Looking Back Twenty Years: Heat (1995)

Vincent Hanna: What are you, a monk?
Neil McCauley: I have a woman.
Vincent Hanna: What do you tell her?
Neil McCauley: I tell her I’m a salesman.
Vincent Hanna: So then, if you spot me coming around that corner… you just gonna walk out on this woman? Not say good-bye?
Neil McCauley: That’s the discipline.
Vincent Hanna: That’s pretty vacant, you know.
Neil McCauley: Yeah, it is what it is. It’s that or we both better go do something else, pal.
Vincent Hanna: I don’t know how to do anything else.
Neil McCauley: Neither do I.
Vincent Hanna: I don’t much want to either.
Neil McCauley: Neither do I.

That’s a conversation between Al Pacino‘s L.A.P.D. Robbery-Homicide Detective Lt. Vincent Hanna and Robert De Niro‘s Neil McCauley, a man who takes down scores. It is about halfway into Michael Mann‘s 1995 hit movie Heat. The film came out on December 15, 1995. Yes that is near the end of the year – but it still fits into my Looking Back 20 Years series.

This is the third film in the series. I opened in January with The American President. I followed with Casino in February. Heat is basically the eternal story of cops and robbers, but that is a bit too simplistic. Beside the armored car robbery, the bank heist, and the planning and plotting by both the police and the crew of hardened criminals, there’s a strong character study.

Hanna is the all or nothing detective. He’s already burned through two marriages, and his present and third marriage has already pushed off from level ground to be now racing toward its inevitable conclusion – much like a ski jumper sliding down the slope before lifting into free fall and possibly oblivion.

McCauley is his mirror image on the other side of the transaction. He’s been to jail and he’s not going back into the system – no matter what. He is a man of discipline.

He and Vincent Hanna met face to face and in person when Hanna pulled over McCauley’s car. Rather than provoke something more serious, Hanna simply says, Why don’t you let me buy you a cup of coffee?

So they’re sitting in the diner. This is the first time that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have ever been in the same scene in any movie together talking. It is two guys talking about life –

Continue reading

Advertisements

Recap: The Good Wife: Undisclosed Recipients – Season 6 Episode 17

All Options are open to me, and I plan to decide in 48 hours…

That was the mantra that flowed repeatedly like the daily incoming tides of what was just an hour’s worth of TV. Yes, I’m talking about Sunday night’s broadcast of The Good Wife which was as designated Season 6 Episode 17 or Undisclosed Recipients.

I think we can best describe this episode as a farce, a legal farce, not wrapped in the robes of the judiciary, but instead dressed up as everyone’s most inner thoughts. Which should never, ever, be committed to history and perpetuity via the deus ex machina otherwise known as e-mail.

Why is Diane Lockart not smiling?

Why is Diane Lockart not smiling?

Doors didn’t open and then slam shut over and over, but people did storm off. Instead we heard the sounds or at least the visualization of chests being expanded in high dudgeon again and again. Yes, as is often said, art imitates life. Only in this episode, it was art imitating art. Eli Gold, played wonderfully by Alan Cumming, did the best impression to date of the robot C3PO from long ago and far away in the film Star Wars.

Ed Asner was once again on hand as Guy Redmayne – everyone’s rich uncle with a mind forever in the sewer. Running a close second was Jerry Adler, as Howard Lyman, one of the alta-cockers still at the firm, with his old man’s crush on Kalinda Sharma. Speaking of Kalinda, wasn’t it nice to see her character in action once more, rather than obsequious Kalinda under Lemond Bishop’s thumb for the past few weeks.

As for Mr. Bishop. He approached the new State Attorney – yes, Alicia did win the election – stating that he wanted to step away from his ‘business’ to take better care of his son. Because he had contribution mucho dollars to an election PAC, that he had set up,  he now wanted some consideration from the new State Attorney in the form of not pursuing charges against him stemming from his ‘business’ and to call off Deputy SA Geneva Pike’s investigation. Alicia said she’d be able to offer no charges in exchange for Lemond offering testimony against his former lieutenants. Lemond, the role is handled by Mike Colt,  demurred angrily, flashing teeth so glaringly white, that one would consider donning sunglasses when talking with this man.

Alicia sans sunglasses talks with Lemond Bishop

Alicia sans sunglasses talks with Lemond Bishop

But he was not the only one requesting something from Alicia – Guy Redmayne wanted Alicia to name Redmayne’s man as her Deputy – a quid pro quo for his campaign contributions. Alicia had someone else in mind – Finn Polmar.

Continue reading

Six Gals Talk About the Movies, Making Movies, and the Movie Biz at the Gasparilla

My Thursday entry at Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival would be an Industry Panel Discussion. It was called For the Love of Movies/Women in the Industry.

The venue was the Channelside Cinemas, once a 10 theater cinema hall, until they closed in the fall of 2012. The building remained closed and dormant and has re-opened just for this festival.

staticmap

Over the five-day period of Wednesday to Sunday, March 25th – March 29th, 130 films will be screened. 70 shorts and 60 feature films.

Four of the film makers who have films showing at this festival formed the core of the panel.The Moderator, a last-minute fill in) and panel member, was Actress/Producer Mary Rachel Dudley.

Her film, which she both produced and wrote, In Lieu of Honor, would have its World Premier tonight. Have a look at the trailer:

Here’s a short precis of what the film is about –

Frank Chapman…a man and a soldier. He finds himself surviving another day…a day all too familiar that tortuously repeats itself with the stench of failure. Each step spirals him out of control. He might be back home, yet he was left behind…somewhere in a desert of painful illusions.

The second panelist was Film Director Lindsey Copeland. Her film is called Girls Night. Lindsey not only produced it, directed it,and wrote it, she also was the cinematographer. That’s wearing a lot of hats isn’t it?

Continue reading

The Sarasota Film Festival 2015

The Sarasota Film Festival will start in about two weeks. Beginning April 10th, the festival opens its doors for the 17th time. Celebrating the art of film making while showing the best in new cinema in the categories of narrative features, shorts, documentaries, and even kid friendly film fare – the festival is a key event in the world of movies.

Tonight I attended the Press Kick-Off Party held at the fabulous Selby Gardens. on S. Palm Avenue in Sarasota.

So,e millimg about merged with socializing - an all in one photo op

After a lengthy session of milling around also known as socializing, imbibing drinks, and dabbling in finger foods,

20150325_184744_resized

others engaged in marketing until Mark Famiglio took the stage to welcome the gathered folks and then he turned the festivities over to Mark Dunaway, the new SFF Creative Director.The full schedule of more than 180 films was released tonight with the Sarasota folks in attendance, being the first of any people in the world to get the news. Dunaway told us that when Indie Wire called him today, they were told to call back tomorrow. When the New York Times called today, they were also told to call back tomorrow. The announcements today came out just a few days after the festival’s Opening and Closing Night Features were announced.

The Opening Night film, to be screened on April 10th at 6:30 PM at the Sarasota Opera House at 611 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota will be Time Out of Mind. This is a story of a homeless New Yorker who will struggle to find stability and purpose to his life, all while attempting to restore and rekindle a relationship with his estranged daughter.

Continue reading

The Surface – Opening Night Film at Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival

Date line March 24th

Director Gil Cates Jr.:  It was a lot of work, and even more to consider logistically given the 20 day shooting schedule. We had to think about anchoring the boats, tides, sunlight, wind, and the rise and swell of the lake…

Actor Chris Mulkey: It was a tough schedule – 20 days seemed almost inhuman

Actor Sean Astin on the Red Carpet

Actor Sean Astin on the Red Carpet

Actor Sean Astin: Twenty days? – It seemed more like six months! Every day from before sunrise until after sunset. It was like Lawrence of Arabia on Lake Michigan…

Comments like the above or almost like the above were spoken by the people named after the showing of The Surface, which opened the 9th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival – Tampa’s oldest and biggest film festival.

The Tampa Theater on a non festival day

The Tampa Theater on a non festival day

The Festival’s Opening Night Reception Party, at the Tampa Theater got things started at 6:00 PM. There was a red carpet, some strong lights, and some VIP cars arriving for valet parking service. This party looked like Tampa’s best and most beautiful people were all on hand.

After which the theater doors opened to the general public and the seats were quickly filled. After an introduction by Tampa newscaster and TV personality Gayle Sierens, and a short speech by Rachel Feinman, the President of the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF), and a short speech by a spokesperson from Suncoast Credit Union (the main sponsor) – Director Gil Cates Jr. and Producer and screenwriter Jeff Gendelman came out to briefly introduce the film..

Continue reading

First Day in Oslo, Norway

So it is Saturday afternoon, of the 14th of March. I’ve been shown the where’s and the hows of this apartment in the Grunerlokka section of Oslo, and soon enough, the host leaves. So let’s have a look around –

IMG_0756

IMG_0759The living room is set under a triple skylight.

IMG_0757

The dining room is next to a wall of windows and has a nice hanging lamp over it. This will prove to be invaluable, if and when I need to do something on my laptop.

IMG_0760

I know what you’re thinking. Is that a bathtub sitting outside on the balcony?

IMG_0767

It sure is. Not quite the right season for a soak under the stars – but knowing one could, at the right time of year – is a major plus.

IMG_0765

IMG_0766

The balcony walls are kind of high, but the views aren’t all that special anyway. But who rents an apartment for a short stay, based on the views from a balcony.

Continue reading

It’s Saturday, I’m Leaving Stockholm, & Oslo Is On My Mind

IMG_0879

Singer Michael Buble made the song Georgia On My Mind, a great standard written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, and long known as a classic song of singer Ray Charles, from the 1960’s, – popular once more.

Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through

Just an old sweet song
Keeps that Georgia on my mind

James Taylor did the same thing with his own composition Carolina In My Mind which first appeared in Taylor’s debut album in 1968.

In my mind I’m going to Carolina. Can’t you see the sunshine, can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind? Yes, I’m going to Carolina in my mind.

And Willie Nelson made the song Always on My Mind into an evergreen. His version in 1982 won a Grammy Award.

willie-nelson-always-on-my-mind

Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

The above are all about feelings and places, songs, song writers, and the singers of those songs. I am none of the above. I am just a traveler.

Rail_SJ+Swedish+rail

On Saturday, March 14th, a little more than a week ago, I had the city of Oslo, Norway on my mind.

Continue reading

Final Thoughts on Stockholm, Sweden

Yes, the sun has set over Stockholm, at least for me. Time to move on. But before I make the rail travel to Oslo, in neighboring Norway, I’ll offer some last thoughts about the front half of my journey.

It was easy getting into Sweden as it was leaving. Flying over to Oslo from Orlando, Florida took just a few minutes less than 8 hours. Mucho tailwinds accompanied the flight, pushing  the speeds of the plane to the 640 mph range for much of the journey. I didn’t know it at the time, but the strike by the Norwegian Air pilots that ran for 11 days was settled on the day I flew with them. Guessing the International service wasn’t affected, but on that day, March 10th, 160 domestic flights within Norway were cancelled.

Anyway the arrival was painless, passport control was a breeze, less than three minutes, and I didn’t have to deal with the luggage because it was routed straight through to the airport in Stockholm. I had another fight ahead of me, and from Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport to Stockholm’s Arlanda takes about 45 minutes in the air, and no passport control upon arrival.

At Arlanda airport I was able to purchase a 72 hour travel card, which would get me through three days, and a ticket for the Arlanda Express, a train from the airport which zipped me to the Stockholm Central Station. There I bought a sim card for my unlocked HTC phone. I handled the navigation to the apartment without undo stress.

Luckily I missed the snow in town but not too far out of the city, there was some snow still on the ground...

Luckily I missed the snow in town but not too far out of the city, there was some snow still on the ground…

My thoughts about Stockholm are simple to describe – I liked the place. Most everyone spoke English and the folks who worked in restaurants and coffee houses, Tourist information centers, train conductors etc, were all a fairly cheerful lot. As were the people you met on the street. The Swedish are a tall people and there was an interesting mix of foreign emigres in Sweden. Many North Africans, Middle Easterners, Indians, and other assorted Asians. I did notice many people soliciting ‘spare change’ in the T-Bana (subway) and they seemed to all carrying placards that read Sofia 2015. Many were possibly gypsies – but in the main they were passive rather than aggressive.

i also missed seeing crowds of people flocking to the dockside for some boating.

I also missed seeing crowds of people flocking to the dockside for some boating.

Continue reading

Gamla Stan – Last Day in Stockholm

IMG_0696

When you take the Red Line Southbound from Stockholm’s Central Station – the first thing you notice is that the train leaves the underground and rises to the surface, a necessity to cross over the water by a bridge for a train. Actually there are three bridges. One for the T-Bana or subway trains. The second is for the commuter, regional, and inter-city rail lines, Of course the 3rd bridge is for automobiles.

So the very next station from Stockholm Central Station is Gamla Stan. I think that in the film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as well as the 2nd film in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire – when you see the shot of the train out under the sky – that’s what I’m talking about.

The recorded woman’s voice announcing the next station says Nasta Gamla Stan – only when she says it, it sounds more like Gamla Stawn (like lawn), At least that was my impression, and however it is said, it means Next [is] Gamla Stan.

So I exited the T-Bana at Gamla Stan. I was near the front of the train, so I took the south exit (utgang) and found myself on a waterfront park. It wasn’t the best time of the day for shooting across the water toward Sodermalm. I wanted to shoot that big apartment house, high up on a hilltop – it looked like the highest point across the water and it is the building that appears on the cover of Rick Steves‘ book called Stockholm – Snapshot. But likely I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time of day and the sun was behind the building – so I couldn’t get the shot I wanted. i took the shot but it should have been better.

IMG_0667

So I abandoned that plan and followed along the waterfront promenade. There wasn’t a lot of people about – mid-late afternoon so most folks were still working, But there were some couples strolling or sitting, some younger people who had finished school for the day, and some unemployed just killing off another day.

IMG_0699

IMG_0705

Continue reading