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De Palma a la Mod


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a la Mod:

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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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags


The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

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FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema


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Icebox Movies

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Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

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Every '70s Movie

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No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

Entries by Topic
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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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back in June, when the first trailer for Luc Besson's The Family appeared, we noted that it opens with Robert De Niro, who played Al Capone in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, narrating, "There was a time when I had it all. People would ask me, 'What was it like being untouchable?'" The line simultaneously brings to mind the De Palma film, as well as, perhaps, Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, in which De Niro also starred, but which ended with main character Henry Hill, who narrates about having it all, joining the witness protection program. The Family, which Scorsese has lent his name to as executive producer, finds De Niro's character stuck in a similar situation, and wanting his old life back.

In this new trailer (above), De Niro at one point, apparently reading from his character's memoir, tells us, "Al Capone always said, 'Asking politely with a gun in your hand is better than just asking politely.'" What Capone actually is quoted as saying in real life (and what De Niro says as Capone in The Untouchables) is, "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."

Posted by Geoff at 6:05 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 11:38 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 12:37 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:58 AM CDT
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
"Imagine the Paul Thomas Anderson of There Will Be Blood making a Brian De Palma movie, or Claire Denis directing Christopher Nolan’s Memento. While those superlatives do give you a taste of the striking, sensual disposition simmering in the French-Canadian filmmaker’s engrossing and provocative psychological thriller, it actually does a disservice to Villeneuve’s superb craft and darkened vision that truly has coalesced into something extraordinary this year."

Posted by Geoff at 5:34 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:44 AM CDT
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Here is another batch of links to reviews of Passion, as well as an article from the Los Angeles Times' David Ng about the dancing in some of Brian De Palma's films. Of the ballet sequence in Passion, Ng writes, "The spare production, in which a man and a woman approach and repel each other, is a ballet about the ballet, in much the same way as De Palma's movies have always been about the movies.

"[Jerome] Robbins had his two dancers look directly at the audience, a deliberate attempt to break the fourth wall. De Palma replicates this by having the dancers -- Polina Semionova and Ibrahim Oyku Onal of the Staatsballett Berlin -- look directly into the camera. (The split screen acts as a kind of theatrical proscenium.)

"Their direct gaze is the visual inverse of the action in the second half of the screen -- a grisly murder sequence shot from the point of view of an intruder, with the camera assuming the killer's eyes. The effect is twofold: On the left side of the screen, we are being watched; on the right, we are doing the watching."

Here are some other Passion reviews:

Todd Sokolove, Forces Of Geek ("In Defense of Passion")
"I've never been an apologetic Brian De Palma fan and I'm not about to start apologizing. Recognized and celebrated by many a film geek, and seemingly the entire country of France, De Palma makes polarizing films that often split audiences and critics down the middle. His latest release, Passion, is no exception. It's a kaleidoscope of the auteur's prominent themes and performed tricks. It too, is not for everyone. This new "erotic thriller" has current Rotten Tomatoes score of 36%, but I'd be willing to bet it only fuels DePalma's indifference. Passion presents some sly critique on technology's ability to make anybody an entertainment content creator. I highly doubt he cares about technology's influence on the anybody-can-be-a-film-critic world wide web."

Sokolove also advises to "watch for some great in-joke moments in Passion, including an exact reproduction of a set up from Psycho."

Noel Murray, The Dissolve
"Before Passion ends, De Palma comes through with two sequences (neither of which originated with Love Crime) that can stand among his best: one where Christine is stalked on half a split-screen while the other half shows a fourth-wall-breaking performance of The Afternoon Of A Faun, and another that wordlessly sends four characters in pursuit of each other inside and outside Isabelle’s apartment.

"That latter scene—Passion’s big finish—doesn’t make much literal sense, given what precedes it. The ending is a complete De Palma invention, serving as a loosely related epilogue to the main story, much like the codas De Palma added to his films Carrie and Dressed To Kill. The scene is also a complete hoot. Passion makes glancing comments about ethics, cronyism, and a corporate culture that encourages employees to be cutthroat so long as it helps the company, but as always with De Palma, he’s more riffing on these ideas than making coherent, illuminating statements. He’s primarily interested in choreographing masterful setpieces, where every camera move is precise and the tone is heightened to the point of being tongue-in-cheek.

"Which isn’t to say that Passion is empty. De Palma gets some comic mileage out of the differences between the extroverted, brightly attired Christine and the chillier Isabelle—who can’t even work up a convincing 'I love you' when she has to—which is a sly way of confounding the convention of the femme fatale. (Depending on the viewer’s perspective, the villain of Passion could be Christine, Isabelle, or even Isabelle’s sycophantic assistant Dani, played by Karoline Herfurth.)"

Joshua Brunsting, Criterioncast
"A film chock full of melodramatic twists and turns, this film may be as close to the cinematic manifestation of everything De Palma believes aesthetically, and in that this becomes one of De Palma’s liveliest and most engaging works in at least 20 years. And in that De Palma truly becomes this film’s guiding light and inarguably the most interesting and important factor. Lavishly shot by Jose Luis Alcaine, this piece of work truly seems to be De Palma working at not so much the height of his aesthetic powers, but getting down to the pure seemingly animalistic core of his appreciation for things like German expressionism and, especially, film noir. There are stunning sequences here of beautifully lit sets that seem ripped right out of the cake noir that is Fritz Lang’s Ministry Of Fear, that film’s energy and aesthetic vitality seemingly injected straight into De Palma’s DNA. We also get various handheld sequences and seemingly first person shots that De Palma has been working with since his masterpiece, Blow Out, and even finding De Palma giving love to his key calling card, the brazen aesthetic shocker that is then split diopter shot. Passion is, at its very best, a stunningly shot meditation on the style of film noir, giving a deliciously De Palma sense of eroticism to things that would have become perfect fodder for a filmmaker like the aforementioned Lang."

Ray Pride, New City Film
"From reel to reel, Passion plays less like a succession of expected De Palma setpieces, than as individual, shorter films, each in their own volatile, sometimes clumsy fashion."

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"In Passion, Brian De Palma attempts to bring his trademark style of psycho-sexual thrills to the arena of corporate politics. The result is a ridiculous but entertaining mess. The movie teeters on the edge of camp for awhile, then plunges in headlong."

Posted by Geoff at 1:16 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 4:59 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 7, 2013

On "The Week's Best Sound Bites" page of its current issue (September 13, 2013, with Breaking Bad on the cover), Entertainment Weekly sees fit to highlight a line from Passion spoken by Rachel McAdams. (I apologize for the not-so-great image quality, but I don't have a scanner right now.) The film itself was reviewed by Owen Gleiberman in last week's issue.

Posted by Geoff at 10:00 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 9:36 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 7, 2013 10:49 PM CDT
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 11:48 PM CDT
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In his "Box Office Rap" column, The House Next Door's Clayton Dillard (at Slant) rips into film critics for their lack of support for the artists of the cinema. "The cultural sins of critics who consistently refuse to treat the very art form they cover seriously prevents Passion from getting picked up by Sony Pictures Classics or Fox Searchlight," states Dillard, "thus ensuring its financial and artistic demise, since Entertainment One lacks the resources or track record to entice exhibitors, thus getting the film into just a handful of theaters and simultaneously On Demand. Although [Brian] De Palma ranks among the greatest living American filmmakers, with revisionist academic work and thoughtful online features pleading the case, critics continue to miss the point. Successful cultural historicity depends on a fluid engagement with delineating significance over a period of time that encompasses more than simply the immediate moment. When critics make no mention of De Palma's past work or controversy, it bastardizes film discussion and, frankly, only exists a notch or two above the YouTube comments sections.

"David Edelstein's claim that the film is 'entrancing and narcotizing in equal measure' carries a glibness that speaks to such faulty consideration—as does the capsule-length entirety of his review, with nary a mention of another De Palma film. Serious film criticism should either engage with a work in light of the filmmaker's past work or, at least, thoroughly explain the viewpoint being offered; Edelstein does neither. Even Alan Scherstuhl's positive review for The Village Voice undercuts its enthusiasm by saying 'Passion is pretty good. If you cared enough to make a list, it might be your fifth or sixth favorite De Palma.' Two issues: By claiming the film 'pretty good,' then placing it in the top fourth of De Palma's work, Scherstuhl's uses the same glib tone as Edelstein, as if to belittle the significance of 'a new De Palma film,' as Quentin Tarantino once called it; and by relegating film culture simply to listing of 'favorites,' the implication is that De Palma's work isn't worthy of more serious contemplation or consideration, as rankings will suffice.

"De Palma isn't the only casualty here, as the same thing happened earlier this year with Terrence Malick and To the Wonder, which likewise received a simultaneous On Demand and limited theatrical release, while critics thumbed their noses with rampant claims of 'self-parody.' If critics fumble at identifying important cultural markers (whether Passion is 'good' or 'bad' is less important than the track record of its filmmaker), then what chance do audiences have of being expected to perform anything remotely similar? This is less about 'bad reviews' than unthinking reviews: Obviously, for a critic to dislike the film is perfectly within bounds, but to neglect giving the film more attention, prominence, and a word count exceeding 116—now that's irresponsible. So, if you want to see a thriller this weekend, the multiplex offers Closed Circuit or Getaway...take your pick."

Posted by Geoff at 1:21 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 1:22 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 11:17 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:40 PM CDT
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