Passion

discs white house down

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. And for those of you still reading, how’d you like a chance to win a new Scream Factory Blu-ray of John Carpenter‘s Body Bags? Just leave us a comment below with the name of your favorite horror anthology and why you love it, and we’ll pick a winner on Friday 11/8. (U.S. addresses only!) White House Down John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a Capitol cop with aspirations towards the Secret Service, but while his application is rejected he gets a second shot when terrorists attack the White House with a nefarious goal in mind. Cale finds himself protecting the president (Jamie Foxx) while simultaneously trying to save his own daughter. All that and he still doesn’t get the job. Probably. You’ll have to watch. Director Roland Emmerich‘s film had the misfortune of following the near-identical Olympus Has Fallen into theaters, but while most folks will tell you you can only like one or the other I’m here to say I love them both. Olympus is the better action film, but while this one does just fine in that department its real strength is its energy and sheer entertainment value. The effects are shady, and I’m fairly certain there’s not a single scene in the film that was actually filmed outdoors, but Tatum and Foxx have fantastic chemistry that when combined with an absolutely ridiculous script will have you smiling […]

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As a number of box office reports will recognize, this was one of the weirdest weekends ever for new releases. For one thing, a documentary topped the chart for the three-day frame (there’s a chance it won’t win the whole four-day Labor Day weekend, however), and for another thing, a Spanish-language movie in limited release rounded out the top five highest grossing pics. Both of these bettered all other openers, including the action thriller Getaway and the British terrorism thriller Closed Circuit, which debuted Wednesday in a low-end yet still-wide release. It’s certainly the most curious weekend for box office numbers since a Bollywood movie opened in the top ten back in June. The doc at #1 is One Direction: This Is Us, and as far as I’m aware this is only the seventh nonfiction feature to open this high (the others are Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Jackson: This Is It, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour and the three Jackass movies — I would maybe count Borat, too, but many people would not), and the first since 2010. To show how bad a weekend this was overall, though, This Is Us debuted at almost half the amount that Justin Bieber: Never Say Never did, but sadly that one was just barely beat (by only a few hundred-k) by the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It. Still, you can bet we’ll continue getting 3D music doc-busters starring the pop act du jour thanks to this distinction, even […]

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passion

The past few years haven’t been Brian De Palma‘s finest time as a filmmaker. Neither Redacted nor The Black Dahlia left a mark with audiences, critics, or most of his fans. De Palma explored new territories and some old ones too with varying results. He does the same for Passion, which has been billed as a “erotic thriller”. Like the masterful Femme Fatale, De Palma plays with an audience as much as his characters do with each other. While the two female leads play their games De Palma is calculating just as sinister of a move of his own. Or maybe some will see that narrative trick coming from a mile away. It’s all there in the highly-stylized aesthetic, never exactly hiding its impending reveal. A viewer will either find it on-the-nose or comforting. With De Palma’s tongue slowly cutting through his cheek though the result should be the latter. A part of how his reveal plays depends on one’s attitude towards the first half of the film. The set up is this: Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) is an up and comer in the cutthroat world of marketing. She’s impressionable and naive, at least when it comes to her ice queen of a boss, Christine Standford (Rachel McAdams). At first their relationship resembles a friendly but flirty mentor/student dynamic, but it turns ugly when Christine takes credit for Isabelle’s successful ad idea — a commercial that, as hilariously pointed out, got millions of hits over night. It’s Christine and Isabelle’s film, and when it comes to casting, De Palma got at […]

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Passion Movie

During a 35th anniversary screening of Taxi Driver at the Indiana University Cinema in 2011, Paul Schrader stated that studios stopped making movies like Taxi Driver a long time ago, and moreover, studios weren’t interested in making movies for adults anymore. Judging by his collaboration with novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis in The Canyons, it seems he believes Hollywood isn’t interested in making movies anymore. The Canyons portrays an entertainment industry that has collapsed into the things that its product has afforded for its participants: lifestyle and status. The Lindsay Lohan’s Ghost-starring flick envisions a Hollywood in which its movers of money have stopped even pretending to care about the product peddled, instead spending all their time and efforts on the social capital afforded. The stylish restaurants, isolated mansions, cold XXX-capades, and even the privilege of getting away with murder.

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Brian De Palma

Passion, by all means, is a Brian De Palma movie. You’re either sold on that pitch or you’re not. De Palma has never been one to satisfy everyone despite coming from a generation of filmmakers — Scorsese, Spielberg, and Lucas – who are famous for achieving the opposite effect. The polarizing nature of his work has been affecting viewers ever since he briefly attended NYU. In his own words, he’s a film school reject (even if spent two semesters at one of the most prestigious film schools on the planet). His remake of 2010’s Crime d’amour pits Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace against each other, two actresses De Palma is clearly very fond of. Getting a chance to speak with him, the writer/director couldn’t stop himself from cracking up about the playfulness between the two (when you see McAdams’s performance you’ll understand why), reveling in the sheer joy of his work with the pair.

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This August has made for a tricky must-see guide to compile. If this were any other year, the honorable mentions alone would’ve made the final cut. There’s a lot of quality competition. As such, I’m both pleased and disappointed I couldn’t include Brie Larson’s performance in Short Term 12; a blood-drenched fun home-invasion movie, You’re Next; a new film from the director of Boy A; and more. Then again, having too many good movies on the horizon is a bit strange to complain about. Last month I called July the most promising month of this summer season, and I was wrong. I must’ve forgotten this loaded August, the fantastic lineup of major and specialty releases this month make it. If you were underwhelmed by this summer’s offerings, there’s more than a few here to make you feel more satisfied about this (extended) season.

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passion-rapace-mcadams-stare

Passion is an erotic thriller that brings quite a bit of pedigree to the genre. First off, it’s a remake of a French film called Love Crime, and everyone knows that the French are some of the loosest people on the planet. Secondly, it was made by director Brian De Palma, who was pretty much a master of bringing slightly sleazy cinema into the mainstream from the 70s all the way through to the 90s. If you’ve heard about the film already, that’s probably because it played the festival circuit last year, and it had a trailer that teased a big lesbian kiss between Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams. Well, now the movie is ready for its North American release, so it’s come out with another trailer—one that doesn’t just tease a lesbian kiss either. Nope, this one features a couple of them in all of their pervy glory. That’s not all the sleaze that De Palma looks to be offering up either. Passion is a movie that also features blindfolds, restraints, weird masks, back stabbings, and even a little murder. Might it be tawdry enough to become the Basic Instinct of a new generation? Check out the trailer for yourself and decide.

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Brian De Palma’s Passion, as alluded to in this review, teeters on a level of badness that, in turn, becomes camp. This female-vs.-female rivalry film with strong Sapphic overtones and a constant back and forth of ludicrous backstabbing can’t help but draw comparisons to Paul Verhoeven’s “epic,” Showgirls. Without revealing too many spoilers, below is a list of categories with which to pit the two films against each other in a brutal cat fight. Will the newcomer reach the near-impossible Razzie-winning, midnight screening heights of the Paul Verhoeven disaster? Let’s find out with these seven totally scientific, head-to-head category comparisons!

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Good camp films know what they are doing. They manipulate the audience into feeling exaggerated sorts of emotion and possess a sort of bravura that makes them unabashedly watchable. Based on Alain Corneau’s 2010 film Love Crime, Brian De Palma’s new offering, Passion, is definitely campy, but oftentimes it borders on just plain stupid. It is aimlessly over-the-top with eye-rolling twists and turns – for nearly the last quarter of the film, De Palma wastes the audience’s time with fake out after fake out (just kidding, guys – she was dreaming… TIMES FIVE!). The director lacks the artfulness in filmmaking that he once possessed in classics like Dressed to Kill. Christine (Rachel McAdams, scenery-chewing rather excellently) is a young, high-powered ad executive working in Berlin. She wants to work in New York City again but needs the right account to bring her enough success to propel that next move. Her answer, or so she thinks, comes in the form of Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) – a “genius” creator of ad campaigns who she calls upon to come up with a marketing concept for a new smartphone.

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Beautiful women, classical composition, a dreamlike quality, and classy locations…that’s how you can describe much of the work of Brian De Palma. And those are certainly some of the descriptions his latest film, Passion, have been receiving ever since its Venice premiere; in usual De Palma fashion, the reaction to his remake has been split. To the director himself, that may not be such a bad thing. Whether you come out loving or hating Passion, at least you’ll still know it’s a De Palma picture. The director was kind enough to make time to speak with us before Passion‘s New York Film Festival premiere, in which we discussed his style, dealing with ranting and raving, and why beautiful women need film:

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Rachel McAdams in Passion

The past decade hasn’t been too kind to Brian De Palma. The director’s past few films have been his most divisive and critically lashed efforts of his career. With disappointments like The Black Dahlia and Mission to Mars, it’s easy to see why that is. After a five year absence, De Palma is returning to the big screen with Passion, an “erotic” thriller starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace that’s a remake of the recent French film Love Crime. The film is set to premiere  at the Venice Film Festival, which will then be followed up with screenings at both TIFF and the New York Film Festival. Check out the film’s first trailer to see Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace having…a good time, shall we say:

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Movie News: Brian De Palma

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that has been returned to the hands of its rightful owner, for now. But before we get to my triumphant return after a week of vegging out and eating BBQ, lets give a round of applause to Nathan Adams, Luke Mullen, Kate Erbland, Kevin Carr and Robert Fure, who did a wonderful job last week during guest week. I don’t know about you, but I lizzed a few times while reading their work. Lets hope that I can bring the same verve to this week’s return. We begin, of course, with naughty bits… Several new images from Brian De Palma’s Passion this past week, courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival. That includes the above image, depicting a very devious, scantily clad Rachel McAdams burning a hole in my heart of hearts. It’s the eyes that do it. And the stockings. Definitely the stockings.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a fast and furious chase through the world of entertainment news. Film, television, song and dance, it’s all covered here. Alright, so there isn’t much dancing tonight. But there is mention of the greatest movies of all-time, Lena Dunham’s bite, the girls of Bond, The Avengers, Mad Men and my personal favorite, the craziness of Top Gear. We begin this evening with the first shot from Brian De Palma’s Passion, a film that is apparently about Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace making out in the back of a car. Or it’s the tale of “a deadly power struggle between two women in the dog-eat-dog world of international business.” I’m guessing its the later. Either way, this first photo has left its mark.

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The ridiculous trend of foreign language films getting English-language remakes immediately after they leave theaters marches on. This time around we’ve got Brian De Palma looking to remake the French film Crime d’amour, which just opened in U.S. theaters in September. The original film is a sort of psychological thriller in which a high-powered executive played by Kristin Scott Thomas takes on a young assistant, played by Ludivine Sagnier, so that she can toy with and corrupt her. A turn happens, however, when Thomas’s character overestimates the Sagnier character’s innocence and naiveté, and eventually the student becomes the master of manipulation. I haven’t seen it, but it sounds kind of sexy. De Palma is taking the film, which was released in the U.S. as Love Crime, and remaking it as Passion. And according to a report from Indiewire, he’s got his two lead actresses in mind. Apparently he’s looking to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows co-stars Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams to fill the roles, and is currently in negotiations to sign them up.

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