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.

The Five-Year Engagement: Five Sitcoms, One Movie

by Ethan Alter April 27, 2012 6:00 am
<i>The Five-Year Engagement</i>: Five Sitcoms, One Movie

Maybe it's because his day job is starring on a long-running CBS sitcom, but Jason Segel's third self-penned star vehicle (after Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets, where he shared equal billing with his puppet co-stars (a point of contention for some of us in the audience), often feels more like the pilot for a half-hour television comedy rather than a feature film. In fact, it feels like five pilots crammed into one movie.

Indie Snapshot: Friends With Kids and More

by Ethan Alter March 9, 2012 5:58 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Friends With Kids</i> and More

Not interested in fighting aliens alongside John Carter or freaking out at Silent House? We've got an indie movie to fit your particular state of mind.

Two Gnomes Walk Into A Shakespeare Play…

by Kasey McDonald August 21, 2008 3:08 pm
Two Gnomes Walk Into A Shakespeare Play…

Hollywood has always loved Shakespeare. I mean, hard not to, right? But they do Shakespeare a lot. If it's not a direct adaptation of a play for the screen, it's one of those "retellings." Now, I won't say that the upcoming project Gnomeo and Juliet is the weirdest of the Shakespeare-inspired films out there, because there have been some really bizarre ones, but it's up there. Produced by Elton John, the animated film will tell the story of two gnomes from rival gardens who fall in love, sing Elton John classics, and try to help you save money on your next vacation. One of those things isn't true. I'll let you pick which it is.

Indie Snapshot: Your Sister’s Sister

by Ethan Alter June 15, 2012 5:58 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Your Sister’s Sister</i>

Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt get their sister act on.

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