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A good movie

Posted : 5 years, 3 months ago on 27 August 2013 06:05

For many people, this is the movie with which Robert Downey Jr. really made his comeback. The other interesting feature about this flick was the fact that it was Shane Black’s directing debut. Shane Black was once in the 90’s one of the most expensive screenwriters (he wrote among other things ‘Lethal Weapon’ at only 26 years old). Anyway, even though this movie was barely seen when it was released, it still managed to become a cult classic so I was really eager to check it out. Eventually, I thought it was indeed pretty good but I was still not completely blown away by the whole thing. First of all, Downey Jr. got (deservedly) a lot of credit for his performance in this picture but we shouldn’t forget Val Kilmer who was just as brilliant and, together, they made hands-down one of the best couples I have ever seen. Michelle Monaghan, in her break through performance, was really good as well. Furthermore, the dialogues were quite hilarious, something expected from Shane Black, and the intro was very strong. So, why wasn’t I completely sold? In my opinion, the story was pretty far-fetched. I mean, since it is a neo-noir, it is not surprising that the whole thing was far-fetched since a film noir is not about the plot but above all about the mood. Still, towards the end, when they started to explain the whole thing, not only was it difficult to follow but above all, I really had a hard time to care about the damned thing. Still, most of it was very entertaining and it remains a solid flick, no doubt about it. To conclude, even though I don’t think it is really that great, it remains a pretty good neo-noir feature and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) review

Posted : 7 years, 7 months ago on 4 May 2011 02:50

It is definitely a different type of movie. Robert Downey Jr as a main character and narrator makes for a great old detective movie. A decent plot, great actors, and put together very nicely. An enjoyable movie with no downsides besides leaving me wanting more.

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Quite flawed but still enjoyable...

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 24 January 2010 07:46

This is a film that I somehow knew I was going to like because the characters sounded really cool; it has a kick ass title and with really cool comedy. When I saw it, there was most of that. The only thing that there wasn't enough of was the action which disappointed me a bit. There were some thrilling moments. I have to say that there are a lot of hilarious moments within the film. The characters were all very cool which is what most cool/kick ass characters are: funny and amusing.

Robert Downey Jr. delivers an absolutely hilarious performance as Harry. Harry is a man who has auditioned for a movie where he plays a detective but he really is a detective and Robert Downey Jr. plays the character that makes mistakes. Downey Jr. has always had that comedy talent in him throughout his whole career. He proved that in this film, his Oscar nominated performance as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin, Iron Man and Tropic Thunder. Val Kilmer has been in some bad films in the past particularly Batman Forever but this is a performance that I really liked from him. Gay Perry is the toughest and most deadliest out of the two. He makes me laugh with the Tyler Durden/Walter Sobchak sort of personality. Michelle Monaghan has been in some crap in the past and quite recently The Heartbreak Kid but she gives a performance that was pretty good. Harmony is a woman who meets Harry and begins to be in a relationship with him but when there is murder mystery in town, she requests his help. That is where the hilarious moments enter.

Shane Black directs a one-of-a-king black comedy that everybody would love or at least like. The way Shane directed it was that he made me feel and probably a lot of people feel like it was going to be an action-packed rollercoaster. The script is very original for a film like this. The story was very complex which is where I slightly lost track of it a few times.

This isn't my favourite Downey Jr. film. I preferred him in Chaplin and Iron Man. This is my favourite Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan film to date. I haven't seen any of the Lethal Weapon films yet so don't know whether I like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang more yet. This would have been a good film from directors like Danny Boyle or Guy Ritchie. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a really good film that is on my list of top films of 2005.

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An endlessly quotable return for Shane Black

Posted : 9 years, 9 months ago on 17 March 2009 01:35

"You don't get it, do you? This isn't "good cop, bad cop." This is fag and New Yorker. You're in a lot of trouble."

At the pinnacle of his screenwriting career, Shane Black was the highest paid scribe in Hollywood, with films like Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout to his name. His scripts spawned enjoyable, commercially successful films for the most part, but Black has long stated that directors alter his original ideas, causing a great deal of frustration on his part. Black vanished for the better part of a decade, but stages his triumphant comeback with 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Inspired by James Bond, Pauline Kael, Raymond Chandler novels, and everything in between, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang could be Black's greatest creation to date, even exploiting his time-honoured love of Christmas that has provided a backdrop for all of his thrillers. In order to avoid frustration in the translation from page to screen, Black directed the film himself, and the product shows no evidence that Black is a first-time filmmaker.

In the midst of L.A.'s holiday rush, small-time thief Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr.) inadvertently stumbles into an audition while trying to evade the police following an unsuccessful robbery. Harry's performance amazes the casting agents, and he's subsequently thrust into the spotlight as he's flown to Hollywood for a screen test. Propelled into the cut-throat world of L.A.'s pros, cons, losers and wannabes, Harry is partnered with tough private eye "Gay" Perry (Kilmer) who'll prepare him for his screen test. For experience, Perry allows Harry to help with his latest assignment. Harry is also reunited with his childhood crush - Harmony Faith Lane (Monaghan) - who has become an actress. However, when the mysterious suicide of Harmony's sister intersects with the seemingly unrelated case Harry and Perry are investigating, the duo find themselves embroiled in a real murder mystery.

Got that? Good. Now don't worry about it.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an unabashed exercise in style and wit, with its plot serving as a rack on which to hang wildly entertaining vignettes. It works marvellously, as Black's script is populated with terrific characters dispersing witty dialogue. The sharp exchanges and one-liners are never-ending, with pop-culture pisstakes (a head-to-toe soaked Downey at one stage proclaims himself to be "wetter than Drew Barrymore at a grunge club") and sneering subversions of hard-boiled posturing (Perry uses the word 'pluperfect' at a rather odd time), not to mention sly satire of the film industry. Without a doubt, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of the most quotable films in history, and it remains hilarious upon repeat viewings. The story is convoluted and you'll be hard-pressed to nail it, but this is a massive positive - critics often complain that stories are too straightforward and by-the-numbers, hence Black subverted this stereotypical pitfall. Furthermore, there's more to latch onto and absorb with each new viewing.

Black's script is (in part) based on the novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them by Brett Halliday. In adapting Halliday's novel, the writer-director added his own satiric slant on the story and inserted elements of Raymond Chandler novels to ultimately produce something unique. Constant references the old masters of film noir are scattered throughout the flick - chapter headings are sourced from Chandler novel titles, for instance. Visually, the film is a hodgepodge of quick edits, pans, zooms, fades, dissolves and crosscuts, combined with flashy colour alterations. However, none of these (usually irritating) gimmicks are damaging at all due to Black's limitless elegance as a director. Moreover, his exaggerated cinematic style is fitting for this incisive Hollywood satire. Poking fun at everything from storytelling clichés to the way filmmakers manipulate their "assets", Black has created a top-notch picture that is simultaneously an engaging noir-style mystery and a hilarious observation of the film industry.

Black treats his audience as peers, and never takes them as fools. The man clearly understands that very film-savvy audiences exist, and they're every bit as cynical about Hollywood conventions as he is. At one stage, through the voice of Harry the narrator, he remarks "Don't worry, I saw the last Lord of the Rings. I'm not going to have the movie end like 17 times". Throughout the course of the film, Harry also chastises himself for leaving out important details, or for making seemingly pointless observations. Sometimes, scripts like these are too consciously clever for their own good, but Black's work is well-judged. Naturally, witty dialogue wasn't enough for the writer-director, as Black felt the urge to include a number of action sequences for good measure. Fortunately, such scenes are dazzling, intense and splendidly choreographed. It's all the more amazing that the film was produced for a slight $15 million.

At the centre of the film is a top-notch cast. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer is killer - they're the most downright entertaining screen pair since Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Downey is in top form here, showing a real sense of comic timing. He's an endearing narrator, too, introducing himself by saying "My name's Harry Lockhart, I'll be your narrator", which establishes the film's non-serious tone. Meanwhile, as the ambiguously homosexual cynic, Kilmer steals every frame, delivering some of the best one-liners in recent memory with graceful confidence. The beautiful Michelle Monaghan also appears as Harry's former flame. Monaghan has the perfect look for the part, and the actress oozes sexiness when she wears tight dresses, including a Santa's Helper outfit. Not to mention, she has great chemistry with Downey. Outside of the three protagonists, there's an amusing Larry Miller as the producer who plans to screen test Harry, and Rockmond Dunbar and Dash Mihok appear as a duo involved in the whole murder mystery. You know that actors have done their jobs correctly if you crave more time with their characters once the credits begin to roll.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is not only one of the best films of 2005, but it's also one the most overlooked. The Phoenix Film Critics Society even voted it "Overlooked Film of the Year". Okay, so no-one knows who the hell the Phoenix Film Critics Society is, but they have a point. One should also bear in mind that the film received a standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a delightful return for Shane Black, showing us that he was gone for far too long and that he deserves to continue in this business for a long time to come.


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A verdict of Hollywood: Girls, sex, violence, fun!

Posted : 10 years, 1 month ago on 9 November 2008 11:45

''This is every shade of wrong.''

A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.

Robert Downey Jr.: Harry Lockhart

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is set in LA, what transpires is, while escaping from the police after an unsuccessful robbery, the small time thief Harry Lockhart is accidentally submitted to an audition for a role of detective in a film, and invited to a party. He meets the homosexual private eye Gay Perry , who suggests him to participate of an investigation to develop his character. He also meets the gorgeous aspirant actress Harmony Faith Lane, and finds that she was a friend of his childhood for whom he had a crush. Harry and Perry get involved in an intricate murder case with many leads. With the support of Harmony, they find the sordid truth of the case.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a funny, black comedy yet violent, action movie with an original screenplay, where the lead character is actually the narrator of the events. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent in the role of the cop out Harry Lockhart and shows great chemistry with the delicious Michelle Monaghan, and with his gay partner Val Kilmer. The story in a chaotic result becomes involved with many subplot threads, but in the end all of them are satisfactorily resolved and concluded. The usually efficient police, at least in US orientated programs/series/Films, apparently non existent in Los Angeles, since there are countless car chases and shootings without any police involved.

A terrific opening credit sequence easily sets up the authenticity and originality of proceedings for a eagerly awaiting audience. In essence, these are the reasons why you need to see this roller coaster of comedy.
The razor sharp wittiness, shockingly fast-paced albeit hysterical dialogue, a pulp-fiction-esquire vibe, its pure cheesiness and the cynicism of a worn, aging paperback detective novel.

''Thanks for coming, please stay for the end credits, if you're wondering who the best boy is, it's somebody's nephew, um, don't forget to validate your parking, and to all you good people in the Midwest, sorry we said fuck so much.''

Got your attention yet? Alright, maybe an explanation of the seemingly simple plot is warranted. It begins with a ridiculously funny set up resulting in Downey's character being paired up with Kilmer to observe the latter in his job as a private detective. They hook up with a down-on-her luck actress who brings a case for the sleuths. This synopsis constitutes gross misrepresentation on my part as things get remarkably complex. How so? Well, even the lead the character (who also is purposefully pathetic as narrator) takes time out within the movie to remember where he is in telling the story. There are even snippets of dialogue where the characters attempt to fill in the gaps or actually remind themselves of what has happened thus far in the movie.

Downey, Kilmer and Monaghan are all caricatures drawn from popular references of literature, movies and art. All however, are larger than life, exhibit great chemistry and for a movie buff, it is heaven to witness the self referential exercises and hear the narrator shred every narrating convention applicable. Downey's performance is remarkable (neurotic, comic, vulnerable and charming). I have never seen Kilmer in such a well-defined, uproarious piece of work. Monaghan is also integral to the trio and shines exuding a brash, fighting and sexy appeal. She brought back fond memories of early Kathleen Turner and Rene Russo. The fact that her look screams Renee Zellweger, is not a bad thing either.

''Wow! I was glad you had a gun in there. For a second, I actually thought you could do that, like it was some big gay thing.''

Black became famous in the 1980s for writing the hit buddy movies: Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. As a first time director, he does well keeping the frenetic pace and allowing the audience to catch up only to get lost time and time again. The style is so disarmingly effective, that at times I shook my head in confusion or found my hands against my mouth, agape in shock. I also think that in creating such a brilliant script that Black may have blacklisted himself in Hollywood for mirroring its supposed fame and glamor and exposing its not too pretty side. His one-liners and connected sub-plots are not typical and Kilmer and Downey make magic with their banter and clinical delivery.
All the ingredients of a pulp-noir styled effort can be found, even employing a structure of chapter-type headings within the movie. Parallel story lines unfold and given plot assumptions are turned over, always with achingly funny results. Even the clichés are clever e.g. a tough guy predictably crashes through a glass table, or body after body turns up, to haunt the characters.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the most obvious of all Shane's self-referential films, because it speaks directly to its audience.

"I saw the last Lord of the Rings, I'm not going to have like seventeen different endings."

But balancing a self-referential narrative in a film like this almost seems a risky thing to do in the post-Tarantino era – the era in which self-reference became hip and cool, but most importantly: financially profitable for the studios. The production companies dished them out and soon the entire concept was burnt out and boring. The smug, self-aware attitude of flicks like Boondock Saints became tiring. But it's only fitting that the father of the genre should be the one to resurrect it.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has the best dialogue I've heard in a movie for ages, and the brilliance of it is the fact that it doesn't become overbearingly self-conscious: it's amiable and entertaining.
The film's title is a reference to another movie, by the way. Pauline Kael supposedly saw the term in Italy, where it was used to describe the James Bond character. It effectively sums up exactly what Hollywood wants in their movies – girls, sex, violence. Result, ''Kiss kiss, bang bang''. Black is back. Black is back doing what he does best.

''I tell him about destiny; he's shaking his head. About dreamgirls; he doesn't care. I mention the underwear thing? He has a *fucking conniption*. And you? How 'bout it, filmgoer? Have you solved the case of the - the dead people in L.A.? Times Square audiences, please don't shout at the screen, and stop picking at that, it'll just get worse.''

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 19 July 2008 09:19

This film is about Harry a petty thief that becomes involved in a murder investigation with Gay Perry (a private investigator) and Harmony (his high school sweetheart and wannabe actress), where bodies seem to be piling up. Harry pretends to be a private eye and promises Harmony to help find her sisters murderer. The plot is full of twists and turns to find out the full story.

I really enjoyed this film and was convinced, due to its ironic and sarcastic humor, that it was written by British writers or at least heavily influenced by British comedy. It is in fact co-written and directed by Shane Black, an American screen writer.

I'm not use to seeing Val Kilmer (Gay Perry)in a comedy but he carries off the sarcastic humor very well and you cant help but like him. His lines get funnier the more you watch the film and are very memorable.
Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr are a great double act in this film and their partnership is complemented very well with the neurotic and scatty character Harmony, played brilliantly by Michelle Monaghan.

Overall, I rate this film highly and would recommend it to anyone.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) review

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 22 April 2007 11:34

I honestly can not understand what people like about this movie. I turned it off after 30 minutes. The reason being is because I found it not only boring but the narration really started to grate on my nerves.

I think this is one of those ones where you shouldn't decide if you'll watch it going by what others say.

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