Archive for the ‘L’Category

Looper

Being that I rarely go to movies in theaters, I do a lot of filtering on what movies I actually see based on the reviews of others. Probably not the greatest tactic if you run a website that, in fact, reviews movies. As you can see by my reviews, though, I manage to avoid a lot of mediocre-to-bad movies. One of the big things I took away from the summer was Prometheus wasn’t as good as everyone hoped it would be, The Dark Knight Rises was good but not as good as The Dark Knight, and Looper was really, really good.

After having seen it, I can agree – Looper, is in fact, really good. The barely recognizable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Jeff Daniels are all excellently cast as are many of the lesser roles (I wanted more Paul Dano, though!)

The story is interesting. In 2074, time travel is invented and immediately outlawed. It is only being used by organized crime to take out people before they essentially exist. The “loopers” are paid to kill and dispose of people sent back in time. They are paid handsomely, but part of the deal is they are forced to kill the “old” versions of themselves. Meaning once they kill the old version of themselves, they have 30 years to enjoy their riches before they will be killed.

There are some slight logic problems I had with the story. I’m not sure if watching the movie a second time would help solve those problems or if it would compound the problems. My other major beef was all of the optical flares in the movie. Besides Micheal Bay’s Transformers, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a movie with this many optical flares. Many of them seemed to be post-production, as well, which makes it kind of annoying.

Overall, I’d say Looper was a highly enjoyable movie that will obviously make you think. For a movie that I consider pretty great, the ending was kinda so-so (better than No Country for Old Men or Hoop Dreams, but still mediocre in comparison to the rest of the movie). If you’re a fan of movies, it’s definitely a movie worth checking out on dvd, though.

8.5

out of 10

11

12 2012

The Long Green Line

Joe Newton is to high school cross country as Bob Hurley is to high school basketball. As the coach of a suburban school in a large metro region, he’s been there forever and, in the words of DJ Khaled, all he does is win.

As the 2008 documentary about his York (IL) cross country team The Long Green Line shows, though, Coach Newton cares much more about winning. As he shows many times throughout the documentary, he has the intensity and fire of Bobby Hurley combined with the love and compassion of Dick Vermeil. The Long Green Line follows Joe Newton and the York cross country team during the 2005 season as they attempt to win the school (and Newton’s) 25th state title.

The stars of the movie aren’t necessarily the top 7 (out of 221) boys on the team who wind up runner at the state meet. In fact, John Fisher (an autistic kid with a lot of love for his cross country team) and Connor Chadwick (one of the slowest kids on the team who suffers from cerebral palsy) are as important to both the team and the movie as the fastest kids.

In the middle of the season, Coach Newton kicks off one of his top 7 runners. Shortly thereafter, two of his top 7 runners are arrested (and, of course, kicked off the team) for causing millions of dollars in damage in a starting a house fire the past summer. His top two runners, twins Matt & Eric Dettman, contract a viral infection late in the season and are running nowhere near their best.

The movie has everything you want from a documentary. A great central character, an interesting storyline, and an unforeseen plot twist make this story worth watching for sports fans. Created by first-time director (and former York student) Matthew Arnold at times looks really professional, but has a few sequences that look rather shaky and/or amateurish. Given the lack of budget and lack of experience, it’s probably to be expected (I, for one, have made a movie on a low budget that at times looks less than ideal). As a whole, though, he’s done a fantastic job of conveying an interesting story about a legendary coach.

7.5

out of 10

05

10 2012