For a time travel thriller, this film is remarkably free of head-scratching anomalies in the plot, instead concentrating on richly developed characters and goosebump-inducing action. This is an unusually intimate action blockbuster, which gives the cast a chance to do something more resonant than we expect. And writer-director Rian Johnson takes a Christopher Nolan-style approach to the story, using intelligence and strikingly inventive filmmaking to draw us in.
Johnson is also reuniting with his Brick star Gordon-Levitt. He plays Joe, a looper in 2044 Kansas whose job is to kill men who are sent back 30 years in time by the mob, even though time travel has been outlawed. Joe knows that one day his victim will be his older self, sent back to close his loop, giving him 30 years of retirement. But when the older Joe (Willis) appears, he escapes, and now a manhunt is on. If Joe doesn't catch his older self, his boss (Daniels) will do something even more drastic than a vicious henchman (Dillahunt) has in mind. So Joe hides out in a rural farmhouse with single mother Sara (Blunt) and her young son Cid (Gagnon), with whom Joe creates an unusual bond.
The film is beautifully shot and edited, with a noir tone established by a knowing narration and the fact that most characters are addicted to a drug they take as eye-drops. And while it opens with some lively humour and witty edginess, things become darker as the story unfolds, especially when older Joe starts hunting Terminator-style for the younger version of an evil man who has too much power in the future. The hitch is that this man is a 5-year-old in the present day.
Continue reading: Looper Review
Joe Simmons is a looper from Kansas City in 2042; a hitman hired to assassinate victims sent to him by a gang of mobsters from thirty years into the future through the outlawed method of time travel. The only rule put to him is that the targets must not escape. One day, on his regular duties, a new victim shows up who happens to be without the customary sack over his head. When he looks up, Joe recognises the man as an older version of himself and his sudden shock gives his future self the opportunity to disarm him and make a break for it. When Joe's criminal employees find out about the escape, they set out to destroy him for his failure. It doesn't take long for him to convince himself that he must kill his future self despite the fact that he is being used in order for the lawless organisation to 'close the loop'.
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Brainy Danny (Pucci) and his more action-oriented brother Brian (Pine) are driving through Colorado with Brian's girlfriend Bobby (Perabo) and their friend Kate (VanCamp) when they encounter a man (Meloni) who's trying to get his sick daughter (Shipka) to a clinic. She has the highly contagious disease that has killed off almost everyone, so extreme measures are needed to prevent infection. As they continue across the Southwest, heading for a Gulf Coast beach they remember from childhood, they encounter various other survivors and are forced to make some brutal decisions.
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Chloe (the voice of Drew Barrymore) is the most pampered pooch in all of sunny LaLa Land. Her owner (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a rich cosmetics titan who indulges her pet's every non-human whim. When the mogul needs to fly off to Europe to launch her new line, she must rely on her prissy, high strung niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) to mind her valuable canine. Showing just how responsible she is, our substitute sitter instantly accepts an invitation to weekend in Mexico, and takes Chloe along for the unnecessary ride. Dognappers eventually hijack the hound, and it's up to an ex-cop German Shepherd (voiced by Andy Garcia), a good natured landscaper (Manolo Cardona), and his frisky Chihuahua Papi (voiced by George Lopez) to rescue the four footed female before it's too late.
Continue reading: Beverly Hills Chihuahua Review
As melodrama goes, Perception is filled to the absolute brim with it. What seems like it will start off as a lighthearted, quirky comedy soon becomes something entirely else. Piper Perabo stars as Jen (not "Jennifer"), who's just returned to New York after a failed stint at living in L.A. Here, we find her parents are in rapid mental decline. Her semi-girlfriend (Heather Burns) is clingy and, well, stupid. Her ex-boyfriend (Seth Meyers) keeps coming around. And then Jen, in one of the big "holy crap!" moments of cinema, gets run over by a truck.
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Pearce plays Jimmy Starks, a walking grease bucket of a salesman who is waiting for his car to get fixed when we first meet him (as if the name left any room for ethical clarity). Jimmy is trying to sell everyone: He attempts to sell a jukebox to a bar owner (he already has one), tries to sell his intellectual cynicism to a fortune teller (J.K. Simmons, playing it surprisingly low key), and tries to sell his respect to his colleagues and coworkers (William Fichtner and Rick Gonzalez, respectively). When the fortune teller tells him that he will go tits-up when the first snow hits, Starks responds with impervious flaunting and jittery paranoia. Self-aware and gaunt with confusion and doubt, Starks begins to take action to ensure he won't die. Not an easy charge with a vexed ex-partner (Shea Whigham), sneering and prodding through late night phone calls.
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Prestige refers to the third act of a magic trick, the point when the performer reveals a sleight of hand before a baffled crowd. Finding the perfect prestige is what drives turn-of-the-century magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale).
Continue reading: The Prestige Review
Heathers sashayed into theaters in 1989 and since then, Lehmann has turned in nothing but guilty pleasures and unfathomable duds. In hindsight, one could have never seen the man behind Hudson Hawk, My Giant, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and The Truth About Cats & Dogs also being responsible for one of the most influential films of the 1980's. But here we are: 18 years after Heathers, Lehmann reduces his talent to a spasmodic headache about... sweet Jesus, you got me.
Continue reading: Because I Said So Review
The mediocrity begins with florist Luce (Lena Headey) meeting Rachel (Piper Perabo) at her wedding to lifelong friend-become-lover Heck (Mathew Goode channeling Hugh Grant). They become smitten girlfriends since Rachel remains sexually confused. And, though Luce tells Heck she's gay -- and he tells womanizer buddy "Coop" (Darren Boyd) -- Heck remains blind to her and his wife's mutual attraction.
Continue reading: Imagine Me & You Review