Don’t you just hate it when you are a specialized assassin who kills targets from the future sent by criminal organizations and they end up sending your future self back for you to kill? Chances are if you have never had to experience this, you probably don’t have the same LinkedIn profile as Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Rian Jonhson’s new sci-fi action thriller, Looper. With the film currently making waves both critically (our own Mike Murphy gave it an 8/10) and at the box office, it only seems right to celebrate some other great time travel films from the past that certainly holdup perfectly in the present. In honor of Looper, then, here are five great time travel films that you definitely should check out:
Though many have tried, no filmmaker over the last two decades has ever been able to capture the generation-defining spark that turned John Hughes into a legend throughout the 1980s. From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to Pretty in Pink and the immortal The Breakfast Club, Hughes had a knack for making films that tapped into the core of the adolescent spirit. Besides those timeless classics, I’ve never come across a film that’s been able to bring back to life the memories of my youth, until now. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of his own popular novel, is a film bursting with an emotional honesty that’s a time machine for the heart and that would certainly make Hughes proud if he were alive to see it.
When you watch a film like Hotel Transylvania, it’s hard not to realize why Pixar is the world’s award winning and profitable animated powerhouse. With an amusing voice cast and an ingenious concept, Hotel Transylvania had all the potential to be a daring, genre-throwback of a winner, but, instead, it merely wimps out in its sprint to the finish line. Whereas Pixar would’ve probably used this monster-mash set up to provide sensational doses of nostalgic warmth and hijinks (just think about what they did for a talking rat and a lonely robot!), the makers of Transylvania, Sony Pictures Animation, fumble the pass, creating a traditional father-daughter comedy that underserves all of the film’s creativity.
“This time travel crap, just fries your brain like a egg.”
Time is a perplexing force, one that is uncontrollable and perpetually surrounding us. It’s an entity that demands our complete compliance because it never stops or gives us a moment to breathe. It moves along and threatens to leave us behind, and also has a way of working directly against us, specifically when we try to take control. In the popular sci-fi conceit of time travel, characters are directly tormented by the repercussions of trying to manipulate time. In Rian Johnson’s ambitious new film, Looper, time creates an extraordinary predicament for Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is forced into a violent battle of wits, strength and futuristic psychology against a highly formidable enemy: His future self.
Last week, I reviewed Peter Travis’ stellar Dredd 3D and in the opening paragraph of the article I discussed how the science fiction genre was the jumping off point for a number of prolific film directors. Though Dredd 3D disappointed at the box office (it wouldn’t be the first a great sci-fi film has shunned at the domestic box office), this weekend, another sci-fi actioner will be released in movie theaters and this one, I undoubtedly believe, will fare very, very well with moviegoers, critics, and at the box office; plus, it should also be the film that catapults its director, Rian Johnson, into household recognition, making him known to a vast majority instead of the pocket of fans that love his previous two films and his work on the phenomenal AMC program, Breaking Bad. The movie is Looper, an innovative and highly original sci-fi film that stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, and it’s a movie I’ve already had the privilege of seeing and thoroughly enjoying twice.
Film festivals are pretty big deals within the cinephile community. In addition to being a critic, I am obviously a very regular moviegoer whose interests within the development and gossip attached to various film productions, past and present, can be defined as buffdom. Therefore, when a major film festival is occurring, I anxiously await and feverishly read up on all new buzz. During the Toronto International Film Festival, which culminated a few weeks ago, I would check blogs and entertainment outlets daily, sometimes even hourly, to read up on the new films that had just premiered and the early reactions from critics that I value. Upcoming films like The Silver Linings Playbook, Seven Psychopaths, and The Place Beyond the Pines (all three films that are coming out between October and sometimes in 2013) have officially added themselves to my Must-See list based on the my choice critics’ reviews from TIFF.
“Terrorists don’t get lawyers.”
September 11, 2011 is a very touchy and emotional subject; the fact that it is still so clear in many Americans’ minds doesn’t make it a particularly favorable setting or event to occur within television, film, or really in pop culture overall. Sometimes, the tragedy is handled very well, like in Oliver Stone’s underrated World Trade Center, where the director crafts a claustrophobic and emotional character drama based entirely on truth and wrought with high intensity. Other times it is tastelessly included as a plot point, take Allen Coulter’s horrendous Remember Me as an example, or insultingly depicted and utilized for makeshift character sympathy, like Stephen Daldry did in the frustratingly sappy Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.