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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Had my TiVo catch this for me the other day. I was mildly intrigued by the premise, but I thought this was gonna be some dark, "arty" comeback attempt by Shane Black (who's movies I mostly enjoyed while growing up, although it seems like he's been trying to disown them lately in the press-then again, it is the press, so who knows what context his comments were made in... ah, who cares? What am I saying? Who cares? Back to the review...).
Well, it was dark, but it was also spectacularly funny and very well directed. I'm not a big Robert Downey Jr. guy, but he was spot on in this. He needed to be really funny and deadly serious (and even a little desperate)-sometimes all in the same scene-and he pulled it all off. Val Kilmer was great in what could have been an really overbearing, gay cliché of a role. Instead, he played it straight (gawd-please believe me when I say there's no pun intended) and let the material work for him. He was perfect.
And finally, Michelle Monaghan... good lord. She made the movie. MADE THE MOVIE! I'd seen her in Mission Impossible 3, and she was okay, but man, I did not know she had a performance like this in her. She was whip-smart, witty and drop-dead sexy. If there's a sequel to this movie (and maybe there shouldn't be, because this one was so good, but there could good be some good stories left in this universe...), she'd better be in it.
Well, that was a somewhat rambling commentary on what I just saw, but I'm half asleep anyway. I hope, though, that this was a helpful review. Just watch it. You won't be disappointed.
The Prestige (2006)
The Prestige was incredibly well-made, and I for one was thoroughly entertained. There's so much to analyze and pick apart with this movie that I'll probably be talking about it for the next month. I'm not going to waste time with much of a synopsis or spoiler. The movie works best I think the less you know about it going in. Just know that The Prestige is about an obsessive rivalry between two great magicians. Also, you should know that the writing was crisp and clever (must have been quite a chore to adapt), the directing was masterful (the structure of this movie is just as complicated as Momento-probably more so) and the acting (particularly Christian Bale) was spot-on. Highly recommended, particularly if you like Nolan's other films.