Premium Rush

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Killer Joe Chris (Emile Hirsch) is having a bad day, but when he decides the key to solving all of his problems is to have his mother whacked by a hit man (Matthew McConaughey) he discovers that things can always get worse in this refreshing return from William Friedkin. Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church and Juno Temple are all along for the violent and darkly comedic ride, but it’s McConaughey who shines through the grime, brutality and Southern hospitality gone bad. He excels as a cruel bastard looking for love in some very wrong places who’s unafraid to take what he wants even if that means abusing Gershon with a KFC drumstick. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Featurette, Q&A, SXSW intro, commentary, trailer]

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All in all, this was a decent summer. There were plenty of highs and lows, with zero grand achievements for either sides of that scale. We could argue endlessly about what movies lived up to the hype or which ones totally blew it, but where’s the fun in having that conversation for the thousandth time over twitter? What we all should be discussing is the important stuff, like, how sad Damon Lindelof‘s Twitter feed could get this summer or how many ounces of man sweat we think Matthew McConaughey shed in Magic Mike? These are the real topics worthy of discussion, ’cause who cares why Vickers didn’t run a few feet to the right to easily save her life in Prometheus? Or how on earth Batman survived that nuclear blast when we clearly saw him in The Bat before the blast? These are details we all need to let go of. What you all really need to know is who came out as the winners and losers of this summer season, and I’m here to tell you who.

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; training wheels are sexy, dammit. You cycled your way through all the worthwhile content on the Internet, and fifteen minutes later you wound up here. Every week we examine movies so bad, watching them is like riding a bicycle without an overused simile. We kick the tires so hard they go spinning off the frame and irrevocably disrupt the game of ultimate Frisbee going on in the park we’re apparently in for this scenario. But then, just as we’re about to reach the highest gear of snark, we hit the brakes and admit that we’re head-over-handlebars in love with said bad film. To help ease the resulting bloody wounds, we will indulge in a delicious themed snack food item to tide us over until the ambulance arrives. Bikes! As we all know, any films made after  1989 are inherently inferior to the inferior movies of the years prior. However, there are miraculously rare occurrences when inferior movies from the inferior inferior movie era, i.e. right now times, are the type of inferior we find superior. In these instances, the movies playing in the multiplexes actually manage to exemplify the highly low standards we demand from our schlock. This week, one such glorious failure is Premium Rush. Starring that little Chinese girl from 3rd Rock from the Sun, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Premium Rush is about a group of people who ride bicycles for a living. No they don’t wear fancy yellow jerseys nor, disappointingly, are they circus […]

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Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michael Shannon in Premium Rush

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a NYC bike messenger, one of the best, and he couldn’t be happier. Sure, it’d be nice if his girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) hadn’t broken up with him, if fellow biker Manny (Wole Parks) wasn’t making moves on that very same ex and if he made better money, but at least he loves his job. The freedom, the feeling of flying down the streets dodging people and cars, the feel of a single-gear bike with no brakes beneath him… he’s living the dream. A late-in-the-day assignment leads Wilee to pick up an envelope from a distraught Nima (Jamie Chung) for delivery to Chinatown in ninety minutes or less. She says it’s important. Her eyes say it’s extremely important. A NYC detective named Robert Monday (Michael Shannon) agrees on its value for completely different and selfish reasons and sets out to retrieve the envelope from Wilee. Cue ninety minutes of chases, competitive pedaling, Triad shenanigans, bikour and ridiculously easy games of Spot the Wilee Stunt Double. (Hint: He’s the one who looks nothing like Gordon-Levitt in the face or in the calves.)

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Kevin Bacon has shared many things throughout his career from fancy dance moves to the angle of his dangle, but the most important has to be the revelation made apparent by his long forgotten 1986 film, Quicksilver. What did that movie teach us you ask? Simple… movies about bike messengers are incredibly boring. Hollywood heeded that warning for twenty-six long years, but now the writer/director of Ricky Gervais’ Ghost Town thinks he’s figured out how to make bike messengers relevant and interesting again. The secret appears to be a combination of Michael Shannon and bicycle parkour (or bikour if your prefer). Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the unfortunately named Wilee, a bike messenger in Manhattan whose latest assignment finds him pursued by a corrupt cop (Shannon) who won’t rest until he gets his hands on Wilee’s package. Check out the trailer for David Koepp’s Premium Rush starring Gordon-Levitt, Shannon, Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung below.

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After hitting the stage to conduct a live show version of his hitRECord website (dedicated to open collaboration production with his users) at last month’s Sundance Film Festival, it looks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt is finally adding a very expected title to his already long string of occupations. Gordon-Levitt will make his feature directing debut with a still-untitled comedy that he has also penned. Moreover, he will also star in the film alongside Scarlett Johansson. Deadline Brentwood reports that the film is “a sexy comedy about about a modern-day Don Juan, and his quest to become less of a ‘selfish dick.’” Gordon-Levitt is, of course, cast as that “selfish dick,” with Johansson grabbing one of two female lead roles. Gordon-Levitt also told the outlet that “his major motive for returning [to acting] was a burning desire to direct.” You don’t say! He went on to say, “I spent a year working with Chris Nolan, Rian Johnson, Steven Spielberg, and I did my best to pay attention. I’ve also been making short films for a long time now, I’ve directed a ton of them, and that is a huge part of why I feel comfortable and confident in this.” Well, he’s got a point there.

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In Premium Rush, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bike messenger that picks up a dangerous package that has him chased all over New York City. The result is a bit like Torque without the engine crashing into Enemy of the State. At least that’s what the trailer makes it feel like. This isn’t the first film from director David Koepp, even though he’s more well known as the writer of films like Jurassic Park, Death Becomes Her, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and two dozen others. His bread and butter is broad entertainment with flair. Cue applause from fixed-gear enthusiasts. What potentially sets this high concept apart is its cast. Gordon-Levitt is a hell of an actor, and he’s joined here by Michael Shannon playing (surprise) a bad guy and Jamie Chung playing (surprise) an attractive ex-girlfriend who gets him into the mess. Check it out for yourself:

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By now, you should all know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick, 500 Days of Summer, The Lookout) is awesome. So it’s double awesome news that he’s in negotiations to star in TWO action thrillers!

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david-koepp-header

‘Premium Rush’ is the title they’re going with here? Really? Pair this with the recently announced Duncan Jones film ‘Source Code’ and you’re halfway to programming an early-nineties action film festival.

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