Every few years, it seems necessary in the course of critiquing home video releases to clarify and designate the difference between all of those terms that distributors and producers come up with to describe films that arrive in stores in a version other than their theatrical iteration. For example, "unrated" no longer simply means that a film is too bawdy or offensive to garner a proper MPAA rating; rather, in many cases it means that the studio re-inserted footage, and didn't bother to screen it for the ratings board at all. "Director's cuts," meanwhile, sometimes really reflect the original vision of a filmmaker for his movie, and sometimes just qualify as an alternate version that was supervised or approved by the director. And most importantly, none of these changes are an automatic indication that the film will be superior to the one that you saw in theaters, even if there's a little more gore or nudity or (God forbid) character development.
Ironically, the new Blu-ray for Heat carries no such designation – to anyone buying it, this is the same film they saw in theaters and on standard-definition DVD. However, at the top of the list of the disc's special features, the topline attraction is "new content changes supervised by director Michael Mann." Even for someone who's seen more than his share of extended, alternate, unrated and director's cuts, this was particularly intriguing, which is why Heat is the subject of this week's "Making The (Up) Grade."