If you love modern crime cinema and you haven't seen Michael Mann's HEAT (with Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd) yet, you get no SPOILER WARNINGS. It's over 20 years old now and as badass and sophisticated as ever. 

THE EVOCATIVE AND MOODY CINEMATOGRAPHY OF DANTE SPINOTTI

THE EVOCATIVE AND MOODY CINEMATOGRAPHY OF DANTE SPINOTTI

I first tried to sneak into HEAT with my two BFF's when we were 16 -- but even with the fuzz on up our upper lips, we couldn't pass as the coveted 18 year-olds we needed to be. So, instead we dragged our disappointed selves into the original TOY STORY.

Well... you know how that worked out (Thanks Pixar!), so no regrets...

However, i would eventually see HEAT again. And, uh huh, yes, the legendary showdown in the hectic streets of downtown LA, left me in a state of total cinematic angst; I needed to know how they did it.

KILMER PLOWING THROUGH COPS IN DOWNTOWN LA

KILMER PLOWING THROUGH COPS IN DOWNTOWN LA

Random Triv: Did you know Keanu Reeves was considered to play Val Kilmer's part?

I'd never heard guns BOOM and ECHO in the streets like that. I'd never seen self-preservation in criminals portrayed so straight before. The whole film felt, well, real.... There was an authenticity in its DNA, and it led me on a search for Michael Mann's other works (Thief, Last Of The Mohicans, Manhunter) . A search that would pretty much change my cinematic tastes as a filmmaker forever.

Oh, and that famous Diner Scene in Heat with Legends DeNiro and Pacino? Yeah, I could write Essays on that one, but several greater writers than myself have already done so. Just Google away.

THE LEGENDARY DINER SCENE

THE LEGENDARY DINER SCENE

All this to say, I had all but written Michael Mann off the last few years since his gradual decline from greatness. The once rich and cinematic images slowly became flat, uninspired, and dare I say, boring. But... I kept going... and I kept feeling more and more let down with each successive film. Like a heartbroken kid who knows the old man might just not have another great fight in 'em, I eventually stopped going (was Blackhat good?). I'm one of those people that roots for comebacks -- I don't want to see no one being mediocre, especially our heroes. 

ASHLEY JUDD BREAKS YOUR HEART

ASHLEY JUDD BREAKS YOUR HEART

EPIC FINALE OF HEAT

EPIC FINALE OF HEAT

So the last few years I basically tuned out of Michael Mann. Public Enemies was the straw that met the camel (I'm the camel -- Hi.). It felt like this once Great Director with an eye for refined images, had no clue at all anymore what got an audience off. I'm not a digital hater by any means, but the choice of shooting Digital (badly) to enhance the Period only enhanced the artifice of the whole production. Costumes looked like Costumes, Sets like Sets, Actors like... well... Actors. It was a fundamental decision that rocked the whole narrative experience for me and my friends. 

PUBLIC ENEMIES LOOKED ARTIFICIAL, STAGED AND DIGITAL

PUBLIC ENEMIES LOOKED ARTIFICIAL, STAGED AND DIGITAL

You just couldn't buy into the world and therefor the story. It left the audience at a distance and myself resigned to losing another great filmmaker to age, in a time were there are so few great ones left. It's strange to think there's a whole generation that won't appreciate Mann's work. Also, it was part of getting older for myself; You realize Heroes are fallible.

So... when I heard that Michael Mann, after rewatching HEAT on the big screen, was considering shooting film again -- I can't lie, I may have perked up a little. Smiled like a kid even.

Because I forgot; Heroes have a way with comebacks. :)

 

+ Ayz |  ▼▼▲▲™ | THE WILD MACHINE

 

CRUISE + MANN IN THE BADASS THRILLER COLLATERAL 

CRUISE + MANN IN THE BADASS THRILLER COLLATERAL 

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