Posts Tagged ‘Michael Mann’


Criminally Overlooked: “Blackhat”

January 7, 2016


As an avowed fan of Michael Mann, release of his 2015 film Blackhat was a somewhat bittersweet affair. Mann isn’t a prolific filmmaker, so any new film he makes is cause for excitement. But Blackhat was preceded by bad buzz, and its January release date wasn’t exactly a blinding display of confidence on the part of the producers and distributors. Unsurprisingly, the movie slipped into and out of theaters as stealthily as one of Mann’s protagonists robs a bank, only with a lot less to show for it in the end. And that’s too bad because while Blackhat might be minor-Mann and content to mostly recycle tropes better deployed in earlier films, it’s still a solid, if unremarkable, thriller.

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1982: Best Summer Ever!

July 27, 2012

It is time to recognize the 30th Anniversary of what was probably the best summer ever for genre movies: 1982. Don’t believe me? Consider what 1982 gave us: E.T., Blade Runner, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Pretty awesome lineup, don’t you think? But there was also Conan the Barbarian, The Thing, and Tron. Holy crap, right? But wait, there’s more: The Road Warrior, Poltergeist, Rocky III. I mean, WTF? Nowadays if we get one decent movie in a summer we freak our orgasmically and consider ourselves lucky, but in the summer of 1982 the movie theaters were flowing with milk and honey. And Cristal and Johnny Walker Blue. And Green Orion Slave girls…okay, you see my point.

I’m late in doing this but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that great summer by covering its movies. I can’t promise I’ll get all of them, but, hey, I’ll give it a shot.  

1) Cat People

2) Tron

3) Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan

4) Poltergeist

5) The Thing

6) Conan the Barbarian

7) Megaforce

8) Firefox

9) Rocky III

10) Blade Runner

11) ET: The Extraterrestrial


Wow! That didn’t totally suck! “Faster”

February 28, 2011

So, I guess the planets all lined up right, or maybe the end times are upon us or something, but for once a movie actually exceeded my expectations. That’s rare. Really rare. Like see-a-falling-star/Charlie-Sheen-is-sober-today rare. I sat in the movie theater thinking: What movie am I here to see again? Oh yeah, Faster…ugh! Why am I waiting to see this? Oh yeah, raspberry popcorn.  Then the movie began and by the time I got to the scene where the yoga-practicing hit man is revealed to have been a crippled child, and is now an insane overachiever, something wonderful something amazing happened: I realized the movie didn’t totally suck.  It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but for an action flick catering to the Creatine-pounding, steroids-and-tribal-tattoo crowd, it’s a remarkably substantial piece of storytelling.
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No, you can leave this one: “Takers”

December 11, 2010

Chris Brown deserves to be thrown off a bridge. He deserves to be blown up in a hyperbaric tank like that dude in License to Kill. He deserves to be fed to water monitors–small ones, adolescents—who will tear out his intestines and play tug-of-war with them, while the whole thing is broadcast internationally, so that all of us normal joes who work hard, pay our taxes, and don’t beat the holy living fuck out of Rihanna can watch and raise a glass and discuss what a little bitch he is when set upon by hungry reptiles. Appearing in Takers isn’t quite a comparable punishment, but it’s not going to make anyone forget that he beat a gorgeous woman so badly she looked like last night’s sirloin steak either. Call it a draw.
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Screw you! “Kick-Ass”

August 14, 2010

So, I finally got around to seeing Kick-Ass. Wow. I suspected the movie would be violent and probably stupid, but I didn’t think it’d be lazy and repugnant at the same time. That’s pretty impressive, when you think about it.  And it might be the only thing impressive about this movie. Kick-Ass desperately wants to deconstruct the superhero genre, but can’t resist the very tropes it is trying to eschew. In the end this movie wants to have its cake and eat it too. And then to eat your cannoli and the next guy’s tiramisu.  Oh yeah, and it’s so mean-spirited and ugly that it left me thoroughly demoralized and depressed after it ended, and only the mental image of Director Matthew Vaughn being eaten alive by water monitors could cheer me up.
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Criminally Unreleased: “Shanghai”

July 20, 2010

Sweet crap! Two good movies in one weekend? What did I do to deserve this fortune? Wait…I sense some great and terrible karmic payoff in the works. Is there a sequel to Alpha Dog in production? Well, whatever. Until the gods of cinema decide to call in their chit, we have Shanghai, a nifty mystery/spy thriller and throwback to the classic noir movies of old. Shanghai aspires to be Graham Greene, and if it only manages to be warmed over Ian Fleming, well…I’ll take it. Especially when you have a production design this gorgeous and Gong Li being even gorgeouser (yes, that is now a word…I created a word for her…that’s how gorgeous she is).
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Sweet dreams are made of this: “Inception”

July 19, 2010

Well, thank God for Christopher Nolan–a filmmaker who obstinately refuses to dumb down his cinematic visions–for finally salvaging this wasteland of a summer. I mean, seriously, leave it to the dude who made his mark with Memento to spray some disinfecting intelligence and originality around the world’s cinemas to wash away the residue from Knight and Day and Grown-Ups. You know, the residual stupidity. With his latest film, Inception, Nolan serves up nothing less than a massively entertaining, summer film the likes that have never been seen before. Wrapping eye-blowing special effects around a densely-layered sci-fi plot platform, Nolan uses his film as an enquiry into the nature of the realities we create for ourselves, and where those realities converge with our dream-worlds. And it’s just really damn cool.
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