DVD releases

“Looper”

Time travel is like meth to many writers. The plot gimmick has a powerful addictive draw despite, more often than not, it resulting in a slow, painful death.

Rian Johnson gave in to the attraction and uses time travel in “Looper.” The story is about a future where murders are so hard to commit that victims are sent 30 years into the past where hit men kill them and dispose of the bodies. It’s a profitable life for Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) until he has to kill his future self.

Johnson’s script doesn’t dwell on the time travel elements. Instead, it focuses on the relationships that emerge between these close encounters of the clock kind.

The most interesting is Joe’s connection to Sara (Emily Blunt), a single mother living on a remote farm with her special son. Joe’s presence in their lives shifts both her timeline and his own.

The only problem with the film is the side effects of a time travel story — even when handled with such thought and sincerity. If you allow yourself to ponder certain elements — like why Johnson creates parallel time lines with no explanation — then the film collapses on itself.

It’s best to step back and look at the story’s central questions: What are the elements that shape our lives and what influence do others have on us? That’s where the film is its strongest and why you should make time to see it.

Grade: B-

Also new

“Doctor Zhivago”: Keira Knightley stars in this adaptation of the Boris Pasternak’s novel that aired on “Masterpiece Theatre” in 2003.

“Cosmopolis”: Robert Pattinson stars in the David Cronenberg film based on the Don Delillo novel.

“War of the Dead”: Americans on a World War II mission must face the same soldiers they killed before. Andrew Tierman stars.

“The Thompsons”: Cursed vampires are looking for another clan who can help them survive.

Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

“Little Birds”: The friendship of two young women is tested when they leave home. Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker star.

“Lillie”: The 13-part drama looks at the life of Lillie Langtry, the British actress.

“Justified: The Complete Third Season”: Timothy Olyphant stars as the U.S. marshal who has a very old-school way of dealing with bad guys.

“Trial &Retribution: Set 6”: David Hayman and Victoria Smurfit play investigators on the London police force. These are the four concluding mysteries in the series.

“Being Human: The Complete Second Season”: Syfy Channel series about what happens when a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost share a house.

“Cat in the Hat: Hurray, It’s Valentine’s Day”: You can watch this animated story at home, you can watch it in Rome.

“The Trouble With Bliss”: A 35-year-old man (Michael C. Hall) has reached a dead end with his life.

Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

Talk to us

More in Life

Live-stream concert to offer ‘fresh vibes’ during pandemic

Zimbabwean-American musician ZNi International’s show will benefit Work2BeWell, a mental health initiative.

New sculpture rises above Everett’s arboretum at Legion Park

“We Rise,” by Everett sculptor Constance Jones, honors Zonta Club of Everett’s 90 years of service to women.

Snohomish Historical Preservation Commission member Fred Cruger with his dog, Duffy, in Arlington along one of the history walk sections at Centennial Trail. The event will be up through September. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Discover local history as you walk the Centennial Trail

Take a smartphone quiz as you stroll the trail. If you answer every question correctly, you’ll win a prize.

Amid pandemic, seniors have second thoughts on where to live

Some decide against communal living in retirement communities, and commit to staying in their own homes as long as possible.

Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake, photographed Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
These 4 recipes will prevent the heartbreak of blah desserts

Each of them is decadent and well worth the calories, and they’ll all become your new favorites.

A man walks past a free flu shot advertisement outside of a drugstore on August 19, 2020 in New York. (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
Q&A: Who should get the flu vaccine, and when?

Flu shots won’t prevent COVID-19, but it’s still important for everybody to be vaccinated, doctors say.

How to find a healthy ‘normal’ during life’s transitions

Avoiding gaps in self-care requires planning and thoughtfulness. Here are some tips from a doctor.

Rosemary Fish Fillets with Lemon Garlic Pasta. (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)
Lemon, garlic sauce, rosemary make flavorful fish dish

This recipe calls for mahi-mahi, but any type of firm white fish will work — snapper, tilapia or cod.

A course of traffic-cone slaloms is one way to help teens improve their driving skills. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Her teen is putting pedal to the metal for accident avoidance

She signed the new driver up for an advanced collision avoidance class taught by Defensive Driving School.

Most Read