Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cool movie review: "Miami Vice"

Psst... hey kid. Yeah, you kid. C'mere. Wanna see something cool? Go out and sit through "Miami Vice." I'm of the opinion that Michael Mann can turn water into wine (even less than successful efforts like "Collateral" are eminently enjoyable), and his resurrection of the 1980s TV staple is a summer movie victory for the director.

Moody, dark, sexy, and shot in gritty DV, Miami has never looked steamier and dirtier than when Mann puts his camera to it. The skies at night are full of expansive, angry clouds, bathed in the city's orange light pollution, swollen with moisture and portending lightning storms at a moment's notice. The eight-cylinder sports cars rev in and out of frame, taillights streaking across our view. High-octane speedboats dart across gulf waters under blazing hot sunlight. What a world Mann has created -- and what fun it is for leads Foxx and Farrell to play in that world, what with the female companionship in the pulchritudinous personages of Naomie Harris and Gong Li.

The trademark Mann gun violence is back for another go around, with some vicious firearm back-and-forth that both opens and closes the flick. This is not your average summertime Gore Verbinski joint -- you're in the hands of a real auteur here.

Bonus fact: It seems like casting director Francine Maisler looked to the HBO Sunday night lineup for hints, as no fewer than three leads from 9 p.m. Sunday dramas are featured in the cast: John Hawkes ("Deadwood"), Pascha Lychnikoff ('Deadwood"), and Ciaran Hinds ("Rome").