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 Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?

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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:21 am

Mission: Impossible > GoldenEye
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:33 am

Can't say I rate Mission Impossible highly, but it does have that nod to Psycho where almost the whole team are bumped off in the first few minutes.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:50 am

Mr. Brown wrote:
Mission: Impossible > GoldenEye

KINGPIN > GOLDENEYE

ambler wrote:
Can't say I rate Mission Impossible highly, but it does have that nod to Psycho where almost the whole team are bumped off in the first few minutes.

That I can live with. The whole Phelps = Darth Sidious thing was too much.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:39 am

I've got little time for Scarface, and would much, much rather watch the fleet-footed Hawks film again, but The Untouchables is one of the best 80s pastiches.

I haven't seen enough of De Palma's other work to comment (something I hope to rectify soon), but I did quite like Obsession. Loathed The Black Dahlia, though.

Redacted is as stupid as all get out, but on a writing level, I was semi-intrigued by some of the structural choices. I can't be specific, because the film's fallen into a blur along with Battle for Haditha, Green Zone, The Hurt Locker and the like in my memory's potpourri of Iraq War cinema.

I thought Carlito's Way was irksome, for whatever reason (again... it's been ages), but the chase scene at the end is really great. I don't mind Mission: Impossible, since it displays more technical prowess than 90% of the other blockbusters made in the last 20 years, moves rather well, and has a couple of good character performances here and there (specifically, Henry Czerny).
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:15 pm

The title of this thread raises the question as to whether or not one can be an auteur and a charlatan.

As far as De Palma goes, he's an occasionally interesting stylist but a consistently mediocre storyteller.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:55 pm

Arkadin wrote:
The title of this thread raises the question as to whether or not one can be an auteur and a charlatan.

I suppose that will be the Von Trier thread.

Arkadin wrote:
As far as De Palma goes, he's an occasionally interesting stylist but a consistently mediocre storyteller.

That raises another discussion point. Does a film need to tell a story? Does it still need to ape the three act play or can it be less structured? Sometimes De Palma offers a nonlinear spectacle rather than a conventional narrative.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:50 pm

ambler wrote:
I suppose that will be the Von Trier thread.
I was thinking of Michael Bay, actually.

ambler wrote:
Does a film need to tell a story? Does it still need to ape the three act play or can it be less structured? Sometimes De Palma offers a nonlinear spectacle rather than a conventional narrative.
Well, even non-linear films--even something as abstract as KOYAANISQATSI--still tend to offer a narrative of some sort. It may be more of a philosophical or emotional narrative than a plot-based one, but avoidance of narrative altogether almost inevitably leads to disaster. Even in the work of an abstract cinematic artist like Brakhage, one still finds narrative. Narrative gives a work coherence. When I used the term "storyteller," I meant it in this broad sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:44 am

De Palma is awesome, that is all.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:07 pm

What De Palma films should I see? Sadly, Netflix is rather short on his earlier offerings. They don't have OBSESSION, DRESSED TO KILL, or BLOW OUT.

They do have CARRIE (in my queue), THE FURY, and BODY DOUBLE.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:15 pm

The White Tuxedo wrote:
They do have CARRIE (in my queue), THE FURY, and BODY DOUBLE.

I recommend all three.

"Body Double" seems to be the least liked of those three, but I think you'll be able to admire it, Tux. laugh

Can't believe they don't have "Dressed to Kill" or "Blow Out", though. :scratch:
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:39 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:12 am

I'm not a DePalma snob, so I'd probably go for it. Just because it's more popular with the masses, don't mean it's got that much less worth.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:33 am

I'd rather spend money on memorabilia from some of his other flicks.

Still, even if I loved "Scarface", I couldn't see myself blowing a grand for a special Blu-Ray set.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:34 am

"Obsession" is playing in Brooklyn next Tuesday. :shock: :D

http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=6&g=82

I'd like to catch the entire series, if I can. Though I'll be broke by the time I'm done, knowing ticket prices around here. laugh
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:16 am

Mr. Brown wrote:
"Obsession" is playing in Brooklyn next Tuesday. :shock: :D
God, I'd love to see that. Unfortunately, my Gulfstream V is in for repairs at the moment. :x
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:52 pm

"Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?"

I guess he's been around long enough to make a call on that
I'd say he's a charlatan, but that's not to say he hasn't had his moments
it seems to me he's a borrower of other peoples techniques, a talented forger, who creates films with shiny surfaces that are enjoyable in the moment, but that often don't bear up so well after deeper scrutiny in hindsight or after repeat viewing
however to me there's nothing wrong with that, horses for courses

ambler wrote:
I've no time for Body Double though its original intention (the first Hollywood/mainstream porno) was interesting.
I like early De Palma a great deal and think Obsession is a masterpiece, while Carrie is probably the best teen film to date.

wouldn't that have been "Dressed To Kill"?
myself I've seen "Dressed To Kill" "Body Double" "Blowout" "Scarface" "The Untouchables" "Carlito's Way" "Snake Eyes" "The Black Dahlia" and "Mission Impossible"
but there are a few others mentioned in this thread that I would be keen to see
of those I've seen I enjoyed "BD", "B"and "TU" the most
his reinvention of the staircase scene from "Battleship Potemkin" is wonderful
a great idea is introduced to a new generation of viewers who are unlikely to be interested in watching the original

Sharky wrote:
I was one of the few over at MI6 who'd defend BLACK DAHLIA to no end. I've also got a lot time for PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, which betters Ken Russell's TOMMY as a rock opera and Grand Guignol cinema. SISTERS is a great tribute to PSYCHO, just as OBSESSION is to VERTIGO.
really? "Black Dahlia"?
I'd like to see the latter two

ambler wrote:

I'm afraid I couldn't even finish it. I haven't given up on De Palma though. I'm the only person who saw The Black Dahlia and didn't ask for their money back.
how about half my money back then?
in which case, as I bought the DVD in a market in SE Asia, I can't complain

Salomé wrote:
Not sold on Black Dahlia, though most of my issues with that movie are related to the casting choices.
Right On The Money!

Salomé wrote:
I think one thing that has hurt De Palma's legacy is the drop-off in quality towards the latter part of his career. Sure, someone like Scorcese hasn't given us a Taxi Driver or Raging Bull in the past twenty years, but where is De Palma's Goodfellas or even The Aviator? Though he's not alone in that department, you could argue that Copolla's recent crop has been even more paltry.
to be honest I don't think he's ever made a truly 'great' picture
plenty of interesting ones though

The White Tuxedo wrote:
Long ago I posted the list of De Palma's films that I've seen, and Ambler said I've only seen the worst. The list hasn't changed.

TOM CRUISE STAR VEHICLE THAT STEALS THE NAME OF A GOOD SHOW AND FLUSHES THE ENTIRE CONCEPT DOWN THE TOILET AND MAKES THE LEAD CHARACTER OF THAT SHOW THE VILLAIN

You Go Girl!

The White Tuxedo wrote:
I do like SCARFACE. I think it has balls. I think, tonally, it's a good update of 30's gangster pictures. I also like CARLITO'S WAY. THE UNTOUCHABLES isn't bad.
Everything else is sewage to me.

I'm going to repeat my "Scarface" story, seeing as the original version is lost in space...
I always remember a friend and I going to see the movie one afternoon when I was at varsity
however the sitting was sold out, so we ended up watching "Terms Of Endearment" in the theatre next door instead (the Jack Nicholson part was ok, but as for the rest… brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)
so we are sitting in the theatre, surrounded by old pensioner ladies, and the movie was approaching it's anti climax, with Debra Winger dying of cancer, when we began to hear sniffing and sobbing all around us
we looked at each other and laughed
then, through the wall from the other theatre, we began to hear the sound of machinegun fire and Al Pacino effing and M-effing at the top of his voice… and the old ladies are still sobbing and crying…
we laughed until we were crying too

FourDot wrote:
I've got little time for Scarface, and would much, much rather watch the fleet-footed Hawks film again, but The Untouchables is one of the best 80s pastiches.
I haven't seen enough of De Palma's other work to comment (something I hope to rectify soon), but I did quite like Obsession. Loathed The Black Dahlia, though.
Redacted is as stupid as all get out, but on a writing level, I was semi-intrigued by some of the structural choices. I can't be specific, because the film's fallen into a blur along with Battle for Haditha, Green Zone, The Hurt Locker and the like in my memory's potpourri of Iraq War cinema.
I thought Carlito's Way was irksome, for whatever reason (again... it's been ages), but the chase scene at the end is really great. I don't mind Mission: Impossible, since it displays more technical prowess than 90% of the other blockbusters made in the last 20 years, moves rather well, and has a couple of good character performances here and there (specifically, Henry Czerny).
"Carlito's Way" is sort of like "Scarface 2" for me, in both cases I don't find any character that I can relate to or root for, so I didn't particularly enjoy either
IMO the original "Scarface" is a pretty rough and ready effort, however the two movies have nothing in common outside of the broad concept and title anyway, so there's no real need to compare them
the nickname "Scarface" is just an evocative title, but De Palmas film could just as easily been called "Little Caesar" or "The Public Enemy"

Arkadin wrote:
The title of this thread raises the question as to whether or not one can be an auteur and a charlatan.
As far as De Palma goes, he's an occasionally interesting stylist but a consistently mediocre storyteller.
this about somes it up

The White Tuxedo wrote:
What De Palma films should I see? Sadly, Netflix is rather short on his earlier offerings. They don't have OBSESSION, DRESSED TO KILL, or BLOW OUT.
They do have CARRIE (in my queue), THE FURY, and BODY DOUBLE.

I recommend "Body Double" then, although I haven't seen the other two to comment
see "Dressed To Kill" when you can, although it falls away in the final third
and I think "Blow Out" is also very worthwhile
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:26 pm

A comprehensive round-up there, Seve.

Blow Out is a classic, it's ageing better than a lot of De Palma's films. The ending is wonderfully bleak.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:21 pm

ambler wrote:
A comprehensive round-up there, Seve.

Blow Out is a classic, it's ageing better than a lot of De Palma's films. The ending is wonderfully bleak.

agreed

I watched "Body Double" last night, I hadn't seen it in over a decade
I still think it is a very good piece of entertainment
blurring the lines between reality and illusion, between the decent and the sleazy
early on in the movie it is deliberately demonstrated that Jake Scully has been in a normal male / female relationship for several years, this is done with the intention of allaying any suggestion that he is a desperate loser
is Scully normally a voyeur? he is manoeuvred into the position of being one and is at first uncomfortable with it and yet…
we are all weak at times and on occasion do things we know are wrong and would never normally be involved in
it's the 'herd mentality' or peer pressure, and some of us are more easily lead than others
there are situations we sometimes find ourselves in that we would not actively seek out, but if they happen to occur by chance, we sometimes are not able to resist
as viewers we can ask ourselves what we would do in the same circumstances?
are we ourselves voyeurs as we watch Melanie Griffith dance in the movie? (no, because we have her permission, she knows we will be watching her and has been paid for her services)
(funnily enough, when I think about it, this is also true of Griffith's actual character in the movie, however we don't know that at the time)
when Jake begins following the girl he is primarily motivated by the good desire to protect her from harm
but that feeling also has a selfish aspect, having grown out of a voyeuristic fantasy desire to have her for himself
as he follows her, and the villain, he is part guardian but also part stalker
and so it goes
the drill killing is still a great thriller / horror set piece
the recurring claustrophobia is an effective device
there are some interesting locations used
and there is a even a happy ending
recommended
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Tue May 03, 2011 8:17 am

Some [mainstream] praise for "Blow Out", featured on Ebert Presents:
http://www.ebertpresents.com/movies/blow-out/videos/139
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Tue May 03, 2011 8:24 am

Mr. Brown wrote:
Some [mainstream] praise for "Blow Out", featured on Ebert Presents:
http://www.ebertpresents.com/movies/blow-out/videos/139

Urgh...
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Thu May 05, 2011 6:12 am

I have much respect for De Palma and I certainly do not rate Scorsese or Coppola higher than good ol' Brian. I've always put these 3 into the same basket, more or less.

Carrie,Blow Out, Obsession and Dressed To Kill are his best works IMO and call me nuts but I hate The Untouchables with a passion.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sat May 07, 2011 5:15 am

Audio clip where De Palma explains the stolen footage mishap from Criterion's BLOW OUT DVD:
http://www.zshare.net/audio/89849560837da2a3/
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sat May 07, 2011 5:51 am

Hey, Brown, thanks for the link. Now how do I get the bastard to download? :oops:
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sat May 07, 2011 5:53 am

ambler wrote:
Hey, Brown, thanks for the link. Now how do I get the bastard to download? :oops:

The header of the media player has a link that reads "Download this File", which will bring you to a separate page.

If it doesn't work for you, let me know, and I'll forward you the file via Megaupload.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Sat May 07, 2011 5:55 am

I think my ad blocker may be screwing things up. Gonna disable it.
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