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dave jenkins
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2009, 08:05:19 AM »

I'll call it now: the majority of this board will hate this film.
I'm prepared to be profoundly indifferent.

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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2009, 08:30:31 AM »

I'm going to have to pop in Dillinger (1973) with Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Michelle Phillips, Cloris Leachman, Harry Dean Stanton, Geoffrey Lewis, John P. Ryan, and Richard Dreyfuss (quite the cast and will be hard to beat) and have it fresh in my mind to see how it compares.

I'll definitely do a comparison and report it here, anyone should be able to put it on their Netflix queue.

I have Dillinger on my queue and coming hopefully within the week. I'll see Public Enemies as soon as I can.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 08:32:08 AM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2009, 08:31:27 AM »

I'm prepared to be profoundly indifferent.

You're just mad Downey isn't in it.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 08:32:40 AM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2009, 12:14:41 PM »

Rating 9.1 (based on less than 2k votes) on IMDb and it's instantly listed in the Top 250 movies.

On the other hand Tarkovsky's Stalker has 8.1 (based on nearly 18k) votes and still nothing...

One word: S-H-A-M-E.

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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2009, 01:17:48 PM »

I doubt more than about 10 of those clods have actually seen the movie.

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« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2009, 02:06:07 PM »

it involves bank jobs so maybe it'll turn out pretty good for mann this time. miami vice was a pile of shit.
not happy to see bale again but it's a prize I'm willing to pay  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2009, 06:41:03 PM »

On the other hand Tarkovsky's Stalker has 8.1 (based on nearly 18k) votes and still nothing...
Your point is what, exactly? Stalker sucks. Andrei Rublev, on the other hand . . . .

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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2009, 08:54:00 PM »

I'll call it now: the majority of this board will hate this film.

yes, and probably for good reason.

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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2009, 06:15:07 AM »

Sadly Dillinger is listed as being a "long wait" on Netflix so I may have to take up FC's offer of watching it on YouTube. On the other hand I do have the Jill and Jinkies-recommended Billy Budd coming tomorrow.

I need to try and convince my parents to let me see this one way or another this weekend.

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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2009, 10:10:05 AM »

Ebert's 3.5 star review:

Quote
"I rob banks," John Dillinger would sometimes say by way of introduction. It was the simple truth. That was what he did. For the 13 months between the day he escaped from prison and the night he lay dying in an alley, he robbed banks. It was his lifetime. Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" accepts that stark fact and refuses any temptation to soften it. Dillinger was not a nice man.

Here is a film that shrugs off the way we depend on myth to sentimentalize our outlaws. There is no interest here about John Dillinger's childhood, his psychology, his sexuality, his famous charm, his Robin Hood legend. He liked sex, but not as much as robbing banks. "He robbed the bankers but let the customers keep their own money." But whose money was in the banks? He kids around with reporters and lawmen, but that was business. He doesn't kid around with the members of his gang. He might have made a very good military leader.

Johnny Depp and Michael Mann show us that we didn't know all about Dillinger. We only thought we did. Here is an efficient, disciplined, bold, violent man, driven by compulsions the film wisely declines to explain. His gang members loved the money they were making. Dillinger loved planning the next job. He had no exit strategy or retirement plans.

Dillinger saw a woman he liked, Billie Frechette, played by Marion Cotillard, and courted her, after his fashion. That is, he took her out at night and bought her a fur coat, as he had seen done in the movies; he had no real adult experience before prison. They had sex, but the movie is not much interested. It is all about his vow to show up for her, to protect her. Against what? Against the danger of being his girl. He allows himself a tiny smile when he gives her the coat, and it is the only vulnerability he shows in the movie.

This is very disciplined film. You might not think it was possible to make a film about the most famous outlaw of the 1930s without clichés and "star chemistry" and a film class screenplay structure, but Mann does it. He is particular about the way he presents Dillinger and Billie. He sees him and her. Not them. They are never a couple. They are their needs. She needs to be protected, because she is so vulnerable. He needs someone to protect, in order to affirm his invincibility.

Dillinger hates the system, by which he means prisons, that hold people; banks, that hold money, and cops, who stand in his way. He probably hates the government too, but he doesn't think that big. It is him against them, and the bastards will not, can not, win. There's an extraordinary sequence, apparently based on fact, where Dillinger walks into the "Dillinger Bureau" of the Chicago Police Department and strolls around. Invincible. This is not ego. It is a spell he casts on himself.

The movie is well-researched, based on the book by Bryan Burrough. It even bothers to try to discover Dillinger's speaking style. Depp looks a lot like him. Mann shot on location in the Crown Point jail, scene of the famous jailbreak with the fake gun. He shot in the Little Bohemia Lodge in the same room Dillinger used, and Depp is costumed in clothes to match those the bank robber left behind. Mann redressed Lincoln Avenue on either side of the Biograph Theater, and laid streetcar tracks; I live a few blocks away, and walked over to marvel at the detail. I saw more than you will; unlike some directors, he doesn't indulge in beauty shots to show off the art direction. It's just there.

This Johnny Depp performance is something else. For once an actor playing a gangster does not seem to base his performance on movies he has seen. He starts cold. He plays Dillinger as a Fact. My friend Jay Robert Nash says 1930s gangsters copied their styles from the way Hollywood depicted them; screenwriters like Ben Hecht taught them how they spoke. Dillinger was a big movie fan; on the last night of his life, he went to see Clark Gable playing a man a lot like him, but he didn't learn much. No wisecracks, no lingo. Just military precision and an edge of steel.

Christian Bale plays Melvin Purvis in a similar key. He lives to fight criminals. He is a cold realist. He admires his boss, J. Edgar Hoover, but Hoover is a romantic, dreaming of an FBI of clean-cut young accountants in suits and ties who would be a credit to their mothers. After the catastrophe at Little Bohemia (the FBI let Dillinger escape but killed three civilians), Purvis said to hell with it and made J. Edgar import some lawmen from Arizona who had actually been in gunfights.

Mann is fearless with his research. If I mention the Lady in Red, Anna Sage (Branka Katic), who betrayed Dillinger outside the Biograph when the movie was over, how do you picture her? I do too. We are wrong. In real life she was wearing a white blouse and an orange skirt, and she does in the movie. John Ford once said, When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. This may be a case where he was right. Mann might have been wise to decide against the orange and white and just break down and give Anna Sage a red dress.

This is a very good film, with Depp and Bale performances of brutal clarity. I'm trying to understand why it is not quite a great film. I think it may be because it deprives me of some stubborn need for closure. His name was John Dillinger, and he robbed banks. But there had to be more to it than that, right? No, apparently not.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/classifieds?category=REVIEWS01&TITLESearch=Public%20Enemies&ToDate=20091231

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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2009, 12:57:04 PM »

sounds good to me.

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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2009, 06:37:31 PM »

Variety:

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Public Enemies
A Universal release of a Universal Pictures presentation in association with Relativity Media of a Forward Pass/Misher Films production in association with Tribeca Prods. and Appian Way. Produced by Kevin Misher, Michael Mann. Executive producer, G. Mac Brown. Co-producers, Bryan H. Carroll, Gusmano Cesaretti, Kevin de la Noy. Directed by Michael Mann. Screenplay, Ronan Bennett, Michael Mann, Ann Biderman, based on the book "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34," by Bryan Burrough.
 
John Dillinger - Johnny Depp
Melvin Purvis - Christian Bale
Billie Frechette - Marion Cotillard
"Red" Hamilton - Jason Clarke
Agent Carter Baum - Rory Cochrane
J. Edgar Hoover - Billy Crudup
Homer Van Meter - Stephen Dorff
Charles Winstead - Stephen Lang
 
By TODD MCCARTHY
Michael Mann ambitiously tries to forge the historical, iconographic and cultural aspects of American gangsterdom in "Public Enemies," with results more admirable than electrifying. Centering on bank robber John Dillinger, the most publicized of the many Depression-era outlaws whose transgressions fostered the rise of the FBI, Hollywood's specialist in great-looking crime stories has put images on the screen that are compelling to watch even though the overall impact is muted. Oddly, too, the film is somewhat shortchanged by its great star, Johnny Depp, who disappointingly has chosen to play Dillinger as self-consciously cool rather than earthy and gregarious. With dark commercial clouds currently hovering over expensive big-star vehicles and period pieces, Universal has no choice but to push the film hard as a glamorous gangbuster entertainment, which it is only in part. Mid-level biz is most likely.

For all his celebrity, Dillinger has only fronted two previous Hollywood features, and low-budgeters at that: Max Nosseck's undistinguished, wildly fictional 1945 Monogram cheapie starring a tough Lawrence Tierney, and John Milius' uneven 1973 AIP effort in which Warren Oates' performance emphasized the anti-hero's folksy and funny sides. Neither is very satisfactory, leaving a void "Public Enemies" endeavors to fill with a full-canvas approach that, inspired by the enormous detail provided by Bryan Burrough's terrific 2004 book, hews with considerable, although not complete, fidelity to the historical record.

Like other Mann films, this one offers a lot of ominously rumbling, meticulously embroidered downtime occasionally interrupted by spasms of violence and action. After briefly alluding to Dillinger's prior nine-year prison term, the yarn begins cracklingly with the outlaw engineering the mass escape of old cohorts from the Indiana State Penitentiary. The year is 1933, "the golden age of bank robbery," as a front title puts it, a time when the public readily extended its sympathy to robbers who preyed upon the banks, which many blamed for their financial distress.

The specific sociopolitical conditions of the time are crucial to the story, but one big thing almost entirely missing from "Public Enemies" is the Depression itself. It's suggestive of where Mann's true interests lie -- or perhaps, where they don't -- that one almost never sees poverty, desperation or even poor grooming; everyone here wears fabulous clothes and almost always looks their very best. Dillinger most frequently robbed banks in small or medium-sized towns, but here he only bothers with vast marble palaces of impeccable design.

In Depp's unavoidably attractive impersonation, Dillinger is a personable, somewhat low-key guy who's loyal to his pals and alluring to the ladies, particularly to nightclub coat-check girl Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), who quickly becomes his companion. Advised by his smart criminal cohort Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi) that "what we're doin' won't last forever," Dillinger replies that he has thoughts of doing nothing else because he's "having too much fun."

Karpis proves correct, however, since J. Edgar Hoover's FBI quickly mobilizes to address the mayhem at large in the country's heartland. Hoover (Billy Crudup, disarmingly good) appoints tight-lipped straight arrow Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) to run his Chicago office. Purvis and his crew inexorably put the screws on, just as the city's organized crime syndicate, run by Al Capone's old No. 2, Frank Nitti (Bill Camp), becomes annoyed by the FBI scrutiny aroused by Dillinger and other loose cannons.

So "Public Enemies" emerges as a formidable tapestry documenting the indelible seismic shifts of large criminal and law enforcement entities that significantly define an era. As before in Mann's work, there is a magisterial inevitability to the way the opposing forces gradually converge until violent confrontation is inevitable, a style that justifies the time and attention to detail involved in creating it.

The methodical approach makes the violence particularly startling. The highlight here is a nocturnal attack by Purvis' team on Dillinger, "Baby Face" Nelson (Stephen Graham) and others holed up at the remote Little Bohemia lodge. Much attention is paid to the quality of the gunshots, the sounds really pop, and Dante Spinotti's HD cinematography excels at rendering the darkest possible nighttime blacks upon which the gun blasts expode with bursts of white light.

Script by Irish scribe Ronan Bennett, Mann and Ann Biderman dives intelligently and deeply into its subject, although it is Mann's way to deliberately pare connective tissue, a strategy magnified here by the unintelligibility of a fair amount of dialogue. The chilliness verging on artiness of the style suggests a director bent on suppressing his instincts as a popular entertainer, which would actually be fine if balanced by a warm central performance. Curiously, though, after letting loose in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" pictures and other films, Depp reverts to a more withdrawn, self-regarding posture, portraying Dillinger as a man who, having discovered his role in life, determined to play it according to a script of his own devising.

Bale plays Purvis as a clenched stoic trying to keep his deep tension bottled up, while Cotillard, speaking English with just a slight accent, is lovely and fine as the lady who wins the bad man's heart.

Clad in similar suits and large coats, topped by virtually identical haircuts and given few opportunities to pop out of the backgrounds (it's a variation on the "Black Hawk Down" syndrome), even some of the known secondary players can be difficult to identify. Still, one who does shine is Stephen Lang, from Mann's old "Crime Story" TV show, terrific as the lawman who utters the film's final lines. Ribisi as Karpis, Peter Gerety as Dillinger's shrewd showboating attorney and Branka Katic as the woman who betrays the outlaw to the feds all have their brief moments.

Mann's decision to shoot in HD rather than film again has its plusses and minuses; the detail and depth of field are phenomenal in the dark scenes, but the bright flaring, occasional unnatural movements and excessive detailing of skin flaws remain annoying, as does the insubstantiality of the images compared to those created on film. Digital may represent the future, but the future is not entirely here yet, and the pictorial qualities of Mann's films prior to "Collateral" remain decisively superior to the recent trio.

Other production qualities are exceptional across the board, and extensive location work in Illinois and Wisconsin pays off in physical authenticity. Elliot Goldenthal's brooding score combines with period music to create an effectively eclectic soundtrack. With: John Ortiz, Giovanni Ribisi, David Wenham, John Michael Bolger, Bill Camp, Matt Craven, Don Frye, Stephen Graham, Peter Gerety, Shawn Hatosy, Spencer Garrett, John Hoogenakker, Branka Katic, Domenick Lombardozzi, Ed Bruce, James Russo, Christian Stolte, Channing Tatum, Carey Mulligan, Casey Siemaszko, Lili Taylor, Leelee Sobieski.
 
Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Dante Spinotti; editors, Paul Rubell, Jeffrey Ford; music, Elliot Goldenthal; music supervisors, Bob Badami, Kathy Nelson; production designer, Nathan Crowley; supervising art director, Patrick Lumb; art director, William Ladd Skinner; set designers, David Krummel, David Tennenbaum, Jeff B. Adams Jr., Karen Fletcher Trujillo, Robert Woodruff, Kevin Depinet, Scott Matula; set decorator, Rosemary Brandenburg; costume designer, Colleen Atwood; sound (DTS/SDDS/Dolby Digital), Ed Novick; supervising sound editors, Laurent Kossayan, Jeremy Peirson; re-recording mixers, Kevin O'Connell, Beau Borders; special visual effects, Illusion Arts, VFX Collective, Hammerhead, Invisible Effects, Wildfire Visual Effects, Pixel Playground, Lowry Digital; visual effects supervisor, Robert Stadd; special effects supervisor, Bruno Van Zeebroeck; stunt coordinator, Darrin Prescott; associate producer, Maria Norman; assistant director, Bob Wagner; second unit directors, Michael Waxman, Bryan H. Carroll; second unit camera, Gary Jay; casting, Avy Kaufman, Bonnie Timmermann. Reviewed at Los Angeles Film Festival (Centerpiece Screening), June 23, 2009. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 140 MIN.
 

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/story.asp?l=story&r=VE1117940559&c=31

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« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2009, 07:51:58 PM »

Well I guess we'll see, I don't recognize besides Bale & Depp any of the supporting cast not by name anyway.

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« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2009, 07:56:51 PM »

Stephen Dorff? Stephen Lang? Lili Taylor? Channing Tatum? Giovanni Ribisi? David Wenham? James Russo? Billy Crudup?

Not exactly a group of A-listers, but it would surprise me if you aren't familiar with at least a few of them.

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« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2009, 07:59:33 PM »

Yeah, Joe, I can't believe you don't remember Stephen Lang. He was Pickett in Gettysburg, and Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals.

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