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Books, Movies, Reviews

Recent Reviews

07.12.06 | 2 Comments

After seeing some of the enthusiastic reviews around the web, I finally kicked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang up to the top of my Netflix queue. The verdict: one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long time. The plot concerns Harry (Robert Downey Jr.), a New York City thief who stumbles into an audition while trying to evade the cops. Next thing he knows, he’s on the opposite coast, chatting up starlets by the pool. He’s up for a part as a private eye, so the studio puts him together with a real detective for “lessons”.

The real disk is named Perry – “Gay” Perry (Val Kilmer), because, well, he’s gay. The lessons turn out to be a little more intense than expected, what with a dead girl, Mr. Frying Pan and Mr. Fire, and various and sundry complications.

Michelle Monaghan was the love interest in this movie, and the word “winsome” could have been invented just for her. She had a girl-next-door charm combined with – what’s another word for “uber-hotness”?

The script was sharpsharpsharp, which is to be expected since writer/directory Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon, Maverick (vastly entertaining and underrated), and a lot of other good films. Plenty of naughty dialog, plenty of exposed skin, a real mystery, and great chemistry between all the main characters. Although I could have done without Private Ryan as a child molester; the more serious elements didn’t mesh quite that well.

Also, found a couple of Maj Sjowall – Per Wahloo novels in Half Price Books. They were the Swedish husband-and-wife writing team who created a series of police procedurals featuring detective Martin Beck. Five of them are in print from Vintage, but the other five are hard to find. The ones I found were The Fire Engine That Disappeared and The Terrorists. Both featured plenty of socail commentary, occasional dark humor, and an interesting cast of characters.

I had a little problem with Terrorists because it seemed to suggest that killing is all right, and long as the right people get killed. The killer in that one was presented sympathetically and I don’t have much sympathy for murderers.

One common factor between them is the large role played by Gunvald Larsson, an arrogant asshole but also an excellent detective. He pretty much replaces my favorite character in the earlier books, the large and lugubrious Lennart Kolberg, who by the last book makes barely a cameo. There’s ten of these books in all, and I have three more to find.

Programming note. You may have noticed a large number of technical posts lately, with long, boring titles. I wrote these because I ran into problems when using Microsoft’s Visual Web Developer, which seemed like they should have simple answers, but didn’t. Googling didn’t give much in the way of results, so once I had them figured out I posted them here with the long descriptions so they could be easily found by other WebDev newbies.

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