• “For $5 I promise not to orchestrate this situation, and for $25 I promise not to take further advantage of this ability to create incentives.”
    What did you watch last night?


    • Handmaid’s Tale, Episode 3 – So Alexis Bledel is great as Rory Gilmore, but I was worried she wouldn’t quite rise to this show. She was absolutely the MVP this ep. She has to convey so much with just her eyes and posture, and it works. But the show keeps getting more and more disturbing – there’s an image that’ll probably give me Kafka dreams for a while, and the sadism is only growing. Bledel’s character is a lesbian – a “gender traitor” – and her lover is hanged, and Bledel is forced to undergo female genital mutilation..

      It’s incredible that a show this dark is getting so much attention. Game of Thrones is dark, right? But it’s a fantasy show, and over the top. So much of the violence is badass. The Handmaid’s Tale is so unflinching and urgent, there’s no distance. It’s not even that violent – just cruel.

      What I keep wondering is how many fetishists will adopt this show. The rituals and vestments perfectly lend themselves to kink, and while I’m hardly one to kink-shame, I feel like it would be missing the point here…

    • Woman in Gold–Boringly middlebrow movie about a topic I think is pretty interesting (reclaiming art that was stolen by the Nazis). Ryan Reynolds wears glasses, so you know he’s serious, and Katie Holmes is a nagging wife, so you know Reynolds is playing a Great Man because she’s holding him back. There are some nice touches, and the flashbacks to the actual Nazi-occupied past are pretty good, mostly because of an always-great Tatiana Maslany (speaking French, in fact–is there anything she can’t do?). But on the whole, this isn’t that interesting.

    • Due to the onset of Twin Peaks-related mass hysteria, there’s another one of these going on over here – just FYI!

      • Well, shit. And I spent a while looking for the right comic.

        • glorbes

          A comic so nice you can post it twice?

        • Ildajharris

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    • Arrow offered a surprisingly low-key episode for this point in the season. Oh, I am sure that the last two episodes will ratchet things up again. But this week the story moved into a lower gear in a minor key that was not entirely satisfying but that went a long way to advancing the larger arc of the season (essentially the state of Ollie’s soul) and also bringing together the entire five years of the show.

    • jroberts548

      Just tv the past few days:

      The Americans. As long as we’re getting annexed by Russia, we should start wearing crowns at weddings too. My wife and I will have to have a renewal of vows.

      The Last Man on Earth seems increasingly likely.

      Doctor who The old feed on the youth in a misbegotten effort to preserve something.

  • Defense Against The Dark Arts

    Any other Mann films I should check out? Keeping in mind Collateral is one of my favorites. Maybe I should just watch Collateral again.

    • It’s hard to go wrong with Mann, but then I’ve never seen The Keep and even Public Enemies has some great detail and supporting performances. I’d say the Essential Mann is Heat, followed closely by Collateral and The Insider, followed closely by The Last of the Mohicans, Thief, and Manhunter. Miami Vice and Blackhat fall into the Really Interesting Experiments, the Kind That Look Like Preludes When He Makes Another Masterpiece category. (Addendum: Ali is a Really Interesting Experiment that’s the prelude to Collateral, and it’s a favorite ’round these parts.)

      • Babalugats

        The only version of The Keep that’s readily available is the pan-and-scanned version with about an hour hacked out of the plot. I haven’t seen it either, but nobody seems to like it. For as much as Mann likes to tinker with his films, I really wish he’d release a restored version of that one. The original concept sounds fascinating, but there’s not much point in watching a stylistic experiment where the style’s been blunted.

        • Miller

          Are their weird rights issues tied to the studio for The Keep? Either way, I’ve never heard any indication Mann is remotely interested in revisiting it, which like you say is a shame — I don’t know if the results would be good but they’d at least be coherent.

          • Son of Griff

            The version on Netflix had a different score than the theatrical version, or so I’ve heard, so rights may be rather tangled on this one. The version I saw just didn’t look or feel like a Mann film, and you get the sense that it’s an outlier produced at a time when the director didn’t really know what his authorial persona was.

            That said, I wonder what the rights issues are for THE JERICHO MILE? That strikes me as the Mann film most ripe for re-discovery.

      • Defense Against The Dark Arts

        “Nazis are forced to turn to a Jewish historian for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison.” Where have you been all my life, The Keep? I know what i’m watching next.

      • Miller

        Hot Take: Mohicans suffers enormously from hanging around with Daniel Day-Lewis being a romantic hero as opposed to Wes Studi owning the living fuck out of dudes.

        • Counterargument: 1) the romance involves Madeline Stowe; 2) Mr. Day-Lewis engages in a fair amount of ownage himself, as do Ms. Stowe, Russell Means, and actually a lot of the cast. Although yeah, the world always needs more Studi-owning-shit. (Can you imagine the greatness of a Wes Studi/Toshiro Mifune flick? Neither can I.)

    • Babalugats

      All of them!

      Heat is his masterpiece, and an essential piece of American filmmaking in general. Theif is the strongest distillation of his style. Manhunter and Collateral are perfect genre films. At that point there’s two directions you could follow. Public Enemies, Miami Vice, and Blackhat are all solid genre movies, but they’re also pretty divisive. Or you could follow the more prestige path Last Of The Mohicans, The Insider, and Ali.

      • ZoeZ

        Heat also just got a very nice Blu-ray rerelease complete with a Mann Q&A. Mine arrived in the mail on Tuesday to much acclaim.

        • Balthazar Bee

          The Q&A gets the whole band back together (give or take a Judd or a Trejo), which is great to see, but man, Val Kilmer’s poor throat! He’s a real trouper about it, and it’s clear that making the film was a great experience.

    • Balthazar Bee

      “The Insider!” he screamed.

      But really, as has been stated, there are so many great (or at least very, very good) ones that you’ll likely find yourself watching them all eventually.

      EDIT: I have to say, while Heat is still a stone-cold masterpiece, watching it again most recently, moments of Pacino’s performance began to grate a bit. I’m certainly not the first person to note this, but there’s a…a kind of a blasé bigness to it that can undermine the drama — particularly when contrasted with De Niro’s samurai scowl. I know they’re playing on the contrast, to some extent, but it’s kinda kabuki.

      • Pacino’s performance is very much like Forest Whitaker’s in The Shield (and I continue to believe that Kavanaugh attended Hanna’s professional development seminar “Intimidation Through Confusion”) in that it’s a great performance, it makes sense for the character, and I love it, but I can see how it could become fucking annoying.

        • Balthazar Bee


          • Decorum prohibits me from making the obvious follow-up, involving dairy products and something being all the way up it.

        • silverwheel


          • Been thinking about that, and I realized that there’s simply no way Hanna would ever wind up in IAD. Kavanaugh clearly had a need for righteousness, what James Ellroy called Bobby Kennedy’s “need to punish and destroy.” Hanna loves the hunt more than anything else–Mann notes that he uses his drive for moral ends but it’s not fundamentally a moral thing. (Justine gets that too.) Hanna probably has some Claudette to him–he doesn’t judge other cops but God help you if you mess with his investigation in any way.

      • Son of Griff

        At a Q&A I attended a while back, Mann said that Hanna was using cocaine to keep up his stamina, but that he cut the moments when he was shown using drugs. I kinda have to blame Mann more than Pacino for this, as his character’s “motivation” wasn’t communicated to the audience..

    • Son of Griff

      Just avoid THE KEEP!

      • But then there wouldn’t be any movie. . .wait, I see what you mean.

      • Defense Against The Dark Arts

        Now I don’t know what to think. The concept sounds so cool!

        • Miller

          The Keep is a massive mess. As alluded to above, it is hacked to ribbons — Scott Glenn is framed as the protagonist and we have no idea who he is, he could be a fucking Highlander based on what we see. And this is a huge problem for a movie that is in many ways the least Mann-ly of his films, starting with its plot that is openly based in the supernatural — I can’t think of something weirder for the Mann of men and things and their actions/reactions than a golem, it’s like the characters’s guns in Heat or Thief have become characters themselves. A fascinating concept perhaps, but one that’s completely undone by the presentation. But there’s still stuff worth watching here.

      • edibletalkingchairs .

        nah yo, watch the Keep, but do it for the score.

        • Miller

          This is likely the best response.

    • silverwheel

      Thief, Manhunter, The Last Of The Mohicans, Heat, The Insider, and Collateral are all essential watches. Of the rest, Public Enemies is the only one of his that I disliked (it’s actually one of the few movies to make me literally angry because of all the missed potential), and I’ve become quite a big fan of (the theatrical cut of) Miami Vice. There are far worse things you could do than watch all his films in order (The Keep is strictly optional since it’s only available in a butchered pan n’ scan version, as is L.A. Takedown, the crappy tv-movie version of Heat that he did several years before the real thing. Seriously, it’s pretty much the exact same script and makes for a weird curio if you’re interested in seeing one of the all-time greats done as a Max Fischer production).

  • edibletalkingchairs .

    Having seen this on the air date I can confirm it is a better version of this movie.