Posts Tagged ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’

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Hot Fuzz

April 30, 2010

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

This British spoof/satire comedy is everything that Scary Movie franchise hoped to be.  It is actually funny and actually has decent acting in it, and actually has a solid story that runs throughout the whole film instead of little snippets of attempted story to hold the poorly planned and executed jokes together.

The story starts with with Nicholas Angel being transferred from his position in London because, as the Met. Chief Inspector puts it, he is too good at his job and making everyone else look bad.  Angel is transferred to the little town of Sandford, a town that has no trouble according to the police reports.  It has won a village of the year award for many years and has the lowest crime rate in the country.  Nicholas Angel gets there and cleans up a little riffraff such as underage drinking but he begins to suspect that there is more to the town after people disappear and a news paper reporter tries to talk to him and ends up dead from an “accident”.  The whole time Nicholas Angel is being pestered by his partner on the force, Danny Butterman, the son of the chief, about action films such as Bad Boys and Point Break.  Danny tries to make work more exciting by getting Nicholas to be like that, but Nicholas follows to book to the letter of the law.  Nicholas finally figures out that it is the Neighborhood Watch Alliance who has been keeping the town clean and hiding the bodies or causing “accidents” to those who aren’t in the best interest of the town in their opinion.  He confronts them, but there are too many, so Danny pretends to kill Nicholas and brings him to the edge of town and tells him to leave.  Nicholas leaves and stops at a gas station where he sees the movies Bad Boys and Point Break in the DVD carousel.  He picks up a few things that he needs and he returns to Sandford.  He empties out the weapons locker at the station and with the help of Danny and the rest of the force, minus the chief who is the ringleader behind everything, he cleans up the town.  Now this description doesn’t sound all that much like a comedy, it could very easily be a serious action film.  However, it is not, none of the action in the story is serious, the deaths are pretty absurd and it is just a wonderful action comedy.

The acting in this film is lead by the duo from Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  These two do a great job of playing off of each other for the pacing of the comedy.  Simon Pegg, while mainly known for his comedy roles in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, actually has some acting chops and does a very good job, as he does in Star Trek.  Nick Frost isn’t the same level of acting talent, but fits into the slacker role extremely well.  The rest of the police force and town of Sandford is lesser known talent, but they do a fun job in a film where the acting talent is secondary because it is about the humor and the action.  There are a couple of cameo appearances, most notably Bill Nighy as the Met. Chief Inspector.  He does a good job in his limited screen time being very condescending to Simon Pegg’s character.

Visually this film works perfectly.  The town is so quaint, almost an old version of the town in Edward Scissorhands, where is has this sickeningly sweet exterior to everything, but it is all about the gossip or controlling what goes on in the town.  You know there is a seedy side to it when you see it.  The action sequences are shot superbly and Edgar Wright, director and co-writer with Simon Pegg, does a brilliant job in how everything is portrayed.  In terms of their screenwriting the story starts off a tiny bit slowly, but they do a great job of using that and building up to the massive ending.

This is one of the greatest recent comedies and one of the best spoof/satires that I’ve seen.  It ranks up there with Dr. Strangelove and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.  If you watch it and are a little put off by the beginning just remember that it does pick up tremendously at the end with an inordinate amount of laughs.  One can only hope that with films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz under their belts the trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost make more comedy spoofs.

Entertainment Grade: A-

Critical Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

March 22, 2010

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Now back to one of my favorite films of all time.  This is an all so serious romp into the world of improbable crime movies, such as the Lethal Weapon series.  It pokes fun at those types of film with great glee creating a very entertaining story.  Shane Black, the director and screenwriter, knew what he was doing as he was the screenwriter for the original Lethal Weapon movie, and apparently for a fifth one that will be coming out in 2012.

The story starts out with a series of wonderful improbabilities and a whole bunch of absurd narration by Robert Downey Jr.’s character.  The narration is a great part of this film.  Normally I don’t like voice overs, but in this case it adds so much to the story because of how absurd it was and how hacked together it is.  Downey Jr. plays a small time thief in New York City who on a botched heist accidentally gets himself a screen test for a role in the next big Hollywood production, playing a private eye.  He moves out to L.A. for the screen test and some on the job shadowing of a private eye named Gay Perry, played wonderfully by Val Kilmer.  From there it turns into a completely absurd run through a massive series improbable and illogical events which tie into Harry Lockart (Downey Jr.’s character) past and ramble through him, Gay Perry, and Lockart’s old flame Harmony Faith Lane (played by Michelle Monaghan) eventually solving an absurd pulp fiction style of case.

For as odd of a comedy as this, the acting is just great.  Robert Downey Jr. can always play an eccentric slightly crazy person who is full of themselves (see Iron Man) and he plays the role of the criminal out of his element extremely well.  Val Kilmer gives a great performance as Gay Perry, the private investigator.  He delivers his lines with the pomp and circumstance that he should.  Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen do a wonderful job in their supporting roles and everyone else in the cast doesn’t disappoint, even if they don’t have the same size of a role as the main characters do.  It is a film where the actors appear to be having fun making the film and it shows in the screen with good acting performances all around.

Visually this film goes Hollywood.  A bunch of the film takes place at Hollywood style parties, or at least what the media always portrays them as.  The action scenes are shot with gusto and are all made on a grand scale.  It doesn’t have the wide sweeping shorts that you expect to see in a great cinematographic film, but so often those shots are misplaced, and in a big city like L.A., there isn’t a need for grand overview shots like that.  The filming meets the style of the film very well.

This film is just the perfect romp for an action comedy.  The only other action comedy that I’ve ever seen that rivals this film is Hot Fuzz which in many ways spoofs the same style of film as this one does.  The acting and the action come together perfectly to make a film that you can enjoy for both the action and comedy aspects.  It’s the only film that Shane Black has directed, but we can always hope that he does more comedies like this.

Entertainment Grade: A

Critical Grade: B

Overall Grade: A

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The Scando Movie Madness

March 11, 2010

Because of a buddy I’m now creating a new blog.  This one is going to be pretty simple.  I’m a movie buff, I love almost any movie ever put out there, and this is going to be me reviewing them.

A little bit about my taste in films.  It is all over the map, really.  I look over at my collection and I see new and old classics.  I see comedies, sci-fi, drama, and horror.  I even see a couple of chick flicks sitting over there.  I have musicals and romances as well.  I have watched a ton of different television shows as well (so they might get a nod in there as well).  I really can watch basically any genre and enjoy what is going on with it.

A little more about my taste, here is my top 10:

1. Finding Neverland

2. The Virgin Suicides

3. American Beauty

4. Primer

5. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

7. Persona

8. Repulsion

9. Love Actually

10. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

That probably shows that I do have a really odd set of movie taste.  I’m going to get this rolling, likely later today.  I’ll go with both new and old films and hope that you enjoy them.