Five Things to Know About RED 2

by Ethan Alter July 18, 2013 1:05 pm
Five Things to Know About <i>RED 2</i>

The 2010 action comedy RED wasn't exactly a critical favorite or box-office record beater, but a $90 million final gross gave the franchise-hungry studio Summit (the company that Twilight built) incentive to get the movie's gang of Retired and Extremely Dangerous counter-intelligence agents -- including Bruce Willis's eternally wry Frank Moses, John Malkovich's eternally paranoid Marvin Boggs and Helen Mirren's eternally hot Victoria -- back together again for another gag-friendly action picture. Before you join them on their globetrotting second adventure, here are five things you should know about RED 2.

Looper: If I Could Turn Back Time

by Ethan Alter September 28, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Looper</i>: If I Could Turn Back Time

In general, there are two main approaches filmmakers can take to a time travel story. The first is to dive headlong into the logistics and consequences of trips back and forth in time, merrily twisting the audience's mind into knots by piling potential paradox on top of potential paradox (see movies like Primer, Back to the Future, Part II and the sorely underseen Spanish import Timecrimes). The other is to use time travel as a device to set the story in motion and introduce potential plot complications without sweating the details too much (see Back to the Future parts 1 and 3, Time Bandits and Midnight in Paris). In its early scenes, Rian Johnson's new action picture Looper seems like it's going to be the first kind of time travel yarn, but then switches over to the second. Since I'm the odd soul that prefers Back to the Future, Part II over the original -- few would probably rank the third one as their favorite -- I have to admit to being a little disappointed by Looper's change of heart. But credit where credit's due: Johnson has crafted a smart, inventive piece of mainstream entertainment that will likely find the kind of wide audience more cultish time travel movies like Primer didn't.

Rian Johnson Serves Up Scoop on Looper, Brick and Breaking Bad

by Ethan Alter September 25, 2012 6:01 am
Rian Johnson Serves Up Scoop on <i>Looper</i>, <i>Brick</i> and <i>Breaking Bad</i>

Setting a Philip Marlowe-like detective story, complete with pulpy dialogue and a twist-laden narrative, in high school sounds like a recipe for disaster. But writer/director Rian Johnson somehow pulled it off in his 2005 breakthrough Brick, a movie that's acquired a devoted cult following in the seven years since its release. Johnson himself has gone on to acquire a significant fanbase as well, through his work on movies like The Brothers Bloom and two terrific episodes of Breaking Bad, Season 3's "Fly" and Season 5's "Fifty-One." His latest feature Looper, which opens on Friday, reunited Johnson with his Brick star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Joe, a hitman living in a near-future where time travel is used by the Mob to get rid of any undesirables. These assassins -- or "loopers" -- are tasked with killing the people their bosses send back in time, a job that Joe carries out with relish... that is until he discovers that his next target is none other than his future self (Bruce Willis). On a recent publicity tour though New York, Johnson sat down to talk with us about time travel movies, whether he'll ever revisit Brick and if he'll be directing one of the finale eight episodes of Breaking Bad.

An Office Romance At 30 Rock

by Odie Henderson August 18, 2008 12:48 pm
An Office Romance At 30 Rock Fans of 30 Rock and The Office rejoice! The stars of both shows respectively are teaming up to play a married couple in Shawn Levy's upcoming Date Night. Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, masters of uncomfortable comedy and hilarious slapstick, will embark on a series of comic misadventures in the 2009 release. Variety says Josh Klausner's script "follows a couple who find their routine date night becomes much more than just dinner and a movie." Since Steve and Tina are married, I know one thing that won't be happening on their eventful date night: Sex!

Costner Casts Swing Vote, Country Goes To Hell

by Odie Henderson July 30, 2008 4:55 pm
Costner Casts Swing Vote, Country Goes To Hell With news of comedies suffering at the box office, Disney must be sweating over releasing Kevin Costner's Swing Vote on Friday. The film stars Il Costino as a good ol' boy whose single vote will determine the Presidential election. That alone should file this under "Suspension of Disbelief the Size of Jupiter Needed," but when the trailer reveals that Costner has to choose between Dennis Hopper and Kelsey Grammer, we're talking universe-sized pretending here. Whom would you vote for? I can't decide, and the only pull for me to see the film is to discover who actually wins.

I Want My VOD: November 2012

by Ethan Alter November 8, 2012 11:30 am
I Want My VOD: November 2012

The multiplex isn't the only place that's crowded with movies this fall movie season. Deadfall, starring Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam, is one of many titles available right now on most video-on-demand service.

Moonrise Kingdom: It’s So Easy to Fall In Love

by Ethan Alter May 25, 2012 5:59 am
<i>Moonrise Kingdom</i>: It’s So Easy to Fall In Love

The hills of New England are alive with the sound of young love and Hank Williams music in Moonrise Kingdom, a sweet, charming and altogether delightful bit of whimsy from writer/director Wes Anderson. Fair warning: If you're one of those folks who hopped off the Anderson bandwagon after The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou having grown somewhat weary of his familiar visual bag of tricks and poker-faced sense of humor, this movie may still not tempt you back into the fold given that it perpetuates all of his signature stylistic quirks rather than reinvents them. That's your loss though, as Moonrise is one of the director's most skillfully assembled movies and an example of how welcome his unique voice is on the contemporary cinematic landscape.

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