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Flash Movie Review: De Palma

The first time I saw an Alfred Hitchcock (Rear Window, The Birds) movie it was on television. I never made it all the way through because it scared me too much; the film was Psycho. It caused nightmares and made me afraid of the bathroom shower curtain when I was a little kid. Not until I got older did I finally see the movie in its entirety. Back then I did not understand the genius of Alfred Hitchcock. When I got older I started to appreciate the way he directed his pictures. His movies like Vertigo, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest were a marvel to watch even on the small screen of a television. I remember when I learned Alfred always did a cameo in his films; searching for him added to my enjoyment level. If memory serves me correctly I believe Alfred had a weekly television show. I have a vague memory of him standing on a box or chair with a noose around his neck. His show bordered on the macabre I believe. As my love of movies grew and I was exposed to other directors I never quite found another director who had a similar style to Alfred. Not until I saw a Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill, The Untouchables) film did I recognize familiar traits and here is the funny thing, no one ever told me Alfred was Brian’s idol. Just from watching one of Brian’s movies I saw such a resemblance to those old Alfred Hitchcock pictures, I immediately became a big fan of Brian. For someone who has admired his work through the years, this documentary provided an oral history to his films. SITTING in front of a fireplace it seemed as if Brian was spending the day telling me about his movies. As the consumer I was thrilled to listen to him talk about the back stories to some of his famous films such as Carrie and Blow Out. Directed by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha) and Jake Paltrow (Young Ones, The Good Night), the two directors for the most part let Brian sit and go through his films in chronological order. There were no actors or other directors doing any tributes or dishing, it was just Brian alone and I have to say he was very entertaining. If one is not a big movie lover I feel this documentary may become tedious after some time, though there were a variety of film clips shown where he explained what they had to do to achieve a certain affect or look in the scene. For me this was a treat and I could appreciate the hard work it must have taken since CGI was not available back then to the standard it is now. I find it amusing that yesterday’s movie review talked about listening and for this film listening would be a requirement. Except for the film examples there was no action or drama, simply a man discussing his passion for making films.

 

3 ½ stars for movie aficionados                        3 stars for the average moviegoer

 

 

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