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De Palma a la Mod

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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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« February 2015 »
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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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The Virtuoso
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The De Palma Touch

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Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

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The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

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

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

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A Lonely Place

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italkyoubored

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Hope Lies at
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Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
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The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

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.
All topics
Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
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Books
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Columbo - Shooting Script
Cop-Out
Cruising
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De Palma (doc)
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George Litto
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015
CRITICWIRE LOOKS AT 'BLOW OUT'
"CLASSIC OF THE WEEK"
IndieWire's "Criticwire Classic of the Week", posted earlier today, is Brian De Palma's Blow Out. "John Travolta is presenting at the Oscars this weekend," writes Max O'Connell, "no doubt in an attempt to make fun of that 'Adele Dazeem' slip-up that stopped being funny about a week after it happened. Before he became an irrepressible ham and punchline with questionable taste in scripts, however, Travolta was one of the most exciting stars to emerge in years, and he got the best showcase for his talents in Brian De Palma's masterpiece Blow Out. Mixing the hooks of Antonioni's Blow-Up (murder mystery caught via photograph) and Coppola's The Conversation (murder plot uncovered via sound recording), De Palma made his best film about the power and the limits of film and voyeurism, as well as his most emotionally devastating work." O'Connell writes a bit more about the film, and then includes excerpts from several reviews of Blow Out over the years.

Posted by Geoff at 11:46 PM CST
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'SNAKE EYES' - A NICOLAS CAGE ACTIVITY BOOK
NOVELTY FROM EAST LONDON PUBLISHER COMES TO AMERICA MARCH 6
Snake Eyes: A Nicolas Cage Activity Book, from Haunt Me Studio, was published in the U.K. in December, and will make its way to the U.S. on March 6th. The description of the 32-page book at Amazon goes like this:

"Nicolas Cage? What a guy. Whether he's kidnapping children, boosting jazzy cars or fighting brutal criminals on a plane, up in the skies - He does it in a unique style which is so, well, Cage-ian. Snake Eyes is our illustrated homage, an activity book full of puzzles, games, colouring in pages, amazing illustrations and the best of times."

The original Haunt Me Studio description goes a little further:

"Nicolas Cage, what a guy. He truly is one the weirdest characters of Hollywood cinema. Whether he's boosting cars, fighting criminals in the skies or generally just kickin' ass - he's our guy! Snake Eyes is our dedication to Nic. You get the chance to Uncage him from mazes and draw him a new face if [his] has been stolen off. Oh, don't forget to dress him up real slick or let him chat girls up at a seedy bar."

(Thanks to Matthew!)


Posted by Geoff at 2:34 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 2:35 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015
'LES VAMPIRES' & 'CARRIE'
CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW TO SEE FULL SCREEN SHOTS TWEETED BY ALEX HELLER-NICHOLAS

Posted by Geoff at 12:05 AM CST
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Monday, February 16, 2015
'PASSION' ON MORE TOP 10 LISTS FROM 2013
CAHIERS DU CINEMA INDIVIDUAL CRITICS' LISTS

I thought I had covered all of the 2013 top ten and best-of lists that included Brian De Palma's Passion with three posts from about a year ago: January 2, 2014, January 8, 2014, and February 6, 2014. However, I should have known to check the individual lists of the critics from Cahiers du Cinéma. Even though Passion did not make the magazine's final top 10 for 2013, De Palma's film did appear on three of the individual lists. Here they are:

Nicolas Azalbert

1.  Educação sentimental
2.  La Vie d'Adèle
3.  L'Inconnu du lac
4.  Spring Breakers
5.  Frances Ha
6.  La fille de nulle part
7.  Passion
8.  La Fille du 14 juillet
9.  Camille Claudel, 1915
10. No  

Jean-Sébastien Chauvin

1.  Lincoln
2.  Shokuzai
3.  La fille de nulle part
4.  Les Rencontres d'après minuit
5.  Passion
6.  L'Inconnu du lac
7.  La jalousie
8.  Cloud Atlas
9.  Gravity
10. La Vie d'Adèle  

Stéphane du Mesnildot

1.  The Immigrant
2.  L'Inconnu du lac
3.  Shokuzai
4.  Passion
5.  The Grandmaster
6.  Les Rencontres d'après minuit
7.  Gravity
8.  La Vie d'Adèle
9.  Django Unchained
10. Le Congrès  

Posted by Geoff at 12:10 AM CST
Updated: Monday, February 16, 2015 12:26 AM CST
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Sunday, February 15, 2015
'WILD TALES' HAS ECHOES OF DE PALMA, SPIELBERG
OSCAR-NOMINATED FILM OPENS IN U.S. FEBRUARY 20


Damián Szifrón's Wild Tales is one of the five movies Oscar-nominated this year for best foreign-language film. And according to the New York Times' Larry Rohter, "In Argentina, Wild Tales has become both the country’s all-time box office champion and a genuine social phenomenon that has made folk heroes of some characters." Rohter adds that the Spanish-language title of Szifrón's film is actually closer to "Savage Tales," and notes that "the opening credits unfurl against a backdrop of tigers, sharks, wolves and other predators in their habitats."

The film is made up of six episodes, each with a different cast and characters, in which someone goes into a vengeful rage. Building on the imagery of the opening credits, Szifrón explains to Rohter, "What differentiates us from animals is our capacity to restrain ourselves. An animal can’t, and is condemned to its instincts. In contrast, we have a fight or flee mechanism, but it comes with a very high cost. Most of us live with the frustration of having to repress oneself, but some people explode. This is a movie about those who explode, and we can all understand why they do. Any time I read about someone who has committed a supposedly irrational or barbarous act, that person doesn’t feel foreign to me." Szifrón later adds that while the six stories may be stylistically different from each other, "they are vital organs of the same body" and "to sustain itself, the movie needed all of them."

A CINEPHILE WHO SAW ALL THE CLASSICS AT A VERY EARLY AGE
In this excerpt from the end of Rohter's article, he discusses Szifrón's influences, which include Brian De Palma:

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Born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires into a Jewish immigrant family with roots in Poland and Russia, Mr. Szifrón was a cinephile as a boy. His father dealt in electronic equipment, and his son early on acquired a VHS player and a digital camera. As a result, Mr. Szifrón said, “I saw all the classics at a very early age.” He began making his own shorts at the age of 9, and before Wild Tales, he had written and directed two movies and a pair of television series that were hits in Latin America.

Wild Tales contains echoes of some of his childhood favorites, among them Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma, as well as The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But in the end, the movie is a very personal distillation of “themes that are in the collective unconscious,” Mr. Szifrón said.

“There are a lot of different things from daily life being processed and given free rein in Wild Tales, violence and vengeance among them,” he continued. “But at its core, what stands out is this pleasure of losing control and the desire for liberation. This is a movie about the desire for freedom, and how this lack of freedom, and the rage and anguish it produces, can cause us to run off the rails.”

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Godfrey Cheshire reviews the film at RogerEbert.com, and concludes that "with a confident, coolly elegant visual style somewhere between Demme and DePalma, Szifron emerges from Wild Tales an international auteur to be reckoned with."

Posted by Geoff at 5:16 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 21, 2015 4:21 PM CST
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Saturday, February 14, 2015
TWO RECENT 'SCARFACE' SPOOFS WE MISSED
SNL'S "A VERY CUBAN CHRISTMAS" & BILL BELICHICK: "SAY GOODNIGHT TO THE BAD GUY"
Thanks to Matthew for sending in these two captures from the Saturday Night Live skit, "A Very Cuban Christmas." The skit, which you can watch on Hulu, originally aired on the December 20th episode. It's a big irreverent jumble thrown together after the U.S. and Cuba made a joint announcement three days earlier that they planned to work together to re-establish diplomatic relations. SNL cast member Kyle Mooney played Tony Montana, with that week's host, Amy Adams, as Elvira. The fictional Montana spouts the fictional declaration that "the best news is, the embargo of Cuba has been lifted. Tell 'em what that means, baby!" Elvira replies, "First we get the money, then we get the cell phone, then we get the Walmart." Tony then says, "That's right! Now why don't you say hello to my little friend-- it's Elian Gonzalez, and he's all grown up!"

GRANTLAND'S "DEFLATEGATE"
Meanwhile, on January 30th, prior to the Super Bowl, Grantland posted the video below to YouTube with the description, "Grantland has cell-phone footage of Bill Belichick at a team dinner addressing the scrutiny the Patriots have been under heading into Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona."


Posted by Geoff at 5:45 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 14, 2015 5:59 PM CST
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BRADLEY COOPER ALSO USES DE PALMA'S NAME
WHEN DESCRIBING POTENTIALLY POWERFUL CAMERA MOVES
Discussing his lead role in American Sniper with Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr., Bradley Cooper contrasted the "no frills" style that Clint Eastwood was going for (which included the absence of music until the use of an old Morricone piece at the end) with a more theatrical style, and he mentioned Brian De Palma as an example-- a sort of shorthand to describe the type of camera move he wants to suggest. Here's the exchange:
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DEADLINE: As you build your production company now with Todd Phillips, how has this philosophy of stripping down to the core influenced how you look at a piece of material?
COOPER: It’s there. But I’ve been very lucky to be brought up by great storytellers, starting with JJ Abrams initially on Alias. I’m from the East Coast and got planted out there in LA and it was like a self-imposed grad school for film. I’d go to the end of the room every day and get everybody’s dailies on videotape and watch them. I learned so much there just about the mechanics of it. Then I learned more on this movie The Midnight Meat Train. With Limitless I really got to work on story, and that brings me to David O. Russell, who is all about that. Where’s the f*cking heart, where’s the f*cking heart, give me the real thing, drop the bullsh*t. He loves to celebrate life and nostalgia and comedy, but there is no bullsh*t. And when you’re working with him, you better not f*cking act.

DEADLINE: He’s not a fan of theatrics?
COOPER: No. He wants to see your soul. I’ve had it jammed in me for so long that by the time I landed on Sniper, I was ready for the way Clint operates. It’s always about, what are we getting at here? There it is, there’s the f*cking mitochondria, this is the sh*t right here, that’s the powerhouse. So, we were on the same page, me and Clint, and that meant no frills, let’s just tell a simple story. We knew that character was charismatic. The guy’s amazing. He’s fucking huge. He’s got this amazing voice. He’s got this levity about him. He has this way of thinking about the world that I’ve never seen on film, quite frankly. When the psychiatrist asks him about himself and how he’s doing, you’re not expecting that answer. I wasn’t. But that’s real to him and you’re looking in his eyes and thinking, what’s going on there? That’s interesting to us, that’s an interesting enough character to fill the frame. You don’t have to come up on a f*cking Brian De Palma thing or come overhead like…no, that’s it, right here.

DEADLINE: Or having the shrink comment that his eyes betray the fact he’s not right?
COOPER: Yeah, well, that’s just Jason Hall making it real, but we were all on the same page. Chris led the way.


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Posted by Geoff at 10:41 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 14, 2015 3:17 PM CST
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Thursday, February 12, 2015
CULT DIRECTOR INTERVIEWED PACINO IN 1993
ARTICLE IS INTERVIEW/REVIEW OF 'CARLITO'S WAY' - "TEDIOUS MELODRAMA"
Michael Cartel, whose 1982 movie, Runaway Nightmare, was remastered and released on Blu-ray last year, was not a fan of Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way when he interviewed Al Pacino upon the film's release. Cartel recently posted the 1993 interview/review on his Runaway Nightmare website. In the interview, Pacino tells Cartel that he read the Edwin Torres books "long before I did Scarface," and worked on the idea of a movie adaptation for years. Meanwhile, Cartel writes in the article that he was "miffed" that Pacino took on this project just after his Oscar win for Scent Of A Woman.

Elsewhere, Cartel asks Pacino what it is like to be a method actor and work within De Palma's complicated setups. "Suppose you were in a scene," Pacino responds, "and you have to do something and you go through this whole thing and you do it and then the camera had to go through it. So that can be a little nerve wracking from time to time. But you know, you get over it and understand these movies and you can see how they pay off... He [De Palma] did a shot... It was about a five-minute straight shot and he choreographed the whole thing. He set up for weeks just to choreograph it. And you wonder why he is doing it. You think, why doesn't he just shoot it in cuts? This is movie. Remember Griffith? He discovered the cut. You see the picture and you realize that sometimes those things really work because they put you in the movie in a certain way and you don't even know it. It works on your unconscious. I saw the movie and didn't realize that he didn't make one cut, five minutes... But when you don't know that's what is going on, when it is just happening, then I think it has served a purpose... I don't think he's showing off."

Cartel then states in the article that he disagrees, adding, "De Palma often calls attention to himself like some mad Roman emperor sitting atop a crab dolly." A bit later, Cartel discusses Sean Penn, writing that "Penn is the superb standout in this tedious melodrama." And Cartel shows disdain for the ending of the film: "David Koepp adapted the books into a script and swiftly got stuck for an ending. Producer Martin Bregman worked with Koepp for two years on this project and decided to tie up the denouement by having a mysterious character reappear and perform an unbelievable solution for the production company.

"Script analyzers for literary agencies are unpublished scriptwriters with jealous, heartless souls. But they do keep film stories with gaping holes from going further than their own desks. Apparently the messenger was shot in Bergman's office before she could escape with the bad script news."

While Cartel felt at the time that "Carlito certainly won't be Pacino's defining role," he predicted that "Sean Penn will garnish several awards for his performance in this film."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Friday, February 13, 2015 12:20 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
WES ANDERSON: 'WE'RE GOING DE PALMA-ESQUE'
"BUT WE PROBABLY JUST NEED TO GO DE PALMA" -- WORKING ON NEW SCREENPLAY
Pictured here from left-to-right are Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Wes Anderson, posing last month at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles. The Frame's John Horn interviewed Anderson recently at his suite at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, where, according to Michelle Lanz' written introduction, "he was working on a screenplay with Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola for a planned animated film!"

Late in the interview (which can also be listened to at the Frame website), the following exchange takes place:
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[John Horn] You co-wrote "Budapest" with Hugo Guinness. What advantages are there working with a writing partner and what is it like? Are you guys throwing lines out or are you doing it all electronically?

[Wes Anderson] Roman and Jason should be walking in the door in two-and-half minutes and this is how we do it: I'm just pointing to a notebook with a stack of notes and pages here...

With some incredibly neat handwriting...

Oh, I keep it very neat, yes. As you can see, this is, you know: "De Palma Sequence." It has nothing to do with De Palma. That's a person we're trying to steal from. It's actually an action sequence we're trying to write for an animated film that we have in mind. It's a kind of scene where, really what we ought to be doing is we ought to be bringing in the De Palma blu-rays and imitating them very precisely. Right now we're winging it a bit. We're going De Palma-esque but we probably just need to go De Palma.

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Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CST
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015
AND THE 'PHANTOM' SCREENINGS CONTINUE
WILL SCREEN AT BFI THIS THURSDAY & SUNDAY
Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise will screen at 8:30pm this Thursday, February 12th, as well as 6:10pm Sunday, February 15th, at the BFI (British Film Institute). "As outlandish today as it was four decades ago," reads the BFI event description, "De Palma’s Faustian riff on The Phantom of the Opera is perhaps his most idiosyncratic work. When a brow-beaten composer has his cantata stolen by a demonic music tycoon, he’ll stop at nothing to see his music performed by the woman he loves. A musical phantasmagoria unlike anything you’ve ever seen."

FilmLand Empire's Laurent de Alberti posted today about the film and its BFI screening. "Looking back at the film all these years later," writes Alberti, "it is easy to see how Brian De Palma was crowned as one of the most promising and visionary directors of the era. There is an infectious exuberance to the film, right from the opening musical number, that does not let go right until the demented final.

"Phantom of the Paradise could well have represented a pyrrhic victory of style over substance, beating its audience into submission with all of its chromatic fireworks and brouhaha, yet there is a touching romance as its core...

"Of course the film is anchored in the 70's and wonderfully so, and yet it feels strangely timeless, as if it was already so over the top for the era it was made that it has transcended it. Flamboyant and frankly insane, Phantom of the Paradise is an absolute delight and a must-see for a cult fans."


Posted by Geoff at 12:16 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 6:14 PM CST
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