Let Looper Take You for a Loop

Sometimes when you go into the theater you have a pretty good idea what you are going to see. The commercials for Looper seem to give the plot away or so I thought. About half way through the movie everything changed and it kept me guessing. The change wasn’t a big Shyamalanian change like that other Willis flick from 1999. It was if the storyteller put you in a car on a highway, pointed you in a specific direction and once you settled into the groove you took a right turn and went off-road for the rest of the ride.And it was a ride I wanted to be on. I will want to see it again when it comes out on Netflix. The movie serious without taking itself too seriously. The characters admit time travel is confusing. Jeff Daniels’ character makes a reference to other time travel movies like Back to the Future II that had to draw a picture on a chalk board to explain quantum mechanics to the audience. The movie sets up its own time travel rules and follows them pretty well.

Bruce Willis put in his usual excellent performance somewhere between “Red (2010)” and “12 Monkeys”. Since Joseph Gordon-Levitt was playing a younger version of the same character it was an excellent character study of an actor pretending to be another actor pretending to be a specific character. Gordon-Levitt embodied Willis’ mannerisms and facial ticks without impersonating David Addison Jr. (Moonlighting).

The story primarily takes place in the year 2039. There is some social commentary and visual effects but it all is self consistent. We see smaller phones, iPod headphones without wires, solar electric retrofitted cars. We see hovering motorcycles but not flying cars. Our heroine drives an “old” pickup truck with some sort of connection between its tailpipe and gas tank. We don’t get to see much of the future (2069). All of these elements formed a consistent look for the movie that was not hard to imagine.

Fans of “12 Monkeys” will certainly enjoy this movie as will anyone who enjoys a good action flick.

Visit Hanauma Bay in Google Street View

If you’re ever in Hawaii on the island of Oahu I recommend a visit to Hanauma Bay (photo: http://panoramio.com/photo/25584412) for snorkeling. It is a beautiful spot and there’s a lot to see within an easy walk down from the main road and a short swim to the reef. There a prettier places in Hawaii but this one is the most accessible in Oahu. Get their early to avoid the crowds. Google has now added a tour of the reef to their street view site. Here’s a link to let you virtually swim around.http://goo.gl/L673j

Dredd Was a Good Summer Movie

I ended up seeing Dredd not out of a specific desire to see the movie but it was the only movie playing in theaters that held any interest for me at all. I figured I was in trouble when I saw that the theater was completely empty on a Friday night. There were only 6 people in the theater for Dredd. I would have been content to see it on Netflix in a few months and apparently so would have everyone else.I recently watched the Stallone version which did not help the case. I remember seeing “Judge Dredd” when it first came out. By the time I left the theater in 1995 I was confused about why I’d wasted two hours of my life on a movie that starred Rob Schneider. The 1995 film could not decide between action and camp. I have no experience with the comic character so the movie needed to stand alone and did not. As a remake the new Dredd is at risk like the recent Total Recall movie of being compared to its predecessor. Unlike TR, Dredd did not waste time with homages the previous film and went straight back to the source material. In the case of Dredd there is apparently ample sour in the comic from which to draw.

The plot of Dredd is simple. Karl Urban plays a character who is both cop and judge. Today is the “Training Day” for a new candidate and Dredd has to make a final assessment of the rookie. On a routine call they identify a bad guy and have to go get her. The rest of the movie plays like a video game with the characters advancing through “levels” toward their target. While the move dispenses with homages to Stallone, there are plenty of moments right our of Robocop in dialog, character movement, and filming style. I guess there’s only so many ways to film a guy in armor holding a really big gun. Dredd even steals a line from Robocop’s ED-209 — “you have 30 seconds to comply”.

The filming style was ver dynamic and allowed you to forget the (lack of) plot and just enjoy the scenery. Some of the shots look like they were taken right from a first-person-shooter (FPS) video game as the characters advance down a hallway taking cover. Other shots tried to show the visual affects of a drug sold by the bad guy called SLO-MO. That drug made time feel like it had been slowed down to one hundredth of normal time. This allowed for high speed photography shots that were a beautiful and as interesting as something you’d see on the Discovery channel, but with a comic book gore twist. This movie earns its “R” rating with shots that are as unique as Bullet Time was in 1999. The 3-D viewing is worth your time.

I’d have to recommend it as a good, fun summer popcorn movie which is ironic because it came out the first day of Fall. It has no lasting commentary on the human condition but it is pretty to watch.