Dressed To Kill— Brilliant Manipulation

Last week, Brian De Palma’s ode to the black gloved killers and bare flesh, Dressed to Kill made its Region A Blu-Ray debut from Fox/MGM. I’ve provided a brief review below of the contents of the disc, but essentially, you’re getting the 2001 DVD with a high definition upgrade of the unrated cut of the film. Three decades from its initial release, De Palma’s film still packs a punch with several of its most notable moments, including the razor blade murder of starlet Angie Dickinson’s Kate Miller character by a frustrated transsexual in the elevator of a Wall Street high rise, a tense chase through the New York subway system, and of course its double twists in the final act (triple, if you’d like to count the final dream sequence). This nasty little concoction follows several different parties attempting to find the blonde muderer(ess)who offs Dickinson in the second act and then begins menacing the one witness to the crime, call girl Liz Blake (Nancy Allen).

It’s been about four years since De Palma directed a film (2007’s Redacted) and five since he directed a thriller (the best left forgotten Black Dahlia, which failed to convince, among other things, that Josh Hartnett was lead actor material). But when you have the opportunity to revisit one of his works during that truly fruitful period between, say 1973 (Sisters) and 1987 (The Untouchables)— with a return to form for 1996’s Mission: Impossible— it’s a reminder that this is a director who knows how to create tension, manipulate expectations, and grab you by the throat and shake you when you least expect it.

The Fox Blu-ray isn’t overburdened with grain and is a pretty respectable presentation for the 30 year old film. The hi-def treatment has been invaluable to the two dream sequences that bookend the movie as well as De Palma’s use of reflective surfaces which shine and glisten on the screen. If I had one complaint about the audio, it’s that it seemed like the levels were a little low, particularly when it came to dialog. Composer Pino Donaggio’s score is immaculately reproduced, but it seems to exist on a much louder track than the dialogue.

Special Features
All of the features from the 2001 DVD have made their way over to the Blu-ray. They’re all presented in standard def. In spite of the lack of new content, there’s a decent amount of talking head footage from De Palma and others to give you a healthy bit of background on the production of Dressed to Kill.

45 min. documentary “The Making of a Thriller”
Animated photo gallery
Advertising photo gallery
“Slashing Dressed to Kill” featurette
“Dressed to Kill: An Appreciation by Keith Gordon” featurette
Comparison of the unrated, R-rated, and network versions

There were a couple of curious functionality issues: first, this is maybe the first Blu-ray I’ve ever watched that had auto-play for the film— no menu, nothing. Also, while viewing the special features, I was unable to bring up the main menu or pop-up menu. Only by fast fowarding through the current feature would I be able to get the menu to come up. Dressed to Kill is available now.

Christopher Nolan is being tapped to direct a new feature length Twilight Zone film following the final outing in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, according to Variety. Nolan is said to be one of several directors being considered by studio Warner Bros. Michael Bay and Alfonso Cuarón are also high up the list, with Harry Potter’s David Yates and Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Rupert Wyatt both believed to be in the running. Nolan is, however, the frontrunner, and has built up a close relationship with the studio through three Batman films and his brainteaser blockbuster Inception: one obstacle is said to be the new Twilight Zone script’s similarities to the latter.

Twilight Zone: The Movie hit cinemas in 1983, but it was an ensemble affair split into four segments which were directed by Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, John Landis and George Miller. The new movie would attempt to shift from the original TV series’ short format to feature length for the first time. Michael Bay is said to be the director most intrigued by the screenplay for the new take, athough his involvement may depend on timing. The Transformers director is hoping to begin work soon on passion project Pain and Gain, a black comedy set in the world of competitive bodybuilding.

A tantalising prospect for all five directors is the possible involvement of Leonardo DiCaprio, who is involved through his Appian Way production company, though the actor only occasionally stars in the films he produces. The original Twilight Zone series was created by Rod Serling and ran from 1959 to 1964. Each episode told a bizarre story and often featured a macabre or unexpected twist. The series was revived in 1985 in the wake of the earlier film and ran until 1989. It was revived again in 2002 with narration from Forest Whitaker, but ran for only one season.

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~ by upbeatmag on October 9, 2011.

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