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Pedal Power!


PREMIUM RUSH (2012) Director: David Koepp Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung, Wole Parks  Rating: PG-13 for violence, language, and guys on bikes breaking traffic laws willy nilly with the speeding and the driving on the sidewalk…

According to the opening narration of Premium Rush, there are 1,500 bicycle messengers in New York City, and speaking as a former New Yorker who was nearly run over more times than he can remember by these two wheeled hotdogs, I’d say that number is probably right.

Day in and day out these fingerless glove wearing warriors zip through heavy traffic on their beat up cycles, delivering important documents across town because E-mail, instant messaging, the USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex are for bike hating squares!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper) stars as Wilee, a guy who dropped out of law school to be a bike messenger because lawyers have to wear suits and aren’t allowed to ride bikes in the courtroom. He’s having a bad day because things with his on again/off again girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) are off again and another messenger named Manny (Wole Parks) is trying to take away Wilee’s title of most awesome bike messenger in the history of forever.

Wilee is dispatched to Columbia University to pick up a very important envelope from Vanessa’s roommate Nima and deliver it to Chinatown right away because it’s very important to the plot and we won’t find out why until later in the movie. Unfortunately the envelope is also wanted by oily NYPD detective Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon with a fierce New Yawk accent) for reasons we will also learn about later in the movie, but not as later as Nima’s thing.

The race is on as Monday chases Wilee through the streets to get his hands on the envelope. But Monday soon finds out his career as a corrupt cop is not all fun and games because Wilee (who as we know is the most awesome bike messenger in the history of forever) is able to elude him with his slick riding skills and total disregard for the safety of every pedestrian and motorist in the greater New York area.  Things get even more complicated when Vanessa, Manny, and the entire NYPD get in on the fun. Can Wilee get the super important envelope to Chinatown by 7PM and collect the thirty dollars he’ll get for the delivery?

That’s right. He’s risking his life for thirty bucks. Probably should have stayed in law school there Wilee.

Premium Rush is a slickly made film with plenty of thrills and breakneck stunts. Oh, and pedaling. Lots and lots of pedaling. How much pedaling? Compared with other bicycle themed movies, Premium Rush has more pedaling than American Flyers, but not as much pedaling as Breaking Away.  

But wait, how much pedaling does Premium Rush have compared to the other big screen movie about bike messengers – the 1986 Kevin Bacon drama Quicksilver?

I’d say the advantage goes to Premium Rush. Man, I’m so glad I spent years taking carefully detailed notes on how much pedaling is in every movie that featured bicycles and bicycle riding. It finally paid off. Awesome.




They Call Us Bruce!


LOOPER (2012) Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Grodon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels Rating: R for violence, language, and Piper Perabo’s nekkid boobs! 

True story!

The other day I was sitting in my living room drinking a cup of Celestial Seasons tea and watching the two part episode of  Knight Rider where Michael Knight battles his evil twin Garth and his supertruck Goliath (which was awesome by the way), when suddenly another me emerged from the bedroom.

I must admit I was a little freaked out when me walked in on me. Aside from the possibility of tearing the space time continuum like in the sci fi movies, I never realized how funny I walked.

“Hey me. I’m future you,” my other self said. “I used a time machine to get here. From the future.”

“Oh hi.” I replied. “I don’t know if you know this, but we walk funny. ”

“Yeah, listen up Sparky, I have no time for that idiotic chatter you call humor,” my other self yelled.

Apparently I become a bit of an asshat in the future.

“Later on today you will decide to do another one of your DVD Critics blog things. Whatever you do, DO NOT watch and review Looper, a time travel thriller starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If you do, the future will be ruined beyond repair!”

“Really?” I asked nervously.

“Nah, I’m just messin with ya,” my future self said. “Review whatever movie you want. It won’t have any impact on the future whatsoever…. Or will it?  Oh, and you’re out of aspirin.”

And then the other me flipped me off and vanished.

Needless to say, I turned off Knight Rider and watched Looper because I’m not going to let anyone (even myself) influence what movies I review for this blog. Plus, I wanted to cover my bases because I’m not sure if my future self was just yanking my chain.

Man, when do I become such an asshat?

In the year 2074, time machines exist but the only people who use them are mobsters because they know how to have fun. Since you can’t dispose of bodies in 2074 (apparently shovels are extinct or something) anyone the mob wants to kill is set back in time to 2044 where a “looper” is waiting with a big gun to do the deed.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a fake nose) is a looper in good standing with local mob boss Abe played by a rumpled Jeff Daniels, who looks like he was woken from a nap right before they filmed his scenes.  Joe loves killing time travelers by day and partying at night with his fellow loopers in an unnamed city that is apparently only inhabited by the douchey hipsters from those Ketel One vodka commercials.

Sadly all good things must come to an end for Joe and his looper pals when a future crime lord known as The Rainmaker starts “closing the loop” by sending any old loopers still alive in 2074  back in time to be killed by their younger selves, which is a really crappy retirement gift no matter what time period you live in.

When young Joe finds himself pointing a gun at his older self, things get very complicated when old Joe escapes his younger self with little difficulty because old Joe is Bruce Willis and young Joe is the kid from Third Rock from the Sun. 

Turns out old Joe has a plan to hunt down this Rainmaker guy when he is a little kid in the past and kill him before he can grow up to order Joe’s execution. That’s right, Bruce Willis wants to murder a kid. In case you haven’t guessed by now, Looper isn’t Back to the Future where time travel was good family fun; mostly because Doc Brown didn’t let Marty McFly murder kids!

Young Joe races frantically to “close the loop” and stop old Joe before Abe and his henchmen kill him so he can’t become old Joe.  Young Joe discovers that one of old Joe’s targets is a small farmboy who might grow up to become The Rainmaker. He befriends the boys Mom Sara (Emily Blunt) who actually believes young Joe’s story that a man from the future is coming to murder her child.

Hmmm. A woman named Sara is trying to protect her child from a murderer sent from the future. Where have I heard that story before?

Anyway, will young Joe be able to stop old Joe before he completes his deadly mission and forever alters the future?

If you think Looper is going to be a slam bam action flick because Bruce Willis is starring in it, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re a sci fi enthusiast (nerd) like me who enjoys movies that explore the cause and effect theories of the space time continuum in a fresh way, you’re going to like Looper.

So in summation, I liked Looper, a thriller with a unique take on a well worn sci fi subject that really makes you think. In fact, I thought about this movie a bit too hard, because I have a little headache right now.

Do I have any aspirin?