Joseph Gordon-Levitt Describes the Rush of Making <i>Premium Rush</i>

Before he co-starred in The Dark Knight Rises as Batman's cop sidekick, Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a hero who zips though a major metropolis on his own version of the Batpod: a single-geared, brakeless bike. The hero in question is Wilee, the speed-addicted bike messenger at the center of Premium Rush, which was shot on the streets and roads of New York two years ago and is opening in theaters tomorrow. Co-written and directed by David Koepp (whose past credits include the screenplays for Jurassic Park and the first Spider-Man and director of Stir of Echoes), the movie finds Wilee trying to complete an express delivery of a valuable package while staying one bike line ahead of a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon) who is on his tail. Don't let the lack of bat ears or Batarangs fool you; Wilee's superb bike skills practically make him a superhero in his own right. We spoke with Koepp and Gordon-Levitt about what it was like to shoot such a fast-paced thriller, what lessons the actor learned from 3rd Rock From the Sun and why Die Hard With a Vengeance is one of the best New York movies ever made.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 1, 2013

by Ethan Alter January 1, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"So Joseph... can you talk me out of making Die Hard 5?"

Trailers Without Pity: The Dark Knight Rises

by Ethan Alter July 9, 2012 10:45 am
Trailers Without Pity: <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i>

The 2012 summer movie season has had its fair share of hits so far (The Avengers, Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man) but one film has loomed large over the multiplex landscape ever since the spring breeze gave way to summer heat: The Dark Knight Rises. The premiere of the third and final chapter in Christopher Nolan's genre redefining Batman series is now just two weeks away and Hollywood is clearing the way for his arrival: between now and the film's July 20th release date, the only major movie opening in wide release is the fourth Ice Age adventure. Yup, even the other studios are dying to see what Nolan has come up with.

50/50: Life As He Knew It

by Ethan Alter September 30, 2011 6:00 am
<i>50/50</i>: Life As He Knew It

Back in the early '00s, Will Reiser was a twentysomething associate producer on the much buzzed-about HBO series Da Ali G Show, where he met and befriended then-newcomers Seth Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg. It was the beginning of one of those classic "rise up the Hollywood food chain" stories, until Reiser's momentum was derailed by an unexpected cancer diagnosis. To complicate matters further, the affected tumor was located on his spine and the risky surgical procedure that was required to remove it would be followed by a lengthy (and painful) recovery period. Reiser went through the diagnosis, the surgery and the recovery and now he's turned his cancer story into a semi-autobiographical feature film, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing his onscreen alter ego and Rogen as a character that's a thinly-veiled version of... Seth Rogen.

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.

Premium Rush: The Need for Speed

by Ethan Alter August 24, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Premium Rush</i>: The Need for Speed

Shot almost two years ago, bumped from various release dates and tucked away at the end of this summer like a neglected stepchild, the new bike messenger thriller Premium Rush (yes, you read that right -- a bike messenger thriller) turns out to be the season's most nimble and purely enjoyable popcorn flick. The Avengers might have a gazillion superheroes kicking ass, Prometheus might have dazzling sci-fi spectacle and The Dark Knight Rises might have Anne Hathway in a form-fitting catsuit, but Premium Rush possesses something all those movies lack: sheer, exhilarating speed.

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