Rian Johnson Serves Up Scoop on Looper, Brick and Breaking Bad

by Ethan Alter September 25, 2012 6:01 am
Rian Johnson Serves Up Scoop on <i>Looper</i>, <i>Brick</i> and <i>Breaking Bad</i>

Setting a Philip Marlowe-like detective story, complete with pulpy dialogue and a twist-laden narrative, in high school sounds like a recipe for disaster. But writer/director Rian Johnson somehow pulled it off in his 2005 breakthrough Brick, a movie that's acquired a devoted cult following in the seven years since its release. Johnson himself has gone on to acquire a significant fanbase as well, through his work on movies like The Brothers Bloom and two terrific episodes of Breaking Bad, Season 3's "Fly" and Season 5's "Fifty-One." His latest feature Looper, which opens on Friday, reunited Johnson with his Brick star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Joe, a hitman living in a near-future where time travel is used by the Mob to get rid of any undesirables. These assassins -- or "loopers" -- are tasked with killing the people their bosses send back in time, a job that Joe carries out with relish... that is until he discovers that his next target is none other than his future self (Bruce Willis). On a recent publicity tour though New York, Johnson sat down to talk with us about time travel movies, whether he'll ever revisit Brick and if he'll be directing one of the finale eight episodes of Breaking Bad.

Shining Through: Rodney Ascher Checks Us In To Room 237

by Ethan Alter October 9, 2012 6:15 am
<i>Shining</i> Through: Rodney Ascher Checks Us In To <i>Room 237</i>

After we first saw Rodney Ascher's documentary Room 237 during its world premiere at Sundance back in January, two thoughts ran through our heads: 1) This movie is terrific; and 2) There's no way anyone else will be able to see it, right? A thoughtful, innovative and hugely entertaining dissertation about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, narrated by a quintet of individuals with very particular (and peculiar) theories about this horror classic, Room 237 is made up entirely of clips from the original movie, which posed a variety of potential copyright and licensing issues. Fortunately, since its Sundance debut, Ascher has toured the world with his film, showing it a variety of prestigious festivals (including Cannes and Toronto) and even scored a distribution deal with IFC Films, which will release it in theaters in March of next year. Before then, Room 237 can still be seen at a few festivals, including the New York Film Festival this week and Chicago's film festival the week after. While in town for the movie's NYFF premiere, Ascher spoke with us about his own love for The Shining, why he considers himself a walking, talking Rotten Tomatoes and what Stephen King might make of Room 237.

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