Review: Killer’s Kiss

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Killer’s Kiss is the second movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the last film in which he used his own original script.  He made this film on a shoe string budget while on welfare.  Even though this is a very cheaply made film, we can see Kubrick’s unique eye and his future greatness.  He shot scenes from a back of a truck and from the window of a car to save money on a dolly and shooting permits.  The sound had to be re-dubbed after filming, making some of the voice overs look a little funny.

Some of the scenes that stand out are the boxing match at the beginning of the film, it looked very realistic and reminded me of the Raging Bulls boxing scenes.

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I also liked the thugs in the alley scene, very classic noir style and suspenseful.

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And the mannequin, ax, fight scene is pretty interesting as well as the short waking up from a nightmare scene.

Our story starts out with our protagonist, Davey, in the train station and begins telling his story.  Davey is played by Jamie Smith.  The flashback starts with Davey in an important number one contenders match with an up and coming boxer.  He is beat and goes back to his apartment.  He watches his neighbor the femme fatale Gloria played by Irene Kane.  He hears her scream and looks into her window to see her being assaulted by night club owner Vincent, played by Frank Silvera.  Davey runs to her rescue and our story really takes off.

Irene Kane said “Kubrick convinced me to play the girl by explaining that I was going to be a very important movie star, and I thought that might be better than getting a real job at Dunkin’ Donuts.”  Though she did some T.V. work and a few other movies, she never became an important movie star.  She did do well as a writer, becoming a journalist and co-writing many autobiographies including ones for Rosalind Russell, Alan King, Josephine Baker, and US First Lady Betty Ford.  She wrote under the name Chris Chase.

Though you can see this is an inexpensive film and the plot is fairly simple, the visuals are very interesting and you can see where Kubrick is going from here.  The movie is very short, only being a little over an hour-long.  It is definitely worth your time if you’re a Kubrick fan, noir fan, or even a boxing movie fan.

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Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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Night Film is a book that falls into a bunch of different categories, some may call it a horror book, some a mystery book others may put it on their contemporary fiction  or literature shelf.  I think because of all these elements it makes for a great noir read.  I’ll tell you right now, this is one of my favorite books.  It’s a very unique book with an interactive internet element, I read it as a straight novel and didn’t check out any of the extras on the web. I may re-read this and check out the web extra as I go.

This book’s main character is Scott McGrath, an investigative journalist that has his career ruined by a mysterious director by the name of Stanislas Cordova.  When a new investigation starts involving Cordova, Scott has to find out what is going on, no matter what the consequences.  Cordova is the interesting character that drives the plot, we just get snippets of him as the story progresses and we as readers and our hero Scott has to find what is real and what is legend or myth.  Cordova is a fictional character that seems real and real interesting.  Cordova is part Stanley Kubrick, half Roman Polanski, a bit of David Lynch and maybe a dash of Alfred Hitchcock thrown in for good measure.

Here is a great trailer for the book, and it definitely gives you a feel for what you’re in for:

This isn’t a short book at over 600 pages it takes a bit of time and effort to read, but it’s worth every minute and every page.  When you get done you are wowed and wish it had another 100 to 200 pages.  The writing is great and keeps you up late at night reading “just one more chapter.”  Let’s face it this hits all my hotspots, it’s a great written book, it’s dark and it’s about movies to boot.

I would love to see this turned into a mini series for HBO, Showtime or even an FX or AMC.  I think this would be the best way to give credit to the lengthy story.  Marisha Pessl has a movie deal already for this book and Rupert Wyatt is set to direct.  Let’s hope this is as good as this book deserves and I will be at the theater opening night when it comes out!