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Link to Michael Mann's next film could be "Gold".

Or, it could be this untitled project (it may be titled Cyber) that has already cast Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, and is now adding two cast members from Lust, Caution (Wei Tang and Leehom Wang). IMDb has a one line description....
 

American and Chinese forces work together on a case of high-level computer hacking.


Screenplay by Mann and Morgan Davis Foehl.

 

Edited by John Drew

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
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  • 1 year later...

Yeah, this looks right up my alley (as most Mann films are).

 

Anyone have any guesses as to the identity of the actor playing the villain who we only hear in the trailer? I have mine. Something in the way he says one of the lines reminds me of Stellan Skarsgaard. Though given the cliche of him playing the villian, I hope and think I'm probably wrong.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Sigh... Why does every hacker-related movie have to show packets of energy/light/electricity traveling across wires and cables? I wonder if we'll get to see some dueling hackers?

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 2 months later...

Is Michael Mann hiding this film? And does that portend something? (It *is* a January release, after all.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Oh, joy. Male computer/security geeks doing the vocal-fry thing, too. Do these people *realize* how that staccato crackling sound in their voice obscures the actual *words* they're trying to say?

 

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I am curious if someone who knows more about the technical aspects of film making can speak to this question. 

 

There were a couple of scenes (chasing mules, going into reactor) that seemed very clearly shot on video. I understand today that most films are released digitally, but they are mostly still shot on film, right? Or is everything shot on video? And if the latter, what accounts for scenes that are meant to "look" more low grade/like video (such as some scenes in Earth to Echo or Bling Ring where you get POV of surveillance "video." Is his just a different resolution? 

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Mann has being shooting digitally since at least Collateral (2004). I didn't notice at the time, with that film, but I did think Public Enemies (2009) looked pretty cheap/sloppy in that regard -- which was especially jarring in a period piece.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Ken, just yesterday Vadim Rizov published a long piece in Filmmaker about the 39 movies released in 2014 that were shot on 35mm. Or, the shorter answer to your question: Yes, almost everything you see now was shot on video, and the resolution and image quality are designed at every phase, from production (camera, lenses, filters, and lighting), to post-production (editing, color correction, and other things I don't know much about), to transfer for distribution (DCP vs. IMAX vs. 35mm prints [rare but it still happens]).

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Ken, just yesterday Vadim Rizov published a long piece in Filmmaker about the 39 movies released in 2014 that were shot on 35mm. Or, the shorter answer to your question: Yes, almost everything you see now was shot on video, and the resolution and image quality are designed at every phase, from production (camera, lenses, filters, and lighting), to post-production (editing, color correction, and other things I don't know much about), to transfer for distribution (DCP vs. IMAX vs. 35mm prints [rare but it still happens]).

 

Thank you for that, D. I'm taking it that the answer to the question behind the question about scenes within a movie that look visibly different from everything else is that these are either shot with different (video) cameras or undergo different post-production adjustments. I wonder if there is any way to tell which. Not that it ultimately matters, I guess, one has to respond to the film in front of one. But I sometimes can't shake the feeling that I would be better at judging how meaningful and effective some choices were if I knew *what* exactly the choice was. (Hey, let's shoot this part on a different camera; hey lets not do the color adjustment.) It's like when I find a weird sentence in a writer whose work I admire...I tend to give him/her the benefit of the doubt (whereas others might be quicker to say "you messed up there,") but that's always easier for me with writing because I am familiar with the process.

 

P.S. The film on that list that surprises me is Fury, which certainly *looked* different than some of the other films shot on 35mm, imo.

Edited by kenmorefield
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It's like when I find a weird sentence in a writer whose work I admire...

 

 

That is a good way to put it. FWIW, I also thought Rizov's article was great, and his frequent point about 35mm picking up on the green end of the spectrum better is fascinating. In Mann's case, excepting a few parts of Public Enemies, green has not recently been a big part of his color pallete.

 

He went digital with Collateral, which is a case study in the kinds of tones and textures digital cameras pick up at night. It has a lot of hot and warm colors as highlights throughout. I guess he balances that with blues and whites a bit. Miami Vice followed that same basic palette, a film also wearing its digital artifacting on its sleeve. Blackhat looks to be the same.

 

Going backward, Mann's cinema during his 35mm days seems to embrace a broader palette. Theif is almost entirely nocturnal and interior, so very cool in tone. Manhunter is similar. Miami Vice (Season 1) is a riot of colors, shot both in direct sunlight and dark interior. Then Last of the Mohicans features a lot of stunning natural cinematography - very skewed toward the green and earth tone end of the spectrum. Such a lovely film to look at for that reason. Even Heat and The Insider are notable for exteriors that run, color-wise, in conflict with the cooler, blueish scheme of his interiors.

 

Not sure what I am getting at here, but from that technical tidbit in Rizov's piece, I think we can see trends in Mann's use of color as falling into pre and post-35mm. There are a few scenes in Collateral or Public Enemies that feel off a bit - like a clunky sentence - but I chalk those up to his consciously working in a new pattern and looking for different filmmaking solutions therein.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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Not all of Mann's experimentation with textures unique to digital video have paid off, but at least he's experimenting. I do admire how Mann's use of digital artifacting softens the image. In the hands of of filmmakers like David Fincher, digital video is so severe in its precision that it becomes oppressive.

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It's like when I find a weird sentence in a writer whose work I admire...

 

 

The more I think of it, perhaps a better analogy would be this. I know a lot about writing but I don't know much about *printing.* So if I ran into a book that had a strange font choice or changed margins in three out of fifty chapters, I might have a harder time deciding (unless it was obvious) why such choices were made.

Closest analogy I can think of is how the Norton Anthology uses a really old edition of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin which preserves some of the odd capitalizations resulting from the fact that the book was hand set before being printed. At least once a year, I'll have a student say, "Why does he capitalize words in the middle of sentences....especially when he is bragging about how educated he is and what a good writer he is." I sometimes feel that way with technical aspects of a film such as this. (And, of course, add to that the fact that I often don't know to what extent something is a production issue or projection issue.) 

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Brody's pan is ruthless: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/blackhat-michael-mann-movie.

Me? I liked it quite a bit. Mann's images are soulful even when the script is flimsy. As some critics have pointed out, at times, it plays like a Johnnie To movie.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Brody's pan is ruthless: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/blackhat-michael-mann-movie.

Me? I liked it quite a bit. Mann's images are soulful even when the script is flimsy. As some critics have pointed out, at times, it plays like a Johnnie To movie.

 

I liked it quite a bit too.

 

I think Brody is very off in his pan. His ideological handwringing seems to be over elements that I certainly didn't read that way. Does the film's critique of American structures (prisons, NSA) necessarily indicate Chinese intervention in the script? It seems to me this is a thoroughly post-Snowden cyberthriller that wants nothing to do with governments. The Chinese are shown to be venial and self-serving as well. This is why I think the Western is a lens to view this film through, not just because the title works as a nice double-meaning. In the end, the only kind of action that has any meaning for the heroes is personal revenge. This is a lawless film, where the forces of order try to restrain evil, but the only one's who can do anything are the cowboy/hacker who is free from the restrictions of civilization. In the end, they choose to ride off into the sunset on their own, rather than rejoin society.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I think Brody is very off in his pan. His ideological handwringing seems to be over elements that I certainly didn't read that way. Does the film's critique of American structures (prisons, NSA) necessarily indicate Chinese intervention in the script? It seems to me this is a thoroughly post-Snowden cyberthriller that wants nothing to do with governments. The Chinese are shown to be venial and self-serving as well. This is why I think the Western is a lens to view this film through, not just because the title works as a nice double-meaning. In the end, the only kind of action that has any meaning for the heroes is personal revenge. This is a lawless film, where the forces of order try to restrain evil, but the only one's who can do anything are the cowboy/hacker who is free from the restrictions of civilization. In the end, they choose to ride off into the sunset on their own, rather than rejoin society.

I agree with all of this.

I also want to retract my use of the word "flimsy." The script is thin, but likely intentionally so: Mann is interested less in the beats of the plot than in the images he can hang on its narrative skeleton. (And what images they are!)

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FWIW, the film earned only $4 million this weekend, which is the lowest opening for any Chris Hemsworth film in wide release ever (previous lowest: A Perfect Getaway, 2009, $5.9 million) and the lowest opening for any film directed by Michael Mann since Manhunter (1986, $2.2 million).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, the film earned only $4 million this weekend, which is the lowest opening for any Chris Hemsworth film in wide release ever (previous lowest: A Perfect Getaway, 2009, $5.9 million) and the lowest opening for any film directed by Michael Mann since Manhunter (1986, $2.2 million).

Given how dismal the advertising campaign was, I'm not surprised.
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