I think Soderberg’s ideas outpace his talent, but I haven’t seen Che yet, so who knows. I have a general disdain for his new visual style, traffic on, I think most of his movies since have been rather half baked. To be honest I like Out of Sight and The Limey. But I think Soderberg’s ultra obvious mosaic narrative style, his bleached color palate, and his neo- Battle of Algiers camera style is obnoxious and has had a detrimental impact on Hollywood film making standards.
I think Che is great. Soderbergh uses the RED camera brilliantly: he understands its tone, its range, and I think it was a perfect choice of machine for the subject matter. Certain directors… evolve over time, and sometimes they evolve into a space where a certain cinematography and medium become paramount in order to really see what they are about. Check it out when you can. It’s a long assed piece of work though. But yeah, it made me rethink him, his roots, his ambitions (or lack thereof in some areas)— everything he has done… took on a new dimension in light of this.
for me, anyway.
I’ll definitely see it, the new RED camera does sound quite interesting to me, so i’d probably see it for that reason alone. I’ll get back to you.
but anyway— De Palma. Somebody tell me why exactly they like his films, because e y e d o n ’ t u n d e r s t a n d. What is it? they just seem like really bad copies of bits of other films to me, stitched with an insidious irony. Almost all creative work is built on the shoulders of something else. That’s such an obvious fact, it’s absolute in the process and production of almost all film, where we see “influences” all the time, and it’s an accepted part of the fabric of thought.
So in my more generous moments I’ve always thought that maybe De Palma is responding to a chronic awareness of this fact.
But then, I think about Chris Marker — he has a similar awareness, has been so deeply affected and profoundly moved by encountering a certain film/group of films, that when he comes to make produce his own work, he can’t escape the gravity sucking at him from the work that inspired him to make films in the first place. He’s compelled to respond to an experience, and in this case, it’s Hitchcock and Vertigo.
But it’s not homage. It’s an investigation, turning over the worms in the wet soil.
De Palma is homage.
Homage, I always think of like heavy camp— it’s exactly the same understanding as above, but it’s a painfully self-conscious way of acknowleding the fact. It makes a virtue of this extreme parody. And I experience De Palma like this.
The heavy misogyny. The obsession with sex and violence as somehow psychologically dirty, as opposed to primal, natural. It’s almost like I can hear him, a heavy breather (just on the subliminal frequency) through all his work, not just his Dressed to Imitate roots.
What am I not getting? It’s probably a question of context more than anything (it usually is). What is it gets these De Palma hard-ons rocking? A combination of elements— (which elements)? An ‘overall effect’ caused by an accumulation of ‘stylisms’? h e l p m e u n d e r s t a n d
Scarface is pretty OK I guess.
explain to me why The Untouchables
is in anyway good.
T, it probably just isn’t your thing, but i guess I’ll try to spell it out for you without writing an essay.
1) I can’t explain the Untouchables, not a fan
2) His visual style is appealing. Yes, its obviously Hitchcock taken whole entirely, but at least he isn’t trying to pull the wool over your eyes, like a more dishonest tribute artist; Paul Thomas Anderson per say. The way he establishes shots, blocks his actors and edits his scenes are impeccably classical and this either appeals to you or it doesn’t. Sound technique, let alone avant technique is sort of a novelty these days, so to me and many others, his technique is quite refreshing.
3) He does a pitch perfect Hitchcock impersonation, but at his best he injects rather un obvious political and social implications where Hitchcock wouldn’t, Snake Eyes, The Casualties of War, Blow-Out (uping the ante but not quite usurping blow up or the conversation). There isn’t anything campy about the Casualties of War, that’s a stone faced drama involving serious ethical dilemma’s.
4) He’s funny
5) Violence IS psychologically dirty, so I don’t quite know what to make of that. Sex on the other hand, is dealt with quite naturally I think with the exception of Body Double, which is a film that deals with the prudish or catholic ideas of sex in the male psyche. Dressed to Kill shows ambivalence towards sexual promiscuity as a 1980’s challenge to the legacy of the sexual revolution. He explores prudish aspects of American masculinity, and I think he does it quite well, but obviously this isn’t going to be someones cup of tea
6) he’s rather even handed in his politics. Take the black sgt. in Casualties of War, or Gary Sinese in Snake Eyes, they offer contrary points of view but they are given equal time and respect, he doesn’t make condescending political gestures.
None of this is likely to convince you of anything, but if you’d like me to elaborate, I could send you a message.
Brian DePalma is, to me, a master filmmaker, and the fact that he’s ripped off Hitchcock time and again doesn’t matter that much. To me, it’s like variations on a theme, one composer filching from another and making something of his own, or Picasso painting and repainting Delacroix. He’s a great director in the purest sense in that his camera movements are so rich and fluid and interesting, and I love his humor, which is pitch-black.
My personal favorite of all his films is “The Fury,” one of the highlights of his great 1970s period, and also one of the darkest, in which he piled one classic sequence on top of another, ending with an extraordinary crescendo of gore.
CARRIE, then SCARFACE and DRESSED TO KILL.
I’m sorry, but try as I have, I really, really dislike CASUALTIES OF WAR. I find it to be disjointed and I can NEVER take Michael J. Fox seriously in that role.
Define seriously? he’s cast as a impotent, well to do, sheltered and inexperienced solider, which I think he played quite well. What about him to you was wrong about him that role?
1. The Phantom of The Paradise
4. The Fury
5. The Untouchables
De Palma is probably my single biggest influence in visual terms. I love him, love, love, love.
My FAVS in order
Dressed to Kill
Casualties of War (Vastly underrated)
Snake Eyes (Sorry, I love his work and love this film)
The Black Dahlia (I got it)
The Untouchables it’s one of my favorite films.
OK. De Palma. One of my favorites. I’ve taken a lot of shit for loving these masterpieces (considered tacky or cheesy by the mainstream—and all of my friends!)……..
1. BODY DOUBLE. A true love letter to Los Angeles—or was it a posion arrow? Oh well—great film.
2. BLOW OUT. Zsigmond’s cinematography. Split screen + diopter heaven. Just a gem.
3. SISTERS. The “little engine that could.” So much passion……..ambitious little piece of work.
4. FEMME FATALE. A return to form and a breath of fresh air—yeah…..Brian’s still got it (let us forget Dahlia please…)
I’m with you Brad.
It seems I’m in the minority quite often in my love of Brian De Palma’s work.
DePalma is a master fimmaker and one of the great homage artists. His greatest accomplishments are…
2. Phantom of the Paradise
3. Greetings & Hi, Mom
4. Dressed to Kill
5. Body Double
7. Femme Fatale
8. Blow Out
9. Carlito’s Way
10. The Fury
Phantom of the Paradise
Scarface and Body Double are his best. The Untouchables doesn’t know if it’s a comedy or a thriller or a comedy thriller or what. Very uneven throughout.
I must say I’m a bit like 5:00 I don’t quite understand De Palma’s touch. To be honest that was true until I saw Carlito’s way and the most recent redacted. This one is a piece of work. Didn’t work quite well in your country folks. made a few bucks. But if you have time, I guess it’s a must see. Anyway I like De Palma’s work when he’s not commenting other cinematographers (Hitchcock, Argento, Eisenstein, Antonioni, Coppola you name it). Il like when he invents his own territory. He doesn’t do that often.
Oh and by the way… hated scarface… Love Howard Hawks.
And the man is not that much of jolly good fellow.
I think if you haven’t seen Hi, Mom! you should definitely check it out. [instant on netflix]
I’ve always really dug the shoestring, social satires that came out of New York in the 70s. Reminds me a bit of Robert Downey Sr’s early work.
I seldom like De Palma but, like candy corn, I keep coming back.
There are his (I deem) poor films [which should be avoided].
There are his (I deem) significant films [which could test you].
Both, probably, forever to augment. I will not indentify which film is which.
I find such a task would be far too exhausting, emotionally and psychologically.
Yet I believe this, indirectly, implements him as one of the most controversial directors of all time.
All that being said, I bring up Redacted.
I find it remarkable that I am the first to do so [if not, please accept my apologies… whomever].
The number of emotions I experienced whilst viewing the film, their range and extent, was awesome. After extensive thought, I recognized that I had become deeply involved, more than I’d ever been with a film from Brian De Palma. I go so far to call it his best, as that is how I feel at the present moment.
I wish that we could start refering to The Untouchables, that is, when ascribing artistic designation, as David Mamet’s The Untouchables, but that would be an injustice.
“scarface” is almost critic-proof. in some ways, its the ultimate cult film. i love it with a passion that has almost nothing to do with the art of filmmaking. is that wrong?
“carlito’s way” is a great film. a nice example of how to do an epic gangster film. maybe that’s what i like about de palma. his films seem larger than life. like he’s always reaching and grabbing for excellence. even if he doesn’t reach it, it makes his films feel exalted somehow.
“casualties of war” is brilliant. acting, story, execution. everything is first class. great, great film. it always hit me with a big emotional impact when i see it.
“the untouchables” is good, classic, hollywood filmmaking. the kind of film you can turn on and never get tired of watching. which makes it timeless.
for his 70s films, i really only know “carrie”. i’m kinda iffy on it. it sems like it could have been much more. almost as if the film feels incomplete, or missing some important stuff.
just watched “carlito’s way” again, in the spirit of this discussion. its the work of a master filmmaker at the top of his game.
Second that, but i’ve always felt that “the untouchables” is his flawless masterpiece!
could be a masterwork. but i wouldn’t go so far as to call it flawless.
BLOW OUT is one of the most underrated film ever. This is the film for anyone who ever wondered what everyone was so jacked up on De Palma for – also Travolta is extraordinary in it. Playing what on paper is a riduculous premise and adding a layer of depth and angst into a character that has been long gone from the mans work (unless you count his possible regret of those Look Who’s Talking film – but if Willis ain’t sweating it I don’t know why John would)
It’s really easy to forget that on many a level De Palma’s work is Experimental Cinema. Go back to those early films and bask in wonder of watching a young De Palma play with his new toy: Cinema.
The Frankie Goes to Hollywood Musical number is outrageously amazing! Masterful work. De Palma is a guy who continually plays with the themes of voyeurism through a genre of film that no one(but film nerds) seem to care about The Psycho Sexual Thriller. See Also. Dressed to Kill.
Holy god, I can’t tell how many times I saw this in Jr. High. Every performance is spot on. And the climax without question contains a lot of what De Palma is all about. Rage, Sexual Frustration, Spacek’s look is representative of a ultra high degree of awareness and precise control of her surroundings. Chaos. And of course, outsiders striking back against the machinations of society. Awwww. Perfect for anyone in 6th – 9th grade.
Also great but already heralded elsewhere:UNTOUCHABLES, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, RAISING CAIN, etc.
I haven’t seen many, maybe 4 or 5 De Palma films, but I did really like Sisters.
The Untouchables is a great film and I really did enjoy Black Dahlia. I consider Scarface one of the most overrated films ever made. Not so much because of the film it self but the fans. Still though I do love the chainsaw sequence. Mission Impossible and Carrie’s also very good.
Kifah Foutah I’m going to have to disagree with you about PT Anderson. What you say would hold water if he would have stoped on boogie nights but with Punch-Drunk Love and TWBB I think he has really found himself.
oh man, yves, you’re such a badass… None whatsoever… the man is not that brilliant… but he knows how to shoot… let’s watch the first minutes of “femme fatale”… ok… you’ve seen it… not that bad… forget the movie afterwards, it doesn’t matter… the sequence man, is awesome, sensual, sexual, vicious… None… provocation…