Film Review: Heat (1995)

Release Date: December 6th, 1995 (Burbank premiere)
Directed by: Michael Mann
Written by: Michael Mann
Music by: Elliot Goldenthal
Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Jon Voight, Val Kilmer, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan, Kevin Gage, Hank Azaria, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins, Tone Loc, Ricky Harris, Jeremy Piven, Xander Berkeley, Martin Ferrero, Bud Cort (uncredited)

Forward Pass, New Regency Productions, Warner Bros., 170 Minutes

Review:

“You know, we are sitting here, you and I, like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we’ve been face to face, if I’m there and I gotta put you away, I won’t like it. But I tell you, if it’s between you and some poor bastard whose wife you’re gonna turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.” – Vincent Hanna, “There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second.” – Neil McCauley

I saw this movie in the theater on a date during my junior year of high school. I think that my then-girlfriend was really annoyed because she wanted something “long and boring” so that we could fool around in the back row. Unfortunately, for her… this movie grabbed my attention and I couldn’t look away from it from start-to-finish.

Heat just clutches onto you immediately with the armored truck heist and how shit in that heist goes sideways, even though the criminal gang does successfully pull it off. The whole sequence was just absolute perfection, though, and it set a really, really high bar for the rest of the picture. However, that high bar would be surpassed with the bank robbery that starts the third act of the movie.

Never has there been a better bank robbery sequence on-screen. At least, I’ve never seen one and I’ve seen many. It’s just cinematic perfection. I love the way it’s shot, the way everything played out, the lack of any music and the absolute intensity of the rapid gunfire, as the criminals and the cops turn downtown Los Angeles into a literal warzone for several minutes. The tension building of the robbery itself, just before the bad guys hit the streets, was incredible!

Apart from these stupendous heist sequences, the film is full of great scene after great scene. Credit really should go to everyone involved in the movie, though.

The cast is one of the most talented ever assembled in this movie’s era and the direction by Michael Mann was damn near perfect. Mann’s pacing, visual style and tone all closely matched what he did with the original Miami Vice television series and the film Manhunter. While this lacked the ’80s panache it was still very stylized and just felt like a more refined and updated version of what I see as the patented Michael Mann style.

For a film that’s just under three hours, there isn’t really a dull moment in this thing. Every scene matters and even the most minute shit ends up having some sort of impact on the story or the characters within.

As I’m getting older, my attention span is getting worse and sometimes, sitting down to watch a movie this long is a real turnoff. I’m also surrounded by distractions and it’s hard to give a lengthy picture like this my full attention. However, Heat is so damn solid, all the way through, that it’s damn near impossible not to get lost in it.

And when you get to that first scene between Pacino and De Niro, you will feel chills. I still do and I’ve probably seen this a half dozen times over the years.

Rating: 9.5/10

Film Review: Fist Fight (2017)

Also known as: Combat de profs (France, Canadian French title)
Release Date: February 13th, 2017 (Regency Village Theater premiere)
Directed by: Richie Keen
Written by: Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, Max Greenfield
Music by: Dominic Lewis
Cast: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, Dean Norris, Dennis Haysbert, Kym Whitley

New Line Cinema, Village Roadshow Pictures, 21 Laps Entertainment, Wrigley Pictures, Warner Bros., 91 Minutes

Review:

“Snitches get stitches.” – Strickland

I have always loved Ice Cube. Well, at least since I was a 7th grader and in 1992, spent some of my Christmas money on my first CD, Ice Cube’s The Predator album. I also bought that first album by Ice Cube’s group Da Lench Mob at the same time.

Charlie Day is another guy I have always liked since first seeing him on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, well over ten years ago now.

Seeing these two guys come together in a film that is going to show them actually duke it out in a fist fight is kind of exciting. Plus, the film has Tracy Morgan, Kumail Nanjiani and Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks.

I didn’t see this in the theater though, as I usually don’t watch comedies on the big screen unless it looks like something pretty exceptional. I did check this out though, as soon as it dropped on Cinemax.

You have to suspend disbelief in this picture, which is fine, as it is a goofy comedy. The reason being though, is that Ice Cube’s character is so irrational that it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Like why does that nut job even have a job around kids? In this day and age, teachers have their hands severely tied by the system and by helicopter parents who have to pin ribbons on their loser kids and always encourage them to continue sucking at life while coddling their feelings and probably still breastfeeding most of them. I’m pretty sure a lot of teens today do legitimately breastfeed still.

Anyway, that was a weird tangent.

The film is amusing. I like the relationship and rivalry between Day and Cube and I’m not going to lie, seeing them come together again for a follow up would be cool.

The big fight at the end of the film was bigger than I expected but it played out well with some good twists and turns. I kind of just expected Day to walk out and get knocked out with one punch. The fight was the highlight of the film and it was worth the wait.

Another highlight was Day and his daughter performing at a talent show. This was one of the funniest moments in modern comedy.

This was a movie that ended up being a bit better than I had anticipated. Day pretty much kills it in anything and I’ll always enjoy Ice Cube, as long as he isn’t in some kids’ movie.

Rating: 7/10