Detroit, but not Detroit

On a lot of occasions there are films that take place in a certain city, state or country that never filmed in that location or very little. Which is understandable in a lot of cases due to budget concerns. But you have a movie named after a city and you barely filmed there it kind of doesn’t sit right.

On August 4th a new film Directed by Katherine Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) called Detroit. It is about the Police Raid that led up to the 1967 Riots in Detroit. Great topic to have on film, real interesting right? The movie is called Detroit and to my understanding a very small chunk of the film was shot in Hamtramck. A majority of the film was shot in Massachusetts according to Internet Movie Database. Just for myself if they are trying to showcase the time and feel of Detroit I would like to have seen this shot more in Detroit with such a strong subject matter. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but it just feels hollow for 67 Riots to be on a set in Massachusetts.

This has even happened here in Detroit where at the height of our film incentives we were used for quite a few films for pretty much anything. Case in point we were used as part of Texas in the Drew Barrymore directed film “Whip It”. The movie wasn’t called Texas though……..just my opinion. I hope it is a very good depiction of the story. Just wish there was a little more Detroit in Detroit.

Recent Motor City Projects

This new feature will be of current projects going on in the city or projects rumored to be coming to Detroit.  

Transformers (5): The Last Knight – T5 has been filming in this city this summer in June and July. According to the Detroit News they shot West of Campus Martius on July 23. The streets that were shut down for filming  were

  • Shelby Street from Michigan Avenue to Jefferson
  • West Fort Street from Griswold to Washington Avenue
  • West Lafayette from Griswold to Washington Avenue.

The article also mentioned they are spending 80 million here in Detroit alone with 21 Million in tax incentives as well.

I am not huge fan of the Transformers series, I liked the original that is about it. I have been really happy that they are continuing to use Detroit as a large part of the films. This one sounds more interesting and I like the fact that it is not directed by Michael Bay. The series needs new blood for sure.


Detroit News Article

Beverly Hills Cop 4 – This project has been in development hell for many, many years. The moment we see a light with it, the project ends up getting put on hold or scrapped completely. Finally it looks like there is some movement. According to several sources BHC4 has found it’s Directors plural in Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah from Belgium. This is after Paramount had recently pulled the project from the schedule. I am huge BHC fan, I do hope that this version of project stays on track. From my understanding the film will take Axel back to his Detroit roots, which would be awesome! Also means lot of Detroit location shooting! I do hope we get the original cast back as well or as many as possible.


Variety Article

Cinemablend Article

John Carpenter’s Night

John Carpenter Live was a really pretty amazing if you are a Carpenter fan. They played for about an hour and half, but you also got to see Escape from New York before the performance. I have never seen Escape on the big screen or with a large group of people, it was quite an experience. Whenever Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) came on screen or did something very Snake like everyone hissed! My buddy and I were completely amused at watching everybody hissing at the movie.

It was really an wonderful experience to hear the themes that I love being played live, of course they had clips from the films to go a long . You basically got a trailer or abbreviated film. He played quite a few from his new albums Lost Themes I & II. I have some pictured below. My phone died on me so I didn’t get every song. Some that were not pictured were:

Prince of Darkness

In the Mouth of Madness

The Thing – Which is interesting, because Carpenter did not do the score for The Thing. It was Ennino Morricone. He dedicated it to Ennino and was very honored to work with him. It was the Carpenter version of the theme. Pretty cool.

Christine – Which they closed with. Pretty neat one end with.

Amazingly Fun Night!

-David M.





John Carpenter’s Detroit

No the Director extraordinaire John Carpenter is not starting a new picture here in Detroit sadly. The great news though is he is coming to town tomorrow on part 30 city wide tour. He will be performing music from his films scores and some of his original work from his two albums Lost Themes and Lost Themes II. In addition there will be a screening of Escape From New York. The concert will be performed at the Masonic Temple at the Cathedral Theater.

John Carpenter is one of my all time favorite directors. I can’t wait to see him live. I will have a review and song list after the concert hopefully. I am hoping for some “Big Trouble in Little China” music. There are still tickets available. My buddy and I grew up watching Carpenter’s films, and we are going for his birthday tomorrow. Just thought I would this out there for some fun Detroit news.

-David M

John Carpenter Tour Page


A New Beginning

I started this blog in 2013 in the hopes of adding to it often. It has not been touched since my first 2 posts. Life gets in the way of course, but I want to start this again with a new beginning. I am still going to profile films made in Detroit, but also try to have updates of current pictures filming or related to Detroit as well. Here is to a new beginning…..

-David M

Out of Sight (1998)


The recent passing of author and screenwriter Elmore Leonard, I felt “Out of Sight” would be the perfect flick to profile. Elmore was a big part of Detroit and we will all miss him. 

Flick summary: 

Jack Foley (Clooney) a career bank robber breaks out of jail  with the help of Buddy (Rhames) and kidnaps a US Marshal Karen Sisco (Lopez) in the process. When the two cons head for Detroit to pull off their final score. Sisco is put on their case,  but she finds she is attracted to Foley and has second thoughts about bringing them in.

Flick Review: 

This is one of the closest and true adaptations of Elmore Leonard’s work. If your not acquainted with Elmore look him up you won’t regret it.  The director Steven Soderbergh shot the film in a very Neo Noir style, a contemporary film noir style. The key is really getting the Elmore Leonard dialogue down, Scott Frank and Steven Soderbergh really capture it. 


George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez are the two main leads; I must say I am not a fan of Jennifer Lopez, but this is my favorite film of hers and does a great job as Karen Sisco. Lopez’s cool calmness as Karen Sisco works perfectly as her US Marshal persona, but her warmness and affection with Jack (Clooney) rounds out the character so well. Clooney is great as Jack Foley the chemistry he has with Lopez makes the film really work, the trunk scene where Karen is kidnapped by Jack really sets up the film. The supporting cast is also excellent, having Don Cheadle as the villain of the piece really works. He is amusing as well as ruthless, Cheadle’s portrayal is scary at times of how much he seriously doesn’t care.  Steve Zahn’s character brings great levity to the film. 

This film has always been a favorite of mine, it is a must for an Elmore Leonard fan and is great to see Detroit be part of these characters.


Like many of Elmore Leonard’s books the locations happen to be in Detroit and Miami. Hollywood got it right this time, they shot in Detroit and shot Detroit how it is. For better or worse the movie feels like Detroit, but it has an elegance and charm the way it is shot by Steven Soderbergh (Director). He does it justice.

The State theater is talked about  a lot in the film as meet location for Foley and Don Cheadle’s character Maurice. They are talking about the fights that take place there….they never had boxing matches at the State Theater. The exterior of the State Theater was used, but the interior was not the State. Sadly in recent years the State Theater was bought and changed to chain theater called the Fillmore, not too happy about that…..still call it the state.

Address: 2115 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201


The climax of the film takes place at a huge house in Bloomfield Hills.  It was filmed the Surria Court area of Bloomfield Hills.


The Kronk Gym that has been part of Detroit for years was also made part of the film.

Address: 555 McGraw Street Detroit, MI 48210


There were many areas and houses in the Detroit area. It showed the Detroit that is more of the every day. Then some of the glamour areas were also shown with the Coach Insignia restaurant and rooms at the Marriott Renaissance Center downtown for the pivotal scene were Jack and Karen given into their attraction for each other.


Flick Trivia: 

Michael Keaton appears in Out of Sight as Ray Nicolette. Keaton also appears as Nicolette in a larger role in Tarintino’s Jackie Brown an adaptation of Elmore’s Rum Punch. 

The mug shot that is used of George Clooney’s character in the film was actually his mug shot from “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Lopez’s character makes the comment that “He doesn’t even look like that.”

A good part of the film takes place in the Glades prison in Florida. These scenes were shot in an Angola Prison in Louisiana and 500 of the inmates were used as extras on the film.

Elmore considered this a totally happy film experience, unlike most of his dealings with Hollywood. He had a very difficult time with Hollywood understanding how to film his work or not really caring. “Out of Sight” and  “Get Shorty” are considered two of the best adaptations.


The Motor City Flicks Project

I am and always have been a lover of film. I have been fascinated with how locations are used in film, a place you could walk by every day made special by it being portrayed in unique way on film. Being from Michigan I am amazed at how many great films have actually been shot here over the years. I am going to attempt to showcase those films here, with reviews, locations, trivia about each that I showcase. I hope this will also bring to light movies that people many have never known about or forgot about over the years. 


                                       Welcome to the Motor City Flicks Project