Looper Reviewed

 

Let’s be honest. It’s pretty rare for a Sci-Fi Action Thriller to be considered Oscar-worthy. I’m not talking effects, makeup, sound, etc. I’m talking acting and best picture noms. If I had my way there’d be a nerdy film up for best picture every year. But the Academy doesn’t seem to care about what I think. Pfft!

Looper could be that rare film. If it’s not nominated for Best Picture or at least a Best Actor nod for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then there is a massive conspiracy mmmkay?

I’m going to try really hard not to spoil anything but if that’s a concern than you may want to stop here.

The year is 2044. 10% of the population is telekinetic. The drugs come in eye droppers and the guns look like toy NIB Space Blaster M72 rocket launchers.

Just sayin’

Poverty is rampant and you have to be creative to get out of the slums. That, or get mentored by a crime boss from the future. You know, the usual. In the 2070’s time travel will be invented. But it’s illegal so only crime syndicates will use it. Which they do. By zapping people into the past to be shot and disposed of by “Loopers.”

That’s where Joseph Gordon-Levitt comes in. He’s a Looper named Joe and he’s got a plan for his future. Naturally, that means that everything is gonna go to shit. Confession time: I may have had a slight crush on JGL back in his Angels in the Outfield days. Seriously, how can you watch everyone flapping their arms and NOT get teary eyed? He’s only gotten better as he’s gotten older and this might just be his best work yet. He’s sporting his usual fitted dress shirt, skinny tie and slim slacks, a look he has probably patented by now which is ok by me cause he looks mighty fine in it. But something is different about him and it takes a minute to figure out exactly what it is. He’s been outfitted with makeup and prosthetics, most notably in the form of a nose piece, eyebrow pencil and a very nice shade of mauve lipstick. All this so that he can look more like his future self played by the always brilliant Bruce Willis.

I mean, honestly, the guy doesn’t even have to try. He’s got parts like this down to a science. There are few things in life that are better than watching Bruce Willis shoot bad guys with an automatic weapon and he doesn’t disappoint as Old Joe, a battle-hardened badass who won’t take no for an answer. He’s determined to kill the Rainmaker, the big bad mob boss of the future, while he or she is still a helpless, not yet completely horrific, kid. The emotions he goes through during this process are pretty gut wrenching.  You keep expecting him to join forces with his younger self but it turns out he doesn’t know himself as well as he thinks he does.

Emily Blunt plays Sara, a hard working farm owner and mother of one of the potential Rainmakers. She’s dealing with fear, guilt, and confusion on a daily basis and really isn’t sure how to deal with it so she spends what little free time she has hacking at an old tree stump. One thing that is clear is her devotion to her son Cid. I think that Emily Blunt is gorgeous. Here she’s wearing grungy work clothes and almost no makeup and she’s drop dead sexy.

This kid is rad

Cid is played by the astonishing Pierce Gagnon. OMFG this kid is AH-mazing. Utterly adorable and completely terrifying at the same time, he has a maturity that seems otherworldly in such a small child. I hesitate to say anything more because you should really see his performance for yourself. I promise you’ll be blown away.

Other people worth noting: Paul Dano as Seth, Joe’s BFF and the guy who first gets Joe in trouble. Noah Segan as Kid Blue, the henchman who just won’t die. Piper Perabo as Suzie, Joe’s sort of girlfriend. If you’ve ever wanted to see Piper naked, then here’s your chance. Garret Dillahunt (aka the Grandpa from Raising Hope) as Jesse, a former coworker of Joe’s with one of the coolest parts in the film. And Jeff Daniels as Abe, that crime boss from the future that I mentioned earlier.

Looper was written and directed by Rian Johnson, a dude I’ve never heard of but who I will be looking out for from now on. I sincerely hope that he’s not a one-trick pony a la M. Night Shyamalan cause I’m seriously impressed by this movie. It’s definitely going down as one of my favorites for the year.

5 out of 5 Sci-Fives!

Sci Five - 5

RED: Really Excited Dork

Red Movie Poster

First image that popped up on a Google search. This is the right poster... right?

Actually, it stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous and if this movie proves anything, it’s that they don’t make them like they used to.  I say this for two reasons.  There is the obvious one: the movie revolves around older and much more experienced agents battling it out against younger, less experienced agents.  And the less obvious one: they don’t make actors and action stars like they used to.

My friend Wayne and I stayed out late on a school night to see RED (he’s a teacher so I’m not kidding when I say that).  Partly because it’s based on a DC graphic novel of the same name, and partly because we hadn’t hung out since High School and it was an excellent reason to get together.  Plus, if he had backed out he probably knows that I wouldn’t have taken “no” for an answer ;)  So thanks for seeing it with me Wayne!

On to movie reviewing…

The Good Guys: (I type this with a smirk on my face since all anyone in the movie does is kill people)

Bruce Willis is in fine form in his patented role as a professional badass playing cat and mouse with the people who done him wrong.  I’m pretty sure it’s a character type that was invented for him.

Morgan Freeman has cancer again (ie The Bucket List) and is excited to get in one last hurrah.  I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to NOT like Morgan Freeman.  He’s freakin’ awesome.  This might just be my favorite role that John Malkovich has ever played.  If he hadn’t been surrounded by a bevy of equally talented performers he probably would have stolen the show…inside of a pink pig stuffed animal.

I love Brian Cox.  He was in X-Men.  That is reason enough.  In this movie he plays a ruskie convincingly.  I prefer him with his beard and he does not disappoint here.  The casting directors displayed a flash of brilliance when they brought in Mary-Louise Parker to play Bruce’s love interest.  I am absolutely convinced that no one else could have played this role.  She holds her own against the masters and displays some of the best comedic timing in the movie.  See kids?  Weed is a good thing.  Just kidding.  Don’t tell your parents I said that.

thumb160x_mirren-swimsuit

Even I think this is hot.

The piece de resistance (and a HUGE reason why I went to see this movie) is Helen Mirren.  I think people forget that she’s played many a badass lady and focus on the fact that she’s older and British and must therefore be prim and proper.  Bullshit.  Granted, she arranges flowers and makes tea and crumpets, but the site of seeing her fire a semi-automatic while wearing a white ball gown will forever endear her to me.

The Bad Guys

Karl Urban has done an excellent job of ingraining himself in the nerd lexicon.  From Lord of the Rings to Pathfinder to Star Trek, he seems to choose his projects based on how many conventions he can rely on as an older, washed up actor.  Smart man.  He’s the only “bad guy” you really care about.  He starts off a cold and calculated drone of the system but his wits kick in and it becomes clear that he really just wants to do what’s right (side note: in my humble opinion, KU would have made an excellent Thor. Chris Hemsworth…aka Kirk’s ill-fated daddy…better step up).

Rebecca Pidgeon (who?) plays KU’s boss.  She’s about as expressive as a brick wall but can work a power suit better than most.  She twists KU’s balls in a bunch while pretending she’s a fellow, if slightly-higher-up drone.

Karl Urban in Pathfinder

And for the ladies...

Here it is, my 2nd movie review ever on HNG, and I’m writing about Richard Dreyfuss again.  God bless the second wind, it has served him well.  Richard Dreyfuss is the baddest of the bad and he REALLY wants you to know it.  In fact, he helpfully reminds you of it in every one of his scenes.  I can see why someone would get annoyed by that.  Personally, I thought it was pretty funny.  The rest of the baddies are nameless and forgettable with the exception of an explosive redhead.  Faceless as they may be, they play their parts with gusto.

I was expecting the action and I was not disappointed (you’ve probably already seen my favorite shot in the trailers, the part where Bruce exits his stolen cop car mid-spin while firing his pistol).

However; what pleasantly surprised me was the humor and the gratuitous violence.  We’ve already established that I am a big fan of both.  The only time I wasn’t laughing was during the dramatic climax…a part I’m assuming was not intended to be laughed at.  There were a few intended chuckles but I kind of missed the humor I’d become accustomed to during that part.  In their defense, I’m not sure that it could have been incorporated properly without making it cheese-tastic ala Zoolander.  I was also delighted at the body count and the manner in which they were dispatched.  Who knew a bullet fired at an RPG would do that??  The RPG itself was a bit superfluous, but you won’t see me complaining about it.

All in all, well worth the $13 ticket price.  Heck, I would even see it again in the theatre.

Riotous.  Electrifying.  Delightful.

4 out of 5 SCI-FIVES!

Four of Five Sci-Fives