I do like the look of the 3rd in the series. A new director on board and by the look of it a lot of Iron man suits!! I will be there maybe not opening day but a definite opening day movie for me.
This is one of those movies that I really wanted to see on the big screen, but alas, circumstances prevented me from doing so. It wasn’t helpful that my local cinema didn’t see fit to actually have it running for very long either. Which is a shame, as I have a feeling it was a similar story up and down the land, and a film like this deserves much better.
Time travel movies often have a nasty brain ache effect, with over complicated stories and plot holes so massive that one could quite easily fit an entire solar system through them. The really odd thing about Looper though, is that it does introduce both brain ache and plot holes, but you don’t really care.
Why? Because the story itself is brilliant. The acting is well above par. The script is well written. It’s very well paced. And there is a key plot point that is hidden so well from the trailers, it adds another dynamic to the whole piece that is so well implemented, you are left to forgive the complexity of time travel and the holes in the story, you are left asking serious questions of yourself.
The premise sold to the audience in the trailer is that this is going to be a typical trace the contact from the future, team up and take on the bad guys type story, formulaic and seen before in many different guises. What it actually delivers is a journey of emotions. At first you let it take you on the formulaic journey, waiting for that moment for Bruce Willis to appear for the story to actually start. You soon realise that there is something much more to this piece.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s stature is growing, and it is he that takes centre stage in this movie, not Bruce Willis. The trailer actually sets things up quite well, it gives you the brief of what is happening. The viewer is presented with a world in decline, the year is 2044 and time travel, well, let’s allow Joseph Gordon-Levitt to tell us:
“Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now, it will have been. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by only the largest criminal organizations. It’s nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future… I’m told. Tagging techniques, whatnot. So when these criminal organizations in the future need someone gone, they use specialized assassins in our present called “Loopers.” And so, my employers in the future nab the target, they zap them back to me – their Looper. He appears, hands tied and head sacked, and I do the necessaries. Collect my silver. So the target has vanished from the future, and I’ve just disposed of a body that technically does not exist. Clean.”
And there you have it, the plot as it is presented. These ‘Loopers’ are named so for a reason, because of the illegal nature of Time Travel in the future, the employers from 2074 remove any trace of their involvement with the Loopers in the past that they close the loops. The way they do this is to send the older version of the Looper back in time to be taken out by their younger selves, it is what is referred to in the movie as ‘Closing your loop’. Should the Looper fail to close their loop when ordered to, all manner of nastiness occurs to ensure that the loop is forced close. This is demonstrated quite horrifically in the first third. It’s from this moment on that you realise that this is a serious film, it is going to ask you questions, you begin to ask yourself which side of the fence would you sit? And just as you relax and get your head around that question, much darker and sinister questions arise. For the good of the future, what would you sacrifice of yourself in the past?
It’s at this point the movie introduces the twist, a man of the future called the Rainmaker, a character shrouded in almost as much mystery as Kaiser Soze. This Rainmaker rules the roost in the future, a man who out of nowhere has taken over everything and is closing all of the loops. Joe (the young version) hears of this before he is presented with his next job, his very own loop closure. Bruce Willis appears but is not tied up and is not wearing a hood, the struggle results in Bruce Willis getting away and the chase begins, not only for young Joe to chase down his older self, but also the mob of the present chasing both Joe of the present and Joe of the future.
The life of older Joe is presented in flashbacks, we learn that future Joe became bad, until he met a woman who he fell in love with. From this moment he changed and they built a life together, he felt complete. That is until the Rainmaker’s goons arrive and kill his future love and take him prisoner to transport back in time to close the loop. At this point we learn the future is in danger, this Rainmaker is bad news and life is short of laughs. The future is scared. No-one knows who the Rainmaker is, or where he came from, that is until a minor clue falls into the hands of Bruce Willis.
There are three possible suspects for this Rainmaker of the future, and older Joe wants to take him out in the hope that the future would be restored and his wife will be saved, as well as life for everyone else. So, a noble cause you’d think right? Until you realise that the three suspect, in young Joe’s timeline, are just kids. And their innocence, when presented to you, the audience, is in full display. The decisions taken on from here are truly disturbing, and watching how things unfold is both captivating and incredibly uneasy. That question comes up again, to save the future, what would you sacrifice of yourself in the past? You not only watch these events happen, but it is so well done that you begin to ask yourself, what would you do? We find out why The Rainmaker is closing the loops, and you honestly, as you watch things unfold, do not know who to side with. It’s full of twists and turns, not only in story, but of ones own emotional turmoil trying to figure out what you would do yourself in this situation, all the way to the end. The climax of this movie in itself provides closure, but also questions. Was there another way? You play the movie back in your head several times and always come to the same conclusion, no. Or maybe…. It’s infuriating, but brilliant at the same time!
This is a sci-fi movie for grown ups, people who like to be challenged, and in some cases, perhaps changed by what they experience. This movie provides so many talking points, and I’ve tried to not spoil what is the key to the whole thing, because I want you to decide for yourself without me tainting it for you. If you didn’t catch this at the cinema, and are thinking about watching it now, stop thinking, start doing. This gets a solid 9 out of 10 from me.
It has been a long break for contributing to the site due to Christmas and some side projects. All that aside I have still been watching a lot of movies!
Here is a quick round up of what I have been watching and my brief thoughts:
I hadn’t really planned on watching this but found myself home alone and wanting to watch and Action Movie and had a quick scan on the ‘On Demand’ section on my Sky HD box and there is was. ‘Dredd’ is the latest re-visioning of the 2012AD comics character Judge Dredd, the previous film was a slightly more light hearted affair staring Sylvester Stallone. The 2012 version Stars Karl Urban as our lead and Olivia Thrilby as his new psychic partner. It is a fast paced violent affair which it doesn’t apologies for and nor should it. It is a very tightly put together action film which doesn’t hang around too long and ticks all the comic book fan boxes. My only issue with it is the casting of Karl Urban who really isn’t that physically intimidating.
I always look forward to new Tarantino films, no one puts all the pieces together with as much style and liberal amounts of cool like he does. Jango delivers everything you would expect from a QT movie, Violence, threat of violence, great dialogue and an amazing sound track. The familiarity with his product may be why I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. It is similar to my reaction to the iPhone 5 it looks like an iPhone and it does everything my old one did which I liked but where is the innovation?? One of my favourite QT films was Jackie Brown which was a step away from the norm and shooting someone else’s story. I can’t help feeling he should start looking for a writing partner or another great book for his next project. Jango is still leaps and bounds above a lot of the trash that gets released these days.
Ben Affleck just gets better and better in my opinion. He has had a few miss steps as and actor but I think he has potential to one of the truly great American directors and reminds me a great deal of Clint Eastwood. Argo is a masterpiece in story telling, the cast is strong but none of the actors over cook their parts allowing the story which is a great one to play out on screen. I don’t want to spoil the film to much so I will keep this short, just go and see it.
Zero Dark Thirty
Dogged by controversy since its announcement Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) is Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film and her second modern day war film. The film follows one female CIA operatives crusade to locate and capture or kill Usama Bin Laden (UBL as he is referred to in the film). The controversy stems from two main issues; 1. It hasn’t been long since the events took place, 2. The first third of the film features scenes of graphic torture and doesn’t apologies for it or really suggest that is was wrong. The torture as with most elements in a Kathryn Bigelow film is portrayed in as an authentic manner as possible, what I mean by this is it would have been out of place if the script had featured troops or the CIA questioning the techniques they were using.
I believe I have it right when I say that the cartoon before the main feature used to be a cinematic staple. Why, I just about remember seeing a film as a child that had a short before it, although I must have been very young. Looking back, I think it was the re-release of The Jungle Book. I can’t have seen many shorts (I’d seen enough to get the joke at the start of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, anyhow), before they did away with such entertaining nonsense. I remember being vaguely sad when I realised it didn’t seem to happen any more.
Disney’s Wreck it Ralph may have come out in the US and other territories last year, but it launches in the UK on February 8th. And on that date, when lucky cinema-goers settle into their seats, fistfuls of popcorn in hand, their feet adhering to the already sticky floors, they will be treated to the sight of Disney’s short film Paperman before the main feature, where it should be.
Showing a chance encounter between a man and a woman on a commute, Paperman eschews dialogue, all colour, except for greys, whites, blacks, and reds, and makes a central feature of its music. Featuring subtle CGI that coalesces delicately with the kind of charming, traditional animation with which Disney made its name, and nurtured the imagination of many generations of children. If this doesn’t brighten your day and put a spring in your step, then I’m afraid you’re a lost cause. For all the rest of us, hopefully we’ll have the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen, and rejoice in Disney-Pixar’s quest to revive the cinematic short before the main feature. I’m super-psyched about Wreck-It Ralph, too.
Vive la revolution!
American filmmaker David Gelb’s first feature length documentary is an educational insight into the skill and discipline of sushi preparation, a craft that not many of us are familiar with in the west. In Japan, 86 year old sushi chef Jiro Ono is a culinary legend, a man so devoted and focused on his work who has been seeking perfection in his craft for over 70 years. He runs a small immaculate 10 seater restaurant called Sukiyabashi Jiro in the Ginza district of Tokyo which is reputed to make the best Sushi in the world earning him three Michelin stars.
Jiro is a workaholic and takes the utmost care and precision with preparing the sushi before serving and insists his trainee chefs undertake a tough ten year apprenticeship under his supervision. He is a strict perfectionist but also works in a state of calmness which is fascinating to watch. His two sons who are almost as good as Jiro and have worked in the restaurant virtually all their lives are frustrated with their father’s lack of desire to retire, thus the youngest son has no choice but to open another Sushi restaurant in the fashionable area of Roppongi. However Jiro trusts both his sons to source the best quality fish daily from the local fish market and he samples all the sushi before serving every day until it tastes exactly right.
This is an informative piece of filmmaking and one cannot help but feel that you have learnt something by watching this well executed and enlightening documentary. The score mostly comprising of compositions by Philip Glass adds a sophisticated tone.
Even if you’re not into eating fish at all or, like many, morally concerned about the long term effects of the amount of overfishing in the ocean due to mass sushi and fish consumption globally, Gelb’s documentary is essentially an accolade to a man you cannot help but admire, a man who has come from nothing and by sheer hard work, by loving and devoting his life to his craft has become very successful is nothing short of inspiring.
How do you follow up one of the defining television series over the past 20 years? Fortunately for us lesser beings, it’s not a dilemma we’ll ever have to face. David Chase, on the other hand, does. Five years after the televisual phenomenon that was The Sopranos, Chase is about to release his latest opus: Not Fade Away.
Set in the 1960s, and titled after a Rolling Stones song, it already sounds painfully hip. It would be understandable if well-trodden path of photogenic young cast, themes of coming of age, music and love all alongside added trendiness, make you want to barf in your rucksack.
But, with this being David Chase, the man who brought us the conflicted, flawed, but scarily relatable Tony Soprano and his brood, you’d like to think you can trust him to bring us some memorable characters. Partly autobiographical, I am personally hoping it can echo Dazed and Confused, and bring us believable teens and that same sense of nostalgia for a time I never lived that Dazed and American Graffiti engendered.
The Sopranos was more than a TV series about gangsters, using a violent criminal subculture as a prism through which to view society was a masterstroke. Can Chase do it again?
Sadly, early buzz coming out of the film festivals has been mixed, but if one of the GODS OF TELEVISION can’t benefit from the doubt, then I don’t know who can. Check out the trailer below.
I’m excited for Monsters University and now getting the opportunity to see the this short in full, hopefully this will be a return to form for Pixar.
This is the third and final part of RBTV’s exclusive interview with Tony Guyan, Production Manager on the classic children’s series ‘The Box of Delights’.
In this part, Tony talks about pyrotechnics at Eastnor Castle, answers some questions from fans of the show, and we get to ask him whether it was actually a dream or not……
Enjoy and Happy Christmas from all at RBTV!
The second part of our interview with the 1984 Box of Delights series Production Manager Tony Guyan.
Here Tony talks about locations including steam trains and stations, ‘Tatchester’ Cathedral, ‘Seekings’ House as well as cast members Robert Stephens, Patrick Troughton and Devin Stansfield. Not to mention some Dreft hurling!