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Looper – Blu-ray Review

December 29, 2012 – 4:22 PM - Posted by: Justin Sluss

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Blu-ray Disc Review

4.5 out of 5 starsThe Movie Itself has an average rating of 7.7 on IMDb
4.5 out of 5 starsVideo Quality 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
5 out of 5 starsAudio Quality
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
3 out of 5 starsBonus Materials over an hour long, in HD & worthwhile
Rated:R (Restricted)
Year: – 2012
Length: – 119 minutes
Studio:Sony
Region:Region 1 (A)
This uses 32.0GB for the movie out of 45.7GB total.
Street Date: December 31st, 2012


Overall VerdictRecommended

Buy it for $19.99 @ Amazon.com
Buy it on Blu-ray for $19.99 @ Amazon.com


— Review written by: Justin Sluss

Trailer:


The Movie Itself was written & directed by Rian Johnson whose previous credits writing & directing included the films “Brick” (2005) and “The Brothers Bloom” (2008). The story takes place in the year 2074. At this point in the future time travel has been invented and it’s being used by the mob to send back their “hit” victims 30 years in the past to 2044 where hired guns await in certain locations for an exact time. When the time approaches out of nowhere appears the victim. The victim is just sitting there confused tied up with a hood over their head (to hide their identity) and the payment for the hired gun is located on the victim’s back. The hired gun is to fire as soon as they appear, dispose of the body and collect his payment. Our protagonist here is one of those hired guns which are referred to as “Loopers” — because after they retire the mob sends back their future self to end the loop. The hired gun gets 30 years to enjoy his life before they end his loop though. He’ll live his life after he’s done this job knowing his years are numbered. Our protagonist is named “Joe” (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose weapon of choice is the short-ranged blunderbuss. Joe has big plans for his 30 years after he’s done working, he’s learning French with plans to travel abroad to meet the girl of his dreams. Joe’s mob boss in his time (2044) is a man named “Abe” (played by Jeff Daniels) who’s been sent back to run things from the future higher-ups of the crime syndicate.

Joe’s friend and co-worker (another looper) named “Seth” (played by Paul Dano) eventually manages to have his loop ended. However, when the victim from the future arrives Seth gets this strange feeling the person behind the hood is in fact himself. He ends up taking the hood off of the them to reveal an aged older looking version of himself. He lets the victim escape, thus causing a loop to not be closed. This results in Abe and the other hired guns chasing down both the older version of Seth and the younger version of Seth. Younger Seth decides to make a run for it and goes to his friend Joe to ask for help. I won’t reveal exactly how that goes to avoid “spoilers” but let’s just say that you wouldn’t want to either be Seth from the year 2044 or 2074; both cease to exist. After seeing what happens when a loop is closed our man Joe isn’t so happy about things and prepares himself for the day his number comes up so-to-speak — when they let him go and send back his future self. This sets up our whole plot here. We’re eventually going to see Joe’s future self sent back and he’ll have to decide what to do when that time comes. Will he just pull the trigger on his blunderbuss and kill his future self (played by Bruce Willis)? Or will Joe decide to let his future self run and co-operate with him to try to escape being erased from existence? You’ll have to watch the movie to find that out. No spoilers here.

However though, here are a few further things regarding the plot, settings and characters. In his early days of being a looper, when we’re first introduced to Joe, we see that he is addicted to a futuristic drug that the user drops in their eyes. That addiction is to personify his type of lifestyle but that addiction will eventually come back up. The rest of the supporting cast here includes: a woman named “Sara” (played by Emily Blunt), her son named “Cid” (played by Pierce Gagnon), one of Joe’s less than friendly fellow hired guns “Kid Blue” (played by Noah Segan), a waitress named “Beatrix” (played by Tracie Thoms) and a showgirl friend of Joe’s named “Suzie” (played by Piper Perabo).

Looper on Blu-ray screenshot

Looper” proves to be a very unique and interesting Sci-Fi film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives an excellent performance here as does Bruce Willis. The supporting cast members like Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels give nice performances as well. This feels in ways like a modern “Twilight Zone” type story. During its theatrical run “Looper” was received extremely well by the critics. In fact this holds a very impressive 94% rating on the “tomatometer” and carries the “Certified Fresh” badge over at Rotten Tomatoes. It also holds a pretty nice 7.8 (out of 10) rating over at IMDb. The film reportedly had a budget of around 30 million and ended up grossing 66.3 million domestically at the box office and another 100 million in foreign ticket sales — this all according to Box Office Mojo. It’s safe to say that this film proved to be a nice investment for the studio. Writer/director Rian Johnson is definitely someone to keep your eye on in the coming years.

Looper on Blu-ray screenshot

Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. According to the technical specifications listing on IMDb this was shot on 35MM film using the Panavision Panaflex Gold II and Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 cameras. There’s definitely a visible amount of film grain present here throughout. I don’t feel that DNR (digital noise reduction) has been used much, if at all, here. The black level is solid, fleshtones are accurate and the color palette can be pretty vibrant. The cinematography here really looks nice in a Hi-Def presentation with the lens flares and such. There’s a great amount of detail to be found here, especially in the close-ups — such as the watch. There’s really nothing to complain about here visually. That being said this is an impressive Hi-Def presentation that is worthy of earning itself a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality.

Looper on Blu-ray screenshot

Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. First thing you’ll notice here is that dialogue is delivered distinctly through the center channel speaker. Dialogue is never drowned out by any of the action or music. Sound effects come across very impressive with the sound of crickets in the field during the opening scene making nice use of the rear channels. Some sound effects can be quite intense such as the sound of the blunderbuss being fired, which has a nice amount of LFE (bass) to it. The original music (Score) by Nathan Johnson gets a very nice presentation via this lossless 5.1 mix with a good amount of LFE and rear channel presence throughout. The music starts out pretty subtle but eventually builds up to being very suspenseful. This 5.1 lossless mix can sound downright beautiful at times and is pretty amazing. The music kicks some serious ass and has a very unique sound to it. All and all this earns itself a “5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality. It definitely gets the job done and does this film justice.

Looper on Blu-ray screenshot

Bonus Materials on this release are presented in Hi-Def (HD) video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @192kbps sound.

  • Feature Audio Commentary with Director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt
  • Deleted Scenes (36:50 – HD) 19 total; 17 of which are Blu-ray EXCLUSIVES. These come with Optional Audio Commentary by Director Rian Johnson and Actor Noah Segan. Thankfully there’s a “Play All” option here. These prove to all be worthwhile and add a bit more to the story. Some of the scenes lack post production and special effects. One thing worth noting here, these come with a lot of compression on the Hi-Def video and don’t look even half as good as the film itself. Still, they prove to be worth watching, regardless of quality.
  • The Future from the Beginning” (7:52 – HD) is your traditional “making of” featurette that includes on set footage, clips from the film and interviews with the following people: Rian Johnson (Writer/Director), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Younger Joe“), Ram Bergman (Producer), Bruce Willis (“Older Joe“), Emily Blunt (“Sara“), Paul Dano (“Seth“), Noah Segan (“Kid Blue“), Piper Perabo (“Suzie“) and Steve Yedlin (Cinematographer).
  • Scoring Looper” (16:18 – HD) consists of 3 parts: Field Recordings, Percussion and Melodic Instruments — with a “Play All” option. This consists of interviews with the composer Nathan Johnson, clips from the film and lots of behind-the-scenes videos and still photos (taken by Nathan). Three songs that Johnson composed are played at the end of each of these featurettes with the entire part of the film where they are featured.
  • Looper Animated Trailer” (1:34 – HD) is very cool and nice to see included here, even though it can be found online via Apple‘s movie trailers site and embedded below (from YouTube).

Looper Animated Trailer“:


    Blu-ray EXCLUSIVES:

    • The Science of Time Travel” (8:29 – HD) focuses on time travel — as you’d expect from the title. This includes some on set footage, clips from the film and interviews with the following people: Rian Johnson (Writer/Director), Emily Blunt (“Sara“), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Younger Joe“), Brian Clegg (Author of “How to Build a Time Machine“), Bruce Willis (“Older Joe“), Piper Perabo (“Suzie“), Paul Dano (“Seth“) and Noah Segan (“Kid Blue“). There’s some specific discussion here of the rules of time travel in this film.

    Other bonus material:

    • An UltraViolet streaming and downloadable copy of the film is included which is in the “cloud” as it’s known. This is redeemable online via a URL and code included on a paper insert.

    Overall the bonus materials here prove to be worthwhile, are ALL presented in Hi-Def, and total up to roughly 71 minutes — a little over an hour in length. The addition of an UltraViolet digital copy of the film rounds out a decent set of bonus material. There’s enough here to keep you busy after you’ve watched the film, especially the audio commentary with the director and star.


    Blu-ray Disc packaging:


    Screenshots:

    NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.

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