Friday, 31 December 2010

Michael Mann's Top Grossing Movies

Want to know Michael Mann's top grossing films? Here they all are at

Unsurprisingly, Collateral comes out top with the pulling power of Tom Cruise and an oscar nominated performance by Jamie Fox boosting sales. Total gross was $100,170,152. Public Enemies came a close second with $97,104,620. The Keep came bottom with just $3,661,757.

The Keep analyzed by FerdyonFilms

Here is a helpful analysis of The Keep by Roderick Heath at Ferdy on Films.

An extract is below, but the full article can be found here:

Like Ridley Scott, Terence Malick, and a few other visually oriented directors of the time, Mann experimented with dispensing with the traditional brackets of narrative and tried to realise story through a kind of running montage. The Keep builds to one of Mann’s most hypnotic climaxes, cutting between Cuza bringing a gleaming talisman out of the cavern, and Glaeken climbing out of the ravine to save the day. The human and elemental dramas dovetail at last when Eva tries to prevent her father from removing the talisman from the Keep, prompting Malasar to demand of Cuza that he kill her and move on. As if in humanistic rewrite of the Abraham and Isaac myth, Cuza turns on the beast and demands of it, “Who are you that I should prove myself by killing my daughter?” before insisting that if the talisman is Malasar’s, he should be able to take it out himself. Infuriated, Malasar reduces Cuza to his crippled state again, but before he can kill Cuza and Eva, Glaeken walks in with his cosmic bazooka to scrub Malasar out, even at the cost of his own life on earth.

Read full article

Michael Mann's Luck 2011 filming schedule

Santa Anita horse racing track, the star location of the forthcoming Michael Mann produced TV show, has needed its synthetic track to be replaced by a traditional dirt track disrupting a little the tight filming schedules. Here is an article from last October for anyone interested.

Mike Willman of Trackside Review reported from Santa Anita Park the following shoot schedule for 2011 and provides information on who is directing. Episode three is said to be directed by Phillip Noyce (who recently shot "Salt").

ARCADIA, Calif. — Production on the pilot and first two episodes of  Home Box Office’s (HBO) highly anticipated series, “Luck,” has been nearly completed and production and shooting for episode Three will resume at Santa Anita on Jan. 10.
“Luck,” which stars several “A List” actors, including Dustin Hoffman, is the brainchild of world renowned writer/producer David Milch, and is being shot in large-part at Santa Anita.
“Their production crew completed two weeks of work on and around the racetrack last week,” said Santa Anita Community and Special Events Coordinator Pete Siberell.  “The pilot was completed several months ago and this will enable them to finish their work on the first two episodes.”

Full article here

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Michael Gambon joins stella cast on "Luck"

Many of you will know Michael Gambon. If you don't, you will recognise him from either The Insider or more famously, the Harry Potter movies (which I have no love for). He is being cast in Michael Mann's new TV series, "Luck". For other casting information on "Luck" visit IMDB, or see this link to

American Cinematographer Magazine

You cannot be a Michael Mann fan without being a true appreciator of fine cinematography - a hallmark of every movie he has made. There are a number of American Cinematographer back issues you can purchase that feature interviews with top cinematographers, but I think the ones featuring Mann films are regretfully now out of stock, as a quick search didn't bring them up. However, all is not lost as they provide back issues in digital format too, going back to May 2007. So the Public Enemies feature can be downloaded at just $5.95. For those who don't know what an issue looks like, check this November 2010 issue out. Nothing Mann related in this issue, but I have been a subscriber and its worth every penny. Enjoy. Just click the Expand button to view it full size.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Michael Mann's next movie might still be the Capa Biopic

Andrew Garfield
Gemma Arterton

Just when it seemed certain that Mann's next big movie would be Big Tuna, a fellow film and Mann fan, Niles, sent me a link to this article, which starts out with:

Despite a number of gestating go-to film projects on Michael Mann‘s plate including a long gestating adaptation of Ernest Hemingway‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls;” the medieval tale “Agincourt” based on the novel by Bernard Cromwell and the gangster pic “Big Tuna” being written by “Up In The Air” scribe Sheldon Turner it looks like movement is coming together on a film that has been kicking around for a little while now.
Speaking with Total Film (via Up And Comers) after being tipped by the mag as Hottest Actress of 2010, Gemma Arterton was more than happy to spill the beans on what she’s up to next. And one of those projects is apparently Michael Mann’s “Capa,” a biopic of war photographer Robert Capa and she says she will be joined by another hot actor, Andrew Garfield.
Read full article here

I see more potential in the Capa movie. A detailed character study, which sounds delicious. Though I fear it will not make a studio much money. Just isn't commercial enough subject matter. But film and Mann aficionados will have something to look forward to. With actors already penned, I would now think from this information that the Capa biopic is going to be the next movie, rather than Big Tuna. It would be unusual to have two gangster movies back to back.

For commercial success, Mann needs to do an ultra high tech CIA / Al-Quaede intelligence film, with undertones of international espionage and ulterior political motives. Like Heat, one will need a major gun battle, perhaps covert missions of the US CIA working with Russian special forces to halt the running of opium smuggling operations out of Afghanistan for a side story. It will be The Insider on steroids. Hands up who would like to see that movie?

Monday, 27 December 2010

The Conversations: Michael Mann

There is an awful lot of information out there about Michael Mann, and views on his films. Here are some ramblings covering most of Mann's movies. I don't agree with all they comment on, but there are some useful comments for those studying Mann. The screenshots are a good touch too.

Here is the link.

Let me know if you want me to cover anything specific, that you haven't yet found on this blog. If anyone reads this blog and has been part of his crew, would be great to hear from you, even if off the record (which I always respect if requested).

Stuart Beattie talks about writing Collateral ScreenPlay

Writers are incredibly the last on the list in receiving public appreciation, especially screenplay writers. J.K. Rowling reversed that trend slightly, but think about it: The one indispensable person on a movie/TV set is the writer. Without the writer there is no story. Everything hangs on the story. Collateral is one of those movies lauded for its original screenplay. Here is an interview with Stuart Beattie who penned Collateral and talks about its creation:

The Keep now available at NetFlix

The Keep still isn't available on DVD but the good news is that as of early this December I discovered you can now get it on NetFlix, the streaming service for niche movies.

Read the write up, which concludes with:
Fans of Michael Mann, Ian McKellan or 1980’s genre movies need to see The Keep. As a long-unavailable piece of modern movie history it’s one of the most joyous discoveries on Netflix Instant Streaming. It’s not very good, but at least it’s utterly fascinating.
Here is the link to the article, with the streaming link here.

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Keep's Biggest Fan

Everyone has their favourite Michael Mann movie, each for a particular reason uniquely known to each one of us. The Keep is one of those movies that steps outside Mann's usual genre and has attracted criticism, but also praise. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I doubt there is a greater appreciator of The Keep than the gentleman who set up the fansite I am linking to here. The man behind it is St├ęphane Piter, who introduces himself by saying:

I have a particular weak spot for a certain enigmatic and entrancing film from 1983 called ‘The Keep’. Ever since I first saw this film I have been collecting articles and interviews with the cast and crew involved, in order to find the film’s weaknesses, successes and failures to reveal the true story behind it.
Michael Mann has fired my imagination since the beginning. His technique of filming, editing and stylising his characters gives an impression of greatness, depth and suspense.
Take a look at the site, where there is just about everything you probably need to know about The Keep. You have to forgive his imperfect English translations of some interviews, but a small price to pay for this guy's passion for the movie. A big fan, he managed to meet Mann very briefly at one of Mann's collateral promotional events in France and collected an autograph. Anyone else out there met Mann and have his autograph? Would love to hear your story and experience.

Since the site is like the big fansite over at John Mounsey's Manhunter site, there is little point repeating it all here. Give the guy a visit and appreciate all his work collecting everything to do with The Keep! Visit his site by clicking here.

Michael Mann Keep Interview

Here is good interview regarding the process behind Michael Mann directing The Keep. Who would have known that the Romanian village was filmed in Wales! I was also surprised when at the end of the interview he answered these questions in the following way:

What other films or filmmakers have impressed you or influenced you?
You're influenced by who you like. I like Kubrick, I like Resnais immensely. I like Tarkovsky, although there's very little in Tarkovsky I'd want to do myself. In fact I fell asleep through half of So­laris, but I still love it. And Stalker. He has a Russian, suffering nerve of pace that it's hard to relate to, but you can't help being impressed and moved by what you see.

Do you want to produce films?
Yes, because there are more pictures I would like to see made than I can make or want to make. A case in point is a screenplay I wrote called Heat, which I love. As a writer, I really want to see this picture made. But as a director I don't want to touch it.

Mann then goes on to answer other detailed questions about the film, and rather interestingly about the notion of evil - something that is a vein throughout his movies - this constant counteraction of both good and bad in life:

But in this fairy tale we find the Nazi Wehrmacht – men dressed in totemic black uniforms with swastikas – things we can recognize and which set up a response.

Actually only about one-fifth of the film is involved with the Wehrmacht and the character of the Captain played by Jurgen Prochnow. The film revolves around a character called Glaeken Tris­megistus, who wakes up after a deep sleep in a transient, merchant-marine setting some place in Greece in 1941. The movie revolves around him and his conflict, which seems to be fated, with a character called Roderick Molasar. The end of the conflict seems to fate him toward destruction. He may destroy Molasar or Molasar may destroy him, but in either case Glaeken Trismegistus must go to the keep.

And in the course of coming to the keep to confront Molasar, he has a ro mance with Eva, whose father is a Medi aeval historian named Dr. Cuza, very quick, very smart. At a moment in his tory when he is powerless – a Socialist Jew in Fascist Romania – Cuza is of fered the potential to ally himself with immense power. For him it's a deliver ance. And as a bonus he also gets rejuve nated. So he's seduced into attaching himself to this power in the keep.

And Molasar comes to life by taking the power, the souls, of the Wehrmacht Nazis.

What happens is that after the second time you've seen him, Molasar changes. And he seems to change after people are killed. After he kills things. It's almost as if he accrues to himself their matter. Not their souls; he doesn't suck their blood. It's a thing unexplained, his transforma­tion is seen visually. He evolves through three different stages in the movie. He gets more and more complete. He starts as a cloud of imploding particles, then he evolves a nervous system, then he evolves a skeleton and musculature, and at the third state he's complete. And then it's a bit ironic when he's complete, because there's a great resemblance to Glaeken Trismegistus.

Is he evil personified?

No. Well, yes he is. Yes, Evil Personi fied. But what is evil?

Try Satan? Or Lucifer?

Yes, but think about that. Satan in Paradise Lost is the most exciting charac­ter in the book. He's rebellious, he's independent, he doesn't like authority. If you think about it, Satan could almost be played by John Wayne. I mean the Reaganire, independent, individualist spirit. It's all bullshit, but that's the cul­tural myth that the appeal taps into.

Is Glaeken Trismegistus the alter ego of Molasar? Is he the good side?

No, he's not. I tried to find a more surreal logic to the characters; so that there's nothing Satanic about Molasar. He's just sheer power, and the appeal of power, and the worship of power, a be lief in power, a seduction of power. And Molasar is very, very deceptive. When we first meet him, we too believe that he is absolute salvation. And it's all a con. Now when Glaeken shows up, the first thing he does is seduce Eva Cuza. So my intent in designing those characters was to make then not black-and-white. I put in things that are not normally consid ered to be good into Glaeken and qualities that are not evil into Molasar.

Read full interview by clicking here.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Big Tuna is Michael Mann's next movie

It has been announced that Michael Mann's next movie will be "Big Tuna", according to Variety magazine.

It is a biopic of Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana.  Looks as though this may be a more deeply refined version of Public Enemies. The police photo of Accardo is reminsicent of the ones we became familiar with in the form of dillinger. Yet Accardo's face looks more thoughtful and reflective, than the empty, though flamboyant arrogance of Dillinger.

The screenplay will be written by Sheldon Turner and financed by Mann himself. Sheldon alone is reported to be charging him a seven figure sum, so it has to work for Mann. It would appear that Michael Mann could not find a studio to get behind the project so is going alone. Hardly a surprise, since a Chicago mob movie is going to have to be very special to attract the audiences required to satisfy nervous studios.

So the speculation seems to be over. "Big Tuna" it is... slightly disappointed at this choice as I think he is good at studying modern relationships, but I will take it as it comes - whichever way it swings, it is afterall a Michael Mann movie, and that is something to look forward too.  We also have "Luck" to come as a bonus.