On DVD & Blu-Ray: January 1, 2013

While the set up of Looper may sound a bit standard: time travel exists. A guy meets himself from the future. No big deal right? Seen it before, probably know where it's going. That is what makes this film so great. Though we've seen these tricks before, and in much worse fashion, director Rian Johnson has fleshed out a film where the set up incorporates time travel but doesn't allow it to drive the narrative. As an audience we are introduced to Joe in 2044 (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a young, hired gun whose job it is as a "looper" to instantly kill anyone the mob decides to send back in time to him. You see, time travel does not yet exist in 2044 either, but it does in the future. It was immediately outlawed and is only available for use on the black market. The mobs use it to dispose of guys they need taken care of and sending a man back in time to die immediately erases him from the future leaving no body for evidence. As young Joe, Gordon-Levitt wears a mug that allows us to believe he could age into Bruce Willis. He also incorporates a nice gravel into his youthful voice that hints at the extent the actor likely went in order to help us genuinely see the evolution of a man. Naturally, things are destined to fall apart. One can only expect this to happen when mere men attempt to take on the power of Gods. When a new mob boss in the future decides to start "closing loops" i.e. sending the older version of the looper back in time to kill himself; things get messy and future Joe (Willis) no longer likes the deal he made as a young man. The loopers receive a hefty reward for closing their loop and are relieved of their duties, but are burdened by what they know is coming. Even with the trailer you may think you know exactly where the film is heading but there are several different layers to the film that as it unfolds reveals to its audience that this is more epic moral tale than a futuristic effects fest. (Looper was released December 31, 2012)

There is likely not enough pages in the world that could ever wrap themselves around the multiple ideas and theories that are tossed out in David Cronenberg's latest Cosmopolis. The film is based on a 2003 novel by Don DeLillo that wasn't all that well received itself but clearly sparked some kind of intrigue in the director as he's developed the story into an hour and forty-five minute feature film full of thoughts but lacking a main idea. Like its main character played by the surprisingly commanding Robert Pattinson the film believes itself to be smarter than everyone else. This plan of keeping the basic plot so simple that the overall story can seemingly go anywhere seems to backfire on the director and everyone involved as the film generally doesn't consist of much at all and it feels like it. There are those slickly made films every now and then that are so simple they are fascinating in their execution but Cosmopolis can't slip under the radar no matter how many big words it tries to throw at its audience. As I walked out of the theater I was still puzzled as to what I'd just experienced and couldn't really comprehend if any of it really meant anything to me, if any of it left an impression on me. Sure, there were certain pieces of dialogue, theories even that I found interesting and would liked to have seen explored further, but when it all comes down to that final (and only) tension filled scene we realize that nothing has built to this point. Not even the self discovery of Pattinson's asset manager Eric Packer can rescue the film from its dialogue and metaphoric heavy messages. There is something to the film that is strangely engaging, I'll give it that, but not enough to warrant the idea of translating these words to the screen. C-

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