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Two Readers Weigh In With Two Very Different Takes On PUBLIC ENEMIES!

Beaks here...

Universal and Michael Mann were at it again Thursday night, testing his John Dillinger v. Melvin Purvis epic PUBLIC ENEMIES. We've received numerous reviews from previous screenings, and the response has been fairly consistently all over the fucking map. "It's a masterpiece!" "It's a piece of shit!" "It's pretty good!" "It's disappointing!" There is no consensus - which leads me to believe that Mann has made another MIAMI VICE. And that's fine with me. You, however, may disagree. Vehemently. Let's see what Mr. Paisley thought...

Had the chance to see a very early screening of Michael Mann’s Public Enemies tonight and wanted to share some thoughts with you all. A few spoilers here so tread with caution. First off, it’s incredibly entertaining. Unlike other biopics, this one drops you right into story. No flashbacks of Johnny Dillinger extorting kids on the playground, the movie begins with Johnny Depp’s Dillinger and his crew knocking over a bank with precision and style. On the other side of the law, Christian Bale’s G-Man Purvis starts the movie hunting down Pretty Boy Floyd. It’s an interesting and welcome approach. Here’s a cop, here’s a robber. Go. Along the way, Dillinger picks up a girlfriend (the beautiful Marion Cotillard) and Purvis is appointed the head of the task force by J Edgar Hoover (a more clothed, and less blue Billy Crudup.) The next two plus hours is basically focused on Dillinger and how he made his name. As I mentioned, I found it very entertaining. In typical Michael Mann fashion, bullets are never in short supply. The action sequences are sharp, frenetic and well paced. (Another kudo to the sound design. The tommy guns blast with brilliance all movie long.) If I have any complaints, I’d say the movie is a little overly balanced toward Depp and Dillinger. You don’t get much story or time with Christian Bale. He dutifully plays the straight man on the trail of the charismatic bank robber, but there’s not a lot of meat to his character. It’s mostly meetings with other cops talking about how dangerous Dillinger is. Same with Cotillard. Her Billie Frechette is pretty and strong, but there’s not much of her. (Although Dillinger’s wooing of her at a coat check is note perfect.) I’d say the other 70% of the movie is Dillinger robbing, shooting, and charming his way across Iowa and Illinois. I’m not sure if this was the first time the movie has been shown, but I did see Michael Mann afterwards. It looked like they were going to speak to some of the moviegoers in a focus group. The movie looks finished. Very few, if any, technical cleanup to be done. It looks like the movie was shot on digital again. It’s interesting to see that era so cleanly. Anyway, the crowd seemed to like it. There was enthusiastic clapping at the end and people outside were talking about how much they liked it. I hope the focus group doesn’t fuck with it too much. It’s a really good movie. The three leads are all solid and the story and action are both well balanced. Fans of Mann, Depp and Bale should all be pleased when this rolls out this summer. With bullets flying, Mr. Paisley

Awesome. I'm there. Now here's The Dark Mike with some harsh words for Mann's gangster flick...

I saw Public Enemies tonight, and it seemed like I was the only one who wouldn't lay down and suck some Mann balls. Here's the truth.... I love Michael Mann. Tonight, I've questioned that love. Burbank. 7:00pm. We're cattle driven into a giant stadium. They won't tell us the name of the film, but they will tell us we're one of the first audiences to see it...oh, and it's based on the life of John Dillinger. "Yes!" I shouted, I love Eddie Murphy movies! "No Mike," my friend whispered. "It's Public Enemies." Let's jump to the good stuff. Scroll no more. Since I saw the trailer for this film, there's definitely been something bothering me about the digital motion in some shots. It blurs, there's ain't good. I hoped it would look better. Kinda like The Godfather. But now that I've seen it I can tell you it DOES look like The Godfather....a Be Kind Rewind version! Alot of the shots are poorly lit (this was before a final color correction, I'm looking forward to seeing how computers can save this). But what became more problematic than the camera, was the camera's unbearable closeness to all it's subjects. It's like the studio forced Mann to make this movie iPhone know, so we could see Johnny's big beautiful face on a 2.5 inch screen. But in the theater, it's a mess. Too sense of geography. I'm a film student. I've studied cinema from Edison to Aronofsky and when I got home, I couldn't really tell my roomates what it was about. I mean, I understood it....I just don't know what they were thinking. What were they trying to do here? The depression is touched on lightly, but we never get a sense that the man has an effect on the American people. We're told this, but we do not feel this. It seems the major flaw is that this movie should either be a story about Dillinger and his lover Billie (though I can't understand why they love eachother), or a cat and mouse between Batman and that kid from Nightmare on Elmstreet. Right now it's both and it's boring as fuck. The middle of the film has little cause and effect, and in the end I was left with a limp dick in my lap wishing I hadn't wasted my time on a FREE movie, three months before it's release, starring two of Hollywood's biggest stars. This movie was a disappointment. Yep, I'll just go and say that flat out. I'm that certain. This is an early cut...doesn't mean the movie's going to suck as much as the shit sandwich Michael Mann cooked me tonight. This isn't to say the film can't be saved. Hollywood's make of dreams, but tonight I experienced a nightmare. With love, THE DARK MIKE

The close-ups are nothing new. Mann's never been shy about getting in tight on his actors. And, hard as it may be to accept, the artifacting is just something Mann obviously likes. It started with ALI and has stuck around since he made the permanent switch to digital with ROBBERY HOMICIDE DIVISION. Either you like it or you don't. You'll find out for yourself on July 1, 2009.

Readers Talkback
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  • March 20, 2009, 2:25 a.m. CST


    by Duke of Hurl

  • March 20, 2009, 2:27 a.m. CST


    by dmstar

  • March 20, 2009, 2:27 a.m. CST


    by SentryDoody

    Anyone read the stephen king short story about dillinger?

  • March 20, 2009, 2:29 a.m. CST

    "I'm a film student..."

    by Duke of Hurl

    sheesh... get back to us when you graduate, kid.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:29 a.m. CST

    no and no, Doody

    by Duke of Hurl

    but I'll look into it.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:31 a.m. CST

    Also questioned the video

    by TOASTERslayer

    I also questioned the use of video in this movie and I'm actually a video student. It just seems like the style and type of picture that worked so well in films like Collateral wouldn't work for this period piece. Something just seemed off about the trailer and it definitely wasn't the acting...

  • March 20, 2009, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Depends on what their exact problem is

    by doctor_gonzo

    I didn't like Miami Vice because I thought it was insanely boring. Nothing but annoying love story in the middle, with relatively decent action scenes on either end. Problem was way too much time in-between. I look at what reviewers actually say to judge whether I'd agree with them. The positive review said it was entertaining and pretty action packed. The negative review seemed to just be confused about the "cinematic" message of the film. Personally, the bad reviewer just sounds pretentious and obnoxious. Someone who is too obsessed with analyzing the underlying nuances instead of just simply enjoying a film. So at the moment, I will go with the positive review. We'll see what happens though. Maybe a negative review will come along that turns me off. My main concern is really whether there's enough action. After Miami Vice my No. 1 fear is seeing another tediously long film without enough action.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Vice might be action deficient...

    by Duke of Hurl

    but that sex is hot dude. call it a love story, i call it the goods.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Agree with dr_gonzo

    by TOASTERslayer

    I feel like the first review was focusing much more on content than the second...I'm definitely still going to check this out.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:37 a.m. CST

    The trailer was dull

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Just another flashy cops and robbers movie. They play it on afternoon TV about 100 times.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:38 a.m. CST

    were we watching the same trailer?

    by Duke of Hurl

  • March 20, 2009, 2:39 a.m. CST

    It looked like the fucking Untouchables

    by lockesbrokenleg

  • March 20, 2009, 2:41 a.m. CST

    You guys read about what Time Magazine said about AVATAR???

    by sonnyfern

    They say it cost 300 million, it's the most expensive movie of all time, they say that over a thousand people have worked on putting the flick together: http://,9171,1886541-3,00. html The writer says, "I couldn't tell what was real and what was animated--even knowing that the 9-ft.-tall blue, dappled dude couldn't possibly be real. The scenes were so startling and absorbing that the following morning, I had the peculiar sensation of wanting to return there, as if Pandora were real." WOW. Can it really be THAT good?

  • March 20, 2009, 2:42 a.m. CST

    sonnyfern, you are completely off subject

    by Duke of Hurl

    and obviously a plant. get lost.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:46 a.m. CST

    new topic:

    by Duke of Hurl

    sunnyfern - plant for Time Magazine or Avatar? discuss.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:48 a.m. CST

    I KNOW! My excited...

    by sonnyfern

    I'm pretty such sure I'm going to love Public Enemies. Michael Mann is the shit, Heat, so far as I'm concerned is the greatest cops and robbers movie ever...and this stuff...I like the look of it even more. The TommyGuns, the suits, the cars, I just have a soft spot for it. Plus, I've always loved the story of Dillenger, always have, one of my favorie's. It's just a pairing of so many things I love I don't see how it can go wrong.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:48 a.m. CST

    I hate "film student" reviews

    by MattmanReturns

    Because if anything's different from what's been droned into their brains, they mistake it for "bad cinema".

  • March 20, 2009, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Screw Avatar

    by lockesbrokenleg

    No one but the sci fi nerds will see it. It's Watchmen Part II

  • March 20, 2009, 2:50 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...The material is awesome. Its timely. But Mann is an awful director, but the cast is great. The trailer itself left me torn. Its got everything going for it, and I doubt even Manns horrible History Channel production style can kill it entirely. Gotta see it, anyway.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:52 a.m. CST

    Re video

    by Droogie Alex

    For some strange reason, Mann has been shooting his films in HD VIDEO, but not HD 24P video; which is used to simulate the look of real film. A video look for 1930's events would just be weird to me.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:56 a.m. CST

    The Dark Mike's film school: Tacoma Community College

    by Kenny_Fuckin_Powers

    "Studied Edison to Aronofsky". Hahahaha. You're doing it fucking wrong, buddy.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:58 a.m. CST

    hate to say it but

    by The InSneider

    that trailer did smell funny. i love mann too but i don't like depp and i'm liking bale less and less these days. i'm tempering expectations.

  • March 20, 2009, 3 a.m. CST

    Heat was Manns last great movie

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Now, he just rips off Ridley Scott.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:01 a.m. CST

    It's my fault

    by yodalovesyou

    Every film I look forward to always gets 'mixed' reviews. Never bad and never great, but always mixed. :(

  • March 20, 2009, 3:03 a.m. CST

    Yeah digital video kinda kills the whole 30s feeling

    by Xandar1977

    It stood out in the trailer. Goddamn I love Michael Mann, but don't use DV when you're making a period piece dude, it's just kinda jarring.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:04 a.m. CST

    I never listen to film students

    by DrunkyMcLush

    They were stupid enough to go to film school and pay a never-has-been to teach them how to fail just like them and thus a new pretentious never-will-be is born. This makes their reviews biased because anytime they see a film do something different, or take a gamble they automatically hate it because they've been brainwashed to play it safe.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:05 a.m. CST

    He may be off topic...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...But the Avatar article pimp is more interesting than the latest waste of potential from Mann. Oh, and if you genuinely think Miami Vice is a good film, every opinion you have on popular cutlure is from now on moot. You have no taste.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:08 a.m. CST

    The Dark Mike = Comedy Fail.

    by Grievey

    Seriously. "I'm a film student!" WOW, and so are all of your classmates!<BR><BR> Arrogant prick.<BR><BR> "Uhhh yeah brah, I've studied everything from Edison to Aronofsky." Such range. Such obscure directors.<BR><BR> Pretentious prick.<BR><BR>"I was left with a limp dick." You are a limp dick. Your blowup sex doll probably wonders if you're in yet, and when you are, she thinks it's you getting kinky with ramen noodles. <BR><BR> Impotent fuckface.<BR><BR> I hope your mother is raped by a lizard in a cow suit and your father is cornholed by the long cock of Melissa Rivers. And I hope your kids are eaten by a gang of street kittens on PCP.<BR><BR> Go back to directing your independent film, which likely consists of "artsy" clown porn and originality. Your screen name implies that you have so much of the latter. <BR><BR> <BR> *shivers* Ooooo being a troll gives my soul dark tickle-bumps.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:16 a.m. CST

    Public Enemies ≠ HEAT

    by Kobaal

    I'm one of the approximately four people on the planet who liked Miami Vice, but it was surely no Heat. Few films are.<p> PE *could* have been (be?) epic, but I can't see it happening somehow. One for DVD.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Film student

    by Sir Nigel Lengthington-Smythe

    are pretentious little cunts. "Oh, i couldn't even tell my cockslave roommate what it was about, oooh, oooh!". Yeah right. That's probably because you were watching Big Dicks #4 on your i=Phone while the film was playing. I don't need some little twat like this to tell me his opinion on Mann, he is a great director, not that this guy would know anything about it, obviously.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:33 a.m. CST

    LOL@@@ THIS film student

    by BlackJackBauer

    see, this sucks, because Im a film studio too...and i HATE the pretentious snobby as fuck film students. aaaaaaaargh and yes we DO learn from never was beens, and most of us flash each other knowing smiles and nods when the never has been talks about how he directed an episode of Taxi back in the day. its fucking depressing as fuck. and yes most of us hate having shit hammered into our brains about how coverage should be like this or that and blah blah blah but one thing most of my professors has told me is the truth...directing is 90% gut. you either follow your vision or not. but yea, when film students feel the need to tell you what the fuck they have studies and they try and mention high level poo its just annoying. Id rather say Ive enjoyed everything from back to the future to the godfather to grease to watching porn in 1080p and hope that lets yall see I got an eye for good shit, rather than tell you i watched michaelangelo paint a ceiling somewhere and im all cultured, which is how that review came off. fuck that guy and his nerdy script girl glasses. im the untraditional film school student and i love it. black jack bauer out

  • March 20, 2009, 3:34 a.m. CST

    lol not a film studio film student

    by BlackJackBauer

  • March 20, 2009, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Me being called "plant" is badass by the way-

    by sonnyfern

    WOOT. But lord knows I've been posting here for a while now. I really did just read that article and was like DAMN...WHAT IF...what if it really lives up to all the crap they've been talking?? It never really dawned on me. In truthfulness, if I hadn't seen My Blood Valentine in 3-D I wouldn't be giving it a second thought, but the 3-D really did make that movie a billion times better cause without it it's kinda shitty. In the hands of someone as insane as REALLY might be pretty damn astonishing. It never dawned on until I read that. But anyway, enough about that, just figured I'd better explain myself. I'll kick it back to Mann and say- He had a hand in making "Band of The Hand", therefore he will always have a place of honor...

  • March 20, 2009, 3:40 a.m. CST

    A FILM STUDENT passing judgement on....

    by snakecharmer

    Mann is like a first year music student judging John Williams. I'm there opening day. Great cast and great director.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:41 a.m. CST

    For a student...

    by Fortunesfool

    You write like a 15 year old. If you announce that you're a film student then you better back it up with an intelligent debate. Moron.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:44 a.m. CST

    no mann talkback is complete without

    by juice willis

    a "Band of the Hand" reference. just as it should be.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:18 a.m. CST

    "Film student"

    by BurnHollywood

    I'm wondering how many classes into the course that scatology is covered...

  • March 20, 2009, 4:28 a.m. CST

    "I'm a film student" ? LOL -- You're a fucking amateur!

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    And no more hate about MIAMI VICE, please. Thanks.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:35 a.m. CST

    Talkbackers lose every credibility when...

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    ...they state that "Mann is an awful director".<p>That's pretty laughable and shows you have no understanding whatsoever about filmmaking.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:37 a.m. CST

    "batman and that kid from nightmare on elm straat"

    by Windowlicker74

    so we ARE dealing with a film student here after all!! LOL!

  • March 20, 2009, 4:39 a.m. CST


    by Windowlicker74

  • March 20, 2009, 4:39 a.m. CST


    by Windowlicker74

  • March 20, 2009, 4:41 a.m. CST

    No love here for Collateral?

    by MattmanReturns

    I mean, not a GREAT movie or anything, but I love the simplicity of it as a thriller. Did exactly what it needed to do, and Mann's style made it feel very real and tangible (even though you probably shouldn't think about the plot too much).

  • March 20, 2009, 4:43 a.m. CST

    "I stand, wearing my v kneck sweater over my button up shirt"

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    Is this the return of THE SPIRIT reviewer guy? I can picture both these douche bags wearing horn rimmed non perscription glasses.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Dark Mike

    by SuperJim17

    ..disappeared further up his own rectum the longer that review went on. Boo! Down in front! Etc!

  • March 20, 2009, 4:48 a.m. CST

    Loved Collateral too...

    by sonnyfern

    Really underrated. Thought Cruise was really good in it. Knows how to shoot people. Doesn't get enough credit.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:50 a.m. CST

    Miami Vice

    by MorganLeafy

    Miami Vice was one great movie. Sometimes I just sit behind my desk and think: damn, I wish I was watching Miami Vice right now. Collateral was bland, but you can't win 'em all I guess. Even Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor was a lesser entry in a series of masterpieces.

  • March 20, 2009, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Dark Mike

    by Sebilrazen

    is a douche bag. Holy shit, my new barometer of pretentiousness is if the person even gives me a tenth of the willy's that reading Dark Mike's review did.

  • March 20, 2009, 5:22 a.m. CST

    "Yes!" I shouted, I love Eddie Murphy movies!"

    by Droid

    Didn't read a single word past that. <p>Fuck off.

  • March 20, 2009, 5:26 a.m. CST

    'I am a film student'

    by Mr Gorilla

    No one should be allowed to pull that line ever on this site.

  • March 20, 2009, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Sight and Sound UK

    by Mr Gorilla

    For all that the dude says he hated the look of it, there is an interview with the DP in this month's SIGHT AND SOUND magazine in the UK. He sounds completely delighted with the look of the thing.

  • March 20, 2009, 5:27 a.m. CST


    by Droid

    Caan is fucking awesome in it. <p>The Keep is Mann's only bad film. All the rest have either been good or great.

  • March 20, 2009, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Any love for "the Keep"?

    by TheBloop

    Gotta love some early Michael Mann with a cool score by Tangerine Dream. Plus a young Scott Glenn and whirly nazi killing demon=winner.

  • March 20, 2009, 6:20 a.m. CST


    by LightninBolt

    Magazine... time for a new A V A T A R thread, yep

  • March 20, 2009, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Motoko Kusanagi

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    Close, but you got it the wrong way around. You can instantly tell a regular Empire reading fanboy with pretensions to film snobbery when he lists Mann or Ridley Scott as a great director. Ridley Scott made two great movies and a whole slew of shit that errs this side of technically accomplished. Mann is a shitty TV director who on a couple of occasions has shown a real technical mastery. And I mean a couple of occasions. His last few films, well, actually everything bar the shootout in Heat have been woeful, with perhaps parts of Ali or The Insider being well staged and constructed. My favourite Mann film has been mentioned here already though, Thief. Its so fucking hillariously embarassingly bad. I was only wishing Mann could have found a way to have Cann walk into the sunset in the middle of the night. Lame 80's rock guitar solos, greying hair, a black leather jacket and the desperately pretentious need to bring reality to the world of bad 80's cop shows is Manns crowning achievement. Oh well, at least someone is bringing big budget, big screen Dillinger to us, and it sounds like Mann has actually stumbled onto a good soundtrack, even if he is obssessed with making the film look like The Discovery Channel.

  • March 20, 2009, 7 a.m. CST

    Thief is still my favorite Mann

    by Laserhead

    Collateral was very good until the terrible ending (loser cabbie with a heart of gold outshoots professional badass super-assassin). Miami Vice had a few great set-pieces but lacked any characterization.<p>I love Mann, though. One of the best, and I'll go see anything he makes. I just don't say they're automatically great pictures just because he directed.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Don't know...wondering if...

    by Sithtastic

    I should invest effort to care. Mann seems to be one of those love-hate directors and it seems to be the "in" thing to hate him because of Miami Vice (which admittedly was awful). However, his one misfire aside, I am willing to give this project the benefit of the doubt.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:05 a.m. CST

    2nd reviewer sounds like a whiny hack.

    by AshokZero

    And the trailer was fantastic. Digital looks frakking amazing.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:13 a.m. CST

    I agree with lazerhead about" Thief."

    by jah_kingdom

    I thought "Collateral" was better than "Heat." And I think the second reviewer brings up a good point about digital. It still looks inferior to film. No two ways about it. But most of you seem more bothered that the 2nd reviewer is in film school. Are you guys jealous that he's attempting to make movies instead of just going on talkbacks to discuss them.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Hope it's as interesting as Vice

    by Projectedlight

    And Mann continues to be an interesting, daring and awesome director instead of bowing to studio pressure.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:24 a.m. CST


    by Droid

    As you are bothered by talkbackers who are jealous of someone who is actually attempting to make movies instead of just going on talkbacks to discuss them, by that rationale, are you jealous of talkbackers who are jealous of someone who is actually attempting to make movies instead of just going on talkbacks to discuss them? <p>Personally, I'm more bothered that AICN would post a review that contains "Yes!" I shouted, I love Eddie Murphy movies!" in the first few paragraphs.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Although I hate Mann...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...I hate that second reviewer more. Jah, I don't thin Digital looks inferior to film at all. It looks different. Collateral, Zodiac, Benjamin Button were all beautiful to look at. I just think Digital, like everything in a Mann film, is used incredibly poorly. Thats Mann making the movie like shit, not the recording device. Its an onbvious visual style he chooses, since a more traditional period look is achieveable with digital. He just doesn't want to go with it. My guess is he wants to bring immediacy to the film and create less remove from the events on screen. But unfortunately the period setting just seems too much of a hurdle to get over. Yes, it seems more "real" but it also seems like a "real" museum exhibit. Its also what crippled Miami Vice. Why bring a COPS style aesthetic to something so patently absurd and false. If you wanted to make a realistic movie about drug enforcement fine. But when you are making a shallow, schmaltzy action flick you can't shoot it like its real. Unless you make everything else at least look somewhat real. Sort of like Greengrass with the Bourne films. If Mann wants to dress his actors like they just walked off the set of a Lorenzo Lamas TV show, don't shoot them like it's a documentary.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:26 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...I meant Apocalypto, not Collateral.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Video is not 'inferior'

    by Projectedlight

    Just different. It's inferior for what most directors want to achieve (that is, pretty, glossy, less distracting and more familiar shots with a lush blur) but not for all purposes. 'Ugly' as video may look in comparison, it suits Mann's recent projects more than film would have. If you open yourself up to it, it also has its own beauty, like the way that it captures the colors of the night sky in Miami Vice. Whether its the right choice for this film remains to be seen.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Generally Digital in NOT Justifiable

    by ZoeFan

    It was for Miami Vice and 21. It wasn't for Collateral, it wasn't for either of the Prequel's II and III of StarWars, it wasn't for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and most likely won't for Public Enemmies. The look just doesn't fit the material.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:31 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Watch the DVD of HEAT. The doco on the real basis for the characters leaves so much dissapointment over the film. He wanted to do a realistic study of a group of bank robbers vs. a group of cops chasing them. Unfortunately its a realistic study of people who are clothed, behave and talk like they just walked off the set of bad 80's cop show. Why Mann decides over and over again to go with such crappy aesthetic choices when reality is so much more interesting, especially when he seems so invested in making the events on screen appear real, is beyond me. His best films like Ali or The Insider benefitted from his attention to detail and craftsmanship and him being forced for the most part to adhere to a style not ripped straight from Jake and The Fat Man.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:37 a.m. CST

    WhinyNegativeBitch (ha)

    by Projectedlight

    I don't think Mann is trying to bring the 'cops aesthetic' to a cheesy action film. I think the handheld, video look was meant to bring us closer to all the other stuff: the quiet moments of reflection, the reflections moving across glass as Gong and Colin dance in the Cuban nightclub, the brightness of the muzzle flashes in the climatic shootout, the heat you can practically feel in the air in the night scenes, the motions of bodies in a sex scene, the endless expanse of waves that a boat tears across under a midday sun, the look of regret on Colin Farrell's face at the end, the deep focus of the city lights that stretch on in all directions in the final shots of Miami. Mann wants to bring us not so much closer to the police drama as to the details of character, emotion and environment. That's what the Miami Vice aesthetic is all about.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:37 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Actually, now, its possible to ahieve a look with digital that would suit those films perfectly. Yet it seems directors, especially Mann, CHOOSE the more traditional digital look as an aesthetic choice. Mann could have used the viper cams like he used on Vice or Collateral to make a very traditional look associated with films set in that period. He just doesn't want to. Its why hes, you know, a shit director.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Project...uh...thats the problem...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...He wants to bring us closer (I did mention that in fact) to moments ripped straight from shitty action movies like Bad Boys. He wants us to reflect on what exactly? Wether Farrell will fuck the hot asian chick and blow away the evil ethnic drug lords? The problem is his choice to bring us closer and make more real the details of character, emotion and environment every bit as deep as Bad Boys. Its a mish mash that just doesn't work. At least for me and most other people. If we want to see juvenile action film fantasies, we usually want to see them glossy and slick. Not immediate and real. It just looks fucking silly then. Sort of like parts of the Public Enemies trailer looks. A bunch of people playing dress up.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:42 a.m. CST

    The Bourne Films

    by Projectedlight

    Were not at all 'patently absurd and false'. Not at all. Not with the way Matt Damon escapes from situation after situation. Not with the way that the evil CIA is brought down at the end. Nope. When you shake the camera like Greengrass does (and use his preferred editing style) you're not bringing people closer to reality. Making events on screen incomprehensible is a fairly huge level of distance from the plot. The argument that it replicates the disorientation one feels in a situation like Bourne is in is ridiculous: in our confusion, we don't see nothing, but instead certain details, without being able to focus on the big picture. Seeing everything as a blur only reminds us every step of the way that this is artifice constructed by guys who really hate stabilizers.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Totally off-topic...

    by DiverseNerd

    but I think Roger Ebert is in love with Alex Proyas. His review of "Knowing" is almost as loving as his review of "Dark City," which of course he name drops within the first paragrapgh. Go Ebert, you crazy gurl!

  • March 20, 2009, 7:47 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Thats the skill of Greengrass, at least in Supremacy. He made it SEEM real. He made sure every level to a certain degree felt like it was taking place in a world close to our own. Also, the events aren't incomprehensible. I've heard this alot about Greengrass and the recent Batman films. Its no wonder you guys have such bad taste in films, you obviously have a massive issue with being able to either see, or process information visually. Mann on the other hand shoots, and in some cases structures a script, in a way to make it as real looking and sounding as possible, but every other aesthtic choice, from the music to the costumes to the performances, are all B movie grade. Its that pretension that kills his films. I actually am on the fence about Public Enemies though. His choice to shoot this film like his more recent work might actually help differentiate it from the myriad of other gangster films set in the period. Something that sunk a film like Road To Perdition.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:48 a.m. CST

    DiverseNerd, I know...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Its so weird. I actually might want to check it out now. But then again, Dark City isn't much of a film, and Ebert fucking worships it, so I'm guessing Knowing is just another case of Ebert brain farting.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:51 a.m. CST

    But Miami Vice...

    by Projectedlight not like Bad Boys at all. It doesn't indulge in senseless violence (or trivialize death like Bay does in staging car's running over dead bodies as a joke). In fact, the film tries to establish empathy for its villain and his dilemma (see the tear drop down his face in the background of the nightclub toward the end) and it features a lot of quiet moments.As for what Mann wants us to reflect on, I'd say it's the way that the characters are trapped by routine and the world around them. Crockett indulges in a fantasy escape from a life of deadening routine and self-sacrifice, but events turn so as to drag him right back to where he started. Mann tries to get at this through the photography and editing of the film. The final shot is a great example of what I'm saying: Crockett has returned from the freedom and wide expanses of Cuba, and he walks away from the camera until he's lost in the expanses of an urban environment that dwarfs him. It also reflects the opening shot in that they begin/end with people in the middle of performing an action. It is very much a present tense film about the inability to escape the present in the modern world. The huge city of the film and the social structures linked to it are not simply meant to be relevant to action movie cops, but to everyone. Mann is trying to make art that addresses the audience, not just play up action and blood (of which there is very little in this film). You can say that it's glossy and shallow, and argue about how effective the film is, but to drag it down to the level of Bad Boys is pretty absurd. They both feature cop partnerships and action sequences, and that's about where the similarities end.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Why would you post a review from a film student?

    by dr sauch

    Could there be a less reliable review?

  • March 20, 2009, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Everyone here who says "ZOMG UR JUST JEALOUS!"

    by dr sauch

    No, not at all. That's great that he's in film school. I'm in grad school as well. Kudos all around. The issue is that he actually knows the technical aspect of what he's seeing. He knows about blocking, lighting, cinematography. There are things that will bother him that will definitely not bother me or the general public. He's critiquing this from a much more educated place, and his review says as much. He's a fine gentleman, I'm sure, but I'd like to get the "civilian" review, and I think its telling that the first reviewer loved it.

  • March 20, 2009, 8 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...But it does. Completely. It features many unrealistic and goofy shootouts. It doesn't take them to the extreme of Bad Boys, and thats what I'm complaining about. Why make a silly action movie without making it REALLY silly? Theres nothing in Miami Vice that on any level approaches reality story or character wise. Its the massive amounts of pretentious schlock that weighs down Manns films. Its okay if the quiet moments or clevel visual strategies (like the drive thru the tunnel by DeNiro near the end of Heat, or your mention of Crockett walking into the city) were in movies that required it. But this is a film where two guys who look like theyve stepped out of GQ engage in a criminal investigation every bit as fake as the ones in Bad Boys, and waste a bunch of people. The things you praise Mann for are the very things I hate about him. Also, both Bad Boys and Vice share alot of things. Cheesy, action movie dialouge and characters, ridiculous teenage fantasy storylines that were dated in the 80's. And a completely black and white B Movie world view. Plus Miami cops whove walked out of GQ spread and really bad music. It always a risk to criticise Mann, because hes beloved by so many for the very things that make him in my eyes a bad director. I think people (especially someone who can stomach Miami Vice) who like his films will love Public Enemies, while the rest of us will scratch our heads and wish someone else had got the job. Like DePalma before he drove off the tracks.

  • March 20, 2009, 8 a.m. CST

    I don't have a problem

    by Projectedlight

    with not being able to see action (or anything else) if I think that being denied this serves an interesting or worthwhile purpose. In Greengrass I don't see this being one for any reason other than to add a phony sense that 'YOU ARE THERE'. I've already spoken about why I don't think that the style chosen achieves its ends successfully; it's not related to the real way real people in real situations actually process information. In Batman I'd chalk the technique down to Nolan's lack of talent with spacial geography in an action film. I mean, that was everywhere in The Dark Knight (eg, Batman surprise attacks Joker from the side, where Joker would easily have seen him coming, but with an edit Nolan masks this and you're meant to cast that little detail aside). Also, were seeing this technique all the time now, and I'd say it is a bad thing: what the hell was the point of the horrible action direction in Quantum of Solace, for example? Mann is going for pure style in his films. I don't think he really wants to fool you into thinking 'YOU ARE REALLY THERE' in his films, since they are highly aestheticised and sometimes abstract (especially Miami Vice) and he places style above believability at every step. Rather, he's going for emotional directness. Also, how is mixing B movie elements with realistic elements pretentious? I'd call it a stylistic choice, but I can't see any pretension in it.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:01 a.m. CST

    dr sauch

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    I went to film school too. Its still clear the writer of the second review is a douche bag.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:03 a.m. CST

    "70% of the movie is Dillinger robbing, shooting," = SOLD!

    by Stuntcock Mike

  • March 20, 2009, 8:07 a.m. CST

    *sigh* oh great, heeeere we go...

    by thekylegassproject

    another pretentious film school student.<p> artifacting?...subjects?...really?

  • March 20, 2009, 8:08 a.m. CST

    "I'm a film student". zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Thanks for the resume douche.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:09 a.m. CST

    by Projectedlight

    Miami Vice only features one shootout, I believe. I thought it was actually fairly realistic. You're right in that there's a lot of goofy stuff in there though. I guess I don't have a problem with looking for substance in a story like the one Mann concocts, or treating what could be seen as cheap trash seriously, if I think that Mann actually shows something of worth when all's said and done. I chalk a lot of the things you hate about him down to style and aren't really bothered by them, and I actually like the dichotomy of B movie elements and an art movie treatment of them. I completely understand why this approach divides people and why you could find it to be horrible. I've got to say love DePalma though. Good taste there.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:10 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    You are right about Greengrass (at least in the Bourne films) creating a phony sense of you being there. Thats why he was hired for the job. Otherwise you would be seeing a second string Yankee James Bond. Project, thats what I don't get. Mann makes nearly every aesthic choice a heavily stylised, artificial one, generally, EXCEPT he shoots and as I said, conceptually structures his pieces as if he were covering an incredibly realistic piece. It doesn't make his films more real, or more direct, it makes them a) boring and b) fake looking. Its pretentious because he thinks shallow TV show storys, concept and characterisations are worthy of deep investigation and study. Which is why his films are filled with so much unnecessary junk and so dreary. Now, I'm not saying mixing reality with B movies doesn't work, or taking particular care to construct a multi layerd world out B grade components doesn't work (Tarantino, most of the time, does it great) but Mann does it very poorly. It would be like if Fincher had decided to shoot Zodiac with a very realistic look, yet set dress and design the other elements of the film exactly like seven.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:11 a.m. CST



    When I first saw in back in 2006 I have to admit I was under whelmed because I was hoping for a thinking man’s “Bad Boys 2” but I felt disappointment with the low key acting and minimal action. But since then I’ve watched the movie a few times and it’s grown on me to the point where those reasons are when I like the movie. It’s NOT BB2, Lethal Weapon or the usual Hollywood style action comedies and it was my mistake to go into the theatre with pre-conceived notions that I was going to see a buddy cop movie.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:11 a.m. CST

    Hey, I can hate on DePalma too though...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Just take alot of the criticisms I've slung at Mann and apply them to Redacted. I guess I'm old fashioned or OCD in wanting films to fit the goddamn box they belong in.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:14 a.m. CST

    And your right about the hate of the style...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...I mean, I don't like Heat, but thats purely because of the script, but its impossible to completely dismiss it because of how amazing its physically constructed. Manns digital obssession robs me of even that.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:16 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...I admire segments of Friedkins To Live And Die In L.A. but that films story is hampered by the same problems I have with Manns work. So its not an isolated incident. Plus I still begrudge him for Manhunter. Not as much as I dislike Ratners mutilation of the material, but its a shame when the best book of the series has twice been poorly translated. Of course, Mann couldn't have used the amazing Lambs as a template to nick from like Ratner.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:19 a.m. CST


    by Davidhessstation

    I always thought Michael mann was overrated and his films may look good but always contain a zillion un-necessary subplots. Heat sucks, I don't care what anyone says. Collateral had the worst third act. Same with Insider. I think Thief was his best film.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:20 a.m. CST



    I really don’t like the way things streak and blur when it involves movement. It looks like Mann’s shooting on an old Betacam from the 80’s. I can’t remember seeing that type of blur on Star Wars 2 & 3, Spy Kids 2 & 3, Superman Returns, Apocalypto etc…but those were shot with the Sony cameras. Collateral had the same look and I think it’s because Mann uses the Viper Slipstream but the Fincher used the Viper on Zodiac and Benjamin Button and those looked fine so I think Mann is deliberately screwing with the cameras or footage for some reason?

  • March 20, 2009, 8:23 a.m. CST

    I agree that...

    by Projectedlight

    ...Redacted is not very good. I like Mann's digital aesthetic, but again, I understand why most people hate it. I think Manhunter is decent. A million times preferable to Red Dragon, of course. Oh and..."if Fincher had decided to shoot Zodiac with a very realistic look, yet set dress and design the other elements of the film exactly like seven." I have to admit that sounds fascinating. Distancing, but in an interesting way.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:25 a.m. CST


    by Projectedlight

    Yeah, he just likes the really 'video' look. He doesn't want his work to look like most films out there.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:28 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Star Wars and Apocalypto had blur/streaking. Just not to a great extent because of the way they were shot. But look at the chase scenes in Apocalytpo. Also Apocalypto was shot with the panavision genesis. Like Superman Returns (which incidentally looked like shit). Different looks in different hands. Mann isn't "Screwing" with the camera at all. He just WANTS that look. I'm sure with the people under his employ he could get it to look more filmic, but, especially in Vice, he pushes a more traditional video look. I think Returns and Star Wars looked shitty because the film makers tried and failed to make the footage look like traditional film. Zodiac, Apocalypto and Button not only achieved many of the atributes of traditional film (though, obviously not all) but had several improvements (the depth of field in night scenes obviously). Mann has his reasons we can speculate to as to why he chose this particular look for Public Enemies (which can be largely confirmed by his Collateral commentary). It will be interesting to see if the story can either work with the look or overcome the shock-of-the-new it will introduce in the viewer. I love the source material (even though its clear Mann has commercialised and glossed it up) and I like the trailer alot, but I'm not sold on the look entirely. Music is interesting though.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:28 a.m. CST

    "Public Enemies" doesn't look that good.

    by Evangelion217

    I wish Michael Mann would stop using that digital camera shit. He sucks at using it, and it makes his films look ugly.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:30 a.m. CST

    On Redacted

    by Projectedlight

    One of the chief reasons it sucks is that watching it involves being yelled at. It's really didactic about an obviously really fake premise that it treats as if it were completely reflective of reality. If Mann treated his material as he does but made his work really bullheaded, loud and preachy then I imagine it would rub me the wrong way.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:35 a.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...I didn't really mind the story that much, or even the performances or the constant breaks for lectures. But the way he chose to cover it was ridiculous. One, it just doesn't make sense as to how or why the events covered WERE covered, even if you stretch your credibility to accomadate the set up. And two, it just robs the film of most of its impact, and because it in no way approaches reality, the choice to cover it in a realistic manner just high lights how fake it is. Its scary when a 30 grand low budget horror film about a witch in the woods is more convincing than yours. Then again, if DePalma had shot the film traditionally, it may have raised the budget (I really doubt that though) and more directly showed it up as a lazy remake of Casulties Of War.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:36 a.m. CST


    by neverhed

    And I usually hate when other film students use their studies as some kind of badge. To be fair, people, he only mentioned it in reference to knowing the basics of a narrative structure and the differences between film formats. If anything, it was to point out how EVEN A LOWLY FILM STUDENT can tell what's wrong with the movie. I'll probably see this thing either way, but for fucks sakes, you losers need to lighten the fuck up.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:38 a.m. CST

    The curse of Dorff

    by walrusholder

    Every movie he is in sucks- he ruins directors- Oliver Stone- WTC stunk it up- Mike Figgis- Cold Creek Manor- terrible Uwe Bole- well he already sucks- anyway I hope the curse is broken this time.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Who cares when...

    by Kief_Ledger

    AVATAR is fucking TIME'S eyeballs right now?????

  • March 20, 2009, 8:48 a.m. CST


    by Projectedlight

    Nailed Redacted.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Also, Miami Vice rules

    by Kief_Ledger

    so do the rest of Mann's films. Every last fucking one of them.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by HarkNight


  • March 20, 2009, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Digital still has a very long way to go.

    by jah_kingdom

    It seems best for night scenes(Miami Vice, Collateral.) Terrible for daylight(Pirates Of The Carribbean Pt2&3, Superman Returns, I've also rewatched Star Wars 1,2&3 on an HDTV and they don't look soo good -- yes, I tried every variation setting.) Although, Fincer seems good at shooting daylight. I think he has a better understanding of digital's limitations and blocks shots and action accordingly. Mann as much as he's portrayed as a perfectionist, comes off sloppy sometimes. I love To Live In And Die In LA but that soundtrack does not hold up. Now, Sorcerer, that fukn movie stills kicks ass.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:28 a.m. CST

    "Heat" bores the shit out of me

    by jah_kingdom

  • March 20, 2009, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Mann's just too pretentious sometimes

    by Buzz_Aldrin

    He sometimes crosses over into the pseudo arty sphere too much (like when he includes that stupid shot of the grey wolf in Collateral - We get it!) but he has a unique style, and in the cookie cutter world that is Hollywood that is definitely a plus, whether you like the style or not. The first of his movies i really liked was Miami Vice i gotta admit. Kinda slow in the middle when they do that Bacardi commercial in Cuba, but the rest is pretty awesome. Just the scene in the trailer park is worth the price of admission. It was also the first time i saw Colin Farrel and didn't hate his fucking guts. After this, In Bruges and Cassandra's Dream i actually start to think he's really a good actor after all. Ramble, ramble, ramble...

  • March 20, 2009, 9:29 a.m. CST


    by Buzz_Aldrin

    Goddammit, yes! Probably the best tough guys doing a tough job movie ever!

  • March 20, 2009, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Movies shot on Digital will have to be remastered

    by jah_kingdom

    for home video viewing. Just like the first released CD's needed to be re-mastered once the technology evolved, the same goes for Digital movies because High-Def Tv's really accentuate the flaws of Digital Camera's limitations.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Mann cannot defend Artifacting on Artistic License

    by zinc_chameleon

    Once you've decided to go digital, and at the same time endeavor to tell a true history, you've got to knock yourself out to get rid of artifacts. It only takes the tiniest cube geometry to attract a person's attention, and then the magic of the scene is gone.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:35 a.m. CST

    I was there last night as well.

    by Kevin Kittridge

    I am NOT a film student, and I HATED this movie. It was over two and a half hours long and just painful. My three friends hated it as well to the point where one of them (who got me into the screening) apologized for me taking the trip to the valley for this. It was only after the movie was over that I found out that Michael Mann had directed it and I felt bad because I like Heat so much. <br> But man, this movie was a completely unenjoyable experience.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:35 a.m. CST

    neverhed is right

    by lex romero

    You're all over reacting. What's this shit about "murr why should i bother with a film students that means it's useless". Erm, but none of you complain when any random person sends in a review? They're a reliable source? wtf? <br><br> As Neverhed said I think the kid was just trying to point out that the film didn't seem to be about anything to the extent he couldn't even tell a friend the plot. In fear you'd all jump on him with "u must b a idiot thn lol!" he just wanted some way to establish that he's studied cinema, he knows the basics of narrative story telling.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Mann rules!!! Vice,Heat, collat.,band of the Hand, manhunter

    by greekloveropa

    great movies

  • March 20, 2009, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Dark Mike.....

    by philldwill

    ...needs to stop being annoying. "I went to film school"...seriously? You just said that. Also, learn to write reviews. This seemed like something written by an angry 12 year old kid on a youtube video.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST


    by DoctorWho?

    I'm sitting here racking my brain about that title "Collateral Collateral Collateral...Tom Cruise Collateral"...KNOWING I've seen that film but for the life of me CANNOT remember it.<p> And then it hits me! OH YEAH, I remember now...about 1 or 2 scenes. I LOVE some of Mann's work (You HEAT haters can suck it) but am amazed how this film did not have any staying power whatsoever in my brain.<p> I'm sure it was Cruise...he sucks the ability to suspend disbelief out of every film he's in. He may as well be wearing a neon sign in every scene flashing "YOUR WATCHING A MOVIE". I like...I just don't buy it since maybe Rainman.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:34 a.m. CST

    I am a FORMER film student

    by Captain Tragedy

    But now they just call me unemployed. hehehe. in all seriousness. Im gonna see this no matter what because i never miss a Mann film. I could watch the bank heist scene in Heat and the climactic chase scene in Mohicans. "You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you."

  • March 20, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    damn itchy trigger finger

    by Captain Tragedy

    i could watch those scenes over and over again is what i was trying to get at.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST

    I'm a current student of Christian Bale

    by Stuntcock Mike


  • March 20, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    I saw the trailer on the big screen yesterday

    by Jodet

    At Watchmen. It leaves me absolutely COLD. Mark my words...this will be awful.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Collateral is so fucking underated.

    by ganymede3010

    It literally makes me sick to my stomach that it doesn't get a lot more credit. Tom Cruise depicted the best Hitman that I've ever seen on film. It was way better then Javier Bardem's Oscar winning Hitman performance in no country for old men.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST

    I worked at Blockbuster. I've studied the greats...

    by iwasredempted

    oh please. i was a graphic design major and i took art history classes. so what does that mean. not much really.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Miami Vice cured my insomnia

    by JohnRyder

    Thank you Michael Mann. Keep up the good work. I am sure you do.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Michael Mann's true moment of visual genius

    by zinc_chameleon

    occurred in the first ambush by the Mohawks in 1992's "Last of the Mohicans". The contrast of the loud and colorful British with the nearly invisible Mohawks, and there superiority of Mohawk fighting skills is to me something that needs to be taught in films schools. And, I'm not a film student. I'm a University lecturer in Introductory Neuroscience, and my students hate artifacts in my 3d presentations. The least little CGI booboo, and they complain.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST

    No seriously though, everything Mann touches is gold.

    by dr sauch

    This will be too.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:26 a.m. CST

    "I'm a film student!"

    by BLEST

    And I'm trashing Bale's scene. Boo.<p>This will rock, I'm there opening day.<p>Mann returns to form, Heat meets the Untouchables. Bank on it.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:41 a.m. CST

    I stopped reading the second review when I got to "film student"

    by axel fff

    And why the hell would you question your love of Mann's films based on only one film? Oh, that's right. You're a film student and a AICN reader---what a combo.

  • March 20, 2009, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Redacted / De Palma

    by Chris Wood

    I saw it after a friend of mine - former soldier and Kosovo veteran - recommended it. Whatever mistakes De Palma made, he produced a film that rang true with someone who'd recognise authenticity.

  • March 20, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST

    No, DoctorWho?.

    by Duke of Hurl

    just No.

  • March 20, 2009, 12:40 p.m. CST

    mattman returns: yeah, chefs are bullshit

    by necgray

    When those fucking guys who went to a culinary institute cook my food, I'm like, "Fuck you, Johnny College!" <p> Hyperbole, but you get my point. I'd rather read a film review written by someone who has actually studied film. Objective outsider POV is appreciated, but with film I feel like too often people assume, "I watch movies, therefore I understand them."

  • March 20, 2009, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Kenny_Fuckin_Powers you go to Tcc?

    by supercowbell4therequestformorecowbell

    i live exactly 30 seconds away from tcc. living in tacoma sucks ass.

  • March 20, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Kenny_Fuckin_Powers you go to Tcc?

    by supercowbell4therequestformorecowbell

    i live exactly 30 seconds away from tcc. living in tacoma sucks ass.

  • March 20, 2009, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Michael Mann's Public Enemies

    by coolchicat

    Michael Mann is my favorite director period. I could give a fuck less who disagrees with that statement. No one in modern cinema translates palpable tension and atmosphere to film the way he does. He does not make mindless action movies...he makes sophisticated crime dramas and thrillers with meticulous attention to detail. His goal is always to make his films as realistic as possible and when he directs a film based on or inspired by actual events he works tirelessly to accurately recreate the time period during which the story takes place. Fuck Ridley Scott, his crowning achievement Gladiator is an overrated, overhyped revenge flick set it ancient times which I guess somehow qualifies it to be classified as "epic." Blade Runner was boring, outside of the visuals there is no reason to watch that film. American Gangster was a poorly casted (Denzel), historically innaccurate b-movie with a blockbuster budget, and a total waste of film. There is no logical comparison that can be made between Michael Mann and Ridley Scott. Michael Mann is "THE MAN."

  • March 20, 2009, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Johnny Depp as a Gangster=Major Box Office

    by Jesiah

    It's all about timing. I bet if Donnie Brasco were announced now, it would do a lot better than it did; not that it did bad, a lot of people including myself enjoy it and it even gets referenced in rap songs like Scarface lite or something, but Johnny Depp & Al Pacino in a mafia flick post Pirates would've had everone on it's d%@k. I'm going to like this regardless, Heat is one of my favorite movies, Johnny Depp my fave actor of all time, two of the stars of Big Fish (Billy Crudup and Marion Cotillard) all these elements make for a very appealing film.

  • March 20, 2009, 2:12 p.m. CST


    by menstrual_blitz


  • March 20, 2009, 2:39 p.m. CST

    coolchicat - Ridley is one of the greatest filmmakers ever

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    One of the most versatile, infuential, prolific and consistantly great filmmakers ever. Michael Mann's a great talent that's made some great films, but he ain't in the same league as Sir Scott. Ridley dwells in the rarified air of people like Kubrick, Spielberg, Stone, Welles, Hitchcock, Scorsese, Capra, Lean, Hawks, Wilder. Mann's only made a handful of good films and none of them have had that kind of culteral impact on filmmaking. He's not contributed that much to the lexicon of film. I'm a big Michael Mann fan, but he'd be the first to tell you he's nowhere near as good as Ridley Scott. Mann's the one that told Russel Crowe to take Gladiator because Ridley "is one of the greatest shooters of all time". But Mann does need to be punched in his teeth for two reasons: #1 - the digital video thing. How Mann can make one of the most gorgeous films ever shot in Last Of The Mohicans and then turn to muddy looking digital video is beyond comprhension and frankly aestheticly offensive. #2 - Mann made a one of those Oscar montages a couple of years ago dipicting American history as shown through film and somehow he included his own Last Of The Mohicans and Ali but neglicted to use one frame from Oliver Stone's magnificent oeuvre (Platoon, Born On The 4th Of July, Heaven & Earth, JFK, Nixon, The Doors, Wall Street, World Trade Center). Now if Stone specifically borbid his work from being used, that's one thing. But if Mann intentionally left Stone off a montage of American History as told through film, then Mann ought to get clocked. But like I said I love Mann. Heat, The Insiderand Last Of The Mohicans are all masterpeices. Manhunter, Theif, Ali, Collateral and Miami Vice are also all variying degrees of good. But guy's no Ridley (or Stone).

  • March 20, 2009, 3:08 p.m. CST


    by ZoeFan

    I'm not completely disagreeing with you, however, while you mentioned Mann's films, you didn't mention what you felt were the GREAT Scott Films which puts him in the same billing as Spielberg, Hitchcock and Scorsese. And if you reply I'd be interested which films you felt Scott missed the mark on.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:13 p.m. CST

    coolchicat- b-movie with a blockbuster budget

    by Samuel Fulmer

    That's the best Ridley Scott description I've ever heard. Other than a few of his films in recent years (Matchstick Men, Kingdom of Heaven), I'd agree, and this is coming from someone who likes a lot of his films.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:20 p.m. CST

    lex romero

    by frozen01

    I think people are ripping on the guy mostly because of his review. It DOES sound like a 15-year-old wrote it, it DOES sound pretentious, it DOES sound like he's throwing around facts related to film-making just to sound smart. Had he said "I'm just a film student, but even *I* know better" instead of "He did EVERYTHING WRONG! I know, because I'm a film student!" maybe people would have cut him some slack. <p>And seriously? He couldn't explain the plot to someone? Um, I haven't even seen the trailer, and I can explain the plot fairly decently. It's not really complicated. <p> Listen, I understand what you're saying. He's looking at it from a different angle than most people are. I'm an amateur photographer, and when I see an image, I would probably dissect it like he dissected this film. So I get that. But maybe next time, he can dissect it without sounding like such a pretentious prick, with maybe just a modicum of modesty? He might come across like he's actually trying to review a film rather than beat his chest or pull his d*ck out for measurement.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:20 p.m. CST

    I think Mann is one of the greatest living

    by Samuel Fulmer

    directors, but I also agree that he needs to ditch the cheap digital look. Unless the trend somehow catches on, it's going to age his films even worse than the pastel colors in the 80's Miami Vice.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:22 p.m. CST

    It was a trailer for Watchmen?

    by frozen01

    I saw Watchmen in Imax... I've been meaning to see it again, I should probably go to a regular theater to catch the good trailers.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Second review is abysmal...

    by Davidia

    Why run that shit? It had the tone of videogame fanboys trashing a PS3 or whatever. He gave us no points or even the smallest example of why he didn't like it, he just blabbered on like a teenage dunce.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:31 p.m. CST

    There are two types of film students

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Either the idiosyncratic idiots that claim something like Date Movie is a modern masterpiece, or the douches who think that if it wasn't directed by Orson Welles it sucks.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:38 p.m. CST

    film student comment aside...

    by iwasredempted

    the guy still comes off like a douche. if you read it again without the "i'm a film student" comment it still comes of like all the other idiots, which includes me, who comments on the talkbacks. <p>he even states that he is one of those guys in a movie theater that shouts out something only he thinks is funny. i hate those people.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:39 p.m. CST

    last of the mohicans is a very good movie...

    by iwasredempted

    i pop that in every once and awhile and thoroughly enjoy it.

  • March 20, 2009, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Brian De Palma on film schools

    by Samuel Fulmer

    "The real trouble with film schools is that the people teaching are so far out of the industry that they don't give the students an idea of what's happening. Students should be exposed to the best people in the profession. If you study surgery, you study with the best doctors working in the hospital. You don't study with the ones who couldn't get the job."....Brian De Palma

  • March 20, 2009, 3:56 p.m. CST


    by DKT

    I. Don't. Care. We're all fucking film students here, even if none of us have gone to "film school."<br><br>Tell us why you like the movie or why you didn't. But telling us you're a film student as if that's some sort of seal of approval is about as silly as Fonzie on waterskis.

  • March 20, 2009, 4 p.m. CST

    ridley scott is a master but...

    by iwasredempted

    he is so hit or miss, in my opinion. white squall anyone? american gangster? matchstick men? that being said, the man directed thelma and louise, bladerunner, alien and gladiator.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:07 p.m. CST

    very few are even close to Scorsese...

    by iwasredempted

    he doesn't rely on cgi. i even enjoyed bringing out the dead. godfather?...give me goodfellas any day. can mann or ridley make a movie like the king of comedy. i think not.

  • March 20, 2009, 4:32 p.m. CST

    "heres a cop heres a robber go" =

    by SomaShine

    guess this reviewer missed that one by MM

  • March 20, 2009, 4:36 p.m. CST

    AICN Should hire "The Dark Mike"

    by SomaShine

    seriously, you guys could take lessons from someone who actually writes a humorous review above a 4th grade level..oh and notice he didnt need to use big black or bright red fonts to do it!

  • March 20, 2009, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Mr. Paisley = PLANT

    by SomaShine

    No one says "minor spoilers" and then doesn't include anything about the plot or spoilers

  • March 20, 2009, 4:43 p.m. CST


    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    "His goal is always to make his films as realistic as possible and when he directs a film based on or inspired by actual events he works tirelessly to accurately recreate the time period during which the story takes place." If thats the case, why does a story about 1970's chicago area supermarket thieves take place in present day L.A. featuring bank robberies and locations/clothing/characters ripped straight from bad 1980's cop shows?

  • March 20, 2009, 4:58 p.m. CST

    My <3

    by Hot4Mike

    I don't know why everyone's ganging up on you. I've got it printed and hanging on my wall. Film school? I love film students. Maybe we could grab a coffee in a dark room sometime. Don't give up, Dark Mike, Hollywood is make of dreams!

  • March 20, 2009, 5:54 p.m. CST

    You should all thank God he's a film student

    by white_vader

    ... because his idea of what constitutes a joke is, shit.

  • March 20, 2009, 5:55 p.m. CST


    by uberman

    MIAMI VICE, which was terrible any way you slice it, and the other bad film that 'could have been a contender' was COLLATERAL, which had some great moments but these were drowned out by the incredibly stupid plot holes and lapses in characters judgements, which at tims was dumbed own so it would fit in the plot. BUT! Mann is still a awesome filmaker and I for one will be betting on the side that sez this new one will be great.

  • March 20, 2009, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Melodramatic but Good

    by cahcat

    I was at the screening, it was a good film, Depp, and Bale are great. The acting all around was excellent. But it does get overly melodramatic at points and fails to completely focus on Dillinger as the robber when it comes to the Love Story. Some of the camera work was unusual shaky cam but it's only a few moments. Nonetheless, I'm glad I got to see it, and nice to Mann back at it.

  • March 20, 2009, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Yeah Paisley is a plant

    by Nobody_Touches_Buddy_Revell

  • March 20, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST

    I believe in The Dark Mike.

    by Sesquicentennial_Man

    The night is darkest before the dawn. And reviews written in the haste of the night shouldn't be hated for the brevity and casual tone. He was so incensed, he had to run to the computer and spread the good word. Dude drops a film school bomb on ya? Give him props. He's in probably in massive debt, but he's doing it for you: his audience. And he's trying to save you the cost of a ticket. He's reaching for every credential he has to save you from another piece of ill-conceived, studio-driven crap. I'm down that this review didn't lean on profanities and expletives to make us smile. We're the Saved by the Bell generation and about that "batman and elm street," I'll take it and grin. You guys wanna hate? Just remember: we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark mike of the movies.

  • March 20, 2009, 7:34 p.m. CST

    jah_kingdom - Pirates 2 & 3 digital cameras?

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    I HIGHLY doubt that. You're gonna have to refer me to some proof on that because I'm fairly certain Dariusz Wolski doesn't play that game. The Pirates movies, no matter what you think about them, were top notch productions made on the highest level. I don't know were ypou're getting your information on daylight scenes in the sequels being shot on digital, but I don't believe it. Fell free ti prove me wrong and enlighten me though.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:25 p.m. CST


    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    MY CRITERA FOR GREATNESS IN A ARTIST (the eight "P's") <p> 1. Prestigious = an esteemed, distinguished, illustrious reputation, worthy of being honored. <p> 2. Prodigious = Impressively wonderful in degree and amount. momentous in significance. Beyond the usual in magnitude. extraordinary in extent. 3. Prolific = Producing abundant, fertile works. intellectually productive. <p> 4. Proficient = Well advanced, adept, competent, experienced, accomplished, able and skilled. An expert. <p> 5. Progressive = Favoring progress. Steadily advancing in ideas and methods. Constantly improving upon. <p> 6. Protean = Exceedingly versatile and diverse. <p> 7. Pioneering = Leading the way in creative innovation through unclaimed territory and new areas of development. <p> 8. Potency = Impactful in strength, force and energy. having great power or influence. An inherent capacity for growth and development. <p> *Now first I'll address the film I feel Ridley failed to live up to this critera. <p> Someone To Watch Over Me, Black Rain, A Good Year and Body Of Lies were all fairly pedestrian and redundant, not deserving of Sir Scotts Time and Attention. But even they show his almost unmatched range. <p> *Now these are Ridley Scott's Masterpieces: <p> The Duelist, Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louis, Gladiator, Hannible, Black Hawk Down and Kingdom Of Heaven. <p> *Lastley these films are very good and somewhat under apperciated, but not Masterworks. <p> Legend, 1492: Conquest Of Paradise, White Squall, G.I. Jane, Matchstick Men, American Gangster. <p> *I don't consider any of Ridley's efforts to be failures, I do not feel he's made a "bad" film, but as I said some are merely proficient. <p> PROOF OF VERSITALITY <p> The Duelist (Napoleonic Age drama) <p> Alien (Claustrophobic Suspense Ghost Story Horror + Sci-Fi) <p> Blade Runner (Dystopic Science Fiction) <p> Legend (Fairy Tale Fantasy) <p> Someone To Watch Over Me (Crime Thriller + Romance) <p> Black Rain (Action Crime Drama) <p> Thelma & Louise (Road Movie, Character Drama) <p> 1492: Conquest Of Paradise (Epic Aventure, Hisrical Drama) <p> White Squall (Coming Of Age Drama + Adventure) <p> G.I. Jane (Political, Action Drama) <p> Gladiator (Roman Era Revenge Epic) <p> Hannible (Suspense Horror Crime Thriller) <p> Black Hawk Down (Modern Warfare, Historical Drama) <p> Matchstick Men (Comedy Crime, Character Drama) <p> Kingdom Of Heaven (Historical Drama War) <p> A Good Year (Romantic Comedy) <p> American Gangster (Period Gangland Crime Drama) <p> Body Of Lies (Spy Thriller) <p> *He's pretty much worked successfully in ever genre. Now who else can claim that kind of versatility? Kubrick, Spielberg, Stone, Scorsese, Wilder...maybe Lean? Not many. That's why Ridley Scott's credentials for being mentioned among the very best are really beyond reproach. That's my stance. <p> As I said before, Michael Mann is great. But he ain't Ridley Scott GREAT.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:26 p.m. CST

    PROOF (that is) not "proff"

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Damn, My bad. Sorry.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Attention Film Students/Talkbackers:

    by IHateYouAllSoSoMuch

    I don't want to come off as a dick (in an AICN talkback? Never!), but I have a sincere question... why go to film school? I'm not saying that to play devil's advocate or hinting that one shouldn't, I'm honest-to-God asking. What are the advantages? The only thing I can come up with is that it will educate you more towards different types of film, filmmakers, and methods to use in your own work, and to introduce you to contacts for the future. I've read a ton about "making it" and a lot of people make the point on simply making your own films versus spending the money to go into debt to go to film school. QT, RR, and Kevin Smith all eschewed school to make their own film, and while you can debate the merits of each, you can't deny that they are exactly where they want to be doing exactly what they want to do, and getting paid great money, to boot. Like I said, I honestly want to know. Who knows, maybe I'll go myself.

  • March 20, 2009, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Love Matchstick Men.

    by imagin78

    I think Matchstick Men is a severly underappreciated masterpiece. Also, White Squall and G.I. Jane are small gems.

  • March 20, 2009, 9 p.m. CST


    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    The ONLY reason to go to film school is to meet other people who are also going to be in the industry, so that hopefully, if you play your cards right with them, they can help you out while trying to start your career. And the reason why you can be sure THOSE people will be working in the indusry is because they're pretty much already in it (usually through family contacts). The film school thing for them is just a formality to show daddy their serious about getting into the family business. Because it really is all about who you know. FOR REAL. That's about all there is to it. There's no magic lessons being tought, although you can learn a little (tiny bit) by getting some (and I do mean SOME, very little) hands on expierence with equipment you'd otherwise not be able to afford to touch. That's it. Really, if you go to film school and don't intend on schmoozing it up, it's all for not.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:03 p.m. CST

    imagin78 - Agreed

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    especially on G.I. Jane and White Squall. Completely misjudged and underappreciated. Matchstick Men tends to have a pretty solid audience as it is.

  • March 20, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Depp and Bale

    by Broseph

    enough said i'm going to see this.and ffs can we get a proper band of the hand dvd release

  • March 20, 2009, 9:59 p.m. CST

    "I'm a film student..."

    by Broseph

    Get me a soy foam latte now bitch!!!

  • March 20, 2009, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Sounds okay to me.

    by Sal_Bando

    Gotta like the cast.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:03 p.m. CST

    I can't stand when a film student

    by manbat33

    takes their shit way to seriously, dude you have johnny depp in the picture, his face should be in every frame. and what the hell does john dillinger have to do with eddie murphy, i thought you were a film student.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:04 p.m. CST

    NEEDS GIANT (Tommy gun wielding, Fedora Wearing)

    by Sal_Bando

    Robots. You know you wanna see it.

  • March 20, 2009, 10:32 p.m. CST

    Everybody needs to stop

    by comedian_x

    shitting on digital video. When it is used properly it looks as good as film. Michael Mann PURPOSELY uses a shutter angle/speed that makes it look like video and he PURPOSELY ups the gamma so he can shoot with low light. Those two things make it look like shit, yes, but it's Mann's choice -- not a limitation of video. <p> Fincher/Rodriguez shoot at a proper shutter angle/speed and correct gamma and it looks great.

  • March 20, 2009, 11:17 p.m. CST

    I have a movie out on DVD right now and I never went to film sch

    by sonnyfern

    Why go to film school when you can get movies released without it?

  • March 20, 2009, 11:58 p.m. CST


    by Banzai Rootskibango


  • March 21, 2009, 12:02 a.m. CST

    Digital tech has made Film School....

    by snakecharmer

    ... obselete. I took a couple of films classes and all you do is... 1. view older movies and talk or write about them. 2. The tech stuff they teach is with gear anybody could own and with books you could buy. 3. Networking with others. You can have your stuff online and in festivals all over the world. The day that Coppolla predicted is almost here... 'To me the great hope is that now these little 8mm video recorders and stuff have come out, some... just people who normally wouldn't make movies are going to be making them, and - you know - suddenly, one day, some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart - you know - and? make a beautiful film with her little father's camera...corder - and for once the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed.? Forever.? And it will really become an art form. ? That's my opinion.'

  • March 21, 2009, 12:37 a.m. CST


    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Rodriguez's stuff does NOT look good, nor like film. It worked for Sin City because the entire thing was shot against a green sheet in his freaking garage. But Once Upon A Time In Mexico had many moments where it looked like it was shot on a Sony handycam (anything hand-held looks atrocious). Fincher and Brian Singer are the only one's that have been at all successful with digital. Apocaypto looked pretty good too. Although some portions, specifically anything in slow-motion, from those film are done on film, not digital. I gotta hand it to Fincher though, his films(?) look fantastic. But still not as good as his music videos from the early 90's. Seriously, watch Don Henley's End Of Innocence video and tell it doesn't look better than ANYTHING in Bejamin Button. What I'm saying is, as good as Fincher was able to get Zodiac and Benjamin Button to look, they still would have been even more impressive if he'd shot on film. But Fincher is a technical genius, constantly pushing technolgy along with guys like Cameron and Zemeckis, Michael Mann is not.

  • March 21, 2009, 12:55 a.m. CST

    No matter how good Public Enemies ultimately turns out

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    it will always be tainted by the choice to shoot digital. I'll never be able to fully enjoy it on an aesthetic level. God bless Spielberg for refusing to go digital. I salute you Steve. To the elderly gentelman with the fat neck and strange facial hair who claims to be George Lucas, if you are indeed the REAL George Lucas (which I for one highly doubt), you're dead to me for pimping this digital junk around (and for being an insincere, patronizing sell out of the highest order). You sir, are a liar and a theif. Although I am fairly convinced that George Lucas has been dead for some time and replaced with an imposter. That or it really is Lucas, but the thing dangeling from his chin is some kind of evil alien parasite that has takin over his brain with the end goal objective of ruining films. Far fetched? Yeah, but so is the thought of the guy that made THX1138 making Phantom Menace. Conspiracy theory or conspiracy truth? You decide.

  • March 21, 2009, 12:55 a.m. CST

    f*** guys, are you serious?

    by misterfaust

    Jesus christ guys, lay off the film student shit. It's pretty common to not like something, and then provide BS reasons... much like everyone here hating the film student and saying shit thats supposed to sound clever and or creatively vulgar. A lizard in a cow suite? WTF. I'm a film student, and I can say we're not all pretentious. It's just one possible avenue to the film industry. I have no connections, and I don't have tons of money for equipment. I could save over a couple years, but I figured hey, why not learn some useful techniques... and ya know what? I have learned a good bit. All that means nothing though because theres only so much you can learn before it comes down to two possibilities - you could be a good director because you know all the elements to make a meaningful, well paced, and dynamic story. That doesn't necessarily mean something deep, personally I want to be good at everything - comedy, horror, action, drama, scifi, and one goal is to do a new fantasy thats as memorable as Labyrinth, but thats besides the point. OR you could know all those things you need to know plus have that creative edge that makes you a great director. Pretentious? Maybe. But its also common to react to things we learn. Im sure there are plenty of movies we all liked as children and watch as we are now and think WTF. Some maybe not so much but it happens. Sorry for the rant. I'm actually not that excited for PE anyway. Trailer just didn't do much for me, but I'll see it anyway opening night because its hard to believe a movie w/ Depp, Bale, and Mann at the helm could be bad.

  • March 21, 2009, 1:47 a.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

    You really are a shithead, aren't you?

  • March 21, 2009, 1:59 a.m. CST

    lockesbrokenleg - In what way?

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    I mean yes I am, you caught me, but why are you outing me here in front of everyone (it's like you know me)? But seriously, why exactly have you chosen to single me out and insult me sir? I'm fairly certain all I've said on here is that Ridley Scott is great, digital looks bad, George Lucas is a ia a vicious heartbreaker and filmschools are a farce. Which of these things offends you so? Well it's all good, I still got mad love for ya baby. But you should change your name to lockesressurectedcorpse, get with it holmes. Stay gold.

  • March 21, 2009, 2:30 a.m. CST

    Digital is not there yet.

    by imagin78

    Attack of the Clones looks like shit. Spielberg is correct in his attitude to stick with film. Maybe, in ten years digital will get there, but for now it lacks the texture and feel of actual stock. Convince me that any digital film has achieved the gorgeous bleach bypass look of Fincher's Se7en. Yes, I put the 7 in the title.

  • March 21, 2009, 2:31 a.m. CST

    Um, ROTS didn't look like shit

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Film stock does not last. It dies. All your DVDS are film converted to a digital format. Sheesh.

  • March 21, 2009, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Did someone say G.I. Jane was misjudged?

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    You crack smokers make me scared. Alien and Blade Runner. Thats the sum total of the good parts of Ridley's Career. He's made some passably adequate movies like Gladiator or Matchstick Men, but hes made some real giant fucking turkeys too, like the Orlando Bloom Knight movie, G.I. Jane, A Good Year, 1492, Black Hawk Down, Body Of Lies...I forgot to mention Thelma and Louise, which was pretty fucking good too, just not great like his early 2. To answer your question Genteel, about digital, I guess I could offer Zodiac, which had moments that looked better than anything in Seven. Ultimately its a different format, so it has different uses. Again, Manns choice to go digital isn't a problem, it can be used well, even for period pieces (witness the aforementioned zodiac or Apocalypto) its his shitty choice to make it look the way he does thats going to make it hard to watch. I went to film school too. Nothing you couldn't learn better from a book, BUT it gives you hands on experience making something with OTHER similarily motivated people. Plus you get a ton of offers to work for nothing on shitty TV productions afterwards with the desperate hope of working your way up and attending shitty parties to meet people.

  • March 21, 2009, 2:51 a.m. CST

    Film student or not....

    by otm shank

    the second reviewer comes off as a pretentious dick.

  • March 21, 2009, 5 a.m. CST

    Miami Vice is the truth

    by RowdyRoddyStriper

    Easily the most bizarre, compelling, strange film to come out of the studio system in the last 15 or so years. Just bold bold filmmaking on a grand level. The way Mann plays with sound, his camera work. Miami Vice is pure genius. Projectedlight knows the truth!

  • March 21, 2009, 5:28 a.m. CST

    No One will notice this movies release

    by Mr.LordBronco

    You 3 dudes are the only ones who will watch it. Then you will check to see if your uninformed reviews were correct. Actually, the movie will post 135 million domestially. add 80 million for overseas releases and 60 million for DVD sales... 275 overall aint bad, but Bale and the Depp need to take breaks and perhaps pursue careers in the music industry... That is all -MLB

  • March 21, 2009, 11:52 a.m. CST

    If you're gonna shoot digitally, use the Red One.

    by polyh3dron

    Che didn't look this bad, neither did Benjamin Button and Zodiac, both shot with the Thomson Viper.

  • March 21, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST


    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Yeah, Zodiac looked really good, but the very best looking thing in the entire movie for me is the slow-motion stuff in the car, and that was shot on good old fashioned film. I think you should really reaccess Kingdom Of Heaven and Black Hawk Down, those are masterpieces. 1492 and G.I. Jane are far better movies than anyone will rightfully ever give them credit for. I know I'll never convert you on these things, but I "speak the truth even if it leads to my death" (God, how can you not LOVE KOH!). But I'll agree with you on A Good Year and Body Of Lies in as much as we've already seen those movies done better previously. But yeah digital is getting better and better, no thanks to Mann. As "polyh3dron" just pointed out, Che looked good as well.

  • March 21, 2009, 12:29 p.m. CST

    "REASSESS" not reaccess (can't spell apparently)

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Sorry 'bout that. Man I pray for an edit function to make me seem smarter than I am.

  • March 21, 2009, 12:37 p.m. CST


    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Just out of curiosity since you don't think Ridley is all that, who do you think is? Just to get a sense of your taste and where you're coming from, what are some of your favorite films and filmmakers? And if you name one Korean film or filmmaker among your elite, so help me I'll vomit! Nah, just kidding.

  • March 21, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Michael Mann is Korean?

    by Nobody_Touches_Buddy_Revell

    Ill be damned

  • March 21, 2009, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Commenting on Film School...

    by neverhed

    ...without having gone is pretty fucking stupid. A lot of it IS knowing people. A lot of it IS learning mundane basic technique. But, as with any career, studying film is just about doing and pursuing what you love while attempting to educate yourself as much about it as possible (technological development, figures, movements, etc.). There are a lot of stereotypical film students, but a lot more aren't. Any decent film program will not only teach you the "useless" aspects of the field, but will immerse you in hands-on training and production experience as well. It's a lot easier to make the transition to Hollywood if you've got experience (read: "viewable work") under your belt, in addition to the contacts you make. People who belittle the study of film, or any other art, especially without actually trying it themselves, are the only people suffering from inflated egos.

  • March 21, 2009, 11:08 p.m. CST

    "Johnny's big beautiful face on a 2.5 inch screen."

    by alice 13


  • March 22, 2009, 2:14 a.m. CST

    Oh the irony!

    by yiannis

    While I agree fully that Dark Mike is an idiot, I find it hilarious that people are abusing his "film student" remark then in the same breath lambasting digital film.<br><br>Why are people so against digital? Because they've been effectively "taught" by their years of watching movies to appreciate one particular technique and now baulk when a new technique is available. I don't mean that in an "opposed-to-change" kind of way, more that people's eyes are trained to register images on film in a certain way that doesn't come from images on digital.<br><br>Personally, any comments I might ever make about the cinematography of a film will be about the deliberate creative choices made during the shot. If a shot is well framed, well lit and matched with a good camera movement then it is a good shot, irrespective of the medium it is captured on.<br><br>If anything, digital opens up whole new creative avenues for directors to explore that were never, or at least rarely, afforded to them by using film. They might lose other avenues only afforded them by film, but that's the trade off, isn't it?<br><br>The problem obviously comes when people use a new technique JUST because it's new. Lucas is definitely guilty of that. People like Fincher and Mann, however, make a creative choice to use a different technique.<br><br>If their choice of this technique means more to your judgement of them as a director than plot, characterisation, set design, pacing, camera movement, lighting, shot composition, editing, use of music and any of the other hundreds of ways a director shapes his films, then I seriously question your priorities.

  • March 22, 2009, 2:16 a.m. CST

    What I think Dark Mike was doing...

    by PsimonSez

    When I read his ridiculous drivel. As mentioned in myriad previous posts, his comment on being a "film student"is that he was trying his hardest to be ironic in some way. Did he fail epically? Hell yes! To attempt to discuss the technical prowess of sir Mann's films is a joke better left for seasoned critics. I can see Ebert or Kael (RIP) mention the device but intelligently but Night Michael? PLEASE??!! You have got to be joking. The cat acts as if he actually has chops when he as proven nothing on these boards. Please DM, leave your mundane and your freshman "analysis" to intro to Mise en scène on to people who know about it, like Michael Mann. And if people wonder, do I bow at the alter of Mann? No. But Manhunter/Heat/The Insider= great films! Collateral/Ali/Last of the Mohicans = Will stop to watch when on cable. Miami Vice, was let down but admirable. A tad long in the tooth. And Bale and Depp in Public Enemies. The cinematography ;ooks amazing. I will be there.

  • March 22, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST

    That Fact That Dark Mike "Loves" Mann...

    by What The Duck

    Shows he has no taste in flicks Michael Mann puts as much heart in pictures as Michael Bay!

  • March 22, 2009, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Holy Fuck Snakecharmer, you've just given us the best reason

    by white_vader

    TO go to film school! <p> "all you do is... 1. view older movies and talk or write about them" - he says after attending a "couple of classes"! <p> Well my friend that right there would have done you the world of good it seems, considering your dismissive tone. It would have given you a decent knowledge base beyond that of the average fanboy talkbacker bitch who can't think beyond genre films or basically anything before the 1980s. It would have provided you with perspective, and a better idea of how to approach new tech. Discussing things like construction, technique, subtext, and the various roles throughout production, dealing with acting and so on. Which you wouldn't necessarily have if you think you're all that just by picking up a handycam. <p> Having said that, if you did go more than a couple of times you probably would have turned into a pretentious prat like Dark Mike. That doesn't mean film school sucks, just that you do.

  • March 22, 2009, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Film students

    by Redmond

    Need to shut up and take it in the ass from Michael Mann!

  • March 22, 2009, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Saw the trailer a while back.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    I can't believe Mann shot this in digital. A period gangster film shot on digital, what a fuck up.

  • March 22, 2009, 7:33 p.m. CST

    TDM = the next Kubrick

    by UnChienAndalou

    Those film school classes are going to really pay off. I'll sleep better at night knowing the future of artistic cinematic integrity is in masterful hands.

  • March 22, 2009, 8 p.m. CST

    Digital video: a bad tradesman blames his tools.

    by white_vader

    God you guys - according to most of you and judging by the wording in this TB, digital apparently looks good if used by a fanboy favourite. It looks crap if used by a fanboy pariah. That's basically what you're (mostly) all saying. Talk about the tail wagging the dog, and nevermind that the D.O.P. defines the look and may shoot the stuff (along with someone apparently you've never heard of called the camera operator), generally not the director. As much as he has a personal aesthetic, even Fincher doesn't shoot his own films, whether he could or not. His DOPs are not puppets, they're well respected collaborators. SW prequels looking like crap or looking great has an awful lot to do with the initial aesthetic choices made before film OR videotape rolled (or a harddrive ticked over, you know what I mean). I mean, most of you are convinced it's wall to wall cg when more oldschool models were used than in the entire original trilogy. <p> Superman Returns only looked like garbage if you're looking at the execrable DVD or Blu-rays. The original 'footage' didn't look like that at all. I think you're all getting the look mixed up with the perceived worth of the film itself. And the implied notion that in all these cases somehow synthetic imagery would have looked better output to film is ludicrous. If you light the thing horribly to start with, film or digital will look crap. Pretty much everything goes to digital intermediate these days at 2k anyway. Pretty much everything has the living crap graded out of it digitally, whether captured on film or video. Technical allowances are made in terms of colour info and contrast etc in either case, just digitally. And no, I didn't go to film school, but I did get off my arse and get into the industry. Thank God for the Criterion Collection is all I can say. But I don't dismiss the worth of film school for a second. <p> Knowledge is good, no matter where it comes from. <p> Sure there are limitations that haven't been solved yet with digital, but this apples-to-oranges argument is bullshit. It's coming along at a rate of knots compared to the evolution of the hundred year old medium of film. It's analogous to saying that kindergarten kid is stupid because he doesn't know as much as the tenth-grader. And you forget there are inherent technical drawbacks in film too. Most of the comments here are just the typical demonising of something in support of a previous prejudice. Whatever man.

  • March 23, 2009, 2:34 a.m. CST


    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    First off, I'm not attacking you, but I think you're incorrect in mant respects. But the decision to work with an inferior medium is his and his alone, not the cinemotographers. Mann insist upon getting this kind of look, and it's an inopropriate fashion for a period film. It's like trying to do an authentic replication of Beethoven on $20 keyboard, you can get all the notes right, but it takes away from the desired feel. That's why people are so disappointed. What if Michelangelo decided he's gonna carve The Pieta in papier mache or do the Sistine Chapel in crayon? It's about using the wong tools. He's not using the better cameras deliberately. It has nothing to do with the lighting in this case, it's plain to see Dante Spinnoti is doing a superb job, however his work is tainted by using poor equipement. The reason Fincher gets praise has nothing to do with "fanboys", it's because he is an inovator, he is pushing the technology to look and feel more like the aesthetics of film istead of having muddy blacks, streaky motion blur and digital artifacts (things that cannot be solved totally if at all in the digital intermediate crutch...I mean process). A director of Photography does NOT define the look of a film when under a TRUE visionary director, and not some actor/writer trying to stroke his ego by wanting to be called a "Dorll-ReCT-ToR". Michael Mann is such a visionary, however in this case we don't appreciate his particular vision on this matter. I also can gaurantee you that if you work with Fincher, you WILL be his "puppet", because he is a hands on detail oriented perfectionist, and if you think he won't fire you on the spot if you're not acheiving his vision, I suggest you tell it to Darius Khondji (who after colaberating with Fincher on Se7en, to much acclaim, was fired off Panic Room for exactly that reason). Mann is similarily in control of his films, so all blame or credit really does go to how he choses to approach the material. Additionally, just so you know, Mann in fact DOES opperate a great deal on his pictures, so he often times IS the camera opperator (that's a nickels worth of free advise on knowing the history of whome you're speaking about). There's nothing to say about Dante Spinotti, he's a proven genius behind the lense, and it's clear he's doing his job to perfection given the tools that have been imposed. At the end of the day, as good as I'm sure Public Enemies is, it will always suffer for not being done on traditional film or even trying to replicate the classic rich film aesthetic.

  • March 23, 2009, 2:49 a.m. CST

    white_vader (accendently deleated this in my previous post)

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    I have alot of respect and admiration for Michael Mann, as I believe the vast majority of these talkbckers do as well. But in this case it's about questioning and being disappointed by a seemingly poor decision my Mann. (that should have come after my 1st sentence, but it's impossible to craft a good responce when your typing in a tiny box. But I just wanted to make clear that I'm actually I big fan of Mann, and I think the passion on this issue for most of us is about caring and having high expectations not hating.)

  • March 23, 2009, 3:43 a.m. CST


    by neoroosta

    Dude, you just said D.O.P. You should have gone to film school. But you're mostly right about digital. It is pretty sweet when you use it right and it's cheap as fuck to shoot. For the record 28 Days Later - shot in 480/30p - looks better than Public Enemies, because the cheap video look worked for that film and he cranked the shutter speed to make the infected look even crazier. Michael Mann thinks digital artifacting makes his films look better and that makes him a tool. Even if he has made some great films.

  • March 23, 2009, 5:17 a.m. CST

    Good points Gentile

    by white_vader

    Although you can argue that renaissance artists DID do the equivalent of digital when they jumped into frescos and the uncertainties of wet plaster and quick-drying paints, when you could just avoid that silliness and continue on in oils. Strangely, sometimes done by... Michelangelo Buonarroti! So using him to support your argument may not have been the best choice, with all respect. ;) <p> Notice also I said generally not the director. And I didn't even mention Mann. I agree to disagree about Fincher, and the Khonji thing on Panic Room is contentious. From memory there was no big bustup, they just didn't see eye to eye and decided that rather than sour the friendship they'd go their different ways. Having said that, I can't remember if that was American Cinematographer or something else, I'd have to double check. All I recall was that the reality was not as exciting as the fanboy goss. And you'll recall that while he wasn't backward in giving anyone else a piece of his mind, Fincher practically bowed down every time Jordan Cronenweth came in the room on Alien 3 - and I don't think that had anything to do with the Alzheimer's. Fincher replaced him a couple of weeks into that movie, but you can't really say he was "fired off" that one. All I'm saying is sometimes it's not as clear-cut (or exciting) as it seems from the outside. In Fincher's case it's slightly more chicken and egg, as his 'look' is so defined by the cinematographers he admires (you can see it most clearly in his clips), so... <p> Personally I'm not as big on Mann as many others, and that's why my argument wasn't weighted to him personally. I think he DOES use digital for story or tone reasons though, and I really don't see an appreciable difference between what he's doing here and what was done in Bonnie and Clyde. Critics screamed blue murder about that one's approach too. I think this is a defensible approach though - trying to bring people into the past by making it seem like the present and therefore putting us right there as if it was really happening in front of us. The only problem (which reared it's head in Apocalypto too) with those funny shutter angles and so on is that they're so established in other media I consciously (and I'm guessing others subconsciously) think of Crisp lettuce and fresh tomatoes coming together to make a Big Mac (which is in itself just a tweak/repurposing of the jittery look of filmed stop-motion). Oops... Although I liked the gritty sodium look of Collateral (and I can only believe Cruise in roles where he's an arrogant prick), what ruined that one for me was the story point of after all the pretence of "you are there" filming it betrays itself by going completely Hollywood with the contrived scene when they enter the club. What-ever, Mr. Mann... But hey, very subjective, so no disrespect. And I don't know about "the majority of talkbackers". Most of them seem to be slagging him off! And I don't think your really nickel applies, as like I said, I was not targeting Mann at all in the previous post. I didn't know enough, which was why I didn't say anything about his operating. Also, I deliberately made the subject heading and analogies in view of the general talkbackers stunted logic with regard to their examples. <p> Back to Cronenweth, I watched Altered States again recently precisely because I couldn't remember anything in that one looking like his work... funny. <p> Finally, I gotta say that I haven't seen Enemies yet, so maybe it will work, maybe not... Cheers.

  • March 23, 2009, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Neoroosta, you went to American school didn't you?

    by white_vader

    If you're referring to me supposedly not knowing they're called D.P.s, then I'm sorry to inform you that just because it's true in America doesn't mean it's true everywhere, and I'm well aware of the difference. Without having to have gone to film school! Not that there's anything wrong with that, to misquote Seinfeld. Cool?

  • March 23, 2009, 5:31 a.m. CST

    Roosta, P.S.

    by white_vader

    (and I also know the difference between P.S. and P.O.S. Haw!) Looking at that now it seems like I was being pretty snotty to you. Wasn't meant to. Later. <p> Actually, P.O.S. can mean either piece of shit OR the marketing term point-of-sale. Bloody acronyms...

  • March 23, 2009, 10:34 a.m. CST

    As someone fresh out of film school...

    by Freakemovie

    ...I can officially tell you not to trust film students. No matter what they're watching, they spend the entire movie (1) thinking about how they could make a better movie, which naturally is rarely true, and (2) commenting about the lighting. It gets annoying.

  • March 23, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Freakemovie, you know some great advice?

    by white_vader

    I getcha on trusting film students, but it reminded me of something Ed Catmull, president of Pixar said. Instead of remaking great movies, they should remake BAD ones! If you remake a great one, you'll probably fail at making it any better. But if you take a good idea that had lousy execution, you could be onto something!

  • March 23, 2009, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Sonnyfern ,Whinybitch - that Times article about Avatar

    by white_vader

    was wrong, and they corrected it: <p> "The original version of this story misstated the cost of the film Avatar as being in excess of $300 million. The correct figure is in excess of $200 million."

  • March 23, 2009, 1:27 p.m. CST

    "Yes! I love Eddie Murphy movies!"

    by Nadine_Cross

    Dear Lord.

  • March 23, 2009, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Hello, Film Student. I work in a call center.

    by Nadine_Cross

    Lateral move, my friend.

  • March 23, 2009, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Fair enough white_vader

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    But no matter how you slice it, or how they spin it, Khondji was fired. But Fincher is a professional so I'm sure it was polite and politic enough. I'm sure Fincher was being a gentelman my letting Khondji agree to leave. Not embarassing or hurting the reputation of a fellow filmmaker is just good business. You will however note that they have not worked together since. Cronenweth was replaced with Alex Thompson on Alien 3 purely due to being incapable of continuing because of advanced Parkinson's (not Alzheimers), no other reason. Fincher and Cronenweth already had a working relationship on commercials and music videos (Madonna's Oh Father) prior to Alien 3, so Fincher wasn't necessarily "bowing down", but he was honoring a master craftsman and friend that he knew was in a battle for his life and respected his will to want to continue working. Fincher desperately wanted to be able to make his feature debut with Jordon, his replacement was only out of necessity for his health not any disagreement. Certainlty Fincher does have a lot of admiration for the cinemotographers that have had an influence on him though, he has spoken a fair amount about the work of Gordon Willis specifically. I realise I'm making much of the same point you did already. But in truth Khondji was fired because of his inability to do it Fincher's way. And I'm sure Dante Spinotti would have found himself out of a job very quickly if he told Mann he refused to work with Mann's choice of camera. So my only point is that indeed the digital look of Public Enemies is to Mann's blame or credit, no one elses. I think were fairly close to being in agreement on this though.

  • March 23, 2009, 1:54 p.m. CST

    white_vader - Just wondering

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    How exactly do you know the true budget for Avatar? Has a legitimate source actually come forth with those speciffic figures? <p> On to another subject: Yeah, some of the best self teaching a filmmaker can do is to watch flawed films and recognize what it would take to improve them. But you can't get so involved in that that you lose your perspective as a viewer. Because it's that instictual perspective that needs to guide your choices. So while Freakemovie is right, there can be a method to that madness, but it's a delicate line to walk. I think Mann's obsession with working with specific tools and motifs may have caused him to lose sight of trying to achieve the right feel for an audience.

  • March 24, 2009, 12:43 a.m. CST


    by white_vader

    Yeah I knew when I read it back at the time it was Parkinson's. Somehow that one was left uncorrected, maybe I just thought I changed it! Anyway, yeah. We're close on a few things, but there's nothing wrong with disagreeing and still respecting a slightly different P.O.V.. <p> As for the Avatar thing, it's only as simple as what I said. I was quoting their actual amendment there in the article Sonnyfern linked to. Not claiming any sort of insight, just mentioned it because fanboys chomp at the bit for some juicy dirt, even if it turns out to be false. Remember when the press and the fans had a field-day with Cameron supposedly wasting ridiculous amounts of money on Titanic when tons of stuff was "mistakenly" printed in reverse? When actually it was to SAVE a bigger build by just flopping the shot? That's the sorta gear I mean, so I thought I'd just mention the retraction.

  • March 24, 2009, 1:36 a.m. CST

    Laserhead & Collateral

    by Stranamore

    The Cruise character says he won't miss before missing. That seems to me to be Mann tipping us off -- telling us that Cruise intentionally misses.

  • March 24, 2009, 5:49 a.m. CST

    Projectedlight/ An essay about MIAMI VICE

    by CardPlayer

    Projectedlight,i mostly agree with you about MIAMI VICE. Here's an interesting study about the film on this cool site: