Looper

(R) ★★★☆☆

In filmmaker Rian Johnson’s imaginative sci-fi thriller, futuristic criminals in the 2070s are sent back in time to 2044 Kansas, and there, standing at the ready with a nasty rifle called the Blunderbuss, is the “looper,” the gun for hire. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a looper, is beginning to wear down. He knows that one day he’ll be assigned to “close his loop” and kill off the older version of himself. The day arrives, but older Joe (Bruce Willis) is ready and escapes. The chase is on, and younger Joe has a lot to learn about his fate.

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First Bloom

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First Bloom

By Betsy Sharkey, Tribune Media Services

Sometimes an inexperienced filmmaker can use a helping hand from his cast. That’s exactly what Stephen Chbosky got from Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson in the adaptation of his popular young adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Back in the director’s chair for only the second time, the filmmaker, like his main character, is a little unsteady on his feet. But thanks to his stars, the film—like the book—is a smartly observed study of a troubled teen’s first year in high school.

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