I walked out of Arthur Newman thinking it was a nice movie. It had pleasant performances, a light directorial touch, and a positive message. But the more I kept thinking about Arthur Newman, the more I realized that “nice” isn’t worthy of an independent film. It isn’t a sweet movie, or an uplifting one. The performances are nowhere near what leads Colin Firth and Emily Blunt are capable of. The direction is inoffensive. And if a bad indie comedy is too reliant on quirk, then a bad indie drama is too reliant on strained premises so the story can provide fortune cookie wisdom. Arthur Newman tiny slip of paper would like us to consider the puddle-deep lesson of not running away from our problems.
Sacrifice goes against our biological imperative of self-preservation. If we have a will to survive, then shouldn’t we do everything in our power to stay alive? Or is life only worth living if it’s the good life (whatever that means)? Shouldn’t we celebrate our desire to live? Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi film Looper casts a dark spell over our need for self-preservation, and bitterly twists it into a world where people would go so far as to kill themselves to live. Anchored by tremendous performances from leads Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, Johnson manages to deliver thrills as intense as the ideas he wishes to explore. However, his quest to reach a thoughtful conclusion stumbles over new characters, plot shortcuts, and an extreme tonal shift that leaves the big ideas intact, but fractures the powerful storytelling.
We like to see some of our favorite films and TV shows re-imagined as vintage video games: here’s a midi-version of the Game of Thrones theme, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and TRON: Legacy as 8-bit games, Community the video game and even Breaking Bad as an RPG! Now, Rian Johnson’s sci-fi flick Looper has gotten into the mix with a 16-bit version that would have been right at home on the old Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levit, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, opens September 28th. Hit the jump to check out the 16-bit version.
Earlier today, TIFF announced that they were adding new films to their spectacular line-up. Among the new additions are:
- Song for Marion (directed by Paul Andrew Williams) Starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, and Christopher Eccleston.
- Emperor (directed by Peter Webber) Starring Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, and Eriko Hatsune.
- Arthur Newman (directed by Dante Ariola) Starring Emily Blunt, Colin Firth, and Anne Heche.
- Disconnect (directed by Henry Alex Rubin) Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Theriot, Jonah Bobo, Colin Ford, and Haley Ramm.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 – 16th.
A new international trailer for Rian Johnson‘s Looper has gone online. The film takes place in a future where time travel exists, but it’s only used on the black market. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a “Looper”, a hitman who is contracted to kill people that are sent back in time, and then disposes of the bodies so the victim technically no longer exists. Things go awry when his future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time as an assignment and then escapes. This new trailer is heavier on the action, which is the easiest element to sell, and it looks like Johnson has done a terrific job with it.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Looper will open this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and open nationwide on September 21st.
Today, we’ve got a poster round-up for you, featuring some new domestic and international looks:
- Liberal Arts, stars writer/director Josh Radnor (Happythankyoumoreplease) as a thirty-something loser who falls for a 19-year-old college student (Elizabeth Olsen) when he returns to his alma mater. Look for Liberal Arts in wide release starting September 21st.
- Zero Dark Thirty, the Osama bin Laden picture from director Kathryn Bigelow, stars Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt and Jessica Chastain in the revealing story of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six operation. Zero Dark Thirty lands December 19th.
- Alex Cross, the adaptation of the James Patterson novel, stars Tyler Perry in the title role opposite Matthew Fox as the antagonist. Alex Cross debuts October 19th.
- Looper, a sci-fi time-traveling actioner from writer/director Rian Johnson (Brick) and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, opens September 28th.
Hit the jump to see the posters.
While at Comic-Con for a big presentation in Hall H, writer/director Rian Johnson (Brick), along with co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, spoke to the press at a conference for their highly anticipated sci-fi film Looper. In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun, such as Joe (Gordon-Levitt), waits to take them out. But, when Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time as an assignment, he decides to let him go.
During this interview, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Rian Johnson talked about layering the performance between Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, the complex themes of the film, finding great female characters, and what’s so appealing about the action genre. Gordon-Levitt also talked about his new-found appreciation for how difficult it is to direct a film (he just finished his first feature as a director, called Don Jon’s Addiction), how grateful he is that filmmakers gave him a chance when Third Rock From the Sun ended its TV run, and how everyone reacted when they saw him with the prosthetics he wore to transform into Bruce Willis. Check out what they had to say after the jump. Also, check out our recap of the Looper Comic-Con panel.
Writer/director Rian Johnson is a talent like no other, as evidenced by his two previous features Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He’s next set to tackle the sci-fi genre with the time travel story Looper. The film takes place in a future where time travel exists, but it’s only used on the black market. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a man who is contracted to kill people that are sent back in time, and then he disposes of the bodies in a time period in which they don’t exist. Things go awry when his future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time as an assignment and Gordon-Levitt lets him go.
Johnson took the stage in Hall H at Comic-Con on Friday with stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, where they screened footage and talked extensively about the film. Hit the jump for my full recap.
A new trailer for director Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi film Looper has landed online. For those unfamiliar with the film, it takes place in a world where time travel exists, but is only used on the black market. When the mob wants to kill someone, they send the target 30 years into the past where a contract killer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) does the dirty work. Things are going smoothly until Gordon-Levitt’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent into the past to be killed. The US trailer takes a different tack than the international one when it comes to presenting the film’s premise, plus it features a significant amount of new footage. Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano. Looper opens on September 28th.
While the new domestic trailer for Looper will go online tomorrow, the new international version has gone online today. I’m not sure how different the two trailers will be, but I like what I’m seeing. For those unfamiliar with the film, it takes place in a world where time travel exists, but is only used on the black market. When the mob wants to kill someone, they send the target 30 years into the past where a contract killer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) does the dirty work. Things are going smoothly until Gordon-Levitt’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent into the past to be killed. This new trailer introduces a violent character we haven’t seen before known as the “Rainmaker”, who’s played by the brilliant Garret Dillahunt (Deadwood). Writer-director Rian Johnson looks like he’s cooked up an intense sci-fi action flick, and the movie remains one of my most-anticipated of the year.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Looper opens September 28th.
We often hear of Hollywood films having to be cut and/or censored in order to be shown in more lucrative international markets, but in the case of Rian Johnson’s upcoming sci-fi film Looper, scenes are actually being put back into the movie for its Chinese release. The film takes place in a future where time travel exists, but is only used on the black market. When the mob wants to kill someone, they send the target 30 years into the past where a contract killer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) does the dirty work. Things are going smoothly until Gordon-Levitt’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent into the past to be killed.
Johnson’s original script apparently had quite a few scenes set in Paris, but the location was changed to Shanghai in order to entice Chinese entity DMG, who ended up providing some financing for the film. Now Shanghai-set scenes left on the cutting room floor are being reinserted into Looper for its release in China. Hit the jump for more.
Two new images and set photo from Rian Johnson‘s Looper have gone online. The futuristic thriller takes place in a world where time travel exists, but is only used on the black market. When the mob wants to kill someone, they send the target 30 years into the past where a contract killer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) does the dirty work. Things are going smoothly until Gordon-Levitt’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent into the past to be killed. As a huge fan of Johnson’s previous films, Brick and The Brothers Bloom, Looper is easily one of my most-anticipated films of the year, and I’m happy to get a few more glances at the flick.
Hit the jump to check out the images. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels. Looper opens on September 28th.
I want to send a big “Thank You” to my colleagues Matt, Adam, and Dave for inviting me to be a part of our new podcast, The Collision, last week. I had an excellent time chatting it up with Matt and Adam and I give those guys and Dave a ton of credit for using what might otherwise be well deserved time off (i.e. Sunday nights) in the name of continuing to offer our readers additional original content. In case you missed it, I encourage you to click here to listen to Episode 4 and click here to add The Collision to your RSS feed.
In this week’s Top 5, you’ll find a slew of new assets for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, video interviews with Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and more for The Five-Year Engagement, the first images from Django Unchained, a stellar first trailer for Lawless, and a recap of all of our CinemaCon 2012 coverage. Check out a brief recap and link to each after the jump.
Opening this Friday, April 27th is director Nicholas Stoller’s comedy The Five-Year Engagement. The film reunites Stoller with his Forgetting Sarah Marshall star Jason Segel and follows a couple (played by Segel and Emily Blunt) through the ups and downs of their extended engagement. The excellent ensemble cast also includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, David Paymer, Mimi Kennedy, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, Kevin Hart, Brian Posehn and Mindy Kaling. For more on the film here’s the red-band trailer and five clips.
I got to visit the set earlier this year where I previously spoke with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, but recently I sat down with them again to talk about the film for our partners at Omelete. During the course of our interview, they talked about improv versus sticking to the script, favorite movies, directors & actors, Brazil, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
The Cult of Judd Apatow needs to learn that sometimes you have to cut a scene even if it’s funny. The refusal to learn this lesson has resulted in movies where every scene will get some laughs, but the pacing falls into a rut. The 40-Year-Old Virgin managed to escape this fate, but writer-director Nicholas Stoller has repeatedly fallen prey to the belief that he can sacrifice pacing for a few more jokes. It happened in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it happened in Get Him to the Greek, and it happens in his new film, The Five-Year Engagement. Apatow has produced all of Stoller’s films and never thrown up a stop sign. The Five-Year Engagement may be Stoller’s biggest offender to date as the wonderful performances and great humor are constantly at war with a narrative that struggles to move forward even when it’s jumping ahead in time.