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What are our Brian De Palma thoughts? 
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
The Untouchables is hokey in the extreme. But it's also a successful and unique mesh of gangster movie and adventure movie. It looks great. Has memorable scenes - i mean, everyone and his dog knows this film. I've never heard one Joe say "oh yeah, The Untouchables, what's all that about then?"

Good stuff

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Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:50 pm
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
MGamesCook wrote:
I think Untouchables has a number of problems, interesting mostly just for the photography, sets, and music.


That's hysterical. You could start off a comedy night with a line like that. How bad was the photography, sets and music in The Untouchables?

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:24 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
He said those are the things that make it interesting, not the things that make it bad.

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:25 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
Sorry, I apologise for that. I read it completely wrong.

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:34 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
There are quite a few movies by Brian de Palma, whch I really like. I'm a bit surprised that there isn't more appreciation of his films on this board. Due to time constraints, I can't elaborate much further, but I'd like to address the opinions about two of his movies:

Mark III wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Don't really remember much about Sisters or Dressed To Kill.


I like Sisters alright. Dressed To Kill, however, is the unholy son of a Bugs Bunny cartoon and Hitchcock's canon. It does satisfy my itch to see Michael Caine running around dressed as a woman. Wish an anvil had fallen on him, would have been perfectly suited to the tone.


Nobody seems to like it, but I think there's nothing wrong with 'Dressed to KiIl'. Yes, it's a 'Psycho' knock-off, but a good one at that. It is unashamed about its pulpy nature - the tone is set at the very beginning, showing a woman pleasuring herself in the shower - and it has some excellent suspense scenes, like the one in the art gallery. Michael Caine isn't even in the movie very much and you don't get to see him in full drag until very, very late in the movie.

JamesKunz wrote:
wisey wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:

Disagree. I find the style to be great, but the plotting and acting undo the film quite a bit.

You'll need to elaborate more here please. THE ACTING IN THE UNTOUCHABLES UNDOES THE FILM QUITE A BIT? Well that's something new I've learnt today. Kevin Costner is ideally cast, giving his equal career best performance along with his impeccable work in J.F.K. Sean Connery probably got a lifetime achievement Oscar, but there's nothing wrong with his acting at all. He, as always, is the epitome of panache. The dialogue on the bridge when he first meets Elliot Ness and every scene they share together is top shelf.

Charles Martin Smith is totally believable as the out of his depth agent / accountant, and De Niro sums up the situation perfectly by overplaying Al Capone in the fifteen minutes of screen time he's given. (De Palma would not have made the film if the originally cast Bob Hoskins took the role, such was his want to get the casting and acting as great as he could. No De Niro, and the film would've have had a different director. That's balls. That's someone, in my opinion, trying to get every role cast flawlessly, so that the acting could match the production design, something De Palma would always get right until the 90's.)

Billy Dragon plays the right style of villain for the film, which leaves Andy Garcia. If Kunz said Garcia is a weak link in an otherwise excellent ensemble cast of mostly newcomers that would have been fine. When Connery and Costner go to pick the apple off the tree and Garcia is firstly introduced, his first few lines are poorly delivered. Not nearly as bad as QT in Pulp Fiction or anything like that, but he seems out of his depth. He's pretty much a superfluous character in the otherwise excellent, meticulously acted classic.

This is James' Berardinelli's 57th favorite film of all time by the way, with a nice review http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_tem ... tifier=854. I tend to lean toward James' B side of things on this one, and don't think the acting or plotting take away from the overall enjoyment one bit.


Alright the plotting bothers me more, but the acting is an issue for me. I find Costner to be too bland here to be an interesting lead. He's just "determination," writ large, which might be more a problem with the writing than his acting, but he doesn't impress me at all. De Niro goes too big -- you like it, I don't -- whereas Garcia barely registers, which is more of a problem than it should be considering than he's one of the few left alive at the end. Martin Smith goes for too broadly comic (gulping the alcohol in the Canada scene) for my tastes. None of these are HUGE concerns, but a great movie should have great acting.

Now, want to know my plotting issues?


I though that the acting in 'The Untouchables' is fine. Kevin Costner is bland, but it is fitting for a bland, by-the-books character and the only one in the movie, who isn't embroiled in the corruption of prohibition era (movie) Chicago. It is also a nice contrast to Robert de Niro's performance, which is over the top. Again, this is fitting for the operatic character of Al Capone, who is the symbol of depravity and villainy of the bootleggers. And then there's Sean Connery (accent notwithstanding). I disagree that his Oscar was a career award, because he practically runs away with the movie. He is compelling in every scene he's in and the movie runs quite a bit out of steam once his character is no longer around.


Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:20 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
Now, want to know my plotting issues?


Shit man, that'd be swell!

I could never quite get a firm handle on the plotting issues, yet they were so paramount to the films overall enjoyment.

Costner meets Connery on a bridge, they team up. Costner walks into his office and finds Charles Martin Smith, they team up too. Connery knows where all the liquor is and say's, "Are you ready to fucking do it man." Costner is coy at first but then thinks’ fuck it, lets rock this puppy. I’ll throw a cunt off a roof into a parked car if he pushes me to far. I’ve got balls, but I’ve still got family integrity too, this will help me should I see a lady with a baby that can’t find a fucking lift. I’ll help her out, but with these new balls I’ll kill any gangster cunt at the same time if the need arise. I’ll get Capone exactly the way the history books say he was got.

Wait a tick, maybe I'll rethink this. Perhaps I should just watch Skyfall again and leave my plotting issues at the popcorn bar?

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:19 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
:lol: :lol:

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:55 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
wisey wrote:
Costner meets Connery on a bridge, they team up.


Indeed, that is part one of the problem. Costner meets Connery on a bridge. Connery proves that he can detect a weapon in a breast pocket. This is apparently all Costner needs to know in order to recruit him to his team! Sure proves lucky when Connery ends up being an expert on the illegal alcohol production within the city, a valuable mentor to Costner and the team, etc.

The Absurd Bookkeeper

Was the movie running out of time? The movie posits that this magical bookkeeper knows everything. The corrupt police chief knows which train he's on...okay, I can kinda buy that one. Maybe they thought it would be good to tell him..for some reason. I don't know why, but maybe. But then they go to get him and the bookkeeper, in full presence of mafiosi, screams out "I'll tell you anything you want to know!" Awful convenient for everyone involved. What a time-saver for the film!

The worst lawyer ever

Capone's lawyer changes his plea to guilty? Uh...huh. Again, were the writers running out of time? Most 6 year olds know that's not how our justice system works. But yay we get to end the movie now as the music crescendos!

Such weirdly inept writing

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:17 pm
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
In fairness, it doesn't stretch anyone's suspension of disbelief for Sean Connery to be an expert on anything related to alcohol.

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Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:21 pm
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
wisey wrote:
Costner meets Connery on a bridge, they team up.


Indeed, that is part one of the problem. Costner meets Connery on a bridge. Connery proves that he can detect a weapon in a breast pocket. This is apparently all Costner needs to know in order to recruit him to his team! Sure proves lucky when Connery ends up being an expert on the illegal alcohol production within the city, a valuable mentor to Costner and the team, etc.

The Absurd Bookkeeper

Was the movie running out of time? The movie posits that this magical bookkeeper knows everything. The corrupt police chief knows which train he's on...okay, I can kinda buy that one. Maybe they thought it would be good to tell him..for some reason. I don't know why, but maybe. But then they go to get him and the bookkeeper, in full presence of mafiosi, screams out "I'll tell you anything you want to know!" Awful convenient for everyone involved. What a time-saver for the film!

The worst lawyer ever

Capone's lawyer changes his plea to guilty? Uh...huh. Again, were the writers running out of time? Most 6 year olds know that's not how our justice system works. But yay we get to end the movie now as the music crescendos!

Such weirdly inept writing


Come on, James. None of these things are that bad.

The film demanded that Costner establish Connery is a hardened, streetwise beatcop in an economic timeframe. It's handled very, very well for my money.

And it's highly likely such a cop would know about the alcohol production. Cops know exactly who the criminals are (career criminals commit almost all crime), and much of the time they'll know where the shit is going down.

I grant you the lawyer bit, that was always a bit convenient. Although I don't know how the real trial panned out.

Still, we got to hear the immortal words "he's in the car". :D

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Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:31 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
NotHughGrant wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
wisey wrote:
Costner meets Connery on a bridge, they team up.


Indeed, that is part one of the problem. Costner meets Connery on a bridge. Connery proves that he can detect a weapon in a breast pocket. This is apparently all Costner needs to know in order to recruit him to his team! Sure proves lucky when Connery ends up being an expert on the illegal alcohol production within the city, a valuable mentor to Costner and the team, etc.

The Absurd Bookkeeper

Was the movie running out of time? The movie posits that this magical bookkeeper knows everything. The corrupt police chief knows which train he's on...okay, I can kinda buy that one. Maybe they thought it would be good to tell him..for some reason. I don't know why, but maybe. But then they go to get him and the bookkeeper, in full presence of mafiosi, screams out "I'll tell you anything you want to know!" Awful convenient for everyone involved. What a time-saver for the film!

The worst lawyer ever

Capone's lawyer changes his plea to guilty? Uh...huh. Again, were the writers running out of time? Most 6 year olds know that's not how our justice system works. But yay we get to end the movie now as the music crescendos!

Such weirdly inept writing


Come on, James. None of these things are that bad.



I think they are. This isn't a romantic comedy. This is a movie ABOUT how they catch Capone. So the plotting should presumably not rely on dumb ways to get the story from points A to B to C

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Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:33 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
Catching Capone is what the movie is about, but not what it is ABOUT.

It's ABOUT a fellowship of ordinary guys who decide enough is enough, and who are prepared to sacrifice so they can change the rotten status quo.

It's called The Untouchables, not How we caught Al Capone via the rather leftfield method of income tax invasion

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Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:40 am
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Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:

I think they are. This isn't a romantic comedy. This is a movie ABOUT how they catch Capone. So the plotting should presumably not rely on dumb ways to get the story from points A to B to C


I’m not sure we’re on the same page with this one? I was fucking around, the plot has next to nothing to do with the films overall enjoyment. You could pick out nearly any scene in the film and critique it with the formula you’ve provided above. You’d be right every time, but I don’t think The Untouchables should be assessed this way.

Saying it’s not meant to be a romantic comedy, like maybe Analyze This????? is splendid, but I don’t think it’s meant to be viewed with the dramatic impact of The Godfather either.

Surely it fits into a genre called ADVENTURE, tops shelf adventure, like Raiders of the Lost Ark or a lot of entertaining James Bond films? (James Bond is usually action though, so now I'm confused. Let's just call action and adventure the same genres so this point can flow a littlle better..) Everyone knows this is not how Al Capone was brought down; it’s hardly the point. We get two hours of pretty cool non-stop entertainment, with larger than life productions designs and music.

The acting, as you’ve hinted at too, is hardly worth carping about.

About twenty years ago when video stores were all the rage, films were set up by genre, so this is where you may have got confused? When you were toddling around, you may have found The Untouchables in the comedy section, someone might have put it there in good faith and knowledge too. Now you know that it doesn't belong in that silly section, nor the drama or the thriller section either. It belongs in the Adventure part of the store, like you’re on a little adventure yourself. It's a tough decision at times where to put a film and how to judge it; in today's world you may have wandered around looking for Pans Labyrinth in the fantasy section, only to find some nincompoop has put it in with the naughty war films.

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Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:15 am
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