Saturday, December 31st, 2005
Is it cinematically correct to describe a film as both noir AND black? Because Kiss Kiss Bang Bang certainly qualifies as both, an engaging and occasionally quite grim modern film noir detective tale, and a wickedly black comedy. Robert Downey Jr, reminding everyone that he’s a hell of an actor when he’s not in rehab, plays a small-time crook who stumbles his way into a gig as an actor and then a private investigator, training alongside Val Kilmer and ending up neck-deep in a multiple-murder mystery involving an old flame (the smoking hot Michelle Monaghan). In the process, a lot of people get killed, a lot of wickedly sharp jokes about grammar and rudiementary mathematics are tossed around and a lot of smart-ass, fourth-wall-ignoring narration courtesy of Downey. This last point might turn some people off as it can be a little too smug, meta or self-aware for some tastes, but if you just go along for the ride, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
The film is the directorial debut of Shane Black, but though it’s his first film he’s no novice – he’s the guy who wrote the first Lethal Weapon film and The Last Boy Scout. He also wrote The Last Action Hero, but we’ll not speak of that. Here, he gets some excellent performances from all his principals and though I’m sure there’s some breakdowns in logic and believability as the plot gets twistier and twistier, I didn’t mind one bit – I was having too good a time. It’s smart (enough), sexy and goddamn funny with lines like, “This isn’t good cop, bad cop. This is fag and New Yorker” (Kilmer’s character is name Gay Perry. Because he’s gay and his name is Perry). Highly recommended. Metacritic and Rotten Tomatos also approve.
Mogwai have a track from Mr Beast, “Friend Of The Night”, streaming off their MySpace page. But don’t download or fileshare it, or Mogwai will smack your ass down – just ask Said The Gramophone. Don’t mess with the Scots, man. They’ve got nothing to lose. The band have announced some tour dates for March that take them from Chicago down the eastern seaboard into Austin for SxSW, but nothing up here. The new album is out March 7.
I think Indie For Dummies has surveyed all (or many of) the indie bloggers’ year-end lists and via some mystical mathematical formula, compiled the ultimate aggregate top 100 albums of 2005. If so, I am flummoxed and impressed. And I am also quoted in the entry for The Sunset Tree. Dang, ain’t I eloquent? And John Sakamoto dedicates this week’s Anti-Hit List to his best whatsits of the year. And in case you don’t have any friends who like to email you links to stuff, iFilm lists off the best viral videos of 2005 (via Largehearted Boy). Now let’s officially declare 2005 over and stop with the lists already, okay?
So that’s another year come and gone… I had thought about doing some sort of personal year in review dealie, but there’s really not too much to say. 2005 has been a good one. Life really does begin at 30. Be safe tonight, and I’ll see you in 2006.
np – The New Year / Newness Ends