Article: ‘Heat’ at 20: Michael Mann on Making a Crime-Drama Classic

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Here is a great write up on Heat by Jennifer Wood over at Rolling Stone. This is a look at how the film was made and how it became a classic.

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/heat-at-20-michael-mann-on-making-a-crime-drama-classic-20151215

Everything Noir also looked at Heat for its 20 year anniversary here:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/03/12/re-watching-the-classics-heat/

 

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News: De Niro, Pesci, Pacino, And Scorsese Still Want To Join Forces For The Irishman

Who wouldn’t want to see this! The Irishman is a movie that has been in the works for 5 years and it sounds like there is still hope for this one to be made. With Scorsese directing and a who’s who of the best gangster and neo-noir actors of all time interested in being in it, this should be an instant classic. Here is a link to the full article by Dirk Libbey over at Cinemablend, which also includes a clip of De Niro talking to Fallon about the up coming film.

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/De-Niro-Pesci-Pacino-Scorsese-Still-Want-Join-Forces-Irishman-83057.html

Re-watching Angel Heart

large_zVABs77t8P6flUShTnnTHjeTc3w  Angel Heart is a neo noir horror film from 1987.  Though this film was made with two of the biggest movie stars from the 1980’s, Robert De Niro(one of the biggest stars ever) and Micky Rourke it was not a big hit in theaters.  This was also directed by Alan Parker who had 3 or 4 hits under his belt when he made this movie. William Hjortsberg wrote the book this film is based on and has written a few other noir books.  I must say I’ve never read any of Hjortsberg’s books but hope to in the future.

With all this talent on the film, this film was more known at the time of its release for having Lisa Bonet in it.  At the time Lisa Bonet was the second biggest star of the hit television series The Cosby Show, so big she had her own spin-off series A Different World.  Both T.V. series had the biggest television star of The Cosby Show and all of television at the time,  Bill Cosby, behind them, he created both series.  Cosby had a lot riding on Lisa Bonet’s star power.  In this film Bonet plays a southern girl who is into voodoo and maybe even worse appears nude on-screen having sex with the main character while being splashed in blood.  This did not make Mr. Cosby happy, putting a black eye on two of his family oriented and biggest shows in one fell swoop.  I don’t  know if the controversy helped or hurt the film, but either way this was a flop at the box office.  Did Bill Cosby’s pull, hinder the distribution of this film?  I don’t know, but flashing forward almost 30 years we are learning more about the pull Cosby had and how he used it.  I would be interested in knowing if this being released at only 800 some odd theaters had something to do more with Cosby’s influence, then a failure on the distributors.  Even at the time of its release, it got very good reviews and was well received, but did not find an audience in theaters.  I think most people, like myself, had to wait for its VHS release to watch this film.

This film takes place in the mid 1950’s in New York as our protagonist Harry Angel goes to meet the mysterious Louis Cyphre played by Robert De Niro.  Cyphre hires Angel to find an old associate he helped with his music career before the war, called Johnny Favorite.  Johnny Favorite did not pay back his debt and has disappeared after the war and can not be found.  This leads Angel on a trail which leads to varies characters, most of which end up murdered soon after Angel interviews them.  The case leads him to the south, where he soon comes across voodoo worshipers and more craziness.

This film does have a horror element and has a great noir style in story and cinematography.  De Niro is great as Cyphre, not a big surprise, and Rourke is very good as our main character.  This is for both of the main stars fan base as well as those of Bonet.  It is also worth checking out for neo noir fans as well as horror fans alike.

Re-Watching the Classics: Heat

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Heat is 20 years old now!  That is hard to believe, I didn’t know if I should call it a classic, but after 20 years I think we are safe.  This is a Neo-Noir epic with one of the best casts in a noir film ever.

Michael Mann writes and directs, Mann is a legend of neo-noir film making.  He got his start in some great television shows and went on to make some amazing movies.  This one may be his best.

Lets start with the cast, this is the first time we see two of the greatest actors of our time on the screen at the same time with each other: Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro.  There seen together was filmed at a restaurant in Los Angles, one where you can actually sit and have a meal at the same table even today.  They did appear in another film before this, a little film called Godfather II, but were never on screen together.

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This is almost like two films in one, we are rooting for our brilliant thief and hoping he gets away and lives happily ever after.  We are also rooting for our hard nosed cop that has to find the violent criminals before they get away clean.  It’s a cat and mouse game that we can not pick a side on.  The trip is worth it.

Though this is enough to make any movie big, no need to have anyone else in the cast, but we do.  A lot of my favorite crime actors are in this film and I’m just going to list them here:

Val Kilmer plays a gambling addict that earns his money stealing.

Ashley Judd plays his wife and our only real femme fatale.

Jon Voight plays the ring leader of the bad guys, interesting note: his character is based on Edward Bunker, a career criminal that has appeared in many crime films and has written many noir books himself.  I plan on reading and reviewing some of his books on the website later.

A young Natalie Portman is in here as the angry step daughter, she already showed some amazing talent in this small role.

We also have an all star supporting cast of crime film regulars:  Tom Sizemore, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi,Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert,  William Fichtner, Kevin Gage, Hank Azaria, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins, and Jeremy Piven.

This movie actually is based on a real life cop and his pursuit of a career thief.  The real story is about Chuck Adamson, a real life cop in Chicago who meet in a non violent situation with the real Neil McCauley and chased him for part of his career.  Adamson also helped write on some of Mann’s T.V. shows and is also the source for one of Mann’s other movies, Thief.

At almost 3 hours long, this is a long film, but worth it.