Sunday, March 11, 2007

Michael Mann movies

When you do see a Michael Mann movie, you can expect several things.

You know that the cinematography is going to be fantastic, with broad, sweeping shots and breathtaking framing. The nighttime sky shots of LA in "Collateral" and the mountain panoramas in "Last of the Mohicans" will bring tears to your eyes.

You know that the actors will be mercilessly drilled in their characters. Tom Cruise had to memorize a complete background on his assassin in "Collateral", right down to pictures of the house he grew up in. Michael Mann then made Cruise do UPS deliveries in character. If he was recognized as Tom Cruise by the people getting the deliveries, he wasn't ready for the part yet.

Jamie Foxx drove around with LA cabdrivers for a couple of weeks to learn the minutiae of the part.

You know that fighting skills will be true-to-life and top-notch. Mick Gould, of the British Special Air Service, is one of Michael Mann's favourite trainers and any number of police instructors happily help Michael Mann on his films.

I've also been told that Michael, himself, has taken firearms training and has an instructors certification, but I don't have solid proof on that.

You know that the background colours will have specific meanings. A scene suffused with blue light or a blue background will represent safety for the characters; while green or red will show danger and death.

You know that the music will be cutting-edge and beautiful, and the architecture will take your breath away.

You know that the movie will explore the bonds between people; and you know that at the end of the movie, the Good Guys will win, and the Bad Guys will lose.

With the exceptions of "Miami Vice" and "The Keep", a Michael Mann movie is always a good choice.

LawDog

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although I'm boycotting Tom Cruise movies over the mis-treatment of his ex-wife, I did see him as the hitman & thought it to be one of his most excellent work. The entire cast & writers were on the ball & I was sitting on the edge of my seat from when the first body fell on the cab to when "the good guy won & the bad guy was done-in".

Few movies are worth the price of admission. Mr. Mann makes among the few which are.

El Capitan said...

In making Miami Vice, Mann fell victim to Luc Besson Syndrome, where his obsessive and impulsive control over the visual aspect of the film (characters, settings, etc.) worked to the detriment of the story itself.

I'd rather have a half-assed looking movie with a great script than an eye-dazzler that bores me to tears.

Anonymous said...

"Guy gets on the subway and dies. Think anybody'll notice?"

One of my favorite movies/scenes of all time. Michael Mann is almost always right on the money.

~Vincent :)

Anonymous said...

I think the gun battle in “Heat” is one of the most realistic gunfights in any Hollywood movie. It is loud. The shooters -get this- shoot 30 rounds and change magazines! The firefight after the bank robbery is done in a pretty realistic way in that respect which is something that just isn't done in the movies. The guys are running weapons dry and changing magazines and the noise of the whole thing really is impressed on the viewer. I think any writer or director who is proposing some sort of gunplay in a movie should be required to watch “Heat” a dozen or so times before being allowed to write his scene or begin filming. Better yet, before they write it or direct it actually have them be familiar with the subject matter and take a weapons course over a few weekends.

Anything to stop the MAC-10s that shoot full auto for 30 seconds with 30 round stick magazines. Hmmm about a 1000 rds a min rate of fire and he just fires about 40 seconds and he has a 30 rd magazine? Oh and lets not forget the racking of the shotgun slide for dramatic effect with no shell ejection. It isn't just shotguns either. People in movies are forever racking the slides and bolts of weapons over and over for dramatic effect and I have yet to see and shell or shell casing fly out.

For instance:

“let's go!” slide is racked for dramatic effect shuck shuck.

Next scene

“don't move dirtbag!” slide is racked for dramatic effect shuck shuck

ok. did they not load a round in the freaking thing after the first “let's go!”?

You don't wanna go to the movies with me. Shit like that drives me nuts.

Noah said...

Er...nevermind my comments RE: Miami Vice. I kinda missed the previous posting on same.

My brilliant observations about 'Heat', though, still stand! ;)

Noah said...

(Poster's Editing Note: Apparently, the time change has removed my competence in such complex tasks as posting comments. This should appear before my 'Er...' post. If you can make any sense of this, you're ahead of the game.)

I've heard that despite it's other failings, the final gunfight in 'Miami Vice' showed decent weapon-handling and tactics; that the cops acted like cops and the thugs acted like thugs, tactics-wise.

Could be wrong, though. I've not seen it.

And 'Heat' is one of my favorite movies of all time. The arcs of families and loyalties tugs at my soul.

Now, it's been a while, but I also seem to remember in 'Heat', during The Robbery, that bystanders were getting hit. Amazing touch, if my memory serves.

Then again, that could have been in 'Ronin'.

LawDog said...

I've heard that despite it's other failings, the final gunfight in 'Miami Vice' showed decent weapon-handling and tactics; that the cops acted like cops and the thugs acted like thugs, tactics-wise.

Oh, yeah. And the movie version of Det. Gina Calabrise just stole my heart with a single precision shot on a critter during the earlier trailer park rescue sequence.

*sigh*

j said...

I particularly liked the use of Iron Butterfly's "Inna Gadda Davita" in Manhunter. The scene where the CSI guy figures it out gave me goosebumps.