Tag Archives: Brian de Palma

Raising Cain Review

Frankenstein’s monster dragged to the modern-day not just with new intentions of its message, but with a savage demonisation of a man who should, in an ideal world, be trusted. Brian De Palma spins those chilling Mary Shelley meanings into Raising Cain, a feature that sees a man devoted to his work reflect on the failures of his father. It is a horrified realisation of a son following in the demented footsteps of his father, but also an exciting and delicate take on the Giallo genre. De Palma would dabble in Giallo time and time again, and although Raising Cain does not convince an audience entirely of its merits in such a genre, there is enough variety and challenging, interesting material within to make a case for its dedication to such a sub-genre of horror. 

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Carlito’s Way Review

Temptation is terrible. Leading a better life is an impossibility when so many around you are coaxing you back to the life you led before. Carlito’s Way showcases that beautifully. Just holding on for a moment or two longer, and Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) would hold a life worth leading. His reputation precedes him, and that is the issue he now deals with. Looking to live on the straight and narrow, Brigante cannot. He is roped back into the fold, time and time again. An odd job here or there, paying his dues or protecting those he respects. It is all fair and fine until the bullets start firing, and considering this is a piece from Brian De Palma, it is not long until they do so.  

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Phantom of the Paradise Review

Nefarious double-crossings in the music industry seem rather common. We’ve presumably all read about the many bust-ups, big fights and bursts of damnation that lingered in the studios of our favourite artists, and that is what Phantom of the Paradise, to some degree, wishes to create. Locked in a shed somewhere could be the next great musical artist, disfigured and demented, cracking out a rock opera nobody will hear as his own for he is contracted not to say anything. Still, this exceptionally clear riff on The Phantom of the Opera takes the operatics and plugs “rock” in front of it, in the hopes of creating something marvellous, heavy and fast. Brian De Palma wishes.  

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Carrie Review

Stephen King and Brian De Palma both toy with fear. While the literary works of King would prove the most enthralling, who could’ve thought they’d make such a remarkable transition to the big screen? It has been some time since Carrie first found its way into the lap of De Palma and Sissy Spacek, who portrays the titular character. Horror of embarrassment seems to be a fear this trio share, and thankfully they can develop this turmoil and anxiety around public humiliation into something worthwhile, rewarding, and on the cusp of perfection. It is not often a film can come so close to the peak of its craft, but the reliance Carrie has on the actor portraying her and the director telling the story of a writer far removed from the big-screen world is enthralling to see.

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The Untouchables Review

The prohibition era of American history is something I find truly interesting. The banning of alcohol would probably permanently cripple me, but for a good few years in the United States, such a thing happened. Gangsters up and down the country made millions in the illegal trade of champagne, rum, booze production and peddling. The Untouchables looks to profile an overarching story of how a select few officers of the law were tasked with upholding the liquor ban, and the various methods they took to arresting those responsible. Brian De Palma’s late 80s-piece pools together a great cast of characters in a film deeply set in its 20th century setting.

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Scarface Review

Overblown, overlong, overrated. Those three words could certainly be applied to Scarface, perhaps the best-known film to be directed by Brian De Palma. A lengthy titan that preceded the Scorsese gangster triumphs of the 90s, Scarface showcases the rise and fall of drug kingpin Tony Montana (Al Pacino). It’s bloody, it’s violent, and, above all, it’s a well-crafted piece of film that just about puts together that earns its long stay on the screen. The pop culture it has since spawned, the references made to its source material in various other films, is undeniable. But I was dubious at best on whether or not the source material would actually stand up on its own merits.

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Dressed to Kill Review

When Dressed to Kill first released, it somehow picked up Razzie nominations, despite being rather well received and a financial success. Brian De Palma’s 1980 thriller is a film that has interested me to no end, thanks to the appearance of Michael Caine and my love for De Palma’s work thus far. Those Razzie nominations weren’t so much a red light as they were a beacon of confusion. Putting those to one side, Dressed to Kill brings about the tenacious efforts of cast and crew to formulate a rather simplistic thriller, warped through a thunderously diligent set of performances and moments of tension.

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