Showing posts with label michael caine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label michael caine. Show all posts

23 July 2013

Dressed To Kill Blu-Ray Review

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Rating: 18
BD Release Date (UK):
29th July 2013
Brian DePalma
Nancy Allen, Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson
Dressed to Kill [Blu-ray]

Dressed to Kill is a film directed by Brian De Palma really at the peaks of his powers. It comes out after some of his least successful films the experimental Home Movies and The Fury (despite a glowing review by one of his biggest champions Pauline Kael) and a year before his magnum opus Blow Out. The film like many of De Palma’s films owe a clear debt to the Alfred Hitchcock, this is both unintentional and intentional on his part. Dressed to Kill was unfavourably compared to Psycho at the time because he kills the lead early on and the killer is a transvestite (Psycho) or transsexual (Dressed to Kill). The Hitchcock aspects are literally in his DNA cause Hitchcock was such a master of cinema that you can’t help but steal, as any student of cinema knows.

The film starts with Angie Dickinson (a role she considers her finest) as Kate Miller, a sexually frustrated housewife who is visiting her shrink Dr. Robert Elliot (Michael Caine). She attempts to seduce him but he refuses even though he is attracted to her. She decides to go to the New York Metropolitan museum of art. In the museum scene (which is without any dialogue) she playfully stalks a stranger. They eventually end outside and she hopes into a taxicab with him and they proceed to have sex in the cab. They continue when they get back to his place.

She awakes hours later and then tries to call her husband on the phone explaining she will be late but fells too much guilt. She leaves her fling a note but she is writing it notices a letter than says he has a sexually transmitted disease. She leaves in a rush and leaves her wedding ring goes back and retrieves it. She takes the elevator and it stops on a floor and a very manly looking woman slashes her to death with a razor. The apartments in reality are where Wall Street bankers go with call girls and a call girl Liz Blake (Nancy Allen) witnesses the crime. She is naturally the prime suspect and a target of the killer and she then though the rest of the film tries to clear her name.

Ralf D. Bode very beautifully photographs the film as expected of De Palma in his career especially at this point. It has an operatic over the top nature, which he perfected in Scarface and the earlier Phantom of the Paradise. The film boosts very fine performances from the 3 main characters which an obviously fearless performance by Michael Caine as Dr. Robert Elliot aka. Bobbi. It is brilliantly written by De Palma and has very sharp dialogue throughout. He wrote it after failing to get the rights to Cruising. There is also the right amount of sleaziness and class to make it work.

The always-impressive Arrow Video has beautifully restored the film on Blu-ray. It boosts lots and lots of bonus material including a 50-minute documentary, interviews with all the main actors except Michael Caine and one with the producer and a comparison of the different cuts. It’s a very highly recommended release and look out for later Brian De Palma blu-rays being released by Arrow soon such as Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise and The Fury.


Ian Schultz

29 June 2013

Brian De Palma's Dressed To Killing Will Killy Your BluRay This July

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Arrow Video is pleased to announce the UK Blu-ray debut of Brian De Palma’s erotic crime thriller Dressed To Kill on Monday 29th July.

One of De Palma’s best loved films, Dressed To Kill  has been lovingly re-mastered by MGM studios, and will finally be available uncut and on blu-ray for the very first time in the UK. Arrow’s deluxe edition of the film will come loaded with an exclusive selection of special features and bonus material.

Starring legendary British actor Michael Caine (The Italian Job, Get Carter) alongside Nancy Allen (Carrie, Blow Out) and Angie Dickenson (Point Blank, The Killers), Dressed To Kill begins as sexually frustrated housewife Kate Miller (Dickenson) consults her psychiatrist about her husband’s lacklustre performance in the bedroom. Following the session with Dr Elliot (Caine), Kate silently seduces a stranger in a New York Art gallery, before going back to his place.

Upon leaving the man’s apartment, Kate is brutally murdered in the elevator; the only witness is high-end prostitute Liz Blake (Allen), who is in-turn accused of the murder.

One of De Palma's darkest and most controversial suspense thrillers, Dressed To Kill was as acclaimed for its stylish set-pieces and lush Pino Donaggio score as it was condemned for its sexual explicitness and extreme violence.

The glee with which De Palma turns this material inside out is completely infectious, as he delves deep inside the troubled psyches of his characters (critic Pauline Kael said that the film was "permeated with the distilled essence of impure thoughts") in order to undermine expectations at every turn.

Following Obsession and Blow Out, Dressed To Kill is the third film in Arrow Video’s De Palma Collection. Restored Blu-ray editions of Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise and The Fury will follow in 2013/14.

Best known for his psychological and often violent thrillers, De Palma’s use of split-screens, slow panning shots and Hitchcockian suspense have made his films instantly recognisable. Alongside Dressed To Kill, some of De Palma’s most revered works include Scarface, Carrie, Blow Out, The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible.

De Palma has proved hugely influential, inspiring many modern-day film makers to get behind the camera; Quentin Tarantino hails De Palma as the greatest living American director. Also known for discovering and nurturing new acting talent, De Palma is widely credited with fostering the early careers of Robert De Nero and John C. Reilly.

A complete list of the special features included on the deluxe blu-ray edition of DRESSED TO KILL is as follows:

- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature.
- Optional original uncompressed Mono 2.0 Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound.
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Symphony of Fear: Producer George Litto discusses his working relationship with Brian De Palma.
- Dressed in White: Star Angie Dickinson on her role in the film.
- Dressed in Purple: Star Nancy Allen discusses her role in the film.
- Lessons in Filmmaking: Actor Keith Gordon discusses Dressed to Kill.
- The Making of a Thriller – A documentary on the making of Dressed to Kill featuring writer-director Brian De Palma, George Litto, stars Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Dennis Franz and more!
- Unrated, R-Rated, and TV-Rated Comparison Featurette.
- Slashing Dressed to Kill – Brian De Palma and stars Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon discuss the changes that had to be made to avoid an X-rating.
- Original Theatrical Trailer.
- Gallery of behind-the-scenes images.
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh.
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Maitland McDonagh, and a new interview with poster designer Stephen Sayadian by Daniel Bird, illustrated with original archive stills and promotional material.

22 November 2012

The Muppet Christmas Carol Review

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2012 has seen not only the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens' birth, but also celebrates the 20th anniversary of one of the strangest screen adaptations of perhaps his most famous ghost story (of which he wrote several), A Christmas Carol. Directed by Brian Henson, the son of the late Muppet master Jim Henson,The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), starring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat, as well as a wonderfully sour Michael Caine, is sheer bliss from start to finish.

Charles Dickens' seasonal tale, which is not only a warning against greed and the love of money, but also a classic example of the benefits of doing good to your fellow man, is brought to life by noneother than that loveable team of misfits, the Muppets.

No matter who you are or where you come from Jim Henson's mad offspring have an indefinable quality which has universal appeal. As their successful reinvention in The Muppets (2011) proved, their brand of magic is timeless, which also means now is the ideal opportunity to reissue one of their most succeful and best loved big screen outings.

The quirky characteristics of the various members of the Muppet troupe make them the perfect candidates to bring Dickens' supernatural tale to life. The role of the quick tongued and buxom Emily, matriarch of the Cratchit family was tailormade for Miss Piggy whilst Kermit is ideal as her kind hearted husband Bob. There are a few diviations from Dickens' original version, but giving Scrooge's dead partner Jacob Marley a brother called Robert, allows for grouchy Muppet regulars Statler and Waldorf to perform their popular rountine of putdowns and corny jokes. The casting as a whole is pure genius on the part of Casting Directors Suzanne Crowley, Mike Fenton and Gilly Poole, and brings a breath of fresh air to a story which often appears stale through overfamiliarity.

The humans, though mainly in supporting roles, add believability to the whole affair whilst not detracting from the impact of the film's main stars. Other than Steven Macintosh as Scrooge's nephew Fred, Caine is the only other human to play a major role in the film. His interpretation of Scrooge, the crotchety and miserable moneylender, is marvelously chilling yet pitiful, inducing sympathy from the viewer as he is shown the mess he has made of his life and given one last chance to mend his ways before his time runs out.

If there was to be any downside to the film one would imagine it would result from the addition of the sacharine and fluffy songs without which no Muppet production would be complete. However the clever placement of these serves to strengthen the storyline, bringing a lighter touch to what can sometimes be a brooding and cautionary tale.

Christmas is ultimately a time for children, and the rerelease of this magical family treat will be the perfect antidote to the big budget blockbusters which take over many local multiplexes at this time of year.

Cleaver Patterson


Rating: U
Re-Release Date: 23rd November 2012 (UK)
Directed ByBrian Henson
CastMichael CaineSteven MackintoshKermitMiss Piggy