Welcome to 2013! Or, as I figured out New Year's morning, 2+0+1=3. Won't be able to do that again until 2024.
We at the Naw continued our New Year's traditions (two years running now) of napping, watching movies, and ordering Asian takeout. Our movie theme this year was Time Travel, and we found two movies that interpreted this theme quite differently.
Safety Not Guaranteed: This quirky comedy from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine was not what we expected at all, but definitely worth it. Darius is a cynical magazine intern in need of some adventure. She joins Jeff, a staff writer, and Arnau, another intern in writing a story about Kenneth, a man who puts an ad in the classifieds for a time travel partner. Darius acts as the possible travel partner, answering the ad, which specifies, "This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed."
With Aubrey Plaza playing Darius, I was sold, but luckily this movie offers far more -- even the subplot was engaging and original. I'm still trying to wrap my head around where the ending came from, but that could be because I haven't quite gotten over this head cold from Christmas.
Looper: Checking out Joseph Gordon-Levitt's special effects make up was almost as entertaining as the overall concept of this movie, a time travel sci-fi action thriller that we had to pause several times while watching to talk through what was currently happening. Gordon-Levitt plays Joe in 2044, Bruce Willis is Joe in 2074. Time travel isn't invented yet in 2044, but it is in 2074, and when the 2074 mob wants to get rid of someone, they send them back 30 years to an assassin, called a Looper (like Young Joe), who kills them and disposes of the body, which can't be traced. "Closing the Loop" is when the 2074 mob decides to end the contract of a 2044 Looper, by sending their 2074 self back to be killed. A Looper gets a golden payday for this, and 30 years of carefree living, but Joe isn't about to let that happen...though his 2044 self would gladly kill his 2074 self, his 2074 self has made a life for himself and isn't ready for it to end.
It's a classic tale of man vs. himself, only WAY more confusing. Also, don't expect any explanations for how time travel works. At one point Young Joe asks about it and Old Joe responds, "I don't want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about it then we're going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws." I took that to be the explanation to the audience as well, a sort of nod to the audience's confusion while at the same time saying, "Look, time travel is IN the movie, but it isn't what the movie is all about."
Whether you watch them back-to-back or have separate movie nights, please put these guys on your to-see list!