Movies with time travel are always troublesome, be it Terminator or Back to the Future. The basic paradoxes of going back in time - that of meeting and killing your past, of altering future events - are too great to overlook. Are their multiple timelines or just one universal one? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Did love really kill the dinosaurs? Flipping the bird to it all, Looper arrives on the scene.
The year is 2074 and technology in the USA has grown so awesome that it is impossible for mob bosses to make bodies disappear. To paraphrase Goldblum in Jurassic Park, crime found a way. Using the newly discovered (and promptly outlawed, like that was going to help) time travel technology, the mafia decides to send back targets thirty years into the past, to corn fields in Kansas, where Abe, a mob leader from the future, has installed trained assassin's, called Loopers, who shoot the targets as soon as they appear. The targets have bars of silver tied to their back which the Loopers collect as payment. When a target with gold bars appears, that means it is the future version of the Looper himself. Once the Looper kills his future self, “closing the loop”, he is retired and can live a life of luxury for 30 years. At least until the mob comes for him and sends him back to the past to get killed by his younger self.
Except, obviously, something goes wrong. Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a Looper, meets Old Joe (Bruce Willis) - his future self and ticket to retirement - and hesitates in killing him, letting Old Joe escape. It turns out Old Joe was enjoying retirement when the mob came for him and killed his wife. And the mob has a new boss, a ruthless telekinetic by the name Rainmaker. Old Joe is crazed for revenge and intends to hunt down the baby Rainmaker and kill him.
Yes, the paradoxes are heavy and no, there are no proper explanations offered. The timelines are all a mess, but if you can overlook it, it is a really good movie.
It is difficult to discuss the intricacies of the plot without giving it away. But we can tell you that the real attraction of the movie is cause and effect and the troubles of knowing the future. What does it take for a man to shoot his future self? How do you live when you know that one day, you'll be sent back to be shot by yourself, and you know that you will do it? It's a mind-bending proposition.
The film has that Inception-like effect of making you ask questions about the dynamics of it all. As for the acting, Gordon-Levitt does an awesome job of a hitman trying to find himself and Bruce Willis is intense as the revenge-obsessed Looper. Both the futures are rendered with excellent style and action sequences are pretty good.
Intelligent, stylish, and a smart sci-fi thriller, Looper is a very good movie, one of the best this year; as long as you are able to accept the basic premises of the time travel involved. But hey, if you could do it for Terminator, why not here?
You might notice Gordon-Levitt doesn't really look like Gordon-Levitt. That's because they added make up to make him look like a younger Bruce Willis. Somehow, it makes the movie slightly uncomfortable.
THE RIGHT SEASONING
"There are two kinds of people in this world - those who love television and filthy stinking liars.” You may disagree of course, but there is something so profoundly calming about watching re-runs of your favourite show and having lunch on a lazy afternoon that we refuse to believe that this statement could be remotely untrue. Our days probably would've been more productive had there been no Breaking Bad to hook us up. But the time spent working would have been as abysmal as getting an Eid train ticket, because, well, there would not have been any Arrested Development to carry us through. So we embrace television, in all its glory and vices. And as a vacation peeks at us through curtains of needless workload and pointless all-nighters, we pray to the Television gods to save us from going over to the dark side.
September and October may mean unpredictable weather and crappy schooldays; it also means that almost every American TV show is coming up with another new season. This is a good thing, because some of us don't have a whole lot of things to get us through the week. We gather among our 'dealer' friends, who somehow manage to download every new episode of everything, with their utopian internet connections and we get to have small talks with strangers about the absurdness of How I Met Your Mother being on air anymore.
Let's start with that, shall we? The once-beloved show has started its eighth (and final, we hope, but don't believe) season this September and one word to describe it would be meh. Taking all the life out of Barney Stinson made the show even blander, and while he is better in this season, the glory is gone. And we have seriously started believing that Ted's wife and kids must be a figment of his imagination. While Jason Segal leaving the show after this season is still a rumour, but the show is airing with a sense of decay over it. Granted, we are probably going to miss it, more out of habit than out of fondness, but a ninth season would be as pointless as Two and a Half Men is right now.
A classic example of “Just because of you can, doesn't mean you have to”, Two and a Half Men has reached the very end of rationality. Jon Cryer did not deserve that Emmy and this abomination of a show needs to stop. The Big Bang Theory is a tough show to comment on, six seasons past, it seems to have moved into a completely different direction than where it started. The sixth season's first few episodes shows Howard getting yelled at by his wife and mom, Raj being lonely, Penny and Leonard not going anywhere and Sheldon being, well, Sheldon. We can safely say nothing significant or decent is going to come off this season, apart from making the producers richer.
Moving onto comedies that actually work, Modern Family has turned it up a notch; gorgeous Gloria (Sophia Vergara) is pregnant, Cam and Mitcell gets a cat instead of a baby and Haley goes to college. “Great writing as usual, with a bit more emotional stuff going on; Modern Family's probably the funniest show on TV right now,” says Samanta. No matter how much NBC tries to get rid of 'intelligent comedies', Parks and Recreation and 30ROCK are still absolute treats to watch thanks to the brilliant writing of Amy Pohler and Tina Fey. 30ROCK didn't feel very solid last year, but the seventh season is supposed to be its last so we cut them some slack. Viewers have been waiting for years to see the new season of Arrested Development which is supposed to come out in 2013, along with new seasons of Game of Thrones and Sherlock.
With a cliff-hanger that was Dexter's season six finale, the viewers were tormented this long summer and couldn't wait to start season seven. “From the boring past two seasons, Dexter finally seemed to have improved a bit, let's see if they can hold onto it,”
Sabbir weighs in “With a season premier like that, we can be sure more of Debra's love-interest will be revealed.”
Suits is in the middle of its utterly enjoyable second season, and we can't get enough of handsome men in suits and those brilliant one-liners. Some of the viewers aren't keen on drama, as Shuvom put it, “The show itself is good, but it could do with less Jessica scenes; she brings pointless drama.” We don't mind drama though, but Downton Abbey took it a bit too far.
Go ahead. Watch TV. If people say it's a waste of your time, they are spreading propaganda. Ignore them. 'Television validates existence', as Calvin said, and it is far more important.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
By Neshmeen Faatimah
The issue with the current mainstream rock scene is the repeated failure to provide music that is the least bit original or creative. This pretty much explains both my expectations from 'Fight or Flight' and my reactions to it. Even though the album does give us slightly newer sounds this time - key word being slightly - lesser numbers of pop melodies and a few more serious and personal songs can't really be called a big step forward for the band that once upon a time had a compilation of great hits under its name. All that said however, Fight or Flight still deserves some credit, being a lot better than their previous “For (n) ever,” which was just plain boring.
Let's take it one step at a time. “This Is Gonna Hurt,” was a good opener that motivated one to give the album a proper listen - rough vocals, a subtle metal tinge, quick tempo and a catchy chorus. Halfway through the second song 'You Before Me', mixed feelings ensued. The song had this sloth-slow feel, without there being anything slow in it at all - singer Doug Robb just seemed to go on and on about the comforts of a relationship. Third song “The Fallen” had some really fun plays with bass lines but “Can You Save Me” was pure cheese covered cliché. Then “No Destination” brought some experimental stuff - what with the odd-timings, delays, and the pretty intense portion where Doug wailed above a mix of synths and guitars.
The second half of the album had a few softer songs - 'Slow Down,' 'Sing What You Can't Say,' and 'Magnolia.' Maybe they overdid the softie here. Most of the topics in these have already been covered by the band before, (also works for 'Incomplete', the tenth track) with better lyrics and instruments, but who knows. If this is the newfound independence and skin discovered by the band, in which according to Robb, they made no attempt to try to satisfy others, let 'em have it, I say.
Track seven, “No Win Situation” finally brought a bit of the rock vibe back, with a steady nostalgic beat incorporated in it, but was overshadowed by “A Thousand Words” which made for a gorgeous finale because of its brilliant instrumentals of simple but hypnotic acoustic riffs and drum patterns.
Hoobastank, in the past had been the 'good rock with an occasional romantic tune and sad song' type but lately they've turned into more of a 'good romantic tunes and sad songs with some occasional rock' type. It's not the best stuff out there, but I wouldn't go as far as saying it's plain horrible. Most bands these days have been slowly straying from their genres, and Hoobastank is one of them. If you can take the album solely for what it's worth, it might just be good enough.
THE EIGHT PAGES
By The Anarchist Kitten
In recent media, be it in movies or in games, the Slender Man has to be the scariest character created. He wears a black suit and is slender as his name suggests, with the ability to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths. But what's scariest about Slender Man is how little you know about him, or see of him.
What we do know of him is that he needs to kidnap children; he prefers fog enshrouded streets and wooded areas, children can see him when adults cannot and children dream of him before their disappearance. Once the Slender Man stretches his limbs, a prey walks into them in a hypnotic daze.
Slender begins with you in a forest at night equipped only with a flashlight (but your battery is limited). There are 10 different landmarks in the map, scattered throughout the woods including vehicles, a building, a giant tree, rocks, brick walls, a stone pillar, a tunnel, silo etc. all covered in deep darkness.
Your objective is simple. Roam the map of Slender, avoid the Slender Man and find eight manuscripts about him. The Slender Man becomes faster with each new manuscript uncovered. The more you run, the faster Slender Man will catch you. If you've collected 6 pages, Slender Man is on you and you can no longer look back. If you mistakenly look upon the Slender Man, you lose sanity and if your sanity gets to zero before finding all the pages, the game is over.
The game has limited interactivity but that adds to the fun. You can use your mouse to look around, and use W, A, S & D to move, you can sprint with Left Shift for a limited time, pick up pages with a mouse click and turn your flashlight on and off with the right mouse click.
This is one of the scariest games created and the simplicity of it is what makes it work. The second part is currently in production.
Slender is what they are calling an 'indie' game these days. You can download it for free from its website (http://slendergame.com/download) and at just over a 100 MB, it is a great download! This is the game worth having a couple of sleepless nights for.