Miami Vice

21 Jump Street bike cops

For someone who grew up with a painting of CHiPs hanging in the entryway of his house (my step-dad did it for a “TV Guide” ad or something), I don’t remember much about the actual TV series. It had a pair of cops on motorcycles, made a star out of Erik Estrada and for a brief moment near the end of its six seasons featured former Olympian and future Kardashian father figure Bruce Jenner. I honestly have no memory of the tone of the show when it was on, but it does seem to have become more comical in retrospect (is it the tight pants?). Enough to be perfect fodder for one of those movies based on a TV show that’s closer to parody than faithful adaptation. When Wilmer Valderrama was reportedly in the running to play Ponch (the Estrada role), in a big-screen version, that made total sense. Especially after he’d spoofed the part in a sketch for Mad TV. That plan never went anywhere, and now we’re onto CHiPs movie attempt number two. In this round, Ponch will be played by the more serious, more talented actor Michael Pena (who has played plenty of cops, including those in End of Watch, World Trade Center and TV’s The Shield). The part of his straight-laced partner, Jon Baker (originally portrayed by Larry Wilcox), is to be filled by Dax Shepard, who will also write and direct according to Deadline. While Shepard is well-known for his comedic work in movies such as Let’s Go […]

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SAVING MR. BANKS

There’s plenty of heartwarming to be had with John Lee Hancock‘s Saving Mr. Banks. Tom Hanks‘s smile alone tugs at the heart strings, but underneath the picture’s cuddly side there’s a darkness to be found in the flashbacks to P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thomspon) childhood. Playing her father, Travers Goff, is Colin Farrell. Goff is an alcoholic who often hides his pain through storytelling. The parallel for Travers is obvious, but it’s also true in the case of Walt Disney, at least when it comes to the film’s take on Disney. The young Travers informs the older Travers, and the same goes for Goff. It’s a performance we haven’t seen from Farrell before, but ever since Tigerland — Joel Schumacher’s best movie — you could say that for most of his roles. He’s not an actor who repeats himself often or falls back on certain crutches, and that’s likely because, as he tells us, he tries to find roles that push him as an actor. Saving Mr. Banks certainly does just that. Here’s what Colin Farrell had to say about his wonderful time on the film, wanting his experience dictated to him, and, of course, Miami Vice:

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Heat Movie Michael Mann

I’ve been taking my family on a tour of Michael Mann’s filmography recently, and every minute has been fantastic. Mann has a great eye for cinematography, writes and/or directs characters who are refreshingly competent and layered, and has a way of getting great mileage out of a topic he enjoys (crime and those who commit and prevent it) by changing the level of its presentation. He has done pieces both epic (Heat) and intimate (Collateral). He has ventured into the past, where his favorite subject varies in presence from “extant, but not important compared to other events” (The Last of the Mohicans) to “the point of the entire film” (Public Enemies). He brought Hannibal Lector to the screen for the first time as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter, which I must admit remains my primary source exposure to everyone’s favorite cannibal. All of these traits make Mann a director whose work should be followed, but what absolutely drives me wild about him is his use of music in his pictures’ key scenes. Mann’s soundtracks are usually a mix of contemporary rock, house music, a slow and/or seductive piece for particularly romantic moments and several compositions written specifically for the film by his composer. At least once in every one of his films that I have had a chance to see, Mann takes a piece from his soundtrack and sets it to a climactic or character defining scene and the resulting moment never fails to astound. Dialogue is usually sparse to nonexistent […]

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cultwarrior-digcinematography

This week’s Culture Warrior looks at Hollywood’s gradual acceptance of digital video and the important role of Michael Mann and Public Enemies within this major change in the industry.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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