Screengrab: Downey The Ironic Man

Screen GrabRichard Lutz surfs the TV listings to find the gems among the bilge when it comes to films on the flatscreen.

Attention all movie fans, film buffs, cine-freaks, flick nerds, couch potatoes:

So, you think you’re all smart and know everything and can win every round of a movie pub quiz. You know your Richard Roundtree from your Richard Dreyfuss, your Carol Lynley from your Carole Baker.


Try this: What does Kiss Kiss Bang Bang signify?

Now before you twitch on your google switch, admit you haven’t the faintest idea. And in order to put you out of your misery, I will tell you:

It is the Japanese shorthand for an 007 movie. But how about the movie with the same title, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Thurs, Sky Select, 18.10)?

I’ve seen it twice. Once, admittedly, because of the title and each time it delivers an ironic blast at the Hollywood detective genre. Robert Downey Jnr is a petty thief who somehow lands a movie audition. He gets caught up in a murder being investigated by Val Kilmer, a gay detective. Somewhere in there, Downey’s old flame, beer commercial actress Harmony Faith Lane, appears to twist the plot even further.

This is a finely tuned comedy, a glorious stoned out noir movie send up. Downey (now making big bucks as Iron Man) is Ironic Man and plays the whole film scene up for laughs. The script is sharp, the dialogue a hoot and Kilmer, studman of Hollywood, gets an A* for his role as the camp gumshoe.

It is directed by Shane Black and with a scriptwriting CV that includes Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and Iron Man 3, you have to admit he knows a thing or two about storytelling.

Black, who also co-wrote the script, had a decent role model for this piss-take: he read Raymond Chandler througout his script-writing ordeal. The result is funny,knowing and sharp as a tack in an ice cube.

As a footnote, though I am no Murdoch fan, I have to point out that at the same time on other Sky platforms, there are also excellent movies. And as a commentator I am duty bound to point these out even though Murdoch disgusts me. It just seems someone in Murdo-land knows a thing or two about which films to slap bucks out for.

Check out the Redford/Hoffman Watergate epic All The President’s Men on Sky Greats, the delightful animated movie UP on Sky Movies Disney and the Burt Reynolds cult film Mean Machine on Sky Crime (now there’s an unintentional irony-free name for you).

There, I wash my hands of the Beast from Oz who used to be pals with Tony Blair. But whattcha gonna do when the terrestials give you at the same hour such tired hackneyed gems as Neighbours, Come Dine With Me or, last but not least, Flog It?