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Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
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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
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in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
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"a horror movie
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in the news"

Supercut video
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


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Thursday, November 17, 2016
It was announced today that Brian De Palma will attend the 38th Havana Film Festival, which runs December 8-18. According to Fox News Latino, "De Palma, who has attended the festival on other occasions, will teach a class on cinema and visit the acclaimed International School of Film and Television in the western Cuban town of San Antonio de los Baños."

Oliver Stone will also be at the festival, presenting his latest film, Snowden.

Posted by Geoff at 6:30 PM CST
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Ty Burr, Boston Globe

"Does it matter that Susan and Tony’s wife and daughter are all identical-looking redheads? Well, duh. Doublings and mirror images abound in Nocturnal Animals. Flashbacks and present-day sequences entwine around fictional scenes until Ford has us trapped in a web of guilty complicity. Like Hitchcock, certainly, and it’s no coincidence that Abel Korzeniowski’s musical score swoons like vintage Bernard Herrmann (or like Pino Donaggio’s Herrmannesque scores for Brian De Palma’s 1970s thrillers).

"Is Tom Ford a dilettante? Honestly, the jury’s still out. He gets committed work from his cast; even if Adams is arguably miscast in a coldhearted role (yes, she can do anything, but that doesn’t mean she should have to), Gyllenhaal expertly toggles between Straw Dogs meekness and madness, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the sexiest black hole of irredeemable evil in many a moon. And when Michael Shannon turns up as Bobby Andes, a lethal West Texas police detective, Ford guides the actor to one of his scariest and most controlled performances.

"Yet with Ford — and unlike Hitchcock (and, at his best, De Palma) — the mystery stays on the surface, caught in Seamus McGarvey’s clinically composed camera shots and Joan Sobel’s impeccably disorienting editing. The 'solution,' or the one that’s implied in the film’s final scene, feels small and incommensurate with the dark places the rest of the movie takes us, and it may occur to you that what concerns this filmmaker is the immediate effect rather than the lasting impression. I don’t mean it as a cheap shot, but Nocturnal Animals is very like an exquisitely rendered window display. It’s something at which you pause and peer into and catch your breath — and then move on."

Jesse Cataldo, Slant

"Matching updates of two dynamic variants of mid-century noir (the gonzo woman's pictures of Otto Preminger with the psychological nocturnal westerns of Anthony Mann), Nocturnal Animals gets close to a double-barreled satirical thriller commenting on the historic rift between city and country. But for all his panache, Ford lacks the focus and control of someone like Brian De Palma, whose work, including his recent Passion, routinely straddles such disparate divides. Nocturnal Animals, meanwhile, wastes too much time fulfilling the nuts-and-bolts demands of both of its genre exercises to transcend their limits, while remaining too scattered and routine to actually work as a satisfying example of either.

"The film's best achievement remains its illustration of the supposed lewd, overflowing vitality of the lower classes butting up against the frigid primness of the upper, which then vampirically exploits this divide as part of a ritualistic cultural transfer. This process, by which the rustic, the seedy, and the menacing are drained of residual danger and reimagined in chic aesthetic forms, is one of the trademarks of both the fashion world from which Ford hails the high-end art scene in which Susan operates, the latter seen in that flamboyant opening show and the stylishly shabby pieces that litter her gallery. The film itself carries off a similar act of transference, repackaging grim, nasty authenticity as shiny pop product, even its ugliest revelations sugarcoated within correspondingly gorgeous images.

"Such a combination might have yielded marvelous results were Nocturnal Animals willing to get truly weird, but Ford instead remains too reliant on overwrought imagery, residual prestige affectations, and conventional rhythms to break free of either genre the film experiments with, leaving one section stuck as a second-rate Cormac McCarthy adaptation, the other a tamped-down Fassbinder tribute. Its ultimate message, that the stereotypical façades which front these two worlds only serve to disguise how much they have in common, ends up getting muddled rather than expressively conveyed, leaving Nocturnal Animals as a film that stands tantalizingly close to greatness."

Pete Hammond, Deadline

"It has been seven years since Tom Ford added the job description of film director to his already famous fashion empire. That movie, A Single Man, was rightly acclaimed, and now with Nocturnal Animals he proves it was no fluke. Based on the 1993 novel Tony & Susan by Austin Wright, this adult thriller is a crazy mix of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Douglas Sirk, Brian De Palma, Stanley Kubrick and even a bit of Sam Peckinpah thrown in for good measure. But overall it is pure Ford, full of stylistic touches and fine acting."

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

"Ford is clearly a cinephile, and elements of other auteurs are all over Animals: the sexmad decadence of Brian De Palma, the formal control of Hitchcock, surreal dabs of David Lynch-ian grotesque. The movie’s lofty narrative ambitions never quite catch up with its aesthetics, but it’s still a fantastic beast of a film, intoxicating and strange."

Nocturnal Animals and Body Double

Posted by Geoff at 11:54 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:51 PM CST
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Monday, November 14, 2016
Talking to Metro.us' Matt Prigge, to promote her new movie, Bryan Bertino's The Monster, Zoe Kazan discusses the types of horror films she enjoys. "I have a pretty high bar when it comes to horror," she tells Prigge. "Most of the movies I enjoy within the genre are movies that don’t rely on gore. I have a really hard time with violence onscreen. Even movies I can really respect, like Halloween, because it’s a slasher film, I don’t have a great stomach for it. Even though I have huge respect for Eli Roth, I don’t want to watch a Hostel film. I don’t want to watch people’s limbs severed. I lean more towards Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, or even films like Repulsion or a whole bunch of Brian De Palma films — Carrie and Sisters. But I like horror movies. I like going to be scared."

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2016 12:08 AM CST
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Sunday, November 13, 2016
Costume designer Amy Roth, the niece of costume designer Ann Roth, was interviewed recently by LRM's Gig Patta. "You have an amazing career," Patta asks Roth at one point, "with working from a comic book like The Avengers to American Gangster to even TV shows like Madame Secretary. What kind of projects do you love to work on? You have such a diverse career."

Roth responds, "It may sound negative, but working in the Marvel community can sometimes be difficult. You are working with a group of people who already created something. They're big and wonderful movies, but things are dictated from the Marvel comics down to you.

"My idea of a great piece is something along those lines—maybe fantasy. I love period movies. But, after doing this period movie, I would like to do something more inventive and people don’t tell you on what somebody wore 'cause you haven’t invented it in that world yet.

"It would be something like Blade Runner. Somebody like Ridley Scott, who likes to invent his own world. Or even somebody like Brian De Palma. Sometimes when you watch his movies, you feel like you’re in another world. I like to create your own reality.

"That would be fun right now for me."

Amy Roth's aunt, Ann Roth, has worked with De Palma on Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, and The Bonfire Of The Vanities.

Posted by Geoff at 5:23 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, November 13, 2016 5:39 AM CST
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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The above BBC movie by Adam Curtis, HyperNormalisation, uses news and documentary footage from the BBC's archives, as well as clips from films and other sources, to tell "the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion," according to Curtis' own description, "where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed - and have no idea what to do." Included in the climactic few minutes is the key scene from Brian De Palma's Carrie in which the blood is dumped on Carrie, and the gymnasium full of onlookers stands in shock, unsure of how to react. The clip is used effectively in Curtis' movie to illustrate the shock, uncertainty, and confusion of our recent times. Shortly after the Carrie clip, the movie moves into a concluding montage which uses some of the split-screen sequence from De Palma's film to further illustrate (again, rather effectively) the use and state of confusion, which can come from any side. "And," Curtis' description of his movie continues, "where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control - from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening - but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them."

Note: the above version of the movie on YouTube is missing a minute or two (you'll notice an obvious edit around the 9:15 mark). Curtis' posted the unedited version on his YouTube page, but that version is in a smaller frame within the video. So I suggest watching the bulk of it in the above version, but catch those two minutes in Curtis' smaller version.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 12:27 AM CST
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Monday, November 7, 2016
John Lithgow was interviewed by A.V. Club's Will Harris for the site's "Random Roles" series, in which actors discuss various roles without knowing in advance which roles they will be asked about. There is a nice segment about Lithgow's work with Brian De Palma:
Obsession (1976)—“Robert LaSalle”

AVC: How did you and Brian De Palma first cross paths?

JL: I was in a little summer theater workshop in Princeton, New Jersey. I was at Harvard at the time, and I was working with a bunch of Brian’s Columbia pals. It was sort of a college summer workshop. And we did a Molière farce, and they invited this friend of theirs, Brian De Palma, down to see it. And the first I ever knew of Brian was hearing him roar with laughter out in the audience. Brian has a huge cackling laugh that you don’t hear very often. And then backstage I met him for the first time. We were all about 20 years old back then. That’s how far back we go. In fact, Dealing—the movie that you mentioned—it was Brian’s idea! He suggested me to the director. So he’s part of my origin story as a movie actor! And then two years later, he cast me in my first major film role: Obsession. I’ve worked with him three times now.

Blow Out (1981)—“Burke”

AVC: Of the three, Blow Out is probably the most critically acclaimed.

JL: Yes! Yeah, it really is a terrific film. It really holds up. And it’s one of [John] Travolta’s really good performances.

AVC: It was also sort of an adaptation of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up.

JL: Well, Brian doesn’t do adaptations. He sort of does riffs. Or homages, if you want to be pretentious. [Laughs.] You know, you could say that Obsession was his Vertigo film, and I can’t remember what the very, very precise references are in his movies, but those were his Hitchcock tributes. But they’re very distinctly De Palma’s.

AVC: Blow Out certainly has an ending that’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a bit dark.

JL: Oh, yeah! [Laughs.] He kills the people you’re really interested in!

Raising Cain (1992)—“Carter”/”Cain”/”Dr. Nix”/”Josh”/”Margo”

AVC: Raising Cain, meanwhile, has gotten a reappraisal recently as a result of a new director’s cut of the film that, oddly enough, wasn’t actually done by De Palma.

JL: Now you’re actually telling me news I didn’t know. I don’t keep up on these things! Who did the cut?

AVC: His name is Peet Gelderblom, and he took the film and created a new cut based on the original script, and De Palma thought it was great.

JL: Oh, Brian liked it? Wow! No, I haven’t heard anything about it. I’ll have to see it! Maybe he’s made a little bit more sense of it. [Laughs.] Brian’s movies are like Chinese puzzles. They’re incredibly intricate, and sometimes they’re so intricate that he has to edit them differently when it comes times to finish them. I remember a couple of my scenes being cut in two and separated by about 20 minutes.

AVC: That’s almost certainly the film where you play the most roles.

JL: Yeah. I think there’s five. It was kind of my Faces Of Eve. I loved it. It was really fun.

Posted by Geoff at 11:23 PM CST
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Sunday, November 6, 2016
Brannon Braga, creator of WGN's series Salem, was interviewed recently by Den Of Geek's Tony Sokol, who asked Braga, "What are your favorite devil movies?"
I'll tell you that Salem is chock-full of horror references. I'm quite a horror aficionado. I wrote science fiction most of my life, but my passion, really, has always been for horror. Everything comes out on the show, from Dario Argento to Alfred Hitchcock to the Japanese horror that could be harsh, a horror fan’s horror show. One movie that had a great influence was Roman Polanski’s Rosemary's Baby, the tone and style in which his movies were shot, or different directors, to keep the show grounded. I'm obviously a fan of Hitchcock's work.

I noticed similarities to Giallo horror films.

Oh, it’s all over the place. What a lost art. It's interesting when you looking at building things, like Brian De Palma was building on top of stuff. Everybody said he was doing Hitchcock. But no, he's not. He was doing Dario Argento. He was doing Giallo. We talk about that stuff all the time on the set. My favorite movie of all time is Notorious and we do pay homage that picture.

Which of those classic movies do you think have never lost power to scare? For me it's the scene in M when Peter Lorre breaks down in front of the criminal court.

Well, M is a masterpiece. In fact, child murder isn't exactly something that is probably ever going to be mainstream. That's a really good example of timeless horror. Some of the best modern 21st century horror has pushed the envelope and broken taboos. That's what horror does. I think one of the modern horror masterpieces of the 21st Century is the French film Martyrs. It is extreme horror, extremely frightening and extremely violent. It's a masterpiece. It was like they were taking things to the next level and I think horror has always done that. M is an excellent example of a timeless horror story. And I gotta tell you, Frankenstein is not necessarily as terrifying as it was to audiences when it first came out, but it is still the only true and truly successful horror science fiction story. That's a subgenre that you just don't see all that much.

I feel bad for the Frankenstein monster and King Kong. The witches on Salem have deep lives and we identify with them.

Oh, absolutely, I think these witches, mostly women, are oppressed, one of them is a slave, and powerless. Through witchcraft they found their power and I think the show’s feminist themes are relatable.

Posted by Geoff at 7:29 PM CDT
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Yesterday, Birth. Movies. Death.'s Chris Eggersten posted part one of a terrific "Oral History" of the prom scene in Brian De Palma's Carrie, which was released in theaters 40 years ago today. Part two of the oral history was posted today.

"On the occasion of Carrie’s 40th anniversary," Eggersten writes in the intro to part one, "I spoke with close to a dozen individuals who helped bring the sequence to life, including cinematographer Mario Tosi, art director Jack Fisk, screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, associate producer Louis A. Stroller and stars Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles. De Palma, ever the elusive figure, was not made available for an interview despite multiple attempts, but if you care to know his thoughts on prom night, remembrances from the director are widely available elsewhere, including in the excellent Noah Baumbach/Jake Paltrow documentary De Palma released earlier this year.

"Here, I’ve pulled from a range of sources both above and below the line. Some, like stuntwoman Mary Peters and camera operator Joel King – who both risked and even sustained physical harm to fulfill De Palma’s vision – have rarely if ever been heard from before. Their participation is a direct testament to the collaborative nature of filmmaking itself, whose disparate elements rarely come together with such combustible force and synchronicity as they did in Carrie."

Posted by Geoff at 8:27 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016 10:28 PM CDT
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nicolas Cage, who stars in Paul Schrader's new film, Dog Eat Dog, spoke on the phone recently with Moviefone's Drew Taylor, who couldn't help but ask Cage about Snake Eyes...
One of the other things that came out this year was in the "De Palma" documentary; the original ending for "Snake Eyes" was finally seen. Was that validating?

I didn't get to see it. I would love to see the "De Palma" documentary. I'm a huge fan of Brian's and I tried to get to work with him several times since we did "Snake Eyes." But I didn't get to see the documentary or the alternate ending. Could you explain it to me?

Oh sure, it was when the big wave comes over Atlantic City and you're trapped in a tunnel, drowning.

Yes, that's fascinating. I remember him talking about it but I didn't know that he shot the wave. That's fantastic.

Similarly, there was a documentary out last year about your "Superman" movie with Tim Burton. Was it nice to see that stuff finally get out there?

Yeah, it was nice that the filmmakers gave folks a chance to look at what it was really looking like, instead of that goofy picture that came out, which was a Polaroid that didn't have any real lighting. It wasn't even a real costume. It was somebody trying to start a story and created a shakedown on the Internet, but it was entirely false. You can see the way it was genuinely going with a little bit of care and understanding put upon it.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016 12:14 AM CDT
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016
David Koepp was interviewed recently by Collider's Steve "Frosty" Weintraub, who asked him about the critical reception to Carlito's Way...
I wanna jump into another project, you worked on Carlito’s Way right after Jurassic Park and you wanna talk about a back-to-back…

KOEPP: Yeah that was a pretty good year. I thought they’d all be like that.

Carlito’s Way, I don’t know what the reception was when it first came out, but it does seem like since its release the critical reception to the film has only gotten stronger and stronger. Have you noticed that?

KOEPP: Yeah there’s some that age and hold up nicely, and Carlito’s is one of them. I think that at the end of the ‘90s you got in [A La Mod note: it made the list in Cahiers du cinéma of] the best movies of the ‘90s, it was very nice. Because when it came out I think –Brian De Palma is about as savvy of a media observer that you’ll ever meet, then before it came out, before any critic had seen it, he said, “Well, I can tell you how it’s gonna go on this one. You wanna know?” I said, “Sure” and he said, “OK, Al [Pacino] sucks because he just won an Oscar and he’s played a gangster before. I suck because I did a gangster movie before, and this isn’t like it, but it’s enough like it. Sean [Penn] is fantastic because they haven’t seen him for a while and will like to have him back. That’s how it’s gonna go.” And that was exactly how it went. So it was a little disappointing that it wasn’t more warmly-received because I think it’s a really beautiful movie, but it went nicely over time.

What was it like working with De Palma on that, can you talk about that collaboration back then?

KOEPP: When he was predicting he also said, “Oh and the other thing is you suck because you’re ‘dinosaur boy’.” Brian was great, we did three movies together and it was great every time. I had a lot of laughs which and we’re close friends to this day. He’s a rather cynical man, but that’s what I love about him.

When you think back on Mission: Impossible, do you think back on it fondly or do you think back on just the arguments with all the people working on that screenplay?

KOEPP: The arguments and the conflicts fade in time, especially if the movie did well, so now I look back on it fondly, sure. If the movie had not done well, I think the memories would be less pleasant. You can look back on the arguments and the conflict now and find it all kind of confusing. But when you make a movie with people and in turns badly and it’s a flop, it’s weird, it covers your feelings about how the experience went, if it went well you start to remember it poorly, and then you run into the people you made it with and you act like you owe each other money. If it was a hit, even if you maybe had a lot of beefs while you were making it, you run into each other and it’s like, “Hey! It’s nice to see you!” So that’s superficial if that’s what it is.

I think that’s the way it is in real life with everybody. If something’s a success, you’re gonna just deal with ego. I know you’re working on Indy, but what other scripts are you currently working on, or are you just like a one-project-at-a-time person?

KOEPP: I do one at a time. What’s nice is if you –I have a couple of my own things, one or two things that I’m doodling in my down time. But I try to write on specs as much as I write adaptations or things that people ask me to do. And I think I’ve been pretty good at it, I wish it was 50-50 but it’s like 60-40 for things people ask me to do. The problem with specs is that sometimes they get in and sometimes they don’t, they vanish without a trace. But you always gotta have your own stuff going, you cannot stop, even though Hollywood has sort of turned away from original material a little bit, that’s no reason for you to stop.

Posted by Geoff at 12:03 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 12:22 AM CDT
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