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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


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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
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AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014
If you haven't been able to watch Arrow Video's Blu-Ray release of Brian De Palma's The Fury from last year, you can at least view a short clip from a special feature produced by Fiction Factory, in which cinematographer Richard H. Kline discusses working on the film. "The Fury, to me," Kline says in the video clip, "looking back now 35 years, whatever it was, in re-running it to prepare for this interview, I’m going to put it at probably one of the best pictures I’ve ever made, technically—you’re never aware of the technique. With the reality, the freshness of it. Seeing it again, it reminded me of how good it is. It really… De Palma did a terrific job of directing it, without a doubt."

There is a nice long interview article with Kline, covering his entire career, in the current issue (Vol. 10, Issue 28) of Cinema Retro. Alas, the writer of the piece glides right on by The Fury-- must have been conducted prior to the Arrow video and Kline's refreshed opinion of the film.

Posted by Geoff at 12:49 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Rick Ross, whose love for Brian De Palma's Scarface is well known, released his latest album, Mastermind, earlier this month. Here are a couple of review clips:

Christopher R. Weingarten, Rolling Stone
"Reflective, a little nervous, full of references to feds intervening, Mastermind plays like the first Ross album that's actually seen the last act of Scarface.

Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times
"Perhaps Rick Ross simply took his drug-lord act as far as it could go with 2012's God Forgives, I Don't, in which the portly Miami rapper somehow made a seizure he'd suffered on a private jet sound like the mark of a true player. But for the first time in a career that's gotten only more interesting since his background as a corrections officer was revealed, Ross has run out of imaginative ways to describe his power on his latest.

"'Before the crib you gotta clear the guard's gate,' he brags of his home in 'Rich Is Gangsta,' 'Elevators like Frank's on Scarface.' Snooze."

Posted by Geoff at 11:55 PM CDT
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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Scarface remake just got a lot more interesting. The Wrap's Jeff Sneider reports that Chilean director Pablo Larraín is in negotiations to direct Universal's remake of Scarface. Larraín's first film, Tony Manero (pictured above), has a violent main character, who looks like a middle-aged Al Pacino, obsessed with John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever.

Taking place in 1978, at the height of Travolta/disco mania, the character works as "a metaphor for the amorality and viciousness of the Pinochet regime," as the New York Times' Larry Rohter describes in a 2009 article about the film and its makers. Alfredo Castro, the actor who plays the Manera-obsessed Raúl Peralta, told Rohter that the character is "a social outsider, perfectly capable of appropriating the opportunity to kill with impunity. He lacks moral judgment, and his logic is demented, archaic, that of: ‘If the state is killing hundreds, why can’t I?’”

Rohter's article continues:


Released in Chile in 2008, Tony Manero was first shown in the United States at the New York Film Festival last fall. The festival’s program director, Richard Peña, said the film appealed to him because of its ability to convey “the feeling, the texture and tactile sense of life during that time” and its complicated and nuanced view of American pop culture.

Saturday Night Fever becomes a strange double-edged sword,” Mr. Peña said. “On the one hand it is free and easy and democratic and represents freedom and masculine flamboyance. But it also comes from America, which is seen as being at the root of the problem, behind the overthrow of Allende and the installation of Pinochet.”

In addition Mr. Castro’s character looks a lot like Al Pacino, as critics were quick to note after Tony Manero was shown at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Castro and Mr. Larraín said they were amused by the comments that similarity has provoked, which they believe underline and amplify their theme of cultural domination. “The interesting thing is that here you have a Chilean actor who tries to look like John Travolta and ends up being said to look like Al Pacino,” Mr. Larraín said. “He’s never Alfredo Castro. He’s always somebody else, and what he does in the film is exactly that too.”

Mr. Castro added: “It’s like I’ve been erased, and there is something symbolic about that.”


In October of 2012, Deadline's Mike Fleming reported that Universal had hired Donnie Brasco screenwriter Paul Attanasio to rewrite David Ayer's original draft of the Scarface remake. In December of 2012, Latino Review's El Mayimbe claimed to have discovered, via unnamed sources, that the new Tony (not Montana, nor Manero) "is actually Mexican and the remake takes place in the world of drug cartels."

Now The Wrap reports that the new Scarface "will reimagine the core immigrant story told in both the 1932 and 1983 films. Universal's update will be an original story set in modern day Los Angeles that follows a Mexican immigrant's rise in the criminal underworld as he strives for the American Dream." The Wrap also states that the current draft of the screenplay is by Attanasio.

Sneider writes, "The filmmakers plan to cast an authentic Latino who is bilingual and bicultural as the lead character, whose name will be Tony, though his last name won't be Camonte (1932) or Montana (1983). While Oscar Isaac, Edgar Ramirez and Michael Pena rank among Hollywood's top Latino stars who are age-appropriate for the role, the producers are also open to casting a complete unknown in the name of authenticity." Sneider adds that "the new Scarface will be a more mythic origin story that explores where Tony's physical and emotional wounds come from and how they shaped him as a man.

"Larraín won the coveted job with his commanding and passionate vision. An insider told The Wrap that Larraín really connected to the material and, as someone who has never worked within the Hollywood studio system, he brought an outsider perspective that allowed him to relate to the main character and his narrative. "Harry Potter filmmaker David Yates had previously been in negotiations to direct but his commitment to Tarzan prevented him from signing on."

The new Scarface is being produced by Martin Bregman, who produced the Brian De Palma version, and Marc Shmuger.

Posted by Geoff at 8:30 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 1:19 AM CST
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Thanks to Donald for letting us know about the TCM Cinéma video embedded above. Below is a transcript of what Brian De Palma says in the video:

Well, you discover that you can tell stories in pictures, and you have these images, and you know how to photograph them, and you start out with a camera, and you take a lot of images, and you construct a story in which you employ these images, and then you put it up on the screen, and you see if anybody’s interested.

When I was very young, I was fascinated by computers. I built many of them, and won many science fairs.

[Talking about Blow Out] I was sort of fascinated by the fact that even if you had the correct information about the Kennedy assassination, no one would care. And I also wanted to create the mystery that can only be solved with filmic means. Only by syncing the sound, the basic building block of cinema solved the mystery. I wanted to use a purely cinematic visual to solve the mystery. And that’s why I think it’s so effective.

There’s a big white canvas up there. You can hold the audience with a series of images that are poetic and dramatic. And it takes a lot of thought in order to create these sequences. Non-verbal cinema is something that has almost died in the last couple of decades.

I like Rear Window. It’s a very clever idea, shooting everything from Jimmy Stewart’s point of view, and keeping the movie in the apartment of Jimmy Stewart, and dealing with the fact that he can’t get up and do anything, because he’s in a wheelchair.

Well, Hitchcock showed a way of telling a movie with pictures. And he was a genius at producing these sequences in his movies, and nobody really is following in that tradition.

And I remember seeing Vertigo when I went to college. Well, Vertigo is a movie that greatly affected me. I have used the idea and images in it throughout my career.

Some great cineaste once said the history of cinema is about men photographing women, and I think that’s pretty much true. I’ve made stories with lots of men in them, like The Untouchables, or Scarface, but if you’re interested in beauty, you’re interested in photographing women.

When I read about the incident in Iraq, about the rape and killing of an innocent Iraqi girl, I said, well, this is just like Casualties Of War, except it’s happening again. It was a great story, and a very tragic story. But our invasion and destruction of Vietnam was very much like the rape and murder of this girl. It was the best story from out of the Vietnam war. To me, it represented everything wrong we were doing there. [Now back to talking about Redacted] When I did the search about the original incident on the internet, it came up with all these blogs, and YouTube postings, and a montage of Iraqi casualties. [It was] totally original, in a whole new language, and that’s the form in which I told the story. I’d like to use their own dialogue, the real things that they said, but I couldn’t, because they were being prosecuted while the movie was being made. I’m afraid to say that if you haven’t learned from the lessons of the past, you’re doomed to repeat them, and obviously, America did not learn from those experiences in Vietnam. So maybe you have to tell the same story again so that maybe they’ll get it this time.

There were some very good reviews, but again, it was not an image of American soldiers that anybody wanted to see. Because it’s too disturbing. They don’t want to see the pictures. They don’t want to see the images. They don’t want to think that their soldiers are [anything] but valiant crusaders planting democracy in a mid-east country. And they’re difficult movies to get made, and you can only make them after you have some kind of success. And they sort of will not prevent you from making something that you think is important to be produced. Somehow because you’ve made a successful movie, they think you’re a charmed director, and you can make a success out of anything.

This is the Turner channel? I watch this channel a lot!

Posted by Geoff at 1:13 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 6:02 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

James Rebhorn, who so memorably played DA Norwalk in Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, passed away peacefully Friday afternoon from Melanoma. Rebhorn was a well-loved character actor who appeared in many many films and TV shows, and appeared with Al Pacino in Martin Brest's Scent Of A Woman, a year before the two worked together again on Carlito's Way. His agent, Dianne Busch, tells Deadline, "He was a wonderful, wonderful man. I represented him since 1990, and I represented him for my entire career. He was an absolute joy to work with. He was very funny and was warm. He was drawn to projects with a social conscience. One of his favorite movies that he did was Lorenzo’s Oil because it made a difference. He had a very strong faith and loved his family. His family was extremely important to him and I saw him make career sacrifices for them."

Posted by Geoff at 7:25 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 23, 2014 7:27 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Variety's Justin Chang on Open Windows:

"A fiendishly inventive thriller built around an audacious if unsustainable gimmick, Open Windows elevates Hitchcockian suspense to jittery new levels of mayhem and paranoia. Essentially conceived as a technologically sophisticated mash-up of Rear Window and Rope, this latest mind-bender from Spanish genre trickster Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial) unfolds entirely in one carefully manipulated 'shot,' with the camera glued to the lead character’s computer screen, employing desktop videos, images and pop-ups to tell its lurid tale of celebrity obsession, stalking, hacking, surveillance, blackmail and murder. Barely maintaining coherence if not plausibility, the compulsively watchable result should enjoy a vigorous fest and VOD life; fitting as it might be to stream it on your laptop, its complex visual layers and blink-and-you-miss-’em plot turns are best suited to the bigscreen.

"One of former adult star Sasha Grey’s higher-profile vehicles since her mainstream debut in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, Open Windows also plays like a companion piece of sorts to Eugenio Mira’s Grand Piano, another recent thriller in which a justifiably freaked-out Elijah Wood found himself at the mercy of a menacingly disembodied voice. If that film suggested an ivory-tickling riff on Brian De Palma, then Vigalondo’s picture feels like a high-tech Hitch homage on speed, one that exerts a strong narrative grip for about an hour before tumbling down a discomfiting series of rabbit holes that strain credulity and internal logic to the breaking point."

Posted by Geoff at 5:18 PM CDT
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Thanks to Antonios for posting the above video onto YouTube. It's a CNN Showbiz clip from 1992 about Brian De Palma's Raising Cain, and it features interviews with De Palma and his wife at the time, Gale Anne Hurd, who produced the film. The pair brought the film in more than one million dollars under its $12 million budget, De Palma having gone extravagant on the film he made at Warner Bros. immediately beforehand, The Bonfire Of The Vanities. In the above video, De Palma tells CNN's Jim Moret, "It's sometimes an artistic challenge to work within limitations, as opposed to having all the money in the world to do anything."

A lot of discussion in the video is about how De Palma mixes satire with horror in Raising Cain, using humor as a set-up for springing a shock on the viewer. De Palma also attempts to separate his movies from those of Alfred Hitchcock. "Even my thrillers, I mean, most people want to compare me to him. They're very much me, and very much my sensibility. And what I find similar in Hitchcock is his incredible visual sense in telling stories. And that's something anybody can learn from."

Indeed, you can see De Palma's sensibility from movie to movie. Look at the scene in The Bonfire Of The Vanities, how he highlights the ridiculous rationale behind Sherman taking his dog out for a walk in the rain (so that he can call his mistress on a payphone away from his wife), underlining the humor with the shot of the dog being dragged along the floor by his leash. That scene has a correlative in Raising Cain, when Jenny tells herself that she can't let Jack open Carter's gift, and sneaks out of the house underneath her husband's nose in the middle of the night to sneak into Jack's hotel room. That ridiculous notion (what really would be the harm in Jack opening that gift?) is simply a rationale for disaster, and although it happens in a dream this time (Jenny's dream logic?), you get the sense that an equally ridiculous notion would happen with Jenny when it comes to Jack either way, as long as it ultimately gets her into his bed. Although the Bonfire scene (and in particular the shot of the dog mentioned above) is played a bit more broadly for a definite laugh, the scene in Raising Cain might not seem so funny until the second time you watch it, after you know everything that has and hasn't happened-- it's one of those scenes CNN's Moret might have been thinking of when he tells De Palma he may have felt uncomfortable laughing, not knowing whether or not something was meant to be funny. De Palma assures him it was-- that's the De Palma sensibility.

Posted by Geoff at 12:58 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 4:49 PM CDT
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Thursday, March 20, 2014
Brian De Palma's Passion has made yet another list of the best films of 2013, this one from a "ragtag band of scattered cinephiles" that strives to "recognize noteworthy achievements from the previous year in cinema, unswayed by awards-season hype." Together, they vote for the Muriel Awards. The 2013 list features several ties, including Passion, tied with Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives at number 42. Each of the films had three votes. The Golden Muriel for 2013 went to Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, with 32 votes.

Posted by Geoff at 12:02 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:04 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Above is the opening image of Bigas Luna's Anguish, which the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs felt compelled to write about this week. Here's the opening segment of his Bleader blog post:

Since invoking Spanish genre entertainment in my review of Non-Stop, I've been thinking a lot about Bigas Luna (Jamon, Jamon), the Spanish writer-director who passed away last year at the age of 67. Luna excelled at the flamboyant stylization that I associate with a particular strain of Spanish filmmaking, coupling deliberately outlandish plots with deliberately show-offy camerawork. "Luna's point," Fred Camper wrote of his 1998 film Chambermaid on the Titanic (released in the U.S. as The Chambermaid), "is that one can enjoy [overblown] fantasies and still acknowledge them as false," a sentiment conveyed by all of his work. Here was a filmmaker who worked hard but didn't take himself too seriously—even the shallowest movies of his I've seen have made me smile.

Of the Luna works I know, I'm most partial to his English-language horror film Anguish (1987) because a large section of it takes place in a movie theater. It's comparable to Brian De Palma's work in its over-the-top suspense set pieces and its hall-of-mirrors plot. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend saving the rest of this post until you do. You'll have to rent it, though, as I doubt if any theater will revive it soon, for reasons I'll explain below.

Anguish begins as a quasi-spoof of psycho-killer movies, in which a timid optometrist (Michael Lerner, an actor I've always enjoyed for his resemblance to Randy Newman) murders people and plucks out their eyes while acting under the telepathic control of his overbearing mother (Zelda Rubinstein, best known as psychic Tangina Barrons in the Poltergeist movies). I say "quasi-spoof" because the scary sequences really deliver the goods. Like De Palma, Luna deconstructs the mechanics of suspense filmmaking without sacrificing suspense, acknowledging that sometimes it's just fun to be scared.


Posted by Geoff at 8:29 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:30 PM CDT
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At a press junket for Captain America: Winter Soldier, Den Of Geek's Don Kaye interviewed the film's screenwriting duo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The movie, which will be released in theaters April 4, was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. In giving an example of what it is like to work with the directors, McFeely mentions Brian De Palma, suggesting a possible influence, at least for a scene. Here's the interview excerpt:

Den Of Geek: What’s your interaction been like with the Russos? Is it interesting for you guys to work with a co-directing team?

Markus: It’s been really great, very collaborative. It is interesting to work with another team, because I think when there’s two versus one on either side it can feel unintentionally like ganging up. But when there’s four people it just becomes this very free flowing exchange where, you know, one of us and one Russo can side against the other Russo and the other writer.

McFeely: That happens a lot.

Markus: It’s like whole new teams have developed. It’s a different Marvel team-up.

Den Of Geek: Right.

Markus: But seriously, we had a draft before they came in and they saw everything we were trying to do and, you know, took it to another level and it had all the right reference points.

McFeely: When directors come in and say this scene should be like early Brian De Palma, we go, oh yeah, of course it should.


Screen Daily's Mark Adams has an early review for Captain America: Winter Soldier in which he says it "is closer to a 1970s conspiracy thriller than a muscle-bound superhero effects-driven romp." Adams adds that the casting of Robert Redford "helps consolidate" this link, evoking films such as Three Days Of The Condor.

Posted by Geoff at 7:51 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:38 PM CDT
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