April 4, 2001, 11:04 a.m. CST
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
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
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.
April 4, 2001, 12:01 p.m. CST
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
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
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
Wasn't Al Pacino's character in Scarface named Tony Montana?
April 4, 2001, 1:06 p.m. CST
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
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
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
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
by Wee Willie
A masterpiece from stem to stern.
April 4, 2001, 3:57 p.m. CST
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
by The Cars
April 4, 2001, 4:17 p.m. CST
by Lenny Nero
Thought that would help.
April 4, 2001, 4:24 p.m. CST
by The Cars
(I forgot to say that)
April 4, 2001, 5:03 p.m. CST
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.
April 4, 2001, 6 p.m. CST
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
by Herman Snerd
April 4, 2001, 6:56 p.m. CST
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
I need my eyes checked.
April 4, 2001, 7:02 p.m. CST
...& 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
April 5, 2001, 2:06 a.m. CST
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 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
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
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
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
Dude, check out Touch Of Evil. Just fuckin incredible, man.
April 6, 2001, 6:13 a.m. CST
Rob Reiner had a pretty amazing run with a bunch of amazingly different movies and then...
April 6, 2001, 12:58 p.m. CST
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
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
You`ve obviously not had the pleasure of seeing Piranha 2:The Spawning then? :-)
June 1, 2001, 10:04 p.m. CST
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.