Hunted by your future. Haunted by your past.

I’m not going to say a lot about Looper here, probably because I’m presuming that Benjie and I will talk about it on the next episode of the podcast. But I share a few very brief, very unnecessary comments…

Like, for example: I really liked this movie.

I really liked Brick, and I really liked The Brothers Bloom prior, so I went into this movie expecting to like it, plus it’s Rian Johnson dealing with time travel, which is one of my favorite sci fi devices, and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the young exciting actor that I think everyone’s rooting for these days, right? So me liking this is not all that shocking, but this is a vastly different movie than Johnson’s previous films.

Brick was amazing, and as much as I liked its indie polish and the cleverness of transporting film noir into a typical American high school setting, I was more dazzled by the dialogue. That is a movie that is entranced by and enthralling in its dance to the music of words.

And The Brothers Bloom was also incredibly clever, playing with the style of films from eras past, making them modern, but never losing the cleverness of those tropes. But the movie was a bit precious, a bit twee, if you will, which the same argument could be made for Brick as well.

But then there’s Looper, which feels… a little more grounded, a little more hardcore, a little more mature, perhaps. This film is essentially a very geeky and more humanistic remake of parts of The Terminator, and then it turns into a western. On the past two episodes of the podcast, Benjie and I were discussing the various different forms of time travel out there, and one of the many things I like about Looper is that it is the perfect example of time travel in the movies. Is it the most realistic, the most accurate as far as dealing with cause and effect and the danger of paradoxes? No. But it is exactly what you want to see in a movie. It is a wonderful example of Time Travel In A Visual Medium.

And are there plot holes? (Or loopholes?) Yes, of course. But aren’t plot holes a constant in any movie featuring time travel? Aren’t they almost a requirement?

Also in film law correlation, but with spoilers: No one can touch Bruce Willis in psuedo-hero mode. This is the third time where he’s played a character who’s encountered a younger version of himself, and all of his bullets hit his targets and none of his foes’ bullets can hit him. The only thing that can stop him when he’s in Terminator mode is temporal murder/suicide.

(Also, loved that this is the first film to address Willis’ male pattern baldness realistically.)

Rian Johnson has now done movies featuring murder mysteries, con men, and also time travel. Some of the absolute favorite types of stories, at least to this nerd. Perhaps we can change the name of the podcast to Time Travel Murder Mystery Sexy Confidence Man Shenangians.

Or, more importantly, aren’t you dying to know what Johnson will dabble in next? As much word of mouth as this filmmaker gets, and more so lately in the advance buzz leading up to Looper‘s release, he still doesn’t get enough. He’s doing it incredibly subtly, but I like to think that Johnson is literally crafting some of the genre cinema of the future, and people aren’t paying nearly enough attention.

In the past week, Peter Jackson has publicly  proclaimed his love for Doctor Who and his desire to direct an episode and the moronic world at large has celebrated this and the BBC is seemingly now going to move Heaven and Earth to make that happen. Sigh. Whatever. This is the same week that Rian Johnson has also declared his love for the show and the desire to do an episode (the same for Game Of Thrones), and that seems all that more intriguing and exciting to me. I don’t watch Breaking Bad, but I hear the episodes he directed of it were pretty impressive, at least visually.

I’m not going to talk about the prosthetics that poor JGL was saddled with once they cast Bruce Willis in the film, except to say that JGL is an actor who can clearly thrive despite them, and you have to admire a film that is that committed to its set up to force such a thing on its lead.

Anyway, I’m saying more here than I intended, and plenty that I’ll probably repeat in a few days time (it’s like looking into the future, that). Oh, one last tidbit that I don’t want to leave out…

It’s fascinating that Shane Carruth was involved in the visual effects of this film, especially considering that he’s done probably the most mind bendingly accurate time travel movie ever, Primer. Probably a big contributor to why the effects looked as good as they did considering how low this film’s budget was.

from here.

Anyway. This was all inelegantly put down, I know, but I didn’t want to let the time pass without me saying something about Looper here, doing so with a bunch of pictures, or doing it without a few time travel puns. Go see the movie if you haven’t already, and then, even though time travel hasn’t been invented yet, go back to the theater and see it again. The person sitting in the dark there next to you might just be you, from either the past or the future.

For one time and one place.

Tonight’s movie:

Sans Soleil, by Chris Marker, who’d previously done the short film La Jetée, which served as the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s excellent 12 Monkeys.

The film is an experiment take on the documentary and the travelogue as a ficticious filmmaker sends footage and letters back to a woman, who narrates/shares with us his thoughts. It moves from place to place, not really concerned with narrative, and spends some time in Japan, Iceland, Paris, and San Francisco, where it pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s amazing Vertigo, probably my favorite film ever.

The film deals a lot with the ideas of travel and loneliness and memory (“remembering is not the opposite of forgetting“) and the idea that our memories can be replaced with film as a document, amongst other things. This is one of those movies I put on when I want to relax and it never fails to do the trick.

The English version of the film opens with this quote from T. S. Eliot’s Ash Wednesday:

“Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place”

Marker’s an enigmatic and reclusive filmmaker, mostly sticking to the documentary form, and careful to never let himself become the subject of the story. He refuses to do interviews and when he’s asked for a picture of himself, he instead sends along a picture of his cat, Guillaume. But that’s another story for another time. I’ll leave you with live footage of Blonde Redhead performing their song “Ego Maniac Kid” in front of a project of Marker’s Battle Of Ten Million

Paleofuturism.

There’s nothing cuter than retro-futurism. It’s just adorable.

And yet, it leaves me wondering about the simple things in life. Happiness. Love. Acceptance. Security. And also, where is my fucking jetpack?

I mean, seriously.

Granted, this “Not My Future!”/”Where’s my jetpack?” ennui has been around for a while, and sloganized (the sign of all things nearing what should be a healthy death in the pop culture eye), but it’s especially trying when James Bond had a jetpack of sorts back in 1965 and then had laser guns and bad Star Wars rip off fun back in 1979 (along with Dr. Holly Goodhead and future chucks).

A laser watch? 007 gets a laser watch. Come on, throw me a frickin’ bone here, man.

The other night I was reading an interesting big on a variant of the Fermi paradox, but dealing with time travel, and I really wished I had saved the link. The Fermi paradox, by the way, is contradiction of… Well, if there are aliens out there, higher civilizations, or at least something more advanced than class 1 or 2 civilization and capable of traveling between worlds, then why haven’t we been contacted them (and no, abducting wack jobs and cattle and anal probing the hell out of them is not “contact,” no matter how right it’s done). Essentially the same idea applies to time travel: If people could come back from the future, then why haven’t they?

Especially if you think about how a person from a few decades in the future could travel back with the common cold from their time period to now, when we don’t have those several decades worth of immunities, and do some serious damage.

Oh well. I guess that just leaves us angry time travelers, all stuck going forward only and at the same speed.

All right, you primates, listen up…

I’m from the future, man. And I’m high!

Come with me if you want to talk about groping and economic reform in hard times.

Oh well, I guess that for now… that’s all we have. The here and now:

And people who paint giant penises on top of their house.

The media’s just a bit fucked of late.

Speaking of which, after effectively accepting an honorary title of douchbaggery, Jim Cramer is now calling Jon Stewart and the Daily Show’s reporting on CNBC “naïve and misleading.”

“The Decider” is writing a book about decisions. Fantastic. At least he’s not getting any of that big time Clinton “Fuck You money.”

Bill O’Reilly is boycotting Sean Penn films. I apologize for even mentioning that. That’s not even news.

But in related news: Meghan McCain. What the hell?

Oh, and today is the day that SKYNET takes over! Er, I mean, Conficker. Whatever.

Oh, and yeah, today is April Fool’s Day:

This actually makes a certain kind of sense.

Talking porn and Hollywood with Alan Moore.

The secret fetish art of Joe Shuster, Superman’s co-creator.

Say hello to the days of the future past. Now say goodbye.

Now is the era of the end of excess. If you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna go slip into my little time machine and go back in time (and maybe buy some Apple stock or something). Catch you in another time, another place.