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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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No Harm In Charm

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Jim Emerson on
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Scarface: Make Way
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Deborah Shelton
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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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Friday, March 24, 2017
PODCAST - SCREENWRITERS DISCUSS 'LIGHTS OUT'
ELEVATOR PITCH: "BLIND GIRL IN A HOUSE, SOME FOLKS BREAK IN, UNEXPECTED THINGS HAPPEN"

Yesterday's episode of The NYFA Hour Popcorn Talk podcast featured Lamont Magee and Jeff W. Byrd, the screenwriters for Brian De Palma's upcoming Lights Out. During the podcast, they briefly discussed the project with hosts Joelle Monique and Pegah Rad:
Joelle: You’re working on a movie that Brian De Palma is going to direct. Did you guys write it before Brian De Palma came on board?

Jeff: Yes.

Joelle: Okay… Did it change at all when he came on board? How you approached the project? Or was it done and you were like, here Brian, let’s go?

Jeff: No, I mean, well, it’s still changing now, because he’s still, you know, transforming it and all that stuff. So, but the essence of it is pretty much what we wrote. But Lamont’s been really dealing with him directly, with the changes that were made most recently. But at the end of the day the essence will usually stay the same. Obviously, words may change, and situations may change, and things like that. When we wrote it, it was a little simple movie—two million dollar, little small thing.

Lamont: Right, it was like a million dollars. It was, like, small.

Jeff: Yeah, and then De Palma comes on board, and it’s like, what, forty or fifty or something… something insane. So it had to grow.

Lamont: But, there’s a funny story. I was working at Virgin Entertainment, and Jeff was just directing, you know, doing what he does. And we met at Marie Callender’s at the SAG offices on Wilshire, and we’d sat down and had lunch, and he was like, “I have this idea, we just need to do it ourselves.” And he pitched me what turned into Lights Out. And I was in. How long did it take us to write that?

Jeff: It was pretty short, actually. To be honest. What was it, like… six months?

Lamont: No… it was like, a couple months? Two, three months?

Jeff: It was fairly quick. It came out very swiftly.

Lamont: But with this guy’s vision of what he wanted—because he wanted a bare-bones action movie, with a female protagonist. I’m all in on that. And… yeah, it was fun.

Jeff: It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, what De Palma does with it, but…

Joelle: Can you guys give us your elevator pitch for the script?

Jeff: Um… could we? Let’s see, what was that…? [laughter] Well, you know what, if we do, I would have to preface it with this: it was way before what you’re going to think of. Okay? Way before.

Lamont: Right.

Jeff: Way before. Okay, so, the elevator pitch is: blind girl in a house, some folks break in, and…

Lamont: Shenanigans occur.

Jeff: Ensue. Yes—unexpected things happen, from that moment forward.


Posted by Geoff at 4:14 AM CDT
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Thursday, March 23, 2017
HARRY KNOWLES ON 'PERSONAL SHOPPER'
"REMINDS OF NICOLAS ROEG, BRIAN DE PALMA, MOMENTS OF SPIELBERG/HOOPER"


Previously:
Personal Shopper echoes Body Double and De Palma in general

Posted by Geoff at 8:13 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
VIDEO, FROM ARTE:
WHAT DO BRIAN DE PALMA'S CHARACTERS DREAM OF?

What do Brian De Palma's characters dream of?

Posted by Geoff at 4:37 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:46 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017
RICHARD LUCK ON TRUMP FIGURE IN 'SNAKE EYES'
"AS A SNAPSHOT OF ATLANTIC CITY IN THE LATE 1990s, THEN, SNAKE EYES SIMPLY CAN'T BE BEATEN


Richard Luck posted about Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes yesterday at Right Casino:
“Having done a lot of reading about Howard Hughes for another project, I found myself wondering what it would be like if a murder took place during a prize fight at a casino,” an unusually loquacious De Palma told [Charlie] Rose ahead of Snake Eyes’ release. “Hughes was always inviting bigwigs to the fights in Las Vegas and talking business. And as I'd grown up in Philadelphia and had seen how the casinos had come to effect Atlantic City, I thought that environment was the perfect place to stage a murder.”

Borrowing liberally from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo [Editor's note: I think he really means Kurosawa's Rashomon] – in which a crime is viewed from a variety of different perspectives – and pretty much any Hitchcock movie you care to think of, De Palma fashioned a film that’s as big on style as it is small on substance. If the film is ultimately rather frivolous, it’s sure to fascinate anyone who’s either visited Atlantic City or harbours dreams of taking in the wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Of particular interest is the flamboyant Gilbert Powell. Played by John Heard of Cat People and Home Alone fame, Powell is very clearly the film’s equivalent of Donald Trump; The Donald being among the biggest names operating in Atlantic City around the time the movie was shot and set. Indeed, as the future president’s Historic Atlantic City Convention Center had played host to WrestleManias IV and V, so the man with the hypnotic hair had brought many a major box-office to the East Coast. Trump would also be instrumental in bringing MMA to Atlantic City, a bold move that led to UFC hefe Dana White being among the more unlikely speakers at the 2016 Republican Convention.

As a snapshot of Atlantic City in the late 1990s, then, Snake Eyes simply can’t be beaten. It’s just a shame that budgetary restraints prevented director De Palma from closing out the movie on his own apocalyptic terms. “I wanted to finish the movie with a tidal wave,” the filmmaker explains in the must-see documentary De Palma. “I thought that given the nature of Atlantic City and what goes on there, it might be interesting just to wipe the whole place off the map. So we shot that ending but then found that the effects budget wouldn't stretch to a tsunami. Because of that, we had to settle for the more conventional ending. Pity - I would've liked to see Atlantic City in ruins.”


Posted by Geoff at 7:08 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:15 PM CDT
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Monday, March 20, 2017
VIDEO LINK - 'BLOW OUT' IN ONE MINUTE
CLICK THE TWEET BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO, MADE FOR ARTE.TV

Posted by Geoff at 5:44 AM CDT
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CARLOTTA BOOK - 'DR. BRIAN AND MR. DE PALMA'
DE PALMA ON THE PERSONAL & THE COMMERCIAL: "WHAT IS A 'COMMERCIAL FILM' ANYWAY?...IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE"


On its Facebook page last week, Carlotta Films revealed the title and cover of the 160-page book that will be included in its Phantom Of The Paradise Ultra Collector's Box, due to be released April 12. The book is titled "Dr. Brian And Mr. De Palma," and will include a lengthy interview with Brian De Palma, reviews of the film, press materials, lyrics of all the songs in the film, and 40 archive photos. Here is how the book is described on the Carlotta website:
"What is a 'commercial film,' anyway? How do you know if a director makes a film because it is commercial, or because it corresponds to a personal desire? People often think that a personal film is not necessarily commercial, but it's not that simple. I would like to make a film that people really want to see. Fellini too, and it does not make him a 'commercial' director. - Brian De Palma

Dr. Brian and Mr. De Palma explores the duality inherent in Brian De Palma's work in Phantom of the Paradise. Through an in-depth interview with him, analyses and press reviews, the iconoclastic approach of the director unfolds, between celebration and criticism of popular culture. An unpublished work embellished with the lyrics of all the songs of the film and 40 photos from the archives.


Most of the other special features in the Blu-ray-and-DVD set, which includes a brand new 2K restoration of the film, have appeared on previous editions of Phantom:

-PRESENTATION BY GERRIT GRAHAM
-PARADISE REGAINED (52 min)
-BRIAN DE PALMA IN THE COULISSES OF THE PARADISE (33 min) (a look back with De Palma)
-PAUL WILLIAMS INTERVIEWED BY GUILLERMO DEL TORO (72 mn)
-THE SWAN SONG FIASCO (11 min)
-CARTE BLANCHE WITH ROSANNA NORTON (10 min)
-PARADISE LOST AND FOUND (six cut or alternate scenes)
-KARAOKÉ 6 SONGS
-COMMERCIAL BY WILLIAM FINLEY
-RADIO SPOTS
-TRAILERS

As reported earlier, the cover art for the box was done by Matt Taylor.


Posted by Geoff at 5:16 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 5:55 PM CDT
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Friday, March 17, 2017
VIDEO - 'BODY DOUBLE' AS GUILTY PLEASURE


Go to the Hollywood Suite tweet to watch the video-- here's what Cam Maitland has to say:
I think if I had to choose, like, a fun guilty pleasure movie, I really like Brian De Palma’s Body Double. He’s kind of the king of guilty pleasures—he makes these beautiful movies that are really kind of cinematic objects, but that also have, like, a lot of sleaziness to them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I kind of love them all.

Brian De Palma made Body Double coming off of a lot of criticism of his previous film, Dressed To Kill. A lot of people said it was a little too gory, and that it focused a little too much on sex. But of course, being Brian De Palma, he just wanted to double-down on those criticisms.

It’s a big role for Melanie Griffith—I think a lot of people probably remember her character, Holly Body. And while this movie might seem a little trashy, she really credits it for doing a lot for her career. Specifically, she thinks she wouldn’t have gotten Working Girl or Something Wild without this movie kind of divorcing her from her childhood image as Tippi Hedren’s daughter.

My favorite sequence in it—and this is totally weird and out of place, but delightful—is in the middle of the film it breaks out into this Frankie Goes To Hollywood music video.


Posted by Geoff at 7:45 PM CDT
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Thursday, March 16, 2017
VIDEO - 'THE EYE IN THE SKY' SUPERCUT
CREATED IN BUILD-UP TO PRESENTATION OF 'BLOW OUT' THURSDAY AT LA CINEMATHEQUE FRANCAISE

The video above, a "supercut" of the God's-eye viewpoint throughout Brian De Palma's cinema, was created by La Cinémathèque Française in preparation for a screening of Blow Out taking place today (March 16th). The screening will be followed by a discussion with the philosopher and musicologist Peter Szendy.

The following description of the video presentation was written by Bernard Benoliel (Director of Cultural and Educational Action at the Cinémathèque Française) and Xavier Jamet (webmaster at Cinémathèque Française), translated with the help of Google Translator:
From the beginning (the end of the 60s) and until today (Passion, 2012), and tomorrow still certainly, the staging of Brian De Palma will never cease to play the game of cat and mouse. But in a version where the roles are constantly reversed: to be beaten at one's own game...

Split screens, double focal lengths, slow motion, 360-degree panning, dives and counter-dives, multiplication of angles and axes, aerial camera, so many ways to expose a mise en scène or to sum up all reality to its mise en scène. In short, a sophisticated device of signs as so many indices that give the viewer the illusion of his omniscience: if all reality holds in its staging as in a box, then nothing is supposed to escape the one who Looks in the box. De Palma likes nothing more than to drive the spectator-voyeur, to make him go around the owner, to direct his glance and to designate a detail (to better conceal another). Is that not the very subject of Body Double?

The vertical plunge holds a place of choice in the De Palma fireworks. It is even a recurring motif of his work, a motif that is often quickly interpreted as a tribute to Hitchcock (the opening credits of North by Northwest, the staircase of Psycho, the tower of Vertigo, the pipe organ of Secret Agent…). In the visual economy of the cinema of De Palma, it is also the ultimate ruse: the zenithal point of view seems to make each spectator a god. Nothing escapes it apparently, everything is given to see and everything is seen, the foreground doubled as background. But this phantasm of all power makes him forget his constitutive infirmity: the spectator, like a character of De Palma, has no eyes in the back (if it were otherwise, Carlito would still be alive ...). It is there, at his back, that De Palma stands, and with him the truth of all his staging: there is always someone or something that looks at the one who looks. As in a game of mirrors, or in the painting by Magritte (Not to be Reproduced), one is always seen as "the eye was in the grave and looked at Cain" (Victor Hugo , La Conscience).


(Thanks to Donald!)

Posted by Geoff at 3:37 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2017 8:06 AM CDT
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Sunday, March 12, 2017
VIDEO - EDGAR WRIGHT'S 'BABY DRIVER' TRAILER
"I'M EXCITED ABOUT DOING SOMETHING THAT'S ALMOST PURELY VISUAL"

Baby Driver International Trailer

While talking to The Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World back in August of 2010, director Edgar Wright mentioned that he was working on an original script that delves into the "purely visual" in a way that a Brian De Palma film frequently does. According to Jagernauth, the script was called Baby Driver, and here is how Wright described it to him:
Well, it’s something I’ve been meaning to write for ages. I really planned to recharge my batteries and get back into writing. I’m excited about doing something that’s almost purely visual, because I’ve done three films—and even though Scott Pilgrim is very visual, it’s very dialogue heavy as well, which is great. And music heavy. Yeah. I think I’d like to try something—I’m a big Brian De Palma fan, and I’ll sit and look at something like "Carrie," and I like the fact that it starts to play out like a silent movie. There’s a point in "Carrie" in the last half hour where there’s no need for any more dialogue because the plot is in motion. Or something like [Jean-Pierre Melville's] "Le Samourai," I look at something like that and think, wow, there’s hardly any dialogue in this film. Something like that can be enjoyed around the world. I’d really like the challenge of doing something where the dialogue is really stripped back and it’s all about the cinema.

Previously:
Edgar Wright influenced by De Palma for Baby Driver

Posted by Geoff at 9:31 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:50 AM CDT
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Saturday, March 11, 2017
THE GUARDIAN LOOKS AT 'BLOW-UP' 50 YEARS ON
IT IRRITATES W/SENSE OF ANTICLIMAX, "OF A ROAD NOT JUST MISSED, BUT REFUSED"-- YET IT STILL INTRIGUES
The Guardian's Anthony Quinn looks at Blow-Up 50 years on:
And here is where the film unfolds its most brilliant and memorable sequence, the part you want to watch over and over again. Alone in his dark room, our hero blows up the photos from the park and discovers that he may have recorded something other than a tryst. Cutting between the photographer and his pictures, Antonioni nudges us ever closer until we see the blow-ups as arrangements of light and shadow, a pointillistic swarm of dots and blots that may reveal a gunman in the bushes, and a body lying on the ground. Has he accidentally photographed a murder?

Contemporary audiences watching the way Thomas, the photographer, storyboards his grainy images into “evidence” would surely have been reminded of Zapruder’s film of the Kennedy assassination in 1963: the same patient build-up, the same slow-motion shock. When Thomas returns to the park he does indeed find a corpse. It’s the grassy knoll moment. We feel both his confusion and his excitement at turning detective – he’s involved in serious work at last instead of debauching his talent on advertising and fashion. But, abruptly, his investigative work goes up in smoke.

Next morning, the photographs and the body have disappeared. The woman has gone, too. This links to larger fears of conspiracy, a sense that shadowy organisations are hovering in the background, covering up their crimes – and getting away with it.

Blow-Up looks back to Zapruder but also ahead to Watergate and a run of films that riffed in a similar manner to Antonioni, with his inquiring, cold-eyed lens: Gene Hackman, stealing privacy for a living as the surveillance genius in The Conversation (1974); witness elimination and the training of assassins by a corporation in The Parallax View (1974); later still, Brian de Palma’s homage to the sequence via John Travolta’s sound engineer in the near-namesake Blow Out (1981). But these sinister implications are not on the director’s mind. Where we anticipate a murder mystery, Antonioni balks us by posing a philosophical conundrum. “It is not about man’s relationship with man,” he said in an interview at the time, “it is about man’s relationship with reality.”

Having created the suspense, he declines to see it through and sends Thomas off on an enigmatic nocturnal wander – to a party where he gets stoned, to a nightclub full of zombified youth where, bafflingly, he makes off with a broken guitar. (The film’s other symbolic artefact is an aeroplane propeller he buys in an antique shop). Finally, and famously, he encounters a bunch of mime-faced rag-week students acting “crazy” and playing a game of imaginary tennis on an empty court. We even hear the thock of the tennis ball, though there isn’t one in sight. Antonioni seems to offer only a shrug: reality, illusion, who can tell the difference? Whenever I watch Blow-Up, I feel a sense of anticlimax, of a road not just missed, but refused. Yet as much as it irritates, it still intrigues, and asks a question that relates not merely to cinema but to any work of art: can we enjoy something even if we don’t “get” it?


Posted by Geoff at 8:54 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, March 12, 2017 12:01 AM CST
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