*Movie Review* LOOPER

Review written by Miller

Sci-fi Action Thriller

rated R

runtime ‎1hr 58min

Directed by Rian Johnon

1. Die Hard

2. Pulp Fiction

3. Moonrise Kingdom

4. 12 Monkeys

5. Sin City

6. Looper

7. The Fifth Element

8. The Sixth Sense

9. Beavis and Butthead Do America

10. The Whole Nine Yards

That right there is one humble man’s opinion. That is my top ten list of Bruce Willis movies. Some people may put “Pulp Fiction” ahead of “Die Hard.” Some people may consider “Sin City” to be ahead of “Moonrise Kingdom” and “12 Monkeys.” Some people might include Robert Altman’s brilliant “The Player,” in which Bruce Willias has a very brief cameo appearance. However, those people didn’t make this list. I’m not saying that they would be wrong. I’m just saying that if they want you to read their top ten list of Bruce Willis movies, then they should have pestered their friends to let them write pop-culture reviews for their website about toys.

An astute top ten list reader may have noticed that 2 of the 10 movies listed were released this year. Number 3 is Wes Anderson’s 2nd best film (between Number 1, “Rushmore” and Number 3, “The Royal Tenenbaums” [make your own lists, ding dongs]) and number 6 is Rian Johnon’s new sci-fi thriller “Looper.”

Rian Johnson made an incredible and incredibly clever movie called “Brick” in 2005. “Brick” is one of those movies that stupid people don’t understand. It isn’t really that complicated, but some of the dialogue is hard to keep up with (I recommend subtitles) and it is a somewhat labyrinthine plot. The reason that the dialogue is so odd and the plot is so twisting and turning is that it is a hard boiled detective story (a “film noir” for those fim nerds out there). The catch is that it is set in a high school in modern day California. Clever, right?

That is what is so great about “Looper.” It is clever as hell. The setting isn’t anything new. It is just another dystopian future, like “Blade Runner,” “Children of Men,” or my personal favorite dystopia “Idiocracy.” What sets “Looper” apart from those fine films is the crazy-ass time travel plot and the amazing acting of one of the years’ best casts (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and the perpetually underrated Jeff Daniels).

I don’t wanna spoil anything, so I’ll put it like this. Take one part “Blade Runner,” two parts “Terminator 2,” and sprinkle in a little “Back to the Future,” add better acting and a slice of “The Omen” and you’ve got “Looper.” If you have seen the movie or if you see it later, and you think that my description is horribly inaccurate then I, once again, recommend finding your own close friend with a website.

Rian Johnson isn’t George Lucas, but he’s working on it. Talent borrows, genius steals. I probably should have put quotation marks around that last sentence, but I’m not borrowing it (appologies to Oscar Wilde). George Lucas took familiar stories and placed them in new and exciting contexts like outer space or WWII. Rian Johnson does that too, not as well as George Lucas, but better than James Cameron (don’t pretend that you didn’t notice that “Avatar” was just “Dancing With Wolves” in space). Although Mr. Johnson has yet to make a better film than Mr. Lucas or Mr. Cameron, after seeing “Looper” it makes me think that one day he might.

After “Brick,” Rian Johnson tried his hardest to make a Wes Anderson movie and he called it “The Brothers Bloom.” That movie sucked. I remember, because I was very disappointed when I saw it. “Brick” was such a clever and well made movie, and “The Brothers Bloom” was such a boring turd that it makes the kickass “Looper” all the more satisfying. Rian Johnson has made two really good movies and here is to hoping for many many more.

I’ll finish this essay with a wee bit of a rant. Why does everyone think that the future is going to be so horrible? I have yet to see one good movie about the future where everything isn’t nasty and people don’t kill each other without thinking twice. Take a freakin’ pill Hollywood. Apparently ten to fifty years from now California is going to be like Rio in “City of God” but without all of the kindness. Good Lord people, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the future is more “The Jetsons” than “The Road.”

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Miller talks “Thoughts on Earth’s most Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers”

© Marvel Comics

It’s best not to think too much about The Avengers and just enjoy it. However, if you do start mulling the Marvel movie melange of mighty men and woman, try to think back to the early nineties. The late eighties/ early nineties was a heyday of comic book glory. Chris Claremont was writing X-Men and X-Men spinoffs. Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and [that bastard] Rob Liefeld were wowing us with highly stylized versions of our favorite characters. Infinity Gauntlets were being formed, Atlantis was attacking, and there were Acts of Vengeance being carried out. It was the dawning of the Age of Apocalypse. We were young, hungry, and eagerly anticipating every new issue as they sold in record numbers.

© Marvel Comics

But alas, where were our young minds to turn for such quality entertainment and stimulation outside of the comic page? On TV we could satiate our rabid desire with “X-Men: The Animated Series,” but if we wanted a super hero fix on the big screen we were stuck with DC, and let’s be honest DC just isn’t Marvel. I’m not knocking Tim Burton’s “Batman.” It is an underrated classic that changed super hero movies forever, but it just wasn’t Marvel. We needed Spiderman. We needed Wolverine. We needed Steve frickin’ Rogers on the big screen and quite honestly, the handful of Marvel movies made by that point were wretched. If you did convince your Mom to rent that one dusty VHS of the Captain America movie that starred J.D. Salinger’s son, you were kindly rewinding that sucker just feeling ashamed for ever having loved Cap to begin with. It was a sad state of affairs.
So, we gave up. We grew up. We drank our first beers, tried smoking, got laid (Well, some of us anyway. I almost forgot what website I was writing this for). We stopped worrying about Wolverine on the big screen and started worrying about college, and how to make a gravity bong. Then it happened. Out of nowhere somebody turned a third tier Marvel character into a hit action movie and even though it wasn’t Spidey or Daredevil it was still a Marvel character and it was actually a decent movie. Blade, who’d a thunk it, right?
Next, came the mind-blowing cinemagasm of Bryan Singer glory called X-Men and everything just got awesome. Sure, you were at least 20, but don’t you see? Our generation never grew up for a reason. Those dum dum baby boomers came back from Nam with one mission left, coddle the crap out of your children and trip balls until you design the coolest toys, cartoons, comics, and video games the world has ever known. They still make our toys. Transformers, Care Bears, Star Wars action figures, and 80’s style G.I. Joe are still rocking the toy shelves, because they were the apex of childhood indulgence. Our generation of men keep reading comics, watching cartoons, and playing video games on our parents’ basement couches because the generation before us perfected the art of spoiling their kids, and thank the heavens for that.
Our development was just arrested enough for us to enjoy the crap out of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, Bryan Singer’s X-Men, Kenneth Brannagh’s Thor, and now Joss Whedon’s Avengers. Marvel and whatever studios they are affiliated with decided to hire REAL film makers who brought us “Evil Dead,” “Swingers,” “The Usual Suspects,” a bunch of Shakespeare movies, and “Firefly” to make real good movies using what we already knew were real good characters and real good stories.

© Marvel Comics

Sure, Ang Lee’s Hulk movie was a misfire, but he bounced back with a couple of amorous cowboys and Mark Ruffalo is a great Bruce Banner. No harm no foul. Even the steaming pile that was the Daredevil movie was just a speed-bump to what is now paying off as the investment in entertainment magic beans called comic books of the late eighties and nineties that paid off with at least five genius superhero movies in the aughts and teens.
Avengers is a really fun movie, but even if you don’t like it (and you are a sad little person if you don’t), just think back to those days of the super hero cinema depression and kick yourself for not realizing just how lucky you are.
 Miller still has his entire comic book collection from when he was an 8 year bifocal sporting youngster. That was over 70 years ago. If he’d sold them 15 years ago, he could of retired a rich man. Instead, he held onto them like a scrooge. With the comic book boom well behind us, those same comics are practically worthless. Instead of retiring rich, fat and happy.. he writes for us.
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NEWS and MUSINGS #2

This and that and other things..

3A

SUPREME NOM COMMANDER

Coming up this weekend (April 30th @ 9:00am HK time)  3A will release their long anticipated Supreme NOM Commander figure. Available in two variants, black (standard) and white (3AA exclusive) at $120 before 3AA discount. Early rumblings have been pretty polarizing with quite a few expressing their disappointment in her design while others love it so much they plan on purchasing both versions to join the ranks of their collection.

  

My wife saw these pics and said, “The scuba gear looks cool but what’s up with her feet?” To me, the feet are really interesting. I’ve heard them referred to as “ballerina slippers” and I suppose the resemblance is there. It’s my favorite part of the figure, if only because it’s so different than what we’ve seen from 3A before. The dangling tank looks a little odd to me. I’d rather it be on the side.. on her hip perhaps. I’m guessing it’s some sort of phallic this or that.. but that neither interest or shocks me. You may differ! I also wish 3A did a little more to push the overall design. I was hoping for something with a lot of layers.. various points of interest.. something DIFFERENT. Instead, the immediate first impression is “Scuba gear chic in ballerina pointe shoes who can neither sit down or easily walk.”

For now, my interest in her is fairly low. Lady Sham was teased earlier this month and shares a similar body suite, the same hands and a great new head sculpt. For me, it makes sense to pass on Supreme NOM and toss that money at Sham when she eventually drops.

What’s your take?

SOLID GOLD DEATHMASK BY RUFUS DAYGLOW

Rufus Dayglow is making his 3A debut with a wicked looking Faux Bronz statue from his Shiny Gold Deathmask series. No price or release info as of yet! Actoin figures based off of a quirky series about a violence inclined girl sauntering through various sorts of ancient Aztec-esque adventures? Frilly toothpicks? I’m for it!

Can’t wait to see what Rufus and 3A conjure up next!

Kotobukiya

Kotobukiya has teased a few of their awesome new Zone of Enders model kits on their facebook page. Being a big Hideo Kojima fan, Z.O.E along with Metal Gear Solid have a near and dear place in my video game laden heart. We hope to have a chance to do an early preview/review of  their Jehuty Zone of the Enders HD Version before they hit retail in August. I’ll post more info as it comes!

Another kit/series I’m excited to jump into is Kotobukiya’s Frame Arms. I don’t know much about them other than the few pictures I’ve seen online.. but I just love the look of this bot and can’t wait to see more!

Hot Toys

Keeping in line with my “must talk about anything Metal Gear Solid Related” personal mantra, Hot Toys has just released the first pics AND opened up preorders for their first to MGS offerings. Naked Snake and Boss.  I’m actually a little let down from what I’m seeing in the pics. Boss looks like a man, both their suits look rather cheap and plasticky and I’m just not loving Snakes headsculpt. Too much emphasis on the creepstache. Plus, is it just me or are their heads to big for their bodies?

Snakes looks the better of the two, but even he feels a little uninspired. Still, I can’t help but want to pick these up.. if only a little.

Available at Sideshow and probably at your favorite online toy retailer for somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 bones.

Other things

Everyone should buy this game right now. The Walking Dead

.. if your over 16 of course… 😉

Alright, that’s all I got! More stuff later! Until next time.

NEWS and MUSINGS

Just a few things that caught my eye over the past couple weeks. Thought I’d share.

3A

This week saw the release of 3A’s Palm in the Face Sunday JC over at Bambaland. A quasi-secret drop that was essentially word of mouth followed by lots of F5ing on their website until he popped up again.  At first it seemed as though he’d be extremely rare and difficult to get, but from my perusing of the threeA forums it seems that most of those vocal about their desire to own one, by the end of the sale had managed to lock him down.

In other 3A stuffs, read this to find out all the juicy exclusive release deets for their upcoming annual 3AHK Venture, just around the corner. A glimpse of some of the announced 1/6 figs exclusive to the show can be seen in 3A’s VOX newsletter. Tomorrow Kings are always in high demand, so I’m happy to have even a tiny chance to grab one.

The biggest news (at least from my point of view) coming out of 3A is their brand spanking new (one of my top 5 game developers EVER) VALVE license announcement. Details are scant, but  Ashley Wood commented that it covers the full run of VALVE’s various franchises. We can expect to see everything from Gordan Freeman and Headcrab Zombies to Portal bots, Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead characters, possibly in Wood’s own style! Think about DOG for goodness sake! Supposedly the first “fruits” of this mighty combo will be seen at SDCC 2012 and we’ll be there to tell you all about it!

One last thing, if you’re into 2000 AD, then 3A’s Ro-Jaws sale is going live in just under 24 hrs! Follow the madness here and check out bambaland on  March 22nd 9 : 00 AM Hong Kong Time! (That’s tomorrow for anyone in US waters.)

Play Arts Kai

Very happy to see a plethora of Play Arts Kai figures are starting to show up in the hands of those lucky enough to have gotten them from more direct sources outside the US. We’ll be reviewing Solid Snake, Cyborg Ninja, Batman and Joker once their individual ships roll in. That day can’t come soon enough as my face is already purple from holding my breath.

pics by http://www.gginfinitenews.com/

Kotobukiya

I’ve said it before, but I’m super excited about Koto’s upcoming Mass Effect 3 Liara Bishoujo figure. She’ll come with a special code that will give you some exclusive in game gear to help Shepard save the galaxy.. again.

Also just announced is their awesome The Dark Knight Returns ARTFX Statue. Check it out here. It’s cool to see Frank Miller’s classic scene getting it’s due.

Other things

I just finished up the season finale of The Walking Dead. Wow, I can not wait until next season! What’d you think?

If you have 30 minutes to kill, it’d do you well to check out the campy fun of Danger 5, split up into five, five minute parts. Part 1 here.

Living under a rock or hefty stone? Then you may have missed this… I for one am holding my breath until June.

I’m a big Bioshock fan and Bioshock Infinate is one of my top most anticipated games of the year! I’ve really enjoyed these villian pieces Irrational Games has been putting up on Youtube. There’s 3 so far and you can watch them all here.

Alright, more stuff later! Until next time.