Just kidding, I’m so excited for The Force Awakens that there’s a tingling sensation in my extremities (maybe I should go see a doctor about that…). Anyway, J.J.’s take on Star Wars in December kicks off annual movie releases for the beloved franchise. This is something that I still have trouble wrapping my mind around: We’re going to get a new Star Wars movie EVERY YEAR. In 2016, “Rogue One,” the first spin-off film, directed by Gareth Edwards, will be in cinemas. “Star Wars: Episode VIII“ will arrive on May 26, 2017, with Rian Johnson as the writer and director. When Rian Johnson’s involvement was first announced, I couldn’t believe it. It seemed too perfect, and I kept waiting for Disney to say, “nope, never mind, you don’t get nice things.” Why am I so happy about Johnson directing a Star Wars movie? Because he wrote and directed one of my favorite films of the last five years, “Looper,” and the fantastic neo-noir “Brick.”
Set in the somewhat near future, “Looper” is a time travel movie. In it, organized crime types send people who they want to disappear back in time to get whacked. Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is one of the guys who does the whacking. Things get complicated, though, when an older version of Joe, played by Bruce Willis, is the person sent back. Sounds great, right? The movie also plays with the idea of the fluidity and malleability of time. It’s intelligent sci-fi that’s sometimes hard to come by. Also, I looooooove time travel movies.
“Brick” is a stylish, mystery that takes place at a high school. Brendan (also Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a loner. When the girl he loves turns up dead, he will do whatever is takes to figure out who is responsible. If that sounds like the most basic noir set-up out there, that’s because it is. Seriously, this movie is so hard-boiled that in my memory it’s shot in black and white. It’s not, but I had to check to make sure. But Johnson hits it out of the park with smart and tight writing which Gordon-Levitt nails. Brendan gets mixed-up and roughed up, and it’s definitely worth a watch.
I encourage you to watch either or both of these great movies to get a taste of what Star Wars: Episode VIII might be like. And now that I think about it, does this mean Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to be in the movie?!? I can only hope.