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208 of 242 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 30, 2012
Format: DVD
It is absolutely glorious when intelligent sci-fi not only re-emerges, but returns and flourishes with spectacular results. Tucked neatly into this technologically and sometimes extraterrestrial genre of film is time travel. While time travel films aren't always done right, when they are they make one hell of an impact; the "Back to the Future" films, the "Terminator" films, "Donnie Darko," "Time Bandits," "Twelve Monkeys," "Source Code," and the fantastic little Spanish film "Timecrimes" are just a few examples. Combine that potential with the impressive writer/director Rian Johnson and an incredible cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt and you have one of the most anticipated films of the year on your hands with "Looper."

In the year 2044, time travel has not yet been invented but 30 years from now it will have been. After being labeled as illegal, the ability to leap through time is only available on the black market. People who criminal organizations want to get rid of are sent back to 2044 where hired guns called "loopers" dispose of them. Loopers make very good money and Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is living the good life. When a looper's contract nears its expiration, the mob sends back their future self who they then get rid of and have the next 30 years to live their life. It's called "closing the loop." But when Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back, his life is turned upside down.

While you may not be able to totally buy that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a younger version of Bruce Willis based on looks alone (even with the use of prosthetics), Gordon-Levitt does deserve credit for developing the ability to act like Willis along with similar facial expressions, mannerisms, and body language. Bruce Willis' character is a really interesting piece of the puzzle. The older version of Joe is committing some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, but his reasoning for it is just. As you're shown his back story, you understand what he's going through and almost find yourself rooting for him. He's like a villain with heart.

Emily Blunt is really fantastic. This might be the most straightforward and emotional that she has ever been in any performance. The addition of her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) may make or break the film for you as it goes down a path that may find you comparing it to other films. The Cid character is an intriguing one though as his emotions are out of control, but his intentions are good and he's fairly amusing more often than not. While Paul Dano doesn't get a whole lot of screen time, it's amazing that that underhanded smarminess he's often associated with is still able to shine through.

This is Rian Johnson's best work by a landslide and that's coming from someone who absolutely loves his first two films. While the concept is somewhat familiar, it's always going in places you don't expect them to go. Seth's (Paul Dano) side plot is around the time your jaw will hit the floor. The ending is really magnificent, as well. It feels tragic on one hand, but extremely fitting on the other. While the soundtrack seems to kind of pick and choose its moments to really stand out, there are a few instances where it's emotionally overwhelming. It will only get better in repeat viewings and listens.

"Looper" is an astounding piece of cinema no matter how you slice it. Featuring fantastic performances from the entire cast, absorbing cinematography, and one of the most unique concepts for a film in quite some time, "Looper" is one of the most creative, intelligent, and unpredictable films of the year.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 4, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and writer/director Rian Johnson proved to be the perfect pair with 2005's BRICK. They're back together again in LOOPER, the story of a hitman who kills people sent back in time from the future. Joe's got a good life: drugs, babes, money. Of course, this lifestyle comes with a catch: one day, the person you're supposed to kill turns out to be your future self. This means you get to live out your remaining years (roughly 30) doing whatever you so desire. Of course, in Joe's case, things don't go according to plan; his future self escapes, on a mission to prevent the death of his wife, and now both Joes find themselves being pursued by ruthless killers.

LOOPER is stunning. Visually, it's a treat; the effects are impressive, the cinematography astounding. The action is slick and the dialogue is quick and intelligent, just what we'd expect from a Rian Johnson script. Perhaps the biggest surprise here (well, for non-Johnson fans, at least) is the caliber of acting. The supporting cast is impressive: Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Garrett Dillahunt, and child actor Pierce Gagnon all shine, while Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano are especially memorable. Bruce Willis brings gravitas to the role of future Joe; he doesn't say much, but as with his best performances, he's able to convey quite a lot with his piercing gaze. Older Joe is a complex character, and Willis is able to play his single-minded obsession to commit atrocious deeds for sympathetic reasons.

But this is Gordon-Levitt's film. Sure, he has prosthetics to make him resemble Willis; but more to the point, much as Josh Brolin did a la Tommy Lee Jones for MEN IN BLACK 3, Gordon-Levitt has studied Willis's mannerisms and voice, coming off as a truly convincing younger version of the actor. And yet, the role isn't mere imitation; Gordon-Levitt proves why he's considered one of the best rising actors out there right now, bringing a haunting sense of pathos (not to mention cojones) to his role. Thanks to his performance, and Rian Johnson's script, LOOPER comes off as one of the most unique, memorable science fiction/action films in years. It'll go down as a cult classic, and maybe one day, simply a classic example of the genre.
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58 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This movie is surprising in a lot of ways, mostly because it turns into something that you don't expect at all. (The structure of it reminded me of Psycho in how it completely shifts gears mid-way through.) Try to go in knowing as little as possible. The story goes places that are disturbing, intriguing and emotional. The performances are all strong, (Jeff Daniels is great as a tired mobster) and there is some of the best directing of a child actor I've seen in recent memory. The film is quite violent, but it never feels exploitative. They pick their moments here, which makes the screen violence meaningful and at times, terrifying. Even if you start picking apart the time travel paradoxes, the movie stays true to its own logic. There is plenty of great craft and art here to appreciate, check it out!
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

".. I saw a mom who would die for her son, a man who would kill for his wife, a boy, angry and alone, laid out in front of him the bad path. I saw it and the path was a circle, round and round..."

I wanted to see "Looper" (2012) written/directed by Rian Johnson as soon as I read the first reviews about it. It intrigued me for several reasons. The critics and viewers praised it. The first two Johnson's films were interesting and original and I wanted to see his new work. I am a fan of the time travel genre. Where else does the hero sit at a table in a roadside diner facing himself, either thirty years older, or thirty years younger - depending on which side he is sitting? Or where else rather clichéd phrase "he was in a deadly conflict with himself" means just that? And more. What does a man feel at gun point, with himself holding the gun, either thirty years older, or thirty years younger?

Another reason for me was Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the main character Joe, the looper. He is a convincing versatile young actor, one of the most interesting of his generation. For Rian Johnson, Gordon-Levitt is kind of mascot. Johnson made all three movies with him, and Joseph was a leading man in two. An interesting feature of Gordon-Levitt's role (Joe "closes the loops of time" working as an assassin for the Mafia) is how he based Joe on young Bruce Willis. He plays young Willis' on- screen tough guy persona that we so get used to identify with and root for, and he does it very good. Bruce Willis also plays an important role of aged Joe. If you guessed that Willis would be saving the world that got into a serious trouble you may be right. This is what Willis does in the movie well: saves lost children, city, country, planet, and the universe. In "Looper" Willis plays retired hit man, whom his crime bosses sent with a bag on his head from the future, 2074 to the past 2044, to get rid of him with no trace. What happens to him when he arrives to the past, who meets him, how will he try to change the past to save the future - it's all in the loop, tied by Rian Johnson.

By Johnson's words, despite the fact that "Looper" was a time travel film, he was more interested in creating the human characters, in choices they make in a situation that was caused by travel from future to past. This film is about making difficult choice, the possibility of one person to change the course of history, and how far he'd go for it. Dedicated to the paradox of time, "Looper" mixes futuristic science fiction and dark noir known for biting dialogue and off-screen sharp voice in Humphrey Bogart's movies style. Johnson adds the stories of love, not the least the love between a child and his mother. As befits a film about the possibility of time travel, the focus centers on whether it is possible, knowing exactly how the future will turn, to change something fundamentally important in the past, to correct it, and how this change will affect the lives of everyone involved. It would seem that nothing new, original and exciting can come out of the time travel genre after Terminator 1 and 2, 12 Monkeys, The Butterfly Effect, and their granddaddy, Le Jetee that started them all? But Johnson did it and even without a big budget, not trying to make a future in his film looking like a futuristic super modern giant metropolis. On the contrary, not so far removed future of 2044 looks more like the abandoned and gloomy suburbs of big city, shaken to its foundations by deep economic crisis, where the power is already in the hands of large criminal groups that control the time travel and use it to effectively get rid of the enemies sent from the future.

Using the elements of the time travel genre, Looper goes beyond the borders. It asked interesting questions, and gave different answers. Rian Johnson, writer/ director, does not mind to break the rules of genres in his films. His films are more of stylizations, pastiches of genres he likes and interested in. The elements of genres are the building blocks, the bricks for him which he makes his films from. No wonder, his first film was called "Brick" (2005).

To create a smart, interesting, original stylization, a game of mind - is not an easy task, and Johnson has the gift for it. His first two films, "Brick" and "The Brothers Bloom", were both intelligent, curious, but, rather, cerebral variations of films and books that Johnson likes. "Looper", his third, is also clever and gripping but what makes it the best of three, it's got heart in the right place. "Looper" affected me on a deep emotional level. "Looper", in my opinion is one of the best independent American movies of 2012. Being an independent filmmaker, Johnson is able to assert his creative ideas, but without super-budget. But I am glad that "Looper" did not look flashy and glamorous. It is more than just an eye-candy. It has a plot, intrigue, and the loop that it will close in a truly original, searing manner. While closing this loop, the film will answer the most important question - can you destroy the source of evil, which will bring tragedy and death to the future, if you look at it right now, this minute and "you see it. You see a mom who would die for her son, a man who would kill for his wife, a boy, angry & alone, laid out in front of him the bad path. You see it and the path is a circle, round and round..." Would you change it?
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58 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
It's fast, incredibly-well paced, makes sense and delivers.

It's visually striking. Perfect use of scifi. Amazing acting (seriously.. put that kid in Ender's Game).

This is an almost perfect movie (perfect by my standards, but those are my own).

See it. See it twice.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Time travel is possible but it is illegal to do for fear of changing the time line and thus altering future events. In the future criminals have a difficult time killing their enemies as everybody is traceable and the disposal of bodies is impossible. The solution is to set up an organization in 2044 (the past) that you can send your victims back to and have them immediately terminated so they cannot change the future.....

This is a good storyline with a deep Sci-Fi thriller built into it. I won't ruin the story but just say that there are multiple twists and turns and the timeline implications will make your head spin. The plot and scenario of the story will make you think so hard about what is happening that you may want to back the DVD up a couple of times and review and understand the possibilities.

This is a deep movie and its imaginative script will keep you thinking of all the possible issues that the characters are facing. It is well directed and produced movie and its surprise ending will keep you thinking about the complications of what might happen.

My wife and I both like the movie and we rated it between a 4 and a 5 star film. I give it a 4 star rating and I hope you enjoy it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Time travel done well can blow minds, warp brains, and have people leaving the theater wondering what happened as they try and wrap their heads around it all. This is no such film. Many of the more interesting aspects of the film are never explored at all. Loopholes are all over. I can see here that this film is well liked and that worries me. Take away the guns, the flash, the grit and just look at the story and there is not much here. Making a film with an unpredictable ending is easy. Making a time travel film with a great unpredictable ending is hard. I'm not going to go into details and spoil this for anyone but this film was a letdown for me. I had a much more interesting scenario matalizing in my head as I watched it play out. I expected my idea would be trumped by a fantastic mind blowing ending way bett than anything I could conceptualize. Nope. Turns out it was just some lame....Oh, OK, so that's how it ends. Huh? Well at least it had some decent action. That this is being touted as some brilliant time travel film is bothersome. Its not brilliant or profound in any way. Somewhere in Time, Timecrimes, Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys, Time Bandits, even Timerider are all way better and more thought out than this. And the TK stuff lifted from Akira was nonsense. The film did no even need it. I suspect it might have been added to glitz up the simple story. Episodes of X-Files and Star Trek have better time travel episodes. 3 stars for keeping me interested but ultimately letting me way down.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
This is a good innovative movie with an original storyline.
However, as with numerous other blurays, the sound balance is a huge letdown.
It seems bluray manufacturers only concentrate on the sound quality of the special
effects, eg. gunshots, moving car or ship engine sounds, explosions, thunderous
roars of monsters, etc...
The dialogue audibility is totally ignored. I am glad other reviewers also commented
on this aspect of the Looper bluray. There were many parts of the speech moments
when you could not hear what the actors were saying; it was virtually like silent whispers.
You have to turn the volume way up to slightly discern what the hell was spoken!!
When the gunshots happen after this scene, then you had it, as the bloody loud horrendous
gunshot sounds or the background music score can even bring an office block down.
Blurays like Avatar and Elysium had very well sound balance where dialogue and the special
sound effects were rightly tuned to one's enjoyment. The special effects sound in these blurays
did not have to be overbearing, and yet they were loud enough with bass power to beautifully
accentuate the sounds of gunshots, explosions, etc...
I have read alot of reviewers comments on the horrible inaudibility of dialogues in blurays, but
why do we paying customers have to suffer this damn blight caused by the studios who made
these blurays.
There is a short commentary in the making of the "Das Boots" bluray which explained that the
volume of the speech level actually could be adjusted by the bluray makers during the manufacturing
This may necessitate extra cost, which apparently the manufacturers are not willing to spend on.
It is as if the studios are treating us like 5 year olds, or even mobsters and gangsters who only know
how to appreciate the thunderous booming special effects sounds, but do not understand or
require the speech aspect of the film.
At the cinemas, the sound balance of the movies are crystal clear. Thus there is no excuse why
blurays can only attain good picture quality, but very bad sound quality.
Years from now, the blurays will get this defect cleared. But then, we the paying customers would
look like fools for having paid a high price for a lousy product now.
The low one star rating reflects the very poor audio quality of the bluray, but the film itself is good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. I watched it since I am a big fan of both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt. It is rare these days that a movie surprises me, but this one has become one of my new favorites. The idea is fresh and new, the casting was just right, and the pace of the story was easy to follow and become invested in. Even though this movie is technically a futuristic sci fi drama, there was not an overload of special effects to distract you. One of the best things about this movie was the child actor that played the character of Cyd. For such a young boy he showed a wide range of emotions, and I could not help but love him. The ending of the movie came with a twist that was both happy and sad, more so because I became so invested in the characters. The plotline may seem silly, an assassin who kills people sent back from future until one day he is forced to kill his older self, but the movie is about how the choices we make today have lasting effects on our future, and if we knew about them how and would we change them. Days after I watched it for the first time, the story stayed in my mind, and these days that can be very hard.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Looper is one huge mess of a movie that seems to be under the impression that its unique concept can compensate for its numerous flaws and plotholes. That's unfortunate because I was truly hoping that this film would be the next Memento; a groundbreaking and mindbending blend of entertainment and art. Looper doesn't even come close.

Rian Johnson's much buzzed about screenplay is set in the year 2044 where a group of hitmen known as Loopers carry out executions against targets sent to them from crime bosses from the future, thirty years in the future to be exact, when time travel has been invented but is illegal and utilized almost exclusively by crime organizations as a means to tie up loose ends. One of the Loopers named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), is placed in an unusual predicament when one of his targets is his future self (Bruce Willis) who has been sent back to be killed in order to "close the loop". Confused yet? Essentially when a looper's services are no longer needed, his future self is sent back in time for execution since the mob wants to make sure that he never rats them out somewhere down the line.

That concept requires the willing suspension of disbelief from viewers, but the real problem isn't with how absurd the whole thing is. No, the problem is with the execution. The movie never seems to flow coherently and feels flung together haphazardly. Perhaps things would have turned out better if Johnson had let someone else have the director's chair. His screenplay is brimming with ideas, but he doesn't do a very good job of bringing his vision to the screen.

The performances are poor as well. Gordon-Levitt's likability and charm are buried beneath the ridiculous prosthetics that he wears in order to resemble a young Bruce Willis. He spends the entire film mumbling his lines in his best attempt to sound jaded and world-weary. Willis, who is almost always a reliable action hero, doesn't have much to work with here and his character is one dimensional and bland. Only Jeff Daniels as a mob boss sent from the future to manage the loopers approaches the material with the kind of "let's not take things quite so seriously" attitude that seems more fitting.

It's too bad that Looper fails so mightily since its premise is ripe for a great movie. This just isn't that movie. It would have been better served by a different cast, a different director and a different tone. In short, an entirely different movie.
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