Looper Review!

Looper Review!

Movies

Time travel has got to be one of the trickiest things to write about. Period. It takes a certain level of imagination to be able to get it right. Looper? Yeah, Looper gets it right. We’ve all fantasized about going back in time and changing our past to have a better future, but Looper shows us the dangers of that kind of thinking and how it’s not just our future we’re affecting, but somebody else’s.

Looper brings us the story of Joe (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a specialized hitman whose job is simple. Joe just stands in the middle of a field with a shotgun and wait for the target to show up, kill them, take the silver that’s strapped to them, dispose of the body, and then do whatever he wants. The reason why Joe is a specialized assassin stems from the fact that all of his targets are from the future, where time travel has been invented and declared illegal. Bodies are difficult to dispose of and time travel is the quickest way to make a body disappear. The hitmen who take care of the targets from the future are called Looper. They are paid extremely well, but with a massive catch to it all. After a Looper has served their purpose they will be sent their future self with a gold payout. As Joe puts it early on in the movie, it’s a job that doesn’t attract the most forward thinking people. The payout is good, but the price is comes with is always on the mind of the looper. When Joe faces his future self (played by Bruce Willis)  he is overpowered. As both Joes are put on the run from the mob the future Joe sets out to change his past, with consequences that neither side sees coming.

Looper is most certainly not Back to the Future. In fact it has more in common with Blade Runner in terms of tone and the questions it puts forth. It asks hard questions, particularly about those who live violent lives. Just as violence affects more than one person, Looper acknowledges that changing the past doesn’t just affect one person’s future. The movie also offers a unique question: if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, but could only kill him as a baby, would you? It may seem like an easy question fr soem but the movie faces the practicality of trying to act on such an answer.

The sci-fi in this film is not over the top. It’s very subdued in the name of reality. With the exception of time travel the technology featured in Looper is stuff that does not seem that far off. This keeps the audience invested in the story and doesn’t set out to put them in a constant state of awe at the future. It doesn’t serve as a distraction. This is a future that seems, almost unfortunately, possible.

Let’s talk about the acting. It needs to be said first and foremost that this isn’t a “Levitt vs. Willis” slug fest with time travel thrown in. The pair actually has less than twenty minutes on screen together. Writer/Director Rian Johnson sees to it that the story is never diluted into something it isn’t. This isn’t a “star vehicle”. This is a movie that shows two of Hollywood’s best at the top of their game. This one of Levitt’s stronger performances, especially after the Dark Knight Rises. He isn’t just doing a Bruce Willis impression for two hours. He’s picked up on Willis’ nuances and body language. And he nails Willis’ voice perfectly. He makes it believable that he would age into being Willis one day. As for Willis, this is easily his best performance since Unbreakable. What makes his performance extraordinary is the fact that Willis shows sign of the risktaker he was in the early days of his career. He’s not just banking on his reputation as one of Hollywood’s best action stars. He goes to some dark places in this movie and it’s a welcome change to his recent status quo.

It also needs to be said that Jeff Daniels does a very good job as Abe, the mob boss in the present who sets up the system in Looper to begin with. Emily Blunt also gives a strong performance, and child actor Pierce Gagnon delivers a shockingly mature performance for a kid his age. There is not a bad acting job in this movie.

Looper is a wonderfully dark and thoughtful sci-fi film that gives us our decade’s sci-fi film. Looper is easily the best sci-fi film of the last five years, at least. It has everything one would want in a movie. I very strongly recommend it and this has just pushed Rian Johnson into my list of favorite directors. He had my attention after seeing his noir masterpiece Brick, but Looper cements him as one of my favorites.

If you want to check out Rian Johnson’s debut film Brick, then pick it up here. It is definitely worth it and ranks as one of my top twenty favorite films.

Dream Cast: Cowboy Bebop

Dream Cast: Cowboy Bebop

Movies

So, the Cowboy Bebop movie seems to be going nowhere despite the fact that the timing is perfectly right for it, especially with Toonami back on the air. Despite the inactivity of Hollywood, we figured we’d go ahead and do them a favor and put the Cowboy Bebop movie together for them (you know, because we’re nice).

The Director:

Rian Johnson is the man for this job. If you don’t know who he is, then shame on you. He directed Brick and the upcoming Looper (which looks all sorts of amazing). Brick showed that this guy has a massive talent for not only dialogue and plotting, but for great characters. On top of that he seems to have the quirky edge needed to make Bebop work. Oh, and it also helps that the guy’s a fan.

 

The Stars

Joseph Gordon Levitt as Spike Spiegel: Joseph Gordon Levitt freaking rocks. I had only ever thought of him as the kid from 3rd Rock, but Brick totally changed my view of him as an actor. Inception solidified him as the next Bruce Willis in my mind, and his role in The Dark Knight Rises only further cemented it. Now that he’s taking on Bruce Willis in Looper it only seems to make sense that Levitt is fast becoming the new “everyman action hero”. This is why he’s perfect for Spike. He’s got the attitude, the acting skill, and the anti-gravity fight from Inception showed he can definitely handle a fight scene. Just give him the suit and haircut already. Oh, and forget Keanu Reeves (but Bill and Ted 3 is gonna rock).

Bruce Frickin’ Willis as Jet Black: If I have to sell you on this idea then I just can’t do anything for you. Bruce Willis practically invented the everyman action hero and it would totally make sense for him to play Spike’s partner/mentor especially now that Willis has squared off with Levitt in Looper. Willis has the attitude necessary, but also the acting chops. Accept. No. Substitutes.

Eliza Dushku as Faye Valentine: Eliza Dushku is perfect for the role because she brings the qualities of Faye to characters that have nothing to do with that character. She’s got the personality and the screen presence required. She can pull off the playfulness, the self centeredness, and extremely reluctant nobility that the character has.

Unknown as Ed: Ed is a star making role. You need to have a young actress at your disposal who is willing to cut loose and be certifiably insane while still being able to sound relatively smart. I can’t think of any actress out there who is simultaneously young enough and skilled enough to play her. If you can find someone that can BECOME Ed then you’ve got all you need.

The Music:

Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts are the only ones who should touch the music for this thing. The music is part of the very identity of Cowboy Bebop and to have anyone else do the music would completely and totally ruin the vibe of the film. And if you don’t believe me you just watch this and then try to tell me anything else over the film’s opening credits would work. In fact, just recreate this opening in live action and you’ve got something perfect.

 

 

So there you have it.  What do you guys think? Is this the cast for the job or do you think you know of a better casting? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to pick up the entire Bebop series or the original animated movie you can pick it up right here!

The Dark Knight Rises Special Edition Announced!

The Dark Knight Rises Special Edition Announced!

Movies

This is freaking nice. I mean nice. I’m a huge fan of awesome special editions and throwing in that broken mask is something that’ll look awesome on my Blu-Ray shelf. This is everything you’d want from a special edition including an extensive making-of featurette. On top of that, Amazon has revealed a (at least until officially announced) a Dark Knight Trilogy boxed set on Blu-Ray.  The Dark Knight Rises Blu-Ray releases on December 4th, but unfortunately it will not feature a director’s cut. I figured this would be the case, though the argument that the theatrical edition was shorter in order to accommodate the Imax projectors (after all, the theatrical cut only weight  600 pounds).