Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Luck Pilot on VideoWeed

In my frustration in not being able to see Luck I found an alternative over at VideoWeed. Seems very naughty of the site and you have to endure interrupting adverts periodically. The quality is also poor, but good enough to watch full screen on a 15" laptop at a distance - just. If you are desperate for a glimpse of Luck, then try this:

If they haven't paid for it, then I am sure HBO will be closing it down fairly quickly.

I will post a review of Luck shortly (late now here in UK and all this late night blogging and tweeting is not good for the work that pays for my bread!). I would love to write it now, because Luck met all my expectations. I really loved it. I just connect with almost anything Mann does, and he brings the best out of the entire production. Superb dialogue by Milch, and extremely skilled changes of pace throughout. Very much reminded me of the construction of The Insider... lots of multiple conversations all interrelated and fascinating. I am deeply frustrated with the tepid, lazy reviews I have seen of the first pilot of Luck. It deserves much higher praise and examination. I found it stunning, from the quality of acting to the cinematography to the music. All the talk of poor audio seems nonsense to me - I found it perfectly legible. More on Luck later!

It does a disservice to the effort gone into the quality of Luck to watch it on VideoWeed, so if you can wait, I would...  but I couldn't! Can't wait to see it properly next February, on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Luck Season 1: An Invitation to the Set

For UK fans looking forward to Michael Mann's HBO Luck, here is a longer behind the scenes video featuring all the cast of Luck! I think it brilliantly sums up Luck and, also what I think... that to get the most out of this series, you just have to keep watching and gradually become immersed in the lives of those characters in it. I like the quote from Tom Payne, who say's: "everyone's luck is based on everyone elses luck." I am expecting an intricate storyline that will fascinate us. Thank you David Milch.

HBO Luck Pilot Reviews

Being stuck in the UK, it is frustrating to be missing the HBO Luck 'sneak peek' party. But for your convenience I have pulled out some of the latest online reviews of the pilot that reveal mixed feelings, that are largely reflected in the twitter universe. From all the reactions, there seems to be largely cautious anticipation for the rest of the series, having been impressed by cast and "look", but confused by the 'in at the deep end' dialogue and naturalistic sound mixing (which is now common in a Mann production - Miami Vice had similar dialogue sound criticisms).

The overall consensus, I sense, is that there wasn't enough in the pilot to see where it is going (short Hoffman screen time), but there was more than enough to generate the want to see more and see what Milch is going to give us. As with any worthwhile, absorbing and character driven storylines, it has to slow burn before the viewer can 'feel' the inside of what is happening.

I get the impression that Michael Mann receives praise across the board for clear leadership and direction in the overall colour pallet, look and style - so can't wait to see it!

I will cut to the chase. Here is a selection of media reviews for you to consume:


LA TImes



Owning Racehorses

What a culture

Entertainment Weekly

Hit Fix


PaulLickReport (Various public comments)



Daily Racing Form

Huffington Post


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Tonight's HBO Luck Sneak Peek

Finally, the world gets to see a better glimpse as to how big Michael Mann/Milch's cinematic "Luck" is going to be with a sneak peek preview of the show at 10.00pm on HBO in the US tonight (after Boardwalk Empire finale).

Since I am based in the UK I am missing the whole party! But I received tweets from Tom Payne and the awesome John Otiz, which cheered me up! The buzz is finally getting louder, and I am hearing that Nick Nolte could even pull the heartstrings as the horse lover. Let's face it... the cast of Luck is just breathtaking. All the trailers that HBO are releasing are trying their hardest to reveal them all adequately. I am losing count of how many iterations there are, but the below is one of the recent ones.

Check out the HBO tweets!

I am off to bed... I look forward to hearing what all you lucky Americans think of "Luck". If you are reading this, please leave a comment. I want to hear all about it!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The HBO December Luck Train is Coming Very Soon

It is all "Luck" at the moment, as preparations hot up for the greatly anticipated Premier episode taster due on Dec. 11, at 10:00 p.m., following the season 2 finale of Boardwalk Empire. Being a UK resident, I won't be seeing it (Doesn't come to us Brits until February). Now, if I was an entertainment magazine staff writer I may well be receiving the full nine-episode season to review, according to Stuart Levine at Variety. Click here for all the details. We will shortly be reading a lot of exclusives and seeing newly released promotional images in all those glossies.

The official series debut Sunday, Jan 29 with the remainder of the 9-episode season debuting on subsequent Sundays.

I am hearing rumblings that John Ortiz is superb in it. I loved his convincing role in Miami Vice, and he maximised his quirky role in Public Enemies too. I predict some serious awards will be coming Luck's way, and it would be fitting for John Ortiz to finally get wider recognition. Of course, Dustin Hoffman will receive the most attention, and all in all, I think Luck will become the pinnacle of modern day TV achievement. Quite a statement. Hope I am right. But being in the UK, I won't know until February, when it first airs on this side of the Atlantic.

I guess all the exclusives appearing out there will drown out this blog. I will bow out gracefully. With Luck to now enjoy, we can also be sure Michael Mann will not have had his feet up. Let's see what else pops up on his horizon... remember all that talk about Agincourt, Robert Capa and so on?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

HBO Sky Atlantic Luck Debut in the UK

Sky television's 'Sky Atlantic' Facebook page has a comment left by one of their people stating that HBO's Luck will not be airing on Sky Atlantic until February. They write, "we will be airing in soon after the US, in February next year" (2012). Given the debut for the US HBO Channel is Sunday, January 29th, February is indeed 'soon' after, but how soon is still unclear. It means I won't be able to blog immediately after each episode. I am sure you will survive...

There is no indication that the UK will have a special preview of the series either, as there is in the US in December. I could say we are "out of Luck" in the UK, but I think the "Luck" jokes will soon be wearing thin!

Public Enemies Michael Mann and Actor Interviews

Michael Mann Public Enemies Interview

If Public Enemies was your favourite Michael Mann film, then here are some additional interviews that may be of interest. There is a brief Johnny Depp interview where he reveals one of his genuine talents (as if he doesn't have enough already) is with aiming a gun, having grown up with them during his childhood. Christian Bale offers a full interview too. Unfortunately there are no embed sharing options for the videos, so I include the links below:

Michael Mann Interview: Public Enemies

Depp & Bale Talk Guns: Public Enemies

Christian Bale Full Interview: Public Enemies

Marion Cotillard  Full Interview: Public Enemies

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Latest "Quiet" HBO Luck Trailer

Yet another edited version of the HBO Luck trailer. Luscious cinematography. Lots of energy.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ali "running" shot

With scant new news on Michael Mann's endeavours (wimper), I came across this fascinating website that uses one of my favourite tunes of the moment: Arcade Fires "We Used to Wait". A website has been set up that has a fascinating use of HTML 5... it is full of brilliant surprises for the visually / musically / artfully minded! Be sure to put in your place of birth or it won't work. What is additionally great, is the superbly stunning opening film. It reminded me immediately of Michael Mann's Ali "running" sequence. A direct influence, possibly! But it looks stunning. So what the heck, I share it here.


What do you think?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Michael Mann HBO Luck New Updated Trailer

A new trailer for HBO Luck this November. This one contains the much waited for compilation with extra dialogue, which gives us a better foretaste of what is to come. It doesn't disappoint and the extra visuals serve to only excite my anticipation. It looks beautiful, dynamic, intelligent and emotive. What more do we need? Sunday 29th January the official series premier date of HBO Luck.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Michael Mann blog changing domain name

In an effort to make this blog more visible to Michael Mann fans I will be changing the domain of this site from www.michael-mann.blogspot.com to simply www.michael-mann.net (best domain I could get).

If you have an RSS feed to this site, you might need to change it once the new URL goes live. I am not totally sure what the consequences are, but this is a heads up. I may lose google rankings, so for a while perhaps, this site may not be featured as prominently as it was.

Whilst talking "blogging", may I just convey my thanks for stopping by my site. There is a deceptively large amount of information here, perhaps more than anywhere else, on the subject of Michael Mann.  I welcome any recommendations on how to improve this site more in terms of presentation, technical set up, and mention if you want to see anything else covered. I am aware of a shortfall on info on Thief, Manhunter and Ali especially.

Regular visitors will know about the social network site I set up, which I haven't really had time to properly input content into. The good part is that there is nothing stopping you guys populating it with information for the good of all.

If you are on Google, then do please express your support of this site by "following" it. There must be more than 15 Michael Mann fans out there who use Google!!!! I look at the Michael Mann facebook page and admire the level of interest there. I think people genuinely think he is Michael Mann. Guys... it isn't.

Thanks for your interest, and three cheers for Michael Mann ;-). Looking forward to Luck.

The new domain will go live over the next 7-10 days.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

HBO Luck to Premier December

Great news and a pre-Christmas treat! HBO will be premiering Michael Mann's HBO Luck December 11 at 10.00pm ET/PT on HBO. This brings the show forward for airing by a month, as it was originally scheduled for release in January 2012. However, we will have to wait until January to see subsequent shows. HBO posted the following on Twitter:

"Note that #LUCK makes its official series debut Sunday, Jan 29 with the remainder of the 9-episode season debuting on subsequent Sundays."

Gosh, I need to hurry and get my Sky subscription sorted! From what I know, you can't get HBO Atlantic channel on Virgin Media.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Brian Cox talks about the enduring nature of Michael Mann's Manhunter

Celebrating the release of Michael Mann's Manhunter on BluRay, there have been numerous articles written on this highly regarded cult classic. What appealed to me about this article is that it is a very recent interview with Brian Cox who played Lector, providing additional insight for those either new or familiar with the film. He comments about the music that back then had an 80's sound that now dates the film, which could have been avoided. In a sense I think he is right, but on another level, I actually think the music still works if creating the correct mindset and context to receive it. It is powerful stuff. Overall, Cox is very positive about the film.

Here is a quote from the article that reveals something unique about Mann's approach in Manhunter:

I think it’s interesting, though, that Mann trimmed out some of the more excessive parts of the novel, and made a much more simmering film.
He wanted to imply more, and I think he succeeded in implying evil rather than showing it. I think the opening sequence, when we go through the house while the killing’s taking place – he did it. All the videos of the families. You know their fates, but he doesn’t dwell on any of it.
It’s way, way ahead of its time. I mean, CSI and all those programmes have all virtually ripped that off, in an amazing, successful way. The chemical aspect of criminality. That whole scientific thing.
Michael [Mann] was all about the unsaid rather than the said, and [William Petersen], who every time I see the film, I think his performance gets better and better, because it’s so wrought and tight.
The full article can be read here: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/1075052/brian_cox_interview_manhunter_hannibal_the_cannibal_adaptation_michael_mann_and_brett_ratner.html

See a video analysis here:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Michael Mann and David Milch still in Luck? And HBO "Luck" forum online.

Rumours are that the tensions between Michael Mann and David Milch have maybe caused Milch to look for work elsewhere. I hope that isn't the case, because I think the two men, despite the creative difficulties in sharing a vision, have the capacity to change how we view TV, again. Just like Mann did with Miami Vice. Read this recent article to get the full scoop.

While I am posting, can I also direct you to the HBO "Luck" forum, which features all the latest news and information surrounding Luck. It is quiet there at the moment, but no doubt will explode into frenzied action once people realise how special this series is going to be. It will be huge.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Tom Payne as Leon "Bug Boy" Micheaux in Michael Mann's Luck

One of the extraordinary leaps into the now fashionable "Hollywood TV" has been made in quiet, yet blockbusting style, by British actor Tom Payne. Payne is playing the character Leon "Bug Boy" Micheaux in Michael Mann's forthcoming "Luck" coming to our screens in January. I first came across Tom Payne on TV playing a handsome, popular and self confident high school student, Brett Aspinall, in the UK TV series Waterloo Road (2007-08). He is instantly likable, in the way that you wish he wasn't, because like Justin Timberlake, he is brilliantly talented, has the looks, and can put the two together. Men hate that. I recall seeing him on screen for the first time and the immediate impression was he would be a star of the future. I wasn't alone thinking this. He was named as one of Screen International magazine's stars of tomorrow 2007.

Payne oozes screen presence, and has the confidence in his acting to take you on his journey in character. It is in Payne's  ability to bring you into his interior world that sets him apart and enabled him to impress one of the most discerning character actor directors in the world: Michael Mann. Mann has worked with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Daniel Day Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, James Caan, William Petersen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina.... the list is long, illustrious and still not finished. More recently, Mann is adding Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and the new kid on the block: Tom Payne. Except Payne is no kid. When playing Brett in Waterloo Road his real life age was 24, but his character was a 17 year old. It is perhaps his mature, yet youthful appearance that lends strength and certain niche to Payne's offering as an actor. In Luck, he plays the horse jockey Leon and at 5'7" in height he can pull it off. The average height of a horse jockey is said to be 5'6". It is clear that Payne has the specific ingredients Mann was looking for in this anticipated role within Luck.

With Michael Mann's illustrious history of casting, the challenge is certainly on for Payne to impress as he steps onto set with Hoffman and Nolte. We only have a glimpse of Payne playing Leon in the current two versions of the Luck trailers currently released by HBO. We see him walking past the stands looking uncertain (in character) in the first trailer, and then in the second trailer we see him in the gates on horseback about to race. Both clips are enough to see, in my opinion, he has found character. Payne will have discovered Mann's passion for realism and detail, and this would be to Payne's liking, having himself wanted to add detail for his role as football legend George Best - which required more chest hair! Horse racing is a huge learning curve, and Mann's boot camp for learning skill sets required for roles is well known. Future interviews will no doubt reveal the extent of Payne's race training.

Payne didn't just jump from Waterloo Road to Luck. He appeared in a number of other TV movies and appearances. Yet intriguingly, none of these gave him the exposure that Waterloo Road provided him. Waterloo Road, whilst mainstream BBC drama, was high quality and creative. Musical montage sequences gave emotional, indepth edge to it, a style that has since been copied by other TV series. It was quality acting, excellent dialogue and fun. It is not obvious to understand how Payne landed the part in Luck, despite acknowledging his obvious talent. We don't know what golden stepping stone took him there. But what we do know is that he will be a great success. I liked him in Waterloo, and as predicted back then, the world will hear a lot more of Tom Payne, the quiet and serious actor who realizes character is more important than seeking celebrity.

Payne's passion for character acting is found in his other project, a movie which he has recently been filming in Israel: Inheritance. The sensitive tale of an Englishman having a contended love affair with a Palestinian girl.

So watch out for Tom Payne. His fame has been relatively low key. As of next January I reckon he is about to set your screens alight and become wildly famous, meaning we are sure to see him on our screens for a long time to come.



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Manhunter Essay and other miscellaneous links.

Here is a simple web link to a short essay on Manhunter, in anticipation of its release on Blu-Ray:


A list of links from another blog offering a host of reviews from all of Michael Mann's movies:


Miami Vice TV and Movie locations

Michael Mann's 2006 film Miami Vice was full of stunning locations and cinematography. For those fascinated by location, here is a fantastic site with CIA like level investigations as to where all the Miami Vice locations are at.... whoever did this web page should be working for the NSA!


Thanks to Rick who tipped me off on this link from my other site over at www.michaelmann.ning.com

If you haven't noticed, I am now on Twitter @michaelmannblog
See feed on left.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Updated HBO Luck Michael Mann/Milch Teaser Trailer

I am truly excited to share with you the latest release of the Michael Mann / Milch HBO teaser trailer for "Luck". The first trailer was thrilling, and this short edit increases the adrenaline to spine tingling proportions! It raised the level of expectation, displaying more stunning cinematography, more sophisticated dialogue and more sublime acting... the stage is set. Roll on January when it is set to come to our screens!

The trailer is self-explanatory, but we see Hoffman's character Chester Bernstein in prison, and he looks convincing.  And we catch a better glimpse of Crime Story's Dennis Farina playing Gus Economou, which on the face of it looks perfect casting for a world set in the murkiness of corrupt business.

Is that the UK's Tom Payne in the green horse jockey jersey playing the character of Leon Micheaux? Not sure, but he is a bright young star for the future, and I will be posting a feature on him soon.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Texas Killing Fields: Ami Canaan Mann Directing, with Michael Mann Producing.

This has been building for a while. Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of Michael Mann, has directed what looks to be an excellent movie: Texas Killing Fields. The trailer is packed with dialogue, thick with action and has many of the hallmarks of her father's signature style. It looks to have everything we love about her father's films. I have no doubt whatsoever that Ami will be wanting to put her own personal stamp on this and not be known as simply Michael Mann's daughter. What I noticed in the trailer was this powerfully visualized little girl. It's a clue (to me at least) that she is pivotal in this movie. This is definitely an Ami story, not a Michael Mann one.  It will be great to see her use her father's craft to create a different type of story. The trailer looks very impressive, beautifully shot and offers much. I want to see this movie! We now have two Mann's to cheer. I very much look forward to its release.

Read more here

Michael Mann goes fishing with Buddy Vanderhoop.

Mann (left) fishing with fishing legend Buddy Vanderhoop

If you want to know what Michael mann is doing this August 2011, he is as I am... on holiday. But while I am taking my kids to the beach, Mann is doing some serious sea fishing. An earlier post mentions his first trip with master fisherman Buddy Vanderhoop, joined by John Belushi. This time he seems alone, with none other than President Obama possibly taking over his rod later in the week! Buddy's reputation obviously goes a long distance ahead of him!

Here is the link to the article.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Video Essay: Justice, Vengeance, and Empty Retribution in Public Enemies

A tweeter posted this link, so I thought I would share it. It is worth watching, as it does in a very brief way, evoke something of what Public Enemies essentially communicates to its audience. It is, I think, a valuable message worth watching, appropriately conveying the emptiness of public retribution...

Monday, 1 August 2011

Michael Mann's Ali and Lister fight

It's interesting how boxing movies bring the "emotional" out of man. It is violent. Yet movies such as Rocky are packed with emotionally driven story lines. Enough to make a man weep. Boxing. As Mann describes the work of art, "Ali", he explains this concept of defining struggle through the man, not the icon.  Only then can we connect with the story, an inner journey of overcoming, and giving birth to something profound and hard fought for. It isn't the vacuous success that the mass media currently loves to attribute to pop star wannabes. Real talent comes out of something far more raw than just hunger for fame. I mentioned in a previous post Amy Winehouse. Her voice was beyond her years, her lyrics self written, coming from a deeply person place. Not some crude pen of a commercial song writer. Amy Winehouse became an icon, but the real person hood, the struggle, was what defined her journey and her ability to not only write, but to express it both in her voice and performance. Her journey, her story ended in tragedy. Fame and her life sometimes never looked so bleak. Yet her life was one also lived in uncommon brilliance.

Back to Ali. One scene that famously stands out is the one where we see Ali's struggle manifest into power and beauty. It is the Ali and Lister fight. In the making of Ali you can see Michael Mann alone with portable wide angled camera lens and body, getting into the thick of the fight, making his own "shots". Mann in a strange way becomes part of the fight. It is an even more tangible symbiosis of the craft of filming and the craft of acting creating moments that in this scene are poetic. To amplify the rise of Ali, we hear the notes of music stepping into the scene, heightening our sense of something great happening. It has Mann's spine tingling signature all over it. The red lines of rope and converging ceiling lights that blur in and out in different shapes energize our senses and give that sense of higher reality that transcends the external reality only the eye sees. Mann has this ability to use external visuals to create some sort of truth. The truth of the event happening. The music is what emotionally connects us with the visual message and what is happening on the actors' faces. It is an orchestra.

We will see similar shots used in the forthcoming "Luck". Mann wanting the cameras in the heart of the action. To put us in there, amongst the riders. It isn't just the action that Mann is interested in, it is the intensity of humanity that happens in those moments of high performance and what it feels like to be in those shoes (or stirrops!).

It is extraordinary to think that this scene is just that - one scene. Ali the movie is a broad canvas, and has so much more to offer.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Michael Mann / David Milch HBO Luck televising January 2012

As Reported in the LA Times, Michael Mann's & David Milch's Luck is coming to TV screens in January 2012:
As HBO executives finalize their plans for the upcoming season, it looks like viewers will finally get some "Luck" early next year.
Set in the world of horse racing, "Luck" is the brainchild of David Milch, who previously created the western "Deadwood" and the surreal surfing drama "John From Cincinnati" for the pay-cable network. Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman plays a lifetime gambler recently released from prison.
"We’re definitely gonna premiere it in January 2012," HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo revealed to reporters at the TV media tour in Beverly Hills Thursday afternoon. "Luck" will take over the Sunday slot once occupied by the polygamy drama "Big Love," which recently wrapped its run. 
Read full article here

Friday, 29 July 2011

A Michael Mann tribute challenge

On YouTube there are film shorts made as a tribute to the style of Michael Mann. And I am not referring to a montage of Mann made scenes. Personally shot films in the image of Michael Mann are often city slick night scenes, the noir feel for some reason being most associated with what Mann shoots. Collateral and Heat has much to do with that. But Michael Mann's movies are far more than cool architectural flavours, wet street scenes lit at night, and hypnotising electric music. A film short video maker would do well to put just those aspects together visually and technically successfully.

The core of a Michael Mann film is the story, and the aim to bring that story to the audience with authenticity, both in its physical and emotional connection. To that end, a Mann film is an orchestra for a crew, and a conductor for a director. A Mann film, if you really want to create a tribute, is to not just be stylistic, but to convey a conversation, a look, a glimpse, a conflicted heart... a universe of human condition that is limitless in its complexity, yet focussed on a part of it. Just look at the Amy Winehouse life story. If ever there was a life made out of extreme conflict and tragedy over such a short space of time, hers is one. Many, including myself, felt a depth of sorrow for this damaged life - A life I didn't know much about, but "experienced" whenever I saw her performing, or on the news.

Yes, we have Michael Mann tributes...  agile camera movements and cold minimalism providing the effect. But that is way short of what a Mann film is ultimately giving us.

As we are in the Michael Mann news doldrums, I welcome anyone with a decent film short to have it posted on this blog. I am happy to share your talent, so long as it fits the theme of what makes a Michael Mann movie. I love the visual side, but a challenge would be to see some acting in there too. Post it on YouTube, let me know, and I will post it here if it ticks the Michael Mann ingredients boxes!

To kick things off, here is a piece put together by Andre Rehal. Tell us what you think.

"Grey" An Arri Alexa Short Film from Andre Rehal on Vimeo.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

David Milch & Michael Mann rumblings

The following article indicates all is not well behind the scenes of Luck. Milch has changed agents from CAA to ICM. Until this switch, Mann and Milch both shared the same agent under CAA. Any rift is pure speculation, with some hoping that Mann and Milch are not getting on with each other. Irrespective of their potential differences, I can't wait to see the fruit of their struggles. With such artistic friction and mutual accountability we can be sure to enjoy the highest standard of writing and filming.

Read more here.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Picking up some crumbs on the trail of Michael Mann's HBO Luck

Finding crumbs about HBO's Luck

Feeding HBO's Luck Crew: Slammin Sliders
Food Vendors for Luck:

Tim Clarke, 2nd AC, with cameras on set of Luck.

HBO Scene Filmed at Central Women's Jail
Tim Clarke, 2nd AC on Luck
You may have noticed unusual activity at the Central Women's Jail on Monday.  There were StarWagon trailers and a convoy of trucks packed with equipment, along with a "Lunchbox" setup with top-of-the-line cuisine. The Women's Jail has been virtually vacant since July 2009 and for the first time in the facility's forty year history it was used as the set for filming a series involving a major Hollywood star and director. It will be a year before the film can be viewed, however.  A nearly seventy-member crew was here to film a scene for an HBO series-in-the-making titled "Luck".  This was a small set by Hollywood standards.
Filming at Central Womens Jail, LA
Female Jockey on Luck




An HBO "Luck" crew member leaves a message on Wilshire for LA charity Walkers.

Phillip Noyce on Michael Mann's Luck

Philip Noyce, one of the appointed directors on HBO’s Luck:

Philip Noyce: Recently I did a HBO series with Michael Mann written by David Milch called Luck where we used the Alexa camera which is a real breakthrough. I can say after working with that that film unfortunately is dead, because you can do everything on the Alexa camera that you can do on film. It can look exactly like film when it’s projected. We were shooting exterior L.A. streets no lights. It’s become a situation where night shooting is actually quicker than day shooting now with the new cameras. Whereas night shooting you’d say, ‘Oh, you’ll shoot 11 shots at the most.’ Now you can shoot 60. It’s really fast. It was the freest shooting I’ve ever been involved with. Michael Mann has chosen the three operators from experience, so they’re all really inventive. Usually you finish early because the crew are living in terror of Michael turning up on set. So they’re fast like a wild horse that’s been broken in. So they’re director friendly.

Taken from an article at craveonline.com.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Phil Bloom & Michael Mann's Luck

This blew my mind. Here I was, posting earlier a short by Phil Bloom, which shows the incredible capacity of a DSLR to shoot almost cinema grade imagery with such visual impact and I thought it had nothing to do with Michael Mann, other than perhaps some tenuous shared aesthetic. Suddenly I am discovering a superb short he has done with a Canon 7D on the subject of horse racing no less. Not only that, but some footage comes from the Santa Anita racetrack. It doesn't stop there...  he posted his short film on his blog in March 2010, which is around the time when Michael Mann shot his pilot - which I think commenced shooting in April 2010. It all seems a remarkable coincidence.

It is worth noting that Phil Bloom was invited to George Lucas' famed Skywalker Ranch two years ago, commissioned to show via a short film the cinematic capabilities of DSLR shooting. He met George and other prominent filmmakers, not least Quentin Tarantino who I think just happened to be there. So, Phil Bloom is not beyond the notice of the movie industry's elite.

So what am I surmising? Nothing really, except if there is no link of consequence between Phil Bloom and Michael Mann's Luck, then what this does show is how a shared aesthetic can cosmically collide in time and space.

Since discovering Phil Bloom I am already inspired and looking to rent some DSLR equipment to shoot a short promotional for my work. I am desperate to get back into image making since laying down my large format camera over ten years ago. I ache for it. I am presently a book publisher. Michael Mann continues to push me back into image and story making. For me, images and words are now colliding. So when I found Phil Bloom's site I saw how budget film making came a step closer to fulfilling my heart desire to access this previously elitist world.

So isn't it cosmic that these two influential men almost crossed paths with each other, possibly accidentally, in a stage that I am watching so closely as I seek to find my own path down this road of visual and storytelling artistry.

You see, I feel Phil Bloom's shooting style is a study of character. He has a way of accessing people on the street... Michael Mann is also attentive to character. It is this empathy I pick up, and its so powerful that suddenly I see this crossing of paths. Understanding music is also just as vital, and both are intuitive with this medium too.

See Phil Bloom's horse racing short  - the almost mystical quality of the shots, and the character studies that Mann is now portraying in Luck. See the extraordinary colours in the horse as it is washed. It is all very Mann-esque.

Santa Anita attracts lots of film makers. We know that. And I believe Phil was doing a DSLR workshop at the time. But nevertheless, isn't this amazing? These Bloom shots could be out of "Luck".

So Phil, so Michael... maybe you two ought to hook up?

See Phil's other DSLR films here.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Making of Michael Mann's 'Ali'

For as long as it is allowed on YouTube, here is "The Making of Ali" behind the scenes footage. All three parts here for your convenience, especially if you don't own the DVD.

Lisa Gerrard interview with Michael Mann mention

Here is a recent interview with Lisa Gerrard, the powerful voice behind some of Michael Mann's best known scores. Click here for full interview.

After Dead Can Dance, what was it that drove you into composing for the moving image? 
Brendan and I were working on an album, which followed “Spirit Chaser” and I had done some things for Baraka ) and also with Graham Ravel and tried my hand at being a singer whilst he wanted five singers. Yet because of the style I was singing in I was able to accommodate him in a fashion, for what he required for this film. I realised at that stage that I was actually able to do this and when Michael Mann contacted me I thought well I could sing for people that know how to compose music for film but I wouldn’t know how to score the music.
Then Michael contacted me and stated he had used my pieces in “Heat” and that he’d listened to some work that I had been doing on my Solo album, and stated he wanted that energy in his film. I said I don’t film score, but I could help him with some singing but that I didn’t write music. Michael than said all I know is that I’ve got this movie I need to make and I need you to write music in three days.
So he rebuilt my studio and I thought how exciting! Michael stated he would get me some help; some great editors and that he would help me. I then stated to my friend at the time Pieter Burke we had already recorded “Duality” together) and said to him do you want to do this thing and he said sure why not. So we took off together and I though if at least Pieter is there we will be able to nut it out together and figure out what to do. So we basically took off and went to Los Angeles and wrote some pieces together for the film, which Michael really liked. In that period of time which didn’t end of being three days but instead a few months.
We ended up going over and spending the next four or five months writing there and that was for the film “The Insider”. Suddenly we were getting nominate for Golden Globe awards, which I consequently had never heard of – no one believed at the time (and so I made sure I was very quite about it). It wasn’t our area or a line that we would have followed. So having not being at all interested in Hollywood films it was not something we would have really known about.
From that point on, other people in the industry started to get excited by the work we had done with “The Insider” and Hanns Zimmer contacted me he wanted me to do Gladiator – and I said I would love to come over and try some things. Then Ali, and then I supposed it had really started to take off.
It wasn’t by design; in fact I still to this day do not know how I arrived. But it is amazing the knowledge you pick up, especially working with Michael Mann – its like going to University, he teaches you so much about what and what NOT to do because he doesn’t like generic film scores. So he created a completely different line, which could facilitate what I was doing.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Injection: Hans Zimmer

This should be in a Michael Mann movie... but... it isn't. It is the extraordinarily beautiful "Injection" by Hans Zimmer. The music deserves a better title. But inject yourself now in this spine tingling music and let it rip open your soul, pour in and inspire you to explode with something creative today. This music has really touched me today. Get your iPod and download it now.

I actually thought this music worked brilliantly in Mission Impossible II. How this music was conceptualised for that violent scene in slow motion was genius. I can only guess it was Hans Zimmer who thought this slow building crescendo would work with bullets flying around!

Tell me... did this music stir your soul? Check your pulse if it didn't.

Phil Bloom

Sony F3... yummy.
I accidentally came across Phil bloom as I began to research DSLRs as movie making tools. I now realize he has become an unexpected guru of the DSLR video world. I can understand why... not only does he know his stuff, he actually knows how to create beautiful imagery and meaningful tests that real world people can understand and visually see. To cap it all, he seems remarkably down to earth. I have time and respect for Phil Bloom.

If you saw an earlier post you read I was taking baby steps in looking at the Canon 7D for video. It still looks great for a low budget job. But as we all know, the Canon 5D MK ii is what us mortals dream about... well, that was until I saw the Sony F3! Phil Bloom brilliantly shows us why the F3 is such a gorgeous camera. Even on these web clips you can see the F3 blows away the Sony FS100 and MK ii in quality. It is simply stunning in image quality. Should be at over $20,000 a pop! But is the extra quality worth the extra? Only you, your project and your wallet will know. For me, I can't even afford a Canon 7D. But as a former large format professional landscape photographer, I know quality when I see it.

Check out Phil Bloom's site. It is bloomin good. Would love to do his London workshop this July...

Here is a comparison test Bloom did between the Sony F3, Sony FS100 and Canon 5D Mark ii. The low light tests on his father are stunning.

AF100 vs F3 vs FS100 Part 1: The Real World from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Another Michael Mann tribute compilation

Found this as a featured YouTube video - yet another Michael Mann tribute - and why not? If I say this video ends (suitably?) with a scene from Heat you will have completely the wrong one in your mind! Watch to the end to find out if you guessed right.

The tribute is poor in picture quality, but actually is well edited to the music (which wouldn't be my choice), though slightly lazy in places, which can be easily forgiven for the sheer length and number of clips. Does tend to focus on the violence aspect. Always fun to pick out favourite scenes.

Film directors [Michael Mann] are embracing TV

A good article from one of my favourite sources, the LA Times - quality writing and information.
Film directors are embracing TV
Then a new HBO script, set in the world of horse racing and penned by David Milch ("Deadwood," "NYPD Blue"), landed on Mann's desk. "I really didn't want to get back into television, but the script was just so damn good," Mann said of the series "Luck," which stars Dustin Hoffman and will air on HBO next year. "It was one of the best things anyone has ever given me to direct."
Read the full article here.

Michael Rooker on Michael Mann's L.A. Takedown & Heat

Michael Rooker
I noticed that an early role of yours was in the Michael Mann’s TV movie L.A. Take Down, which he later remade as Heat. I was curious what you though of Heat when you eventually saw it since its shockingly similar to the original?
Oh my God! You know that was a case where from the studio’s standpoint, they didn’t want any actors from the original. I was wondering why I wasn’t even able to see Michael. I couldn’t get an audition for Heat. And then I got the script and realized why. It was the same exact script, word for word, as the TV version. So, I was like, “OK I get it now. He doesn’t want anyone to know that it was a TV pilot and a failed one at that.” So I don’t blame him for trying to keep it under wraps. With the names that they had in the cast, I’m sure those guys didn’t know that it was a failed TV pilot when they decided to do it. But that’s not saying that it wasn’t good material. I would have loved to work with Michael again on that. Was it something I said? No, it was something I’d done. I was in the original. So nope, couldn’t do it.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Canon EOS 7D 24p

First. This has nothing to do with Michael Mann. Second. When I saw this footage I thought it was beautifully shot and put together. Third. The reason I found it was because I am looking for a decent HD camera that shoots 24fps. Can anyone recommend one to me at a budget of your average Joe? I have a BA (hons) Degree in Photography, so the idea of combining a DSLR with HD video shooting 24fps seems good to me! What do you all think out there? On a DSLR, or dedicated cam?

Dublin's People: Canon 7d 24p from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

In looking at frame rates, I also came across this lecture as to why aspiring to 24p is in itself not important... I need help. Hmmmm.

The 24p Conspiracy from Videopia on Vimeo.

Michael Mann's "Luck" filming locations

We know "Luck" is being filmed at Santa Anita race track, but I just discovered this post, which is unfortunately retrospective, as it gives a "Luck" filming location on the 17th May. But if you are keen to see it in the making, you may want to keep an eye on this site (though I can't see anything posted for future dates):


May 17th
• Luck, a new HBO series, is filming at 2632 E. Washington Bl, Pasadena.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Michael Mann's House, the Waiting on Robert Capa deal and other bits.

Here are some random bits of information pulled from the net for your curiosity.

Michael Mann's House (Or so research tells me)
Michael Mann's House (one of them) - I am led to believe this is Michael Mann's house in Fort Lauderdale, but this is as many details I would provide. Location wise, you will need to find that out for yourself. The house is featured on star tours in the area, so the fact isn't well disguised locally. A stunning property... (sighs wistfully, imagining the palms blowing in the wind above him ... not indoors ... obviously)

Pontas Literary and Film Agency (Robert Capa)

Here is a record from the company's blog of a very special day for Pontas Literary and Film agency. The day they met Michael Mann to discuss rights for Waiting for Robert Capa. 

Michael Mann & Anna Soler-Pont

Pontas at the American Film Market 2010 November 9th, 2010

The American Film Market 2010
The American Film Market 2010  opened on November 3rd in Los Angeles and Anna Soler-Pont attended on behalf of Pontas in the aim to keep enlarging and strengthening the contacts in the film industry. She had a full schedule of meetings between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, mainly with producers interested in acquiring the film rights of literary properties represented by Pontas or with possible partners for international co-productions.

... the most important meeting took place during a friendly lunch with film director and producer Michael Mann, whose company Forward Pass and Columbia Pictures acquired the film rights of Susana Fortes ’s novel Waiting for Robert Capa from Pontas last year. The screenplay adapting the novel is being written by Jez Butterworth.

Actors researching their role in "Luck"

Nick Nolte researching his role for HBO's "Luck"

Dustin Hoffman having a day at the races



Documentary of Key Scenes with Michael Mann and Actors

For as long as these videos are available online, you can treat yourself to some old but powerful Michael Mann interviews with some of our best loved Michael Mann scenes. This is wonderful footage, including actor interviews about the Tiger scene from Manhunter and that extraordinarily charged cliff scene in Last of the Mohicans. It includes scenes from Heat, and also the Insider. Actors speak about who they feel Michael Mann is, with some superb quotes to take away that sum up our favourite director. Get Michael Mann's inside story. Essential viewing, enjoy. I did... immensely. (Anyone know where these were first broadcast and who by?).

Part 1

"Les Réalisateurs" - Michael Mann (1/3) by SoWiFo

Part 2

"Les Réalisateurs" - Michael Mann (2/3) by SoWiFo

Part 3

"Les Réalisateurs" - Michael Mann (3/3) by SoWiFo

Michael Mann throws "Go Like Hell" in the hat

The book the script would be based on

Following the recent news round up we have a new twist to Michael Mann's future directorial roles. According to Variety Mann is in talks with 20th Century Fox to film "Go Like Hell", a true story by A.J. Baime depicting the USA's first victory at the famous 1966 Le Mans race, with Ford succeeding, pitted against the "unbeatable" Ferrari. America loves their "USA rules the world" flicks and this one will no doubt score a home run in the USA. Petrol's version of the Ryder Cup perhaps. Brad Pitt's name has been attached to the project as a lead, but no casting information has been released.

It has become difficult to speculate what Mann's next film will actually be... it's as though Mann is throwing us lots of decoys for fun! I suspect though he is like a kid in a candy shop and really can't make his mind up. What a privilege for him to be in such a situation. At this time of life for him, his choices are so important. Agincourt is now looking most likely. Mann will no doubt be thinking of his own mortality, and a large scale, big budget film, such as this medieval adventure, will require enormous energy. It may be one of his last opportunities to do something on that potentially vast scale.

A.J. Baime
Mann has already worked with cars in successful commercials with Mercedes and latterly Ferrari. No doubt the prospective makers will be looking at the success of the present offering "Senna", a documentary film about Ayrton Senna, the late, legendary Formula One racing World Champion who was killed in a race because of a tragic mechanical failure. I actually saw Ayrton Senna race at Silverstone, England and could clearly see him push the limits of his car to the maximum. Formula One is really a European/Asian passion rather than a US one at present, but this is set to change once the USA has built it's new track in Arizona.

Michael Mann has always had an affection for cars, especially Ferraris, owning one himself. They were an iconic feature of the TV version of Miami Vice. They are another paint brush in Mann's hands, using them to reflect character and style of those in his films. In Miami Vice the movie, back in 2006, there was an early scene of men and attractive women arriving at the nightclub in white Range Rovers. It was startling to me at the time. Glistening white. Of interest to me is the fact that, in the UK at least, white is now the most fashionable colour for cars. Range Rovers, Audi's, Mercedes, Volvos, BMW's and you name it... white is in. Mann reads the times well.

I digress... I think Michael Mann has lots of wonderful material to choose from. Whatever he does, I am sure we will love it. If Mann does Agincourt, and if it means the English beat the French, then what can make an English Michael Mann fan happier? (I love the French really... well their bread anyway).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Michael Mann's HBO Luck Screening

Turns out there was an HBO screening of Michael Mann's Luck yesterday in LA, looking to impress buyers of the show. See link to brief article. Some are calling it the new Sopranos.

Anyone reading this go to the screening? Would love to hear your review right here.

Michael Mann News Roundup: Gold, Luck, Big Tuna, Capa, Agincourt

It's a curious time following Michael Mann. We have a Luck trailer, but scant mention of the series anywhere. Only what the producers want us to know. This is well locked down, suggesting locations are not very public? Anyone know of any location shooting on Luck? There was a good article recently that gave inside information on some of the tensions between Michael Mann and David Milch. It details some inside arrangements, with Mann taking authority on the filmmaking process and Milch on the writing. Seems an obvious division of responsibilities, though one understands the unease when each has their own intense creative leanings in expressing themselves. Their respective approaches to the creative process must be at deep odds at times, with one scene pandering to Milch's version of the world, and another reflecting Mann's. Read about it here. For those who have lived on planet Mars for the last year, you can read about Luck as news about it broke out last year here. Luck is now more likely to air in early 2012, but could possibly be released late this year. I believe they are shooting 9 episodes (10 were originally planned, but Milch's writing is allegedly slowing the process), with the 9th in production still. With episodes already in the editing suite, a Fall release doesn't seem unrealistic. Since Mann is in the editing suite on Luck it isn't inconceivable that Mann has been totally pre-occupied in perfecting Luck, and not committing to any of these movie projects just yet.

Mann is attached to multiple projects,  and just when you think he has decided a project the rumor switches to another. Big Tuna was touted as a gangster Mann movie on the back of Public Enemies. We then thought it might be Robert Capa, with actors attached to the project and widely publicised as Mann's next directorial movie. We then hear it is Agincourt, as I recently posted. And sandwiched between them is "Gold"with D'Caprio invited to join the cast. We will have to see how Mann prioritizes these projects - which ones he directs, or produces under his Forward Pass company.

Michael Mann is notoriously indecisive about which movie projects he takes on. He admits it himself. So it may just be that even he doesn't know yet what he will finally direct - but that is unlikely. The good news is, that if he directs Agincourt we can expect his visit to Europe! A rare chance then for us Europeans to maybe catch a glimpse of him shooting here? If anyone gets any news on this front then please let me know! Would be a dream come true to see him at work, as peculiar that may seem to his beleaguered regular crew that have to work under his relentless pace and perfection - no glamour under the hood!

Material still pops up on the internet about Michael Mann. There are many articles, but most just repeating better articles already posted in this blog's archives. Here and there are interesting quotes and anecdotes. Here is a surprising one from a location scout on Collateral (link here):
Which leads Sandy to recall their own fear on a late-night location-scouting trip with director Michael Mann for Collateral. In a rough part of downtown Los Angeles, the group found themselves caught between rival gang members at opposite ends of a bridge.
Luckily, Mann had brought a friend of his whom Sandy describes as 'gang-savvy,' who broke the stand-off. The thugs 'parted, flashed handguns, and we were able to walk through,' David says, with a shiver. 'But everyone - Michael Mann! - could have been killed.'
Thanks to all who drop in what they find on the net, or can contribute to this blog. I can't always add it here but I appreciate the communication.  You can always visit my sister site, the social version, which is www.michaelmann.ning.com.

Finally a question, to test those who actually read this far into one of my posts! We all know Mann's movies have wonderful layers. A question then: Who has noticed a particular colour that is a theme in Collateral, and is especially abstractly shown repeatedly in the very opening scenes in the form of carious objects? Its a strange one, but I think its fantastic. Surely not a coincidence? Or am I going mad? Tell me the colour and some of the objects, smile! Add it to Disqus below.

As ever, I will be keeping a watch out on Mann's activities and let you know what I find. Stay in touch.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Location, Location! Michael Mann Movie Locations

Whilst browsing around I fell onto the topic of location for Michael Mann movies. Lots of previous posts feature locations, but here are a few for your interest. No doubt over time this post will grow as I add more links. To get you in the mood, see below a CBS news piece on being a location scout... Peter - are you reading this??! Peter, a Facebook friend, perhaps known to other readers, scouted the famous opening scene for Heat, which also is used as a location in Collateral.

Here are a few filming locations. It's a humble list, but a start to whet your appetite, if you are a location buff.

Filming Locations:

Public Enemies:



Miami Vice:
One of MannFan's favourite locations


The Insider:




Michael Mann shooting difficult boat scene

Always great to find something new. I found this amazing YouTube clip of the Miami Vice film crew shooting the racing boat scenes that were supposed to feature at the start of the movie. I have only ever seen the original movie version and have only Standard Def DVD, so never saw the spoken of racing scene that Universal forced Mann to cut from the final edit to shorten the movie. Looking at this spectacular footage it was madness to cut it. Some shots are just stunning. Was this footage included on new bonus features for the BluRay edition?

You have Dion Beebe rigging up the cameras in the hull of the boat, and Michael Mann behind the cameras as they shoot that famous crane shot as the camera surfaces from beneath the bubbling water to reveal the boats speeding past. Great footage! Enjoy.

Also, I have never seen this featurette before... is this a BluRay edition? This is notable for watching Michael Mann location scout a guys house with a, errr, rather interesting "bed". I just think its great seeing Michael passionately looking at every detail with his DSLR. Us photographers are all the same... running around like rabbits finding aesthetic details under every rock!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Michael Mann closing on deal to direct Agincourt

Available from Amazon
ScreenDaily has posted information that suggests Michael Mann's production company Forward Pass is close to a deal with Independent to develop the rumoured Agincourt project. The Robert Capa movie was also supposed to be in the making, but the allure of Agincourt's sumptuous pallet of medieval grit appears to have finally won over Michael Mann. Ever since The Last of the Mohicans, I think Mann fell in love with period pieces. I generally think Mann excels most in the contemporary setting, but its not for us to decide. Check out the links to get all the details: