Michael Mann

‘Blackhat’ and the Virtues of Style Over Substance

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? … Read More

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A Brief History of Hollywood Being Totally Terrified of Computers

“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. … Read More

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The Top 10 Movie Trailers of 2014

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. … Read More

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The 25 Best Cop Shows of All Time

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? … Read More

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

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. … Read More

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Accomplished Filmmakers Who Also Work in Television

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. … Read More

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Video Essay: “How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist”

Tower Heist, Brett Ratner’s late-fall heist picture, is out this week on DVD, so our latest video essay takes a look at this durable genre via a step-by-step examination of how to put a big heist together — according to the movies, anyway. We grabbed pieces from over two dozen heist movies, from here and abroad, from the 1950s to the present, and put them together to show, in seven easy steps, how to pull that one big score. (Bonus points if it’s your last big one before retiring somewhere warm.)

We’ll show you how it’s done with the help of some of our favorite directors, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Michael Mann, John Frankenheimer, Bryan Singer, John Huston, David Mamet, Peter Yates, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jules Dassin, Sidney Lumet, John McTiernan, Jim Henson, and Frank Oz. And check out our all-star cast: Robert DeNiro, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Marlon Brando, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Keitel, Val Kilmer, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Steve Buscemi, Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta, Danny DeVito, Michael Madsen, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Sizemore, Vincent Cassel, Owen Wilson, Joe Pesci, Luke Wilson, Sean Connery, Guy Pearce, George Segal, Sam Rockwell, Delroy Lindo, Seth Green, Sterling Hayden, Chris Penn, Mos Def, Lawrence Tierney, Jason Statham, Jean Reno, the Muppets, and many, many more. Find out “How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist” after the jump. … Read More

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The Problem with HBO’s ‘Luck’

Storied showrunner David Milch debuted his long-awaited follow-up to Deadwood last night. (Yes, that’s right, we’re doing him the courtesy of pretending John from Cincinnati never happened.) Although Luck won’t officially premiere until January 29th, HBO ran a sneak preview of the show’s first episode after Boardwalk Empire‘s season finale. And we wanted to like it. We could not, in fact, wait to get a peek at it. But, while we realize great shows can have shaky pilots, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t worried.

Luck takes place in the world of horse racing — a somewhat alien realm for those of us who ignore the Kentucky Derby and have never set foot in an OTB. This means that the distinguished trio behind the series — executive producers Milch and Michael Mann, plus producer/star Dustin Hoffman — needs to quickly find a way to make those of us with no interest in the sport care about the jockeys, managers, and gamblers who populate its world. So it’s confusing that they seem to have so purposely chosen to hold viewers at arm’s length. … Read More

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