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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?"

Looper
Rian Johnson's time travel-enhanced drama Looper poses two big questions. First, what would you do if you met your future self... and had to kill him? Secondly, if you had the ability to travel back in time and kill Baby Hitler, would you do it? The first query provides the initial hook of the movie, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a special breed of Mafia assassin known as loopers, who specialize in offing victims sent back from thirty years in the future -- including, eventually, himself (played as an older man Bruce Willis, whom the younger actor mimics expertly). But about halfway through, Johnson turns his full attention to the second question, setting Gordon-Levitt down on a farm occupied by Emily Blunt and her young son, who may grow up to become a new breed of super-villain in three decades' time. While this switch may disappoint viewers who are more fascinated by the "timey-wimey" plot complications promised by the first half, Looper's second act has its own modest pleasures, including a well-staged game of hide-and-seek within the farmhouse when an enforcer shows up to find Gordon-Levitt and Blunt's effectively haunted performance as a young mother trying to figure out how to be the best possible parent to her troubled kid. (It is a shame that Willis is relegated to the sideline for much of the movie's second half, though; his extended encounter with his younger self at a diner is one of the movie's high points and some of the best screen acting he's done in some time. Between this and Moonrise Kingdom, Willis finally seems to have woken up from his lengthy slumber... just in time for the upcoming Die Hard and G.I. Joe sequels to send him back into hibernation. ) Even if you're not entirely on board with the movie Looper becomes (and I kind of wish it had stuck closer to the first question as well), it's a well-written, well-acted, smartly-made sci-fi tale and that alone is something worth celebrating.
Extras: If you go into the half-hour's worth of deleted scenes hoping for more explanation of the film's time travel mechanics, you'll be disappointed. Most of the 17 scenes collected here are just slightly extended versions of pre-existing material and their exclusion doesn't especially affect the finished product. (The lone exception is a storyline involving supporting looper Kid Blue, whose situation during the second half of the movie is more perilous than previously indicated.) The deleted scenes are accompanied by a commentary track with Johnson, who also chats over the feature with his stars, Gordon-Levitt and Blunt. Three featurettes and an animated trailer round out the bonus features.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to read our guide to the do's and don'ts of time travel

Cosmopolis
David Cronenberg's first collaboration with Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson practically feels designed to leave both Twihards and general audiences flummoxed. Adapted from the Don DeLillo novel, Cosmopolis takes viewers on a surrealistic road trip through the streets of Manhattan in a tricked-out stretch limo belonging to young Wall Street tycoon Eric Parker (Pattinson), whose mission to get a haircut becomes something far more complicated and mysterious. Frequently confounding, Cosmopolis nevertheless boasts some of the finest, most precise direction of Cronenberg's career and Pattinson is surprisingly terrific in the central role, displaying a dark sense of humor that the Twilight movies don't allow for. He gets a big helping hand from the supporting cast, which includes such reliable character actors as Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti. You may not entirely understand what you're seeing, but it's difficult to look away.
Extras: A Cronenberg-anchored commentary track, additional interviews with the cast and crew and a making-of featurette.
Click here to read our original review

Also on DVD:
Michael C. Hall, Lucy Liu and Peter Fonda star in the offbeat dramedy The Trouble with Bliss, penned by TWoP's very own Couch Baron. Rising stars Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker headline Little Birds, a drama about two teenage girls who ditch their Salton Sea-located small town for the bright lights of Los Angeles.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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