Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Brett Ratner In The Dog House

On January 30th, The Hannibal Lecter Collection is being released on R1 DVD. The three titles featured are The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Manhunter. You might notice that, first of all, they aren't being presented in narrative chronological order - and secondly, that Manhunter is included instead of Red Dragon, despite Red Dragon starring Anthony Hopkins as Lecter whereas Manhunter features Brian Cox in the role.

Both films were derived from the same book, and Red Dragon even managed to retain the novel's name - so why was it ousted for Manhunter?

Could it be a simple case of Manhunter being expected to shift copies where as Red Dragon would not? Perhaps Red Dragon might even be perceived as off putting?

Brett Ratner, director of the rejected film, is something of a whipping boy for critics and messageboard trolls alike, and yes, I can see why - his best film is easily The Family Man and not much of what makes that film work is anything he can be credited for. On the other hand, however, Manhunter was directed by Michael Mann and, if you ask me, his track record is even worse. He could only dream of making a film as good as The Family Man - that is, an admittedly wonky film that has a commendably spare narrative shape, and benefits from some great acting amidst the perfunctory mise en scene and ho-hum editing.

Of course, Mann is in the canon of auters and Ratner is not. Simple as that, isn't it? Sigh.


ronen said...

Isn't Red Dragon owned by a different studio?

Brendon said...

As I understand it, MGM produced Red Dragon too. It is possible they let the rights slip somehow, or sold them - but that amounts to the same thing, I believe: that it was dropped, if not just fromt his set but from MGM's roster overall.

Ted said...

Brett Ratner would sell his left foot to be able to make HEAT, COLLATERAL, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS or even THE INSIDER. He's a big kid with a camera, whereas Mann is, you know, an artist.

Yes, MIAMI VICE aside. Who are you kidding?

Brendon said...

I'd ask Michael Mann fans to carefully consider the following (particularly if they don't like Miami Vice) - what's the difference between, say, Heat and Miami Vice? What makes one succeed for you, and the other fail? And is this difference something real? Or is it something in the eye of the beholder? The real qualities of films are solid, not just perceived.

So, Heat and Vice. As far as I can tell, they're both histrionic, over-stylised, shallow, lumpen films, deeply pretentious, self regarding and tedious. They display an inherent racism and sexism, a desperate need to show the controlling hand of their maker at the expense of solid craftsmanship.

Michael Mann is like a man driving a car who, rather than wanting to keep the wheels set perfecrtly on course instead wants to be seen turning the steering wheel so that observers might infer he's trying to keep it on track.

By and large, the same is true of Ratner, in his own fashion - he was simply lucky enough to have a clean, plain, straight-forward script like that for The Family Man and the fortune to have the film's cast gel very well.

Here are some filmmakers that truly are great artists: Hitchcock, Gilliam, Lasseter, Truffaut, De Palma, Eisentstein, Wilder, Soderbergh, Gondry, Melies, Lubitsch, Dante.

keepcoolbutcare said...


You forgot Godard, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Welles, Ray, Renoir, Kurosawa (which proves just how much of an asshat you really are), Ozu (racist much?)...should I continue the pointless exercise?

Yeah, those beautifully framed compositions in MV are the work of a total hack who's completely in love with himself. The emotions he's able to wring out of Gong Li, who barely speaks the fucking language? Mark of a guy of no clue what he's doing behind the camera, sure. One fucking gesture from Li had more warmth and humanity than anything De Palma, Gilliam or Hitchcock had ever put on film. And, before you scoff, I adore all the directors you listed, the directors I listed, and many, many others.

Vice racist?!?...let's ask Naomie Harris and, I dunno, Jamie Foxx and, let's see, Will Smith about Mann's purported racism, K? Or, are you saying he doesn't dig on Latin Americans, particularly Colombians, who, lemme see if I remember this clearly, DO support me with all the cocaine I need to get-by...good job guys, keep flooding the market with that quality product, and keep those prices down! And the way he presented Cuba, a fun place with quality mojitos and swingin' music? Yup, that's Mann, TOTAL racist.

What I find really amusing is that De Palma has been accused, countless times , of the same pitiful analogy you used to describe Mann's direction. Gilliam & Gondry not self indulgent? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Why don't you just come out and say you don't like Mann's take on late 20th/early 21st century male archetpyes, his stance on the code and conduct of being a man (particularly a MAN of the cinema, a man of action) in this particular day and age? You may actually score a point or two with that...

self important fucktard, no wonder no one visits this (admittedly) informative and well researched site.

keepcoolbutcare said...

you soaking pussy, gotta read the comments before they go up, huh?

grow a pair and enter the a real discussion, cocktard.

Brendon said...

I am a very big fan of Ozu, actually, Mizoguchi and Kurosawa too - but I was going for names I thought would be very familiar to the type of readers this place has regularly pulled in.

Jean Renoir, Francois Truffaut, Bong Joon Ho, Lars Von Trier - there's some "world" cinema directors I rank with the very best all of cinema has to offer. Happier now?

I agree that Gondry has shown some self indulgence, but while making some wonderful films.

As for Mann's compositions - stilted, attention-drawing, artificial, ill-considered...

No need to insult me really. Suggests a sense that your argument won't stand up on it's own. Is that true? Certainly seems to be.

More humanity in Mann than in Gilliam or Hitchcock? Blimey. Have you not seen Vertigo then? Or Brazil?

Emotions wrung out of Gong Li? You said it - like sentiments dripping into a bucket. Overwrought theatrics.

The "black people are in the film, therefore the images of racial types are not a) stereotyped or b) shallow" argument is tiring, old and paper-thin. Mann's racism and sexism is much deeper beneath the surface - well, his sexism much less so.

Your defences actually seem to be pretty darn racist themselves, in fact - reducing things to stereotypes (albeit, as you see them, positive ones).

Time for somebody else to launch into Michael Mann's filmmaking for a bit. It won't be hard - and it will at least give me time to do something more interesting.

Brendon said...

All comments go up - by the way - unless they are spam. I screen comments simply to keep the site from being flooded with ads for penis extensions and stocks and shares.

Hog said...

Michael Mann is a penis extension - are you not inadvertantly advertising such here?