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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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Scene Is Believing: Parallel Hit-Lives

Below is another great video by Michael McLennan, entitled Gunmen In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Shadows – A parallel edit of a climactic scene from Michael Mann’s Collateral with the Shanghai sequence from Sam Mendes’ Skyfall. Michael draws attention to visual parallels and pacing in each scene: “Both directors and their lensers (Dion Beebe and Roger […]

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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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Mann(hunter) On The Horizon

The way Michael Mann frames characters in wide shots in Manhunter tells its own story, one of alternate hope, change, wariness, and uncertainty – also a power play between characters respective height and positioning against the horizon. Vimeo user and writer / director Michael McLennan has created a new video entitled Mann On The Horizon, […]

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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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