Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Movie Review: Looper (R -118 minutes)

Time travel movies are actually best when the time travel is treated as simply a feature of the story, and not the main focus of the story, because let's be real - it's almost impossible to explain it completely and not poke holes through the logic.  The absolutely best movie to use time travel is the Terminator. 
James Cameron's masterpiece used time travel as a piece of the story - evil machines from the future have gotten access to a time travel device and send back a killer robot to wipe out the leader of the resistance, before he is born!  The resistance leader also manages to send back a single fighter to protect the unborn child's mother, which turns out to be a really important move.  Incredible story, great effects (mostly practical), and amazing action.  I am one of the few who prefers Terminator to T2. 
An example of maybe not the greatest use of time travel is the JCVD flick TimeCop.
While still an entertaining movie, the time travel is overused, and gets a little complicated, plus - introduces the idea that two of the same person cannot occupy the same space at the same time, which they mention over and over again - until it pays off in the most disgusting way possible.  Rent it if you haven't seen it - like I sad, not good, but definitely entertaining.
Rian Johnson's new movie Looper, takes a slightly original stance on time travel, while still incorporating some bits we've seen before.
Apparently, in 2072, time travel has been invented and outlawed.  The mob still has it, and uses it to send back the bodies of people they wish to 'wack' (because the cops are so amazing in 2072 you can't dispose of a body anywhere?) to killers in 2040ish.  These killers are called "Loopers".  They are issued a gun - a blunderbuss (useless at more than 15 yards), and are told when to be in their designated place.  A hooded man shows up, they shoot him, collect their payment in bars of silver (you can read into that if you want) - which has been strapped to the back of their victim - and dispose of the body by incineration.  Eventually, they get sent a body that has gold bars strapped to the back.  This is their older self, and is called 'closing the loop'.  At this point, they take their gold, retire, and enjoy the 30 years that they know they have left; a decent job for a addicted loser with no direction.  This is how we meet the character of Joe.
Incidentally, director Rian Johnson worked on a movie called Brick with Joseph Gordon Levitt.  They became friends and haven't really worked together since then (check JGL as a bar patron in The Brothers Bloom).  Johnson wrote this movie for JGL, and that is why the character is named Joe.  Things are going pretty well for Joe, he's enjoying his looper lifestyle with his looper friends and their eyedrop drugs when one night, his looper friend comes to his house panicking because he lost his target.  He realized it was himself from the future, that he was about to 'close his loop', and he couldn't resist taking a look.  His older self outwits him (there are some holes to poke in the time travel memory situation here) and takes off, and now - Joe's friend is being hunted by their crime boss.  This situation exists to show us as an audience how bad it is if you lose your target, especially if that target is future-you.  Guess what happens to Joe?  Sure enough, his future-self shows up - and gets away, and Joe has to chase him down, while slowly coming to understand why his future self made the effort to come back, evade capture, and set out on an impossible mission.
I have limited experience with Rian Johnson as a director; I did see the Brothers Bloom, which I enjoyed, but I did not see Brick.  He proves very capable in this flick, shooting quiet conversation scenes with the same ease as big action sequences.  The effects are decent, if not great, and certainly serviceable for this movie. 
Joseph Gordon Levitt is amazing, as he has been all year.  Between 50/50 last year, Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, this year, he is continuing to establish the fact that he is one of the best young actors around.  It has been well publicized that JGL went through 3 hours of prosthetics every morning to look more like Bruce Willis.  What has been mentioned less is the amazing job he does picking up all of the subtle Bruce Willis mannerisms and playing them so that he is completely convincing as a younger version of Bruce Willis.  He plays Joe perfectly so that you believe both the stone cold killer part and the hanging out with a small child part.  Incidentally, my favorite movie he has done is 10 Things I Hate About You - which became my favorite version of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.  My previous favorite version had been when they did it for an episode of Moonlighting, which starred Bruce Willis - see how cyclical everything is?
Bruce Willis gets to pretty much play Bruce Willis, definitely not a bad thing at thing point, he's earned it.  He gives old Joe a believable sense of urgency.  The movie very clearly lays out why he puts together this plan to go back and attempt to change the future.  Also - his real hair makes an appearance!
Emily Blunt plays a character that I would describe as "farm girl hiding a deadly secret".  She pulls off an american accent pretty impressively.  There are certain parts to her character that make no sense, but she does a really good job with what she has.
Indie darling Paul Dano plays Joe's Looper friend.  He plays the friend who lets his older self escape to set up the premise of how necessary it is to NOT let your older self escape and how vicious the mob can be in attempting to get their target back.  The last time I saw him was in Cowboys and Aliens, playing Harrison Ford's exceptionally irritating son.
Noah Segan, who worked with Rian Johnson on the Brothers Bloom.  In this movie he plays Kid Blue, who seems to go from comic relief to genuinely terrifying bad guy.  Also - is he young Jeff Daniels?  Maybe, maybe not....
Piper Perabo plays a whore that Joe likes.  Seriously - that sounds awful, but that is the role.  She got famous from the movie Coyote Ugly, and has lately been on the USA series Covert Affairs, which I don't watch because it seems to be Alias, which I loved.  She's topless for no reason in this movie - I have already pointed out how much I hate PTSs, so I will not rant about that again.
The shocker is how good the kid is.  Oh, by the way, there is a kid in the movie.  Pierce Gagnon from One Tree Hill plays him, and he is fantastic.  I honestly can't say why without ruining it - so just trust me that he's good.
Jeff Daniels plays the heavy - the head of the looper organization who is actually from the future and back to monitor the action that happens in the present.  I like him as a bad guy because he seems so nice, until you realize exactly how evil he is, which is a credit to his performance.  Also - you should check out The Lookout - a movie he and JGL did previous to this.
All in all, this movie is really well put together, well acted, and wonderfully presented.  Also - the time travel stuff is easy to understand.  Honestly, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how it was going to resolve itself. 
7 out of 10.  Lost major points for the sequence in which the mob gets the attention of the older Paul Dano character who is on the run - creeped me out so much it nearly took me out of the movie.  By the way - this movie is a hard R, the violence is very serious. Gained points for the Dark Phoenix sequence.  Lost points for Piper Perabo's tits.  No one wants to see that.
Bonus Video 1:  Battle of the Taming of the Shrews...  If you never saw that episode of Moonlight - find it now!  Also - If you never saw 10 Things I hate about you - rent it now!  And marvel at Heath Ledger and JGL in the same movie years before they each stole two different Batman movies.

Bonus Video 1:  The Lookout Trailer, more Jeff Daniels and JGL...in a pretty good movie, but not a happy movie...
Bonus Video 2:  The Brothers Bloom...
Bonus Video 3:  Interviews!

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