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Non-Review Review: Gangster Squad

To suggest that Gangster Squad favours style over substance feels like an understatement. Although the prologue claims that Gangster Squad was “inspired” by the true story of Mickey Cohen, it seems to favour mythic figures and sweeping action over real characters and nuanced drama. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For most of its runtime, Gangster Squad feels like a trashy and update of a forties or fifties B-movie, cheap and nasty far executed with enough speed and charm to entertain. Occasionally the movie seems to falter – it clumsily attempts to shoehorn in some social commentary into this bright and colourful vigilante tale – but director Ruben Fleischer works well to keep things balanced. The wheels come off a bit towards the end, as Fleischer demonstrates he handles atmosphere better than action, but for most of its runtime Gangster Squad is a diverting piece of cheesy nostalgia.

This new plan is working gangbusters!

This new plan is working gangbusters!

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Non-Review Review: Superman/Batman – Public Enemies

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Explain our guy love, that’s all it is.
Guy love; he’s mine, I’m his.
There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes. 

You ask me ’bout this thing we share…
…and he tenderly replies:
It’s guy love…
…between two guys. 

– Turk & JD explain “guy love” 

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is essentially a superhero bromance. It’s part buddy cop movie, part long-term married couple, but all action. It’s not really anything more, but would you want it to be? 

He ain't heavy, he's my superpowered bro'...

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Public Enemies is better on DVD…

My dad happened to rent out Public Enemies on bluray over the weekend. I was somewhat disappointed when I went to see it in the cinema – and a large portion of my disappointment arose from Michael Mann’s filming style; he filmed in digital rather than on film and used handheld cameras. The effect was somewhat disconcerting in a 1930s period piece, looking almost like my dad had shot it on his handheld camcorder. It appears that a smaller screen (a High Definition TV) works wonders in remedying these technical faults.

publicenemies

Would it look even better on my iPod?

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Summer 2009 in Review…

So, how was it for you? 

Long after the movies of summer are gone...

Long after the movies of summer are gone...

 

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A Man’s Mann…

I have to confess I was not overly impressed with Public Enemies. In fairness, it was mostly down to the choices Mann made in filming the work – the high definition cameras and the insistence on shakey hand held movement. You might argue that it was a choice designed to place us in the real world of the Great Depression – to put us on the streets with Dillinger and immerse us in his world rather than the sanitised grandiose version of the 1930’s that typically finds its way on to our screens. This ignores one fundamental fact about Mann’s film making: it is no less grandiose or fantastic than those myths of times past. Mann is a film maker who works best exploring the dynamics of a masculine ideal that never existed. His male characters are drawn in the mold of a classic image that never actually existed.

I'll bet Pacino ordered the Large Ham. Overdone. VERY LOUDLY!

I'll bet Pacino ordered the Large Ham. Overdone. VERY LOUDLY!

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Non-Review Review: Public Enemies

I want to love this film. I really do. I enjoyed Miami Vice, so devoted am I to the cult of Mann and his study of the modern man lost in the world of violence and suffering. And Public Enemies has a lot going for it, it does. A fantastic cast, a better-than-fantastic lead, a solid script. On the other hand, the film is, technically speaking, a mess. And not the good kind of mess.

Don't get Christian Bale angry... He won't like you when he's angry...

Don't get Christian Bale angry... He won't like you when he's angry...

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Christian Bale & Johnny Depp’s Set Diaries from Public Enemies!

I’m not a big fan of posting stuff I find on-line at the blog (I’ll generally link to the article and offer my own reaction to it), but this was too fun to pass up:

Television Without Pity has this lovely photo journal contrasting Christian Bale and Johnny Depp’s approach to making Public Enemies. Click the link or the picture. It is one of the funniest film-related articles I’ve read in quite some time.

Check out our own review of the film here.

Then we stopped by a Steak n Shake for a Steakburger (I love those fucking things), but the waitress forgot my fucking chili. I knew it was going to be a problem when she didn't fucking write anything down. "It's all up here!" she said. FUCKING LIAR. How does someone get to become a waitress without the ability to remember a fucking order?

"Then we stopped by a Steak n Shake for a Steakburger (I love those f@!?ing things), but the waitress forgot my f@!?ing chili. I knew it was going to be a problem when she didn't f@!?ing write anything down. "It's all up here!" she said. F@!?ING LIAR. How does someone get to become a waitress without the ability to remember a f@!?ing order?"