Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: Jones Bros. Cupcakes and Looper

 So, on my birthday, after the zombie walk, we went for a cupcake and a movie.

I feel bad for anyone who doesn't live close enough to Omaha to go to Jones Brothers Cupcakes. I know there's a lot of cupcake specialty bakeries around now, but not many of them are "Cupcake Wars" champions! On Saturday, I tried one of the champion cupcakes created on the show, Smoked Pancetta Honey Apple Crisp.
 Maybe the idea of pork in a cupcake doesn't sound great to you, but this is a seriously good cupcake. The frosting was honey-sweet, but with enough tart apple flavor for balance. The cake was moist, light and fluffy, and every other bite or so, there was a chewy, salty bit of pancetta to cut through the sweetness. If you like to dip bacon in leftover pancake syrup, you'll like this. Too bad they don't make it every day. Of course, every other cupcake I've ever had there was excellent, also. (Except the Tres Leches - that one was disappointingly bland.)

 After the cupcakes, a late showing of "Looper." If you've seen the trailer, you know the premise: Time travel is illegal and run by criminal organizations. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a "looper," a mob assassin, who shoots people sent back in time. Bruce Willis plays the older version of Joe, sent back in time to be shot and "close the loop." Older Joe escapes, and young Joe must hunt him down while also dodging his employers, who are out to get him for botching the job. Old Joe has an agenda - there's something he needs to do to fix his life 30 years in the future.

  Joseph Gordon-Levitt has grown from a child actor to a talented leading man. Joe is a fairly unsympathetic character - a remorseless killer, a drug addict who'll sell out his best friend, and who has no problem with the thought that someday he'll be required to shoot his future self. Yet Gordon-Levitt's nuanced performance brings a sliver of humanity to Joe (essential to making the ending believable.) And it's eerie how well he does a young Bruce Willis - facial expressions, mannerisms, gestures - all make us believe these two are actually the same person at different ages.

 There are some confusing plot holes. (Why would the assassins be required to shoot their future selves? That just seems to be asking for trouble.) But there always are in time travel movies. Don't try too hard to unravel the logic of time travel, you'll just give yourself a headache.

 This is a dark, violent movie about a depressingly dystopian future, but it's also an interesting movie that will make you think. Definitely worth the money.

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