This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Looks like film, but it’s not film.

Looks like film, but it’s not film. (photo)

Posted by on

At the LA Weekly, on-the-verge-of-departure editor Scott Foundas pays Michael Mann a visit on the occasion of the release of “Public Enemies” on DVD. Foundas gets the director to open up a bit about the ways he’s been pushing digital photography into the avant-garde realm while shooting summer action movies.

“The advantage of the technology is in a search for its own aesthetic, not to try to duplicate what you can do on film,” Mann muses. “If I’m going to do that, I may as well shoot film.”

Indeed, though, judging by the underwhelming box office numbers for “Miami Vice” and “Public Enemies,” someone forgot to tell the public, who seem a little mixed about what Mann is doing. Shooting at night, he makes gunshots into startling light bursts, and indelibly captures LA’s afterhours grid in “Collateral.” But sometimes his tendency toward harsh camera movements and deliberate calling of attention to the technology’s inability to keep up the way film does seems less than productive.

Mann’s not the first to use video this way. It’s had its own cinematic following since the ’70s, mostly among boundary-pushers and the underground (Godard, Paul Cox, Rob Nilsson). It was only recently that the technology became both good and cheap enough to be thought of as a replacement for the expensive pain-in-the-ass of film.

Steven Soderbergh’s made a specialty of exploiting primitive digital for all its worth, as early as 2002’s (almost unwatchable) “Full Frontal,” which made a point of pointing out how different it looked from film. Those visuals were unredeemable — he’s since used digital filming for a series of mostly gorgeous movies.

01182010_collateral.jpgMann’s interested in taking digital to a new place — he compares it to architecture:

It’s not an analogue of film — it’s totally different. Just like when they first used steel in architecture, initially it was to make buildings that took their form from masonry buildings, even though they didn’t have to. You didn’t have to have a pediment on the roof, but a lot of early modern architecture, particularly in New York, did.

I think he’s laboring under a misapprehension. What the industry really wants is a flawless digital replacement for film that’ll make moviemaking faster and cheaper. The look of “film” is here to stay, whether or not it’s actually on film. The look of digital will be put to use in music videos and for certain visual flourishes, for effect, but it’s doubtful that it heralds a brave new world.

[Photos: “Public Enemies,” Universal, 2009; “Collateral,” DreamWorks, 2004]

Watch More

Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Watch More

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

Watch More

A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

Watch More