Looper is frackin’ awesome!

And it proves that originality still exists in Hollywood–whew! I was getting worried.  Not only is Looper original and brilliantly constructed, it is one of the BEST sci-fi films, involving time travel, that I’ve seen in a long time.  It joins the ranks of Primer and 12 Monkeys, (in my opinion) and brings Writer/Director Rian Johnson‘s score sheet of awesome to 3 out of 3 .

Time travel can be tricky because there are so many variables and little inconsistencies that, like a loose thread in a sweater, can unravel the entire premise and narrative.  Although I am sure that some are searching and can find those threads, overall Looper clears the most difficult hurdles and delivers an intelligent, tight, action filled story that relies more on character exploration than convoluted space-time continuum plot points.

You guys know already that I will not divulge anything about the narrative (no summaries here to spoil the unexpected :)), but I will tell you why I loved it.

Let’s start with the story.  Like I mentioned it tackles time travel in an original way and creates a futuristic world that feels organic and plausible–from cars and weapons, from drugs to lifestyles, it all feels right.  What Johnson does extremely well is focus on the human factor, instead of anything else and at its heart Looper plays out as a morality tale about what extremes a person will go to, to protect the ones they love.  I loved that no one was the clear hero–all the players in this story were damaged and tainted–and yet, we are able to find the humanity in all of them.

(Badass Mondo Poster)

The awesome story was played out by a pitch-perfect cast.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues to confirm my ongoing love affair with him! 😀  Since Brick (Johnson’s début film) and Mysterious Skin, I have been on the JGL fan wagon and have yet to be disappointed in a performance.  This kid has some major talent and this role highlights this in a big way.  Then there is Mr. Bruce Willis–the one and only.  Willis is a badass.  We all know this.  And I love when we see him tackle a role that allows his badassness to be enhanced and magnified and yet shows his vulnerable side too.  (Damn.  They are both so awesome! It’s crazy how much JGL channels Willis and the make-up is sick!)

 

 

 

Emily Blunt is almost unrecognizable in a role that is a departure from anything I’ve ever seen her play and she nails it.  She is strong, yet fragile and you can help but root for her.  Then there is Pierce Gagnon–at merely 5 years old (at time of filming)–this kid is incredible!  I have not been this impressed with a child actor since little baby Dakota Fanning in Trapped.  WOW!  That is all I can say because his character is amazing to discover without any prior set-up.

Okay.  Story? Brilliant.  Acting? Top-notch.  Music? Perfect.  Make-up and Effects? Super cool.  I think that about does it.  Go watch it!  You are in for a hell of a ride!

Also, let us remind Hollywood that we want to see NEW ideas on-screen.  It is possible and when it happens, we must support original and awesome content.

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Safety Not Guaranteed is a guaranteed awesome film!

I love it when a film gets it right. You walk out feeling happy and satisfied. Safety Not Guaranteed is that kind of movie. Absolutely wonderful!  It is a creative, funny, tender, and romantic sci-fi story. It is also proof that ingenuity and wit still exists and those qualities can be made into a smart film.  Thank goodness! 

Much of the credit has to go to writer Derek Connolly and his unique twist of familiar concepts.  We may have seen some of the themes before, but Connolly presents everything in a fresh new way.  The dialogue is natural, funny and believable.  While director Colin Trevorrow does a fine job, his style is pretty straight forward and uncomplicated.  The awesomeness here is all because of the screenplay (it won the Sundance 2012 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award) and the actors.

The cast is pitch perfect.  There are no weak links.  Aubrey Plaza, at first seems to be channeling her Parks and Rec character April, but she proceeds to blossom before your eyes and her Darius becomes a unique strong woman.  Mark Duplass is the stand out as the mysterious, possibly crazy time-traveler Kenneth.  I know Duplass from one of my favorite TV shows, The League, and was blown away by the depth and humor he infused into his character. (A quick side note is that  I was unaware that Mark is the other brother in the Duplass Brothers Productions company that wrote and directed one of my favorite films of 2011 Cyrus! Super talented. Nice.)  Jake M. Johnson as the magazine writer, Jeff,  is also memorable. Johnson actually makes you care for, what normally would be, an unlikable guy. And lastly, Karan Soni as the geeky intern Arnau is great, especially since he plays it low-key and quiet and it works.  

The narrative may be simple, but the layers added are brilliant.  This is a story about time travel, yet it is also about living in the present.  There are multiple facets of the same theme being explored–can you change the past? Relive it? Learn from it? It was clever and never forced.  Mostly, it was hilarious!  Very, very funny lines were thrown around and some aimed towards geeky sci-fi nerds, so it was right up my alley.  

As an independent film, Safety Not Guaranteed may not be easy to find in your town, but if it is showing–travel whatever distance and make this a must see.  I hope you will love the honest, funny and refreshing approach and walk out just as happy and satisfied as I did.