To the casual observer, Michael Mann appears to make stylish but conventional genre films. A closer look reveals a filmmaker who occupies a strange position in American cinema. One who works within the Hollywood machine yet also outside of it. Mann’s films may tick many genre boxes, but through their conviction, beauty and uniformly wonderful casts, they also tap into feelings and concerns not realised in typical genre pictures.
I’ve been obsessed with psychics since I can remember. I don’t know what it is. Tea leaf readings, the magnificent tarot, exalted ghosts of the past, peculiar mediums – you name it, I find it enrapturing. I’m so preternaturally drawn to these themes that I’m developing a television series about them. A fascination so poignant and deep, I can daydream scenarios for hours on end.
“I can help you. Come to mine for faith healing on Saturday,” urged Nikki van der Zyl as she clasped my hand. I was interviewing her about life as the voice of Ursula Andress (and six other Bond girls) at the time and was unsure how we had gotten so off topic.
An invisible rope, hooked around my neck, pulls me along when I’m sleep deprived. I let somebody in on this secret, performing a mime to illustrate the dimensions, and am about to confess that my thoughts are preoccupied with death, anxiety and self-loathing, but she is already half-heartedly pretending to send a text. The number of syllables in the word insomnia is up for debate.
Birdman ended and the credits began. I watched the names of the cast and crew for a few seconds, before slowly getting up and exiting the auditorium. As I walked down the stairs, through the foyer and towards the door, things retained their sense of the ordinary, their levelness.
Like Celine Dion and Michael Jackson, she had a gift that could never be bought – the gift of absolute pitch. If you threw Clara a song, she could play you back the notes by ear. She could do this on the piano at the age of two, because she was a v-i-r-t-u-o-s-o. And when she was four, she stood up on a table and breathed rapid hellfire from behind the chin rest of the devil’s instrument.
I’m house-sitting for a friend. I’m doing it very gladly as this house is considerably nicer than mine. It has AC, my house doesn’t. And it’s high up in the hills offering spectacular views of the low, sprawling mass/mess of Los Angeles. Certain landmarks are easy to make out.
Growing up on a farm in rural Iowa, water was something that came out of the faucet to quench his thirst after a bicycle ride down the seemingly endless, flat gravel roads, sweat soaking through his shirt. It was something slopping out of the dog’s bowl as she lapped it up with her long wet tongue.
I, too, have suffered through Mary J Blige’s A Mary Christmas. She looks like Tito the Chihuahua from Oliver and Company on the album’s cover, pensive and forlorn, and super-imposed onto a department store’s “Meet Santa” photo set.
The outdoor swimming pool was in the shape of a wonky figure of eight. A bridge crossed its middle. They said it was the biggest pool in Europe. The concrete border was patterned with circles in different sizes. If you fell, the surface was hard and unforgiving. Each bulb of the pool was pinned with two sets of diving boards; four and five boards layered on top of one another.