We’ve all understood for the last 30-plus years that Michael Mann is a distinctive heavyweight who doesn’t make programmers. He’s makes classy, hot-shit Michael Mann films, some of which have been deemed award-worthy (The Insider, Last of the Mohicans) or genre-altering (Heat, Thief, Collateral, Manhunter) or at least exceptional in this or that way (Ali, Public Enemies, the “fumes” of Miami Vice). They’re always an event, at least in the minds of critics and Mann-heads and ubers. Which is why the current absence of invites to see Blackhat, Mann’s cyber-thriller which opens on 1.16.15, is puzzling. Mann’s previous pattern has been to let his critic loyalists (a group I’ve proudly belonged to for 20-odd years) have an early looksee before the all-media crowd, but apparently not this time. I’ve written and called Mann’s office twice about this….radio silence. All Universal publicity will say is they’re waiting for Mann to say “okay, let’s roll.” Odd. The town will shut down at the end of next week (1.19) and won’t be humming again until Monday, January 5th, at which point Blackhat will be only 12 days away from opening. I don’t want to think what I’m thinking but the signals suggest that Blackhat is less than a classic Mann “event” film. I’m crestfallen at the possibility. The Sony guys will tell you Blackhat is obviously in synch with the New Terrorism. The right movie at the right time…so what’s with the hesitation?