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a la Mod:

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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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags


The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the

FilmLand Empire

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Icebox Movies

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Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
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Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
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De Palma a la Mod

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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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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Film Music Reporter reports:
Hollywood Records has released a digital version of the soundtrack album for the 1998 thriller Snake Eyes directed by Brian De Palma and starring Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, Carla Gugino, Stan Shaw, John Heard, Joel Fabiani, Kevin Dunn and Luis Guzmán. The album features the original score from the Paramount Pictures and Touchstone Pictures production composed by Academy Award winner Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Last Emperor, The Revenant, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Little Buddha, Femme Fatale). Also included is the song Sin City written and performed by Meredith Brooks. Visit Amazon or any other major digital music services to stream/download the soundtrack. The label has previously released a CD version (which also features an additional song, The Freaky Things by LaKiesha Berri) when the movie opened in theaters in 1998. Snake Eyes is now available on VOD, Blu-ray and DVD.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2023 12:06 AM CST
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Friday, January 27, 2023

James Owen, the film columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune, has written an interesting piece about Quentin Tarantino's new book, Cinema Speculation. Here's an excerpt:
Cinema Speculation” is a hardcovered series of essays Tarantino wrote about formative films he watched from the late sixties to the early eighties. Each chapter is presented as a piece of film criticism. Although it also reads as a memoir of a young film geek who tagged along with his mom and her dates watching age-inappropriate films with rowdy crowds. If you wonder how Tarantino developed his oddly hyperkinetic personality, “Speculation” is rich in psychological self-evaluation.

The book also provides insight into a defining modern filmmaker. When Tarantino talks about other movies, he is really identifying films and filmmakers that formed his style. A write-up of Brian De Palma or John Ford reads not so much as objective analysis but rather how those directors influenced Tarantino’s work. In that way, “Cinema Speculation” is not so much film criticism as it is autobiography. Which, frankly, is more valuable than criticism.

Writing about Tarantino’s collection requires us to define what film criticism is. Many mistake it for someone offering their opinion. That’s more like being a film columnist, which is what I do. Although I try and give context to an opinion so the reader can formulate their own decision to watch a movie or read a book or whatever. Criticism is about context. Criticism digs into the history and tastes of the filmmakers. The method of acting style employed by the performer. But criticism doesn’t just concern itself with technicalities. Considerations for evaluating a movie should also include the time and place where it was conceived and later consumed by audiences. All of these factors help define a movie and its place in the larger cultural conversation. That’s criticism.

Using that standard, Tarantino does much more. He does do a good job of explaining why films like “Dirty Harry” or “Taxi Driver” thrived at the time they did. He delves into whether Eastwood’s Harry Callahan is fascist or Paul Schrader’s take on the lone cab driver is meant to be racist.

If you dig into what film critics were saying at the time these films were released, Tarantino isn’t saying anything new. In fact, Tarantino goes out of his way to quote immediate reactions that offered these very arguments. What’s interesting is how the filmmaker talks about these controversies. Tarantino, too, has been accused of racism and glorifying violence. When he defends these films, you hear self-defense. You may not agree with the position taken, but Tarantino makes a vigorous and entertaining case.

When the topic turns to plot points or camera angles, Tarantino talks why this certain scene worked and something else does not. By talking technique, Tarantino offers a glimpse into how he works. He talks about the decisions he would have made had he directed those earlier films. This, again, isn’t criticism, but rather a glimpse into his own moviemaking in a very engaging and entertaining writing style.

If you’re not much of a reader, there are other options to observe Tarantino’s metamorphosis as the co-host of the “Video Achieves” podcast with fellow filmmaker Roger Avary. Both shared the Oscar for writing “Pulp Fiction” and both got their start as clerks at the Video Achieves store in Manhattan Beach. There, a burgeoning QT dazzled customers with his encyclopedic knowledge of every movie known to man. (Indeed much of the Tarantino myth is that he absorbed all of this knowledge and became a legendary director seemingly through osmosis.)

When the store closed, Tarantino bought the entire inventory and now he and Avary spends ninety minutes every week talking about titles they seemingly pluck out of the air.

I’ve listened to every episode and never once been compelled to seek out any of these exploitative grindhouse flicks. What captivates me about the podcast – as well as “Cinema Speculation” – is how Tarantino lets you into his filmmaking mind. Not only that, but Tarantino has such enthusiasm for watching movies. Every filmgoing experience has the promise of something amazing. This certainly is out of vogue for most critics who seem to look for reasons to hate everything they see. I don’t relate to that; Tarantino suspects most critics hate themselves or their job. I don’t disagree so I reject most other critics.

But the unbridled hopefulness endears me to Tarantino, who remains a fan despite going into his fourth decade as a Hollywood veteran that could make anyone a cynic.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

JoBlo video looks at how Carrie film got made

Posted by Geoff at 10:59 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Brian De Palma's own mid-career, drawn-from-real-life "Fabelmans" was straight-up comedy - he made Home Movies as a project for a film class he was teaching at Sarah Lawrence College in 1979 with students so they could learn, hands-on, by making a film themselves. Steven Spielberg was one friend who helped him with funding. When asked about his childhood, De Palma told one interviewer, "See Home Movies, it's all there." (The figure at the center of this poster art above, holding the camera, looks nothing like Keith Gordon, who is actually the De Palma surrogate/main character in this film.)

In a review of Spielberg's The Fabelmans at New Statesman, Ryan Gilbey writes:

Movies enter Sammy’s life in 1952 when he is taken by her and his father, a placid engineer named Burt (Paul Dano), to see The Greatest Show on Earth. He emerges startled from the film – which really did inspire Spielberg’s youthful wish, long since surpassed, to become the “Cecil B DeMille of science-fiction” – but is soon demanding an electric train set for Hanukkah so that he can recreate its spectacular crash at home. Mitzi suggests that he shoot the scene on his father’s cine camera to avoid damaging the toys in repeated pile-ups. Only later does she comprehend the function of filming: it enables Sammy to control the chaos of reality.

As a teenager, he sees life through an invisible viewfinder. Visiting a dying relative, he notices the pulse drumming feebly in her neck. When his parents fight, he pictures himself weaving among them, capturing all the best angles. Shooting a home movie on a family camping trip, Sammy inadvertently uncovers a secret: Mitzi and his father’s goofy best friend, Bennie (Seth Rogen), are in love.

We have already heard Sammy’s feral Uncle Boris (Judd Hirsch) raging about how the competing demands of family and art will “tear you in two”. The exploration of film as coping mechanism, distancing device and voyeuristic tool, however, nudges The Fabelmans briefly into the territory of Brian De Palma. Spielberg’s friend and fellow “movie brat” amassed evidence of his own father’s infidelities, his predilection for surveillance later driving thrillers such as Dressed to Kill and Blow Out. What a surprise to find Spielberg, the supreme sentimentalist, occupying that murky realm. We didn’t know he had it in him.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Monday, January 23, 2023

Posted by Geoff at 10:29 PM CST
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Friday, January 20, 2023

In an interview by Linsey Teggert at NARC, Ian Black mentions Phantom Of The Paradise as one of several inspirations for SLUG's new album, Thy Socialite!:
When Ian Black, aka SLUG, set about making his third album, he wasn’t thinking about how he could please and impress his fanbase. “I wondered if I could make an album where people who listen to my music ask, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’” he recalls.

Black had been thinking about albums released by revered artists that had largely been rejected by their respective fanbases. Tranquillity Base Hotel And Casino by Arctic Monkeys, Lou Reed’s Berlin and Leonard Cohen’s Death Of A Ladies Man, to be specific. “My friend Lucas Renney said Berlin sounded like Andrew Lloyd Webber on bad drugs having a breakdown. That sounded amazing to me!”

So, the Sunderland native began his mission to make an album that would challenge the listener, without just releasing ‘bad’ music. With his previous records, 2015’s RIPE and 2018’s Higgledypiggledy, Black developed his art school approach to music with an eclectic palette of pop, indie, rock and surf all held together with a healthy dose of groove. With new record, Thy Socialite!, it was time to throw some classic rock into the mix.

“I wondered what would happen if I took the really cheesy bits of my own record collection, the less indie audience friendly stuff: Toto, ZZ Top, Sweet, Def Leppard, and merged it with that SLUG sensibility. I wanted to amuse myself really, and amuse the people who have followed my music so far. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just want to make music that was bad, but I love that element of risk. If you’re playing it safe, then you’re doing it wrong.”

The result is still very much a SLUG record in a wonderfully weird way, but with added pomp and a cheeky wink to hard rock theatrics. It’s an idea that could have easily become a novelty pastiche, but, as with every musical genre that Black turns his hand to, he weaves it so deftly into the SLUG sound that it seems it’s always belonged there.

Black’s venture into classic rock territory is nowhere more apparent than on opener Insults Sweet Like Treacle and closer Cut Of Your Jib, cleverly bookending the album to take the listener along on this new journey from beginning to end. Glam rock stomper Insults Sweet Like Treacle is dedicated to the dearly missed Dave Harper, drummer in Frankie & The Heartstrings and Pop Recs Ltd.’s founder, while Cut Of Your Jib is pure riff-heavy stadium rock.

“I’d never recommend this to anyone, but my wife was on a night out, so I decided to get some tins in and watch a full ZZ Top gig on YouTube. In that haze of drunkenness, as I walked to the fridge to get another tin, the idea for Cut Of Your Jib popped into my brain and hooked itself in there. I remember finishing it in the studio and thinking maybe I’ve gone a bit too far with this one, but then one of the members of ZZ Top died the day after I finished it, and I thought, well, that has to go on the album now!”

It’s not just the music of Thy Socialite! that revolts against modern trends; lyrically Black decided to experiment with what he refers to as “self-character assassination”. Seeing messages of positivity and inspiration in a lot of current music, he decided to do the complete opposite, or as he bluntly puts it with a knowing laugh, he decided to make himself “sound like a twat.”

“Times at the moment are so gloomy that people want to write music that cheers people up or makes them feel good about themselves – take the Self Esteem album for example – it’s brilliant and I understand why people find it uplifting. I really can’t do anything as good as that inspirationally, so you need people like me to come and write songs, knowingly of course, that go the other way. People say I’ve got quite a dark sense of humour, and that bleeds into a lot of the writing I do.”

Citing John Waters’ films, Brian De Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise and the follow-up to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, as inspiration for their “campy, acidic humour”, the Ian Black of Thy Socialite! is very much an outlandish, satirical character. He’s the influencer you love-to-hate, the partygoer who always wants to be in the spotlight.

It’s all part of Black’s journey to create something challenging, but it’s all presented with a wink and tongue firmly in cheek. “I like the idea that people can look at the more acidic lyrics and wonder which ones are completely made up and which ones are thoughts I’ve had personally,” he explains. “We all have those thoughts; they can be as fleeting as a couple of seconds and then you check yourself. It’s all part of being human.”

Posted by Geoff at 10:34 PM CST
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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Edward Pressman, the independent producer who produced Brian De Palma's Sisters and Phantom Of The Paradise, passed away Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to Variety. He was 79.

In conversation with Samuel Blumenfeld and Laurent Vachaud, De Palma said that Pressman "notably produced Phantom of the Paradise and Terrence Malick's first film, Badlands. I met Ed when I was in Los Angeles. Martin Ransohoff had refused to do Sisters, and I had just bought the screenplay from him! When he read it Ed immediately wanted to do it. He managed to find enough money, two hundred thousand dollars, to get the movie started. Then he continued fundraising while filming, and the budget eventually came to six hundred thousand dollars." As De Palma explained to Blumenfeld and Vachaud, Pressman-Williams was the production company Pressman had created with Paul Williams, who was not the songwriter who plays Swan in Phantom, but the "director of two films with Jon Voight. The Revolutionary and Out of it."

Pressman was an integral part of making those films with Williams, and continued that sort of passion with the films he went on to make with De Palma. "Ed's parents had a toy company," De Palma continued, "Pressman Toys, one of whose offices was located at 23rd Street and Broadway. Pressman-Williams had set up its headquarters there. I was working in their offices after the disaster of Get To Know Your Rabbit, and Paul Williams was still a director working at Warner whose film Dealing ended in disaster. Dealing was adapted from the first novel by Michael Crichton. He had written it with his brother Douglas when they were students at Harvard."

More to come on Ed Pressman this weekend, but here's a portion of the Variety article:

The fiercely independent producer had an impressive track record for discovering new talent, having worked with an array of notable filmmakers including Oliver Stone, Werner Herzog, Kathryn Bigelow, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alex Cox, Brian De Palma, Abel Ferrara, Terrence Malick, John Milius and Mary Harron.

Pressman shepherded De Palma’s early films “Sisters” and “Phantom of the Paradise,” as well as Malick’s directorial debut “Badlands” with Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen.

His longtime collaboration with Oliver Stone started with the filmmaker’s directing debut “The Hand,” and Pressman met his future wife, actor Annie McEnroe, on the set of that film. Pressman went on to produce Stone’s “Talk Radio” and “Wall Street,” and the sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”

Pressman and Stone co-produced Bigelow’s early thriller “Blue Steel,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

One of the first producers to adapt comic books, such as “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Crow,” as well as films based on video games and toys, he also founded ContentFilm with John Schmidt to focus on digital production. 

Pressman’s upcoming projects were set to include the immersive VR experience “Evolver,” produced with Malick and Cate Blanchett, and the upcoming reboot of “The Crow” directed by Rupert Sanders with Bill Skarsgard and FKA Twigs.

Pressman was born in New York to Jack and Lynn Pressman, the founders of Pressman Toy. After studying philosophy at Stanford, he went to grad school at the London School of Economics, where he met director Paul Williams. The filmmakers came to Hollywood, where they secured a two-picture deal from United Artists.

Among his numerous honors were the Chevalier Des Arts et Lettres from the French government, the IFP Gotham Award for lifetime achievement, and tributes at the National Film Theatre in London, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Pacific Film Archives and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Cinematek. 

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Annie McEnroe Pressman, and son Sam Pressman. Sam Pressman has worked for Edward R. Pressman Productions for the past decade and will continue producing films for the company in honor of his father.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2023 10:44 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 18, 2023
FROM THE MAY 1994 ISSUE OF ANIMAGE - TWEETED LAST WEEK BY ARTSAKUGAhttps://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/toshiakihontani1994animage.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 7:43 AM CST
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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

At The Conversation, Alexander Howard delves into Bret Easton Ellis' 1980s-set new novel, The Shards. "The Shards is a bold attempt to understand how the analog and digital interact," Howard concludes. "This accounts for the novel’s countless, obsessive descriptions of outmoded forms of analogue tech: the cassette, the Betamax, and, most tellingly, the typewriter. It also explains Ellis’s bravura manipulation of genre (the age of the digital, as we know, is one where once-stable systems of classification tend to collapse)." Here's a bit more from Howard:
The story is set in the autumn of 1981 and revolves around a cluster of wealthy students enrolled at Buckley College, an exclusive Los Angeles prep school.

Bret, who is gay but closeted, is dating Debbie Schaffer (who has justifiable doubts about her boyfriend’s friendships with Ryan Vaughn and Matt Kellner), and is friends with two teenage sweethearts, Susan Reynolds and Thom Wright.

The Bret who is writing this novel then introduces two more characters – a student named Robert Mallory and a serial killer called The Trawler – into the mix.

Not long after, Matt goes missing. The fictional Bret’s writerly imagination goes into overdrive. He suspects Robert is responsible, and that he is The Trawler. Things quickly spiral out of control.

As Ellis’s fans will anticipate, his latest is full of pop culture references (the Buckley clique are big New Wave fans), sex and drugs, and acts of grotesque violence rendered in tonally neutral prose. Some cultural commentary, too, on the purported perils of political correctness. Think: Joan Didion meets Brian De Palma.

When it comes to content, The Shards, with its cast of hedonistic and disaffected adolescents, aligns with three of Ellis’s earlier L.A. novels: Less Than Zero, 1987’s The Rules of Attraction, and the sequel to his debut, 2010’s Imperial Bedrooms.

In terms of length, however, The Shards, which is 600 pages long, is closer to Ellis’s New York fictions: 1991’s American Psycho (which I believe is the most important novel of the 1990s), and 1998’s Glamorama (easily, for me, the best novel of the 1990s).

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Monday, January 16, 2023

The issue of Boobs and Blood from 2020, in which Sam Irvin writes in detail about the filming of Dressed To Kill (made while Irvin was working as Brian De Palma's personal assistant), is essential reading for anyone interested in De Palma's cinema. Here's a portion where Irvin recalls filming the restaurant scene from Dressed To Kill:
After Liz is saved and Dr. Elliott is arrested, we are lulled into believing that the final scene of the movie is going to be a restaurant scene during which Liz (Nancy Allen) explains the details of a sex-change surgical procedure to Peter. At the next table, looking over her shoulder, is a nosy woman appalled by the gory details being described. Those priceless reactions were provided by none other than Mary Davenport who played Keith Gordon’s mother in Home Movies. She was also the real-life mother of Jennifer Salt who starred in four De Palma films (Murder a la Mod, The Wedding Party, Hi, Mom! And Sisters) and the wife of Waldo Salt, the great two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter (Midnight Cowboy, Coming Home, Serpico and Day of the Locust). Mary had also appeared briefly with her daughter in Sisters and had played a salesgirl in the classic film noir This Gun for Hire (1942). Brian asked Mary to do this brief, non-speaking cameo in Dressed to Kill as a favor and she was delighted to reunite with all her Home Movies pals – Brian, Nancy, Keith and me.

The restaurant scene was actually shot at Windows on the World, located on the 106th and 107th floors atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Completed in 1971, the Twin Towers were, at that time, the tallest buildings on Earth. The restaurant had opened in 1976, the same year the remake of King Kong was released featuring the big ape climbing the towers. Sidney Lumet's The Wiz (1978) used the Twin Towers as the setting for Oz. So, in 1979, filming at the World Trade Center was prestigious and newsworthy. George Litto and Fred Caruso jumped through hoops to negotiate the deal and all the logistics to shoot there. Brian had envisioned the most breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline outside those windows. His storyboards had angles that would feature that vista behind the actors in as many shots as possible. It was going to be gorgeous and everyone was excited to have the privilege of shooting there.

Sadly, Mother Nature was not cooperative that day. It was rainy and completely overcast to the point where the view out the windows was nothing but a solid white cloud. We literally could have built a set at the warehouse and hung a white sheet outside the window and gotten the exact same effect. It was heartbreaking.

There were discussions about possibly canceling the day and returning when the weather was clear but the fee for closing and renting the restaurant was nonrefundable; the cast and crew were already there and would have to be paid anyway; there was nothing else that we could shoot instead; the entire cost of the day was simply too expensive to flush down the drain.

Understandably, Brian was not happy about it, but he forged ahead. He and Ralf Bode re- configured the angles so that they weren't constantly shooting toward the blinding white background. Luckily, thanks to the three actors, the scene itself turned out very amusing on its own and, ultimately, wasn't reliant on grandiose scenery. It would have been nice but it didn't kill the moment.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2023 8:09 AM CST
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