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September 19, 2012

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Benjamin

McAdams (Canadian).

Not that this piece of trivia blows a hole in your thesis, as I haven't found much of her American film work to be as brave or as actorly as her television work in the enjoyable Slings & Arrows. One of the enjoyable aspects of Notting Hill is the meta-tension that comes from watching an actress play an actress in modest dishabille talk about nudity clauses. But it is also a scene that, I baselessly assume, accurately portrayed and spotlighted the sort of unsexy business wrangling that goes into modern onscreen sex. And McAdams has enough profile these days to be very much legally wrangled and handled by Hollywood lawyers, which mades her onscreen displays American, at least by proxy.

James Keepnews

And here I thought demonlover was "Boo" Radley Metzger's re-make/mash-up of World on a Wire and The Third Generation, or at least the scenes that take place in offices. The things I learn on this blog...up to and including your evidently unshared OCD where Canadian acresses are concerned. La McAdams is but the latest in a long line of beguiling, ferociously talented hotties are concerned, a line within my lifetime that includes La Bujold, La Bussières, La Kirshner, La Parker, La Polley, La Paquin, La frickin' &c....

Glenn Kenny

Benjamin, thanks for the dispensation. But still: DAMN!!!!!

Petey

"hey, I really LIKE Femme Fatale!"

AS WELL YOU SHOULD! It's seriously in the running as his best movie, believe it or not. Amazing stuff. Without question his best post-Scarface outing.

He's obviously been frustratingly inconsistent of late, with nothing REALLY good other than Femme Fatale since the early '90's. (Though even his bad movies are still worth a viewing. Mission to Mars ain't very good, but that weightless dance sequence is still worth the price of admission.)

But I"m pretty amped for Passion. McAdams is superb at the moment, and I've got hopes he can do something up to his better work here.

Petey

"It doesn't have enough sex, is the thing. At 72 hardly an enfant terrible any longer, De Palma is nonetheless palpably constrained. [Canadian] female stars of the bankability caliber necessary to obtain foreign funding (if I read my credits correctly there's not one American dollar in this movie, so to speak) simply won't do the kind of thngs De Palma leading ladies of the '80s had little if any trouble with."

I obviously seen Passion, so maybe it just doesn't work. But it is worth noting that Femme Fatale actually didn't have much sex - Romijn never took off her clothes - yet it was a helluva sexy movie.

There are more ways to skin that particular cat than Radley Metzger's methods, or even '80's De Palma's methods. But, again, I haven't seen Passion.

Scott

I caught "Passion" in Toronto, and McAdams and De Palma did a Q&A afterward, in which the actress was asked whether she had any reservations about taking on such a racy part. And she replied that she thought it was actually pretty restrained. I also saw Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder", in which McAdams appears as well, and she does have a brief nude scene in that film. So I'm not sure if the case here is necessarily of an A-list actress's prudishness. I agree with Glenn that "Passion" seemed more tame and chaste than the material called for, but maybe that was De Palma's conception of it. If I recall, the original French film it was based on didn't have much on-screen sex or nudity either.

Peter Nellhaus

There's always the original film version of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Noomi Rapace, sapphic, no tension, but lots of traction.

lipranzer

I guess I have to out myself and say I thought REDACTED was kind of okay, or at least I didn't hate it. I agree the acting was amateurish at best, as well as the dialogue. And I'll concede if I watch it again maybe the "surveillance video" and "computer screen chats" and so on didn't look authentic, but they didn't bug me when I saw it in theaters. What I liked about the movie was (1) yes, the Brechtian device of questioning the very nature of how the war was being covered, and (2) and this is the crucial one; unlike every other film dealing with the Iraq War that came out around that time, it didn't chicken out by backing away from the subject it was trying to raise. Also, the film was unfavorably compared to CASUALTIES OF WAR, and while that film was indeed better (like DRESSED TO KILL, this was a De Palma film I didn't like on first glance - in point of fact, I hated it - but improved for me on second viewing), at least REDACTED didn't have the "maybe-it-was-all-just-a-bad-dream" ending of CASUALTIES that damaged that movie for me.

Oh, and I'm afraid I can't join the FEMME FATALE love; the first 15 minutes are brilliant, and all the plot twists were well done, but I wish somebody else besides Rebecca Romijn and Antonio Banderas had played the lead roles, as I found them one-note and annoying (I've come to the unfortunate conclusion as beautiful as Romijn is, I haven't liked her in anything outside of the X-Men movies).

One thing I am curious about in regards to PASSION; I liked LOVE CRIME, but without giving anything away, I thought the second half of the movie took too long to get to the payoff, though I will admit the payoff was worth it. Is that true with De Palma's film?

Graig

Oh man, you know what Criterion should do? Put out a disc of SERIE NOIR. I saw it at a LACMA retrospective of french crime films and, wow, that is one slobbering beast of a film. And not available on Region 1 DVD, to my knowledge. I saw LOVE CRIME and thought it was ok, probably better in conception than delivery, and would have benefited from a more compelling lead actress at the center. "Bring on the DePalma remake," I tweeted at the time. So I'm looking forward to this.

Chris O.

Something about De Palma's films the last sixteen years that have more of a crisp antiseptic look to them unlike anyone else's -- don't know if it's technology, costume, lighting, production design or all of the above -- to kind of further underscore his "terror beneath the surface" themes.

Man, McAdams is looking rather "Marnie"-era Hedren-istic in that shot, too, speaking of De Palma's wont.

colinr

Redacted was one of the best films of the 2000s. Its not about being faithful to YouTube or security cameras etc, but about what Mr Kenny is talking about in this post - the mediation through screens and the way that an experience watched through a screen, even of 'real' events or 'real' conversations allows a kind of safe distancing from contemplation of the horror or importance of a situation. It's bringing people together whilst simultaneously removing them from being able to do anything about what they witness or get involved in, whether terrorist attacks or simply talking to family members overseas.

Yet the real horror comes from the face to face contact with other people which is still responsible for all the physical brutality that occurs in the world. The physical world still has the major impact, even if it gets used as grist to the mill of the electronic one.

And the most devastating moment is the (rather conventional)at the very end of the soldier returning home, sat with his family for a welcome home meal. They are physically reunited but he is now forever apart from them following what he has witnessed, and they will be forever apart from him because they have no idea (or no interest beyond the superficial) in what he experienced whilst 'over there'.

That film really gets at the idea that it is not purely the electronic world that distances or connects people in wonky ways. Distanciation, trauma and lack of communication/empathy occurs in real life too. It's just a new medium being used for the age old human problems.

colinr

And those brutally 'redacted' photographs at the end bear comparison with those bluntly accusatory ones at the end of von Trier's Dogville and Manderlay.

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