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PCR #484 (Vol. 10, No. 27). This edition is for the week of June 29--July 5, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Public Enemies"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Public Enemies"  by Mike Smith
The British Invasion and Garage Bands a Go-Go  by William Moriaty
The Monster Squad: The Complete Collection  by ED Tucker
FANGRRL Goes To The New Tampa Film Network Meeting  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
Dr. Paul Bearer - Where It All Started .... .... Wghp-tv .... The Gags .... .... The Hearse .... What's It Worth? ....  by Brandon Jones
The Music .... Have You Heard This One? .... America Wouldn't Know Talent If It Bit It In The Ass .... Please Have Kleenex Ready .... Passing On .... Happy Birthday U.s.a. .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard
Directed by: Michael Mann
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 20 mins

1933. It has been four years since the stock market crashed. Many banks are going under. The ones that aren’t are being robbed.

Indiana State Penitentiary. In a daring move, recently-paroled bank robber John Dillinger (Depp) breaks IN to the prison, hoping to help his former pals escape. One state over, in the woods of Ohio, FBI Agent Melvin Purvis (Bale) is in pursuit of wanted criminal Charles Arthur Floyd (Channing Tatum). Taking aim with his rifle Purvis fires a single shot. For shooting the handsome gangster, Purvis is forever known as “the man who got “Pretty Boy” Floyd.” One knows that it is only a matter of time before these two legends in their chosen profession meet. And meet they do in “Public Enemies.”

In a summer full of robots and wizards and wooly mammoths, it’s refreshing to see a film aimed at adults released. Even a film as uneven as “Public Enemies.” As I watched the film I kept having to remind myself that Michael Mann directed it. Mann, after all, is the man who created “Miami Vice” and gave us such films as “Thief,” “Manhunter” (the first film to introduce movie goers to Dr. Hannibal Lecter) and “Collateral.” I am also a huge fan of the television film “The Jericho Mile,” which Mann wrote and directed. For some reason he has decided to present the film as a series of short vignettes, with no cohesive pacing to make the story interesting. Often after a screening critics are asked by a studio representative to sum up the film in a few words. I only used one…flat. The film moves along with no rhyme or reason. One moment Dillinger is robbing a bank, the next J. Edgar Hoover (an excellent Billy Crudup) is defending the Bureau and their modern ways, even when Purvis decides he needs former Texas Rangers to help him catch Public Enemy Number One.

Performance-wise the film is fine, with Depp and Bale both inhabiting their characters, something both actors are well accomplished at. A romance with a coat check girl (played by Oscar winner Cotillard) gives the actress some well-played scenes as well. The script, by Mann, Anne Biderman and Ronan Bennett, does its best to capture the feel of the time and includes some good exchanges between the actors. When Cotillard asks him what he likes, Johnny replies that he enjoys, “movies, baseball, fast cars, whiskey and you.” Johnny gains the public’s love because, when confronting customers by robbing their bank, he insists they keep their cash in their pockets. “We’re here for the bank's money,” he tells them, “not yours.” A good line. Probably because Robert DeNiro said the same thing to the customers he robbed in Mann's 1995 film, “HEAT.” Oh well, if you can’t crib from yourself who can you crib from? The production designers have done a great job recreating Chicago in the mid 1930s and, apart from the fact that the film opens with the death of “Pretty Boy” Floyd when the mobster was actually killed three months AFTER John Dillinger, the familiar series of events that lead to the front of Chicago’s Biograph Theatre play out accordingly.

A slow-paced but entertaining film, I give “Public Enemies”  

This week's movie review of "Public Enemies" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.