Category Archives: bruce willis

Looper

Looper ~ This is one of those movies that’s hard to explain, and once you explain it, as complicated as it is, you go wow, that’s a great idea for a movie. Looper is like that, only then it turns everything upside down and plays with possibilities. Plus time travel. And it’s awesome.

Loopers are assassins sent into the past to dispose of targets from the future. Eventually their future selves are sent back, killed by themselves, whereupon they are retired and can live happily for thirty years until their loop is closed when they are sent to the past. Got it?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is living the life of a looper, and everything is perfect until Bruce Willis, his older self, shows up, and escapes. That’s when all hell breaks loose. That’s when all the rules of time travel you thought you knew get turned in their ass.

Writer/director Rian Johnson has fun with this time travel twisting thriller, and puts both JGL and Willis through their paces. It’s full of shocks and surprises, and even Emily Blunt comes off looking good. If you think you know time travel, this will put your Terminator and Back to the Future philosophy to the test. Good stuff, worth watching.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Preview

G.I. Joe: Retaliation comes out June 29th 2012.

Bookmark and Share

The Nature of Spoilers

Since I’ve gotten my iPhone, with the miracles of streaming Netflix and HBO Go, I have been stripping entire TV series before I go to bed instead of reading myself to sleep. I have gotten to see some pretty cool programs, stuff like “Oz,” “Avatar the Last Airbender,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Big Love” and “Deadwood.” Great stuff, just amazing television. And also through apps like Miso and GetGlue, I’m able to let folks know what I’m watching.

My most recent project has been “Six Feet Under,” and a friend of mine saw I was watching it and offered his opinion that the first season was great (of which I’m only almost done), the second was only okay and that the third and fourth seasons jumped the shark. Now I know that “Six Feet Under” is more than a handful of years old, but it got me thinking about spoilers, and when is it safe to talk about something after it happens without spoiling it?

I would think that news and sports would have the absolute shortest shelf life. News travels at the speed of light nowadays with Twitter. Sports would be only as long as you can keep a secret I suppose. I have a friend, seriously not into sports, who used to make it a game to see how long he could go without knowing who was playing in the Super Bowl each year. He used to do quite well, but this was back in the days before the Super Bowl was about more than football. Now it’s more about middle-aged women exposing themselves or which ancient rocker was going to break a hip in stage this year.

In my tiny world of comic books, where the new titles come out on Wednesdays and most folks don’t buy them until Friday, mid-weekend seems to be safe harbor to talk without spoilers. For TV, even in the age of DVRs and OnDemand, it seems a good idea to avoid the water cooler and not speak until at least the next episode airs.

Movies are a little different and I think fall into my “Six Feet Under” problem. Everyone knows Rosebud is a sled, but how many folks know the calls are coming from inside the house, Deckard might be a replicant, and that Bruce Willis is really dead – or do they?

Should it just come down to a matter of courtesy? If you know someone hasn’t seen something, just be cool and don’t spoil it, or should there be a statute of limitations on entertainment? What are the rules for spoilers?

Bookmark and Share

A Couple of Dicks

Cop Out ~ This is the second time (that I know of) that Kevin Smith has been cock-blocked over a movie title. First Zack and Miri Make a Porno was trimmed to Zack and Miri for family viewing advertising purposes. This time, the entire title has been changed, from the funny and on-the-nose A Couple of Dicks to the ridiculous Cop Out. Although, in hindsight, this might be a better title for the finished product, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The title is indicative of the genre it’s paying homage to.

This is the film that Smith talked about in great detail when I saw him in Philly a few months back, at the time tentatively called A Couple of Dicks. Smith talked about how Bruce Willis knew what he was doing, had been doing it for years and wouldn’t let Kevin direct him. It shows on the screen. But maybe it was intentional.

Cop Out comes off both as a relic of the 1980s buddy cop movies, and as a perfect homage to those same 1980s buddy cop movies. And Bruce Willis is a veteran of that era, and a master of the genre. Smith uses Willis’ reluctance to be directed and his experience to the film’s advantage. Willis’ solo scenes, along with those of the flick’s villains, are right out of the target decade. Smith might as well as recruited the bad guys from an old Steven Seagal cop movie. One of the good ones, that is.

The sound of the flick is also unique and homage. Kevin Smith wisely utilized not only 1980s and 80s-type tunage for the film but also brought Harold Faltermeyer, composer of the Beverly Hills Cop films among others, out of retirement to do the score. Brilliant. Despite the current day trappings of the Cullen brothers script, the soundtrack never lets you forget what it is you’re watching.

Kevin Smith actual direction surprised me. He’s very good at action despite what he himself says. There are scenes that surprise with their effectiveness, like the backwards car chase and the gunfight at the end. All very eighties, mind you, but effective. Smith’s movement is fluid and quick-cut all at once, and it’s a good thing. I’d really like to see his Green Hornet or Fletch now after seeing this.

Tracy Morgan is hill-larry-us as his hype promises, and the highlight of the film. Seann William Scott is fun whenever he’s on screen (perhaps he should be more in a sequel, hint hint) and the cameos by Susie Essman and Jim Norton are a hoot. And any predictability, clichés or monotony of the 1980s buddy cop genre that are present are elevated by the considerable talent of Willis, Morgan and Smith. Great flick and fun night at the movies.

Bookmark and Share

Surrogates

Surrogates ~ Imagine a world where you just sit plugged in at home and live vicariously through a robot that does everything for you, as well as everything you’ve ever wanted to do or even dared to think you could. That’s the premise of this comic-based film starring Bruce Willis. And all the robots are good looking and perfect. Insert your own World of Warcraft or internet chatroom joke here. Yep, you never know who you’re really interacting with.

As our story begins with a homicide in a homicide-less world, Surrogates seems an awful lot like I Robot in that it’s really just a police thriller with scifi trappings. Things change quickly however when Willis is forced to solve the crime in his real body as opposed to as his perfect robot surrogate.

There are some really nice and unexpected twists here, and I can see where the director Jonathan Mostow stole some cues from District 9 when it comes to chases scenes. This is a good actioner, and while the ending is telegraphed early on, it’s still done to good effect. Good for a rental, even though it failed quickly in theatres.

And does Bruce Willis have it in his contract that he gets beat up in e very movie he’s in?

Bookmark and Share

Kevin Smith in Philly

I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan. I love his movies, his comics, his writing, his podcast, even that animated “Clerks” thing, but most of all I love his DVDs of his Q&As. He’s done three so far, surely more to come, but the other night I finally got to see the man in action live.

We had great seats, third row, which were a birthday present from the lovely Bride and the Merriam Theater is a terrific place to see anything – not huge, but small enough to have some intimacy. A little after eight the man came out, in gigantic clothes. We all know about his weight problems, but it’s darn hard to tell when he’s wearing clothes that appear to be several sizes too big for him. It was like a flashback to David Byrne in the big suit.

Kevin Smith began the festivities with a story about one of the previous times he’d been to Philadelphia – when not only did his father get to see him at a comic con and his whole family got together for a great dinner and discussion – but his father passed away later that night. Yeah, Kevin started the night on a down note, but he quickly recovered, telling a tale of his dad that had a much more pleasant ending.

The night quickly moved to the question and answer portion of the event there after with topics ranging from the Twilight phenomenon to Smith’s working with ‘the Bruce Willis persona’ on the upcoming film not-to-be-titled A Couple of Dicks to how and why he ended up on “DeGrassi High.” Further questions dealt with Smith’s ‘rivalry’ with Reese Witherspoon, the health of Jason Mewes and social networking.

Kevin ended the night with tales of former Film Threat writer and friend Malcolm Ingram and an exploration of bear society. I had a great time and have to say Kevin Smith live is better than Kevin Smith on DVD. I look forward to his next tour and, as always, his next films. Rock on, Kevin, and thanks to The Bride.

Bookmark and Share

Coming Soon…

The ‘reinvention,’ rather than remake, of 1980’s Fame also opens on Septemeber 25th. It’s gonna be a busy weekend at the movies…

Bookmark and Share

Popcorn Quickies 4-21-2009

10,000 B.C. ~ Ever since Roland Emerich and Dean Devlin ruined Godzilla I have been wary of any Centropolis film. And when I saw previews of 10,000 B.C. my first thought was it was a way of cashing in on some new state of the art special effects and also the flood of prehistoric programming on the Discovery networks. When it finally came around on the cable I took a peek just to see the effects, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a hero’s journey story in the Joseph Campbell vein that follows a primitive man into the world of wannabe gods building pyramids with saber-tooth tigers and wooly mammoths thrown in for good measure – and it’s quite good, or at least tons better than I expected. Worth taking a chance to check out, good adventure fodder.

Live Free or Die Hard ~ When you Google the term ‘popcorn movie’ it should take you right to the movie poster for this flick. If you’ve seen any of the other Die Hard movies, or any Bruce Willis action flick really, there are no real surprises here. Willis knocks a helicopter out of the sky with a car because he’s out of bullets, and it’s got Kevin Smith, really, what more could you ask for? Munch lots of popcorn and call it a night’s entertainment, you’ll be satisfied.

Timecrimes ~ Also known as Los Cronocrimenes is a brilliant but just a tad predictable time travel thriller from independent Oscar-nominated writer/director Nacho Vigalondo. He also acts in this one. It’s slow, and thought-provoking, a different pace from most time travel stories but meticulously planned and not without twists. Stay with it, even when you think you’ve got it figured out – it can be surprising even when you think you’ve got it figured out.

Star Trek: Nemesis ~ The final Trek film before the powers-that-be decided a complete reboot of the franchise is not as bad as I would have thought. The Enterprise crew from the “Next Generation” TV series find themselves caught in the center of a hostile takeover in the Romulan Empire, one masterminded by, as it turns out, a clone of Captain Picard. Hilarity ensues. While there are nice touches and cute nods and nudges throughout, this is really just an action flick in Trek dressings. I can see why hardcore fans were disappointed in what was considered, even then, the final voyage for these characters. Lotsa action and special effects, but it could have so much more, and definitely not as much of a rehash of Wrath of Khan as it seems to be. Recommended if it’s on free TV.

.