Heat 1995

I remember going to the theater to see this movie. I was so terriblly excited to see a new movie by Michael Mann. Growing up, Miami Vice was my favorite TV show and I watched every episode in season. At the end of every episode there was that Michael Mann production logo. Up until the time that Heat came out, I didn't follow Mann's body of work that closely. Ever since, however, I have followed him quite closely and acutely. I will say that the tone and vision and complete attention to detail that he puts into his work make him one of the greatest in the business.

I the last 15 years, this movie hasn't lost an ounce of punch. We follow along with the criminals of high profile burglary as well as the police who follow the major cases into a downward spiral that inevitably ends with either being caught or being killed. I can't deny that I have a deep love for the crime drama, so I have no problem sitting through 3 hours of watching the story unfold. I also enjoy the idea of entering a story a little late and leaving the plot tad early, so answering questions for myself makes this (and most all of Mann's work) an exceptionally fun movie for me to watch. Add to all of this, the beautiful photography of Dante Spinotti and, well, enough said.

Part of the beauty of the story isn't just the crime and the chase, but more in the details of who is doing the crime, why they do said crimes, and who is chasing and what they sacrifice in order to keep chasing or committing crimes. Then comes the action! One of the best shootout scenes of the 90's, good lord that is a lot of bullets and the LAPD aren't ready.

I could give a play by play, but I have decided to let everyone find out that stuff on their own.


Twilight 2008

My favorite thing about the vampire genre is all the different ways that the same or similar stories get told. There is a certain number of variables that are generally maintained and then each story has it's own twists on those.

Twilight comes from some very popular books that came out in the last few years. Much like The DaVinci Code, the movie can't possibly live up to the hype of the books. Maybe I am wrong, I haven't read either set of books, but I doubt it. The overproduced simplicity of the Twilight film, for me. is it's downfall.

There is nothing quite interesting or extraordinary about this movie. I am sure that the meladrama of the high school setting will appeal to the young audiences and will doubtlessly spawn a slew of Harry Potteresque sequels. I just don't think that these films have or will have the staying power for a viewer like myself. There are so many things you can do with the idea of worldly exploration within a junior in high school, unfortunately this movie stays right in the middle.

A new girl in town meets a peculiar boy, learns some lore of the region (albeit very quickly) and then becomes friends with vampires and a love interest for one of them. Then we learn of a struggle between good and evil vampires and.....I am sure any normal movie viewer can fill in the blanks.


Extract 2009

Between Extract and Office Space, I wonder what kind of jobs Mike Judge has had that have led him to make so many funny observations about the American workplace. The best moments in the movie are the small moments that explore sexuality and racism and drug use. Whether in subversive commentary or obvious fingerpointing there are some really funny places that this movie takes us.

I really enjoy the way this movie explores personal relationships. Conversations within the workplace lead to conversations at the bar and then back to the house. Sometimes, it seems, we lead several lives at once. We have a tendency to be different people at different times and this movie's humor lies within that dynamic.

Somewhere within these factors we have a man who is complacent in his marriage, a girl who wants to make a quick buck and a great Trump style cameo by Gene Simmons.

Jason Bateman is perfect, as always, and who better to let us know that there can be a happiness found our everyday lives, as long as we enjoy who we are and what we do.

The Hangover 2009

This is a classic case of the trailer giving away all the best parts of a movie. Typical of most comedies lately, all the moments that make you laugh out loud are given to you months before you take the time to see the movie, and you don't laugh out loud. Granted, the cast and the situations do bring a great deal of unexpected and random humor, but in the end I got exactly what I expected.

All that being said, it is definitely worth spending some time on the couch and watching this movie. If you need something light and easy and a bit off center to kill a couple of hours, this will suit you just fine. Mike Tyson brings the best cameo performance and I love the chicken.


Blue Thunder 1983

The 80's had so many new gadgets to deal with. Computers, Calculator watches, Atari and BADASS helicopters! This particular helicopter was manned by Ray Scheider for the LAPD. The quote before we see the machine is 'crowd control from the air'.

Premise being that with the Olympics coming to LA they will need a new and more effective way to deal with terrorism. When this thing flies out of the sunset, all decked with missiles and machine guns, you can't help but get a little excited. Turns out, this movie is just a car chase in the sky. For a couple of reasons, Schieder ends up essentially stealing the chopper and being chased for it throughout the last half of the movie. All the while he destroys the LAPD's cars and copters and then the US Government starts getting their machines busted as well as destroying the city with guns and missiles. So much for Anti-Terror.

There is also a police murder and a conspiracy or two some Vietnam flashbacks and a rather awesome 360 helicopter loop!

In A Lonely Place 1950

I am a sucker for gumshoe mysteries. I am a sucker for Humphrey Bogart. I am a sucker about movies.

This film, directed by Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause, Flying Leathernecks), has it all. Bogey is a writer in Hollywood who is suspected of killing a young woman. He is a violent hardcase who is kinda down on his luck and defending himself of the charges isn't something he can do very well.

There is a whole lot going on in this one. Murder, 50's Hollywood, struggling hollywood talent... Bogey brings it in all the ways that he does. He's slick, hard and charming as hell. I think everyone loves this guy and never can figure out exactly why. Bogey is the kinda guy the Colonel likes a lot.

What's really fun is how the case keeps coming in and out of conversation in work and social events and the suspicion and paranoia build. All the while, you are getting bits and pieces of clues that can help us kinda solve the case on out own.

Ray did a hell of a job in shooting this badboy too. With all the limitations that setup shots had in the 50's, he made good use of close up and obliques. It's a pretty movie.