Sunday, July 19, 2009

Public Enemies: Believe the hype.

After watching Public Enemies last night, I would be remiss in not bringing a Colt 1903 to the range today, don't you think?

The gunfights in the movie were vintage Michael Mann, and if you were a John Browning fan, it was gun nirvana: plenty of BAR's and 1911's; Winchester 97 and cut-down Remington Model 11 shotguns; Colt 1903s and a full-auto Colt pistol with a Thompson foregrip; a Remington Model 8 rifle, and even a chopped Winchester lever action carbine that was dead sexy, especially in the hands of the hardass Texas lawman toting it.

The only downside would be if you don't like hand-held camera work. Some people complain that it makes them queasy, and those people will blow chunks watching this movie. I don't mind it; but then I always thought that cinema verite was French for "shaky camera".

Two wobbly steadycam thumbs up.


Vaarok said...

The movie was excellent EXCEPT the two scenes where Depp/Dillinger returns fire from inside the hunting lodge at the Feds outside. Was it just me, or did the video quality turn to utter ass? It's like they lit it with bad fluorescent lights and then overdid the gain to even out the muzzle flashes.

Dano said...

This the same Michael Mann responsible for Miami Vice?

Pathfinder said...

"This the same Michael Mann responsible for Miami Vice?"


Anonymous said...

Did you notice this? I might go on cheap night if it ever gets here.


Noah D said...

This the same Michael Mann responsible for Miami Vice?

And Heat.

Joseph said...

The shots inside the lodge were indeed ass. It wasn't you.

I can't say I liked the movie as much as you and I REALLY wanted to love this movie. The shaky cam work at this point is pretty annoying to me as it gets overdone in action flicks anymore. Yeah, I get it, "I'm THERE with them" or whatever.

To me, there wasn't really enough cake to support the icing of all the gunplay.

Zendo Deb said...

One of the very few times I have been sea-sick is in the 2nd Bourne movie, with all the hand-held, let's-cut-every-four-milliseconds-cinematography.

Guess I will wait for the video.

(I don't understand this... if you are shooting in HD video - which I think a big portion of this was - you can buy a knock-off-Steadicam for about 5 grand.)

Revolver Rob said...

I'm so tired of this moving camera crap, it sucks. Partially, because it is harder to follow the action and partially because the girly vomits courtesy of it, which means, I can't go to the movies and watch the bad assery.

I'll be waiting for video too...


Anonymous said...

What is kinda sucky is that the movie portray's Baby Face Nelson as dying in Rhinelander, WI.

He was actually shot, then died, after Dillinger in Barrington, IL and then died of his wounds a few days later...

(DSA makes FAL's in Lake Barrington. Same town, different County...)

Lastly, I work pretty close to the Biograph and it is amazing how many folks are visiting the area due to the movie.

-Les (posting from a public Terminal...)

Anonymous said...

"The only downside would be if you don't like hand-held camera work."

You mean other than the downside of the complete disregard of history?

I know no one in Hollywood has the brains to blow up a balloon and Mann was not making a documentary, but come on, Hollywood, read a book or two (just don't use the pages to roll joints)!

Baby Face didn't die in Wisconsin!

The hard-ass Tejas lawmen were playing grabass and hide the pickel down the street when the cop from East Chicago, Indiana removed that boil Dillinger off society's backside!

On, and on I could go with the silliness in that movie. However . . . lots of guns, the Cult of John Moses Browning (pbuh) was well represented and Depp did a good job of showing the complexity of a dangerous sociopath like Dillinger.

*Shootin' Buddy Trivia Fact: in grad skul we used to drink at the Red Lion (down the street from the Biograph). I would do my Dillinger impression there by flopping down in front of the Biograph. It works after several pitchers at the Red Lion Tavern.

staghounds said...

Yes, the picture lost me when the first scene was full of factual error.

It's as though a movie about George Washington opened with his year as a sailor on a Pacific tramp steamer.

Fiction is fine, make it as fiction.

The worst thing, to me, was the presentation of the hoodlums as clever, upscale characters rather than the low end failures they really were.

Having said that, as spectacle/evocation/old timey stuff picture it was pretty good.

Anonymous said...

I liked that movie,I like the jumping around camera work , but I don't really like Hollywood's tendancy to glamorize bad guys who were murderers and robbers so that we feel bad when Johnny Depp gets what he deserved-even if the FBI was incompetent while they did it.

Oh,and this just in-did you guys hear that Micheal Jackson died?

Eric R. Shelton said...

I liked the time period of the movie, the suits, cars, etc. I also love the Colt 1903 I inherited from my grandpa with the bluing that looks factory new, and applaud anyone else with the same love affair as me.

Just a quick note- Dillinger's Model M was a 1908, chambered in .380.

Tam said...

"Having said that, as spectacle/evocation/old timey stuff picture it was pretty good."

I took it for what it was worth: A rock-'em-sock-'em shoot-'em-up period piece more or less based on true events.

Besides, I'd forgive a lot of sins for a movie with a gorgeous customized Mauser 98 with claw mounts, engraving, double-set triggers, and a butterknife bolt handle.

Isaac Coverstone said...

^^What she said^^ Probably one of my top five favorite scenes from the movie, the close-ups of Purvis working the bolt, and properly using the set triggers. Just beautiful.

Although the scene where the hood sprays the cop car with a BAR was right up there, too.

staghounds said...

And in close up! Used properly!

Actually I had a similar criticism of the original book, which the author said he meant to be as much about the hunt for the public enemies as about what they did. But it just turned into a roster of their crimes.

Shame, really- the pursuit of the gangsters was a very American story, and it was awfully important in the creation of the country we live in.

The old time FBI agents I've heard talk a little about that era make it clear that there was a lot going on in law enforcement that never made the front pages.

I'd like to know more about the people who did it.

Tango Juliet said...

It managed to nudge the "tolerable" point on my movieometer.

Vaarok said...

The part where all the civillians start shooting at the robbers was heartwarming, and a little giddying when you consider how much grab-and-go firepower got employed by the townspeople.

Cemetery's Gun Blob said...

I thought that was a 1903 I spotted. Surprised to see a lever action shotgun, and noticed a lack of lever action rifles. Way cool too see auto rifles in action.

In the gangster films of the 30's guns seemed to revolve around Tommy Guns, 1911's, Winchester 97 shotguns, and Winchester 92 rifles, and on the rare occasion, a Winchester 73.

Tam said...

"Surprised to see a lever action shotgun..."

Was that an '87? I thought it was a cut-down 1886. I never got a rally good look at it, but I don't recollect seeing that distinct "humpback" silhouette.