Heat. Up to 7 or 8 viewings now? (Filed under: Heat). Caught a few more “time” references this go-round. Hanna’s wife offers him coffee before he heads out – can’t, no time. The daughter’s anxiety attack is about being late for her father. And of course the parting shot when Hanna meets with the snitch. One other minor thing: the Pietà statue at the hospital at the beginning of the movie is echoed by our protagonists at the end. I might have to call this my favorite movie.

The Score


The Score. Decent cat-and-mousing. Shape-shifting characters seems like a whole thing back in the 90s/2000s. Fun to see actors that are just plain old now in their younger and more athletic days. I love when movies show all the gadgetry and tools that thieves put to use, borrowing from other realms to suit the need.



Heat. A half-dozen screenings and it keeps on delivering. One thing that really stood out this time was the use of the color blue with McCauley’s character.

For example, early on, there’s the famous shot at his house, echoing Colville’s “Pacific” painting, but saturated in a moody blue. This is McCauley as the cool, remote professional. During a following celebration dinner with his team, you see his appreciation and envy of his crew’s families. He goes to call Eadie. The shot of him on the phone has the frame split in half. He’s on the left against a cool blue background, the right side is warmer. In the course of conversation with her he steps from left to right. Later in the movie, McCauley is on his way to escape, home-free. He gets a farewell call from Nate, who also tells him where Waingro is. He dismisses the idea of going back, and keeps driving, content. The camera stays on him at the wheel, and we can see through the rear window. As he enters a tunnel the lighting is a bright wash… that transitions to blue. He turns grim and decides on revenge before escape.

Speaking of Waingro, interesting how his actions play up the appetites. In his introduction, he’s looking for more coffee before the score. After the heist, he’s smugly enjoying some pie while the main crew stares at him in disdainful silence. Later we see him with cigarettes, booze, women.

Last little clever bit: in the course of the famous diner meeting, McCauley mentions, “There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down?” At the final climax, we see McCauley escaping into the airfield, making his last stand behind a shed, backgrounded with its large checkerboard pattern. Boxed in, the chess match coming to its endgame.


Filed under: Heat.


Heat. My third viewing (first, second). This is officially my second favorite movie after Out of the Past.

It seems like (Pacino’s) Hanna has more fun than (De Niro’s) McCauley does. Maybe I’m projecting, and he’s just more fun to watch because he’s more exasperated and has the power to say whatever he wants. He definitely smiles more. His stakes are lower in a way. He’s got a day job, a sense of purpose, even if home life is a wreck. Note the close of the hospital scene, when he’s paged back into action, he gives his wife a smile before an almost gleeful run down the stairs, back to the chase. Compare to the ending, where there’s no triumph on his face. More like disappointment.

McCauley is always more restrained, as he always has less room for error. (Hanna asks him, “What are you, some kind of monk?”). After two really upsetting phone calls (one with adversary Van Zandt, one with his partner Trejo at the breakfast joint), he doesn’t slam the phone or toss it, but seems to pause, gather himself, and return the phone to rest.

At the diner with Hanna, McCauley mentions that recurring dream of running out of time. Note how, towards the end, when he’s looking to find Waingro, Eady and Nate mention/ask him about the time he has left before he catches his flight out of the country. A guy who does things like to wrap his glasses in paper napkins loses his usual discipline, and things go haywire.

One last thing: I love how the music is so supportive. It’s there in subtle ways like in the drive-in money exchange, where much of the tension rides on the music, but it’s not until the fade-out that you realize the music is even there. It’s present in more obvious ways like in the nighttime balcony romance, with that noodly jazz guitar playing behind soft, gauzy synth curtains. Lord, I love that.

Other movies I re-watched this year include Winter’s Bone, Melancholia, Mission Impossible, Days of Heaven, Blade Runner, Bloodsport, The Last of the Mohicans, The Godfather, Drive, Mean Girls, The Shawshank Redemption, Raging Bull, and Aliens.

I’ve really been itching for another viewing of Warrior. Update: done.


Heat. Michael Mann, man. This still blows my mind on second viewing. (The first). I love (Pacino’s) Vincent Hanna so much in this one. He truly does not give a shit. And he drives like a cop. I also finally realized that Hanna’s sidekick Cassals (Wes Studi) is so familiar because he also plays Magua.


Sleepers. Has a nice momentum to it, but once it becomes a simple revenge story, it all goes to waste. I really liked Dustin Hoffman’s role, though. Mean Streets was another story of friend/neighborhood loyalties that I didn’t enjoy very much. I’ve heard good things about Levinson’s Diner.


Heat. Yeah, this is definitely going on my list of movies that are 1) more than 2.5 hours long, and 2) worth watching 3x or more. At the center are two guys who are both in lines of work that keep them from being normal people with normal relationships. And they know it. (Pacino’s Vincent Hanna would probably be jealous of Ford’s Dave Bannion). The female leads help round them out. Such a great cast. Nice action sequences, but thankfully not every confrontation is noisy or fast-paced or even violent. Although some, of course, are. But Michael Mann knows how to use silence, too. The end reminded me of Hanna with its perfect use of environmental light and sound. And I can’t forget to mention the L.A. synth-mood breaks a la Mann’s Manhunter, which I also loved (same cinematographer, too). Great, great film.

Raging Bull

Raging Bull. I expected that boxing would be much more central to this film, but it’s more of a story of jealousy and self-loathing punctuated with fights professional and domestic. Maybe the coolest thing is the use of slow-motion every now and then to emphasize a particular moment or emotional state. Maybe the most annoying thing is Italian-American tough guy/gangster talk – which maybe I’ve just been saturated with before. I wasn’t blown away with this movie – but, then again, I’m really curious how I’d feel if I saw it a second time. Make of that what you will.