Heat: Great film, but how could it be better?

Al Pacino and Robert de Niro in HeatI was bored by Heat the first time I saw it. Ridiculously long runtime coupled with too many talky bits put a dampener on all those Andy McNab-choreographed shoot-outs, which is what I really wanted.

In retrospect and without the callowness of youth on my side (replaced with the callowness of 30something-dom), I now realise it was excellent – certainly the best movie Michael Mann’s directed, although Manhunter makes it a close-run contest.

But what could make it better, ten years on?

A director’s cut? No.

A sequel? Hell no.

No, what the world needs now is a Heat video game that features neither Robert de Niro nor Al Pacino.

“The success of the special edition DVD last year reminded us how Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’ is truly a modern day classic and deserved to be retold using modern technology that will transport a viewer into that world,” said Regency production prexy Sanford Panitch.

Happily (but only if you’re only anti-depressants), it turns out there are also video games of Jaws (do you have to escape the shark or be the shark, I wonder?) and Scarface in the works.

Incidentally, in case you’re wondering what Michael Mann’s been up to of late, he’s retooling his finest televisual hour for the big screen. Yes, Miami Vice is coming out this summer and you can view the trailer below:

UPDATE: Val Kilmer is in talks to voice the game as well, according to Variety.


Christopher Eccleston his own worst enemy

Christopher Eccleston in Doctor WhoWe all heard the news that Christopher Eccleston may be starring in the forthcoming remake of The Prisoner. Now The Independents Pandora reports that CE may have had a bust-up with the producers and Sky are getting cold feet.

“Christopher did contact Granada earlier this year, when talks about the project began,” they say. “But since the casting process has only just begun, we are also looking elsewhere.”

Quelle surprise. Odd that he should have initiated contact with the producers, as he did with Doctor Who, and then mess everything up himself (assuming Pandora’s right). But it seems that if there’s a way to sabotage his own career, Eccleston will find it every time. Let’s hope he can pull himself together again and get back into the game.


Remembering times past

Televisual May 2006My old alma mater, Televisual magazine, has its Intelligent TV Festival running today. Biggest news so far, according to the Media Guardian, is that the BBC is going to scale back on three- to four-part factual series in favour of longer-running pre-watershed documentaries. Which is nice.

More interestingly, from the same article, the Beeb is starting to regret cancelling Timewatch and other ‘strand’ shows:

“There was a period about five years ago when we lost a lot of strand titles,” Ms Benson said. “I do think it is a very good question – should we actually have a rethink about bringing back strand titles for documentaries?”

Doctor Who‘s back. The Price is Right is coming back. All sorts of long-forgotten stars, such as Noel Edmonds, are cropping up again. Commissioners are clearly starting to realise that maybe the old days weren’t so bad after all.

On the subject of which, this month’s Televisual has an interview with Russell T Davies and one of the guys down The Mill about the effects work on Doctor Who. If I were still there, it would have been me doing that and I’d have just got back from NAB in Las Vegas. Sigh. A la recherche du temps perdu and all that…


Stargate: a licence to print money

Stargate SG-1You just can’t get rid of Stargate. There was the movie. Then there was the first TV series, Stargate SG-1, which is now filming its tenth season, making it just about the longest running sci-fi show in the world short of Doctor Who. Then there’s the spin-off series Stargate: Atlantis, which is on to season three. There was also a spin-off cartoon, that was, thankfully, cancelled. Now they’re thinking of another movie that will launch a third series as well.

Can I say, at this point, enough with the Stargates already? To make both Stargate and Stargate: Atlantis requires a budget of $75 million per year. Give it to the poor instead. The idea has been milked well and good already. I keep watching them, mind you, but then I have an addictive personality. Cut me off, please. I beg you. I resent being addicted, intrigued and bored simultaneously.

On the other hand, guess how much money it’s made for the economy of British Columbia, the part of Canada where it’s filmed. Go on. You won’t be able to guess.

$500 million. That’s right. And we’re talking US not Canadian dollars here. You can see why they keep doing it, can’t you? Maybe some poor Canadians are getting some of that. We can only hope.