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.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iQuhsmtfHw]

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

The Dark Knight Rises Reviewed

I just got back from a family wedding weekend but I managed to sneak in a showing of The Dark Knight Rises while I was gone. I hesitated about writing this review because it seems so trivial in light of what has happened.

These massacres are beyond tragic. They show us the very worst and the very best of humanity. One deranged human being shot up a movie theatre but countless real life heroes were born that night. For every life lost, three more were saved by the brave actions of those around them.

In the grand scheme of things, no movie or fictional character could ever be as important as the stranger standing next to you in the grocery line. Life is fragile and precious and I ultimately decided to do an abbreviated review of the movie because it’s one of the lessons it tries to teach us at the end. That life and living is what is truly important. We can’t let the bad guys win but we can’t lose ourselves in that pursuit either.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8evyE9TuYk]

If you haven’t seen the movie yet this is the point where you should stop reading. I try really hard not to spoil anything but I don’t want to risk it without warning you first.

I used to have the biggest crush on Christian Bale when I was a kid. I was a Little Women fan and he played Laurie. I’m not gonna lie, I probably would have had a crush on whoever played Laurie. But it didn’t hurt that Bale was also in Empire of the Sun, Newsies and Swing Kids, some of my favorite movies when I was a youngin. People like to poke fun at the gravelly voice he uses at Batman and I’ll admit that it’s been a little hard to understand at times, but I truly believe that Bale has done right by Bruce Wayne and his tortured alter ego. We’ve learned from past films that not many people have the chops to pull it off. We get to see many sides of Bruce in this climactic end of the trilogy. Broken, curious, humorous, tortured, reluctant, triumphant, peaceful. He is all these and more. A totally evolved human being who has seen the best and the worst that life has to offer.

I’ve been a huge Tom Hardy fan since Star Trek: Nemesis when he portrayed Picard’s Romulan-raised clone. I think he’s brilliant and adorable. Even though I only got to see his unmasked face for about 2 seconds, I think that Christopher Nolan was smart to cast someone who could express Bane’s emotion through his eyes and mannerisms. A lesser actor would not have been able to pull off this role.  I guesstimate that they stayed true to about 50% of the comics in Bane’s back story, etc.  The Pena Dura prison was portrayed beautifully but his story was combined and mingled with another character for the film so I can see why it would be confusing to the layman/average moviegoer to see such a highly intelligent and superhumanly-strong character if you don’t have any knowledge of the comic books. Still, I thought Bane was well done. The costume/facial gear was intimidating and not cartoonish. His voice was better than I expected it to be, though I probably missed about 1/3 of what he said (can’t wait to watch it at home with the subtitles on).  The 30 lbs of weight Hardy put on made him virtually unrecognizable.  It had to have been a daunting prospect to follow Heath Ledger’s Joker as the main villain and I think that they succeeded admirably.

I go back and forth on Anne Hathaway. Sometimes I like her and sometimes I’m not impressed. She definitely brought some comic relief as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. Her smooth, instantaneous transition from frightened maid to sly jewel thief was pretty brilliant. And I really dug how they never called her Catwoman but when she lifted her eye wear-glasses-goggle-thingies they gave the impression of cat ears. Having her masquerade as a cat at the charity ball was another nice touch.  The only thing that really bothered me about her getup was the stiletto heels. As gorgeous as they looked and despite their seemingly practical blades and obvious stabbing properties, no woman can run around in those shoes. I’m sorry, it’s just not going to happen. However, this is movieland and not real life so I’m willing to overlook the heels.

Gary Oldman is the shit. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the best actors of my generation. Michael Caine broke my heart and then stitched it back up again. Marion Cotillard surprised even me. I love Matthew Modine because of Full Metal Jacket but I really wanted to punch him in the face until the epic cops-united scene. I just like to hear Morgan Freeman talk. He has the most amazing voice.

There were times when I was very much aware that I’d been sitting in a movie theatre for 3 hours but I must say that I was deeply satisfied by the ending. It felt like closure while still keeping the story open for future installments with different main players. Certain scenes were very moving because they showed groups of people coming together and demonstrating bravery and goodness despite their bleak and hopeless surroundings. I’m a sucker for those moments regardless but they were definitely made more poignant by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

In Roman mythology, Aurora is the goddess of the dawn. She renews herself each morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun. She represents renewed hope and another chance at life. I’m not an overly religious person but I do believe in a higher power and I’ve been praying for those affected by the massacre. I pray that Aurora holds true to her name and that the residents there can find some hope in the aftermath of this horrendous tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Always.

4.5 out of 5 sci-fives