Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dubious Cocktails & Genre Movie Night™ | Looper and Monster-n-Pearry Vodka

Brick is one of those movies I love but recommend sparingly because it feels very ... specific. When I learned Looper was directed by Rian Johnson, my first thought was, "Why didn't they plaster 'From the Director of Brick' all over the promos?" Quickly followed by, "Oh, right." 

I don't know if Brick made lots of folks eager to see this, more likely it would've been Bruce Willis (can't help but think of 12 Monkeys when 'Bruce Willis' and 'time travel' appear near each other -- and that's a good thing) or the omnipresent Joseph Gordon-Levitt (I didn't even recognize him from 3rd Rock when I saw Brick) coming off Inception, but even the tempering effect of The Brothers Bloom on my expectations couldn't keep the geeked up factor down.

"Pearry" vodka and Monster
Some observations, things that flashed through my mind and I don't want to forget to mention:

  • I wonder if Johnson has been reading his Kim Stanley Robinson? The eye drop drugs struck me as being straight from the pages of _The Gold Coast_; he called it "dropping" instead of "lidding," and it may just be coincidence, but anything that compares favorably with a KSR novel is a good thing, and this does.
  • Bruce Willis still does action effectively, but in a few scenes his face had a touch of haggard gauntness that made him look closer to 70 than 50-years-old. He was very good here. 
  • The scene were Joe the Loop (Willis) makes his way into Abe's office reminded me a lot of _Brick_ in the way the camera moved and where it was pointed ... can't quite put my finger on it, but he's got style and handled the action sequences here well. They felt very much like story, not "action sequences." Probably not saying this well, but the action is well integrated in the overall experience of the movie. 
  • Whatever they did to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look Bruce Willis-y in terms of makeup, it was very well done. Subtle and effective. The only time it ever niggled at my mind they they look a little too different to be the same guy at different ages was just for a second in the diner scene where we see them both in profile long enough to notice the shapes of their foreheads don't really line up. The flesh of the face changes over time so we accept some variation, but unless you're Barry Bonds, your entire skull doesn't change shape during your adult years.  
It sounds like Rian Johnson has a couple more sci-fi concepts kicking around the ol' noodle and that's good news for sci-fi fans. If he keeps making movies with this kind of creative storytelling, strong dialogue, and compelling characters, we've got some great films to look forward to.

Were you thinking I was going to map out the timelines and sort out the whole story? I thought about it, but Canavan has already got that pretty much covered ... though I've got a nagging feeling he's mistaken about the timelines in a way that makes it more complicated than it needs to be to explain it. But I'm too tired to take it on so I'll let you chew on his explanation if you're so inclined. But if you haven't seen the movie yet, don't be put off by it! It reads as more complex than it is while you're watching it.

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