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MORIARTY Orders A Hit On De Palma's FEMME FATALE!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Oh, boy...

You ever fall in love with a filmmaker's work early on in your life, then find yourself at a certain point in time frustrated by that filmmaker's output? Especially after you've sat through five or six really bad films in a row? Have you ever found yourself in a conversation about that filmmaker desperately dodging any mention of his new work, intentionally swinging the talk back around to old work, classic work, the stuff you love in the first place?

Brian De Palma is that filmmaker for me. I am an unabashed fan of some of his movies, and I think there are times when his work as a visual stylist has been as strong as anyone's. BLOW OUT is an exceptional thriller with my second favorite bleak thriller ending (the first being TO LIVE OR DIE IN LA), and it features the absolute best John Travolta performance in any film. Including PULP FICTION. PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is wonderful, a great cartoon rock opera riff on Gaston Leroux's classic tale, and it delighted me to no end to be able to present fellow PARADISE-freak Guillermo Del Toro with a copy of the original PARADISE script at the first Butt-Numb-A-Thon, where we watched his print of the movie. Hell, Harry Lime just brought me a CD with the soundtrack burned off of Napster, and I've been playing it nonstop for the last few days. SCARFACE is... well, SCARFACE is SCARFACE. How can you not love Al Pacino's two-fisted performance as Tony Montoya, the baddest of all movie bad boys? His classic narration ("Miami is like a great big pussy, just waiting to get fucked") and his remarkable dead-eyed performance are worth the price of admission, but that's ignoring Michelle Pfeiffer as the ice queen or Robert Loggia begging for his life or that amazing final shoot-out or any of a dozen other goodies De Palma lobs at you in his filming of Oliver Stone's coke-soaked gangster epic. DRESSED TO KILL and BODY DOUBLE are both knowing, clever, classy Hitchcock riffs that play off of our familiarity with PSYCHO and REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO, roughhousing with our expectations, goofing on us even as they actually thrill and scare us. THE UNTOUCHABLES found the visual poetry in David Mamet's mythic reinterpretation of the classic TV series, and flourishes like his much-commented-on "Odessa Steps" sequence just reinforce for me how much fun De Palma has making movies.

For my taste, De Palma peaked with 1989's CASUALTIES OF WAR, an unjustly-maligned piece that featured a strong bit of work by Michael J. Fox and a blistering, savage performance by Sean Penn that stands among his very best. As Tony Meserve, he's the Ugly American wrapped up with a big bow, an id unleashed and armed by the US Government. Ennio Morricone's score for this film is wrenching, and the photography by Stephen Burum is a career-best. All of this serves one of De Palma's finest acting ensembles, with faces like Don Harvey, John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo, Ving Rhames, and Sam Robards all doing admirable, impressive work early in their film careers. It's rough stuff, but De Palma isn't playing this for the same slick, somewhat empty thrills he normally seems satisfied with. No, he meant it with CASUALTIES, and I hoped it was him turning a corner as a filmmaker, taking that next step up.

Then came BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES. Oh, Brian... poor Brian. Not only did he make a really, really bad film, but he also had one of the most vicious behind-the-scenes books ever written published about the making of his really, really bad film. It was a double whammy that derailed him for a while. RAISING CAIN didn't really help him with his whole "comeback" thing, either. Although the film makes me laugh hysterically, I am willing to admit that there's a good chance it wasn't meant as a joke. Oooooops.

Things seemed to be looking up with the one-two punch of CARLITO'S WAY, a good but not great film that reunited him with Pacino (and that features one of the earliest film appearances of the GENIUS Luis Guzman that I remember), and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, which I still find superior in every way to the horrible, terrible, no good, very bad sequel released last summer. De Palma's nothing if not resiliant, and I was rooting for him to get some great personal projects off the ground while he had some heat going.

Instead, we got the limp-and-obviously-heavily-reshot SNAKE EYES and the painful MISSION TO MARS instead. And that's the baggage audiences are carrying around now. I can't mention De Palma without hearing a complaint about one or the other of his most recent misfires. I try to talk about BLOW OUT or even earlier fare like SISTERS with someone, and all they know is how much they hated MISSION TO MARS. Makes me wanna holler sometimes. I persevere, though, because that's what a fan does. You wait through the not-so-good or even terrible movies and you hope that each one is going to be the one to get the filmmaker back on the track, the one that's going to suddenly crystallize these ideas and themes that they seem to go back to time and again. You hope that this is going to be the film that justifies all these years of faith, the film that sends the message loud and clear: Brian De Palma still matters.

Too bad FEMME FATALE won't be that film.

I wanted to like it. I wanted to LOVE it, as a matter of fact. I got a copy of the script dropped off at my door by The Single Tallest Man Who Ever Lived, one of my close friends. That's not just a name, either. This guy is actually 11 feet, 3 inches tall. It's startling. He slipped me the script and told me that the last he'd heard, the $35 million film had started shooting about a month ago in France, and that it was set to star Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Jean Reno, Antonio Banderas, and Gregg Henry, one of De Palma's favorite guys from way back. I know De Palma originally chased Uma Thurman to play the lead, but she passed in favor of Tarantino's similarly themed KILL BILL. I don't have to read KILL BILL to know she made the right choice. As of the January 9, 2001 draft, what De Palma has cooked up (he's the sole credited writer) is a revenge film with a few action set pieces and a problematic structure that will piss audiences off to no end.

The script kicks off on the red carpet outside the Palais Des Festivals Et Des Congres at a major premiere during the Cannes International Film Festival. As the various celebrities arrive and sweep past the Paparazzi, we meet LAURE ASH, posing as one of the photographers, "our Femme Fatale." This is Rebecca Romijn Stamos, and I have no idea how she'll do with the part. I think she's entirely too American, all things considered. She's French in the script. It's very important, too. Pretty much the whole plot hinges on the fact that she's French. I've met Stamos, and she's very charismatic, very hot, and very American. She'll be fun in the first scene, at least, though. She catches the eye of a starlet on the arm of the director of the film that's premiering. She and the starlet start to flirt. Laure makes sure to show off her ass when she bends to reload a camera. It's shameless. Laure also plays to the security cameras outside the building, cameras that are basically looking right down her shirt. As she works to take pictures of the starlet, Laure's nipples pop out of the top of her shirt, and all the guards gather around the security monitors to watch. This distraction allows her co-conspirators to get into place around the grounds. She's working with two guys, RACINE and WICKS. Not sure who's playing either one. Laure follows the starlet into the building, then into a bathroom, where the two of them start getting it on in one of the stalls. Laure uses the sexplay to strip the starlet of her extravagant jewelry, and everything seems to be going fine at first. When things get complicated, Wicks breaks in on Laure and the starlet and moves to kill the starlet. Something in Laure feels guilty, and she stops Wicks, hurting him badly. During the blackout that follows, part of their plan, she and Wicks struggle, and she finds herself having to savagely attack both of her partners. She leaves Wicks and Racine for dead, and just barely escapes being picked up by authorities.

Even in this opening, which I hoped was going to be wicked and smart and funny, a sequence that would fully utilize this great location and this great knowledge De Palma must have of what that scene is like, things feel muted, as if De Palma doesn't really have any great ideas for action scenes right now. It's pedestrian, and that's the one thing De Palma's work has never been. Even when it's been awful, it's been gloriously awful, off the tracks bad. This script is just dull, lifeless. Laure goes through the mechanics of running, setting up a trip out of the country using a passport that's not hers, and it's all handled in a sort of ponderous, eventual manner. There's a shadowy figure following her, but De Palma tells us right away... it's Racine. He's not dead. He plays games with Laure, calling her as an anonymous friend who wants to help her escape safely. These games bring her to an outdoor cafe, where she runs into a man named Nicolas Bardo, one of the biggest paparazzi photographers in the business. This got my hopes up again. De Palma's done some great stuff exploring the theme of voyeurism, and I was hoping Bardo would be a window into the particular and heartless world of being a paparazzi. No such luck. Bardo's job is a device, something that's referenced once or twice, then forgotten. He's introduced in a sort of perfunctory manner, then shuffled off so Racine can finally catch up with Laure. He attacks her, she escapes, and in doing so, she takes a nasty fall.

Again... it's not really coming to life for me as a reader, but it's not bad. It's just sort of plodding along up to this point, and then we reach page 25 or so, and the film asks us to accept the first GIGANTICALLY ANNOYING PLOT POINT of the script. An old couple just happens to be walking right where Laure falls, and she happens to look exactly like a friend of theirs, and they take her home in the confusion. Laure is shocked to see photos of her exact twin, but she rolls with it, playing along. The old couple treats her with kid gloves, and Laure has no idea why. It's like they're surprised to see her. They put her in a bedroom, pamper her, and back off to let her sleep. Laure gets up and wanders at one point, finding a CRYSTAL BALL in another bedroom as well as a pendant with a tiny crytal ball on it. After she finishes searching the apartment, she just happens to turn on a TV talk show in time to hear the Moderator of the show ask, "Can we see the Future? In a crystall ball? On the palm of our hand? Or in a dream? And once we know it, can we change it?" That's Brian's big announcement for what's going to happen in the film, and it does indeed play out over the course of the movie, leading to what has got to be one of the most dramatically unsatisfying conclusions to a script that I've read in recent memory.

I don't want to give away much more of the premise. Basically, Laure manages to find a way out of the country, and years later, she finds herself dragged back into the country, where she's afraid someone will recognize her and either try to kill her or try to arrest her. Laure has to go to extreme measures to protect the new life she's built, and she won't let anyone get in her way. There's not a single suspense scene in this script to rival anything De Palma's done before. It's a profoundly disappointing script. I wanted so much to like it, and I tried hard to imagine just what he might bring to the project visually. De Palma is, after all, a visual storyteller first and foremost, and he's working with the extraordinarily gifted Thierry Arbogast. This is just such a painfully convoluted story. It pains me to think that this is the sort of thing he's going to spend the rest of his career making. I read another script of his a few years back, a script he co-wrote with David Koepp called BLACKWATER, and it was this same kind of preposterously plotted suspense oriented dreck without anything to say or anyone to watch. It's sad to watch someone so obviously talented just spin his wheels at a point in his career where he should be further along, where he should be making great films. I sincerely hope he makes something of this one, but I've got a feeling I haven't had since I read UNBREAKABLE. I knew as soon as I set the script down that film was going to divide audiences with its ending, that some would love it and others would hate it. I don't think there will be any division on FEMME FATALE. I think it's going to piss off audiences uniformly. It's a giant cheat, it renders everything that happens pointless, and it makes no great point about anything. It's just an empty exercise from someone who is capable of far more.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback
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  • April 4, 2001, 11:04 a.m. CST

    "Bonfire" may suck, but...

    by Carson Dyle

    ..."The Devil's Candy" is hardly a "vicious" book. Indeed, it's one of the best, most well researched Making Of books ever written -- and it is EMINENTLY fair in it's treatment of "Bonfire's" well intentioned but ultimately wrong-headed director. The worst thing you can say about Brian DePalma is that he

  • April 4, 2001, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Somebody brought up that point about fans reading scripts yestur

    by Milktoast

    I just don't have much of anything to say about it. Though scripts are kind of an art form in of themselves and a film is likely not to come out as the script would have it anyway. I've never read a script before seeing a film, so I don't know what the experience is like. Only, I often feel like I have already seen any given film when I see it for the first time anyway...not always. You can read lyrics to a song and not have it ruined. It is much the same, I'd think, because the script doesn't have the visual music and flourishes the final film would. With Depalma...I share the pain. Mission to Mars was embarrassing to watch. I know they should have been better, but I think Snake Eyes is a better movie than what people give it credit for...the chick angle hurt it bad. Raising Cain had some good ideas and some creepy things in it. Bonfire of the Vanities...no one would have liked the film version of the book. Good idea to make it a comedy, but Depalma's comedies blow for the most part. Anybody would be right saying these movies are far from being up to Depalma's snuff, but they aren't films I'd avoid talking about. Moriarty is right that he is mainly a visual filmmaker and these films, including Mission: impossible, have some of the best sequences of his career. Come on. That is more than what you can say for Coppola recently -- not to spite him.

  • April 4, 2001, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Rebecca naked is worth a lot to me

    by TimBuff

    Man if De Palma can get Rebecca naked then he is one hell of a pimp. When u consider the fact that she has never doen any legit nude work, and ur tellin me she shows her ass and her tits in the opening sequence, and then has a lesbian scene? I am goin 2 see this pile of crap just for that, and it will be the greatest pile of crap ever made.

  • De Palma is a hack. Yep, I know, saying this is redundant but it's true. All of his films are wretched and bloated crap to the nth degree. Recently Body Double and that movie is sooooo amazingly shitty, it's not to be believed. Moriaty says Body Double is classy???!!!??? Sure, and the sky is pink!!! Body Double is the crappiest piece of junk ever put on celluloid. Snake Eyes was a terrible and embarrassing joke of a movie and the last thing I'll see from De Palma ever.

  • April 4, 2001, 12:03 p.m. CST

    When the game is over

    by CAPYTAL

    it's always hard to say that, but it seems that the magic of some artists seems to fade away with time. look for ridley scott for example he bring us some masterpieces and now he just left pieces of he's master genius. I think it's a normal process in life. for how long can you renew a genre a feeling a vision? it's hard for everybody to declare that for him the game is over. I will for ever love the work De Palma have done. he can make loosy movies for the rest of is life but man he did phantom of the paradise and just for that we have to remenber him as a genius! pardon my english i don't use to write in english.

  • April 4, 2001, 12:17 p.m. CST

    You speak much truth, Moriarty. John Carpenter, like DePalma, is

    by Roguewriter

    Both these guys... sheesh, their work cornerstoned the first half of my life -- but what have they done for me lately? As for the incomparable Luis Guzman, don't tell me you don't remember his slimy, memorable supporting role in the James Woods drama TRUE BELIEVER. Damn, Luis rocks! ;)

  • April 4, 2001, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Who the hell is Tony Montoya??

    by LandPhil

    Wasn't Al Pacino's character in Scarface named Tony Montana?

  • April 4, 2001, 1:06 p.m. CST

    DePalma has movies that suck... but who doesn't?

    by Sixdoublefive321

    I'm thinking back on DePalma's films and have to say that there isn't a single one of them that I consider a perfectly, conventionally satisfying movie. He has this fetish for throwing in elements that completely subvert suspension of disbelief (characters who wear obvious disguises; through the roof tracking shots; over-the-top murders; ill-advised plot complications; movies or TV shows within movies, etc). *However* he knows how to get on top of an individual scene like nobody else. Even when I dislike one of his movies, there's usually two or three parts of the whole that blow me away, parts that hint of a creativity & humor that exists above all the stuff that doesn't work. Which poses an interesting idea (for me, anyway): can a director be a great filmmaker and still make bad movies? Some people hate the way Scorsese's camera can't sit still and the way he relies on so much popular music; some despise Spielberg's tendencies toward schmaltz and his presentations of history; Coppola made the first two Godfathers, but he also made "Jack." Kubrick made "Killer's Kiss" and "Eyes Wide Shut," Tarantino made "Jackie Brown" and then... nothing for going on four years. The bottom line is, I can't think of a filmmaker who only made movies that only met with a unanimously positive reaction. And I say all this in DePalma's defense, despite the fact that "Mission to Mars" made me question my willingness to live.

  • April 4, 2001, 1:32 p.m. CST

    On De Palma, Scripts, And Sir Luis Guzman

    by mrbeaks

    Funny how I was just in the throes the De Palma lament -- wherein one recalls the early triumphs in the face of the present day fiascos -- last Thursday with a group of people unfamiliar with the likes of SISTERS and OBSESSION. If any of the 70's wunderkinds have taken to skating on their reputation, it's De Palma, who lazily hatches these largely unimpressive scripts, and then falls back, as he has his entire career, on his encyclopedic knowledge of great suspense scenes to cover his ass (note how his best sequence in recent memory, the silent Langley break-in in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, was an overt homage to the more impressive silent heist from Dassin's RIFIFI.) What is most troubling about his recent failures, however, is that I think it all springs from his contempt for modern-day Hollywood. It all began with RAISING CAIN, his hysterical, self-parodying follow-up to BONFIRE. I disagree w/ Moriarty about RC; imo, De Palma was constantly winking at the audience, indulging every ludicrous impulse, and culminating with that 10 - 15 minute slo-mo finale that spoofs nearly half of the films in his own oeuvre. And don't forget about that mid-film tracking shot where the detectives have to keep pulling Frances Sternhagen back into the frame. Had RAISING CAIN been a one-film "fuck you" to his detractors, I'd be a bigger defender of it today, but when lumped together with SNAKE EYES and M2M, films that suggest his continuing contempt not only for Hollywood but for the audience, as well.... well, it seems an awful waste. And, now, we have FEMME FATALE. I have yet to read it, but to those who think it's impossible to judge a film based on its script, it's been my experience that the script is always a solid indicator, and that short of an overhaul, which isn't De Palma's style on a small-scale film, what stinks on the page is bound to carry that pungent stench into the 'plexes. The one positive we can take away from this, however, is that Luis Guzman is still, and always will be, a genius.

  • April 4, 2001, 1:32 p.m. CST

    How can you judge a movie from a visual director like DePalma so

    by Fatal Discharge

    I think Dressed To Kill's 15-minute museum scene was taken from a one-line description in the script. Anyway, DePalma's 70's and 80's films are all mostly classics. As for the 90's - Bonfire Of The Vanities was a misstep but obviously had all its swears dubbed out to get a lower rating which took all the bite out of the satire. Raising Cain was a nicely-done evil twin/good twin story with a fun Lithgow performance and DePalma returning to his stylish thriller roots. Carlito's Way was a good gangster film and Mission Impossible was also a well done mainstream action film (better than the heavily-hyped sequel IMO). His last TWO films were disappointing: Snake Eyes and Mission To Mars (which I saw a couple of days ago and agree with Harry that the score was horrible and distracting - organs and clarinets? uck). So 2 consecutive bad films in a career of good to brilliant ones does NOT make him a hack.

  • April 4, 2001, 1:47 p.m. CST

    O Francis, Where Art Thou?

    by otis von zipper

    Coppola, Carpenter and De Palma. How the mighty have fallen. Most likely the artistic expression of film in the 70's is most responsble for this change. Each has made truly exceptional work, but now seem to be struggling to produce even mediocre films. Their names will always inspire hope because of earlier triumphs, and they shouldn't be counted out. Coppola has made good movies since Apocalypse Now (Tucker), but nothing comes close to his work in the 70's. Carpenter, I haven't seen much lately, but can't think of something I've liked since Big Trouble in Little China. De Palma seems the more consistant with Casualties of War and Carlito's Way being some recent successes, but C of W was more than 10 years ago. Regardless, we'll always have Halloween, The Godfather, and Carrie (not to mention Conversation, Sisters, Blow Out, Starman and Escape from NY)

  • April 4, 2001, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Persoanlly, i thought Snake Eyes was brilliant.

    by Wee Willie

    A masterpiece from stem to stern.

  • April 4, 2001, 3:57 p.m. CST

    De Palma has changed the script since January

    by The Cars

    He tailored it to suit Rebecca Romaijn-Stamos. I cannot believe, either way, that Moriarty (or anyone) would make a conclusive judgement on a FILM after simply reading a script that he makes further half-assed assumptions about. You literally wrote your sentences as if you had seen this film, and it's not even finished shooting yet. Critique the script if you want, but save the film until it is actually in existence, eh? De Palma often does throw things in as he is filming. Yes, he storyboards and works out angles, but he also listens to actors' (and others') suggestions as he's filming. He allows for improvisation (its actually part of his design). In DOUBLE DE PALMA, it is shown that he had Craig Wasson take the panties out of the trash and put them in his pocket just before the scene was shot-- this detail was not in the script. When asked "why" or "what are we gonna do with that," De Palma simply said "we'll work it out later." Later, after the murder, Wasson is being questioned by the cop, and he notices the panties sticking out of his pocket. Wasson is humiliated further-- a panty sniffer, as well as a voyeur. Another instance-- the famous "Odessa Steps" sequence in THE UNTOUCHABLES was improvised by De Palma when the financing for the scene as scripted ran short. Finally, the center scene in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE pays homage to Dassin's TOPKAPI, which itself was a play on Dassin's own RIFIFI. But the homage goes further than that-- Bruce Gellar, who created MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, always wanted it to be a feature film, not a TV series. He was inspired by Dassin's TOPKAPI, and his pilot episode riffs on TOPKAPI. So the filmmakers of M:I were nodding to its creator's original inspiration.

  • April 4, 2001, 3:59 p.m. CST

    DOUBLE DE PALMA is the book about BODY DOUBLE

    by The Cars

    sorry

  • April 4, 2001, 4:17 p.m. CST

    No buddy. Oliver Stone wrote Scarface, but he didn't direct it.

    by Lenny Nero

    Thought that would help.

  • April 4, 2001, 4:24 p.m. CST

    I think the script sounds good

    by The Cars

    (I forgot to say that)

  • April 4, 2001, 5:03 p.m. CST

    "Tha waarld, Rico, and everyting in it... "

    by Monty Python

    I'm Typing this in splitscreen. I agree with Mori, BDeP should be the go-to man for good scripts.

  • April 4, 2001, 5:05 p.m. CST

    &

    by Monty Python

    To direct them, I mean. There's lots of good scripts out there.

  • I swear, I thought Moriarty gave the title of the film as CASUAL TIES OF WAR. It took me a full minute to figure that one out!

  • April 4, 2001, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Don't forget OBSESSION. Yes it's a take on Vertigo, but what a t

    by Herman Snerd

  • And I thought Dressed to Kill was hysterically bad. De Palma is a curious talent. When he's good, he's usually great, when he's bad, he's horrible.

  • April 4, 2001, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Okay, so you didn't forget Raising Cain.

    by Batutta

    I need my eyes checked.

  • April 4, 2001, 7:02 p.m. CST

    ...uh, it's TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA...dummie

    by leeVSbenway

    ...& it is a great movie, something that I doubt De Palma is ever making again. Old Brian has (almost) always been an over-rated hack just like that tired old virus Argento. Take that giallo fans!!!

  • April 4, 2001, 7:08 p.m. CST

    I thought Carlito's Way was a fucking masterpiece!

    by BigTuna

    It's totally ignored, it has a plot we've seen dozens of times, yet Depalma somehow makes it fresh and exciting and the final 15 minutes on the train is nail-biting. And Penn is brilliant as always. And yes I loved Casualties of War too, one of the better films about Vietnam, but like CW is very underrated.

  • April 4, 2001, 7:45 p.m. CST

    fatale

    by jeff bailey

    Okay, first off, Snake Eyes was terrible. There is literally nothing to say about it. And that ending...what ending? A cool idea...if they had kept the people in arena. Well, they cut a hell of a trailer. Mars was bad. Though that middle part where the mission goes bad was actually entertaining. But again, not much there. Oh and that opening. Didn't someone tell them about that old idea of the 1st 20 min and last 20 min being a grabber. I know we were in trouble when I saw the big God thing on the commercial. Frankly, those two films together really do not insprire confidence. And I remember him talking about his Nazi Gold script with Jay Cocks. You know what he mentioned? How much they sold it for. Great. I bet it rocks huh? Look, he's got some good movies (The Untouchables being close to perfect, Carlito's Way, Blow Out) and a lot of times they are guilty pleasures. But I think he's past caring now. Though I get a weird feeling like he never did. His movies all play like cinematic exercises in one way or another. Rarely is there much drama, even in C of W, like his take on a Vietnam film. This one will likely have one or two bravura sequences if we are lucky. But wow, Romijn-Stamos? She can fill out a bikini but...carry a movie? I'll see it like I see all his movies, they are fun...well except for the last 2. Oh shit, maybe I'll wait for the DVD. But I'm really waiting for his bastard son QT to do Kill Bill. Now THAT is gonna rock.

  • April 4, 2001, 8:22 p.m. CST

    Hack

    by CerebralAssassin

    The proper scholarly expression to describe De Palma is "hack." His early rip-offs of Hitchcock were amusing, but nothing more than that. Scarface was an abomination: an overlong, bloodsoaked "epic" that blows a contemptuous wad on the glorious memory of Paul Muni. It's been hit or (mostly) miss since. De Palma's best films have been his most mainstream: MI and The Untouchables. There were no "homages" to his favorite directors and scenes, no stupid Hitchcockian twists or hyper violence-for-violence's-sake. Stick to studio action flicks, Brian.

  • April 4, 2001, 8:36 p.m. CST

    The Untouchables contains a "homage"

    by stitch

    Brian de Palma "lifted" that unforgettable Odessa steps scene in Battleship Potemkin for the baby carriage/shootout scene in The Untouchables.

  • April 4, 2001, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Preach, big tuna preach!!!!

    by Dr strange

    Carlito's way was one of if not the best movies I have ever seen. I can't say that I'm a big fan of De Palma but he hit the jackpot with that one.

  • April 4, 2001, 11:24 p.m. CST

    scanlon's way

    by scanlon

    well, i'm not real sure what to make of this. I have to say snake eyes looked great until i saw it. so much of depalma's work is interesting. even the one i don't think anyone mentioned: the fury. but something about it keeps it cold and distant. like he didnt care about it in a real passionate way. even enough to make sure it works. i really am writing to mention the npr interview he did with terry gross. he was a hostile and rude man. he attacked her verbally for asking about violence in his films. it was like he wanted a fight. there's an intelligence to him but also an overriding arrogance. and i don't go to see movies based on whether or not i like people but it seems he is contemptous of most people unless they're alfred hitchcock. and i think that plays into his filmmaking. well i hope this a great movie he's making now. like the untouchables. it may not be but im sure ill see it.

  • April 5, 2001, 1:09 a.m. CST

    DePalma's real masterpieces...

    by Fuzzy Tomato

    ...are Greetings and Hi, Mom! Two forgotten classics from the looks of things. They both star Bobby DeNiro when he was a nobody and could be funny without acting like a fool. Please check them out if you can find them. And listen to the Flaming Lips. Be black, baby.

  • Scarface is full of cartoon characters uttering cartoon dialogue (the line quoted above is a good example). Watch the original and even, Pacino looks about as charismatic as Val Kilmer compared to the likes of Paul Muni and George Raft. De Palma came through the ranks with Spielberg and Scorsese, but is cursed with being halfway between the 2 in the old art and commerce battle, and not half as talented as either. His best films are throw away thrillers, and he hasn't produced one thats even watchable in 8 years. Its Snake Eyes for De Palma.

  • April 5, 2001, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Tarantino on Brian De Palma

    by CYBERSTAIN

    Tarantino did an interview a few years back and he spoke about Brian De Palma's directing. He said it was as if he were purposely setting out to to leave the audience unsatisfied with his movies.

  • April 5, 2001, 5:28 a.m. CST

    Tarantino on Brian De Palma

    by CYBERSTAIN

    I should have mentioned that tarantino was refering to De Palma's later work, not the earlier films that he was himself inspired by.

  • April 5, 2001, 3:40 p.m. CST

    just a couple of comments

    by BigWednesday

    Drew McWeeney the so called evil genius... why don't you make a movie? Then you have earned the right to diss DePalma the way you just did. He's got more talent in his little pinkie finger than you can ever hope to accumulate in your entire life. In fact, this "review" is nothing but one big giant "IM JEALOUS CUZ I DONT GET TO MAKE MOVIES" rant. You suck McWeeney! Also, Mission to Mars is the 2001 for the MTV generation. Why? Cuz while 2001 makes you think about what you just saw (which is why the MTV generation hates it), M2M points it out for you loud and clear: the Earth has a secret history they didn't teach you about in grammar school. But it's supposed to be an allegory, not fact. you know, a movie? A WORK OF FICTION? You know what allegory means right? Go look it up.

  • April 5, 2001, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Speaking of declines, what was Orson Wells' second-best work?

    by 855K Scoville

    I've only seen Citizen Kane, and I loved it. I keep reading that Wells' (spelling?) subsequent work didn't compare. Can anyone recommend another good Orson Wells movie that I should check out? Thanks!

  • April 5, 2001, 7:43 p.m. CST

    TO the guy looking for more great Welles

    by TanniBones

    Dude, check out Touch Of Evil. Just fuckin incredible, man.

  • April 6, 2001, 6:13 a.m. CST

    Hmmmmmm

    by brigante

    Rob Reiner had a pretty amazing run with a bunch of amazingly different movies and then...

  • April 6, 2001, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Directors who don't miss

    by Alethian

    Someone further back asked if there were any director who didn't have a shitty movie or two on their resume. James Cameron fits that category for me. With the notable exception of Dark Angel, which doesn't count because it's A) a TV show and B) he isn't directing it, as far as I can tell, he hasn't directed a bad film yet. While personally, I didn't care for Titanic, overblown, overwrought piece of popular tripe that it is, I still have to admit that it was a directorial triumph. His other films, Terminator, Abyss, Terminator 2, Aliens, True Lies were all great. Well, maybe True Lies wasn't GREAT, but it was fun. None of DePalma's last few films have been either fun or interesting. Mission to Mars and Snake Eyes aren't even worth a DVD rental.

  • April 6, 2001, 2:23 p.m. CST

    SISTERS- De Palma's Best?

    by DETOUR

    For anyone who has not seen SISTERS, you're missing one of the creepiest psychological horror films ever. This is easily De Palma's most underrated film. Hopefully some day it will be restored and get the recognition it deserves. This may not sound like a selling point, but Margot Kidder is extremely hot in this film. The Bernard Herrmann score is one of his best, and for my money, Sisters is the most suspensful De Palma. You've got to see this film!!!

  • April 6, 2001, 10:30 p.m. CST

    James Camaron never missed...?

    by Splund

    You`ve obviously not had the pleasure of seeing Piranha 2:The Spawning then? :-)

  • June 1, 2001, 10:04 p.m. CST

    early drafts

    by el ray

    Anybody ever read early drafts of their favorite de palma movies...they sucked too. you never know what will come of it. We all now he has it in him. and since when did lesbian sex become pedestrian...you guys are too cool for me with all your threesomes with beautiful models.