Brian De Palma

The Wedding Party
Murder à la Mod
Hi, Mom!
Get to Know Your Rabbit

Sisters 75
[ Dealing with voyeurism, multiple identities and sexual impulses leading to violence, on top of discarding its protagonist after the first act and featuring a great Bernard Herrman score, this is clearly De Palma’s take on “Psycho”… But in some ways, it’s even more twisted, kinky and bizarre, throwing in Siamese twins, a “Peeping Toms” gameshow, a cleverly used pull-out couch (!) and split-screen sequences. Also wildly entertaining: Margot Kidder as the French Canadian model/actress who’s being stalked by her creepy ex-husband and harassed by her formerly conjoined sister. ]

Phantom of the Paradise 95
[ For some reason, I didn’t expect this to be a 100-proof De Palma movie. Before seeing this for the first time today – as part of Roland Smith’s “Les films de ma vie” screening series at gorgeous Théâtre Outremont – I expected a somewhat conventional musical, not this decadent, grotesque, wildly imaginative horror musical with all kinds of awesome stylistic flourishes. This is no less than one of De Palma’s best films, a brilliantly designed, shot and cut rock opera with great songs and music by Paul Williams, who also plays the mysterious Swan. Co-starring a pre-Suspiria Jessica Harper as Phoenix, the amazing William Finley as The Phantom (who kinda sounds like Christian Bale’s Batman!) and my favorite, Gerrit Graham as androgynous rock star Beef, Phantom of the Paradise is a pure dose of cinematic thrills, chills and spills. ]


Carrie 93
[ review ]

The Fury

Home Movies

Dressed to Kill 87
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Blow Out 95
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Scarface 92
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Body Double 76
[ review ]

Wise Guys

The Untouchables 77
[ This is a cop drama, a gangster movie and a quasi-Western, too, what with the Ennio Morricone score and stuff. All of which is really engrossing, thanks to the hardboiled David Mamet and the show-offy De Palma set pieces and long takes, sure. But also because of the great cast led by Kevin Costner as Elliot Ness, who’s well supported by Andy Garcia, Charles Martin Smith and, last but not least, Sean Connery at his most badass. Watch out as well for a young Patty Clarkson as Ness’ wife and, of course, the great Robert De Niro chewing a whole lot of scenery as Al Capone! ]

Casualties of War

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Raising Cain

Carlito’s Way 90
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Mission: Impossible 72
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Snake Eyes 79
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Mission to Mars

Femme Fatale 62
[ I like Brian De Palma as much as the next guy, and “Femme Fatale” is certainly a well crafted, fun thriller. Still, I don’t get the 4 star reviews the likes of Roger Ebert have appraised the film with. De Palma pulls a few nice set pieces here, notably a bait-and-switch diamond heist at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival set to a quasi-Bolero score, and it’s nifty how most of the storytelling is done visually (and what dialogue there is is almost all in French!). But with all the violence, sleazy sex and preposterous twists, how is this different than “Original Sin” (which also stars Antonio Banderas as the patsy)? Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is hot as hell in the lead, but De Palma is falling apart under his own stylistic and thematic fixations. At least he does entertainingly so. ]

The Black Dahlia

Redacted 68
[ Like his Vietnam film, “Casualties of War”, De Palma’s latest is not so much a war movie than a story about deshumanization. Inspired by the rape and murder of an Iraki teenage girl by American soldiers, “Redacted” takes the form of a series of amateur videos, news reports, security camera footage, and excerpts from a documentary with slick visuals and pompous music (De Palma borrowed the “Barry Lyndon” score). Hardly subtle, but an effective exercise in style. ]