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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


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Anticipating David Gordon Green's upcoming Halloween, Niela Orr at The Ringer has posted an insightful essay, headlined "The Horror Psychopath in 2018," that looks at the slasher film trope of "the guy who won’t die," introduced 40 years ago in John Carpenter's Halloween:
In the 2018 film, directed by David Gordon Green, Laurie’s a vigilante and a grandmother and Myers is up to the same shit. He’s escaped from the psychiatric hospital again. This is a return to basics, with a crucial and timely update: Myers will be hunting Laurie, but she’s hunting him, too. Their inevitable confrontation will be between two legendary characters and two resistant horror tropes: the “final girl”—or the teenage girl or woman survivor of a horror film—and this other relentlessly alive figure—let’s call him the “guy who won’t die.” Killing him, which Laurie hopes to do, likely won’t be that easy given his track record of being both elusive and durable. The homicidal maniac is a familiar figure in horror: He shows up, stalks female characters, murders with impunity, and usually tricks police departments, private detectives, and his victims’ trusted confidantes into thinking he’s a figment of the victims’ imaginations. He then makes it to the next film and does it all over again. His invincibility is helped along by an infrastructure that disbelieves women. Still we tend to focus on invincibility as a description rather than as a trait. We take the recurring horror psychopath for granted when we see him on-screen; he’s going to come back, so that the films can too.

The trope is recognizable to most anyone who’s seen a horror film since the late ’70s: For one reason or another (or for no reason at all), the killer is after babysitters (Halloween) or camp counselors (Friday the 13th), or a group of teenagers with insomnia (Nightmare on Elm Street). The victims fight back with an impressive array of weapons and DIY traps, but it’s never enough. He keeps rising. Every time you think he’s dead, he’s either playing possum or had actually died but was somehow resurrected. This maniacal dude is in diametric opposition to the final girl’s position: He’s engineered the series of torments he subjects her to, while she’s an unwilling participant; he is seemingly infallible while she’s very evidently mortal; he’s implacable, emotionless, and she wears her feelings on her sleeve (until it’s inevitably ripped off). If the final girl is “abject terror personified,” as film theorist Carol J. Clover wrote, this recurring psychopath is the institutionalization of that terror personified. The only thing the two figures have in common is their survival.

Later in the essay, Orr discusses Brian De Palma's Blow Out:
The guy who won’t die seems indestructible. Most often his continued reanimation defies logic. His death-defying Whac-A-Mole pop-ups are mostly meant to keep the jump scares going and lay the groundwork for his eventual reappearance in the series’ next sequel. But his indestructibility also, necessarily, serves as punishment. As Seth Grahame-Smith explains in the genre manual How to Survive a Horror Movie, “Horror movie characters aren’t killed by machete-wielding monsters or reincarnated psychopaths—they’re killed by ignorance. Ignorance of the mortal danger they’re in. Of the butcher lurking in every shadow. Of the new rules. Ignorance of the fact that they’re in a horror movie.” Frailty becomes a justification for his ongoing rage.

Fittingly, given how fatal ignorance can be in this medium, the final girl often survives because of her smarts, and—aside from deus ex machina plot machinations and the fact that he needs to survive to keep the story going—it’s not always easy to tell how the guy who won’t die persists. But much of his survival has to do with the fact that he has the upper hand—his victims are on his territory, and they’re playing the game he designed. If the final girl provides “a cathartic end to the gore and gloom,” as Erik Piepenburg’s writes in The New York Times, the guy who won’t die represents the opposite of catharsis. He is an open wound that never heals, a menace who survives from generation to generation, terrorizing a new breed of women and young people who have to learn the rules all over again.

Sometimes making a movie is the best way to critique other ones. Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1981), about slasher movies and political corruption, is one of the most incisive reviews of the slasher genre, its indomitable attacker, and the guy who won’t die outside of film. In Blow Out, a noir film about making films, John Travolta plays Jack Terry, a sound man for a production company that makes B-movies. When the film starts, Jack’s trying to place a scream in Co-Ed Frenzy, a low-budget slasher film. He ends up getting caught in a political quagmire when a presidential candidate dies in a car accident with a prostitute while he’s nearby recording sound. He rescues and then befriends the woman, Sally (Nancy Allen), who was in the car with the politician, but despite his best efforts to shield and protect her from harm, she dies wearing a wire for him. At the end of the film, still looking for the perfect scream, he uses the one Sally uttered before she died, which is captured on the wire. The last shot of the film is Jack covering his ears as he watches a new version of the film and listens to the overdubbed scream, the blue light emitting from the movie theater washing over him. The most brilliant and insidious thing about that movie is that despite Jack’s misgivings about Sally’s death and the trauma associated with it, he uses her scream anyway. He’s part of the system, and no matter how much he cared for his fallen friend, he chooses to keep making money and retaining his place within it. Despite his proximity to much of the same danger Sally faced, Jack survives, as do the slasher-film psychopaths he helps to foster into the world through his production work, and the political corruption the film critiques. He survives because of the system, which doesn’t explicitly target him. He survives because he knows the old and new rules. He survives because he knows he’s in a horror movie, to echo Grahame-Smith’s calculation.

Horror movies often anticipate our cultural acknowledgement of certain social issues, and in this case, Halloween and the psychopath were able to articulate some of our most common problems long before we had the language ourselves, or while we were developing it. The slasher film’s insistence on men who make rules and traumatize women, and who are still able to continue along in that way, has a brutal corollary in the real world. Men in power, from Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein to Les Moonves to Mario Batali and beyond, have consistently exerted their will over women who they think “don’t know the rules” or are ignorant of the fact that they’re in “a guy’s place,” or that they’re in a horror movie. What we as a society have finally begun to acknowledge is that they do know, and always have.

In an interview, John Carpenter explained that his task with the original Halloween was to make an “exploitation horror film,” and part of what makes Laurie Strode’s vigilantism in the 2018 version exciting is that it appears to play up the exploitative qualities of the original film as well as other ’70s movies across genres: the Blaxploitation revenge flicks, the Charles Bronson Death Wish–style swaggering vengeance. The textual elements of gender and violence were already there: the fear and craftiness of final girls and their ilk; the entitlement of the genre’s psychopathic male figures; the gaslighting done by male authority figures; the unfair playing field; the institutional nature of the villain’s terror, which is demonstrated in his continued survival. It will be interesting to see if this year’s Halloween will also exploit the tensions that have ramped up in the #MeToo moment, but which have been pronounced in the culture since at least October 2014, when the Cosby scandal first broke nationwide. In January 2018, Atlantic writer Caitlin Flanagan wrote that “female rage is the essential fuel of #MeToo. Unchecked it is the potent force that will destroy it.” She could have been talking about Carrie White, whom Carol J. Clover called a “female victim-hero,” an archetype who uses feminism and the rage Flanagan mentions to enact revenge on her tormentors. Jamie Lee Curtis draws different inspiration from #MeToo in her portrayal of Laurie, who moves from a quintessential “victim” to a hero in this new Halloween. On Halloween: Unmasked, Curtis talked about her most famous character’s importance in our moment, saying “Laurie Strode could be a #MeToo voice for people who have had violence perpetrated on them. … Laurie Strode’s violence is fake, it’s not real, but in a movie to see a character come around 40 years later and say, ‘No more, #MeToo,’ is powerful.” The patriarchy keeps showing up, like Michael Myers, and the countless copycat characters who have come in his wake. In Halloween, and in Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and in elevators outside the hearings, women aren’t letting these recurring villains thrive without a fight, just as the final girls don’t. But therein lies the biggest difference between the genre and real life: In horror films, there’s only one girl left standing.

Posted by Geoff at 10:38 PM CDT
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Monday, October 1, 2018

Shout! Factory/Scream Factory today announced a release date (January 15, 2019) for its previously-teased Collector's Edition Blu-Ray of Brian De Palma's Obsession. Also unveiled is the newly-commissioned cover art (seen above) by Sonny Day. According to Bloody Disgusting's John Squires, "This art will be front-facing on the slipcover and wrap. The reverse side of the wrap will showcase the original theatrical poster art design. Extras are in progress and will be announced on a later date."

Also worth noting: Order from ShoutFactory.com and get a free 18" X 24" rolled poster featuring the new artwork (available while supplies last), and they will ship to you two weeks early.

Posted by Geoff at 7:56 PM CDT
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Friday, September 28, 2018

The audiovisual montage above (beginning at the 18-second mark) was created in conjunction with an upcoming exhibition about the work of Brian De Palma in Spain, organized by the Terror Film Festival of Molins de Rei. The exhibition will be from October 26 to November 25, at the Ca n'Ametller exhibition hall in Molins de Rei. TerrorWeekend.com has more info:
Formed by a compilation of the material, property of the private collector Jordi Batet, the exhibition will exhibit, among other things, posters of all the director's films, photographs of shooting, costumes, figures of some of his characters, vinyl of his soundtracks, and the novels on which some of his films have been based. The visitor can also enjoy an audiovisual montage created for the occasion.

Exhibition 'Brian De Palma. The unfolded look ': October 26 to November 25 in Ca n'Ametller de Molins de Rei

During the period of the exhibition, several lectures will be held about the work of Brian De Palma and a commemorative book will be presented that explores the keys of his filmography. The celebration of this exhibition is part of the activities organized by the Terror Film Festival of Molins de Rei, whose next edition has as leitmotiv the great filmmaker, under the concept of De Palma Vs. De Palma.

De Palma vs De Palma - Book & Fest in Spain, Nov 9-18; Book includes forward by Keith Gordon

Posted by Geoff at 7:11 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2018 7:13 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 27, 2018
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/wrightcurates.jpgGenesis Cinema in London presents a day of films this Saturday (September 29th) curated by Edgar Wright: Top Secret!, Phantom Of The Paradise, After Hours, and The Sentinel. Here's what Wright says about Phantom Of The Paradise in the program's notes: “I will go to the grave with the firm opinion that of the two horror musicals distributed by Fox in the mid 70’s, this is the better movie, twice as good as Rocky Horror. Brian De Palma goes all out on his neo gothic Faustian music biz satire. Brilliantly played by Bill Finley, Jessica Harper, Gerritt Graham and the marvelously evil Paul Williams (who wrote the whole score), this is cinematic gold right down to the best end credits song ever.”

Of Martin Scorsese's After Hours, Wright notes: "Someone once wrote that ‘Edgar Wright must have learned everything he knows from the direction in After Hours.’ That’s not totally true, but it isn’t too far off. This film is one that beguiled me as a teen and continues to dazzle. It’s amazing to see Scorcese at the peak of his powers direct the hell out of a small all-in-one-night comedy. Fun fact: 2nd camera assistant, David Dunlap went on to be my Director Of Photography on Shaun Of The Dead."


Meanwhile, Coheed and Cambria premiered a new song today. "Old Flames" is the fourth track to be released from the band's forthcoming album, Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures. Last month, the band's frontman Claudio Sanchez told Rolling Stone's Ryan Reed that Phantom Of The Paradise was an influence:

I have to ask about “Unheavenly Creatures,” the title track. I can’t think of another band that mixes prog, metal, hard-rock, power-pop and post-hardcore in that way. Do you recall how you put that one together?
I wrote two songs together, “Old Flames” and “Unheavenly Creatures.” I think a little bit of “Old Flames” inspired “Unheavenly Creatures.” I was inspired by this Brian De Palma movie Phantom of the Paradise. It’s basically a Seventies version of Phantom of the Opera, a movie musical.

That makes sense. Several of these songs are super theatrical, like “Old Flames” and even “The Gutter.”
With “Old Flames,” I was trying to write something that sounded a bit more Fifties. I just sat behind my digital piano in my living room and constructed the opening piano sequence. I wrote it from there on piano — it wasn’t written on guitar. To me, it had a pretty powerful chorus. After writing that song, that put me in this mindset of writing that sort of material. I’d written “True Ugly” and “Black Sunday,” so I was in this Coheed pop idea. So when I started “Unheavenly Creatures,” I took out this Roland boutique one-oscillator synthesizer, the SH-01A — it’s a very easy-to-use synth that has a very fun sequencer on it. I just punched in a bunch of notes and created this very long sequence and played it back. It was just by chance. I was just trying to create something. Every now and then, I’d hit the wrong note and have to start over. It was fun to put together. When I played it back, it was like, “Oh, this is so magical to me!” And that’s how the chords started to come together. Those were the first two songs Atlas started to gravitate toward. He’s all about the record, but especially those two — with “Old Flames,” I played the chorus like three times, and he’s already singing it as I’m constructing it. I’m like, “Maybe I should go down this path.” He’s a kid! He doesn’t care about anything but whether it sounded good to him. Then I made my way into “Unheavenly Creatures,” and the same thing started to happen. I was like, “Are you telling me you want a production credit on this, son?” In a way, it was like entertainment for him. As I was constructing these songs that were a little more melodically friendly.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2018 12:15 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 26, 2018
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/herbpacheco.jpgPaul Williams posted the following on Twitter earlier tonight:
Herb Pacheco has passed at 88. If you saw Phantom of the Paradise you may remember him as Swan's bodyguard. For decades he had my back. Road manager, Security, babysitter. A former stuntman and gifted co-conspirator, he'd introduce himself as my fencing instructor. Loved him.🙏🏻

Posted by Geoff at 11:07 PM CDT
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Sunday, September 23, 2018
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakessmall.jpgYonca Talu has a brief review of Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman's novel Are Snakes Necessary? in the September/October 2018 issues of Film Comment:
The book surveys the contemporary American sociopolitical landscape through a mordant, erotically charged tale of corruption and revenge inspired by the sex scandal involving ex-senator and presidential candidate John Edwards. Are Snakes Necessary? is rooted not in serious literary aspirations but in the sheer pleasure of its twisted conspiratorial world that ensnares the reader in an anxious web of doubt by constantly toying with the boundaries between artifice and authenticity.

Permeated with allusions to his filmography, De Palma's first novel is as much a thematic as a formal extension of his cinematic preoccupations. The fragmented, labyrinthine structure presents itself as a novelistic equivalent of split-screen: each chapter espouses a different point of view and drives the ensemble narrative toward a theatrically orchestrated, morbid conclusion whose swift perspective shifts echo the filmmaker's experiments with intercutting and the failed heroism of Blow Out (1981).

The storytelling efficacy of De Palma's project lies in its ability to intimately chart the characters' deteriorating inner lives as the lines between hunter and prey dissolve. This toxic duplicity is counterbalanced by Fanny Cours, a student videographer who emerges as the epitome of idealistic innocence in her efforts to unearth vestiges of purity within Lee Rogers, the rotten, adulterous middle-aged politician she falls in love with while working for his campaign. But when the masks come off, what remains beneath the comforting illusion of romantic symbiosis is the insatiable narcissistic yearning for adulation.

Posted by Geoff at 4:59 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2018 5:08 PM CDT
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Friday, September 21, 2018

Sam Levinson's Assassination Nation opened in theaters today, and most reviews, positive or negative, seem to mention a single-take sequence of one kind or another, often mentioning Brian De Palma, and sometimes mentioning Gaspar Noé. So, here we go:

Armond White, National Review

Levinson surveys social and political controversies such as narcissism, waterboarding, and 4Chan extortion as sick jokes, but he fails to provide comic relief. A feminist gag about remaking Straw Dogs bombs: “Instead of Susan George being raped, it’s Dustin Hoffman.” “Hasn’t Nancy Meyers already done that?” It’s self-congratulatory and presumes Millennials’ unlikely cultural savvy. Through Levinson’s own cultural arrogance, the middle-class double standards look just like the banal American Beauty, and his vision of political turmoil turns into The Purge. Anarchists and lynch mobs wear masks atop masks, leading to the siege of a black family’s home staged in laughably blood-spattered imitation of De Palma’s Scarface. The capper is Lily’s declaration against hypocrisy: “Don’t take your hate out on me; I just got here!”

Rob Thomas, The Capital Times
Eventually, and unconvincingly, they focus on Lily, and the second half of “Assassination Nation” becomes straight-on horror as Lily and her friends try to escape the vigilante mob and, eventually, turn the tables on them. Levinson shoots the violence with a lot of style and energy — there’s a brilliantly staged single-take shot of a house under siege, the camera panning from one window to another, that seems a clear homage to Brian De Palma’s “Blow Out.”

But under the style there’s not much to “Assassination Nation,” and the film’s attempts at making some larger point about mob mentality or the destructive power of social media — usually a speech by one character with an American flag strategically placed in the background — feel forced. Like in the “Purge” movies, “Nation” is a commentary on how horrible other people are, while reassuring the audience that we’re not anything like that.

The film’s attempts to tie its mayhem to the #MeToo movement at the end feel about as heartfelt as Kendall Jenner joining the protesters in that Pepsi commercial. Oh, and if you don’t know who Kendall Jenner is, “Assassination Nation” is definitely not for you.

Nick Schager, Film Journal International
Masked men are soon forming posses and hunting for fresh meat—female, in particular, which shifts Assassination Nation’s focus away from pricking modern online paradigms and toward cultural misogyny. Lily, Sarah, Em and Bex (who’s transgender) are cast as prey and, afterwards, as noble avenging feminist angels. Alas, their persecution at the hands of Charlottesville-esque white psychos (highlighted by a sub-Brian De Palma-style sequence shot from outside a home’s windows) might have had more bite had Levinson not first spent so much time depicting his heroines as thoroughly awful. As with an upside-down image of a bat-wielding girl standing on the American flag while stalking cheerleaders practicing an eroticized routine in a darkened gym, everything here is laughably underlined in a vain attempt to Say Something Meaningful about contemporary teenagerdom and America. The only thing conveyed by this wildly moralizing, exhaustingly edgy film, however, is its own shock-tactic self-love.

Adam Nayman, Cinema Scope
The red, white and blue split-screen that showcases the horny, house-partying girls of Assassination Nation is the first—and maybe best—bit of neo-Godardian gamesmanship in Sam (son of Barry) Levinson’s state-of-the-union horror comedy. Suffice it to say that there are more plausible candidates to make satire great again than the guy who directed The Wizard of Lies, to say nothing of the fact that this ostensibly anti-misogynist plunge into distaff objectification and abjection, with incessant sexual violence (and jokes about rape jokes!) is written and directed by a white dude—a well-meaning one, to be sure, one who has read his Arthur Miller and duly reduced its essence to emoji-style bullet points.

So, sad face: after half the population of the city of Salem has its data hacked by an Anonymous-style e-terrorist, the men turn on the hot, horny high-school girls who’ve so shamelessly inflamed their desires via their Instagrammed existences. It’s a clever set-up, permitting the ticking of various politically correct boxes while exalting in all kinds of wretched excess, hence the entirely smug “trigger warnings” that frame the proceedings (an conceit worthy of Gaspar Noé, and all that that implies). But the more that Assassination Nation tries to be about everything—hysteria, hypocrisy, media hypnosis and, of course, Donald Trump—it sacrifices precious specificities of character and context. Plus, casting Joel McHale as the Purge-masked face of toxic masculinity isn’t as effective as, say, unleashing James Franco in Spring Breakers (yet another film that Levinson is chasing without quite catching up to). Everything you need to know about this film is contained in its most self-consciously bravura sequence, an extended, single-take home invasion that’s at once accomplished, self-impressed, sadistic, and redundant.

Jordan Raup (from Sundance last January), The Film Stage
Throughout the scattered build-up and visceral release, Levinson has plenty of ostentatious touches, some of which work better than others. During a party, he breaks down the frame into a triptych in a perceptive comment on how what should be an intimate experience is distilled into vertically-oriented, social media-ready clips apt for public digital consumption. Less effective is a single take which floats around the house as the town zeroes in on their victims. By the fifth or sixth minute, it’s clear more tension would have been felt if this was simply a well-executed series of shots inside the home.

And finally, the hosts of Build Weekend Watch end up their discussion of Levinson's film with an off-the-cuff discussion of De Palma, in which each one picks their favorite De Palma film-- and between the three of them, they manage to pick my three favorite ones... although Camilleri needs to go back and look at the pointed police station exposition scene in Raising Cain again, for sure...
Ethan Alter: There is one scene that sort of summarizes the movie, to me, and what it does well and what it mostly doesn't, is there's a long set-piece, with a bunch of Purge-like points (where everything's broken down), the townspeople are attacking the teenage girls who are running. And they're attacked at their house-- the scene is done sort of halfway between Brian De Palma and Gaspar Noé, with a lot of upside down camerawork, trying to do all-in-one-shot Steadicam where you can sort of see where they cut, but they're trying to create the impression of it all being a single-take. It should be, again, a three-minute sequence. They drag it out for eight minutes. And at that point, at about the five-minute mark, you're like, oh, okay, they're just showing off.

Ricky Camilleri: Sounds like Brian De Palma.

Ethan Alter: Yeah, there is truth in that.

Karen Han: I love him, though!

Ricky Camilleri: I love Brian De Palma, but there is definitely a sense, of, you know... Raising Cain is a movie where there are some one-shot wonders in there. Like, this is about nine minutes of just floating through a police station for literally no reason, but... God love ya, keep it up, man.

Ethan Alter: Yeah.

Ricky Camilleri: And the thing with Gaspar Noé, I love Gaspar Noé, and I love the upside down camerawork, and I love when he shocks. Because I feel like all of the things that he is doing, is, he's not putting anything on, he's just naturally who he is, and he can't help it. Love him or hate him, that's what he's going to do. It's not like he walked into a room and said, "Oh, I'm gonna be like this director." Whereas this director seems like he may have done that, and said, "Gaspar Noé." Want to move onto the next movie, guys? What do you think? Got more about Assassination Nation? We good? You wanna just talk about Brian De Palma for a little while?

Ethan Alter: Yeah, we could do that.

Ricky Camilleri: What's your favorite Brian De Palma movie?

Karen Han: Phantom Of The Paradise. Absolutely.

Ethan Alter: Oooh, good choice. Good choice.

Ricky Camilleri: Okay, we'll throw some rocks right now. What's your favorite De Palma?

Ethan Alter: It's cliché, but Carrie. Carrie is just, proto-Stephen King, proto-seventies horror, it's great. It still plays well.

Ricky Camilleri: I'd go Blow Out. The fireworks sequence in Blow Out, with the camera going around, is incredibly beautiful. I saw it for the first time on the big screen and it blew my mind.

Posted by Geoff at 10:35 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

For "Throwback Thursday," Rita Wilson tweeted a YouTube video of the post-title opening Steadicam shot of Brian De Palma's The Bonfire Of The Vanities. The shot was so complicated, De Palma had to cameo as a security guard in order to direct it (see the capture above). Here's what Wilson posted today on Twitter:
#tbt This used to be the longest steadicam shot ever. It’s since been eclipsed.Bonfire of the Vanities dir. By Brian de Palma.We shot All night in Twin Towers.So many rehearsals.I was 6 months pregnant.Amazing shot.

Posted by Geoff at 6:30 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2018 6:31 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 15, 2018

John C. Reilly sat down for several interviews last week at the Toronto International Film Festival to promote Jacques Audiard's The Sisters Brothers, which Reilly stars in (with Joaquin Phoenix) and also co-produced with his wife, Alison Dickey. At least two of those TIFF interviews have led to some discussion about Reilly's film debut in Brian De Palma's Casualties Of War (which Sony has just released on Blu-ray for the first time, but not with the extended director's cut). Here are a couple of links and excerpts:

David Edelstein, Vulture

When you hear stuff like this, you can understand why directors liked working with Reilly right from the beginning and why Sean Penn, of all people, suggested De Palma give Reilly a lead role in Casualties of War. “I think Sean saw something that I always aspire to be,” says Reilly: “Guileless.”

The Casualties story is amazing. After graduating from the Theatre School at DePaul University, Reilly worked at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, then flew to Thailand to be a “day player” in De Palma’s war film. When a supporting actor was fired, Reilly got a bigger part. After flying home to the U.S., he learned another actor had been fired and De Palma and Penn wanted him back to play one of the leads. He’d missed the last flight of the day going west across the Pacific, so he flew, he says, “across America, across the Atlantic, over to Asia, and then down back down to Bangkok,” where he was promptly whisked to the set, given a haircut and a costume, and escorted to a rice paddy, where he had to pretend to snooze and be jarred awake.

I ask what he thinks they saw in him, and he tells me about the days in “a weird conference room” in a Thai hotel: “It’s full of guys trying to out-impress each other, because Sean sets a high bar. The two guys that got fired were doing that shit: ‘I’ll out-Method you. I’ll outdrink you after work. I’ll fucking say something insulting to you because you think you’re such a fucking hotshot actor.’ I’m like, ‘Guys, What are you doing? Are you insane? You can’t say that to that person. Aren’t we trying to put on a play?’ ”

“A play,” as in what he was doing in Chicago, where actors who pull out-Method-you shit don’t last. “You’re not going to get discovered in Chicago,” he says, “the way you might in New York or L.A., so that takes some of the pressure off. You’re part of an ensemble. You’re there to play.” In that Bangkok hotel, he says, he was ready to do anything. “I’d go nuts. I’d read not just my part but an old Vietnamese man or whoever wasn’t there. ‘Have John do it,’ they’d say.” Penn was so taken with Reilly’s gung ho spirit that he recommended Reilly for parts in We’re No Angels (1989) and State of Grace (1990). As a bonus, on Casualties Reilly met Dickey. She was Penn’s assistant.

Mike Ryan, UPROXX
Speaking of more relevance, you’re never going to admit to this, but it felt like you were making a statement in this movie. I looked and 26 of your first 27 movies were dramas.

That never occurred to me. When my wife read me that part of that review, I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing. I should start using that line: Well, I made 26 before I did any comedies!”

I feel like you’re on screen going, look, I can carry a drama Western, how about that?

You know, the truth is, I don’t really have to remind people. My work has a lot of variety to it and the last few things I’ve done haven’t been comedy. And even though, like you say, the first 26 movies I did were not necessarily thought of as comedies, but I was often a funnier character. Even my first movie, Casualties of War, he’s a funny character within a very serious movie.

That was on TV the other day and I was shocked when you showed up in it.

Yeah, it was the first time I was on an airplane! The first time I left the country. It was a surreal time.

Your first director was Brian De Palma.

I know, Sean Penn and all these people. The thing is, I would never lecture an audience (over not being remembered for dramatic work).

It would be funny if you did. “Look, people…”

“You forgot!” No, because the truth is, I actually feel really grateful to audiences. Because actors often get stereotyped into things and it’s not their fault. It’s often because an audience wants people to be a certain way. They find you really appealing when you play this kind of role and they want that over and over again. And I feel really lucky and grateful that, over the years, the audiences allowed me to be all these different things. So even though certain kinds of moviegoers might know me for comedy, it just depends what you’re into. At this point, I’ve made almost 80 movies or something. So the chance is that I’ve made some kind of movie that you like at some point in my life.

Posted by Geoff at 7:46 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 15, 2018 7:48 PM CDT
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Friday, September 14, 2018
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/sistersarrowcriterionblu.jpg"I am getting used to the new colors and appreciate the vibrancy and texture," states Gary Tooze at DVD Beaver. Tooze has captures from the upcoming Criterion Blu-ray edition of Brian De Palma's Sisters, and the comment above, regarding the tendency of recent Criterion releases to have a sort of teal tint, comes from Tooze's review of the upcoming release (October 23rd). You can visit the link above to see comparisons between the previous Criterion DVD release, Arrow's Blu-ray edition from 2014, and the new Criterion Blu-ray. Meanwhile, here's what Tooze writes about the new edition at DVD Beaver:
Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - September 2018 - The Criterion is advertised as a "New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Brian De Palma". The differences with the 2014 Arrow 1080P are, surprisingly, extensive. The Criterion is in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio (as opposed to opened-up 1.78:1 of the UK rendering), showing more information on the sides and less on the top and bottom. It also shows much more grain and has some unpleasant teal/green infiltration that some may not appreciate. Colors do shift - jackets/suits that were blue on the Arrow shift to a more grey palette. Colors, like reds, are generally deeper and richer - flesh tones are warmer with a tinge of orange. It, likewise, has a max'ed out bitrate and I was expecting both to offer a similar presentation. I like the appearance because of the advanced texture and on the 65" OLED it diffuses the teal/green cast... but every system may be different. I am getting used to the new colors and appreciate the vibrancy and texture.

Also a linear PCM mono (24-bit) track. The lossless easily handles the effects and the typical powerfulc score by the great Bernard Herrmann (Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, Cape Fear, The Magnificent Ambersons, Taxi Driver, The Wrong Man, etc. etc.). It sounds the same as the Arrow according to my crusty ears. There are, also, optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

Criterion add new supplements from their own 2000 DVD. There is a new, 24-minute, interview with actor Jennifer Salt (intrepid Grace Collier in Sisters) and she talks about being at school, meeting De Palma and how she got the role in the film etc. There are 27-minutes worth of interviews from 2004 with De Palma, actors Bill Finley and Charles Durning, editor Paul Hirsch, and producer Edward R. Pressman and the director is always thoughtful and attentive. You can watch the film with 1.5 hours worth of an audio discussion from a 1973 with De Palma at the American Film Institute. It can be a shade hushed but the director's fans will appreciate its inclusion and his observations. We get a 9-minute appearance from 1970 by actor Margot Kidder on The Dick Cavett Show, a length slideshow photo gallery and 3.5 minutes of radio spots. The package has an essay by critic Carrie Rickey, excerpts from a 1973 interview with De Palma on the making of the film, and a 1973 article by the director on working with composer Bernard Herrmann.

We always are in favor of different packages - it's great to have choices. The Criterion Blu-ray promotes reflection on their director-approved image and offers rewarding new extras. This film gets better each time I see it. Recommended!

Posted by Geoff at 8:19 AM CDT
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