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Michael Mann’s Damaged Men
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Michael Mann’s Damaged Men
In “Ferrari,” his first film since 2015 — and in “Heat 2,” his first ever novel — the director returns to his great theme: outsiders with a brutal determination to win.

Michael Mann stood at the center of a long, sunlit room, scrutinizing a model of the Ferrari factory as it looked in 1957, thinking about how to improve its appearance. “This should be a pattern,” he said, pointing at the windows, “so that you have almost a musical rhythm, like, two-two-two-two-two, then it breaks, to drive your attention to the entryway.” Around him, a half-dozen collaborators listened closely. After Mann’s decisions were finalized, a construction team would be dispatched to a nearby site to build a replica of the 1957 factory.

It was a May afternoon in Modena, Italy, a small city in the north of the country. Mann was at the production offices of his 14th feature film, “Ferrari,” which will trace three months in Enzo Ferrari’s life, culminating with the 1957 Mille Miglia — an infamous, and tragically fatal, road race. That morning, Mann took the train up from Rome, where he spent the previous day auditioning 26 actors opposite Adam Driver, who will star in the film. “I looked at it as extra rehearsals,” Mann said. “A chance for Adam to start locking in the character.” Dressed for the summertime, Mann wore a roomy ombré button-up that bled from green to black, with white jeans and white Ecco sneakers. He spoke with the thick Chicago accent, full of bent vowels, that he has never lost despite living in Los Angeles for decades. This accent suited him in his 20s, when he drove a taxicab and worked in construction, and it confers on his directorial pronouncements a street-hardened authority.

Mann’s specialty is the meticulous construction of major Hollywood entertainments: big-budget epics and thrillers rich with genre pleasures, rigged with dazzling set pieces and heavy on movie stars like Daniel Day-Lewis (“Last of the Mohicans”), Will Smith (“Ali”) and Tom Cruise (“Collateral”). As interested as he is in making movies for mass enjoyment, though, Mann is by his own description “not a journeyman director — these guys who go from gig to gig to gig. I need a real compelling reason to do something.” Years ago, he spoke of his ambition to move more rapidly between projects, but when I mentioned this to him in Modena, Mann laughed. “I failed utterly in that plan,” he said.

There was, for one thing, the coronavirus. Mann was working in Japan when the pandemic hit, directing the pilot for the HBO Max series “Tokyo Vice,” about a young American crime reporter investigating the Yakuza. Shooting was barely underway when the virus halted production. At that point, it had been five years since the release of Mann’s last film, the underrated cybercrime thriller “Blackhat.” During this gap — one that “Ferrari” will finally close — he tried to bring several ambitious projects to life without success, facing the kind of disappointment all directors grow accustomed to, but perhaps especially those who make films that cost what Michael Mann films cost, and who insist on the complete creative control he insists on.
Mann’s artistic signature is to establish a core of painstaking realism, then create around it a heightened visual and emotional atmosphere that can edge, at times, into a kind of hallucinatory, macho camp. It’s an aesthetic Mann began exploring when he oversaw the epochal 1980s cop show “Miami Vice.” Since then, he has set forlorn peals of electric guitar over a parade of steely faces. He has filmed handsome men walking in slow motion in bulletproof vests, or gazing contemplatively at vast bodies of water that swirl in hypnotic abstraction, or striding beside private jets with sunglasses on. He has rigorously avoided comic relief, while allowing for moments of oblique humor, as when a hardened undercover cop announces, “I’m a fiend for mojitos.” He has scored sex scenes with the anguished rock of Audioslave. Somehow, it works: Chasms of unanswered yearning and alienation seem to roil beneath Mann’s images, and his movies lodge in the brain like fever dreams.

Mann enjoys a cultlike adoration of the kind typically reserved for directors further out on the fringes. His blockbusters have their ferocious partisans, as do his lesser-known pictures and outright bombs, which reliably come up for — and tend to reward — reappraisal. In 2014, the Criterion Collection put out a beautiful edition of his 1981 theatrical debut, “Thief,” helping to spark a broader re-engagement with Mann’s work that included retrospectives at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2016 and at the Museum of the Moving Image this spring. Film scholars devote books and podcast series to him. Underground clothing lines make coveted bootleg tees and caps in homage to his films. Among fellow directors, Mann’s admirers and acolytes include Alfonso Cuarón, Ava DuVernay and Christopher Nolan.

This February, Mann turned 79 and ushered in an improbably busy year. In April, his “Tokyo Vice” pilot made its debut, setting the show’s fleet feel and stark tone. Not long afterward, it was announced that the financing had materialized for “Ferrari.” And next month, in a particularly unexpected curveball, Mann will release his first-ever sequel, in the form of his first-ever novel, “Heat 2.”

....
 
Posts: 12757 | Location: Wine Country | Registered: September 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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August 9th is also the same day that Heat comes out on 4K Blu Ray. I’ve got both on preorder through Amazon.
 
Posts: 2953 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Be interesting to see how he does this since most of the characters either dies on screen or their real life actors are not spring chickens anymore.


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Posts: 24403 | Location: NoVa | Registered: May 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not interested. We've already seen how Mann handles sequels/reboots, with his suck-ass Miami Vice movie.

I'll say the same thing to Mann as I'd say to Spielberg: it's time to retire.


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Posts: 98621 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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https://www.amazon.com/Unti-He...2%2Caps%2C134&sr=8-1

quote:
Michael Mann, four-time-Oscar-nominated writer-director of The Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Ali, Miami Vice, Collateral, and Heat teams up with Edgar Award–winning author Meg Gardiner to deliver Mann’s first novel, an explosive return to the universe and characters of his classic crime film—with an all-new story unfolding in the years before and after the iconic movie

“Heat 2 is now one of my favorite suspense novels. . . . I’m already quoting lines from Heat 2 to my writer friends (shamelessly saying the lines are mine).” – James Patterson

One day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’s brother in arms Neil McCauley (De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.

In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.

Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.

Heat 2 projects its dimensional and richly drawn men and women into whole new worlds—from the inner sanctums of rival crime syndicates in a South American free-trade zone to transnational criminal enterprises in Southeast Asia. The novel brings you intimately into these lives. In Michael Mann’s Heat universe, they will confront new adversaries in lethal circumstances beyond all boundaries.

Heat 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic—a masterpiece of crime fiction with the same extraordinary ambitions, scope, and rich characterizations as the epic film.
 
Posts: 2953 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
Not interested. We've already seen how Mann handles sequels/reboots, with his suck-ass Miami Vice movie.

I'll say the same thing to Mann as I'd say to Spielberg: it's time to retire.


That’s a little harsh since Public Enemies came out after and was excellent along with Toyko Vice on HBO Max was quite good. He’s also shooting a movie in Italy on Enzo Ferrari that’s been a passion project of his. Spielberg acts like if he doesn’t make a movie every 6 months he’s going to die while Michael Mann seems to space things out better.

He’s got some life left in him.
 
Posts: 2953 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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He’s got some life left in him.
Not in my book.
 
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Saw this book on the shelf locally at Books-a-Million earlier this week, actually, and did a double-take. I’ve got several books already in the hopper so didn’t pick it up just yet.



"The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli." - George Costanza
 
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...

Among fellow directors, Mann’s admirers and acolytes include Alfonso Cuarón, Ava DuVernay and Christopher Nolan.

...


I'm mildly surprised they didn't include Peter Berg in this list.

I was greatly disappointed in Mann's Blackhat... but I don't expect any director to 'bat a thousand' and I'm enough of a fan of his work that I'm looking forward to Heat 2, although the original set a standard that is going to be difficult to match...

...now, off to pop Heat in, as it's been years since I last watched it.
 
Posts: 6797 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Modern Day Savage:
quote:

...

Among fellow directors, Mann’s admirers and acolytes include Alfonso Cuarón, Ava DuVernay and Christopher Nolan.

...


I'm mildly surprised they didn't include Peter Berg in this list.

I was greatly disappointed in Mann's Blackhat... but I don't expect any director to 'bat a thousand' and I'm enough of a fan of his work that I'm looking forward to Heat 2, although the original set a standard that is going to be difficult to match...

...now, off to pop Heat in, as it's been years since I last watched it.

Berg isn't known for being visually stimulating or, the heavy usage of mood light/music/filters like Mann; the three listed while at the forefront of directing, read more like a UN/ethnic box-checking list: Mexican-vegetarian, black-women activist, innovative Brit.

Mann's most recent movie Ford v Ferrai, may have been his Frankenhiemer-moment; a lone standout amongst a underwhelming collection of late-career projects.
 
Posts: 12757 | Location: Wine Country | Registered: September 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Michael Mann didn’t make Ford vs. Ferrari. That was James Mangold.
 
Posts: 2953 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by DanH:
Michael Mann didn’t make Ford vs. Ferrari. That was James Mangold.

You're correct, I got that film jumbled with Mann's current project, Ferrari
 
Posts: 12757 | Location: Wine Country | Registered: September 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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CBS did a nice interview with Michael Mann over in Italy covering a couple of topics. The interviewer tries to do a douche move asking if Michael Mann feels any responsibility in the current state of violence and also provides him a platform to spread whatever he thinks about the current violence level that he doesn’t take. Not a bad 8 minute interview.

 
Posts: 2953 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I picked up a signed (by Mann) hardcover of the book a couple weeks ago, and am looking forward to it, though keeping my expectations in check. The several reviews I've seen of it have been very kind, but we'll see.
 
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