Tag Archives: Time travel

Grizzly Review: Looper

There’s a moment in the beginning of the movie when the old Tri-Star logo popped up on-screen. Upon viewing that, (along with the approval head nod of Kronner who was sitting next to me), I knew this was going to be a satisfying experience. The hype machine has been building on the Rian Johnson written and directed flick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so it could have been a giant letdown after what seemed to be a lackluster summer in terms of enjoyable movies with substance. Luckily, the 118 minute time bender is exactly what the doctor ordered. This movie kicked my ass (in a good way) and all I want is another go around in order to get that wondrous feeling back again.

Looper follows Joe (JGL) as a hitman/junkie trying to save up his money and skip town to live it up in France. He’s good at this job, but he knows there are certain…expectations when it comes to his future. You see kids, in the future, time travel is used by the mob to dispose of bodies. They send the targets/victims to the past where the Loopers, the hitmen from the past, shoot them as soon as they appear. The Loopers also collect their fair share of silver for each of these hits. Not bad for loitering in a random spot waiting for a target to appear out of nowhere to shoot at. However, because of the danger in the future of what these Loopers know, there comes a point and time where the Loopers will have their loop “closed”. Basically that means that once your contract is up, you have 30 years before your future self is sent back to be blunder-bussed as well. It’s a harsh price to pay but at least they pay you handsomely in gold and drugs so you can get over it quite quickly. Unless you’re Bruce Willis of course.

That’s right, Bruce Willis shows up and he’s the older version of Joe. When Young Joe sees Old Joe, he ends up making the fatal mistake of letting his ‘Loop’ escape. Old Joe doesn’t want to die and he’s on the mission to take down the guy closing the loops in the future: The Rainmaker. Young Joe is more like, eff that, I want my life in France (or China, depending on whose advice he takes), so now he’s charged with making sure his life proceeds as scheduled instead of be ruined by his future self. Still following? Hopefully I did an okay job because reading that back gave me a headache. Let’s just break it down by saying the story is great and it makes sense enough when you watch it all unfold on-screen as opposed to having some reviewer telling it to you secondhand. It does remind of Inception (starring JGL as well) in terms of the levels/timelines that it juggles, but the writing still keeps the pacing good without being bogged down by exposition. It does not insult the viewer, nor does it baby them at the same time.

It also might seem like familiar ground because it terms of the look, the style of writing and plot, it reminds me a lot like Brick. Obviously it should because it had both JGL and Rian Johnson behind that awesome movie. But the way that the camera moves and pans, it’s such a beautiful motion and nothing seems forced. The director throws small details in each shot that caught my attention, yet without distracting the viewer from the main action. He also does a terrific job of showing off his vision of this future while still allowing his actors to take their moments to shine, thus showing a trust between the director and his actors that one wouldn’t expect from a time travel/sci-fi flick. On that note, the look reminds more of an indie flick than a big budget action one. The movie does share special effects and lens flare (which apparently is a must for Sci-Fi flicks nowadays) but it builds as more a character drama, in everyone finding their ambitions and the true nature of what drives them. There are a few wonderful images of tantrums gone wrong that come off as frightening involving a kid that stuck with me. The build up and pacing is amazing and I can’t gush anymore about Johnson’s eye and creativity. As a lower budget flick, there are a few moments where the effects struggle to match up to what we are used to coming from these types of movies, but that is such a minor point, it really only bears mentioning considering the glut of 200 million dollar action flicks that have zero watchability because the story sucks underneath the guise of pretty effects.

The cast is superb and it begins with JGL. Effin’. Amazing. It’s to the point where if Premium Rush came out now, I would go check it out. The fact that he shows up as a different character each time and is able to inhabit different personalities and emotional aspects to where he cannot be pigeonholed into any stereotype really shows how much he has grown and matured into one of the better actors of our generation. Obviously, everyone wants to talk about how he looks like Bruce Willis. Well folks, he doesn’t just look like Bruce Willis, he IS Bruce Willis.

They manage make him look like a younger clone of him and it is not distracting to the viewer. JGL melts into Joe to where it never becomes an issue and you fully buy into him looking a bit like his older counterpart. Bruce Willis is also great as Old Joe as he still has that punk mentality that JGL shows yet is a damaged man trying to find a remedy to his sins, sometimes by the committing the most foul means possible. Emily Blunt is great as a woman protecting her interests that takes Young Joe in when they cross paths. Jeff Daniels is awesome as Abe, the boss of the Loopers in the current time, who is from the future who deals out orders and comments to his soldiers to make sure it sticks in his subjects’ (and the audience’s) minds.  Everyone’s wonderful more or less.

My advice: Watch it. I loved the movie and I’m curious what Rian Johnson will be involved with next. He is able to build a story that does not patronize his audience and yet gives it weight in order to have it linger on their minds well after leaving the theater. JGL is also a movie star now. Give him whatever he wants, he can not do wrong. Unless he’s dressing up as a girl on an SNL sketch. That I could’ve lived without.

4.5/5

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‘X-Men: First Class’ Sequel – Subtitle Alludes to Classic Storyline


I have a confession to make. Despite being a comics fan, spending nearly 50$ a week on comics, collecting comics memorabilia, spending large amounts of time in a comic shop to the point where the employees and the people who are regulars there are now close friends who I see outside of the store, and just generally being admittedly a comic book nerd, I, am not that big a fan of the X-Men.

In fact, I’ve only cursory knowledge of them at best, no better really than the average, yet slightly more dedicated than usual, “Movies Only” X-Men fan. I know which characters are what, but some of the more obscure ones are lost on me, (X3 was a guessing game for a lot of characters I was clueless about), and I generally understand what their comic characterization is, but on the whole, I couldn’t recite to you a cavalcade of GREAT X-Men stories like I could for Superman or Green Lantern. In fact, when I first read this news, I had no clue of the significance of the source material until reading about it, and it’s inspiration to the tons of media that would follow it. So hearing about the X-Men: First Class sequel, was exciting, and also a bit perplexing, because while I loved First Class, I had no idea what the sequel’s “story” was based on.

Let’s get down to the details, according to [EW], the sequel will be based on ‘Days Of Future Past’, which was a story arc I’ve never heard of, or read:

For the newcomers in the audience: Days of Future Past was a time-travel story released in the early ’80s. In a bleak dystopian future, the mutants of the world are hunted down and sent to internment camps. Most of the X-Men are dead; the ones that are still alive are on the run. In the original story, the future version of Kitty Pryde time-travels back in time into her young self’s brain and works with the present-day X-Men to prevent the atrocity that kickstarts the whole miserable future. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Days of Future Past has been frequently imitated in pop culture. (Remember “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World”?)

Now I gotta say, that sounds pretty awesome. I know I’ll be losing some nerd cred by admitting I haven’t read it, but I’m a firm believer in manning up and admitting what you don’t know, rather than bullshitting people about what you do. To that end, First Class was by far the best of the previous X-Men movies, and was a welcome change from the dull talk tests that were the Bryan Singer X-Men movies. X3 was like weird retarded offshoot, that managed to entertain me more by simply being really dumb, but whenever I think about X-Men 1 or 2, my eyes start to glaze over. I think that’s always been why I could never get into X-Men period, because you have all these amazing characters with mind blowing powers (sometimes literally), and all they ever do is talk each other to death. [Ed. Note – X2 is still one of the 10 Best Comic Movies ever] I’m probably showing my ignorance here of all the tons of badass X-Men stories out there, with huge epic battles, but in my experience, picking up any form of X-Men media, be it a comic, movie, or even that animated Fox cartoon from years back, was an exercise in Mutant-related diplomatic relations, carried out slowly to avoid some really big, really important, impending threat thats juuuust on the horizon, but oh no will-they-talk-it-out-first- it’ssoimportantohmygodohmygodwilltheyfight??!??!  BUT no, they never do.

Anyhow, my bitching aside, the movie sounds really good. I’m excited for it. I just tend to complain about things no matter what. You can watch an interview with Bryan Singer about the movie below:

LOOPER Trailer: Time Travel & Self Loathing

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing a young Bruce Willis. Wouldn’t have called that one, but if it works, maybe that’s the way they should’ve gone for John McClane Jr

The movie has already been compared to 12 Monkeys, which, if an apt comparison, basically means it will hurt your head. But in the end, 12 Monkeys was excellent. Looper tells the story of hitman living in the past cleaning up problems the mob sends him by means time travel. That is until they send back an older version of him to be killed. Trippy.

This is something special, it’s called an ‘original idea’ and they assembled quite the cast. Aside from JGL and Willis, they’ve also got the beautiful and ultra talented Emily Blunt, who will no doubt end up the focus of desire for out ill-fated hero. Also seen in the trailer is veteran actor and Michigan Native Jeff Daniels, who has worked with Levitt before in the movie The Lookout. Looper will also feature one of my favorite actors over the last few years – Garret Dillahunt, who I first remember from his role on Deadwood, went on to appear in The 4400, Damages, and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. He was also in films like No Country for Old Men, Winter’s Bone, and The Road, and he is now the scene stealing star of Fox’s Raising Hope.

Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Garrett Dillahunt

Continue reading LOOPER Trailer: Time Travel & Self Loathing

Radical Review: Time Bomb

It turns out the Mayans were right, the world does end in 2012. How they predicted that Hitler’s top-secret doomsday device would be discovered and then accidentally triggered is beyond me though. Fortunately for the human race the “New World Order”, a CIA/FBI/Interpol type of organization, has put together a crack team of special agents to go back in time to prevent the world-wide disaster from happening. This is the setup of Radical Comics graphic novel Time Bomb. Time Bomb is actually the name of the time travel device, which operates by harnessing a small nuclear explosion, not the name of the Nazi created missile that spreads an unstoppable virus throughout the world’s atmosphere.

Radical Comics is a publisher that, according to their Wikipedia page, produces only products that they think would be directly translatable to the big screen. Essentially, by this definition, Radical comics are jazzed up screenplays. With that in mind Time Bomb is, in movie terms, Armageddon meets Inglorious Basterds meets Timeline. While it’s true that I could see this story being made into a movie, it would likely be a B-movie starring the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and whoever is the modern equivalent of Lorenzo Lamas.

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Grizzly Dailies – Neighborhood Watch, Looper, and Bullet to the Head

Welcome to Grizzly Dailies! A new feature where we will cover a bunch of movie news in the manner we love. Jam packing a ton of links and info in one post so you don’t have to waste your valuable time (and ours) by combing through a ton of articles!

And if you are unaware of the term ‘Dailies‘ don’t expect this feature every day. It’s a film term and not a promise. Just wanted to get that out there.

Continue reading Grizzly Dailies – Neighborhood Watch, Looper, and Bullet to the Head