Posts Tagged ‘bruce willis’

looper

It is the year 2044.  Time travel is not possible, but it will be in 30 years.  What’s left of America is a dystopian society, filled with vagrants and guns.  Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a looper, a futuristic bounty hunter, who kills criminals coming back from the year 2074.  Abe (Jeff Daniels) who employs Joe and other loopers ensures that the loopers only work for 30 years.  Loopers have to kill their older selves when coming back after 30 years, that’s called closing the loop.  Joe has a chance to kill older Joe (Bruce Willis) but doesn’t do it.  Older Joe has moved to Shanghai, gotten married to a woman, (Qing Xu) and is quite happy and wants to stay alive.

Old Joe gives Joe a map with three names, the looper program has been taken over by a man named the Rainmaker, who is involved in mass killing of vagrants and closing all the loops.  Old Joe asks Joe to kill the Rainmaker before he grows up to kill masses of people.  Joe lands in Kansas, one of the locations where the Rainmaker may be.  Joe’s being chased by a looper named Kid Blue (Noah Segan) and fighting withdrawal symptoms from a drug addiction. Joe is taken in by Sara (Emily Blunt) who is a single mother, raising her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) Does Joe find the Rainmaker?  Does Joe kill the Rainmaker before Old Joe comes to Kansas and does it?

This is an excellent movie, it has a Blade Runner vibe, especially the city scenes, minus the robots.  There are several ethical/moral  issues, which the older Joe doesn’t seem to have a problem with resolving, but at least Joe struggles with it.  But it’s Old Joe’s savagery to stay alive, that adds plausibility to the story.  This is a very violent movie, on par with The Matrix, I wasn’t quite prepared for the violence, but it does stay within the bounds of time travel, as defined by Back To The Future in regards to the time space continuum.  Joseph Gordon Levitt is very good indeed, he gets Bruce Wills’ facial expressions and vocal inflections right, so he does actually look and sound like a young Bruce Willis.  Bruce Willis does a decent job with a deep multi-dimensional role, that he really sinks his teeth into.  Emily Blunt is very good as the tough mother with a tender spot for her son. She’s trying to raise a son in an obviously bloodthirsty world.  The only character I didn’t care for was Piper Perabo’s ubiquitous prostitute character, why oh why does Hollywood insist on a prostitute in every movie?  Is it really necessary?  I say not in this movie, or most Hollywood movies, but yet the trend continues.

Looper is directed by Rian Wilson who has written the Brothers Bloom, which was ok, but not as good as this.  The movie feels a little long at times, some of the scenes should have been shorter, but  the action combine with the concepts presented, make this an excellent film.

Looper.   I was thrown for a loop, you should be too.

John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back in New York City, he’s been kicked of the force, but the city still facing a threat from a fanatical bomber named Simon.  (Jeremy Irons) So before McClane can say Simon says, he is reinstated into the force.   Simon has already bombed department stores in New York and threatens to bomb more places like Chinatown, and one school in the vast New York City school system.  McClane’s help this time around, comes from a militant Harlem resident, named Zeus Carver, (Samuel  L. Jackson)  he doesn’t like white people, and let’s just say MClane and Carver don’t meet under the  best of circumstances.  Nevertheless, McClane and Carver rush off to solve Simon’s set of riddles (He gives clues to the location of the next bombing by using riddles. )  What they don’t realize is Simon is using the bombings to hide his real plan, and that Simon is the brother of the man McClane pushed off an LA skyscraper a few years before.  So what is Simon’s real plan?  Do McClane and Carver figure out the real plan before Simon gets away with it?

There’s a reason why I didn’t watch late 1980’s early 1990’s movies and this movie personifies the reasons why.  The plot meanders from potential bombing to potential bombing, and the pacing is so slow, it feels like it takes them hours to figure each clue.  Here’s the problem, 90% if the movie is spent figuring out the bomb plot and disarming the bombs, and 10 percent of the movie is spent figuring out the real plot.  MCclane seems to be getting dumber with each successive movie.  The answers to most of the riddles are provided by Carver, one answer is provided by a truck driver, and the bombs are disarmed by s bald extra, so what does MCclane do?  Not much.  Run around aimlessly, catch his breath.  And figure out the real plan in two minutes, with absolutely no help.  I never thought much of Bruce Willis as  an actor, I think even less of him now.  Samuel L. Jackson plays a straight up stereotypical, strident, militant black man. As likeable as Jackson is, it’s awfully hard to like Zeus Carver, because Zeus Carver is a racist.  The racial animus is something that was totally unnecessary in this movie and it makes this movie hard to watch at times.  Jeremy Irons is a fabulous actor, especially as Klaus Von Bulow, but here he’s an English actor stuck playing a German stereotype, right out of Hogan’s Heroes.  Irons struggles with the German accent.

Die Hard 3:  Perishable.

A Latin American General named Esperanza (Franco Nero) is being extradited to America to be arrested. A renegade American Colonel Stuart (William Sadler)  is setting up shop to intercept the plane in a small church outside DC.  Does the Colonel want to shoot down the General’s plane?  No, quite the opposite, he wants to help the General escape to a third country where he can’t be arrested.  It’s a good thing that John McClane (Willis) is in Dulles airport trying to catch a plane to meet his wife in Los Angeles, he’s just the man to stop this kind of plot before it comes to fruition, but first he has to get past a surly DC cop, Carmine Lorenzo (Dennis Franz) who won’t let McClane do anything on his turf, and a grumpy Southern air traffic controller named Trudeau.  (Fred Thompson)  Oh by the way MClane’s wife Holly(Bonnie Bedelia) is on one of the many planes, made to circle Dulles, which Colonel Stuart will bring down unless he gets his way. Finally, McClane gets some help in his one-man show to try to stop Stuart’s diabolical plan.  Captain Grant (Amos) was Colonel Stuart’s superior in the army and taught him everything he knows, but does he stop Stuart or is it up to John McClane once again to save the day?

How do I hate this movie?  Let me count the ways.  The plot borrows heavily from 1980’s politics, (General Noriega Colonel Oliver North) and 1970’s disaster films.  Willis acting skills are paper thin, as he plays the wise cracking, tough talking, never runs out of ammo John McClane.  Hey if he loves his wife so much why aren’t they on the same plane together?  Bad acting is virtually everywhere Fred Thomson’s slow as molasses drawl makes me think he should have had a role as Forrest Gump’s father.  John Amos was more convincing as a tough guy when he was trying to beat up Jimmie Walker on Good Times.  Dennis Franz plays Carmine like a bad Italian stereotype.  William Sadler is no Alan Rickman as far as menace goes and Art Evans gives the worst performance of anyone in this film, and that’s saying something. Everyone curses in this movie, it seems like every other word is a curse word.  And it’s totally unnecessary.  Finally the action is sloppy, one explosion looks like it’s done with miniature Matchbox models, the climactic fight scene takes place on the wing of a plane, but the plane was on the ground and seemed to be going two miles an hour.  Instead of yelling Yippie Kai Yay!  I was yelling, when will this end?  Renny Harlin who directed this mess, is famous for marrying Geena Davis.  This movie shows he’s not famous for directing films.

Die Hard Two.  DOA

John McClane (Willis) is a New York City cop, in Los Angeles to try to reconcile with his wife, Holly (Bededlia) Holly’s moved out to LA, for a job opportunity with Takagi, a Japanese conglomerate.  Holly has also taken to using her maiden name, but McClane is going to try to win her back anyway.  While he’s in the Takagi building, robbers break in, and plan to steal 600 million dollars in company stock.  The leader of the gang, Hans Gruber, pretends to be a terrorist, to get the FBI involved, because that would actually make the robbery easier.  McClane is desperately trying to get anyone to help him, police, firemen.  Finally, one beat cop named Al Powell.  (VelJohnson) Al looks around doesn’t find anything unusual, until MClane  throws a chair out of the building, and that triggers a hail of gunfire.  Al calls for backup, many cops show up, and now the police are being ordered by assistant chief of police Robinson,  (Paul  Gleason) who soon turns the case over to the FBI.  Will McClane get the robbers before they blow up the building, and kill the 30 hostages trapped inside?

This is a mediocre film, surrounded by a lot of hype.  The story is so predictable, I knew exactly who was going to die, and more importantly who is going to live.  I don’t like Bruce Willis much ever since his Moonlighting, days, but he does an adequate job as the action hero, and he establishes a good repertoire with VelJohnson, who plays the same kind of likable working class hero he did in Family Matters,  What’s missing from Willis’ performance is any kind of chemistry with Bedilia, a little more exposition of their past together would help.  Rickman plays a suitably menacing thief, but his German accent is pathetically bad. Deveroux Johnson adds some much needed comedy relief.  There were flashes of a good movie here, but the movie seems dated seeing it 22 years later, and the action seems very much staged.  The franchise got a much needed boost in 2007, with Live Free or Die Hard, so far the best movie of the series in my opinion.

Die Hard.  I could’ve lived without seeing it.

Sam (Jared Gilman) is 12 years old and a menber of the Khaki Scouts, but no one in the troop seems to like him.  Sam is an orphan, living in a foster home, he doesn’t really feel loved by his adoptive parents, and so he acts out, by getting into fights.  Fed up of the Khaki Scouts, Sam resigns in the form of a letter to his Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster Ward. (Edward Norton) Suzy is a 12 year old girl, who gets in fights in school, and hates her mom, Laura, (Frances McDormand) because Suzy knows her mom is having an affair with a local cop, Captain Sharp. (Bruce Willis)  Suzy and Sam become pen-pals, and realize they have a lot in common, parents who don’t understand them, and not many friends to whom they can tell their problems to.  So they pour thier hears out to each other, and finally hatch a plan to run away from home.  The two live on an island, called Penzance Island, in New England, they move to a different part of the island, inside a perfectly pitched tent.  There Sam, and Suzy get to know each other beven better, she reads him bedtime stories, he paints a portait of her, and they are really enjoying their lives for the first time.  By this time, the adults realize that Sam and Suzy are gone and form a search party, with Captain Sharp, and Scoutmaster Ward, Captain Sharp, Suzy’s parents, and the Khaki Scouts all involved in the search.  The Khaki Scotss want to find Sam more out of spite than anything else.  Eventually, they find Sam and Suzy, but by this time, Sam’s foster father has disowned him, again in the form of a letter, and Social Services (Tilda Swinton) is on the way to the campsite, ready to send Sam to an orphanage.  What happens next?  Watch Moonrise Kingdom, and find out.

At first glance, people will watch this movie and think, “How sweet, it’s about first love.”  It is sweet, and it is about first love, but what makes it worth watching, is that Moonrise Kingdom is much deeper than that.  These kids get to know each other, writing letters to one another, and anyone whose ever written a letter by hand, or gotten a handwritten letter, knows how intimate and personal a form of communication that is, now people text each other and abbreviate each word.  There is nothing intimate or personal about a text message or instant message, no matter how many emoticons you put on it.  Sam and Suzy really got to know each other, they’re alienated, lonely artist types, he likes to paint she likes to read, they both are misunderstood by parents and peers, annd so they reach ot to each other and they find love and understanding with each other.  This movie is about finding a person who understands you better than anyone else,  a person who you can confide anything to without shame or embarrassment.  When you find that person, whether your 12 or 112, that is a special feeling, so when Sam and Suzy say they love each other, it feels more honest and real than when a person of 12 would usually say it.  This is undoubtedly a Wes Anderson movie, which means the scenes are resplendent in their bright colors, the characters are quirky, and the dialogue is clipped, as if edited to fit, the films relentless energy.  The acting is superb.  The kids playing Sam and Suzy are pitch perfect, even though they speak more like adults than kids. Bruce Willis is as good as he’s been in anything for a long time.  Captain Sharp is dull, but he develops an honest love for Sam.  Scoutmaster Ward is a true innocent, even though he’s an adult, and Ed Norton, imbues him with a childlike simplicity.  Tilda Swinton is funny as the deadly serious Social Services (that’s her character’s name) She does not suffer fools gladly, and she feels surrounded by fools.  Jason Schwartzman is funnier than anyone in this movie, in a small role as Cousin Ben. Bill Murray another member of Andersons recurring company of players has a small role, and Frances McDormand is used to playing quirky characters after all the Coen brothers pictures she’s been in.  I have very mixed feelings about Wes Anderson movies, I didn’t like the Royal Tennenbaums, or The Darjeeling Limited, but I did like the Fantastic Mr Fox, and The Life Aquatic.  And I really do like Moonrise Kingdom, because it’s heartfelt and personal, like a handwritten letter.

Moonrise Kingdom.  Kids rule this Kingdom.