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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
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in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
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De Palma developing
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"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

"This is a piece about the Brian De Palma films you may have heard about but haven’t seen," Collider's Nick Laskin states in the introduction to his list of "5 Most Underrated Brian De Palma Movies." Laskin continues, "The under-the-radar ones, the ones that your cinephile friends have probably been bugging you about. Honestly, we could think of five more just off the top of our heads, but hey, this list is far from a bad place to start." Here are five quick pull-quotes from each of Laskin's five choices:

Raising Cain (1992)

De Palma has always known exactly what to do with the effete menace exuded by actor John Lithgow, particularly in early masterworks like Obsession and Blow Out. De Palma’s go-to tactic with Lithgow? Cast him as a bad guy, and make him as creepy as possible. In Cain, the veteran actor comes completely unglued, playing a respected psychologist who is revealed to be quite dangerous when he learns of his wife’s infidelity.

Femme Fatale (2002)
...to date, it is simultaneously one of the horniest and most elegant Hitchcock homages that this master craftsman has ever given us.

Hi, Mom! (1970)
The “Be Black, Baby!” sequence is an uncomfortable, barn-burning stunner, and almost surely one of the more purely provocative sequences that De Palma has ever committed to film.

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Many day-one De Palma heads have this retro oddity in their personal top five, and for good reason: from a standpoint of pure visual technique and jaw-dropping cinematic invention, Phantom can feel, as you watch it, like nothing less than one of the coolest American movies ever made.

Body Double (1984)
Body Double is, yes, vulgar, ridiculous, offensive, and pretty much every other pejorative you could think to throw at it. It’s also by far De Palma’s most under-valued work on the whole: a brutal vivisection of voyeurism, entitlement, male ego, and the pomposity of Hollywood, disguised as Dressed To Kill 2.0. Even when the movie’s heart is scurrilous and perverse, its technique is so assured as to be downright classical in its composition.

Posted by Geoff at 11:24 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 26, 2022

Each entry in Fangoria's "Wild Women With Steak Knives" series of articles finds author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas examining "a woman-directed horror film that's been largely overlooked or forgotten." In the latest entry, posted yesterday, Heller-Nicholas discusses Katt Shea's The Rage: Carrie 2. Here's a portion:
On March 18th, 1993, a group of young men from Lakewood, California, who collectively went by the self-bestowed name of the "Spur Posse" were arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Their crimes - and their response to it - would become major news in the United States at the time; charged with an array of sex crimes, these assaults were all linked to a 'game' the members had constructed which used a point system to create a competitive environment where these crimes garnered the assailant a numerical value, all leading up to the grotesque idea that there would be a 'winner'. The more rapes, the more points. Prosecutors dropped the case bar one single charge because they felt unable to prove these encounters were not consensual, and the police failed to pursue even statutory rape charges despite one of the survivors only being ten years old.

This was a long time before #MeToo, but there are echoes here of far too many future cases that we have seen since, and of course that existed long before this case itself. Why this particular news story caused such a storm is perhaps as much to do with the high class status of the Spur Posse - they were football players, the golden boys - as it did the horrific crimes they committed all in the name of this "game".

This might sound like a strange way to approach Katt Shea's The Rage: Carrie 2, but when you know this story, it comes as zero surprise to learn that the Spur Posse case was as much (if not more) an influence on the critically lambasted sequel to Brian De Palma's valorized 1976 original. That comparing the sequel to the original has remained the primary model for assessing this film is perhaps stating the obvious; if the title alone doesn't encourage us enough to do this, then the film itself goes to some pretty significant lengths to remind us of the original in some of its key moments, sometimes going a far as to replicate iconic scenes and images.

Original footage from De Palma's 1976 film of Sissy Spacek's famous Carrie even appears in The Rage, in a red-tinted flashback of the famous "plug it up scene". Spacek turned down an offer to appear in the sequel, but she did grant permission for this footage to be reused. However, Amy Irving does appear as a relatively central character, revamping her character, Sue Snell. Here, she now works at the school where the sequel takes place. A loose reconfiguring of Betty Buckley's gym teacher Miss Desjardin from the first film in many ways, she also differs significantly as she is much more overtly a champion for the victimized girls in the film, especially protagonist, Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl).

Rachel is Carrie's step-sister; they share the same father (who seems to have a thing for religious fanatics), which in itself is interesting because it renders Rachel and Carrie's telekinesis - a gift they both share - as not only hereditary, but passed down through the male family line. Violence, then, despite the centrality of the women characters here, is ultimately framed as inherently connected to the masculine. These girls have not just got enormous supernatural powers, but the violence intrinsic to that in both of their cases is something they literally got from a man; their propensity for violence, then, is deemed monstrous not only because it holds the potential for unrestrained destruction, but also because they are women who have what is biologically defined as being something emphatically masculine.

Rachel learns of her relationship to Carrie from Sue, whose guilt over Carrie's death and the carnage associated with it propel her to investigate Rachel's similar background with a demented religious kook for a mother. But Rachel and Carrie - and their stories - are as different as they are similar. Rachel's mother, for instance, is institutionalized very early in the film, leaving Rachel to grow up in an uncaring foster home (for the music fans amongst you, her stepfather is played by the iconic John Doe from the killer LA punk band X). While Carrie was meek and frightened, Rachel is tough; Pauline Kael once famously described Spacek's Carrie as looking like a "squashed frog", while Rachel is a tomboy (when one of the quasi-Spur Posse ringleaders invites her on a date early in the film, she unhesitatingly rejects him, telling him she's not interested "because I'm a dyke”. He doesn't pause to disbelieve it).

In the final stretches of the article, Heller-Nicholas states that her article "is less a defense of The Rage: Carrie 2 as it is perhaps a request for an opening up about how we approach films like this. In many ways, the film is doubly cursed (again, referencing that original title) because not only was it directed by a woman - effectively a crime, in the eyes of many horror fans and people in the industry, even now - but it's a dirty, stinky, shameful sequel. Maybe we need a different way to talk about sequels, because 'it's not as good as the original' is such an obvious thing to say about almost all of them (there are a few rare exceptions) that it seems almost pointless."

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 27, 2022 1:03 AM CDT
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Friday, March 25, 2022

"A splash of red is rarely just a splash of red," begins Sophie Monks Kaufman in her BFI article, 10 great films that make striking use of the colour red. "Often it symbolises death. Two girls in red coats – one in Don’t Look Now (1973) and one in Schindler’s List (1993) – are tragic figures haunting film history. A woman lies dying in a house full of red walls in Cries and Whispers (1972). The moment of death is bloodless, as the colour of her spent lifeforce is outsourced to the walls.

"Plenty of films are less coy about bloodshed and whole genres are built on gore. It would be easy to fill every spot on this list with slashers and gialli, creating a similar impression to the elevator doors opening in The Shining (1980).

"Although there does seem to be a theme of sadness, loss, violence and death to movies that make the most unabashed use of red, it is also the colour of passion. Sometimes primal feelings are too much for gentle or defeated people to confront. Pedro Almodóvar and Wong Kar Wai use red in their production designs to express what their characters cannot.

"To lighten the mood: enter the scarlet seductress. 'She is always alluring,' says Catherine Bray in her Inside Cinema video essay, Women in Red. One such siren adds sparkle to this list: it’s Marilyn Monroe, the greatest bombshell who ever lived in her star-making role.

"The Red Balloon is a seemingly simple children’s film that won an Academy Award in 1956. Its use of red in both visual and emotional terms is the gold standard."

Kaufman's list is inspired by the 50th anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers. Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976) is included:

Pig’s blood, a red convertible, Sissy Spacek’s hair, wine-coloured candles and a pale pink dress seen as red through a fundamentalist mother’s eyes. These are some of the key ingredients of Carrie. Brian De Palma adapted Stephen King’s novel, which is one of the saddest horror tales in existence. Humiliation and rejection push Carrie White (white is an invitation to red), the shy loner with telekinetic powers, towards a finale of destruction. This bursts out of her as the culmination of feelings so powerful that they cause literal combustions.

Lured into a sweet and short-lived feeling of belonging at high-school prom, only to have pig’s blood poured on her during a moment in the limelight, Carrie snaps, pushed to the edge by her violent mother. Hers is not a maniacal-laughter mode of vengeance; it is grief-fuelled. The red that has dripped steadily since the opening scene, where she gets her period, erupts in a torrent that makes a mockery of the fire trucks that arrive on the scene too late.

Kaufman's list also includes The Red Shoes (1948) --
As Brian De Palma would do later in Carrie (1976), Powell and Pressburger (the filmmaking duo known as The Archers) complement their use of visceral vermillion with the natural locks of a red-headed woman. Moira Shearer plays the ill-fated Vicky, an ingenue ballet-dancer beckoned under the oppressive wing of dance impresario Boris Lermontov (a brilliantly villainous Anton Walbrook, who is awarded the most memorable lines). Vicky is cast in the ballet of The Red Shoes, about a bewitched pair of ballet shoes that cause their wearer to dance themselves to death. The score is written by a young composer, also a redhead, and they fall in love, to the disapproval of Lermontov.

When Vicky is invited into a room to be offered the lead part, each figure of authority is surrounded by a splash of red, a portent of things to come. The Archers make a motif of red, white and blue, dressing Shearer, with her porcelain skin and auburn hair, in a colour wheel of blues.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, March 24, 2022

"Once the movie got up and running, or once Paramount greenlit it, Tom got rather anxious, and wanted to bring Towne in to work on it." This is David Koepp talking about working on the screenplay for the 1996 film, Mission: Impossible. "And then Towne came in, and Brian didn't want-- [Koepp throws his hands in the air] yeah, there was a lot of fighting. And then Towne came in and threw all the pages up in the air. And things stayed quite chaotic. And then three weeks before shooting, they said, 'Will you come back... you know, try and put it all back together. But Bob's going to keep working, and you're going to keep working, and we'll just figure out what we shoot.' I was like, 'Okay... this oughta be interesting.'"

This idea of sort of figuring-it-out-as-we-go-along seems to have stuck with Tom Cruise and his collaborators throughout the Mission: Impossible franchise. Today at The Hollywood Reporter, Kim Masters highlights the "perhaps surprisingly improvisational approach to filmmaking" taken by Cruise and writer-director Christopher McQuarrie:

M:I 7‘s release date has been pushed four times; it’s now set for July 2023. By holding on to the film as a work in progress while working on the eighth, Cruise and his writer-director, Christopher McQuarrie, ensure that Paramount won’t have much luck imposing budget restrictions on what is allegedly the final installment in the franchise. It also gives Cruise — who has creative control — flexibility with respect to the cliffhanger ending of M:I 7.

With hundreds of millions on the line, says a knowledgeable source, Cruise and McQuarrie take a perhaps surprisingly improvisational approach to filmmaking. McQuarrie first encountered Cruise on the 2008 film Valkyrie, which McQuarrie co-wrote and co-produced. He started collaborating on the Mission movies when he went to work on the script for the fourth installment, 2011’s Ghost Protocol, mid-production. He directed the fifth, 2015’s Rogue Nation, during which he figured out the third act only in the middle of shooting. The sixth installment, 2018’s Fallout, involved more of the same budget-fracturing spontaneity. This unpredictable approach is Cruise exercising the power he’s accrued from bringing in $3.6 billion in box office starring as Ethan Hunt over three decades.

The notion that a studio can control spending on a Cruise movie is dismissed by executives who have been in the trenches with him. One says a studio can only hope to “influence” Cruise and McQuarrie. “Tom looks at [the money] he delivers to the studio,” says another. “Why wouldn’t you go do whatever you want? Who’s going to tell you not to?” These executives say Cruise is driven by his own perfectionism. “It’s not always in the best interest of the budget, but he is incredibly detailed and willing to put in an enormous amount of time and effort on every aspect,” says a source on M:I 7. “The guy does give every ounce of his being to this endeavor,” confirms another.

The still-unfinished M:I 7 has already hit a breathtaking $290 million budget, with tax incentives. Cruise and McQuarrie did a little work on 8 as 7 got underway — enough to say they had started the film — but shooting on 8 is underway now. Sources say Cruise has persuaded Brian Robbins, the new president and CEO of Paramount Pictures, to give him more money to finish the seventh film and make the eighth, arguing (with some justification) that inflation has driven up expenses.

No one can be blamed for COVID-19, or for the lousy luck that had M:I 7 start its shoot in northern Italy, hit hard early in the pandemic. Ultimately, both Cruise and McQuarrie — neither of whom was believed to be vaccinated at the time — contracted the virus, according to sources. McQuarrie’s illness was so severe that he was hospitalized in London, a source says. (Why the two weren’t vaccinated isn’t clear, but in Cruise’s case, it apparently was not because Scientology has taken a position against it, as some in town have speculated. Sources familiar with the organization’s policy say it has left the decision up to members.) Neither Cruise nor McQuarrie responded to a request for comment.

Posted by Geoff at 10:46 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Here's the website description of the latest episode of the Uncut Gems Podcast:
In this episode of the show we continue our DEPALMARCH marathon also known as 4 DECADES OF DE PALMA by moving up a decade from the 70s to the 80s in order to talk about arguably one of Brian De Palma’s most controversial movies, Dressed to Kill. Over the course of our discussion you will hear us talk about how De Palma’s directorial prowess and a knack for crafting memorable set pieces elevate the movie, how much it owes to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, how it is at its core a deeply personal movie, how it functions as an overt giallo film and much, much more!

Tune in and enjoy!

Hosts: Jakub Flasz & Nicolò Grasso

Featuring: Randy Burrows

Uncut Gems Podcast kicks off "DEPALMARCH" with Phantom Of The Paradise discussion

Posted by Geoff at 11:36 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

"Few shows are so obviously designed to be talked about," states The Ringer's Adam Nayman of the TV series Atlanta. "Or annotated: Over the years, Donald Glover and the rest of the show’s creative team have told anybody who will listen about an extensive list of influences—some obvious, some arcane, some more convincing than others. Consider the list below a kind of Atlanta syllabus, including a few key stated reference points, and some that may be more unconscious or incidental but resonate all the same." A few paragraphs down from there, Nayman writes about Hi, Mom!:

Early reviews of Season 3 hint that Atlanta will extend its queasy fascination with racial masquerade even further than the dark conceptual jokes in “Helen”—in which Earn is mistaken by a partygoer for a white man made up as a Moor—or “Teddy Perkins,” with its disturbing, dessicated spectacle of whiteface. One possible primer for the show’s gutsy satire is Brian De Palma’s 1970 comedy Hi, Mom!, whose immortal centerpiece sequence depicts a group of bougie New York theatergoers attending an experimental performance in which they’re roughed up, slathered in grease paint, and subjected to racist abuse by Black performers hiding behind artificially pale complexions. The title—and devastatingly double-edged thrust—of the show is “Be Black, Baby!” and like all of De Palma’s finest provocations, the scene is designed to push characters and audience alike outside of their comfort zones and into the line of fire. The brilliant punch line: After being hectored, harassed, and threatened with arrest by real-looking cops, the patrons express gratitude for their fleeting glimpse at how the other half lives … before heading back to their brownstones.

Posted by Geoff at 11:20 PM CDT
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Monday, March 21, 2022

Between The Voyeurs last year and Deep Water this past weekend, the erotic thriller isn't as dead as all that. Today, however, Entertainment Weekly's Joshua Rothkopf posted an article with the headline, "The 5 best erotic thrillers to remind you of what Deep Water could have been." With no mention of Michael Mohan's The Voyeurs, Rothkopf explains that "when we heard that director Adrian Lyne (9½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal) was returning to make another movie after a 20-year hiatus, our hopes soared. Deep Water doesn't quite justify the excitement — it's neither sexy nor trashy enough — but it's as good a moment as any to return to the subgenre's high points, each paired with a suggestion for deeper exploration."

After that introduction, the first film Rothkopf chooses to highlight is Body Double:

Body Double (1984)

Brian De Palma could have invented the erotic thriller on his own, and come to think of it, pretty much did with this synthy Hitchcock-a-thon that struck the mold: a seductive female lure (Melanie Griffith's savvy pornstar, the role that later landed her Working Girl), a ridiculous kill or two, and a stellar use of a pop song (Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax"). Don't question how believable any of this is — you'll spoil the fun.

Advanced studies: Femme Fatale (2002), in which De Palma topped himself

The other four movies in Rothkopf's article are Lyne's Fatal Attraction, Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, Barbet Schroeder's Single White Female, and Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.

See Also:
Den Of Geek - Deep Water: The Wildest Thriller Movies to Watch Next
HungerTV.com - ‘Deep Water’: 9 Erotic thrillers to watch next

Posted by Geoff at 10:11 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 22, 2022 10:55 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 20, 2022

I think that every director worth anything - I mean, a man that makes films, vs. a man that takes a job to make a film, you know, who directs - I don't think Marty is a director. He really is a person that generates the energy behind everything that is accomplished in a film. And I would think that a director of his stature only makes one film. So that Who's That Knocking, Mean Streets, and Taxi Driver, and Alice, are all part and parcel of one film, of the way one man feels. - John Cassavetes

Well, I think all of his films are very musical, all of them. Film is like operas. - Liza Minnelli, talking about Martin Scorsese

Last July, Peter Hayden's rare 60-minute documentary from 1978, Movies Are My Life: A Profile on Martin Scorsese, was posted at rarefilmm, along with this description:
The very first full-length documentary on Scorsese offers an invaluable look at how he was perceived by his colleagues, and himself, in 1977. Catching Scorsese while while he was in post-production on New York, New York and editing The Last Waltz, British filmmaker Peter Hayden gets the manically hyper Scorsese to comment on his youth, his relation to his lead characters, and most importantly, his approach to direction. The doc doesn’t quite move at the pace of Scorsese’s revved-up speed-talking, but it does offer some real insight into his productivity in the 1970s, thanks to an impressive array of talking heads. Included are Scorsese’s collaborators Jay Cocks, Mardik Martin, Brian De Palma, Steven Prince (who co-produced this doc), and his mentor John Cassavetes. Also the performers, who discuss his working methods in detail — Jodie Foster, Liza Minnelli, and, of course, Robert De Niro.

Director: Peter Hayden.
Writers: Peter Hayden, Chris Ranger

The documentary includes montages of Scorsese on sets of his films, and a section showing him filming the opening prologue of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. A version of the documentary was also posted to YouYube (below), although for YouTube, "a couple of segments had to be cut out due to copyright," according to the description:


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2022 6:57 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Joachim Trier's latest film, The Worst Person In The World, is essentially a character study. Although he jokes to Tara Brady at The Irish Times that after film school, "I forgot all about making formal and experimental films," one of the things that makes the new film stand out are the daring formal flourishes, such as when the world around his main character, Julie (Renate Reinsve), seems to freeze for nearly an entire day -- long enough for her to make a bold decision during the split-second that her boyfriend moves to pour a cup of coffee. With a moment such as this one, and others, it seems that Trier long ago embedded formal experimentation into his intuitive cinematic mindscape. Here are the final few paragraphs of the Irish Times article:
“I don’t believe in genres really,” says the director. “But I do believe in them as playful guardrails or support wheels along the way. And yes, we did look at The Philadelphia Story by George Cukor. And I do love Notting Hill. And I do love the fact that even in these very light, romantic films, you can find some sort of existential pondering. And so I’m not against calling our film a romcom if that’s how one defines those films. But I do admit that we go somewhere slightly darker with this one after a while. Maybe dark is the wrong word, but perhaps more melancholic.”

When The Worst Person in the World premiered in the Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival last July, Trier was following in the footsteps of grandfather Erik Løchen, artistic director of Norsk Film from 1981 to 1983 and a filmmaker whose drama The Hunt was nominated for the Palme d’Or in 1959. His co-writer Vogt’s second feature as a director, The Innocents, premiered in the same line-up.

“My grandfather was in the Resistance during the second World War,” says the filmmaker. “And he was captured and barely survived. He was very traumatised. And he played jazz music, I think, to try to get it out of his mind and to live his life. And he started making movies around that notion, and reading experimental literature. And in 1959 they invited him to Cannes and said: Oh, this is New Wave. For him, it was a jazz movie. It was a great thing. And it mattered a lot to our family. And in a strange way, my grandfather helped make the support system that I’m now privileged enough to make movies through. So going to Cannes was a big deal for me.”

Trier has, accordingly, been around the film industry his entire life. His mother was a documentarian and his father was a sound technician; both, he notes, were anomalies in Norway, where the film industry was comparatively tiny. As a teenager, Trier became a skateboarding champion who shot and produced his own daredevil skateboarding videos. He was still surprised when he found himself enrolled in Denmark’s European Film College and then London’s National Film and Television School.

“It’s weird, because as a kid, you realise those kids who cannot shut up cannot be allowed on set,” recalls Trier. “So you learn this great respect for silence, especially around film, especially around my father, who was a sound recordist. My mom primarily did documentaries, but I was also on set sometimes with her and it was just like seeing grown-ups play.

“What’s even weirder is, when I was 18 I finally told my friends, you know what, I want to try and make a living as a film director. And I felt that it was like a coming out moment. And all my friends went, yeah, we knew that. Because I’d been filming all along, making weird super-eight movies. I guess I’m not as gifted as Julie. I didn’t have options. I had only one thing I could do.”

Trier cites the work of Robert Bresson, Alain Resnais, and Andrei Tarkovsky among his primary influences. Studying in London, however, proved equally impactful.

“The National Film and TV School was really, really important,” says Trier. “I was rebelling against it most of the time because I came from a formal background and I wanted to make films like Brian De Palma and Antonioni did. I wanted to have complete control and they wanted us to collaborate. I found that difficult. But we had such great teachers. Stephen Frears taught us and he’s brought so many great actors – like Daniel Day Lewis, and Uma Thurman and John Malkovich – to prominence. And he taught us that you can’t fake great casting. We had talks from Mike Leigh and from Robert Altman.”

He laughs: “And they must have all brainwashed me, because I forgot all about making formal and experimental films and became a humanist filmmaker who’s interested in observational drama and collaborating.”

Joachim Trier on Louder Than Bombs - Fan of De Palma, Roeg - works intuitively "in what I call dirty formalism, or pop formalism"

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2022 12:39 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Jeff Baena's Spin Me Round stars co-writer Allison Brie as a manager of a California-based Italian eatery franchise who earns an all-expenses trip to Italy, where she participates in the franchise’s educational immersion program. The film had its premiere this past Saturday at SXSW. After filming The Little Hours in Italy with Brie and Aubrey Plaza about five years ago, Baena was eager to return. Plaza appears in the new film, as well.

"We had a blast shooting The Little Hours," Brie tells The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern. "It was especially fun for me to be there with my husband Dave [Franco], who’s in the movie, as well as Jeff [Baena] and Aubrey [Plaza]. And we have a lot of repeat offenders here, like Molly [Shannon] and Fred Armisen. But Jeff came up with the concept for this movie pretty much right after we finished The Little Hours, because he wanted to get back to Italy as soon as possible. There were some delays on that, and in the interim we made Horse Girl together. After that, Jeff brought it back around and said, “I’ve written a 10-page outline for this other Italy movie idea—do you want to write it with me?” The Little Hours and Horse Girl were unscripted—we worked off a 30-page outline—but for this movie, we fleshed it out into a 35-page outline and were gonna take it out like that, and then because of the pandemic and having so much time on our hands we ended up just writing the whole script. And then we had a fun time asking all our friends to be in it."

Plaza recently worked with Michael Caine on a movie called Best Sellers, and tells Collider's Perri Nemiroff that something Caine had told her carried over to the group dynamic in Italy for Spin Me Round:

Michael Caine put it into my head that when you’re shooting a movie, maybe that’s how it was in the old days, but he was like, ‘The way I do it is we shoot all day long and then every night we go to dinner. I put on my dinner jacket and we go to dinner and we have wine,' and we tried to adopt that kind of approach in Italy where, even though we were exhausted and all losing our minds, we just really kind of dove fully in and just tried to have that experience, and I think it’s the best version of filmmaking.

And thanks, apparently, to a tax credit scenario, Pino Donaggio was asked to compose the film's music - according to an article by Mark Olsen at the Los Angeles Times:
The film also surprises with its lush score by Pino Donaggio, the Italian composer best known for his collaborations with Brian De Palma on films including “Carrie,” “Dressed to Kill” and “Body Double.” For a tax credit, it was necessary to have a key Italian crew member, and Baena was a huge fan of what he called the “classiness and sleaziness” of Donaggio’s work, so he figured it was worth asking. When it turned out Donaggio was interested, Baena, Brie and Plaza drove to Venice after they finished shooting to meet the composer. He gave them a whirlwind view of the city, including a long evening at the famed Harry’s Bar.

Baena called the collaboration “a once in a lifetime thing” and returned to Italy for the scoring sessions. “I went to Rome to meet him at the studio where all the Italian greats worked, it’s basically this one studio that the legends recorded at,” Baena said. “And it was like my dream to basically spend a week with Pino Donaggio and just hang out with him. And he is like this cute, amazing old guy who is so on the level and is so sharp and funny and so down.

“And his music is incredible,” added Baena. “It’s hard to basically say, ‘I wanna do something like your old work,’ but I didn’t really wanna push that. I want him to go to a new place. And I think he found this middle ground where it’s reminiscent of some of his older stuff, but it feels completely new and fresh. So it has a familiar, but also unique feeling, which is what I want the movie to feel like.”

A review of Spin Me Round by The Wrap's Carlos Aguilar describes some of Donaggio's music:
Casting a wide casting net, Baena also folds in bit parts for name talent like Fred Armisen, Ego Nwodim and Lil Rel Howery. They’re responsible for most of the effective comedy, though in some cases with portrayals that border in “SNL”-style caricatures. While not always as funny as it wishes to be through the managerial team bickering dynamic, “Spin Me Round” is generally engaging thanks to the “what the hell is happening here?” doubt that Baena instills early.

An interesting comedic exercise, this is Baena’s least eccentric outing yet (considering there are no jealous zombies or foul-mouthed nuns), but it’s perhaps his most narratively ambitious, in terms of its genre playfulness and a clear objective of dismantling its protagonist’s false illusions. Both the score (by veteran composer Pino Donaggio) and Sean McElwee’s cinematography go along with variations in tone.

Just as the music goes from happy-go-lucky, jingle-like cheer to suspensefully ripe enough for a James Bond film, the lighting choices become more purposefully on the nose to reflect the terror Amber perceives all around her. There’s a thematic and practical synergy that’s far more impressive than some of the dry-humor gags that don’t amount to much.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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