“Carrie” (2013) dir. Kimberly Pierce

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The original “Carrie” from director Brian DePalma is one of my all-time favorite films and I’m fairly certain the remake, coming out this fall, is probably going to suck big time. But I will say that this CGI-“Carrie” remake does have some impressive credentials: “Boys Don’t Cry” director Kimberly Pierce, Julianne Moore as the religious fanatic mom, and Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie. And despite myself, the trailer does look really good. Of course, the fact that I’m a sucker for that song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” doesn’t hurt either.

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“American Gigolo” (1980) dir. Paul Schrader

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“American Gigolo” was a transitional film for writer/director Paul Schrader. Pre-“Gigolo”, Schrader was primarily known as the writer of “Taxi Driver” and director of “Hardcore,” which unabashedly showed the nastier side of the inner city sex industry. On one level, “Gigolo” was as sleazy as “Taxi Driver” and “Hardcore,” but it’s the film where Schrader started to trade (in his words) “violence for style.”  The style in question was appropriated from Ferdinando Scarfiotti, the set designer for Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 masterpiece “The Conformist,” and who served as visual consultant for “Gigolo” (as well as for Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake of “Scarface”).  Arguably, this is the film that made Giorgio Armani a household name in America and was the film that made Richard Gere a star.

“Gigolo”‘s story is almost like the seamier flipside of “Pretty Woman,” which came out 10 years later.  Gere plays Julian Kay, a high-priced gigolo catering to rich women in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Palm Springs.  While he has risen high enough in the ranks of prostitution to not trick with men, it’s clear that this wasn’t always the case.  Julian eventually finds himself set up for a murder he didn’t commit, but his alibi is one of his tricks, who is married to a local politician.  He needs to find a way to exonerate himself, but his journey leads him down some very dark paths and finds himself increasingly in danger.

“Gigolo” is a film that manages to be extremely sleazy without being offensive.  But despite its high style, it’s not what I would call classy or clean (I mean that as a compliment, by the way.)  Schrader has acknowledged the debt of Robert Bresson’s 1959 film “Pickpocket,”  even though they are very different films from each other.  However, if you watch and like “Gigolo,” you should really check out “Pickpocket” (which is available to watch for free if you have a HuluPlus subscription). The endings of both films are very very similar.

“Carrie” (1976) dir. Brian DePalma

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Seeing this trailer for “Carrie” at the age of 7 seriously warped my fragile little mind. Of course, my parents were not insane enough to take me to this movie (it was R-rated… and a hard-R at that for the time, considering the violence and frontal nudity). But seeing that bucket of blood hit Sissy Spacek and the screen turning red along with scenes from the following bloodbath and those crazed eyes of Spacek’s really unnerved me (and of course, made me really really want to see it). Over 35 years later, it’s still one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen.

“The Fury (Main Titles)” – John Williams

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One of John Williams’s best and in my opinion, most underrated scores. Composed for director Brian DePalma’s 1978 follow-up to “Carrie,” “The Fury” wasn’t as successful, which is probably why the score (and the film, for that matter) has either been forgotten or ignored. It’s on Netflix instant and is worth a look. Overall, I’d give the movie 3-stars. It’s DePalma at his best … and his worst. However, the ending is pretty spectacular and will either have you convulsing in hysterical laughter or running for the nearest toilet to hurl, depending on what a sick fool you are.