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Posts Tagged ‘Brian De Palma’

Carrie

Monday, April 11th, 2016
carryoncarrie
I also considered “CARRIED AWAY!”

tn_carrie76When one of us says “Carrie,” I bet we all think of the same thing: Brian DePalma’s iconic 1976 film, an American classic. It’s the first and still-second-best movie based on a Stephen King book, so of course we could also be talking about that 1974 novel (the fourth that King wrote, but first he got published). Or we could be talking about the 2002 made-for-TV version, or the 2013 remake, or I suppose the 1952 William Wyler movie which in my opinion is not based on King’s book. Anyway this week I’d like to take a look at the different incarnations of King’s story. (Not the failed Broadway musical though. I never saw it.)

I’m assuming I don’t have to tell you the story. And then I’m telling you the story just in case. Carrie White (Sissy Spacek, PRIME CUT) is a shy, awkward girl who already doesn’t fit in at her high school before she has her first ever period in the locker room shower after gym class and thinks she’s bleeding to death, much to the amusement of all her classmates. Yeah, thanks for the heads up on that menstruation stuff, abusive and mentally ill Christian fundamentalist mother (Piper Laurie, RETURN TO OZ, THE FACULTY).

The other girls get in trouble from their gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley, THE HAPPENING) for pelting Carrie with tampons and chanting at her. One of the girls, Sue Snell (Amy Irving, THE FURY) feels guilty about it and convinces her greatest-American-boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt, SUPER) to take Carrie to the prom and show her a good time. Another girl, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen, ROBOCOP), goes the other route, she’s not allowed to go to the prom, and plans a cruel prank to avenge Carrie. Meanwhile, womanhood has unlocked in Carrie a freak power to control objects with her mind. So if she gets humiliated again, perhaps on stage at the prom to name one possible scenario, she’s not gonna cower in fear this time. There will be Hell to pay.
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Mission: Impossible

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

tn_m-iI don’t know about you guys, but I have found that it’s weird watching Brian DePalma’s MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE for the first time since the 1990s. Tom Cruise sure doesn’t look 52 now, but he does look a little younger here than he does now. I kinda forgot he used to be like this. More fidgety and cocky, kinda smarmy, playing it really different from in the other movies, because he’s newer. His Ethan Hunt is not the leader, he’s the apprentice of the original TV series hero Jim Phelps (now played by John Voight), forced to strike out on his own, without his mentor or his team, for the first time. Yeah, he seems much younger.

Holy shit, this movie is 19 years old. That’s almost 20 years old. Which is alot of years in my opinion. And alot has changed. I forgot how different this series got over time.

I think MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is unique among the summer blockbusters. It has a bunch of the usual qualities: it’s a big movie star vehicle, based on an existing “property,” climaxes in a noisy special effects-laden action spectacle, did end up becoming a franchise that’s still going today. At the same time it is a Brian DePalma movie, it doesn’t feel like he had to compromise anything. He got to take his style and his interests and experiment with them on a little larger canvas than usual. His gimmicky suspense sequences, twists and tricks are right at home with characters who elaborately deceive for a living. His POV shots put you right into the action when you enter a party as Hunt in disguise, but also they show up in the form of cameras actually worn by the agents to keep tabs on each other and, in one case, to mislead each other. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Passion

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

tn_passionHoly shit, Brian De Palma made a new movie. It’s a remake of the 2010 French thriller LOVE CRIME, but it’s still a new Brian De Palma movie. Rachel McAdams from MEAN GIRLS plays Christine, a grown-up mean girl high up in an advertising firm. Isabelle (Noomi Rapace, DEAD MAN DOWN) has a big career opportunity coming to Christine’s place to work on a smart phone campaign. She’s nervous but they get along well. Christine seems to be a cool boss and collaborator until she brazenly takes credit for the ad that Isabelle came up with and created entirely without her. Even worse she convinces Isabelle that it was okay to do that to her because they’re a team and one’s success makes the whole team look good or some bullshit like that.
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Fury

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

tn_thefuryI never got into Brian D. Palma’s THE FURY so much, but since you guys mentioned it during my SCANNERSathon I decided to give it another shot. Sure enough it’s a pretty good one with some solid DePalma slo-mo suspense sequences and some crazy shit here and there for flavoring. As you can see to your left, Kirk Douglas has a shootout in his swim trunks. He looks so manly and yet also like your dad embarrassing you on a vacation. Or like a middle school wrestling coach that makes everybody uncomfortable ’cause his balls hang out of his shorts. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Vern wants to tell you about Brian DePalma’s BLACK DAHLIA!!!

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Fellas –

Brian DePalma’s new picture has gotten alot of good reviews, but it’s the really harsh ones that stick with you. The Ain’t It Cool’s own MiraJeff was so mad he literally said he wanted to recreate the mutilations of the real crime on Brian DePalma. (Maybe he’s moody getting psyched up for his bout with the House of the Dead guy.) “Like high-school kids playing dress-up, or bad Kabuki,” is how David Edelstein described it in his capacity as film and apparently kabuki critic for New York Magazine. And a crazy person at the screening I went to announced during the credits that the movie had “nothing to offer to society,” had too much violence and smoking, and would flop at the box office.

Well, I wish I could give a more passionate defense, because I really have no idea where some of these people are coming from. But I also thought that as a DePalma fan (for here on referred to as “a DePalmaniac”) the movie was pretty underwhelming. It kept me interested, it has some great scenes, I even thought Michael Meyers’s nephew Josh Hartnett was surprisingly good playing the boxer/cop protagonist. But since DePalma’s last movie FEMME FATALE was pretty much The Ultimate 100% Unadulterated Brian DePalma Film, it’s a little disappointing to see him doing what seems like just his little spin on material that alot of other directors could’ve done almost as well. I’m guessing fans of the book, though, will be more interested. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Scarface

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Shit man, there’s no other movie like SCARFACE, is there? Even the original SCARFACE, I bet, is nothing like SCARFACE. We got several high quality American gangster epics, but they’re always about gangsters of the Italian American persuasion and usually in New York, New Jersey or Las Vegas or somewhere. This one feels so unique because it’s about Cuban-Americans and it takes place in Miami. It has a real strong sense of place. Its wicked heart pumps the tainted blood of that godforsaken Floridian peninsula, even though they got chased out of there and had to film most of the movie on neutral territory in L.A.

This is the perfect exaggerated painting of the 1980s and the cocaine wars. The good old days. And it even makes you root for this psychotic egomaniac shithead, Tony Montana (Al Pacino [Scarface]). ‘Cause first you see him as an immigrant getting hassled by the man, working as a dishwasher and tough talking his way into bigger work, dropping off some money for some cocaine. His higher ups (small time hoods themselves) don’t believe in him. But when the dealers pull a cross on Tony and his friends and it turns into an insane bloodbath (literally, come to think of it, because alot of the mayhem takes place in the shower), all involved must admit that he handles it with, uh, flair. He leaves with the money and the yayo (a term now popular because of the movie), tells the middlemen to fuck off and brings it all straight to the area boss, who is very impressed. This is typical of his quick rise up the totem pole. Initiative, elbow grease, bootstraps, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Raising Cain

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Like the character John Lithgow plays, this movie is fucking nuts. From the very beginning, you don’t know where RAISING CAIN is going, or why, or how. Maybe it’s headed in a straight path, maybe it’s about to spin out on the side of the road, toss you out the window and back over you a couple times, then take off laughing. Or maybe it will go right to your house and drop you off just like you asked, but later you’ll think you hear it jerking off outside your window. You’ll take a deep breathe and you’ll toss open the curtains but it will turn out RAISING CAIN is not there, instead there’s some guy you’ve never seen before riding a unicycle, sporting a beard made of bees. Anything could happen. You don’t really know.

Earlier in his career, Brian DePalma did a lot of “Hitchcockian thrillers.” Yeah there were surprises and plot twists, and little tricks that he played on you, trying to get you to attach your sympathy to one character only to later find yourself lost and not knowing which one to follow. But it must not have been until RAISING CAIN that he decided to take that into overdrive. Take all the techniques and structures of your standard formulas, chop them all up and tape them back together William S. Burroughs style. Now there is no rhyme or reason to it and you get all confused and surprised and god damn if this isn’t a great movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Femme Fatale

Sunday, December 1st, 2002

Brian De Palma has gotta be one of the most controversial directors there is. Not because of the content of his movies but because of the reactions to them. It seems like anybody who knows who he is either hates him or loves him. Mostly hates. But they’re wrong.

The reasons for hating him: the movies are too good. I’m sick of seeing movies that are so clever and well made. Why does every Brian De Palma movie have to be a masterpiece or an interesting failure? Why are his movies so stylish? It gets old after a while. De Palma has a recognizable style, I’d rather not be able to tell the difference between one movie and any other movie. His style is too fetishistic, thrillers aren’t supposed to be personal. It’s too hard to tell where the movie is going, it makes me uncomfortable. How DARE he surprise the audience with the beginning and ending of a Mission Impossible movie? I wanted to get exactly what I expected and nothing else. His camerawork and editing is distracting because it is too inventive. If he’s such a great director, why hasn’t he done a movie about world war 2 or retards? Also why is he so into Hitchcock. It’s almost like he admires Hitchcock, he does so many homages to him. I noticed part that was like a Hitchcock movie. Since I spotted it I have every right to be angry. I hope I get a ribbon. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.