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Triple Bill: Real Human Beings, Or Counterfeit Lives: Thief, To Live And Die In L.A, And Drive

The following three crime dramas share a commonality of purpose and style, in the electro-pop tracked machinations of their flawed players. Three testosterone fuelled templates of urban male machismo – Michael Mann’s Thief (1979), William Friedkin’s To Live And Die In L.A (1985), and Nicolas Winding Refn’s ’80’s tinged love letter to both, Drive (2011). […]

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Downtown Takedown – Heat’s Bank Robbery Shoot-out

For visceral impact, Heat‘s sustained ten-minute cops and robbers shootout in L.A’s financial district following a bank robbery by Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and gang is hard to beat. Cop Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and his own crew have been tipped off anonymously by disgruntled ex-gang member and psychopath Waingro (Kevin Gage) that the score is going down. […]

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Heat Anniversary Screening with Q & A

On Wednesday evening, September 7, director Christopher Nolan hosted a special 4K screening of Michael Mann’s glorious crime drama Heat at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in L.A, followed by a special Q & A fielded by him with Mann himself, Robert De Niro (cool thief Neil McAuley) and Al Pacino (wired cop Vincent Hanna). Other […]

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Scene Is Believing: Heat

Heat, Michael Mann’s sprawling, glorious epic of obsessive professionalism, ego, single mindedness and doomed relationships on either side of the law, sprang from that most innocuous of accidents: a cop bumping into a suspect and inviting him for a coffee. Mann first had the idea for Heat in the 1970’s when his friend Chuck Adamson, […]

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Mann – Magic Act

Can Michael Mann be considered a Hollywood auteur? In the following tribute to his crime films by Plot Point Productions, we see, rather than direct narratives, a recurring fascination with archetypes, mood, colour, lighting and composition. Moody blurring of the lines between cop and criminal – professionals with a code of ethics and devoted diligence […]

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BAMcinématek – An Evening With Michael Mann

Over the last week from February 5 to 16,  BAMcinématek in New York conducted a retrospective of the career of director Michael Mann, including his least loved child, The Keep, and a brand-new, director’s cut of his latest, the divisive Blackhat. During the run, critic Bilge Ebiri conducted a fascinating one on one conversation with Mann, and […]

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Scene Of The Crime: Drive

Love In An Elevator, Livin’ It Up When I’m Goin’ Down Driver (Ryan Gosling), the stoic, monotone, toothpick chewing doomed hero of Nicolas Winding Refn’s cool, eighties-riffing neo-noir Drive, is an enigma. A blank slate from an unexamined troubled past,  a James Dean / Richard Gere a-like driver for the movies, who seeks to be “a real […]

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Peeping Tom: The Cinema Of The Complicit

Has ever a film had more of a 360 degree critical turnaround than Michael Powell’s 1960 psychodrama, Peeping Tom? Possibly Heaven’s Gate, although at least Powell wasn’t blamed for the perceived ruin of a whole studio. Dilys Powell of The Sunday Times described Peeping Tom as “essentially vicious”. It seemed the director was wilfully flaunting a daring approach, horror as complicit voyeurism, […]

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Blackhat: (Cyber)Mannhunter

Michael Mann doesn’t make films that pander to Americans. Or at least, that’s the impression suggested to anyone even vaguely familiar with the métier of Jean-Pierre Melville or Jean-Luc Godard. His heroes are slick professionals, recalling the aloofness of the nouvelle vague: colossi walking amidst the dreamers and dilettantes of the day. With Blackhat and […]

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In The Sensual (Under)world: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice

When Michael Mann revamped his 1980’s  “MTV Cops” format in 2006, he chose to deliver a cop drama again like no other: hyper-realised, impressionistic, big.  No longer bound by their Miami-Dade limits, slick cops Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx)  go so deep undercover, it’s no longer clear “which way is up.” They immerse […]

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