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x007AceOfSpades

Member Since 31 Oct 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 01:41 AM
*****

Posts I've Made

In Topic: General Video Game Disscussion Thread

Today, 12:34 AM

I liked the Splinter Cell franchise because it was a great game of stealth, though Conviction was a transition to more or less a COD-style of action and I've since gave up on the franchise for straying too far off.


In Topic: MOVIE NEWS

Yesterday, 11:01 PM

Thank you! :P

 

I just wish it wasn't all about money in the film industry. I mean just because the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo didn't make billions of dollars at the box office doesn't mean that they shouldn't continue on in the franchise. Rooney Mara is excellent as I have said above and Daniel Craig to me, is perfect for the role of Blomkvist. 

 

The two of them had impeccable chemistry together. I would love to see it expanded upon.

 

As for Expendables, that franchise along with Fast And Furious have done nothing to transition to combat sports. Just because there are fight scenes and actors that have combat sports in their background, that does nothing to shift the film whatsoever. I don't like the idea of Hulk Hogan in the fourth, simply because he never established himself as an action hero and his film were slightly along the lines of a B Movie and below. Hard for me to see the third film or get hyped since Ronda Rousey is one of the most arrogant and disgusting persons in the world of combat sports.

 

I do like the new title for the third Hobbit film though and I'm glad Paramount is seeking another title for the fifth Terminator. Genesis just sounded cliche and awful. As for Arnie, he needs this fifth Terminator film to be a box office hit. The Last Stand opened up less than enthused and underperformed, Escape Plan was dull and underperformed at the domestic box office, and Sabotage was just pure garbage.


In Topic: What movie have you seen today?

Yesterday, 10:47 PM

 

The Keep - 3.5/5 - 1983 - Directed by Michael Mann - Starring Jurgen Prochnow


This film has a reputation for being one of the worst sound-recorded films ever made.

 

I'd agree to an extent. That's why a Blu-Ray release for this  would be fantastic, should all the troubles between all the parties be resolved, though I think a Criterion Release would be excellent.

 

The Directors Series continues with...

 

The Jericho Mile - 3/5 - 1979 - Directed by Michael Mann - starring Peter Strauss

Before Thief and before the hit television series Miami Vice, Michael Mann had made a film prior, though it was a television film, in this case being, The Jericho Mile. Being the earliest of work of his as a director, it showcases more of his skill as a writer and per se a director, than a visual-y filmmaker that we have seen in so many of his works.

 

The Jericho Mile follows Murphy, a lifer at Folsom State Prison, who takes any and all advantage of his time in the yard to run. His athleticism and speed bring the attention of a small sports outlet and the prison officials and together they believe that he can qualify for the Olympics despite being incarcerated.

 

Being a made for television film, it's on a ninety minute time slot and focuses on several sub plots. The main plot is the one we follow throughout which is Murphy, though the other subplots feature a prison gang fight between the Blacks and the Mexicans, Murphy's best friend, Stiles wanting to see his woman and child, and Brian Dennehy as Dr. D, the head of the White gang. Of course there would be sub plots, but it feels that above all, it's just there for filler, and it doesn't really add much to the overall story itself, then again it is a prison film. I think it would've been better suited to just follow Murphy's story than several others.

 

For the most part, I look at this film, particularly Murphy as a redemption story. Though it isn't until late in the film when we are told what his crime was and why he did it, are we then able to give some sympathy, but the film doesn't focus on it too much, which can be good or bad, depending on how you take it. Most of the side characters are your typical prison characters, almost on the borderline of being stereotypical as well, which bogs the film down a notch or two from being any sorts of powerful.

 

The writing for the film is well, a bit shotty. It can be simplistic and natural, but most of the time it feels corny and forced and even cringe worthy. The acting, though mainly from Peter Strauss who plays Murphy is outstanding, literally, one of the best parts of the film, everyone else though just doesn't give that edge to their character with their performances.Michael Mann's The Jericho Mile is a decent film from him, though the film is ultimately split down the middle for me with their being an equal share of pros and cons.

 

L.A. Takedown - 1.5/5 - 1989 - Directed by Michael Mann - starring Scott Plank

I never thought I'd say that Michael Mann has a bad film, being that I've met him on two separate occasions and I love him a lot. That being said his 1989 made for television film, L.A. Takedown is just bad. It's weak in many aspects. To some it appears familiar, that is because it is the initial basis for his 1995 masterpiece, Heat.

 

Mann uses his original script for Heat but he cuts the script down, axing some character development, some sub plots, and changes to the overall story. This is obviously needed to fit the film in on a ninety minute time slot. The writing isn't bad, it isn't, it's just his production value and actors that hammer this down to oblivion. The writing is good as is the dialogue, but the acting is atrocious. The way these actors read lines is just awful.

 

The direction for the most part is pretty good, but it feels cheap and made on a constraint. The actual story for Heat is fucking pure brilliance, cutting it down was going to be problem, but Mann still makes the best of what he can, using his style that he introduced to us in Thief, The Keep, and Manhunter to bring an early version of this to the tube. This was made within a month and it certainly shows.

 

There really isn't much to say about this, or that I want to say. Watching this after I've seen Heat for so many years, this feels like a bad short remake of the film, despite Heat being a quasi-remake of this. If you are a die hard fan of Michael Mann, then of course you are going to feel an interest in wanting to watch this, but do yourself a favor and just stay away from this.


In Topic: What movie have you seen today?

19 April 2014 - 01:43 AM

The Directors Series-Part II: The Michael Mann Retrospective

 

Thief - 5/5 - 1981 - Directed by Michael Mann - Starring James Caan

And that is the last place that you wanna be. 'Cause no matter what happens, I will never, ever take a pinch from a greasy mother****er like you!"

Michael Mann's first theatrical film, Thief is simply a crime masterpiece and also feels ageless. A sublte, yet intriguing character study of our main protagonist in a visually stunning world that is vibrant, beautiful, dark, and violent.

 

Frank is a thief, and a pretty damn good one too. His only preferred choices of scores are cash and rough diamonds, nothing else. He is a man of his word and a master of his tradecraft. When he is begins to feel the lost time, he seeks out Jessie, a local women who has his eye. He wants to live high with a wife and kid, but there's obstacles standing in his way. The medical problems of his long time mentor and father figure, Okla, the newly impending police case on him, and the local mob man who seemingly owns him.

 

Michael Mann's Chicago isnt your typical one. This city is filled with many people of different likes, and there's a rough, crazy side to it. Theres a beautiful outlook with people that Frank might try to be normal in, and then there's the gritty side, with the scummiest, and ruthless of people. Mann's Chicago soars to life wonderfully with the vibrant colors, subtle effectiveness, and grimy atmosphere. It is essentially a painting that has been brought to life.

 

The character study lies within Frank, played almost too perfectly by James Caan. When your in prison for so long and come out, you almost a facade going, and you're conflicting with your world. The truth and the lies. The reality and the fantasy. The fantasy is that Frank wants to live a quiet, beautiful life with the woman he loves and his child. He wants to live in happiness with wealth, luxury, and love, but the reality is that he cant. He lives in a world, where its do or die, and he knows he cant truly expose his family to this, its not for them. In the end he is conflicted before making a big decision that will change him forever. He has to let go and accept reality and deal with these problems head on.

 

Mann's world is gritty and realistic. With lush, beautiful cinematography and perfect lighting, the atmosphere is raw and moving. It feels almost real. Packed with great performances from James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Dennis Farina, and Tom Signorelli. Mann's screenplay is loaded with realism and pitch perfect details, as well as an array of characters. In the end, Michael Mann handles everything extremely well and doesn't over complicate things. He keeps it simple and shows us the world of a thief. A big positive in Thief is the music score from Tangerine Dream. This film was the biggest reason I got into them, and their score only helps to not only propel the film and move with it, but it tells its own story. A sharp new wave esque style that has beautiful, haunting, and adrenaline rushing cues.

 

Prior to watching it this morning, I haven't seen the film in while. The last time was April 2011, Aero Theater, the 30th anniversary screening of the film with a live discussion with James Caan. It was a great night, in fact one I will always remember, as Michael Mann was two rows behind me. It was a unique feeling to be sitting in the same theater as that man, who is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time, he is an inspiration and a hero. Michael Mann is a legend, and I was proud to meet him and James Caan.

 

Thief is a terrific neo noir crime film, it's a masterpiece. It is one of the greatest films of the 1980's.

 

The Keep - 3.5/5 - 1983 - Directed by Michael Mann - Starring Jurgen Prochnow

Michael Mann's second theatrical film, The Keep is definitely one of the stranger films from him and it happens to be, at least for me, one of the most under appreciated horror films of the 1980's. It may not stand as tall next to say Thief, Collateral, or Heat, but it is still one hell of a film and very creepy.

 

They were all drawn to it, the keep that is. A Romanian citadel in the center of a small village. A small group of German soldiers goes there one day to occupy the keep and the Captain is made aware that the 108 T-Shaped icons throughout are made out of nickel, not silver, thus shunning any belief of there being any silver in the keep. That night, an evil entity, known as Molasar, is freed from his sleeping state in the keep and begins to slowly kill the soldiers.

 

It definitely goes for the "less is more" approach using a moody synth score by Tangerine Dream, a brooding atmosphere, and haunting chills. Sure the score might sound strange for a horror film set in World War II, but dammit does Tangerine Dream do such an amazing job, like they did on Mann's previous film, Thief The atmosphere is what I like a lot. The film didn't rely too heavily on gore, but instead made you feel different or slightly spooked watching, knowing or not knowing what the hell this evil entity or demon was inside this mysterious keep. It was just absolutely fantastic.

 

Every Michael Mann film looks SPECTACULAR and here it looks just about that. For primarily taking place in just one location, this film manages to be visually appealing to the eyes and perfectly, yet strangely balances beauty and horror. The cinematography, the color palate, everything just looks so well here. The special effects, surely they are outdated by today's standards, but damn does the first look at Molasar look simply incredible. For a film with a small budget,it takes you on a ride through the unknown and the bizarre. The Keep is packed with excellent performances throughout with the film starring Scott Glenn, Ian McKellan, Alberta Watson, Robert Prosky, Jurgen Prochnow, and Gabriel Byrne.

 

It isn't without it's problems as at times the transition from one scene to the other isn't fluid enough for the films narrative leaving a question mark or two floating above your head as well as the editing being a bit iffy in places. This though can be do to the fact Paramount Pictures practically butchered the film. Supposedly the film was at one point three and half hours long, and the studio cut it to a mere ninety minutes and gave the film a limited release. There hasn't been a release of the film on Blu-Ray or DVD for that matter, which is disappointing, because with the right team, this film could see a magnificent transfer for fans of the film and Mann.

 

The Keep, for being what it is at just ninety minutes, is quite good and certainly at times sinister and very atmospheric. You might be able to find this still lurking on Netflix or some torrent sites, unless you feel like shelling a pretty high amount of money on ebay for a VHS or betamax.

 

Manhunter - 4.5/5 - 1986 - Directed by Michael Mann - starring William L. Petersen

"Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black."

 

I last watched this film about a good year ago, and honestly, every time I watch Michael Mann's Manhunter it gets better and better upon each viewing. Only select films have that effect with me. I believe this is one of the best Hannibal Lecter films made and one of the best serial killer films ever made.

 

Upon this re-watch I was looking more at it from a study point of view, particularly looking at protagonist, Will Graham (played by William L. Petersen) and our antagonist, Francis Dollarhyde, or "The Tooth Fairy" (played by Tom Noonan). We see both characters change somewhat considerably throughout the course of the film. Will Graham has since retired after bringing down Hannibal. Though he returns to only offer some new info regarding the murder cases that involve The Tooth Fairy, slowly we see this scarred and broken man return to being the detective genius that he was. The same detective genius who brought down the psychological mastermind that is Hannibal Lecter.

 

It's as if throughout the film he changes, slowly becoming more and more obsessed with capturing The Tooth Fairy. The same obsession that got him close to the Chesapeake Ripper and capturing him, Hannibal. With Francis Dollarhyde, The Tooth Fairy, he is a troubled man, not one that you can have any remorse for, since in the end he is nothing more than a psychopathic serial killer. Though, his persistence and interest with one woman, Reba, makes him feel more or less, like a human being again, instead of this monster that he chooses to be. That is until she hurts him, inadvertently and he returns to his old, killer ways. By the end of the film, both men change and complete this 360-degree character turn (if this makes sense).

 

With Brian Cox, he plays the character of Hannibal quite well. He is polite, well mannered, well spoken, and simply this genius, though he happens to be a psychopath as well, The Chesapeake Ripper. When we see him, he comes off as this regular man in prison, but it's the nature behind his evil doing, the horrific crimes that make him purely evil. The nicest ones, are always the scariest ones I tell myself. It's a character, along with Dollarhyde that continue my pursuit through the studies of criminal psychology and really fascinate me.

 

This is a great looking film. No really it is. It almost feels very Miami Vice-esque from wardrobe, to sets, locations, music, style, everything. It doesn't take you out of the film at all, it, for me, sucks you into this world. It's a dangerous world, a scary one with real life monsters, but one that is fascinating. Every shot is just absolute beauty as cinematographer, Dante Spinotti brings Mann's vision to life perfectly and Mann's color palate is just amazing here. The use of colors works so well for the different moods going on.

 

If there was one thing I would have love to seen added in the film, it's the strange working relationship Will Graham has with Hannibal in the film. It's visible in Red Dragon and slightly here, but I think if Mann further delved into it, it could have been truly fantastic. Funny, watching this today and then realizing that an all new episode of NBC's Hannibal television series airs tonight. Michael Mann's Manhunter is one of his finest films made and it is surely not to be missed.


In Topic: TELEVISION: What are you watching?

19 April 2014 - 01:01 AM

I just don't like Eva Green, and after seeing a sneak peek of it at the theater about a month or so ago, it just doesn't look that interesting for me to watch.

 

The only thing I've been watching lately has been Hannibal, and if NBC doesn't renew it for a third season, I'll probably go insane. This season is so much better than the first in so many ways and Mads Mikkelsen is more sinister than ever. The ratings have been steady, if not better than the first, considering it airs 10PM on Fridays, which is not too good of a time slot, but it's still pulling in viewers to see more!