Friday, September 08, 2006

Reviews: One Movie, One Book, and One Restaurant

Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (no relation to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but who doesn't love a singing family in a flying car?) is a mystery, buddy comedy, and action flick all rolled into one. Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart, a petty thief accidentally turned actor and Val Kilmer as a Gay Perry, a gay detective hired to instruct Harry about detective work for an upcoming role. Enter Harry's high school sweetheart and a few corpses, and the reluctant pair ends up with a real crime to solve. The movie has a bit of an unusual style, with Harry narrating throughout, which I found amusing, but might be annoying to some. I also enjoyed the banter between Harry and Perry. Example:
Perry:Look up idiot in the dictionary. You know what you'll find?
Harry: A picture of me?
Perry: No! The definition of idiot. Which you fucking are!

I also appreciated the extensive comical usage of the word "fuck." Overall, the plot was a bit silly and glossed over a couple things (um, incest?), but the movie is highly entertaining. I can only imagine how they ever got it filmed, considering Kilmer and Downey Jr. are known as two of the biggest wasteoids in Hollywood, but I'm glad they did.

Book: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. I plucked this one off the shelf of a the Barnes and Noble Classics series. The plot is simple: Edmond Dantes, a popular and cheerful young man about to marry his sweetheart, is framed and imprisoned in a dungeon for 14 years. Time passes, and he unravels the plot that led to his imprisonment, embittering him. Upon escape, discovers that in his absence, his father died from hunger and his fiance married one of the conspirators. He discovers a vast fortune, reinvents himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, and vows to reward the one man who tried to help him and to seek revenge on the three who conspired against him. Basically, it's entertaining pop fiction, full of the timeless themes of love, betrayal, friendship, fortune, and revenge, only written in France during the 1840s. I really enjoyed it. Do not be intimidated by the length, it's a quick read full of action and adventure. I loved the Count's friendship with the other prisoner in the jail who educated him and told him the key to the treasure. My favorite character was the impressive Noirtier de Villefort, the father of one of the count's enemies and grandfather to one of his friends. Noirtier is paralyzed and can only communicate by blinking his eyes, but remains a force to be reckoned with, especially as the sole guardian of his granddaughter's happiness. The Count's relationship with Haydee, a beautiful slave girl, struck me as a tad creepy, but I'll just assume that sort of thing was more acceptable to society in the 1800s. Then again, that relationship wasn't any creepier than the rich old man/dependent young girl in Steve Martin's modern-day crappy novella.I haven't seen the movie version of Count of Monte Cristo yet, but I'd like to.

Restaurant: Last week, I ate at Ivy Restaurant in Downtown Crossing. It's a relatively new restaurant that features small plates of Italian food, like the Italian version of tapas. Ivy also has an extensive wine list, with all bottles priced at $26. The four of us had salad, five dishes, and two bottles of wine, and paid $40 each, so the prices are reasonable. The food was good but heavy on the cheese and cream- luckily I had brought Lactaid because I think 90% of the menu items contain dairy. I liked the gnocci best and I also enjoyed the seared tuna, which was delicious but seemed out-of-place with the Italian fare. Ivy has a casual trendy atmosphere with a friendly staff. I enjoyed it and I'll definitely go back, especially for the wine list.

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