Sunday, October 13, 2013

All hail the Rainmaker

There's a crucial scene in Looper when... ah, skip it.  Seriously, though, I did want to like Looper, being sort of a fan of the time-travel genre, which is what movies are all about, when you get right down to it.  I mean, when you watch a Laurel and Hardy flick, are you not time-travelling back to the '30s with its comedy hats and its comedy exploding cars?
And so, let's time travel back to 2012, when Joseph Gordon-Levitt made four movies that year, one of which was Looper.  Alas, it was a small tree trying to grab at the leftover sunlight getting sucked up by the larger trees like Hotel Transylvania and Taken 2.  So, if all the critics loved it so much, why couldn't it take hold with the public?
...okay, so I'm not alone.  There's a few lost souls out there still willing to bash a Bruce Willis movie these days.  And to be fair, I see what writer director Rian Johnson is trying to do.  He also directed a few episodes of Breaking Bad, so he's set for life.  We've got nice CGI prosthetics for Joseph Gordon Levitt, we've got a film that looks like a damn film, and not some cheap thing shot on a (high-end) video camera, we've got a nice ode to motherhood this side of Quentin Tarantino, and not since Country Strong have I seen the older generation bitch-slap the younger generation so hard.
And so, that being said, there's the negatives.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm a fan of the time-travel genre.  That's why it pains me so to have to point to Timecop for logical consistency.  As bad as it is, it seems to be the only movie that has laid down the following crucial rule: if you touch your other self from another stream of time, you both get destroyed... and rather grossly at that!  (re: the Ron Silver character)  Of course, Back to the Future II kinda violates that rule... no, I take that back.  Marty told Marty Jr. to stay down and shut up in the crucial café scene.  Still, that was technically ball-breaking back then.
So, while I can't critique JGL's prosthetics, I am getting a little tired of the horizontal stripes that bright lights cause in films like this.  They're distracting, guys!  Kubrick and the Coens know that.  And while it's clearly a man's ode to motherhood, at least the writer-director doesn't have JGL or Bruce say something inane like "My Goddess, my Valkyrie."  Sheesh.
Anyway, there's a crucial scene where old Joe and young Joe are sitting in a café.  The Onion's critic pointed out that this movie is cool because... spoiler alert... the last hour of it is spent essentially on one farm.  Well, for the most part, the whole film seems to be stuck in Iowa... or Kansas.  I forgot the title card that said "Kansas 2044" already.  What major metropolis is that near, anyway?  Chicago?  At least they take that one vacation to Hong Kong, or wherever the hell Joe goes to grow up to become Bruce Willis.  Anyway, back to the café, where the waitress who kinda likes young Joe doesn't realize that the older guy he's sitting with is older Joe.  Older Joe tries to teach young Joe a thing or two about the future.  Maybe this is the genius of the script or something, but I couldn't help but not be impressed by the lack of depth in the lessons that old Joe tries to part to young Joe.  Young Joe himself was similarly skeptical, so it must be the genius.
And so, Looper is a brilliant piece of work, but it's also kind of derivative as well.  Take, for example, Looper's IMDb page.  Look under the section that says "People who liked this also liked..."  Notice how X-Men is in there?  If you watch Looper, you might figure out why.  Kinda like how Hancock is basically Superman, but more downbeat and with a slightly different backstory.  But I did like the look of the near future.  The music of the near future?  Classic blues, of course.
I should probably mention Emily Blunt.  I think she only had one fragment of a line where her English accent shone through, but otherwise she's the real deal.  Can playing the lead in the Katy Perry story be far behind? ;)

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

No comments: