Entries tagged with “Joseph Gordon-Levitt”.


There are films based on graphic novels (comics books) heroes and action stories and the genre is flourishing making happy studios and fans of all ages. And there are the ‘Sin City’ films which are graphic novels on screens.  ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ directed by (who also created the books that inspired them) and is only the second in this genre. I liked it. I will try to explain the reasons and the difference.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

 

The first thing to notice with ‘Sin City 2′ (as for the first one almost one decade earlier) is that it does not pretend to be anything else that it is. It is a comics story which is directly designed for the big screen rather than for the paper support of the graphic novels. The story (there are actually three almost independent story threads) is simple and relies mostly on action. No psychological or character development is to be expected from its heroes, they are from the first time they appear on screen until the moment they die or the end of the movie (what comes first) ‘The Drunken Righteous’, ‘The Dangerous Vamp’, ‘The Corrupt Senator’,'The Nice Face Gambler’, etc. The actors either wear masks () or they are their own masks (, , , , , ). Most of them create their own characters as graphical novel heroes. The only one who holds some mystery and hides – at least for some time – her real intentions is the character played by . All seem to enjoy themselves greatly to be in the film.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

All this concept is supported by a superb cinematographic solution which places the actors on sets that seem to be drawn in comics style and uses mostly black-and-white with touches of selected colors as in the mid 20th century comics books combined with the cinema masterpieces of ‘film noir’ from the same period. The execution is perfect, and the action scenes not only support the stories but also create moments of aesthetic wonder and fit perfectly in the atmosphere. The concept and the execution make of ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ a rare combination of good entertainment and stylish cinema.

 

Sometimes I feel sorry for not liking a movie. It usually happens when I see tones of good intentions and talent put into a film, and yet the result is a disaster, or very far below the expectations. This is the case with this film written, directed and acted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If one looks at the cinematographic record of this 32-years young man he will see 63 movies on his acting record, 6 entries as a director and only 2 as a writer. These numbers actually tell the story of why ‘Don Jon’ is such a failure (IMHO of course).

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2229499/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2229499/

 

Don Jon has in my eyes the most unbelievable and PC-twisted story that I have seen lately. Jon (J.G.-L. himself acting) is a blue collar (way of saying, we never know what his work is) young guy from New Jersey. His life is as empty in content as any life of a hero from New Jersey seems to be in movies – he works, goes to the gym, drives as crazy to church on Sundays, then confesses the sins of the previous week to the priest, and begins sinning again. At night he hangs out in discos with his friends, chases girl, beds a number of them – not in the low numbers, and they are all good looking. Did I say he is good looking too? There is only one problem – he is also a porn addict. After having sex with women, he sneaks out of the bed to watch porn! Even when he meets ‘the most beautiful thing in the world’ (Barbara – Scarlett Johansson) and falls in love with her he cannot give up his habit. Which of course, endangers the relationship. Well, losers and twisted minds exist, and they make movies about them, some are good. The problem is that in this story the script decided that vice needs a cure, and the cure comes under the face of a much older woman (Julianne Moore) who teaches him a great secret – well, I will not tell more, just that this seems so conventional that it is really ridiculous.

 

(video source MOVIECLIPS Trailers)

 

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is actually a perfect fit for the role, and Scarlett Johansson succeeds to bring to life the emptiness behind the physical beauty of a ‘suburb princess’. Julianne Moore is a fine actress, but unfortunately she fails to convince and lacks the magnetism necessary to make the ‘cure’ credible. It was also great to see again Tony Danza of ‘Who’s the Boss’ fame as Jon’s father (or Jon’s variant 25 years later). Director Joseph Gordon-Levitt has some interesting ideas, although I am not crazy about the trend of using video clips techniques in a repetitive manner in feature movies like this one. Unfortunately neither the actors (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt), nor the director Joseph Gordon-Levitt could compensate the flaws of the script written by writer Joseph Gordon-Levitt. From my point of view his only success with ‘Don Jon’ is to have made the first film with Scarlett Johansson that I did not like.

Once the future was projected in movies as a colorful and peaceful environment, where most of the human challenges will come from encounters with other civilizations and the confrontation with humanity’s own thirst in discovering the Universe and breaking all its frontiers. Then the dark political fiction interfered, as movies like 1984 and Brazil brought up to screen the social nightmares  of a world dominated by totalitarianism. Nowadays almost all movies that deal with the future seem to be dark dystopias that describe the planet after some kind of atomic, biological or ecological apocalypse, or in the best case a society that became some kind of Orwellian nightmare. Director Rian Johnson‘s Looper is no exception, as the world of 2044 or 2074 in the film is dominated by violence, human life has lower price than ever, and the technology progress did not bring to mankind any happiness (neither cleaner streets). Time travel was invented but quickly forbidden, as organized crime took over, and as with any forbidden substance or weapon it is the mafia that controls the illegal trade.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1276104/?

 

‘Loopers’ are paid killers whose mission is to execute in cold blood in the year 2044 the victims targeted by the mob of 2074 to die. The trick and the trigger of the story is that 30 years later it may be decided that the looper is the one to die, and then if the sentence is not put in action a loop is created. Loopers are not allowed to feel any mercy, not even to their own self in the future. The smart script of this film, one of the smartest that I have seen lately avoids with the twist of a sentence the hard questions asked when the two instances of the same paid killer (Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meet in one of the scenes that is hard to forget for anybody who saw the film. ‘Too complicated, let us not enter the details’. And if details are left apart, this story works perfectly, and the ending makes a lot of sense in a story which could easily get too complicated and too hard to follow.

 

(video source SonyPictures)

 

It’s hard to tell from this film that writer and director Rian Johnson is almost a newcomer in the world of Hollywood. Not only the pace of the film is perfectly tuned accelerating and slowing as the story demands, and the cinematography choices he made seem efficient and the story and dialogs create the atmosphere of distrust that lets the viewer ask all the time what is meant by the sequence he watches and what comes next, without explaining things too early or too late – there is also something in the realistic style he picks that makes the story credible and the characters resonate with viewers despite the unusual situations they are facing. Bruce Willis proves once more that he is much more than an action hero actor (although the fans of Die Hard will find here a few scenes that will remind them their beloved character), Joseph Gordon-Levitt approaches the role with a self-confidence and a palette of nuances that makes me believe that we may have in him another megastar of tomorrow,  while Emily Blunt confirms the good vibrations I felt watching her in The Adjustment Bureau. Looper is a more than satisfying action thriller, it is one of the best written, directed and acted films I have seen in the last year.