Tag Archives: Miami Vice

Michael Mann’s Miami Vice


Michael Mann’s Miami Vice is a lot of things. Hypnotic, sedated mood piece. Thrumming, rhythmic action picture. Deeply romantic. More going on underneath it’s surface than what you see onscreen. Masterful crime piece. Showcase for digitally shot film. Restless, nocturnal urban dream. One thing it is decidedly not, however, is anything similar to the bright ‘n sunny, pastel suited 80’s cable TV show of the same name, also pioneered by Mann, at a more constricted and likely very different point in his career. A lot can be said for the show though, it’s instantly iconic and was one among a stable of crimeprimetime™ (The Equalizer and Crime Story did their part as well) to give many actors their break, actors who we take for granted as stars today. Mann’s film version is a different beast entirely, a likely reason for the uneasy audience reception. Let’s be clear: it’s one of the best films of the last few decades. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx make a deliberately moodier, more dangerous Ricardo and Tubbs, and their high stakes undercover work is set against an austerely fatalistic Miami that bares little resemblance to travel brochures, let alone the tv show many were used to. Their story starts one of two ways, depending on whether or not you view the extended director’s cut, which is the version I’d choose as it sets up tone before throwing you into a hectic nightclub sting operation they’ve got going, which is hastily interrupted by the exposure of a CI snitch (John Hawkes in a haunting cameo). This sets them on course to take down a powerful Cuban drug syndicate run by a scarily calm Luis Tosar and hotheaded maverick John Ortiz. Farrell gets involved with a girl from their fold, of course (Gong Li is a vision), a romance that has grown on me over the years, while Foxx is involved with beautiful fellow cop Naomie Harris, yielding heart wrenching moments in the final act. Darting in and out of the story as well are Tom Towles, Justin Theroux, Isaach De Bánkole, Eddie Marsan, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tony Curran and Ciaran Hinds, all vital cogs in a well oiled, momentous machine that doesn’t drop it’s pulse for a second. Composer John Murphy piles on the mood with his mournful score, highlighting evening boat-rides, shadowy shoot outs and outdoor nightclubs with a top tier soundscape, while cinematographer Dion Beebe works tirelessly to get shot after shot looking mint, not an easy task with a film this energetic and particularly lit. From start to finish it’s to the point as well, Mann has no interest in useless exposition, mapped out play by plays or cheesy moments. Everything careens along at a realistic pace and you’re on your own if you can’t keep up or make sense of the off the cuff cop jargon. There’s stillness too though, in a torn up Farrell watching his love disappear on the horizon, Foxx looking on from beside a hospital bed or simply either of them glowering out at the skyline from a rooftop pulpit before things Heat up. Like I said, do the extended version and you’ll get that terrific opener to set you up, instead of being thrown in the deep end right off the bat. Either way though, Miami Vice is one for the ages. 

-Nate Hill

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PTS Presents ACTOR’S SPOTLIGHT with PAUL CALDERON

Calderon POWERCAST

Paul Sh #2Podcasting Them Softly is honored to present a chat with veteran actor Paul Calderon, who has appeared in a wide range of some of our favorite films and TV shows for close to the last 40 years. Paul has worked with filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Abel Ferrara, James Mangold, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Steven Soderbergh, Spike Lee, Sydney Pollack, Harold Becker, Sydney Lumet, and Arthur Penn, to name only a few, with credits including Pulp Fiction, King of NY, Bad Lieutenant (which he co-wrote with Ferrara), Welcome to New York, Q&A, Sea of Love, Copland, 21 Grams, Out of Sight, Clockers, and The Firm. His massive list of television credits include Boardwalk Empire, Hostages, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, How to Make It In America, Miami Vice, and an epic run on the daytime soap One Life to Live. He’s also no stranger to the theater, having appeared with Robert De Niro in Cuba and His Teddy Bear. He also runs his own acting school, which you can find out more about at his website www.paulcalderon.net. Paul is a founding member of the Touchstone Theater, The American Folk Theater, and The LAByrinth Theater Company, as well as being a member of the Actors Studio since 1984. A consummate NY character actor all throughout his career, Paul brings energy and edge to every performance in every project, and we’re extremely excited present this interview! We hope you enjoy!

Glenn Frey was an Asshole and a Genius and the World is a Better Place Because of Him

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Glenn Frey was an asshole. A big one. He fired original guitarist Bernie Leadon over an argument about the Eagle’s direction early on (Bernie also poured a beer over Glenn’s head in that argument and told Glenn to “chill out, I’m going surfing”). Frey replaced Leadon with Joe Walsh. Frey fired bassist and vocal Randy Meisner due to his stage fright resulting in Randy refusing to sing TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT during encores. Frey replaced him with Timothy B. Schmidt.

Don Henley would say that Glenn Frey was an asshole, but to be fair, Frey would say the same thing about Henley. They are both right. In 2001 Frey, with Henley, fired the last original member, Don Felder, over a payment dispute. Felder wanted to be paid as much as Frey and Henley. Frey’s response: songwriting power.

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Felder sued the band over the rights to HOTEL CALIFORNIA. The case was settled out of court, and Felder disgraced himself, and would never be invited to perform with the band again. Bernie Leadon performed with the during their last tour, and Randy Meisner declined due to health reasons.

Glenn Frey was an asshole, but more importantly he was a genius. He held himself and the rest of the Eagles to the highest of standards. Don Henley was absolutely right in his wonderful statement in the wake of Frey’s passing. He said that Frey started it all, he was the spark plug, and he led the band through its turbulent span.

When Frey and Henley broke the band in two, Henley went on to an amazing solo career. Frey’s career was as different from Henley’s as it could possibly get. Frey wanted to be a rock star, and in the 1980’s, he was.

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His over-the-top, borderline obnoxious Billboard hits are fantastic and have become seminal 80’s songs. THE HEAT IS ON was prominently featured in BEVERLY HILLS COP. YOU BELONG TO THE CITY and SMUGGLERS BLUES were featured in MIAMI VICE. The latter was used in an episode of the same name wherein Frey guest starred as Jimmy Cole, the antihero, guitar playing smuggler who teams up with Crockett and Tubbs.

After his brief acting stint, Frey and Henley got the band back together and went on the Hell Freezes Over tour in the early 90’s. Since then, Frey has secured the Eagles legacy, not only in American rock, but rock in general.

Glenn Frey was not only the frontman and leader of the Eagles, but he was the one to champion and enshrine them. Glenn Frey was an asshole and a genius, and the world is a much better place because he was here for such a short period of time.