Time Travel

X-Men: Days of Future Past Time Travel

What if you could go back in time and set your favorite shark-jumping movie franchise back on the right course? Which would you choose? How would you do it? Would it require Hugh Jackman getting naked and standing in front of a window? We tackle all of these questions on this week’s show as we try to right some cinematic wrongs, review X-Men: Days of Future Past in depth and dissect a famous scene from Back to the Future (see below) to figure out why it works so damned well. We’ve got time travel and changing history on our minds, so let us use our mutant powers on your ear drums so we can all head back to the 1970s. You might feel a pinch. Follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #59 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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backtothefuture_movieswelove

Time travel stories are one of the most polarizing things for film fans. They either love them, or they turn their noses up at them. Still, that doesn’t stop writers from coming up with them, and it’s not even for the science fiction fields. Time travel stories have an unexpectedly strong placement in romance fiction as well, such as The Time Traveler’s Wife or the upcoming Starz series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling historical romance series. While many of these romance-driven stories – like Somewhere in Time and more recently Richard Curtis’s About Time – are not concerned with the greater implications of meddling with the space-time continuum, the science fiction movies are. Traveling through time has been a central figure in stories for years, often presenting the viewer with a crash course in theoretical physics and opening themselves up to plot holes almost impossible to close. As a personal fan of the time traveling story, I love to see what the writers will come up with next. But these movies always get me wondering… is it possible to travel through time the way people do in the movies?

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Now that Looper is a decent hit — especially in China — we can anticipate that people will be discussing the movie around the web, the water cooler and wherever else we talk about movies these days. Much of the conversation will be devoted to the usual with the time travel subgenre: paradoxes, the workings of the time machine, plot holes, why wasn’t Hitler killed, etc. But with this particular story there’s one major point of discussion I’m interested in, and of course it involves spoilers. So, if you’ve seen the movie or are just one of those who don’t care about stuff being ruined, join me after the break as I ask…

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Fantastic Fest: Looper

Joe (the conveniently similarly named Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, and no, sadly, that has nothing whatsoever to do with stunt piloting. What his profession actually entails is the assassination of targets sent back through time by an organized crime syndicate; the only entity to have access to the highly illegal, but totally existing time travel technology. These assassins will inevitably be one day sent the future versions of themselves in a retirement process known as “closing the loop.” Apparently the gold watch and the store-bought sheet cake was simply far too conventional. When Joe is put in a position to close his loop, he commits the fatal sin of hesitation; setting in motion a fight for his own survival as he seeks to kill himself. That sentence could only ever work in relation to Looper.

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Looper

Rian Johnson‘s upcoming Looper is clearly filled with thought-provoking elements, but certainly one of its more interesting aspects has to be the way in which Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are playing the same character, but at different ages. Much ado has been made about the effects work used to make Gordon-Levitt more lantern-jawed and Willis-looking, but not a whole lot has yet been said about how Gordon-Levitt approached his performance. How exactly does one go about trying to play a younger version of a star whose screen presence is as well-defined as Bruce Willis’? i09 caught up with the actor and his director and got some answers on this subject, as well as a few others. When talking about his preparation for the role, Gordon-Levitt said, “I studied him [Willis], and watched his movies, and ripped the audio off of his movies, so I could listen to them on repeat. He even recorded some of my voice-over monologues [from Looper] and sent me that recording, so I could hear what it would sound like in his voice.” That sounds like a good way of studying Willis’ cadence and perfecting the way that he talks, but does that mean Gordon-Levitt’s performance is going to simply be a glorified impersonation?

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Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson‘s Looper is fresh from being showered with praise in Toronto and Chicago (see our praise here), so it’s fortunate that Johnson possesses the technology to go back and live through the adoration all over again. Of course, that’s the toughest technical part of writing a movie about time travel. The mechanism itself is both used frequently and difficult to get right. If the logic behind the time travel is off, audiences might be forgiving, but there’s a special brand of nerd (I’m raising my hand) who has extreme difficulty looking beyond illogical time travel. The perfectly legitimate reason is that bad time travel reduces down to a gimmick used for convenience instead of momentum. It’s like introducing a gun into the plot but having it shoot banana pudding at the climax. It’s giving yourself license to do things over, and few filmmakers seem to have the discipline to resist the easy path. So it’s encouraging to see Johnson talk about his time travel element in Looper. As Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis attempt a game of cat and also-cat, this is what we can expect to see in their temporal-jumping:

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So far all of the news we’ve gotten about the development of a third Bill & Ted film has come from the franchise’s Bill S. Preston, Esquire, Alex Winter, so it’s about time that the other half of the equation, its Ted Theodore Logan, Keanu Reeves, got into the beans spilling game. The last we heard about the potential project, Galaxy Quest director Dean Parisot had been attached to helm, but the film, which was written on spec, still hadn’t found funding. Well, that’s still where we’re at as far as development goes, but recently Reeves talked to GQ (via Movies.com) about the project, and he managed to give us a better idea of what the script Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson wrote is all about. We already knew that the film would involve an aging Bill and Ted who are still trying to get their Wyld Stallyns thing together, but Reeves explains exactly where the duo is at as far as their music career is concerned: “One of the plot points is that these two people have been crushed by the responsibility of having to write the greatest song ever written and to change the world. And they haven’t done it. So everybody is kind of like: ‘Where is the song?’ The guys have just drifted off into esoterica and lost their rock. And we go on this expedition, go into the future to find out if we wrote the song, and one future ‘us’ refuses to tell us, […]

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The last time we checked in on the progress of Bill & Ted 3, the screen’s Bill S. Preston, Esq., Alex Winter, informed us that both he and the actor who portrayed “Ted” Theodore Logan, Keanu Reeves, were very much on board to make another sequel, a script for the film had been completed, and everybody was very happy with how it read. Unfortunately, the movie still wasn’t officially green lit by anyone, and wasn’t guaranteed to ever actually happen. Happily, there’s some new movement regarding the project that suggests we may be one step closer to the glorious fantasy of Bill & Ted 3 getting financed becoming a reality. Vulture is reporting that Bill & Ted creators Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson (who wrote this third Bill & Ted movie on spec) have attached director Dean Parisot to their script, joining both principal actors in a tidy little package that’s likely to look fairly attractive to studios. Parisot mostly busies himself with TV work, but he did also direct the well-liked satire Galaxy Quest back in 1999, so he’s no stranger to big screen comedy.

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One of the most enduring and well-liked storylines from Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s legendary run on the “Uncanny X-Men” comic book was known as ‘Days of Future Past.’ It introduced readers to a post-apocalyptic future (hilariously, 2013) where the Earth is controlled by giant robots, mutants are all either killed or locked up in internment camps, and only a small handful of rebels remain. These rebels, determining that all of this badness started with the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and his subsequent martyring by anti-mutant forces, send an older version of Kitty Pryde back to the present to warn the X-Men that they must stop the assassination at all costs. Basically, the story is a cross between Back to the Future and The Terminator, with super-powered mutants, and it’s one of the front-runners for coolest thing ever. So it’s super exciting to hear that Matthew Vaughn is apparently going to be using it as the inspiration for the sequel to his 2011 reboot of the X-Men franchise, X-Men: First Class. Confirmation of this news came from an interview IGN conducted with producer Bryan Singer. When asked what he could reveal about the First Class sequel, Singer dropped a bombshell by saying, “It’s going to be very ambitious. It’s called Days of Future Past, and it deals with aspects of that comic but also some very new things… I just don’t want to give any of it away. Matthew Vaughn will be directing […]

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With his roles in X-Men: First Class and Prometheus, we’ve already seen Michael Fassbender elevate genre works that have problems at their core to something greater than they would have been without his magnetic presence. And with his starring roles in Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Shame, we’ve seen the soaring heights that a movie can reach when they focus on the actor as their main subject. But does Fassbender have what it takes to step into the murky waters of video game movies and come out the other side without any stink on him? According to a report from Variety, we’re soon going to find out. There have been some video game movies that aren’t that bad in the past. The Resident Evil series certainly has its fans, and voices have sung the praises of Silent Hill here and there, but we’ve yet to see a movie based on a video game break out of the video game movie ghetto and be widely considered a great film overall. Ubisoft is hoping they can change that. We reported last year that they had interest in turning their “Assassin’s Creed” and “Rainbow Six” video game franchises into feature films, and it’s looking like that wasn’t lip service. Their efforts are starting to bear fruit.

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The first look we got at Rian Johnson’s upcoming time travel action yarn, Looper, did a solid job of setting up the story and teasing the action. A curiously lantern-jawed Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing our hero (or, at least, the closest thing we get to one), a hitman for the mob who gets paid handsomely to wait in a field that exists many years in the past, shoot the people the wise guys send back in time as soon as they wink into existence, and then dispose of the body where no future authorities can find them. The wrinkle comes when his latest clean-up job gets sent back in time and a quick locking of the eyes reveals that he’s an equally lantern-jawed version of himself from the future (Bruce Willis). What to do? The new international trailer for the film gives us a bit more of an idea of what is going to be done. Future Gordon-Levitt has come to the past with a plan. And, as you might expect out of a hitman, his plan involves killing someone. Will he be able to set everything right and fix his future, or will his past self – who’s going to be in deep trouble if he doesn’t take his future self out – stop him before he can put his plan in motion? Lots of interesting questions about destiny and how much we can control our future seem to get asked. But, more importantly, everyone involved is shooting guns […]

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Fans in attendance who braved the Ballroom Line were treated to the first footage anyone anywhere has seen of Rian Johnson‘s (Brick) newest film, Looper. Up ’til now, all we’ve really heard about the project is that it’s a movie that somehow blends time-travel and assassins. How could it go wrong? While I’m sure there are millions of ways for that idea to go wrong, what we witnessed seems to suggest that none of those things actually went wrong. I’ll break down the footage for you, and it could be considered kind of spoilery I guess, though the teaser trailer will be online in a few weeks. We’ve also got pictures of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as he appears in Looper!

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Over Under - Large

Woody Allen is a legendary filmmaker, to be certain. But he’s also a filmmaker who is perceived to have had a golden age, a period where the movies he made were head and shoulders above the things that he makes now. That’s not such a great place for an artist to be, but Woody managed to shut up a lot of his critics with Midnight in Paris. It’s not only one of Allen’s most financially successful films, it’s also one of his most critically acclaimed, and it’s been held up as proof that we might be in the midst of a Woody comeback. Is it really worthy of all the hype though? Lots of people love this movie—like me—but it’s also a film that has glaring flaws. What is it about Midnight in Paris that makes our Internet culture, that is so quick to tear everything down with snark, give it such an easy pass? Back in 1989 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was also a huge success. It made so much money that it spawned not only a sequel, but also an animated series, video games, and who knows how many other kinds of merchandise that time forgot. Yet, despite this success, it’s not a film that many people take seriously. There’s a love for it still, but one that seems more ironic than anything else. Why is that so, when there’s so much respect for the other big genre hits of the 80s? Why doesn’t this film get […]

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Though his older brother Chris Hemsworth jumped a bit ahead in terms of fame factor after starring as Thor in the Marvel Comics movie of the same name, it’s starting to look like younger brother Liam Hemsworth is poised for a comeback. He’s all set to play Gale Hawthorne in the sure to be ridiculously high profile The Hunger Games as well as join forces with a bunch of action movie legends as Bill ‘The Kid’ Timmons in The Expendables 2 coming up in 2012. And, you know what they say in Hollywood (not really), with great notoriety comes great castability, so Hemsworth is now seeing some offers for starring roles coming in as well. According to THR, the young up-and-comer is currently negotiating with Relativity Media to take the lead in their upcoming drama Timeless, which is about a man who is struggling to develop a scientific method of turning back time after the death of his wife. You know what that means fellas: all this one needs is some shots of Hemsworth’s handsome face looking sad, some swelling music, and a declaration of never letting love die in the trailer, and your girlfriend is going to absolutely force you into the theater to see this one.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #112): “No Time Like The Past” (airdate 3/7/63) The Plot: A man goes to the past to right some wrongs…but can he? The Goods: Stupid, crappy old time travel. It’s such a spectacular innovation, but we can never do anything good with it (except that one time I stole Hitler’s wallet). As it turns out, things are pretty much set in stone. But Paul Driscoll (Dana Andrews) doesn’t believe that. So, he sets out into the ether of things already seen to try to change history’s course.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #78): “Once Upon a Time” (airdate 12/15/61) The Plot:  A cranky man of 1890 uses a time machine to head for 1962 to find out that things got a lot louder, faster, and more dangerous. The Goods: The absolute guts of this show continue to astound. Imagine if a modern seriesdecided to do half of an episode as a silent film. Black and white they already have, but it’s still a bold step. Rod Serling beamed an antique directly into the living rooms of his fans. That’s right. Not only is this a story where a man from the late 19th century hops into the middle of the 20th, it’s a time travel story for its audience by using modern television filming techniques alongside the earliest methods. And who do you get to guest star when half your episode is done as a silent film? Buster Keaton. Not a bad choice.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #59): “A Hundred Yards Over The Rim” (airdate 4/7/61) The Plot:  The one man in a wagon train with any hope left of 1847 California, tells his wife, sick child, and traveling companions that he’ll walk just over the next sand rim and one hundred yards to find water. If he can’t find any, they’ll turn back. The Goods: There are at least two main themes working in this wonderful story. The first is desperation. As Christian Horn (Cliff Robertson) leads a group across the arid sands of mid 19th century New Mexico, the immediate world that we’re dropped into is one without water or food or medicine. The few wagoners left are so deluded by thirst and hunger that they want to turn back – as if going back to Ohio would somehow be easier than pressing on. They’ve made a huge gamble with their lives, and now it looks like that gamble has come to collect its winnings.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #49): “Back There” (airdate 1/13/61) The Plot: A man steps out of his fancy Washington, DC men’s club onto the streets of Washington, DC. So what’s the twist? It’s DC in 1865, and President Lincoln is about to be shot. The Goods: It’s odd that a story featuring such a dramatic base idea would end up being little more than a fun thought experiment, but the only thing heavy about Back There is the acting. Russell Johnson (who everyone should remember from It Came From Outer Space) plays a not-yet-white-bearded man named Pete Corrigan with enough money and respect to belong to an exclusive club where men go to read in plush chairs, smoke cigars, and play Bridge like old maids. The topic of conversation turns to the idea of changing history by means of time travel – a cockeyed concept that Corrigan dismisses outright as he gets up to head on home. He’s deep in thought when a steward accidentally spills coffee on him, but it’s a small matter, and Corrigan heads outside to find himself getting fuzzy and the lightbulbs inside the street lamps turning to flame. He’s, somehow, stepped back in time to the balmy night in April when President Lincoln was assassinated.

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Why Watch? Because you have to watch it to realize that you’ve already watched it by watching it. This clever short takes the eye-burning cliche of time travel and spins it around until it tastes sweet again. It’s like the nicer cousin of Timecrimes, and, yes, the title totally vindicates Ralph Wiggum. An inventor is tooling around with a time machine when he hears an intruder and gives chase. But sensing that we don’t need another lesson in the dangers of time machines, writer/director Robin King just delivers a fun mini-mystery as to how everything that’s happened, happened. What does it cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Check out Unpossible for yourself:

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #26): “Execution” (airdate 4/1/60) The Plot: An outlaw from the Old West is saved from the noose by a scientist who gets in way over his head. The Goods: The funny thing about time travel is that if you invent it, you want to use it yourself. On the other hand, if it’s untested, you might want to see if you can grab an unwilling volunteer (which is an oxymoron, I know) to make sure people come out the other side with all their parts in the right places. In this episode, Professor Manion (Russell Johnson) uses his time-bending invention to pull a man from the 19th century, and it just so happens that Joe Caswell (Albert Salmi), the unwitting traveler, was a nanosecond away from shuffling off his mortal coil at the end of a rope.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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