With writing credits for the first two Lethal Weapons, the Last Boy Scout, and the Long Kiss Goodnight, Shane Black made his directorial debut in 2005 with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This detective noir has the perfect mix of dark humor driven by Robert Downey Jr. perfectly. Shane Black has teamed up again with Robert Downey Jr. in the upcoming Iron Man 3 so I thought this would be the perfect time to review this sleeper hit.
Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart who is a small time crook from New York City. After a robbery goes wrong he finds himself running from the police. He makes his way into a random building and barges into a room where auditions for a movie are taking place. Mistaken as an actor he begins to audition for the role. With the state of mind he is in mixed with the type of role he is “auditioning” for, he completely mesmorizes the casting crew. Immediately, the casting director wants to send him to L.A. As for the police, an officer stumbles into the room but doesn’t recognize the “actor” as his perpetrator and even wishes him good luck.
I usually post the movie trailer with my reviews but I felt that this trailer gave away a key scene. Instead, here is the clip of Harry Lockhart eluding the police.
I’ve been on a Tony Scott kick for awhile now! (Check out my previous posts on Beat the Devil and Agent Orange.) What can I say though? I love his style and his final film does not disappoint. At first, the premise of the movie seems awkward and may be a turn off for most but however awkward, it is inspired by true events. An unmanned train under power races through the suburbs of Pennsylvania and (of course) it is carrying thousands of gallons of a harmful chemical – molten phenol. It is up to two railroad employees, an engineer – Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and a conductor – Will Colsen (Chris Pine) to catch up to the runaway train and do what they can to stop it.
Tony Scott must love trains. His two movie shorts, mentioned earlier, both included trains and lets not forget he also directed The Taking of Pelham 123. With his fast-paced edits and a palette of mechanical color tones, Scott has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I think the key scene is showing how a train of such massive force can escape the grips of man and all of a sudden become this very real threat to the citizens of Pennsylvania. This scene really sets the tone leaving you with genuine concern for stopping it.
End of Watch was OK. Entertaining enough but I would rather have just waited for Blu Ray. It’s supposed to be one of those Blair Witch or Cloverfield type movies where as the viewer you are supposed to be watching “found footage.” In the beginning, the movie establishes that Jake Gyllenhall has a hand-held camcorder while also having, along with his partner, a minicam pinned to their uniforms. My main gripe, however, is that there are camera shots interspersed throughout the film that are not from any camera point of view. This breaks the rule of “found footage” movies. For instance, Jake is recording his partner kick open a locked door from the front of an empty house. All of a sudden though we cut to a shot from inside the house just to see his partner bust open the door and them coming through with guns drawn. Yet, no one is in the house so who’s camera are we looking through? Then we are suddenly back looking through Jake’s camcorder. It just didn’t make sense and it happens a little too often. It’s like the director wanted to include certain shots but couldn’t think of how to include them from someone’s camera point of view so he just threw them in there and just hoped no one noticed. #SloppyDirecting