Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:37 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
What are our Brian De Palma thoughts? 
Author Message
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 2725
Location: Lancashire, England.
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

_________________
... because I'm a wild animal


Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:50 pm
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 am
Posts: 303
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
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?

_________________
I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman - Royal Tenenbaum


Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:24 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm
Posts: 2157
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.

_________________
The temptation is to like what you should like--not what you do like... another temptation is to come up with an interesting reason for liking it that may not actually be the reason you like it.


Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:25 am
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 am
Posts: 303
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
Sorry, I apologise for that. I read it completely wrong.

_________________
I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman - Royal Tenenbaum


Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:34 am
Profile
Second Unit Director

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:45 pm
Posts: 469
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
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 am
Posts: 303
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
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?

_________________
I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman - Royal Tenenbaum


Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:19 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 2725
Location: Lancashire, England.
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
:lol: :lol:

_________________
... because I'm a wild animal


Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:55 am
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 6488
Location: Easton, MD
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

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:17 pm
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm
Posts: 2157
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.

_________________
The temptation is to like what you should like--not what you do like... another temptation is to come up with an interesting reason for liking it that may not actually be the reason you like it.


Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:21 pm
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 2725
Location: Lancashire, England.
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

_________________
... because I'm a wild animal


Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:31 am
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 6488
Location: Easton, MD
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

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:33 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 2725
Location: Lancashire, England.
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

_________________
... because I'm a wild animal


Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:40 am
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 am
Posts: 303
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
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.

_________________
I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman - Royal Tenenbaum


Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:15 am
Profile
Producer

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 2015
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
Mark III wrote:
There's something so chilling in the "style is substance" angle that people bring to defend anything, anyone. It's like praising someone's masturbation technique. The opening of Femme Fatale is great but the movie is so jumbled and silly that all the technical mastery in the world can't stand in for, again, masturbation. De Palma isn't the only filmmaker who gets praised for this but he might be the only filmmaker that the sane are rendered insane by, critical one moment of Tarantino for riffing on his favorites and wild eyed over De Palma who is like Tarantino but... I mean, watch Body Double. Between Craig Wasson's performance and the method by which he extricates himself from certain death... really?

Mission to Mars will be defended by someone, his use of people getting buried alive will get studied. He might have some great shots (Mission To Mars, mediocre, has one that's amazing) but so the hell what. He's the David Hockney of cinema: skilled but always doing the same thing. I suppose those into the auteurs have someone else to admire but that still leaves us who don't care out in the cold, stuck with Raising Cain.


Some really interesting ideas here:

Quote:
There's something so chilling in the "style is substance" angle that people bring to defend anything, anyone. It's like praising someone's masturbation technique.


As you say, De Palma wasn't the first to get this criticism. Antonioni, Alain Resnais, Fellini, Bergman, and Godard were all a part of this same argument in the 60s. Come to think of it, almost every arthouse director is subject to this criticism. But I think that's just auteurism. I love directors for their styles, and I do think there is substance in the style. De Palma also does it for humor, for film lovers. Masturbation? I just call it cinema. I do think he overdoes it a bit with Femme Fatale, but Body Double is a thrilling cult film. The ending, like the rest of the movie, is for humor.

Quote:
I suppose those into the auteurs have someone else to admire but that still leaves us who don't care out in the cold, stuck with Raising Cain.


I don't like Raising Cain anymore than you do; one of his worst. Still, it's true. De Palma is an auteurist's playground. He has what I look for in a movie.


Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:32 am
Profile
Assistant Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:43 pm
Posts: 859
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
I don't have the time to give a decent response, not at the moment, so I offer this placeholder:

The greatest shot in Mission To Mars.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BZF7d0QuwWE

And now I'm starting a thread on it.

_________________
"The Internet has given everybody in America a voice. For some reason, everybody decides to use that voice to bitch about movies." - Holden McNeil


Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:21 am
Profile
Assistant Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:43 pm
Posts: 859
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
If I were to mount a defense of De Palma I suppose I'd have to start with his films looking uniquely De Palmian, obvious from the first frame. His style, a chimera of other styles though unique all the same, may effectively communicate substance. Antonioni, mentioned earlier, was able to do this particularly well. And when films so often have no style (not to mention no substance), it's important to recognize it.

De Palma, who has a large cult of followers and has been written about extensively all over the web and elsewhere, may just not be my cup of broth. I've walked away from many of his films with problems with the script, the dialogue, the performances and all of these things seem to run counter to his obviously lofty technical ambitions. I'm entirely sure he'd disagree with me on that. He may be having fun -- the opening of Snake Eyes is just about as clear evidence as we'll get that he's after something more than just telling a story -- but I get the impression (though I haven't seen his entire filmography) he's also goofing around. That didn't work for me back when I saw the bulk of his movies though there's no telling how I'd feel now, some 10 years on.

I love Carrie and like Blow Out, enjoy Sisters. Many of his others (Femme Fatale, Dressed To Kill, The Fury) look like they were joys to make but... they didn't work for me. I'll recognize him as an auteur (formerly good site Slant convinced me that he was even if he wasn't my kind of auteur) but there may always be a wall between my ability to appreciate what he's doing and my ability to enjoy the same.

_________________
"The Internet has given everybody in America a voice. For some reason, everybody decides to use that voice to bitch about movies." - Holden McNeil


Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:34 pm
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 6488
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
Mark III wrote:
there may always be a wall between my ability to appreciate what he's doing and my ability to enjoy the same.


Amen to that. I like a lot of his films, mind, but I tend to dislike his exercises in style, and prefer when he's got a good script

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:30 pm
Profile
Producer

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 2015
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
Mark III wrote:
there may always be a wall between my ability to appreciate what he's doing and my ability to enjoy the same.


Amen to that. I like a lot of his films, mind, but I tend to dislike his exercises in style, and prefer when he's got a good script


For me, his style exercises are hit and miss. Actually, I think few fans would profess to like every single one of them. Carrie and Blow Out have awesome style, and are also awesome scripts. Dressed to Kill is a bit of a miss for me. Narratively turgid, way overdone. And I wouldn't defend Raising Cain or Black Dahlia. But Femme Fatale is a fascinating formal experiment. And Body Double strikes me as less conscientious than many of his others. It's De Palma at his campiest and most uninhibited. But he also captures a real feeling here, of Hollywood sleaziness.


Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:28 pm
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 6488
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
MGamesCook wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Mark III wrote:
there may always be a wall between my ability to appreciate what he's doing and my ability to enjoy the same.


Amen to that. I like a lot of his films, mind, but I tend to dislike his exercises in style, and prefer when he's got a good script


For me, his style exercises are hit and miss. Actually, I think few fans would profess to like every single one of them. Carrie and Blow Out have awesome style, and are also awesome scripts. Dressed to Kill is a bit of a miss for me. Narratively turgid, way overdone. And I wouldn't defend Raising Cain or Black Dahlia. But Femme Fatale is a fascinating formal experiment. And Body Double strikes me as less conscientious than many of his others. It's De Palma at his campiest and most uninhibited. But he also captures a real feeling here, of Hollywood sleaziness.


I agree with almost all of this. Body Double is ridiculously absurd, but it's kind of fun. Dressed to Kill isn't very good. Black Dahlia...ugh...such overkill.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:39 pm
Profile
Assistant Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:43 pm
Posts: 859
Post Re: What are our Brian De Palma thoughts?
Body Double would have been improved immeasurably if Craig Wasson, in a terrible performance, had not been the lead. The spot-the-Hitchcock is fun but the movie is what I wrote about above: goofy. Not that it's a crime for a movie not to take itself, at least on the surface, seriously. It didn't work for me but that could be my inability to comprehend De Palma's vision, lost to me in the riffing and deceptively light tone.

_________________
"The Internet has given everybody in America a voice. For some reason, everybody decides to use that voice to bitch about movies." - Holden McNeil


Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:15 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], montparnasse, OtherBen and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr