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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #3!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Grace Duffy, Ronan Doyle, Jay Coyle and Alex Towers from When Irish Eyes Are Watching to discuss the week in film news. We may all have been sneaking out to catch Zodiac at the Lighthouse, so it’s a fast-paced discussion this week. Highlights include chance encounters at a midnight screening of Michael Mann’s Heat, trying to make sense of The Sisters Brothers, and the bizarre premise that is Monkey Shines.

In terms of film news, the big news of the week is given over to the announcement of the Academy Awards nominations and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival launch, along with the passing of Jonas Mekas.

The top ten:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Bumblebee
  3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  4. Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet
  5. The Favourite
  6. The Upside
  7. Mary Poppins Returns
  8. Stan and Ollie
  9. Mary Queen of Scots
  10. Glass

New releases:

You can download the episode here, or listen to it below.

Non-Review Review: Den of Thieves

Heat was not the first cops and robbers film to parallel the opposite sides playing for control of the board, suggesting lives on a collision course inside a gritty crime epic.

However, Heat did it better than most. Heat inspired an entire generation of film fans, and arguably an entire subgenre of heist movie. Los Angeles had always lent itself to operatic crime sagas, with triumph and tragedy playing off against one another in the City of Angels, but Heat redefined the game. The movie developed a style of storytelling, both in terms of actual technical craft and in terms of storytelling construction.

Mann of Today.

Success breeds imitation, and there have been far too many crime films inspired by Michael Mann’s classic, to the point that many film fans were disappointed to discover that Mann himself had not adhered to the template in making Public Enemies. Almost every year, there seems to be another example of a movie constructed in the image of Heat, from Takers to The Town. The quality varies from film to film, as does the level of innovation and inspiration.

Den of Thieves is rather brazen in how much it takes from Heat, lifting both the crime classic’s cinematic language and even direct scenes. The result is a lukewarm reHeat of an exquisite meal, something to which the movie cheekily alludes towards the end of its climactic heist when one character literally serves up days-old leftovers. It isn’t anywhere near as filling or satisfying as the original meal, but it can satisfy a craving.

You definitely feel the Heat around the corner.

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59. Heat (#124)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and this week with special guests Phil Bagnall and Joe Griffin, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every second Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode between them.

This time, Michael Mann’s Heat.

Michael Mann’s Los Angeles crime epic finds lives intersecting and overlapping in the City of Angels. At the heart of the story, career criminal Neil McCauley and driven detective Vincent Hanna find themselves on a collision course that leave countless lives shattered in their wake.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 124th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: The Heat

At one point in The Heat, Officer Mullins offers her new partner a sandwich. It’s been there all week, but it’s okay. “It’s cheese,” Mullins asserts. “It never goes off.” In a single line, Mullins accounts for the strange charm of The Heat, a film that isn’t consistently hilarious or shockingly innovative, but manages to pack a reasonable number of laughs into an admittedly overlong runtime. The Heat feels like a nostalgic trip back to the era of the buddy comedy.

The soundtrack is saturated with hits of the early nineties – at one point Mullins and Ashburn dance to Groove is in the Heart, while at another the duo bust a party boat (the “U.S.S. Tanked”) as it plays We Like to Party (The Vengabus). The Heat is pretty much the most stereotypical police buddy comedy you could imagine, with only the novelty of being headlined by two well-respect female comedians to distinguish it.

That’s not a bad thing. There are worse comedic combinations than Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. The problem is that The Heat never challenges the duo. There’s a sense the pair could have made the film in their sleep.

Never mind the Bullock...

Never mind the Bullock…

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Non-Review Review: Collateral

Collateral is a masterpiece. I think the only Michael Mann movie I’d rate against it would be Heat, which puts it in very good company. It’s probably my favourite neo-noir film, and I actually ranked it as my favourite film of 2000-2009. There are a lot of reasons for that: I think it’s the best example of digital video cinematography I’ve ever seen, the script is superb, the two leads are fantastic and it’s an utterly compelling examination of urban isolation. The screenplay was originally set in Manhattan, but I think the decision to transpose the story of a cabbie and his client to Los Angeles was actually quite clever – there’s generally an eerie emptiness and anomie to how life in Los Angeles is portrayed, and Collateral captures it perfectly.

Top gun...

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Non-Review Review: Heat

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “nineties noir” – I’ll be looking at two of the finest noir-inspired films of the nineties.

I do what I do best, I take scores. You do what you best, try to stop guys like me.

– Neil McCauley to Vincent Hanna

I’ll be honest and concede that, right off the bat, I have a lot more love for Heat than most. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t labour under the assumption that it’s a poorly-received film (it’s rare to find someone who will concede that they dislike it), but I still have a stronger affection for Heat than the vast majority of viewers. I was only ten years old when Heat was released, and I think that was a big a moment for me. My ten-year-old self was familiar with big, sprawling epic sagas, but I think I used to believe that these sorts of epics were reserved for stories set in times long past. I think, in my innocence (or foolishness, depending on how kind you wish to be to my younger self), I felt that epic stories didn’t really happen anymore.

And then I saw Heat, which somehow managed to take an epic, sprawling narrative style which – at the time – I could only remember from films like Dances With Wolves or Cleopatra or Gone With The Wind, and applied it to cops and robbers. If I were to construct a list of films which helped me fall in love with cinema, Heat would be on there. Pretty high, too.

It's a whole different ballgame...

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On Second Thoughts Re-View Review: The Town (Extended Cut)

Sometimes when I see a movie a second time, I see a little bit more. Sometimes it’s watching an alternate cut or something, but it can be as simple as watching the movie a second time and knowing how it’ll end the whole way through. So I thought I’d try something new. I’d make notes on what I thought of certain films when I saw them a second time – let’s call it a “re-view review”, eh? Maybe they’ll become a semi-regular fixture.

When I first caught The Town, I admitted to being a bit disappointed with it. It was a good film, but it wasn’t quite as consistently brilliant as many people had led to me to believe. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it (get more of my thoughts on it by checking out the review) but it just seemed like something was missing from the film, even if I didn’t know what. So, when dad returned from the video shop with it on Friday, we all sat down to watch the special “extended cut” of Ben Affleck’s film. And I absolutely loved it.

Hamming it up a notch...

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