Looper

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Looper (B+).  I don’t know whether sci-fi author Philip K. Dick (Ubik) ever wrote a story about time travel, but if he did, it’s probably a lot like Looper (but without so much graphic violence).  It’s been out for a couple of months, so you’ve probably already heard the premise.  A few decades in the future, America is a more grim and worn-out-looking place.  Among the criminal elite are a gang of assassins called loopers.  A criminal syndicate operating 30 years further in the future has discovered how to time travel, and they use it to make people “disappear” into the past, where the loopers blow them away as soon as they materialize.  A looper named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises) botches a job when the 30-years-older version of himself (played by Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom), comes back in time and manages to escape.  Both Joes become marked men; they separate, and young Joe hides out at the farm of the fetching Sara (played by the ubiquitous Emily Blunt, The Five-Year Engagement) while old Joe embarks on a mission to put the whole criminal syndicate out of business.  The film has its flaws—gratuitous nudity, the aforementioned graphic violence, and the logical holes that always seem to dog time-travel stories.  But as a twisty action-suspense flick, it is definitely above average.  Jeff Daniels (Arachnophobia), Paul Dano (Ruby Sparks), and Dallas-born Piper Perabo (Cheaper by the Dozen) have small roles.

Moonrise Kingdom

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Moonrise Kingdom  (B).  Quirky director Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) returns with a quirky tale of young love between a couple of 12-year-old misfits, Sam and Suzy.  Suzy lives on a smallish island with her dysfunctional family, and Sam is an orphan in foster care.  Via flashback, we learn that they met cute a year earlier, became penpals, and hatched a scheme to run away together when Sam’s scout troop is on the island for a camping trip.  Once their disappearance is discovered, search parties are formed by the various semi-competent adults who are available–the earnest scoutmaster (Edward Norton, The Painted Veil), Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray, Ghostbusters; Frances McDormand, Fargo), the island’s policeman (Bruce Willis, Surrogates)–and quirky adventures ensue.  The relationship between Sam and Suzy is easily the movie’s strongest point, and Anderson makes it touching while keeping it believable.  Sam and Suzy’s affection is genuine, but it doesn’t keep them from hurting each other’s feelings once in a while.  The supporting elements are not as strong.  Stuff is odd without actually being funny, Murray’s character in particular is way underdeveloped, and using a hurricane as a plot element seems like overkill.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie as a whole.  It made me wonder what happened to that one particular girl who transferred into my elementary school at the beginning of 5th grade, didn’t come back for 6th grade, and in between made me get the worst grades in conduct I ever got….

Moonrise Kingdom

A new review from Movie Man Mike.

Moonrise Kingdom.  B.  The cast of this film creates some pretty big expectations.  Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, & Tilda Swinton.  And those are not even the main characters.  This was a cute and sweet film.  The two main characters are misfits in their respective worlds.  They meet and decide to run away together.  When the rest of the grown-up cast realizes it, an all-out search ensues and the results are quite amusing.  The entire cast gives a solid performance.  In my view the only weakness in the film was that I had higher expectations in the laughter department, given the cast and subject matter.  If you don’t see this one at the theater, it will make a great rental for a rainy day afternoon.

Red

DVD review from Movie Man Mike

Red. (B).  I rented this film recently because of its cast:  Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and more.  This is a light comedy about a group of over-the-hill retired secret agents.  Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) learns at the beginning of the film that the CIA has put out a hit on him and that starts the ball rolling.  He contacts some of his former “associates” to try to find out who’s behind it and why.  While it’s not a rolling-in-the-floor-laughing movie, it does have its humorous moments.  My favorite scene is watching the elegant Helen Mirren in a white-sequined formal dress operating a machine gun on a tri-pod.  What an image that is.  And, at 66 years of age, Bruce Willis  looks great and can still deliver an action film.  This film makes for a pretty good rental.

Surrogates (our 1000th post!)

From the desk of The Movie Snob

Surrogates (C+). Disposable sci-fi/action fare starring Bruce Willis (Bandits) (good grief — this is the first Bruce Willis movie I’ve seen in like 8 years). The premise is certainly interesting. In the near future, no one ever leaves the house; instead we plug into a computer network and use very realistic androids called surrogates to go out and do everything for us. Naturally, the surrogates tend to be rather better looking than their human owners; moreover, there’s no requirement that your surrogate be the same age, race, or sex as you are. Anyhoo, there’s a shock to the system when two androids get gunned down and, despite “foolproof” safety systems, their human operators die at the same time. Willis, who’s an FBI agent, follows the clues to a reservation of “Dreads” (humans who view surrogates as abominations and refuse to use them) and beyond. When his own surrogate gets destroyed, he has to pull his pasty, out-of-shape self out of his chair and do some literal footwork to find out who is behind all the shenanigans. The lovely Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) plays Willis’s wife, and Radha Mitchell (Henry Poole Is Here) plays his FBI partner.

Oh, and they used exterior shots of the Bank of America building in downtown Dallas as the headquarters for the sinister corporation VSI. Cool!

And that, friends, is The Movie Court’s 1000th post. How about that?

The Whole Ten Yards

A DVD review from That Guy Named David:

The Whole Ten Yards (C-)

I’m a firm believer that if you spent the time to watch a movie that is decent and there is a sequel, you ought to give the sequel a chance. However, after seeing this dud, I’m thinking of amending this belief. This movie would have been a D had it not starred the incredibly gorgeous Amanda Peet. Ridiculous plot and really, really bad acting (mostly by Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry). And speaking of Matthew Perry, I’m also now a believer that he has one role (Chandler Bing) and it has gotten very old. Overall, just a bad movie, but at least I got to look at Amanda Peet for a couple of hours.