Hypable TIFF Movie Review: ‘Looper’

2:00 pm EDT, September 8, 2012

Time travel has always been a popular device in science fiction storytelling and the new thriller Looper uses it to great effect. It lays out a future society in the year 2074 where bridging the gap between the past and present is possible but also highly illegal. Writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) balances heavy ideas in his most accomplished feature to date but also manages to be complex without being alienating, the toughest nut to crack in time travel stories.

As the film begins we learn the initial setup, criminal organizations have monopolized time travel in 2074 and when they want someone dead, they don’t run the risk of killing them in their own backyard. Instead, they transport these unwanted souls thirty years into the past, where an assassin, or looper as they’re called, is waiting to fire the kill shot as soon as they appear. Sending targets from the present to be killed in the past erases all traces of the crime, “closing the loop” as the film puts it. Our protagonist Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such looper and he’s skilled at his job. He doesn’t ask questions, loves to live the good life and is starting to save up for the future.

But when the future literally comes knocking on Joe’s next assignment, he sees that his next target is his future self from 2074 (played by Bruce Willis). The decision of whether or not to pull the trigger sets off a chain reaction of events that are among the most daring and thought-provoking in recent memory. This is when Looper slowly starts showing its layers and revealing that this is a science-fiction headtrip in blockbuster clothing.

The idea of killing your future self is chilling enough but to be put in a cat-and-mouse game with past and present versions of the same man raises questions of morality and curiosity that writer-director Johnson is more than eager to explore. Looper has fun toying with these ideas and pursing the “what if’s” of time travel essentially making this a thinking man’s action movie. The supporting cast of Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano is another hint that this is not your ordinary studio film.

Credit is also due to Gordon-Levitt who continues to impress with his string of subdued and introverted performances. While many may point to the fact that he and Bruce Willis are playing the same character and look nothing alike, that shouldn’t matter. If you’re too busy staring at makeup and prosthetics to notice the thrill ride in front of you, you’re obviously in the wrong movie.

Grade: A

Rated: R (for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content)

Looper opens in theaters on September 28, 2012 and was screened as the Opening Night film at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?

Uh oh — fans of Nick and Jess aren’t going to like this news! Megan Fox is returning to New Girl in season 6 for a major arc.

Last season, Megan Fox stepped in to fill in Jess’ place while Zooey Deschanel was on maternity leave. During that time, Fox’s character Regan grew quite close to Nick! They even ended up going to Cece and Schmidt’s wedding together and made plans for the summer. With awful timing too, since it seemed like Jess was just about ready to admit her feelings for Nick.

Now TV Line is reporting that Fox will be returning for a huge story arc in New Girl season 6. It’s believed that Nick will return home from his summer with Regan alone, but she will appear around the middle of the season. The timing of her appearance is due to Fox’s own pregnancy with her third child.

If we had to guess, we’d say that the writers will definitely be throwing some angst into the script. It always seems like either Jess or Nick is pining for the other while they’re in a relationship. Will Jess try to get over her feelings for Nick with someone else? Or will she just try to show him why they should be together? Fans will have to wait and see when the show returns!

New Girl season 6 returns to Fox on September 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET!

Are you excited to see Megan Fox return to ‘New Girl’?