Steven [Spielberg], Frances [Ford Coppola] and George [Lucas]. We all hung out together and we were all making movies, movies that all bombed of course, but we were all making movies. And we forged an alliance where we would look at each other's rough cuts, help each other with editing, suggest scripts, and we did that for quite a while until we all went off in our different places. And I kinda miss that fraternity of directors.'

"He said he was fortunate to be in a new group of directors, but 'it’s a small group and it’s not going to get any bigger.' For Passion, DePalma had passed the script to his fellow directors and originally included a convoluted dream-within-a-dream structure that they eventually convinced him to discard. 'They read it and they liked the script very much but I’d done this dream sequence and done a take off on Inception, a movie I quite liked. And the whole idea was the phone was in the safe in the third level dream and my fellow directors looked at me and said, "Get rid of that.”'

"'It took three of us, too.' Baumbach added.

"'It was unanimous, when you have unanimous consent [that’s what you do]. So it’s very helpful,' DePalma said.

“'There is an isolated experience to being a director,' Baumbach said. 'It’s very communal because there’s a crew, but it’s only you. You’re the one on the hook. And seeing it in the tradition of Brian and the people he came up with and hearing stories of how they worked on each other's movies. And Steven [Spielberg] came in on the set of Scarface and directed a few shootouts in the final big battle. Both it’s cool to hear those things and it opened us up. It made it less precious in a way, all of us, we can talk about it and help each other.' When Wes was having trouble coming up with how to visualize shooting wind for the climax of his latest Moonrise Kingdom he turned to De Palma who offered up a solution: make sure you have things in the air. Simple, but it works.

“'Essentially we feel the same about movies and moviemaking but we come at it in entirely different ways,' said Baumbach."

Posted by Geoff at 12:55 AM CDT
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 6:28 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 6:29 PM CDT
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A few more blog reviews of Brian De Palma's Passion have popped up, mostly from the New York Film Festival screenings. Films To See Or Not sounds like he was at one of the screenings where De Palma spoke to the audience. "Passion is Brian De Palma’s delicious homage to himself," he writes, adding that "De Palma enjoys playing with the audience right up until the end, when we’re left wondering what was a dream and what was real. He admits he threw in the unscripted final shot at the last moment as a tease. As long as you don’t take Passion too seriously, you’ll enjoy this retro throwback to Hitchcock and earlier De Palma."

30 Second Critic, who also liked the movie, seemed to enjoy the ending, as well. "Voyeuristic camera work along with a jarring score ratchet up the suspense," he writes, "and an altered ending from the French version keeps the viewer guessing even after the film ends. It's clear that Mr. De Palma likes to mess with his audience's head." 30 Second Critic also enjoyed the way the lead actresses seemed to play against type.

Cinespect's Cole Hutchinson, a self-proclaimed "De Palma admirer," says that Passion "manages to stand proudly amongst the best of [De Palma's] oeuvre." Hutchinson asserts that, like most of De Palma's films, Passion will please an audience simply seeking entertainment, while also offering layers of meaning for those interested in digging deeper. "This is a De Palma film that celebrates De Palma films while simultaneously mocking them," writes Hutchinson. "With spectacular performances across the board, an especially effective trademark split-screen moment, and the modern wit to suggest that the ubiquitous Apple laptop is the new symbolic phallus of easy power (also the tool of its eventual inevitable downfall), Passion is an exquisitely enjoyable summation of its director’s past triumphs streamlined into a sexy morality tale for today’s bizarre, superficial world."

Another self-professed De Palma fan, The Highlighter's Alex Greenberger, writes that "Passion is another defiantly satirical film from De Palma, and therefore it’s a work that’s sure to polarize for years to come. For De Palma’s fans (of which I am one), Passion is going to be an extremely rewarding experience, complete with diabolical lesbians, mistaken identities, twins and comments on gender roles. For his detractors, this will be another miserable failure, complete with awful dialogue, mediocre performances and baroque twists." Greenberger highlights that there are essentially two halves to the film. "For the first half, which may be a bit more stolid (and, as a result, a little less successful) than typical De Palma fare, it’s just one entertaining sequence after another. Passion, at its start, plays like a parody of workforce melodrama—something like Disclosure, maybe—with awesomely bad crying and a purposefully overconfident score from Pino Donaggio. Even the performances point to a masterful dissection of the melodrama—McAdams brilliantly says “Call me NEVER!” and throws her phone to the ground with such panache that it’s hard not to be entranced by the intentional mediocrity of this movie. But at a critical moment, one that of course involves a split-screen, since this is the world of Brian De Palma, the film snaps and becomes so formally refined—everything seems to click together at once, and the narrative dramatically perks up." Greenberger goes on to praise the split screen sequence and the cinematography: "It almost goes without saying that the split-screen sequence, which juxtaposes a Claude Debussy ballet with a complex murder and then proceeds to weave in and out of the murderer’s subjectivity, is stunning. But it’s José Luis Alcaine’s super-saturated photography that shines in this film. His beautiful, tight close-ups of the film’s plethora of ridiculous designer shoes are marvelous, but that, combined with De Palma’s directorial abilities, make this film yet another formally concerned (and successful) work."

Floating Heads' Cory Everett writes of De Palma, "After a half decade away from the camera, there’s a certain thrill in seeing the director get back to doing what he does best. In Passion, (a remake of the 2010 French film Love Crime), DePalma finds the perfect vehicle to indulge his cinematic obsessions." Everett echoes the idea that the film is split in half, writing that "the second half of the picture loses some of the trashy fun of the first half but replaces it with rococo camerawork, canted angles, split screens and a heavy dose of film noir lighting courtesy of cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine (on loan from Pedro Almodovar). De Palma also recruits one of his longtime composers Pino Donaggio for a bombastic score. It’s a B-movie and minor work for the filmmaker but still a fair bit of fun for anyone who misses the the feel of those earlier works."

And finally, The Lumière Reader's Brannavan Gnanalingam has posted a late dispatch from Venice, where he experience the boos that greeted both Terrence Malick's To The Wonder and De Palma's Passion. However, while he was not surprised by the booing, Gnanalingam enjoyed both films quite a bit. "Full of narrative twists, femme fatales, double identities, and an absurd lack of subtlety," writes Gnanalingam, "it’s yet another homage to Hitchcock, in a career full of homage. The performances veered eerily close to parody (McAdams as the horrible boss almost fails to convince in her excesses, while Noomi Rapace plays it straight almost to the point of falling asleep), the setting was grand and sneeringly superficial, and the continual narrative contrivances drew laboured groans of agony from some critics. All of this said, it was all rather fun."

Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:48 AM CDT
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