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De Palma - Brian De Palma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Lauren Minnerath, Matt Ma Sisters, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchable

De Palma: two directors plonk a camera in front of legendary director Brian De Palma, and he discusses his turbulent career, warts ‘n’ all. This kicks off with a brief history of his journey into cinema; starting as an indie director through to his studio system break alongside Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese, and Coppola. The rest of the documentary feels like De Palma defending his stinkers and bigging up the films that initially underperformed, but have been subsequently lauded. My main issue with this documentary is that I don’t know who it’s supposed to be aimed at: the 2-5 minute recap of every single film is too high-level for De Palma nerds like me – even with the odd anecdote – yet it pretty much spoils the best parts of every film that ‘De Palma n00bs’ won’t have seen yet. As it’s just De Palma talking, it feels a touch self-indulgent – massaging his own ego – and coming over as a tad weird, bitter, & unhinged by the end. This is capped off with a final few minutes that turn into the biggest self-congratulatory handjob; where De Palma states that he is the only director keeping Hitchcock’s notions of “pure cinema” alive! This is the only time I’ve ever though that what I was watching could have benefited from more talking heads lending different perspectives and additional context. Don’t get me wrong, De Palma is one of the most under-rated directors out there; and although he’s had some stinkers, he’s also made some of the greatest movies of their times… but this isn’t the tribute that I was expecting; or that a masterful director like Brian De Palma deserves.

Score: 3/10

If you really want to explore De Palma, scrap this and go watch Blow Out, Femme Fatale, Scarface, or The Untouchables to see the damage this guy can do with a camera.

De Palma - Brian De Palma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Lauren Minnerath, Matt MayerSisters, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables

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Be Kind, Rewind: was unsure about this one as I’m not Jack Black’s biggest fan and rappers-come-actors normally pull off botched performances at best. The film contains dangerous levels of nostalgia for the VHS format, and the big releases of that era. Despite appearances by the likes of Danny Glover and Sigourney Weaver it does well to retain an indie feel. Film buffs and movie makers would probably take a bit more from the story – also don’t think it’d be as appealing to those that grew up with DVDs. It’s not as deep, or strong, as Eternal Sunshine or Science of Sleep but it’s good fun to watch, and actually packs in more drama than you’d expect – just don’t take it too literally!

Score: 7/10