Michael Mann

Chris Hemsworth in "Blackhat"; Michael B. Jordan in "Fruitvale Station"

The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Blackhat,’ ‘Fruitvale Station’

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I’m sure the studios and distributors do their best to create an even and well-distributed new release schedule, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some weeks are so loaded with new movies and reissues of note that we can’t even fit them into our five-slot format; other weeks are, well, like this one, offering up the likes of Still Alice and The Cobbler and, Lord help us, Mortdecai. But we’ve got a new (and underrated) Michael Mann movie, an earlier effort worth another look, an uncommonly thoughtful boxing documentary, a heartbreaking new-to-Netflix drama, and one more that you’ll just have to hear me out on.
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Chris Hemsworth in "Blackhat"

‘Blackhat’ and the Virtues of Style Over Substance

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A ridiculously attractive, ethnically diverse law-enforcement team glides across a runway in almost-slow motion, clad in sunglasses and slick duds. They’re all stubborn hard cases, but their bristly tension will eventually give way, and they’ll grow to like, respect, and rely on each other. Their dialogue exchanges are sparse and lingo-heavy (“RAT,” “backdoor,” “payload”); the score that accompanies them is minimalist and atmospheric. Their visages are captured with a digital sheen that occasionally veers into a smear; the close-ups are tight, with a faint handheld jitter. Yes, after going MIA for five-and-a-half years, we have a new Michael Mann film. Welcome back, sir. What the hell took you so long?
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Chris Hemsworth in "Blackhat"

A Brief History of Hollywood Being Totally Terrified of Computers

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“Our world interconnected. Our systems interconnected. Our identities vulnerable.” So goes the on-screen tagline in the trailer for Michael Mann’s new cyber-thriller Blackhat, and as the word “identities” is replaced by “security,” “homes,” “secrets,” “money,” “privacy,” “safety,” and the like — along with a giant close-up of a cable plugging in — it’s easy to chuckle along with Hollywood doing one more fear-mongering thriller about hackers taking down sacred cows and exposing private information, as if such a thing were actually plausible. (Oh, wait.) Yes, the Sony hack suddenly made Blackhat’s potentially worrisome January release suddenly timely and relevant, but it’s part of a long tradition of films that looked at the capabilities of computers, artificial intelligence, and the Internet — and shit their collective pants over it.
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Teaser trailer image, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

The Top 10 Movie Trailers of 2014

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Ah, movie trailers. We love them, we hate them, we don’t quite understand them. We complain that they tell us too much, or deride them for including all the good jokes/explosions/scares, but there’s no doubt that we rely on them to make our movie-going decisions — and that they’ve becoming something of an art of their own. So join us for a look back at the year in trailers, and at ten spots whose artistry and craft rose above mere hype.
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Still image from "Hill Street Blues"

The 25 Best Cop Shows of All Time

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It’s a big day for fans of ’80s television, cop shows, and, basically, things that are good: after first and second season releases that ended in 2006 and never resumed, the pop culture saviors over at Shout Factory have stepped up with a massive, full-series DVD box set for Hill Street Blues, the ground-breaking dramatic series that continues to influence quality television to this very day. And while it’s easy enough to earmark Hill Street as one of the best police series of all time, how do all those perp-chasing, car-crashing, rule-bending, good-cop-bad-cops actually stack up against each other?
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John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson in "Short Term 12"

13 Great New-to-Netflix Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

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Well, friends, spring is in the air (occasional lingering thundersnow aside), and Easter weekend is upon us, which could mean several things for you: participation in some sort of egg hunt, consumption of massive quantities of chocolate and sugar, a biannual visit to some sort of house of worship. Or it might just mean hanging out on the couch/in bed all weekend like it’s any other weekend. Your Flavorwire can’t help much with the first batch of items, but if you’re vegging out this holiday weekend, we’ve got a handful of noteworthy titles that have arrived (either for the first time, or for a return stint) over the past couple of weeks over at Netflix. Click through, fill your queue, and clear a day or two.
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Accomplished Filmmakers Who Also Work in Television

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Geek god Joss Whedon’s day has come. He’s trading TV slayage and vampires, for filmic mayhem with his horror writing endeavor The Cabin in the Woods, which hits theaters this Friday — the 13th, for added spooky cred. It’s a spoof of sorts on the horror genre, but not in the vein of goofy films like Scary Movie. Think Whedon’s clever brand of humor set in a remote cabin where friends gather for a getaway. The movie also has its share of scares — and hey, Ebert liked it, so that’s something. (Beware of spoilers.)

Whedon’s witticisms have always wooed us, and thanks to an early career as a television writer (Roseanne and Parenthood being his inaugural projects), the filmmaker was able to smoothly segue into a movie career — first with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1992 and Toy Story in 1995 — both writing credits. From there, Whedon would flip back and forth from TV and film directing/writing/producing, bringing us gems like Firefly and Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, the beloved Buffy television series, and most recently the highly anticipated Avengers movie — which hits theaters on May 4.

What other filmmakers have danced between TV and cinema, and vice versa? We look at a few multitasking creatives past the break. With increases in technology and more elaborate production values on display, TV no longer feels like a nasty two-letter word filmmakers see as beneath them. More and more accomplished moviemakers are spending time on the small screen, and many got their start there like Whedon. Check out our list below, and share any TV/film geniuses we missed in the comments.
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