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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
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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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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De Palma interviewed
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Fly Rule

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Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
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Scarface: Make Way
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Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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Offices of Death Records

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italkyoubored

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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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Are Snakes Necessary?
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Saturday, September 6, 2014
TIFF NOTES - RED CARPET PICS, SCREENINGS, ETC.
'HAPPY VALLEY' SCREENWRITER DAVID MCKENNA ALSO INDICATES HE IS AT THE FESTIVAL
Brian De Palma is pictured here with his friend Greta Gerwig, who appears with Al Pacino in Barry Levinson's The Humbling, which had its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival Thursday. The photo is one of several taken by Jemal Countess that appear on the WireImage page of pics from the event. We can bet that Gerwig and De Palma will be in attendance for tonight's world premiere of Noah Baumbach's While We're Young.

Another interesting note: Pacino and De Palma are working on bringing the Joe Paterno story Happy Valley to the screen, and in a message posted on his Twitter page Friday, that film's screenwriter, David McKenna, wrote, "Bill Murray Day here in Toronto." And indeed, Friday September 5th was Bill Murray Day at TIFF, during which it held free screenings of three Bill Murray classics, leading up to last night's world premiere of Murray's new film, Theodore Melfi's St. Vincent. Seriously wowed, Deadline's Pete Hammond says it has the best performance of Murray's career.

'FORCE MAJEURE'

According to a tweet posted by Ethaniel Vestby, De Palma also attended a Friday morning screening of Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure, which has been well-received by critics. "Östlund masterfully manages the marital tensions that drive the film's plot forward," writes The House Next Door's Tomas Hachard, "while imbuing the scenario with these carefully layered philosophical reflections. He tells us as much visually as through the dialogue and is all the more powerful for that restraint. The static and uncut shot of the avalanche lets Tomas's dash stand out within the larger panic of the situation without grossly accentuating it. Throughout the film, Östlund contrasts wide-angle, magisterial outdoor shots of Tomas and his family skiing—free, as it were, in the grand isolation of nature—with tightly framed shots of the family together inside the hotel, cramped against each other and breaking through the margins of the frame. There's hardly a moment when Östlund's command of tone and pacing, his clarity of expression, isn't on display, all of which makes Force Majeure thrilling, intellectual, and beautiful at once. With time, the film digs ever deeper into the frayed psyches of its characters, and if the finale doesn't leave us mired in a confused battle of humans against their worst instincts, it certainly leaves us wrangling with any illusion that civilized behavior is a natural instinct."

'NIGHTCRAWLER'

A couple of TIFF reviews so far have briefly mentioned De Palma in interesting ways (or at least, in ways that may be of interest). CraveOnline's Brian Formo says that "Jake Gyllenhaal is creepy, and very funny" in Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler. Formo writes that "while an 'it bleeds it leads' tv news critique has been done numerous times, Gilroy has his sights set on a film that’s more Brian De Palma than Network. As [Gyllenhaal's] Lou works exclusively at night to feed Nina’s late night segments, he becomes a scavenger, searching for bodies and consuming their last breaths with his camera. In a world where people feel like access to everything private will create a better story he begins entering the homes of the victims. He becomes interested in framing shots. It starts with moving family photos on a fridge to being placed in between two bullet holes. It will escalate to creating shootout situations so that he can be there to film the high speed pursuit. And he legitimizes everything because they’re all a means to expand his business model.

"Gyllenhaal lost weight for Nighcrawler. He’s slender as a snake. His eyes are puffy. We never see him eat. Even when he takes Nina out to a Mexican restaurant in an uncomfortable quid pro quos scene (maybe he’s been reading some men’s rights blogs). The reason why he’s closer to De Niro’s Pupkin than Travis Bickle is that, while he is lonely, he’s aware that one has to try to be likable in order to succeed. So he smiles a lot and often at the wrong time. He’s extra-composed and aware when he’s being filmed by a security camera. And he performs for people like he’s always mugging for an uncaring camera.

"What makes Nightcrawler enjoyable is that Gyllenhaal finds humor in his role without ever making fun of his character. It’s actually a very funny performance. Lou can convince people that his methods are sound because he delivers them with a soft voice that can also aggregate various quick-source news articles on the spot for some sort of leverage. And longtime screenwriter, first-time director Gilroy (here armed with Paul Thomas Anderson’s main cinematographer Robert Elswit) films one hell of a meta shootout and police chase. Lou already seemed uncomfortably desensitized to dead bodies. But his interest in finding the right mis en scene for his increasingly staged scenarios that has dead bodies created in front of him is deliciously macabre."

PLAY WITHIN 'CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA' RESEMBLES 'LOVE CRIME'

Meanwhile, Twitch's Kurt Halfyard notes the story of Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria includes a play that "bears remarkable similarity to Alain Corneau's final film, Love Crime (which was recently remade by Brian De Palma as Passion.)" Rado points out for us that Sylvie Barthet, who has worked as a producer on several of Assayas' films, was also a producer on De Palma's Passion. Describing the plot of Assayas' latest, Halfyard writes, "In Clouds of Sils Maria, he has Juliette Binoche playing a fictional version of herself named Maria Enders. An actress at a point in her career where she is an international movie [star] who did a stint in Hollywood blockbusters before returning to the European art house and stage. A young director asks her to appear in his revival of the play that made her famous, only this time she will be playing the broken-down wealthy businesswoman part instead of the aggressive and domineering young personal assistant who sexually dominates the stage...

"The middle portion of Clouds of Sils Maria, the best portion of the film, sees Enders living in isolation in the Swiss mountains, negotiating a messy divorce and occasionally going for a hike all the while rehearsing the part with her own personal assistant. Kristen Stewart in tangled hair and random tattoos, exuding the casual confidence and 'above-it-all' attitude that often gets the Twilight-actress excruciated by the media at Awards shows, delivers a convincing, performance as the personal assistant, Valentine.

"The rehearsal starts to mimic the content of the play, in subtle ways, only with many more messy complications. Enders is trying to play the older part, but cannot shake her desire and her memories of the younger. There is possible sexual attraction between Binoche and Stewart, but really it is more about the envy of unfettered freedom of youth, as opposed to the obligation and baggage of age.

"An overly simple read of the film would be that the personal assistant is merely a figment of the actress's psyche. Assays peppers the visual language of the film with many hints and visual cues, notably strange cellphone reception on a train in the films opening, and a stylized double-exposed driving sequence when Stewart returns from a sexual tryst with a photographer and vomits on the side of the road. Clouds of Sils Maria would make a curious double-bill with Binoche's other recent breezy self-reflective puzzle, Certified Copy. You can try to parse the details of what is going on in both films, but really you should just sit back and take in the universal human bits that make both films great. The truth however, that cinema is an object, and our own perspective, and viewpoints shape what is perceived to be going on, is the brain of the film, while Juliette Binoche essaying an aging actress grappling with this, is the heart.

"The emotionally vulnerable aging actress is also obsessed with the young Hollywood tabloid train wreck who is cast in the role that made Enders famous. A small role occupied by Chloe-Grace Moretz has some fun with TMZ internet celebrity, old-timer european paparazzo, and pop-blockbuster cinema. There is even a silly, sci-fi action movie created in the film, featuring Moretz's character that is exposition heavy to the point of hilarity."


Posted by Geoff at 2:42 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 8, 2014 4:29 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 4, 2014
MORE PICS FROM PACINO GALA
AND DE PALMA ATTENDED TIFF SCREENING OF 'THE HUMBLING' THURSDAY


The National Post's Ishmael N. Daro posted some pictures Thursday from the Al Pacino-focused charity gala Wednesday night. Above, from left to right: TIFF Director Piers Handling, Ivan Reitman, Norman Jewison, Al Pacino, Brian De Palma and Barry Levinson.

Meanwhile, according to Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411, De Palma attended a screening of Levinson's Pacino-starring The Humbling on Thursday. "Famed novelist Philip Roth really owes Oscar winning director Barry Levinson," Friedman states in his recap. "The Rain Man director has made a stellar, quirky, and really hilarious film out of Roth’s novel The Humbling. I think it’s Levinson’s best work in years, hugely accomplished for its mixed tones of utter zaniness and comic beauty.

"Al Pacino is simply outstanding as Simon Axler, a fading self obsessed famous theater actor who does a swan dive off a Broadway stage and announces his retirement. At a country house he falls into a relationship with Pegeen (luminous Greta Gerwig), daughter of his friends (Dianne Wiest and Dan Hedaya). Nina Arianda has a scene stealing recurring role as a super fan Simon meets in a psychiatric hospital.

"The audience last night at the Elgin loved this film. No less a presence than Brian DePalma was in the theater. You know a movie’s good when the introductory speech is short– no horsing around, just 'here’s the movie.' When Levinson and Pacino made quick remarks, I thought, wow, they know what they’ve got and they want us to see it. Not to be missed is a hilarious scene in a veterinarian’s waiting room. It recalls the tone of Levinson’s Wag the Dog."


Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 5, 2014 6:55 PM CDT
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FOR TBT, NANCY ALLEN POSTS 'BLOW OUT' SET PIC


Nancy Allen posted the picture above to her Facebook page today, for Throwback Thursday. "John [Travolta] always said his nose looked like a potato," Allen explains in a comment to her post, "so the second AC spent weeks carving out potatos and as you can see everyone had a unique one. We all put them on, and then John was called to set. and when he got there we all turned around to face him. It was pretty funny. So glad this picture turned up. I have wonderful memories from that shoot."

Posted by Geoff at 6:41 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2014 6:42 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014
TIFF RED CARPET PHOTOS - CHARITY GALA
THESE AND MORE POSTED AT O.Canada.com - Kenai Andrews blog


Posted by Geoff at 8:08 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 8:10 PM CDT
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PACINO ON STAGE TONIGHT AT PRE-TIFF EVENT
DE PALMA, LEVINSON, JEWISON WILL ALSO BE PRESENT
Al Pacino is pictured here from the Venice Film Festival this past weekend, where he made a big splash with two world premiere movies. Now tonight (Wednesday), he will be in Toronto, where, according to The Star's Martin Knelman, Pacino will be interviewed on stage by George Stroumboulopoulos in a fundraising event related to the Toronto International Film Festival, which officially kicks off Thursday. In his article, Knelman adds, "Three famous directors who have worked with Pacino will also be present: Barry Levinson, Norman Jewison and Brian De Palma." Pacino and De Palma are revving up to shoot their third film together, the Joe Paterno picture, Happy Valley.

ZACHAREK: PACINO'S "PERFORMANCE IN 'CARLITO'S WAY' IS THE ZENITH HE'LL NEVER TOP"
Pacino stars in Levinson's new movie, The Humbling, which will have its North American premiere at TIFF Thursday night. Based on a Philip Roth novel that Pacino had acquired the rights to, the film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last weekend, where it moved LA Weekly's Stephanie Zacharek to compare it to one of Pacino's De Palma performances. "The Humbling," writes Zacharek, "...is a bracing and fascinating piece of work, a movie made by an old man, about an old man, starring an old man, from source material written by an old man. Those factors aren’t a liability – they’re what give The Humbling its bittersweet vitality. Pacino is marvelous here – he writes in big, loud loops, as usual, and just when you want to suggest that maybe, just for a bit, he might try to use his Indoor Voice, he pulls himself back to reveal the gruff, subterranean grandeur that made him a great actor in the first place. [Greta] Gerwig is the weak link here: She doesn’t have the aura of hauteur you need to play the womanly schemer – there’s nothing remotely mysterious about her. But Pacino makes us believe that there is: When he looks at her, he’s an anguished lion with a thorn in his paw – his eyes hold the weary truth that if love will kill you, not loving at all will kill you quicker. Pacino is so good at being lovesick that, even if his performance in Carlito’s Way is the zenith he’ll never top, it’s still a deep, shivery pleasure to watch him play a man consumed with love. If we ever get too old for that, it’s the end of movies as we know them."

Zacharek liked (loved) The Humbling much more than she did Pacino's other Venice world premiere, David Gordon Green's Manglehorn. However, some critics seemed to have the reverse opinion about each of these. In his review of Manglehorn, The Guardian's Xan Brooks writes, "Pacino's Manglehorn is a subtle master class in neutral shading, with none of the garish flashes that sometimes bedevil his work. The actor's natural tendency is to hit for the fences and crank up the volume, often magnificently (Dog Day Afternoon), occasionally not (The Scent of a Woman). But Manglehorn provides him with a grand late renaissance, a fresh string to his bow. It takes the splenetic livewire of American film and installs him as condemned human property, boarded up and fenced off. The irony is that, by playing this wreck, Pacino looks as vital and exciting as he did in his pomp."

[Note: In July of last year, De Palma appeared on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, where he talked about Passion, played around with the idea of texting during dates, discussed the lack of a current counterculture in film, Robert De Niro, and quotes from Scarface.]


Posted by Geoff at 5:12 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2014 7:16 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
Venice Film Fest review of Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes


"What makes this so thrilling as drama isn’t simply the fact of Dennis’s corruption but the speed with which it happens. In a deeply plausible, surprisingly un-filmic way, he only gets around to wrestling with his conscience when it’s too late for the result to make any odds.

"Perhaps Bahrani is invoking Brian De Palma’s Scarface in the Florida setting: certainly, Carver’s nihilistic state-of-the-nation rants recall Tony Montana in his self-actualising pomp, and [Michael] Shannon delivers them with Tyrannosaur charisma. He and [Andrew] Garfield are an ideal double-act, and the possibility of a late Damascene conversion for either man seems unlikely, but never out of the question."


Posted by Geoff at 11:56 PM CDT
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Monday, September 1, 2014
'DRESSED TO KILL' IN MELBOURNE SEPT. 20
NANCY ALLEN & KEITH GORDON TO PROVIDE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTRO FOR CINEMANIACS SCREENING
Cinemaniacs, a film society in Melbourne, Australia, will present a screening of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill September 20th at The Backlot Studios. Cinemaniacs screens cult films and fan favorites once a month, and its theme this year is "I Love New York: Celebrating Films of the Big Apple."

Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon will provide an exclusive video introduction for the screening, and Allen has also sent along several signed 8x10's for the society to include as part of its prize giveaways that night. More details and trivia can be found on the Cinemaniacs Facebook page.

(Thanks to Justine!)


Posted by Geoff at 12:05 AM CDT
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Saturday, August 30, 2014
'PHANTOM' AT THE MET IN WINNIPEG NOV. 1ST
AND GLENN KENNY CAPSULE REVIEWS THE 'PHANTOM' BLU-RAY
Tickets go on sale this Tuesday (September 2nd) for a special dinner-and-a-movie event at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre in Winnipeg, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The event will take place November 1st, with a cocktail reception at 5:30pm, a buffet-style dinner at 6pm, and the movie itself at 7:30pm.

Phantompalooza's Gloria Dignazio tells the Winnipeg Free Press' Randall King that she brought her personal copy of the Blu-ray to the Met to test it out. King writes that she "was thrilled to note how much the refurbished Donald Street venue actually resembles the 'Paradise' of the film, especially in the scene in which Gerrit Graham's glam buffoon Beef is electrocuted onstage." Dignazio then adds, "It's gorgeous. The theatre has got two balconies on either side (of the screen) and we're actually going to put the Phantom mannequin up there in one of them. It's going to be pretty cool."

(Thanks to Rod!)

Meanwhile, Glenn Kenny posted a Blu-ray consumer guide on his Some Came Running blog, and included a capsule review of Scream Factory's Phantom set:

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The most eccentric of Brian De Palma’s ‘70s films, and if that sounds like a “and that’s saying something” kind of pronouncement, it sure is. But watch this and try to tell me I’m wrong. This new transfer has a very neon bright look, which seems appropriate to the pop art material. It is very different from the French version I got a few years back, which is much more subdued. And I never got the Arrow edition, which is apparently more subdued still. In any event, I like this garish version, makes the whole thing play like the sick live-action cartoon it at least partially is. And is also subjectively attractive to me. There’s a huge number of extras here, some more disciplined/informative than others. The De Palma interview is a real keeper. This is not a universally beloved movie—I saw a film critter of high standing, and not even a psychotronic-averse one, condemn it as “awful” on the Twitter machine just the other day—but if you DO love it, this is the edition to get. Guess where I sit on the issue. —A
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Posted by Geoff at 6:04 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, August 30, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com

"I found The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears to be mesmerizing because it's a weird mix of De Palma-like precision, and Argento-esque immediacy. Which is to say: it feels like a formally accomplished experiment that doesn't need to add up to much to be really impressive. There's so much information swimming on the film's top-heavy surface, especially speculation about how guilt and voyeurism inevitably go hand-in-hand, that the plot's various gaps can be filled in a couple of different ways each time you rewatch it. Cattet and Forzani's confidence as image-makers forces interest in where they take Dan to next, even if it's ultimately nowhere more memorable than a bracing shot or two (the mirror-sex scene is especially memorable). I've deliberately kept the film's plot and many of its details a secret for that reason. The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears is a movie you really should see and judge for yourself since so much of its charms are visceral. It's a pleasure to behold because it doesn't try to be anything more than a beautiful, troubling trip."

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 28, 2014
LITHGOW ON DE PALMA, ROBERTSON, 'OBSESSION'


John Lithgow shares his reflections on seven of his films with The Hollywood Reporter's Tatiana Siegel. Moving chronologically, he begins with Brian De Palma's Obsession:
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"I was of a different generation from Cliff Robertson, but we were playing best friends who age over 25 years. As a 25-year-old I had to play a 50-year-old, and as a 50-year-old he had to play a 75-year-old. He was very much of the movies and I was very much of the theater, so we sort of had to find common ground and that was a very odd experience, but you know we had Brian De Palma on our side. He was super, super prepared. He sort of tore a page out of the Alfred Hitchcock playbook. Everything was done in his mind and shooting a film was a necessary evil, because in his mind it was already done. The actors just had to deliver it. He spent a lot of time sitting in the director's chair just waiting for us to do our work."
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Posted by Geoff at 10:34 PM CDT
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