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Joseph Gordon Levitt (#110 of 19)

Sinful Cinema Halloween: H20

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Sinful Cinema: Halloween: H20
Sinful Cinema: Halloween: H20

Sadly, Halloween: H20 has nothing to do with water. It isn’t the Michael Myers brand’s equivalent of Jason X, sending its masked killer into the deep sea instead of deep space. No, the title of this 1998 slasher, the seventh in the Halloween series, merely exploits the fact that “Halloween” starts with an “H,” and that this installment takes place 20 years after the original. That “h2o” is also a universally known yet wholly unrelated combination of characters is simply, ya know, earworm-y title gravy. I actually can’t recall water, in any capacity, appearing in a single frame of this film. The liquid most often featured is alcohol, like chardonnay and vodka, which Keri Tate, better known as Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), slugs back to quell fears of the brother who offed her promiscuous friends in the ’70s. Having faked her death, changed her name, and given birth to a son, John, Laurie (as we’ll call her herein) is now the headmistress of Hillcrest Academy, a tony private high school in a remote part of California, and the perfect secluded, hallway-rich setting for a killer to stalk and stab. At this school, LL Cool J, one year away from the equally sinful delight Deep Blue Sea, plays token-black security guard Ronnie; Adam Arkin plays Laurie’s colleague and love interest, Will; and Josh Hartnett, in his feature debut, plays grown-up John, who, at the edge of seventeen, serves to prove that Myers may just have a long-standing Stevie Nicks obsession.

Box Office Rap Baggage Claim and the Lost Women of September

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Box Office Rap: Baggage Claim and the Lost Women of September
Box Office Rap: Baggage Claim and the Lost Women of September

As the series finale of Breaking Bad nears, and with Walter White set to confront Todd, Uncle Jack, and (potentially) rescue Jesse Pinkman, Americans may pass the time this Friday by heading to the multiplex. Opening, and expected to take the weekend with ease, is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, though it’s unlikely that members of #teamwalt will be interested in that, unless they have kids of their own (“a scary thought”). No, they’ll most likely see one of the other three primary offerings, all with hyper-masculine protagonists. There’s Rush, director Ron Howard’s racing period piece. If not that, perhaps Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut about a guy from Joisey with a porn addiction. If neither of those strike a chord, there’s always the macho spectacle of Metallica: Through the Never, which bumps Dorothy and Toto from IMAX theaters on Friday.

SXSW 2013: Getting Back to Abnormal, This Ain’t No Mouse Music!, No More Road Trips?, & Don Jon

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SXSW 2013: <em>Getting Back to Abnormal</em>, <em>This Ain’t No Mouse Music!</em>, <em>No More Road Trips?</em>, & <em>Don Jon</em>
SXSW 2013: <em>Getting Back to Abnormal</em>, <em>This Ain’t No Mouse Music!</em>, <em>No More Road Trips?</em>, & <em>Don Jon</em>

Geeky, admittedly devoid of tact, and first seen on a radio talk show in which a series of African-American callers accuse her of being a racist, Stacy Head makes an unlikely heroine. But that’s just what she proves to be, as Getting Back to Abnormal conducts a tour of the racial politics of New Orleans that’s as meandering and culturally rich as a second line parade.

The movie—and, it seems clear, Stacy’s political career—would never have ignited without a tireless little fireplug of a woman named Barbara Lacen-Keller, an African-American child of the projects who handles constituent outreach for Stacy and serves as her fiercest and best advocate. The four co-directors (Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Peter Odabashian, and Paul Stekler) bob in and out of Stacy’s and Barbara’s storyline, but they keep returning to the campaign as Stacy, the first white woman to represent the central city of New Orleans on the city council in 30 years, runs for reelection. Stacy’s and Barbara’s campaigning and the refreshingly frank, often moving stories they tell to the camera illuminate the chasm that yawns between the races in New Orleans—and the bridges that sometimes span that gap.

Sundance Film Festival 2013: Don Jon’s Addiction and Touchy Feely

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Sundance Film Festival 2013: <em>Don Jon’s Addiction</em> and <em>Touchy Feely</em>
Sundance Film Festival 2013: <em>Don Jon’s Addiction</em> and <em>Touchy Feely</em>

As directorial debuts go, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon’s Addiction is a surprisingly well-crafted first effort, a raunchy comedy with substance. Gordon-Levitt stars as Don Jon, a Jersey Shore type obsessed with hardcore porn, more interested in the thousands of kinky clips he’s amassed on his hard drive than he is with the actual sex he has with the countless beautiful women he picks up at night clubs. For him, nothing quite lives up to the fantasy women in his videos, until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a beauty in a red dress who rejects his usually successful pick-up lines and inadvertently forces him to face his porn addiction head-on.

Oscar Prospects: Looper

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Oscar Prospects: Looper
Oscar Prospects: Looper

Does Looper have a prayer in the Visual Effects race, where tigers and hobbits and Avengers will be sprinting, neck-in-neck? Before the film’s release, the answer would have likely been a resounding “no,” as the throwback panache of Rian Johnson’s aesthetic isn’t even trying to compete with all the 3D bells and whistles of the spectacles above. But with a rapturous response from critics (RT score 94 percent and holding), Looper has the buzz and support to step into some serious contention, if not in the major races, then in tech areas that previously seemed beyond its reach. That is by no means to say the movie’s tricks are not impressive. A near faultlessly calibrated slice of futurama (err, future drama), Looper is 2012’s action flick to beat in terms of quality, and its old-school restraint has a contrasting lure that might make it a viable slot-filler (think the annual foreign trend in the Animation category). There must be scads of Academy members tickled by the dirty realism of a beat-up, flying crop-duster, or effectively unnerved by the rapid, Cronenbergian disappearance of a marked “loop’s” appendages. This wouldn’t be the title to declare where the industry stands today, but it would be the one to give the category an added touch of class.

20 Most Anticipated Fall Films

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20 Most Anticipated Fall Films
20 Most Anticipated Fall Films

If you’re already stressed about catching up on the 2012 films you haven’t yet seen, scrambling to find an art house theater that’s still projecting Moonrise Kingdom and Oslo, August 31st, prepare to hit the panic button. Fall movie season is upon us, and come September, the annual flood of see-them-or-be-left-out titles will pummel your poor movie-buff planning like a surging tsunami. But, hey, look at the bright side: the months of September, October, November, and December almost always feature better fare than any other stretch of the year, and 2012, like clockwork, seems primed to do the same. Unable to keep our preview list to the customary total of 15, we bumped the roster to 20, and there’s still a handful we’re curious about. Can Sam Mendes bring anything more than a fresh martini to the Bond brand with Skyfall? Is Cloud Atlas every bit the fabulous mess it looks to be in its trailer? Is RZA’s martial arts actioner The Man with the Iron Fists in fact the C.R.E.A.M. of the season’s genre crop? We’re not sure, but we feel pretty confident that your fall filmgoing won’t be complete without the following 20 selections. And nobody needs any more holes to fill.