Rian Johnson

Ninth installment sticks to the script

A rebel X-Wing doesn't know when to call it a day

A rebel X-Wing doesn’t know when to call it a day.

“Every once in awhile I have what I think of as an out-of-the-body experience at a movie,” wrote a rapturous Roger Ebert in the summer of 1977 of Star Wars. Later that year a more skeptical Pauline Kael, writing about the same film, said, “the loudness, the smash-and-grab editing, the relentless pacing drive every idea from your head.” Never could the duality of responses to the Star Wars series of films be better predicted. They are either the greatest experiences in a movie theater since L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, or the biggest waste of time since Birdemic: Shock and Terror. [read the whole post]

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt directing for the first time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt directing for the first time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has exactly the air about him that you’d expect — polite, well-dressed, and charming as heck.  His latest film, Don Jon, which marks his debut as a writer and director, also stars Gordon-Levitt as a womanizing, body building, porn addict who begins a romantic relationship with a romantic, traditional, sexy young woman played by Scarlett Johansson.  It’s a romantic comedy about unhealthy expectations, but Gordon-Levitt expects that it’ll resonate well with audiences.  Along with a few other journalists, I sat down with the actor/writer/director (or “Joe” as he introduced himself) and asked about his experience making Don Jon…

What inspired you to choose this particular story for your directorial and writing debut?

Well, I’ve been working as an actor since I was young.  Probably because of that, I’ve always paid a lot of attention to the way that TV and movies and all kinds of media affect how we see the world.  I think, sometimes, the things we see in the media give us certain unrealistic expectations for life, and especially for love and sex and relationships.  I wanted to tell a story about that.  I thought a good way to do it would be to have a comedy about a boyfriend and a girlfriend where the guy watches too much pornography and the girl watches too many romantic Hollywood movies.  They both have these unrealistic expectations and keep missing each other.

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I’ve warned you. Put this post down! Don’t you dare read it before seeing the movie!

Please don’t read this post until you’ve already seen Rian Johnson’s excellent film, Looper. I’m about to spoil the heck out of it. There are some lingering questions about this movie (most of them crazy theories) that I want to discuss with someone, so I’m asking you, the Internet, to discuss it with me. If you click to read more, I’m going to assume you’ve seen it. Click below to reveal spoilers. [read the whole post]

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in LOOPER

Looper, the ingenious new sci-fi drama from writer/director Rian Johnson (Brick), has one hell of a setup. The year is 2044, and time travel hasn’t been invented yet — but it will be. And when it is, it immediately becomes illegal. But in the bombed-out dystopian American future of Johnson’s imagining, time travel’s illegality just means powerful crime syndicates are the only ones with access to it. Due to implanted tracking devices, disposing of bodies in the future is impossible. So the mobsters dispatch their targets back to 2044, bound and hooded, where they are immediately shot and killed by assassins known as “loopers,” who then incinerate the remains. But a new crime boss known as The Rainmaker has risen to power, and he is determined to “close the loops” by finding the future versions of the assassins from 2044, sending them back in time and having them killed — by the younger versions of themselves. Got that? The loopers are understandably perturbed by this, and a moment’s hesitation can lead to the older version of themselves escaping and creating quite a time-space conundrum. Such is the case with Joe, played in 2044 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and in the future by Bruce Willis.

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