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The MICHAEL MANN Appreciation Thread - Page 3

post #101 of 747
No question, If Wallace had stood his ground, he and Bergman would've come out on top. That scene - where Wallace is saying "Lowell, Lowell" and sides with Hewitt - really cuts deep to the bone.

On a side note, Mann unfortunately is not a media darling himself since he seems like he would be quite an interesting fella to talk politics and media with. When The Insider came out I read an interview with Bergman which said he and Mann share the same "fucked-up politics."
post #102 of 747
Some great posts here about "The Insider", guys. I agree, Mann doesn't paint Wallace or Hewitt as "villains" or anything so broad, and I think its clear that he has respect for them understand they are not bad people. But it does seem to be a lament at the shift from news to infotainment, and about the weak, overly legalistic and cautious environment that we've created. Everyone is so afraid of getting sued for bullshit that a lot of what needs to get said does not, and in this case, a good man like Wigand gets hung out to dry.

I love the scene in which Wallace says "I'm with Don on this". The look on Pacino's face says it all, and those words just hit you like a punch in the gut. Its also a wonderfully restrained show of skill by Mann, who uses no music, no close-ups, nothing to oversell the scene as even a lot of other great directors tend to do. The offhandedness of the exchange actually heightens it's effect.
post #103 of 747
Absolutely. That scene is shot like the viewer is a fly on the wall, no tricks. Very understated. Like that scene where Wigand calls Bergman holding the gun, telling him he doesn't want to sound paranoid. That got a laugh from the audience.
post #104 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan
http://www.awfulplasticsurgery.com/archives/000257.html






He's been married to Summer Mann since '74.
Because nobody ever cheated on their spouse.....

The guy is a bit of a dick in real life but that doesn't take away from the fact that he is a great filmmaker.
post #105 of 747
Thread Starter 
The article that The Insider was adapted from can be accessed here: The Man Who Knew Too Much by Marie Brenner. It's a GREAT read. I obtained a copy of the Vanity Fair issue it appears in and I just finished reading it the other day. It's interesting to see what Mann changed, added and re-worked. It's also interesting to note that some scenes in the movie didn't actually happen the way they're written in the article and that Lowell Bergman didn't participate in some aspects as opposed to the movie. Interesting article none the less and I know Mann changed things for dramatic effect.
post #106 of 747
I am so loving this thread! So nice to know there are other trueblue LOTM fans out there. One sequence I really dig is when they send the poor messenger out of the fort- that guy's gotta HATE his job.
post #107 of 747
After that teaser, is everyone as jazzed as I am for "Miami Vice"? It looks awesome to me, "Heat"-esque with "Collateral" cinematography. I really liekd the teaser too, even the music which, once you stop bitching about "Linkin Park sucks", actually fits the action really well. Mann is one of the greats at choosing music too, does anyone know if RZA is still doing the score? That would be unbelievable.
post #108 of 747
The problem is Linkin Park really is terrible....but beyond that minor point...I am jazzed. I haven't been this excited since I tried to smuggle those drugs out of Germany with Don Johnson.

I think this is a remake or continuation that was given enough time and space from it's original source material to allow for relevance.
post #109 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
After that teaser, is everyone as jazzed as I am for "Miami Vice"? It looks awesome to me, "Heat"-esque with "Collateral" cinematography. I really liekd the teaser too, even the music which, once you stop bitching about "Linkin Park sucks", actually fits the action really well. Mann is one of the greats at choosing music too, does anyone know if RZA is still doing the score? That would be unbelievable.
I am excited more from the fact it's a Mann crime film than the actual teaser. I know it's fashionable to dump on him but I just can't stand Collin Farrell. Plus I hate Jamie Fox although he was great in collateral so he'll probably be good in Vice.

The night scenes look great. My wet-dream would be a Michael Mann crime film set in Tokyo.
post #110 of 747
I don't know how you really hate those two. Farrell is, yeah, dangerously close to getting overexposed and ground up by the machine, but he can be very good. "Tigerland", "Minority Report", "Phone Booth", are all good, and I actually liked him a lot in "Alexander". Foxx has been fantastic with Mann in "Ali" and "Collateral", and that's not even counting "Ray".

Either way I think they are perfectly cast for an update. They are sort of the epitome of young and cool in movies right now, and they look extra cool with Mann's treatment.
post #111 of 747
Foxx was spectacular in ALI. His roles in ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, COLLATERAL, and RAY always seem to overshadow his performance in that film.
post #112 of 747
"Ray" was a tour de force and I'd say his "best" performance, but I personally love his work in "Ali" more than anything else he's done.
post #113 of 747

The Few?

Whatever happened to a project Michael Mann was attached to direct Tom Cruise, called 'The Few'? It's a true story about a Navy pilot, I think. I didn't know if the development didn't get off the ground, or if it's just going through pre-production. Anybody know?
post #114 of 747
Thread Starter 
I think they were going to do it together but then Cruise went off and did Mission Impossible 3 and so Mann decided to start Miami Vice. Now Mann also has Damage Control in the works after Vice is done.
post #115 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
"Ray" was a tour de force and I'd say his "best" performance, but I personally love his work in "Ali" more than anything else he's done.
I think ALI itself is an overlooked gem.
post #116 of 747
So do I, big time. Will Smith is amazing, every bit as a great and more so than some other recently lauded biopic performances. Mario Van Peebles as Malcolm X is awesome, and his scenes are severely underappreciated.

There have never been any more utterly realistic boxing scenes, completely stripped down of any movie embellishments. And there are just so many powerful scenes. Some people complain for one reason or another, but Mann really got to the core ot it all, and if not getting completely inside Ali's mind itself, perfectly illustrates and explains why he has become such an icon and why he was able to really transcend the sports world into something much larger.
post #117 of 747
You said it all, Stew. I'd try to add something remotely intelligent, but you nailed why ALI is one of my fave films. I did try to start a discussion on the film in the "Films in Release or On Video" forum months ago, but the interest obviously wasn't there:

http://chud.com/forums/showthread.ph...&highlight=ali
post #118 of 747
I had actually started an identical thread a few months before yours that I couldn't find again, but it was lengthy and people probably didn't want to just rehash the same points. I think its very underrated and unloved, and undeservingly so. Its one of those films you'll rarely hear bashes, it just sort of suffers from indifference like Scorsese's own overlooked and underloved great "Bringing Out the Dead".
post #119 of 747
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
I had actually started an identical thread a few months before yours that I couldn't find again, but it was lengthy and people probably didn't want to just rehash the same points. I think its very underrated and unloved, and undeservingly so. Its one of those films you'll rarely hear bashes, it just sort of suffers from indifference like Scorsese's own overlooked and underloved great "Bringing Out the Dead".
I can agree with that. It took me a few viewings of Bringing Out the Dead to like it. I still don't think it's great but it's not as bad I had first thought. Ali has grown on me a bit more too. Probably another viewing or two and it'll grow on me more. I love that opening though. Those two songs in the opening are great.
post #120 of 747
I like Mann's attention to detail. Everything - story, character, technical details, music - researched extensively. It's not vital to the movies but helps make them more believable and engrossing.

Example: The characters. Mann and his co-stars create details which are never revealed to the audience but help the actor deliver fine operformances. In Collateral, Mann says He discussed Max's family - that he has 3 brothers who all left town because their wives had had enough of his mother.
Neil Macuely and Chris Shererlis in Heat also had background stories.
MAnn takes this to a different level than a lot of directors. Ridley Scott is another director who does this. (Interesting trvia - Scott says he loves Mann's films - he has seen Heat 5 times!)
I hope Miami Vice has more of the same.
post #121 of 747
Have to chime in with Stew and IndianSummerSky and show some love for Ali. There are so many beautiful moments in that one, but the sequence that always come to mind for me is the scene where Ali goes running through the dusty streets of Zaire, while that slow-burning African music ratchets up the sense of emotion. It's utterly mesmerising, particularly when Ali stops to survey the murals of him fighting off disease, war, etc.

The performances are uniformly excellent, and the scenes showing the relationship between Ali and Howard Cossell (all banter and verbal sparring on camera, true friends in private) are just great. I love the beautiful, understated scene where Cossell phones Ali to tell him the grand jury has unanimously decided not to send him to jail.

As for why the film doesn't receive the admiration it deserves? I think one contributing factor is that When We Were Kings covered the same subject matter so brilliantly. Consequently, you could say that in a strange way Ali's attention to detail works against it, and that at times individual scenes, and by extension the movie as a whole, feels like an incredibly adept recreation of something already definitively captured by a documentary. Or rather, that's how it might feel to a casual viewer. I look upon the two movies as excellent companion pieces.

Also, if memory serves, the theatrical tagline for Ali was 'forget what you think you know' (or something very similar), which rather misleadingly suggested a more controversial movie examining the cultural icon in a new light.
post #122 of 747
I do love "Ali". I think the best scenes involve Peebles as Malcolm X, however. The opening montage with Ali training woven throughout one of Malcolm's speeches was perfect Mann. I loved his speech about "those four little girls", and his death and Ali's reaction to it are really affecting moments.

I wouldn't blame "We Were Kings" for its failure though, for one because, really, the mainstream audience hadn't seen it. You can almost always choose to see a documentary instead of a movie based on a historical factor, and it rarely affects the box office for the dramatization.

I think it underwhelmed critics, and the financial expectations were too high given that it was a nearly 3 hour biopic. When critical reception was cool (and first impressions have frequently been wrong), people kind of wrote it off.
post #123 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
I wouldn't blame "We Were Kings" for its failure though, for one because, really, the mainstream audience hadn't seen it. You can almost always choose to see a documentary instead of a movie based on a historical factor, and it rarely affects the box office for the dramatization.
I agree, but many critics did use a "When We Were Kings" comparison as their default reason for punching the film. Ali started in a little hole to begin with, following that film.
post #124 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai
I agree, but many critics did use a "When We Were Kings" comparison as their default reason for punching the film. Ali started in a little hole to begin with, following that film.
I've yet to see "We Were Kings". Did they cite it as better, or that it had already covered the same ground? If it's the latter, I think that's a dumb criticism to level at it, as there's been documentaries that were later dramatized all over the place. Malcolm X included.
post #125 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
I've yet to see "We Were Kings". Did they cite it as better, or that it had already covered the same ground? If it's the latter, I think that's a dumb criticism to level at it, as there's been documentaries that were later dramatized all over the place. Malcolm X included.
Both. It was just a standard criticism - incorrect, as well - but it was the fashionable thing to say 5 years ago. Let a lot of critics come off as smart.

When We Were Kings is an excellent doc. But people seemed to have difficulty judging Ali on its own merits.
post #126 of 747
Checked out MOHICANS for the first time in a while today. I don't know if it's just being excited in general at the prospect of a new Mann film but I liked LOTM more the second time around. It drags a bit when they arrive at the fort but other than that it's such a well done period piece. I have to admit I wondered a few times if Lewis was ever considered for Crockett in VICE because he really threw himself into MOHICANS.

I pretty much forgot how brutal Wes Studi was here. He was chilling.
post #127 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
Checked out MOHICANS for the first time in a while today. I don't know if it's just being excited in general at the prospect of a new Mann film but I liked LOTM more the second time around. It drags a bit when they arrive at the fort but other than that it's such a well done period piece.
Yeah, but you get that great scene where Hawkeye and Uncas are snipers on top of the fort, covering the escaping messenger - and the heartbreaking surrender of the prison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
I pretty much forgot how brutal Wes Studi was here. He was chilling.
Chilling, but human. You can see it in his eyes when he motions Alice away from the edge of the cliff. Wes Studi is a genuinely tough Mofo - like many Native Americans, he volunteered for service in Vietnam and did a couple of tours.
post #128 of 747
Never cared for any of Mann's works... Long airy pauses between long airy music between acting....

Pretty much what he's been doing since the first Miami Vice.....
post #129 of 747
LOTM is greatness. I've got to agree with Subotai too, I love the action at the fort. On top of their great infiltration and what we get to see of the battle, you get the sniping scene, the love scene, and the surrender.

I wish Studi would get hooked up with Mann again. Magua was sort of his big break, and I thought he was a great background player in "Heat".
post #130 of 747
He uses music about as good as any filmmaker going. The MOHICANS theme is fantastic but it never really overshadows what's going on in the film, which is key. He's one of the few guys going that you really think is putting 100% of his vision on the screen.
post #131 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by UberNeuman
Never cared for any of Mann's works... Long airy pauses between long airy music between acting....

Pretty much what he's been doing since the first Miami Vice.....
That's really not a valid characterization of his work at all.
post #132 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
I wish Studi would get hooked up with Mann again. Magua was sort of his big break, and I thought he was a great background player in "Heat".
I'm sure he works often but it's a shame that he seems to only get roles based around his Native American heritage. He fit in with Hanna's squad perfectly in HEAT. I thought he was pretty damn good, though not really a dramatic role, in DEEP RISING. But yeah, another go around with Mann would be nice but that goes for practically the entire cast of HEAT.
post #133 of 747
Mann sort of has his favorite players for a couple films, then gets a new roster. Pacino, Studi, Voight, Tom Noonan, and Bruce McGill have all appeared in two.

Barry Shabaka Henley and Jamie Foxx, including "Miami Vice", have now appeared in three, with Henley maybe leading the pack having had starring role in "Robbery Homicide Division". Considering that he doesn't make a ton of films (until recently, that is), it's pretty notable that the same faces keep appearing.
post #134 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew
That's really not a valid characterization of his work at all.
Well... I don't think you can say it is completely inaccurate. I somewhat felt that way about Heat.

Quote:
I'm sure he works often but it's a shame that he seems to only get roles based around his Native American heritage. He fit in with Hanna's squad perfectly in HEAT. I thought he was pretty damn good, though not really a dramatic role, in DEEP RISING.
For a good non-Indian role check out Studi in Mystery Men. He's got a ton of great lines in that one.

"We are number one. All others are number two, or lower."
post #135 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
I'm sure he works often but it's a shame that he seems to only get roles based around his Native American heritage. He fit in with Hanna's squad perfectly in HEAT. I thought he was pretty damn good, though not really a dramatic role, in DEEP RISING. But yeah, another go around with Mann would be nice but that goes for practically the entire cast of HEAT.
That, and Mystery Men.

He also does a series based on Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn novels - with Adam Beach as Jim Chee. Really well done with strong, multi-dimensional characters. Sheila Tousey from Thunderheart is excellent as his wife.
post #136 of 747
I didn't laugh much at Studi in MYSTERY MEN, but then that was the case with everyone in that film so I won't single him out. If I want to see Studi flex his comedic chops I'll watch STREET FIGHTER.

Dennis Farina is a big time player in the Mann universe. His first gig as an actor was in THIEF, followed that up with MANHUNTER, a few appearances on "Vice" and then "Crime Story."
post #137 of 747
Now a Crime Story film would be extremely cool. Get on it Mann.
post #138 of 747
In regards to Heat - that sort of sentiment was not uncommon when the film was released in '95. BO was not great, reviews were mixed, far from uniformly positive, and it was really not until The Insider that Mann shook his rep as merely a flashy director.

The current popularity of Heat is really a build-up over the last 10 years as the film grew on video, DVD, and word of mouth. I can see how some people might think it's overlong; trim away the scenes with Brenneman, Venora, and Judd and you've got a lean, excellent crime thriller, something like Don Siegel might do - but damn it, I love the stuff with Portman, Xander Berkeley, the bookstore scene where Neil meets Eady, all of it. And Mann deserves credit for insisting on it.
post #139 of 747
Earlier in this thread THE DRIVER was brought up as what a slimmed down HEAT might look like. THE DRIVER is a cool flick but what makes HEAT stand out are all the characters and all the quiet scenes. Scenes like Dennis Haysbert being told that 25% of grill cook salary gets kicked back to his boss may not seem necessary on their own but when put together in the larger picture of the film those moments pay off big time.
post #140 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
Earlier in this thread THE DRIVER was brought up as what a slimmed down HEAT might look like. THE DRIVER is a cool flick but what makes HEAT stand out are all the characters and all the quiet scenes. Scenes like Dennis Haysbert being told that 25% of grill cook salary gets kicked back to his boss may not seem necessary on their own but when put together in the larger picture of the film those moments pay off big time.
Absolutely. Maybe someone could make an argument that Heat would be a better film without those scenes; and maybe they'd be right, when viewed objectively. But sometimes excess is a good thing. Those battered, human characters add so much to the story.
post #141 of 747
one of my favourite character scences is when hannah sees portman waiting for her dad, and gives her a ride

in 3 seconds the girl conveyed so much back story that what came later hit home even harder

4 days to go to number 9
post #142 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai
Absolutely. Maybe someone could make an argument that Heat would be a better film without those scenes; and maybe they'd be right, when viewed objectively. But sometimes excess is a good thing. Those battered, human characters add so much to the story.
When I first saw "Heat" on NBC about 8 years ago it was edited down. The "Michael Smithee" version. It had virtually none of the Haysbert subplot, and various other trims that when I saw the real version, I couldn't believe they cut out. It needs those character moments, it's the reason we care so much about what happens to them. For the alternative, watch "L.A. Takedown", which is pretty much the exact same plot, just streamlined with none of the character drama.

That's why it's an epic. And I just don't understand the "Long airy pauses between long airy music" critique either. There is always something happening in "Heat", always. The "In the Ait Tonight" scene in "Miami Vice" might prove your point, but not his film work.
post #143 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
I didn't laugh much at Studi in MYSTERY MEN, but then that was the case with everyone in that film so I won't single him out. If I want to see Studi flex his comedic chops I'll watch STREET FIGHTER.
I thought he was funny in "Mystery Men", but even better in "Street Fighter". I recently saw him with Ving Rhames in the DTV drama "Animal". Not very noteworthy, he needs resucitated.

Quote:
Dennis Farina is a big time player in the Mann universe. His first gig as an actor was in THIEF, followed that up with MANHUNTER, a few appearances on "Vice" and then "Crime Story."
How did I forget Farina? Mann discovered him right? And yes Desslar, "Crime Story" would make an excellent movie. Now is when I get misty and mourn the loss of "Robbery Homicide Division". I had hopes that with the release of "Vice" we'd get a DVD release of the season, apparently not.
post #144 of 747
Probably my favourite American director. Subtle, diverse and an inspiration in many ways, I cant believe how old he is, dont die yet dude.

I'm about to watch Last of the Mohicans for the first time in over a decade. I'm 25 so its going to be like watching it for the first time.
post #145 of 747
post #146 of 747
Thread Starter 
Updated!


And nice article! Thanks.
post #147 of 747
So I watched LotM and had forgotten how brutal it was, its basically unrelenting all the way through with death and misery at every corner, with that romance blossoming in the middle of all of it. The moment when Hawkeye turns and shoots the burning Duncan is still as powerful as when I first saw it, infact that scene and the scene where Alice leaps from the cliff are the only two scenes I could remember before I watched this film for the second time yesterday.

The only thing I'd change personally is to have kept the film in the forests and rivers and retained that hunter/hunted vibe that the film executes perfectly in the first and last half, but the more laid back moments in the fortress werent filler in any way and didnt hurt the film much if at all. Shame to not see Postlethwaite have any lines though.

Cant wait to see Miami Vice.
post #148 of 747
Here's a cool little examination of the various characters of Mann's films: http://www.empireonline.com/features/miamivice/
post #149 of 747
Since I don't know anyone around here who's seen the "Ali" director's cut, I wanted to give my thoughts having just finished it.

In short, the deleted material should have stayed deleted. And that's coming from one of the biggest Mann whores on the board. They're interesting scenes on their own, and would be great in a "deleted scenes" section, but edited back into the film they suck the energy out of Mann's theatrical cut and stand out as pretty superfluous to what's going on. And that's in a film that's already been criticized as a little "all over the place".

Interesting to note, several of them are with Bruce McGill, who was just a cameo in the theatrical cut. He has two or three extra scenes with Idi Amin and in Africa. We actually get a snippet of Levar Burton as MLK Jr., though he doesn't get dialogue. Nice make-up job though. The most notable deletion is the aftermath of Ali's loss to Frazier and their rematch fight which was completely excised from the theatrical cut. Voight's Cosell has a few more scenes with Ali which are good, but a couple that really fall flat.

All in all, padding mostly, and probably added back in just to add a little sex appeal to the reissued DVD. That said, I'm into the commentary right now and it's pretty fantastic. As usual, Mann's knowledge of pretty much every single aspect of Ali's life and the time period is staggering.
post #150 of 747
Was thinking today, De Niro needs to work with Mann again. What was his last great film? Ronin in '98?
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