Blind Spot Series: Heat (1995)

heat-movie-review-1995-blind-spotDirector: Michael Mann

Genre: Crime, Drama, Action

Runtime: 170 Minutes

Main Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan

Plot: Neil McCauley and his group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from the police when they leave a clue behind at their latest heist.

My Thoughts: You can’t win them all, and not even the greatest of movies will appeal to everyone. I think I’ve found a very specific genre that I just don’t enjoy at all, cat and mouse, robbers and police movies. I’ve got nothing against crime movies as a whole, in fact, I love watching heists and I love seeing a detective’s case unfold, but none of what happened in the nearly 3 hours of the movie Heat appealed to me.

I just don’t care about any of these characters. 170 minutes long and not enough time to let me build up any kind of sympathy? The only character I really liked was Natalie Portman’s – and oh my goodness how young is she here?! I’m so old. My biggest problem with it is probably the reason it’s so loved. It’s too much like The Departed, and yes I know that one is more recent. But I couldn’t stand The Departed. The whole thing seemed so pointless to me and it was just dull.

Here’s the thing, someone in your gang of robbers is probably going to turn against you. Maybe they’re into some shadier business than you’re already aware. Everyone is moody, has a troubled relationship at home. At the end of the movie, half of the cast is dead and they were terrible people anyway so you don’t even care! Sorry – I’m just ranting now. I know Heat is a well-loved movie. There are parts that I can appreciate, but at the end of the day, it’s just not my thing.

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Best Bit: Robert De Niro’s character says something about not getting attached to anyone or anything that you can’t leave behind in 30 seconds if it all goes south, and when this actually happens to him towards the end of the movie it was a pretty cool moment. Probably the only time I actually felt any emotion whilst watching the movie but it was really memorable.

Worst Bit: The restaurant scene with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino had me rolling my eyes. You guys are making each other’s lives miserable but you’ll have a happy chat over a coffee and talk about respect and what not? Ugh, please!

Fun Trivia: In the director’s commentary, Michael Mann noted that Al Pacino ad-libbed the line “Because she’s got a GREAT ASS!” and Hank Azaria’s look of exasperated shock was totally genuine.

My Rating: 2 full-size bags of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs that I ate whilst watching this movie over the space of 3 days…I am a disgusting human being.

heat-1995-movie-review-mini-eggs

blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

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Blind Spot Series: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

saving-private-ryan-1998-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Steven Spielberg

Genre: Drama, War

Runtime: 169 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Matt Damon, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti

Plot: Set during World War II,  Captain Miller and his assembled crew are sent to find Private James Ryan and send him home. His 3 brothers have been killed in action and all 3 telegraphs are set to be sent on the same day to his Mother to inform her of the terrible news. To alleviate her grief the Chief of Staff decides that Ryan should be pulled from the war.

My Thoughts: War movies have never interested me, but in my recent quest to watch all Oscar Best Picture nominees when awards season rolls around, I found myself at the cinema to watch Hacksaw Ridge (2016) which exceeded all my expectations. I don’t think anyone can talk about war movies without at least thinking about Saving Private Ryan (1998) so the Blind Spot Series was a great opportunity to watch the classic and expand my horizons a little.

Straight away you’re hit with a wall of emotion. We see a survivor of the war in his old age, although we don’t know who, as he visits the graves of his brothers, and then we’re transported straight into one of the battles. It’s raw, it’s gritty, it’s tense and uncomfortable to watch, and yet I couldn’t tear my eyes away. We’re literally in the thick of it with these soldiers, and we’re in it for the long haul.

At just under 3 hours this is one of the longest movies I’ve watched, and so I made the decision to watch it in two sittings but to be honest, I could have happily watched it in one go, you don’t notice the time at all. There’s always something going on, and even in the quieter moments you know it’s just a build up to the next big thing.

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Best Bit: I’ve always associated Giovanni Ribisi with the TV Show Friends, so much so that I can never remember his actual name, I call him Frank Jr. I know him from small, comedic roles so it was a surprise to see him here. He was AMAZING. The guy has some really incredible talent, and I can’t believe it’s the only serious role I’ve ever seen him in. He deserved award nominations for it, without a doubt.

Worst Bit: There’s no denying that Saving Private Ryan is an incredible movie. I’m not a converted war movie fan, though. Watching this, watching Hacksaw Ridge, watching Dunkirk (2017), they were amazing experiences, but to me, they aren’t ‘enjoyable’ in the same sense as other genres, if that makes any sense?

Fun Trivia: Steven Spielberg cast Matt Damon as Private Ryan because he wanted an unknown actor with an All-American look. He did not know Damon would win an Oscar for Good Will Hunting (1997) and become an overnight star before the film was released.

My Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 pairs of standard-issue socks that you can turn into sticky bombs if needed.

saving-private-ryan-socks-sticky-bombs

blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.