The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom

If you’re not convinced more Star Wars movies is a good idea, then the news that Rian Johnson will be writing and directing Star Wars Episode VIII should win you over. Johnson knows structure, action, comedy and character, making him the ideal filmmaker to make Star Wars fresh and exciting again. Not only do his talents make him the right filmmaker for the job, but so does his thematic interests. Looper and Johnson’s second picture, The Brothers Bloom, are about how much control someone has over their own narrative. Bloom (Adrien Brody) feels like he’s living a story written by his brother Stepehen (Mark Ruffalo), while Old Joe (Bruce Willis) and Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) battle over the course of their shared, separate life. In short, a franchise focused on creating your own destiny is right up Johnson’s alley. Out of Johnson’s three films so far, The Brothers Bloom is the one that’s probably talked about the least. It was met with a lukewarm response from critics, and it kind of got lost in the shuffle back in 2009, but it’s a richly structured flim flam movie full of heart. It’s as much about brothers as it is the con. The relationship between Bloom and Stephen lives beyond the movie; Brody and Ruffalo let us learn these characters so thoroughly that it’s easy to imagine other adventures they’d gone on. We revisited the film with the commentary track on. Here’s what we learned.

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Rian Johnson

Writer/director Rian Johnson‘s Looper is an intricately told film. Nearly every scene in the movie is packed full of new information, from character development to world building. As Johnson explains finding that structure, it was like creating stepping stones across a pond for the audience, so they don’t fall into the pond of mind-numbing exposition. That wasn’t an easy path to make, either. Johnson spent many years developing the story from a two-page treatment to a feature length film, and much of that process was dedicated to handling all of the film’s information. After Looper‘s box office and critical success, it’s fair to say he managed with flying colors. With the movie out on Blu-ray, Johnson took some time to speak with us about the story’s mother/son dynamic, why the best science fiction has something we care deeply about at its core, and his desire to write more economically:

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Rian Johnson

Editor’s Introduction: Normally this feature is created by diving into the deep end of interviews, but when Rian Johnson agreed to write an entry himself, it was an opportunity impossible to pass up. With only three features under his belt, Johnson is already a force to be reckoned with. Emerging onto the scene with the inventive high school noir Brick in 2005, he pivoted off its dark tones for the lighter flair of The Brothers Bloom in 2008. He re-teamed with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for this year’s Looper, which has been blazing a trail through fans and sparking a metric ton of conversation. Part of that is his dialogue, part of it is the look he manages to achieve, but another big part is his personal style that shines through and seems impossible to mimic. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) directly from a man who built his own time machine.

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Heat Movie Michael Mann

I’ve been taking my family on a tour of Michael Mann’s filmography recently, and every minute has been fantastic. Mann has a great eye for cinematography, writes and/or directs characters who are refreshingly competent and layered, and has a way of getting great mileage out of a topic he enjoys (crime and those who commit and prevent it) by changing the level of its presentation. He has done pieces both epic (Heat) and intimate (Collateral). He has ventured into the past, where his favorite subject varies in presence from “extant, but not important compared to other events” (The Last of the Mohicans) to “the point of the entire film” (Public Enemies). He brought Hannibal Lector to the screen for the first time as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter, which I must admit remains my primary source exposure to everyone’s favorite cannibal. All of these traits make Mann a director whose work should be followed, but what absolutely drives me wild about him is his use of music in his pictures’ key scenes. Mann’s soundtracks are usually a mix of contemporary rock, house music, a slow and/or seductive piece for particularly romantic moments and several compositions written specifically for the film by his composer. At least once in every one of his films that I have had a chance to see, Mann takes a piece from his soundtrack and sets it to a climactic or character defining scene and the resulting moment never fails to astound. Dialogue is usually sparse to nonexistent […]

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After having to deal with those teasers-for-the-teaser annoyance, we now have the actual teaser trailer for writer/director Rian Johnson‘s Looper, his futuristic sci-fi thriller featuring a Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt face-off, both playing the same character. Right off the bat you can see Gordon-Levitt is channeling Willis’s well-known demeanor and style. But based on the impression this trailer gives, it’s an actual transformation, not an impersonation. Take a peek at Bruce Willis apologizing for Surrogates:

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Rian Johnson

The powers that be at Film School Rejects were wise enough to include Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi pic Looper as one of our Most Anticipated Films of 2012, and it’s certainly in my top 3 for the year as well. Sadly, the film is still far off and we’ve only gotten a few behind-the-scenes pics (via Looper‘s Twitter feed) and an official shot showcasing Bruce Willis doing what he does best. Now we have gotten another behind-the-scenes picture which may give you a better idea of what to expect. Johnson released this pretty damn cool shot of the film’s time travel machine, and it looks like a down and dirty time machine, a.k.a. it’s not shiny and all that stuff.

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Charles Carter is investigated in the death of President Warren Harding, duels with his nemesis Mysterioso, falls in love, out of love, in love again, and manages to escape life’s harshest dangers even when they have him bound in a straight jacket and thrown into the river.

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All hell appears to be breaking loose. Think about all of the critically acclaimed films of the year, then think about the ones that the internet (and more specifically Twitter) has been talking about all year. Those are all out on Blu-ray this week!

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves defusing bombs. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week features three MUST BUYS including The Hurt Locker, In the Loop, and Moon! (But Big Fan can suck it…)

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rianjohnson-brothersbloom

Film School Rejects chats with ‘The Brothers Bloom’ director about his love for con man stories, his unique stylistic vision and working with a cast full of famous people, on a big scale, in Eastern Europe.

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09anticipated-header

As you know, summer movie season doesn’t officially start until we say it does. And we can’t say that it is on until we’ve run down the must see movies in one of our world famous lists. So come on in people, lets get it on.

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brothersbloombanner

A beautiful new trailer for Rian Johnson’s new film plus a pretty cool new one sheet. Watch it before going out to buy your own bowler hat.

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earlyedition-header

It might not exactly be early — unless you live in Hawaii, which people do — but it is still the Early Edition here at FSR. And since we know that you can’t start your day until we give you some news, we’d like to get you going…

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As I’ve explained in the past, I am more than excited about director Rian Johnson’s sophomore effort The Brothers Bloom. And oddly enough, the fact that Summit Entertainment is moving the film from early January to a May release is a cause for optimism rather than disappointment.

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Brick director Rian Johnson

If there is one up and coming director that we are watching closely, it is Rian Johnson. And if there is one sci-fi flick we are now looking forward to, it is Looper.

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2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Even though we weren’t allowed to make the trip across the border into Canada, we would still like to bring you some of the Toronto Film Fest updates from our friends and neighbors around the web.

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Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz and Mark Ruffalo in The Brothers Bloom

If it has not yet become clear that I am excited about The Brothers Bloom, the sophomore effort from Brick director Rian Johnson, allow me to spell it out for you: I am very excited about The Brothers Bloom.

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Director Rian Johnson

Brick director to try sci-fi with his third film, Looper. I need to change now.

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Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz in The Brothers Bloom

I have no idea how I missed it, but over the weekend Summit Entertainment released the first trailer for director Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom.

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