Brian De Palma has failed to excite the critics with his latest effort.
Brian De Palma, a man once considered the finest director on the planet having helmed The Untouchables and Scarface, returns this week with Passion - a thriller based on the 2010 French movie Love Crime.
It stars Rachel McAdams and the ultra-talented Noomi Rapace and follows the story of a deadly power struggle between two women in the dog-eat-dog world of international business. Or at least that's what the promotional bumf says: essentially, McAdams plays a Berlin-based advertising executive who engages in a power struggle with her assistant Isabelle, who attempts to further her career.
Passion - De Palma's first movie since his war movie Redacted in 2007 - was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, but it won't win.
Continue reading: 'Passion' Reviews: Brian De Palma, Is That Really You?
Christine is a manipulative and unpredictable chief of an advertising company. When she reins in a new assistant, Isabelle, they quickly become embroiled in a conflict as the latter puts Christine's position of power in deep jeopardy. When Isabelle thinks up a new idea for the company, Christine takes credit for it as her own and tensions arise as a full-on war begins to bubble below the surface. Isabelle embarks on an affair with Christine's husband Dirk, while Christine attempts to seduce her to throw her life and career into confusion. But soon, petty advances are replaced by sadistic motives when an apparent murder takes place naming Christine as the victim and Isabelle as the perpetrator. Beneath that, however, is a scheme even more calculating and evil.
Continue: Passion Trailer
In intriguing news, Al Pacino and Brian De Palma are to hook up again for the third time to appear in the film Happy Family, the film based on the real-life story of the late American football coach Joe Paterno, whose successful reign at Penn State was undone after it became public that he’d been aware of defensive co-ordinator Jerry Sanduvsky molesting children, and had done little to stop it for fear of tarnishing their legacy.
A dark story, it was one made for the team of Pacino and De Palma, who – you should know – teamed up most famously in the gritty gangster film Scarface in the 1970’s. They pair also teamed up for the critically acclaimed Carlito’s Way, which gives plenty of cause for excitement ahead of this new project. Pacino’s name first became linked to the project last year, though was never officially confirmed; however Deadline is now reporting that Wallstreet producer Edward R. Pressman has optioned the bestselling book Paterno by Joe Posnansk, based on the subject, and it’s Pressman who has spilt the beans.
“Happy Valley reunites the Scarface and Carlito’s Way team of De Palma and Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” said the producer. Having racked up the most wins in college football history, Paterno was a man with nationwide love and respect, that is until allegations about Sanduvsky got out, and the full extent of the cover up was revealed. Sacked from his role at Penn State, Paterno lived the last years of his life with a huge cloud of sadness hanging over him before his death in January last year, aged 85. Sanduvsky was found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse against young boys.
A teaser trailer for the Carrie remake was unveiled at New York’s Comic Con last weekend and has now made its way online. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, the re-visioning of the 1976 Brian De Palma classic will, of course, have horror fanatics cowering behind the sofa in fear, peering gingerly through the fingers that fearfully cover their eyes. This won’t be because they are particularly scared of whatever is happening on screen, though but because they are petrified of what director Kimberly Peirce may have done to their beloved Carrie.
The teaser trailer itself isn’t exactly very… teasing. As the camera pans over an American town that’s been pretty much entirely set on fire, it eventually zooms in on Chloe Grace Moretz, stood in the middle of the street, surrounded by flames and covered in blood, recalling the classic Carrie scene. Except, in the classic image of Carrie (played by Sissy Spacek), covered in blood, she wasn’t standing in the middle of the street. She was at her school prom. But hey, why let a massive detail like that upset you? Perhaps this scene is just from her walk home from the prom. (Cue thousands of horror purists reaching for their ventilators).
Over the action, a montage of voices spout various suspense-inducing phrases, such as “she wasn’t some monster — she was just a girl” and “her mother was a fanatic, I don’t know how she lived with her.” We don’t get much more than that from this first glimpse of the film; the movie’s producers will have to try a lot harder than this if they want to coax any fans of the original out from behind the sofa.
Based upon the 2006 rape of a 15-year-old girl and the murder of her family by a group of American troops in Mahmoudiya in Iraq, the film bears more than a passing resemblance to Casualties of War, his exploitative examination of a similar incident during the Vietnam War. In fact, it is Casualties of War.
Continue reading: Redacted Review
None of his roles have matched that of Body Double, though, where the Bill Maher lookalike appears in nearly every scene. Maybe we'll be able to ferret out why during the course of this review.
Continue reading: Body Double Review
We start off with De Palma's favorite theme: voyeurism. On a corny television program called Peeping Toms, the candid camera guest, Philip (likeable Lisle Wilson) has to choose whether or not to let a blind woman know he's in her dressing room when she's changing clothes. He opts to be a gentleman and leave the room before she takes off her brassiere.
Continue reading: Sisters Review
Continue reading: Dressed To Kill Review
Supposedly a sequel to De Palma's Greetings (never seen it), here we have Robert De Niro as Jon, a Vietnam vet who moves into a hovel of a tenement in New York City, where a trio of interconnected stories begin to play out, all involving Jon's love of his little film camera. First, he becomes infatuated with the building across the street, in particular one of the women (Jennifer Salt) there. Jon hatches a plan to woo her, which he carefully orchestrates like an actor reading from a script. Meanwhile, Jon is also tryiing to make a sort of amateur porn movie by peeping through the windows across the way, figuring this is his next calling in life. This plays into the love affair when he trains the camera on his new girlfriend's window, then pays her a romantic visit.
Continue reading: Hi, Mom! Review
Femme Fatale is an exception to this to this rule. There is no question that Brian De Palma's latest is a steaming pile, and you can smell smug all over what he thinks are clever film techniques (split screens, operatic slow motion, etc). But just before I started throwing stuff at the screen in a show of displeasure, something magical happened--I laughed. And once I started laughing at Femme Fatale, I couldn't stop. The resentment felt for losing two hours of my life to this confused, badly acted, illogical, exploitative jewel heist-cum-meditation on fate was replaced with the giddy revelation that I had become involved in a cinematic experience on par with Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls.
Continue reading: Femme Fatale Review
Carrie is the tale of a high school senior named Carrie White, aptly played by Sissy Spacek, who spends her days at school as the center of nearly every cruel ridicule and her hours at home with a constricting, sadistic, fanatically religious mother (Piper Laurie). Let's just say the mother is like a female version of Sergeant Hartman in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, and Carrie is the distressed Private Pyle.
Continue reading: Carrie (1976) Review