With this writing-directing debut, Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a remarkably assured comedy-drama while also giving himself a role that's far against his usual type. It's raucously hilarious but also surprisingly involving as it reveals the vulnerabilities of a strutting hard-man. And we're having so much fun that we barely notice that the script's approach to addiction is somewhat simplistic.
The title character is such a dude that his friends call him "the don", in reference to New Jersey gangsters. And Jon (Gordon-Levitt) has his life figured out, with a list of things he cares for: his body, home, car, family, church, friends and girls. In that order. But above everything else, his main obsession is porn. Then while hanging with his friends Bobby and Danny (Brown and Luke) he spots Barbara (Johansson), a perfect "dime" who's worth playing the long game for. Except that she has zero tolerance for pornography, so he has to hide his addiction from her, only confessing to his parish priest and an unexpectedly sympathetic fellow student (Moore) at night school.
Like a character from Jersey Shore, Jon is such a charming loser that we can't help but love him. But despite the macho swagger and gym-honed physique, he's also deeply devoted to his parents (the fabulous Danza and Headly) and happiest when he's cleaning his flat. Gordon-Levitt wouldn't be the first actor you'd think of in this role, but he plays it perfectly, letting us see the little boy behind the tough-guy posturing and making us believe that he's fallen for the charms of this idealised woman (Johansson is simply hysterical).
Continue reading: Don Jon Review
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
Famke Janssen, Bill Perkins and Ram Bergman - Famke Janssen, Bill Perkins and Ram Bergman New York City, USA - 9th Annual Tribeca Film Festival - Premiere of 'The Chameleon' at the SVA Theatre - Arrivals Friday 23rd April 2010