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Posts Tagged ‘Rian Johnson’

Knives Out

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

I was a Rian Johnson skeptic for years. I can’t deny it. I recognized BRICK as original and well directed, but couldn’t swallow its stylized world of teen noir (“in my day a dude walking around with a duck cane was in for a serious ass beating, he would not be running a drug empire,” I wrote), skipped the second one because I thought it was gonna be bootleg Wes Anderson, liked LOOPER but recoiled at people talking like it was the Second Coming (“I feel a little out of step here. I mean I like it, but I don’t want to fuck it”), and this may be out of line but I have always thought his credits should read “Written and directed by Rian [sic] Johnson.”

Then STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI came along – a movie I didn’t think he was qualified to direct, but it turned out to be so much better than I expected, and so reinvigorating to a trilogy I thought was going in an emptier, more obvious direction. All the sudden I wanted to hear everything the guy had to say, listened to interviews, started spelling “Ryan Coogler” as “Rian Coogler,” and even considered maybe seeing THE BROTHERS BLOOM some day.

So I was much more open-minded for his new laughdunit mysteryblast KNIVES OUT, which sure enough is a fun time for all without anything that felt too corny, forced or self conscious for me. Only in the last shot did I think “oh, this is kind of Wes Andersony.” And by then it wasn’t gonna bother me much. (read the rest of this shit…)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Monday, December 18th, 2017

This is an ALL SPOILER review, written assuming that everybody has seen THE LAST JEDI before reading.

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If you’re not familiar with my take on the Star Wars, I’m a devout follower, but a heretic. I’m out of step with the mainstream because I hold George Lucas in high regard and I prefer the innovation, ideas and idiosyncrasies of his prequels to Disney’s more polished and socially acceptable continuations (though I like those too).

I’ve also been pretty alone in my skepticism about director Rian Johnson. That might be overstating it – I thought BRICK was very well made and I did like LOOPER – but some of the ideas are a little corny to me, and I never related to the effusive praise from my friends and colleagues. So I wasn’t over-the-forest-moon about him doing a Star War.

After THE LAST JEDI, though, I’m sold. And worried about him not doing the next one. In his capacity as the first sole-writer-and-director on a Star War since Lucas, Johnson succeeds in so much more than I could’ve hoped: continuing and deepening the characters from THE FORCE AWAKENS, bringing back Luke Skywalker for a powerful completion to his arc, thrillingly upending some of our expectations, putting a personal mark on the world of Star Wars, and saying new things about the meaning of the saga as a whole and its application to the world. Also there are some weird new creatures, and Luke milks one of them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Looper

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

LOOPER is the new time travel related science fictional picture by Bruce Willis. But due to scheduling conflicts Bruce is only in part of the movie, most of the time he’s played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (SHADOWBOXER) with a fake nose. This one is written and directed by Rian Johnson, the guy that did BRICK.

“Looper” is a made up futuristic word similar to how “Rian” is a made up spelling of a real name. I’m not buying either one. But I did like the movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Brick

Friday, April 14th, 2006

BRICK sounds like a good name for a blaxploitation movie about a dude named Brick, but that’s not what it is. It’s actually a detective movie starring all teenagers. There are only two grown ups in the whole movie, and one of them, incidentally, is Shaft.

At first I thought it was like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION where a bunch of kids made the movie but they didn’t know very many grownups who would hang out in the backyward with them so they just got their friends from class to play adults. But then I realized no, it’s just a gimmick. It’s kind of like those movies like BUGSY MALONE and HAWK JONES where it’s kids playing adult type characters. Or like that episode of M.A.S.H. where a magic genie turns them all into kids but they have little kid-sized army uniforms and they build a tree house and do combat surgery in there. Or what about Veggie Tales, it’s like that only instead of vegetables as the Bible it’s teens as hard boiled noir type characters. (read the rest of this shit…)