Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Movies almost always start with a collection of words and thoughts crafted into narratives, yet cinema rarely revels in this beauty. Sure, now and then we’ll get a great bit of rapid-fire banter, or attractive people having long discussions as they journey through European cities, but rarely are there bouts of real word nerdery – moments when characters actually talk about wordcraft, delight in proper use of the word myriad, and correct each other’s language faux pas. Even films about writers and writing diverge from the actual act. A writer might type furiously on a typewriter, or quote a compelling author, but their stories are generally about something else. It’s the melodrama, scandal and eroticism the filmmaker always captures, not the craft. But when a film does dip into grammar and wordiness, the results are often the best mix of nerd indulgence and education – moments that speak to grammatical frustration while correcting common errors through the rush of entertainment. If Weird Al piqued your interest, you should check out this movies.

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Shane Black

If people really pay attention to directors, a lot of them found out who Shane Black is this weekend. Iron Man 3, his second best film as a director, sees him transitioning to a phase that he’s lived in before as a screenwriter. He found success in his twenties after acting in Predator and selling his script for Lethal Weapon, following-up with even more stories about kidnapping and Christmas. He’s brash, great with a comeback, and known for inserting fourth wall-breaking jabs into his scene descriptions, but he’s also been on both sides of the studio coin. That’s given him a front row seat for great success, backlash, a re-emergence that didn’t strike it big, and now another resurrection. It was clear before that he had talent, and now he’s got wisdom. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man who knows what you find when you look up “idiot” in the dictionary.

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IntroRelatives

Being on a movie set can be a blast – especially when you don’t have to do anything. It’s not hard to imagine that with every great actor or director there’s probably a nagging cousin or sibling who wants to be part of that sweet sitting around action. And how the hell are they going to say no? Giving mom a line is a small price to pay for 18 years of guaranteed food and shelter, right? How can an actor resist sticking their kid in a shot or two? It happens a lot – so much so that the following 15 are only the tip of the iceberg.

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IntroTwistedHoliday

If you’re anything like me, the same five holiday movies that run every year just aren’t enough to quench that festive thirst so deeply embossed on your very soul. You need more than that. If you are like me, you deserve more than that. You are also not wearing any pants. The general rule for holiday films is that they must at least take place around the season, right? And so, if we simply twist that logic to say that “takes place during the holidays = holiday movie”, then there’s a lot of fun to be had the next time mom and dad come caroling. Just go right ahead and pop in one of the following…

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The Avengers hits theaters this Friday, but we’re looking to the future. The not-too-distant future but further out than this coming Friday. May 3, 2013, to be precise, when Iron Man 3 hits. Naturally, it stars Robert Downey Jr., still the comeback kid whose A-list status may as well be written in Adamantium. But it’s also being written and directed by Shane Black, the amazing screenwriter who brought us Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, The Last Boyscout, and this week’s film on Commentary Commentary, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It was Black’s debut as a director, and it’s arguably his best piece of work in 25 years. This week we’re listening to what Black and Downey Jr. have to say about this “indie” action/comedy. Val Kilmer joins the commentary party, too, because any party with Kilmer is better than any party without him. He just loves to drop names, as is indicated by this very bit of audio. With these three in the room together, talking about this very entertaining film, you know a healthy dose of fun is about to be had. So here you have it. All 38 things we learned listening to the commentary for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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While you’ll see that I’m giving myself a lot of leeway in the following list (one of the ten isn’t even technically a film), the general idea is that the list that follows singles out films that go beyond simple narration, but rather identify themselves as stories being told either in the universe or even at times outside of the universe. Narration to a film is like a frame to a painting, and while all frames hold their painting in place, there are some that do it with a little more style than others. These are some of my favorites.

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Marc Forster‘s Machine Gun Preacher is a humanistic picture. Despite the atrocities conveyed in the film and the fact that the story focuses on an actual anti-hero, the director managed to end on a hopeful note. Some call it dopey, I say humanist. Even with the upbeat nature of the film, there’s a slightly dark moral dichotomy; should a former junkie and criminal, Sam Childers, be the one leading a freedom brigade? Are his methods necessary or justifiable? Sam Childers isn’t the only character with his own moral conundrum, as one is also a part of Lynn Childers, played by Michelle Monaghan. This is the second time I’ve interviewed Monaghan, and like the first time, she reminded me of that popular girl in high school who was cool with everybody. Some actors look like they’re two seconds away from killing themselves during junkets, but Monaghan comes off like she couldn’t be more pleased to be discussing her work — with a guy like me interviewing her, I’m not sure how she does it. Here’s what Michelle Monaghan had to say about the ending of Source Code, the moral dichotomies of Machine Gun Preacher, when journalism and acting collide, passion projects, and the greatness of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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A petty criminal (Robert Downey Jr.) in NYC stumbles into a film audition while on the run from some cops and earns himself a trip out to LA and a chance to star in a Hollywood production. Once there the studio hooks him up with a gay P.I. (Val Kilmer) for detective lessons, and soon this unlikely pair are knee-deep in a twisted tale of murder, mystery, and mistaken identity.

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I have no idea what it stands for, but I assume it’s something like Landscaping and Produce Interrogator.

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A spy movie might see the pair reunited after all these years. And this time, Gibson is the one getting too old for this shit.

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moviesequelsbanner

Too often we bicker and argue about what sequels should never have been made – and there are a lot of them. Now, we’d like to take a look at a few sequels that actually should be made but, for some reason, haven’t been.

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Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr

The last time we checked, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black was talking about a fifth installment to the Lethal Weapon franchise. But according to a report from Variety this morning, it appears that more Weapon will be put on hold in favor of Cold Warrior.

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