Though Michael Mann has many fans, it would be inaccurate to call us one. Sure, we consider his version of Manhunter to be pretty much the best (Brian Cox’s chillingly reserved Hannibal “Lecktor” far better than Anthony Hopkins’ later scenery chewing). Mann’s recent thrillers have all been turgid, reaching an absolute nadir with Miami Vice—the kind of film you’d imagine would send the series creator into conniptions if that wasn’t, absurdly, Mann himself.
As a result, Public Enemies seems completely unappetizing, even with the much-hyped thought of Johnny Depp vs. Christian Bale as John Dillinger and FBI agent Melvin Purvis, respectively. And indeed, reviews are poor: “Mann has made gunplay films both good (Heat) and intriguingly flawed (Miami Vice),” says Eye‘s Adam Nayman, “but never one so oddly half-cocked.”
Far more surprising to us is the local response to Moon. Heavily hyped after its premiere at Sundance and the feature directorial debut from Duncan Jones, we were actually (admittedly, unusually) excited for the film, which has been somewhat deflated by reading reviews like Norm Wilner’s at NOW, where he argues that it “could have been a great short film…instead, it’s an hour-and-a-half of very familiar imagery, held together by a storyline that isn’t quite as airtight as Jones thinks it is.”
We are, however, not surprised by the response to the latest in the Ice Age series, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. We have to admit that it takes some impressively huge balls to make a film for children where dinosaurs appear after the Ice Age—kids love dinosaurs, so we imagine many will cry foul, but there are reasons to see it, such as a voice role for Simon Pegg as a one-eyed weasel (yeah, really). The Globe and Mail‘s Liam Lacey quips, “By the conclusion of this manic, brain-rattling exercise, though, parents may well be thinking ‘Hurrah for extinction.’”
Also out this week, Finn on the Fly and Empty Nest, and Cinematheque Ontario begins its French New Wave retrospective.