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Topics/Questions/Exercises of the week—3 July 2009

Mann And Supermann: Not to go all site self-indulgent, but if you haven't checked out Ignatiy Vishnevetsky's reports from the set of Michael Mann's Public Enemies, you're missing a kind of perfect confluence of sharply-observed reporting and cinephilic fervor. Start here.

Never Mind The Auteur Theory: Over at Hollywood Elsewhere, Jeffrey Wells expands his never-ending defense of Mann's Public Enemies by invoking his Gorilla/Chimp/Orangutan Theory of Filmmaking and Filmgoing. "Why is it so godawful terrible of me to call a spade a spade and state the obvious, which is that (in the social metaphor/dichotomy of Planet of the Apes) the more sensitive and highly attuned tastes of chimps and orangutans are a minority factor and that catering to the tastes of the gorilla class is necessary for those making and selling larger-budgeted movies? And that in this context chimps and orangutans need all the help and support they can get?...Michael Mann and Mike Binder and Paul Thomas Anderson and Kathryn Bigelow and Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson and all the others in this realm are high-end chimp/orangutan artist-craftsmen who make movies for chimp and orangutan filmgoers." Good God, does that evoke a whole lot of unpleasant mental pictures, or is it just me? My vision of the orangutan Wes Anderson actually wearing a camelhair colored coat of fur is not going to go away any time soon. Thanks, Jeff!

Where Every Prospect Pleases, And Only Mann Is Vile: Watch out, Kim Masters warns at The Daily Beast: "Knives Out For Michael Mann," is the provocative hed for her dispatch on the potential future of the Public Enemies director. Then we move to the lede: "As tectonic plates continue to shift in Hollywood thanks to the economy and the digital revolution..." Zzzzz...zzzzz...digitarev...Zzzzz...zzzz...oh, I'm sorry, what were you saying? It does get juicier, but essentially, this is most useful as an example of the kind of movie journalism that cinephiles really hate—fake concern-trolling ruminations of the "it would sure be a shame, and then again maybe not, if artistically ambitious directors couldn't get much work in Hollywood anymore" variety.

Armond White-ism Of The Week: "One of Raúl’s victims mentions, 'Pinochet has blue eyes,' and the dictator’s name not only pushes buttons for limousine liberals but also their contempt for lower classes (despite [Saturday Night Fever] evoking the neorealist empathy of Fellini’s Variety Lights)." Mr. White didn't like Tony Manero. Or Public Enemies either, thank you very much.

What You Say?: Rather cataclysmically, David Hudson, who in this world of film bloggery is something like Boswell and Johnson and the Goncourt Brothers all rolled into one, drops the news that he's not going to be continuing his invaluable The Daily blog over at IFC once he completes his holidays. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensue.

We Thought We Could Get Away With Just Not Mentioning Michael Jackson At All: And I suppose we could, but then again, Spout's list meister Christopher Campbell did put together a rather intriguing piece on MJ's filmmaker collaborations, and the aformentioned Mr. Armond White brings the Armondness to a consideration of the Gloved One's career. Both are worth your own consideration. Then, enjoy as Jeff Wells finally loses it, proclaims his loathing of Michael Jackson and Michael Jacksons fans, he wants them dead, you hear me, dead, he wants their houses burned down and then he's gonna go over and piss on their ashes, and so on. Fun!

Armond White writes: “But Larraín emphasizes the drabness of Argentine life, a political ploy recalling the glum naturalism of 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (but lacking empathy like the 1987 Brazilian film, Hour of the Star).” Well, TONY MANERO takes place in Chile, not in Argentina…
Yeah, Kim Masters can probably relax considering Public Enemies’ solid turn it’s first couple days. Wasn’t comparing Tony Manero and a Michael Mann film almost too easy?

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