Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 237: Sat Aug 26

No 1 Body Double (De Palma, 1984): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

One of the highlights of the year, a very rare screening from Movies Are Dead of Brian De Palma's cruelly underrated mid-1980s Hitchcockian thriller. Highly recommended.

Chicago Reader review:
It pains me to say it, but I think Brian De Palma has gotten a bad rap on this one: the first hour of this thriller represents the most restrained, accomplished, and effective filmmaking he has ever done, and if the film does become more jokey and incontinent as it follows its derivative path, it never entirely loses the goodwill De Palma engenders with his deft opening sequences. Craig Wasson is an unemployed actor who is invited to house-sit a Hollywood Hills mansion; he becomes voyeuristically involved with his beautiful neighbor across the way, and witnesses her murder. Those who have seen Vertigo will have solved the mystery within the first 15 minutes, but De Palma's use of frame lines and focal lengths to define Wasson's point of view is so adept that the suspense takes hold anyway. De Palma's borrowings from Hitchcock can no longer be characterized as hommages or even as outright thievery; his concentration on Hitchcockian motifs is so complete and so fetishized that it now seems purely a matter of repetition compulsion. But Body Double is the first De Palma film to make me think that all of his practice is leading at least to the beginnings of perfection.
Dave Kehr 

If you want to read more about this movie there's Susan Dworkin's Double De Palma, an on-the-set account of the making of the film, plus a very thoughtful chapter in Misogyny in the Movies: the De Palma Question by Kenneth Mackinnon. Manuela Lazic has also written about the movie in a recent blog piece for The Film Stage. 

Here (and above) is the trailer.


No 2 Casino (Scorsese, 1995): Prince Charles Cinema, 8pm

Love the opening titles (here); love the cast; love the soundtrack ... 

This great film screens on 35mm as part of the Martin Scorsese 90s season. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Simultaneously quite watchable and passionless, Martin Scorsese's three-hour dissection of power in Las Vegas (1995), set principally in the 1970s, sometimes comes across like an anthology of his previous collaborations with Robert De Niro—above all GoodFellas, though here the characters are high rollers to begin with. By far the most interesting star performance is by Sharon Stone as a classy hooker destroyed by her marriage to a bookie (De Niro, in the least interesting star performance) selected by the midwest mob to run four casinos. There's an interesting expositional side to the film, with De Niro and Joe Pesci's characters both serving as interactive narrators, but the film never becomes very involving as drama, With James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak, and L.Q. Jones. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

No comments: