Relentless Withholding: Michael Mann’s Public Enemies

Khoi Vinh rightly observes in Minimalism, Michael Mann and Miami Vice that “Mann has produced a taut, stylistic and often brutally impersonal filmography that seems most interested in the concept of work” (via Daring Fireball). I wholly understand and laud the aim of a minimalist, “relentlessly withholding” narrative, but I don’t believe it’s ignorant or […]

Which Way Is Up: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice

The simple truth is that I hated Michael Mann’s Miami Vice on first viewing. On a technical level, it was marred by hideously poor sound reproduction — for which I blamed the particular theater I happened to see it in, but a friend of mine had the same complaint about a totally different venue, suggesting […]

Martin Scorsese remakes Internal Affairs as The Departed

Martin Scorsese works almost constantly, directing documentaries between each higher-profile feature film. But the frequency of his fiction films is far enough apart for them to remain much more hotly anticipated, and every year that went by with him being passed over by the Academy Awards only more firmly established his status as a Great […]

Sidney Lumet shows us how it’s done in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is a powerful, electric return to form for the 83 year-old Sidney Lumet, director of such canonical classics as 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Network, and, uh, The Wiz? Kelly Masterson’s screenplay tells the high-tension tale of a pair of wholly doomed brothers as a non-linear narrative from multiple points […]

Jason Statham robs Lloyds Bank in The Bank Job

The Bank Job is notable for being an at least partly “true” exposé into the spectacular (and successful) robbery of Lloyds Bank in London in 1971. For whatever reason, an anonymous participant of the investigation chose to cooperate in the making of this fictionalized film rather than a book or magazine article. If even partly […]

Ben Affleck’s pervasively grim Gone Baby Gone

Good ol’ Bahstuhn Cahtholick Ben Affleck is an all grown-up, big-boy director now, and lookit, he made himself a pretty decent movie. That said, Gone Baby Gone is a big plate of grim, with side order of depressing. Affleck makes excellent use of location footage and local color. And not surprising for a movie directed […]

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