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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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« March 2023 »
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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

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Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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italkyoubored

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Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Sunday, March 26, 2023
'DRAWING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF DE PALMA'
RAY PRIDE ON "JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakeeyesfrenzy.jpg

At New City Film, Ray Pride reviews Chad Stahelski's John Wick: Chapter 4:
Dark times for John Wick: a dark palette that begins in teal and vertigris explores the expressive limits of widescreen frames and settings where decor is peeled away, a neutral backdrop where sumptuous settings are replaced by foreground frenzy. With unapologetic formalism, here’s a plenitude of bumptious bodily dispatch, geometric spatter and roseate headshots.

It’s heavy stuff: Keanu’s killer smile was left many killer confrontations ago. Wick’s weary and Reeves excels at the syllabification of single syllables, or sepulchral intonations sufficing as line readings. One of the longest lines almost requires fresh forms of annotation to capture the nuance Reeves can wreak from near-nonsense, “I’m, going, to, kill, them all.” (And the richly inhabited single-word sentences: “Pistols,” he says.)

Grace lies in the assembled teams’ assurance: the team onscreen and the team behind the camera. Hot lead, honor and haberdashery: style burns.

There is a passage a couple of hours in where the movie slows ever so slightly—dare it become boring?—but it is only in preparation for a set of deliriously extended long takes, drawing from the University of De Palma. Inside a dark, dirty chateau in some dark, dirty stretch of Paris, the camera observes from on high the first floor of the building, and goes berserk, at first suggestive of De Palma’s stately, deliberate speed of a God’s-eye shot in so many of his movies, such as “Snake Eyes” and “Femme Fatale,” but with the glib glide of a robot, as if from the flick of a wrist from a mechanical controller.

Yet almost immediately, its amok rapidity betrays a wry human hand with the explosive doings beneath the camera’s eye: concussive, incendiary detonations from a brute shotgun light up Wick’s ranks of featureless adversaries, furniture and wallpaper and devils burst into flame. The crane glides, sprawls, measures the space for what seems minutes on end, another stuntman detonates, the camera’s angel gaze charts another room, another, another functionary dispatched. The cumulative man-hours to realize this result must measure in the thousands.


Cinematographer Dan Laustsen is interviewed by The Wrap's Scott Mendelson:
There’s a sequence that is basically conceived as one take where it’s an overhead shot of John Wick going from room to room shooting people.
We shot it in a studio we built in Germany. It’s shot as one take with all the light coming from outside the set. It was one of those sequences where Chad said what he wanted to do and everyone said it was impossible. We did a spider cam shot and the visual effects department helped. It’s one crane shot and one spider cam shot where we are starting on the stairs and flying around.

How many tries did it take you?
We did eight or ten takes. The light must be outside the set. We see the whole set. That’s the challenge when your shots are wide and the entire set is in view.


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2023 11:59 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 25, 2023
LANA DEL REY GOES CARLITO'S WAY ON NEW ALBUM
"WHEN I'M VIOLENT, IT'S CARLITO'S WAY" SHE SINGS ON CLOSING TRACK, 'TACO TRUCK'

Lyrics:

Met my boyfriend down at the taco truck
Pass me my vape, I'm feelin' sick, I need to take a puff
Imagine if we actually gave a fuck
Wouldn't that be somethin' to talk about for us?
Caribbean Blue in sweater weather, I'm falling into you
Although it seems I've gotten better, I can be violent too

Oh, that's why they call me Lanita
When I get down I'm Bonita

Don't come find me in Reseda
I'll go crazy
Read my gold chain, says "Lanita"
When I'm violent, it's Carlito's Way
Blood on my feet, on the street
I'm dancin' crazy

Spin it 'til you whip it into white cream, baby
Print it into black and white pages, don't faze me
Before you talk, let me stop what you're saying
I know, I know, I know that you hate me


Posted by Geoff at 1:38 AM CDT
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Friday, March 24, 2023
TWEET - 'WHITEWASH' BOOK IN 'GREETINGS'
THE REPORT ON THE WARREN REPORT BY HAROLD WEISBERG
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/whitewash1.jpg

Earlier this week, Real Books in Films tweeted the image above, from Brian De Palma's 1968 film Greetings, along with images of the front and back of the book being held to the camera by Garret Graham, Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report by Harold Weisberg:


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, March 23, 2023
ROLF SAXON RETURNING FOR 8th 'MISSION' FILM, 2024
WILLIAM DONLOE RETURNS? CHRISTOPHER McQUARRIE SHARES THE NEWS ON INSTAGRAM
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rolfreturns.jpg

Christopher McQuarrie shared some casting news for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part Two, which is currently in production for a planned 2024 release. At the tail end, he shared a photo of Rolf Saxon, who played William Donloe in Brian De Palma's 1996 film. Drew Taylor at The Wrap is ready for it:
A legacy character is returning to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise and it’s probably not who you’d expect.

On social media, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie just announced that Rolf Saxon, the actor who played unlucky CIA agent William Donloe in Brian De Palma’s 1996 masterpiece “Mission: Impossible” will be returning for the eighth film, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part Two” (due out in the summer of 2024).

If, for some reason, you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the franchise, in the first movie Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team, then comprised of Luther (Ving Rhames), Krieger (Jean Reno) and Claire (Emmanuele Béart), stage an audacious break-in at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. This involves sneaking into the “black vault,” an ultra-secure CIA database overseen by William Donloe, an analyst at the agency. It’s Donloe’s vault that Hunt infiltrates by suspending himself from the ceiling, in what is arguably the most memorable sequence from the original movie – and maybe the entire franchise.

When IMF director Kittridge (Henry Czerny, who will also be returning for the sequels) finds out about the heist, he contemplates Donloe’s fate before deciding: “I want him manning a radar tower in Alaska by the end of the day; just mail him his clothes.” Considering McQuarrie and other members of the cast and crew have been sharing photos of an icy tundra, it begs the question – has he been in Alaska all this time? And what does Ethan and his current band of spies want with Donloe today?


Posted by Geoff at 5:42 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMAS SCHEDULE 2023 'APRILCINO'
KICKING OFF WITH SCARFACE & CARLITO'S WAY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/aprilcino2.jpg

"This month is all about two things – 4/20 and Al Pacino," begins Jake Salter on today's news item at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. In the second paragraph, Salter continues:
Ahh, spring. There’s just something about the flowers blooming and the sun shining that makes us want to watch Tony Montana introduce an army of assassins to his little friend. If you feel the same, then join us for a nice mug of Aprilcino, our month-long celebration of one Alfredo James Pacino. Aside from SCARFACE, we’ll be screening Pacino classics like CARLITO’S WAY, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, SEA OF LOVE, CRUISING, and yes, even JACK & JILL for all you Dunkaccino (RIP) lovers.

Under the heading, "Beginning April 1st," Salter writes of Scarface, the first film in the Aprilcino series:
A bit of cocaine-dusted brilliance from director Brian De Palma that spawned a million posters on dorm room walls, we’re kicking off Aprilcino with one of Al Pacino’s most iconic, swaggering performances.

And then "Beginning April 7th," for Carlito's Way, Salter writes:
The second team-up between director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino, following 1983's SCARFACE, invariably acts as a perfect companion. Pacino’s Carlito Brigante strives to live a better life away from drugs and violence after getting out of prison, but a crooked lawyer (Sean Penn) and an up-and-coming gangster (John Leguizamo) have other ideas. As the man said (in a different movie), “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”


Posted by Geoff at 6:59 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
'NEAR-GLEEFUL DISDAIN FOR REALITY'
WILLAMETTE WEEK'S CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER ON DE PALMA'S 'HI, MOM!'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/jonoutthewindow55.jpg

A 35mm print of Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! will screen next week at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. According to the screening description for March 28,, "The Grindhouse Film Festival presents the only known 35mm print of this overlooked 1970 Brian De Palma masterpiece!" Willamette Week's Chance Solem-Pfeifer highlights the film in a column about what to see this upcoming week at Portland’s repertory theaters:
In the earliest work of any storied filmmaker, you’ll likely glimpse the raw elements of masterpieces to come. But rarely are those nascent films so brazenly unrefined that the audience is treated to arguably greater extremes than what the later movies offer.

So it is with Brian De Palma’s iconoclastic Greenwich Village beginnings, especially Hi, Mom!, a satire of media obsession and radicalism-as-fashion. An eerily fresh-faced Robert De Niro (still pre-Mean Streets) stars as an erotic filmmaker who peeps endlessly on his neighbors before planning his move in front of the camera.

Many of De Palma’s trademarks are present: the unabashed Hitchcock iterating (Rear Window in this case), the self-consciously voyeuristic camera, holding up the filmed image as the ultimate instrument of perverse arousal. But Hi, Mom! also toys with sitcom hyperbole, on-the-street journalism and bracingly committed satire wherein performance artists (many of them white) try to simulate “the Black experience” for unsuspecting New Yorkers.

It’s both a critique and a comedic experiment—to the point of near-gleeful disdain for reality. De Palma certainly gained skill, balance and the familiar comforts of genre in all his classics to come, but rarely got his Robert Downey Sr. freak on quite this way again.


Posted by Geoff at 11:32 PM CDT
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Monday, March 20, 2023
'THE IRAQ WAR WE WANT TO PRETEND DIDN'T EXIST'
SAM SWEENEY AT NATIONAL REVIEW LOOKS AT "IRAQ WAR FILMS, 20 YEARS ON"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/redacted545.jpg

At National Review, Sam Sweeney includes Brian De Palma's Redacted in his look at "Iraq War Films, 20 Years On" -
Brian De Palma’s film based on the Mahmudiyah incident, in which American soldiers raped a 15-year-old girl and murdered her and her family in 2006, is unsettling to watch. It is the Iraq War we want to pretend didn’t exist. It is the dark underbelly of the war, in which policy-makers put soldiers in the middle of an unwinnable war, but where the war’s moral failings were not just at the top of the chain of command. It is a picture of ourselves that we don’t want to see. The film isn’t perfect and has plenty of shortcomings. Some criticized the film for not acknowledging that those responsible for the crimes were charged and convicted, but the point is not that the crimes were committed with impunity, but rather that they were committed at all. They need not be representative of the war in Iraq to be significant.

De Palma uses his film to explore both the nature of violence in war as well as the nature of media. Every scene in the film is viewed through some form of media present in the film itself. A soldier records his day-to-day interactions as part of a film project to help him get into film school. A French documentary crew makes a film about a checkpoint manned by U.S. soldiers. Local Arabic-language media covers violence perpetrated by the U.S. We watch events through security-camera footage, web chats, deposition videos, and terrorist propaganda videos uploaded online. The film is meant to feel like a documentary. The effect is heavy-handed at times, but almost 15 years later the saturation of media at every event, where people record the smallest thing on their cellphones, has become more pronounced. Is the camera a neutral observer? These questions go beyond just the Iraq War; just ask the kids at Covington Catholic.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2023 7:41 AM CDT
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Sunday, March 19, 2023
'I COULD JUST HEAR HIM START TO HOWL'
NEW ZEALAND HERALD LOOKS AT HOW KEY SCENES IN 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE' CAME ABOUT
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/mifloor55.jpg

At the New Zealand Herlad today, Wenlei Ma looks at the ways that several key scenes from Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible came about from a creative standpoint:
One thing that hasn’t changed from De Palma’s first instalment to the eighth, helmed by Christopher McQuarrie, who has been on the franchise since the fifth movie, is the propensity to start with the stunts and set-pieces and then work backwards to the actual script.

McQuarrie had previously revealed the team started rolling the cameras on Fallout (number six) without a script, merely an outline. The working relationship between McQuarrie and Cruise is such that sometimes the actor tells the filmmaker what stunts he’s interested in trying and McQuarrie writes around those desires.

That philosophy clearly started early, with De Palma’s movie. Cruise said in a video interview to mark the 25th anniversary that De Palma pitched him two very clear ideas, now the film’s most iconic sequences – the CIA vault heist and the climactic train set-piece – and later worked out how to fit them into a story that wasn’t yet on the page.

Cruise recalled when De Palma raised the ideas, “I remember the train. He was like, ‘I wanna do a train’ and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s fantastic’. And so, how do we do it? How are we going to shoot this thing?

“And we didn’t have the story – surprise! – and we were like, ‘This is a cool idea, how do we, what could happen, what shots? He would set up shots and then we would go back and work on the story, who would be in it and then go back and forth.”

Cruise also recounted how De Palma called Cruise while the A-lister was stuck in traffic in Japan, and pitched him that intense CIA vault scene – “This movie is really cool, this guy is brilliant. It was a phenomenal idea”.

But when it came to shooting it, it wasn’t working – gravity can really work against you – and Cruise kept faceplanting on the floor on every take.

Cruise explained in another 25th anniversary video that they were running out of time before they had to move on, so he went up to the stunt guys to ask for coins to stuff into his shoes to recalibrate the balance.

De Palma gave Cruise one more take, and Cruise replied he was confident it would work this time.

“I said, ‘I can do it’. It was very physical, like straining, and I’m going it. So I went down, starting at the computer, went all the way down to the floor and I didn’t touch it. And I was holding it, holding it, holding it. I’m sweating and he just keeps rolling.

“And I just hear him off-camera and when he laughs, it makes me laugh, I could just hear him start to howl and he goes, ‘Alright, cut’.”

Still, not every light bulb moment ended up being the right idea.

Mission Impossible originally had a different beginning and it was cinema legend and De Palma’s friend George Lucas who told him to scrap it.

De Palma told the Light the Fuse podcast in 2021 that Lucas had seen an early cut and berated him for not having enough set-up.

“When George saw Mission Impossible, you know he said, ‘There’s no set-up to this thing, you’ve got to set this thing up! You’re going to do this, you’re going to do that, you’ve got to have that scene where that scene where they’re all sitting around the table and everybody gets their instructions about what’s going to happen.”

The original start was scene involving jealous tension between Ethan Hunt and Jim and Claire Phelps, the married spy characters portrayed by Jon Voight and Emmanuelle Beart. Even De Palma now conceded it was a “very strange scene”.

Following Lucas’ advice, De Palma went back with the cast to reshoot the beginning.


Posted by Geoff at 10:58 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 18, 2023
TWEET - DE PALMA AS ROMANTIC FILMMAKER
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetromantic.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, March 18, 2023 11:58 PM CDT
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Friday, March 17, 2023
'PHANTOM' - GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S WEEKEND MODEL
"SCULPTING WAS A LITTLE ROUGH BUT VERY EXPRESSIVE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/gdtmarch16th2023d.jpg

Guillermo del Toro tweeted some pictures last night, including the one above, with the caption, "Weekend model. Quick paint job. Sculpting was a little rough but very expressive." He then asked, "Has anyone made a model kit of Swan - from Phantom of the Paradise?" This was eventually followed by, "I am going to commission a SWAN w Silver Mask kit (glasses in acrylic) for myself. Stay Tuned."


Posted by Geoff at 12:10 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2023 10:58 PM CDT
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