BlackBook Giveaway: Enjoy Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ‘Don Jon’ With a Special Prize Pack

After spending most of his young life in front of the camera, working with acclaimed directors— from his pal Rian Johnson to Gregg Araki, Christopher Nolan, and Steven Spielberg—Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proved himself a man of many talents. Swiftly moving from actor on the rise to one of the most sought after men in Hollywood, only naturally, he’s now progressed on into a directorial career of his own. And this weekend, his feature directorial debut Don Jon will roll into theaters, juicing up audiences, and showing the world his take on sexual comedy and self-discovery. 

Tackling one man’s struggle between the allure of easy satisfaction of fantasy and the the vulnerability and intimacy of reality, Levitt plays a young bachelor bartender focused on the simple things: his car, his pad, his girls, and his family. But when he meets the girl of his dreams (played by Scarlett Johansson)—or so he thinks—his world suddenly gets thrown off-kilter. Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, and Brie Larson round out of the cast of Levitt’s feature, and now,you too can get in on the action.
 
Tying in with the film’s release, we’ll be giving away a special prize pack Don Jon-centric items, sure to satisfy your body, your pad, and your girls.
 
The lucky winner will receive:
  • 30 Fandango giftcard 
  • Don Jon mints
  • Don Jon air freshener
  • Don Jon branded tank top
  • Don Jon branded tissues
  • Don Jon branded gym bag
 
TO ENTER:  Follow us on Twitter, RT one of our stories, or tweet at us and say why you want to win this #DonJon package. You can also email us (editorial@bbook.com) your name, address, and Twitter handle and tell us why you’re interested.
 
Check out the prizes below.
 
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Director Rian Johnson’s Top 10 Documentaries & Our Favorites of 2013 So Far

When it comes to directors you can’t help but love, Rian Johnson is pretty high on the list. Between directing and writing films like last year’s Looper and his brilliant debut Brick, while also directing some of Breaking Bad’s best episodes, it’s evident that he’s not only a fantastic filmmaker and storyteller but a voracious lover of cinema in general.

And this week, he’s shared his favorite documentaries with Nonfics. And as it’s been a pretty amazing year for new documentaries thus far, check out his list below, as well as some of our favorites of 2013.  

Erroll Morris’ Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. 

Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I

Sarah Pollley’s Stories We Tell

Orson Welles’ F For Fake

Albert and David Maysles’ Salesman

Kevin Brownlow and David Gill’s Hollywood

Alex Gibney’s Catching Hell

Frederick Wiseman’s Missile

D.A. Pennebaker’s Company: Original Cast Album

Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams

Frederick Wiseman’s Titicut Follies

Our favorites of 2013 thus far:

Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing

Penny Lane’s Our Nixon

Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer

Matt Wolf’s Teenage

From Rian Johnson to John Waters, Your Favorite Directors on the Films That Changed Their Lives

There’s always one film that lives inside the hearts of the cinematically minded—the one that opened their eyes, shook their world, and made them keen to the emotional, social, psychological, and physical possibilities that a movie can hold. For me, that was seeing David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive for the first time. I remember feeling as if someone had hit me over the head with a frying pan, awakening something in me that I never knew existed. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and remains a personal touchstone—a piece of cinema with which I have the most intimate relationship.

In  The Film That Changed My Life, Robert K. Elder interviews 30 directors on their "epiphanies in the dark." After spending a lot of time recently thinking about the way in which my tastes have changed but what will always stay the same, I wanted to share some highlights from Elder’s book, that gives insight into some of the most acclaimed and brilliant filmmakers today, as they reveal the movies that ignited something in them and made them want to make films of their own.

So here are some of your favorite directors on the films that moved them the most—enjoy.

Edgar Wright: John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London

"I’ve always been fascinated by horror films and genre films. And horror films harbored a fascination for me and always have been something I’ve wanted to watch and wanted to make. Equally, I’m very fascinated by comedy. I suppose the reason that this film changed my life is that very early on in my film-watching experiences, I saw a film that was so sophisticated in its tone and what it managed to achieve.

It really changed my life. It’s informed both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. There have been moments of verbal comedy, physical comedy, and tonal comedy. And extreme violence, somehow. Something like AN American Werewolf in London, the idea of having this mix of socially awkward comedy prided by incredibly vivd Oscar-winning horror, was just astonishing—is really astonishing. Horror films never get considered for Academy Awards; it’s incredible that An American Werewolf in London won the first ever makeup Oscar."

Rian Johnson: Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

"It’s magical to me. To this day, I can watch the film and try to analyze it and try to figure out how this little movie works, and it’s almost impossible. I end up getting lost. For me, watching this film is like a kid watching a magic trick.

I’d put it up there with 8 1/2 in terms of a film that personally redefined for me what film was capable of. This was one of the first films I saw that played with form in a brave way, and it paid off.

If anything it has grown in stature in my mind. What it achieved has become even more remarkable. I hate the tendency to say, "Films today don’t do what they used to," because that’s bullshit. In any generation, people are reticent to take the risks that this film does. One thing I’ll say about today versus back then, the idea of taking risks that this film took is frightening because there is less tolerance on the part of audiences today. I’m emotionally affected by it each time I see it. I appreciate what it pulled off."

Danny Boyle: Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

"My relationship with it, and my relationship wit most films that I love, is not really an intellectual one at all. It’s a passionate, visceral, emotional, one and in a funny kind of way I learned to value and appreciate that more as I go on really, rather than try to ever understand the films.

it’s obviously made at the Everest of megalomania, the absolute peak of, ‘I can do nothing wrong, and I must just push myself.’ And that’s, of course, one of the things celebrated in the film. You do see a film made at the absolute edge of sanity, really. In terms of the indulgence that movies can induce in people. But there’s a great side to it as well because it is his ambition and its about bigness, and I think that’s something we have lost. We now watch big films in terms of impacts and scale. I’m sure we’ll get it back, hopefully. But we really lost big films, these slightly overwhelming, overly ambitious big films. We’ve lost them, for whatever reason: confidence, marketing, whatever other factors you build into it. We do see to have lost that ambitiousness, I think."

Richard Kelly: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil

"I think the greatest thing I learned from Terry is that every frame is worthy of attention to detail. Every frame is worthy of being frozen in time and then thrown on a wall like an oil painting, and if you work hard on every frame, the meaning of your film because deeper, more enhanced. New meaning emerges in your story because of your attention to detail. It is also developing a visual style that is your own, that is hopefully unlike anything that has been done before.

I think Terry has one of the most pronounced, specific visual styles of any filmmaker. He gave me something to aspire to as a visual artist but also as a storyteller, as one who aspires to be a social satirist.

In this film, what Terry was doing—the level of detail, the complexity, the overwhelmingness of it all—I guess it challenged me. I guess that’s how I’ve always been. Maybe I just saw part of myself there."

John Waters: Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz

"Girl leaves a drab farm, becomes a fag hag, mets gay lions and men that don’t try to molest her, and meets a witch, kills her. And unfortunately, by a surreal act of fetishism—clicks her shoes together and is back to where she belongs. It has an unhappy ending.

When they throw the water on the witch, she says, ‘Who would have thought good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?’ That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep like a prayer.

I was always lookin’ for something that other people didn’t like, or people were frightened of, or didn’t care for. I was always drawn to forbidden subject matter in the very, very beginning. The Wizard of Oz opened me up because it was one of the first movies I ever saw. It opened me up to villainy, to screenwriting, to costumes. And great dialogue. "

Richard Linklater: Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull

"The film pulled me in so dark and deep. It was the boldness of the movie. in the era of feel-good movies, touchy feel stuff was all over the place, and man, this movie was unafraid. It was so brave to depict such a flawed, unlikable, scary guy.

It made me see movies as a potential outlet for what I was thinking about and hoping to express. At that point I was an unformed artist. At that moment, something was simmering in me, but Raging Bull brought it to a boil.

I remember telling people, some of my buddies, ‘Oh you gotta go see this movie,’ and they’re like, ‘Uh, yeah. Maybe.’ And even that girl I went with, we broke up shortly thereafter because she said it was boring. I was so mad. I’d had, like, this huge experience, and she walked out and goes, ‘Eh, it was kind of boring.’ I was like, ‘Who am I with? This is crazy!’ That was the end of that. A guy wants his girlfriend to at least appreciate that part of him. It’s every guy’s fantasy to have a girl who, if she doesn’t think that those films are great, at least can see why you like them, and tolerate it."

Ben Affleck, Lena Dunham, and Rian Johnson All Take Home DGA Top Honors

When the Academy failed to nominate Ben Affleck for Best Director a collective “Awww, what?!” swept Hollywood. But with the way award season has been thus far, it looks like Affleck can just brush that one off his shoulder. Although he will not be taking home an Oscar this month for Argo, I’m sure he can be pretty satisfied in knowing just about every other Guild, Circle, Press, etc. recognizes his directorial effort, awarding him with their highest honors.

And last night, falling in line with the season, Affleck took home the Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award from the Director’s Guild of America. Not since Ron Howard with Apollo 13 has someone been left out of the Academy Awards and still taken home the top DGA prize. But then again, Affleck did win an Oscar at the age of 26 for the eternally brilliant Good Will Hunting, so I think he’ll be okay.

Last night was also a good celebration for great young directors. Lena Dunham beat out Bryan Cranston and Louis CK for her direction on the pilot episode of Girls and the fantastic Rian Jonhson won for his directorial work on episode “Fifty-One” of Breaking Bad. This morning, Johnson wrote on Twitter that the first episode of Breaking Bad that he directed got him his DGA card and that he’s “so lucky to work on the show and this was such a huge honor” and included this picture.

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Check out full list of of last night’s DGA winners here.

Spoiler Alert: Ten Mysteries of ‘Looper’ Revealed

In one of the diner scenes in Rian Johnson’s new sci-fi-action-drama combo-pack, Looper, older Joe (played by Bruce Willis) says to his younger self (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), “Try not to think about it too much.” And when it comes to time travel films, perhaps it is best to simply let your mind bend and mold to the story rather than trying to analyze and rationalize every paradox and movement of the world they’ve created. Looper is film with massive ideas and a plot that reveals its layers the deeper you travel through it. The film feels like weaving your way through an intricate web of details and plot twists that are structured masterfully to keep a pace that never lets your excitement fall–even when it seems the film forgets what genre it’s inhabiting. And after watching, it’s not hard to assume that Johnson was working with a vast subconscious pool of influences–from the dystopian futures of Ridley Scott to the existential questions of Chris Marker, creating a time travel thriller for the modern man’s anxieties that still felt as human as it did alien.

But however you felt about the film, you’re bound to leave the theater with a few questions unanswered, your mind a bit hazy to all that you just witnessed.  Thankfully, /Film has provided some answers with the help of Johnson himself. Focused on revealing ten mysteries of of the film, dig into their interview–but only if you’ve already seen the film.

 

4. How does murder work in the future? Why can’t the mobsters kill there and what happens when Joe’s wife is killed?

The film mentions briefly mentions that, in the future, tracking technology stops murders from happening. But we explicitly see Joe’s wife murdered in the future. Johnson said this was one of several things he worked out in his head but didn’t put in the movie because it felt superfluous to the story. He instead explained it to us.

“Everybody in the movie has this nano technology tracking in their body and whenever there’s a death, a location tag is sent to the authorities from this tracking material. So they can’t kill people in the future. But if they send them back, that is not triggered.” He continues, “The material is powered off the body’s heat and it has a two year life after the person dies.” As for the wife, that was a big mistake made by the mobsters and the reason we see the shot of the village burning is that’s their half-assed attempt to cover it up.

5. Knowing a looper killed his mother, is the Rainmaker closing all these loops for revenge?

“Or is he doing it because he’s come to power and he’s wiping everything out? It’s a good question.” says Johnson, suggesting there’s really no answer.

6. Why is it essential for a looper to close his own loop? 

This is another one of those questions Johnson had answered in his head but didn’t put in the movie. In fact, he even conceived a scene with Abe addressing it but never shot it.

“People in the future, all they know about time travel is to be afraid of it. So they’re trying to keep it as tight as possible. So the initial reason they set it up this way was to keep the causality loop as tight as possible,” Johnson said. Because, for example, if someone else kills your older self and you have to exist with your own murderer for 30 years, what’s stopping you for murdering them or doing something to screw everything else up?  ”Every bit of evidence is gone from that loop when you kill yourself,” he said.

7. Was Joe in love with Sarah and was this something explored more in different versions of the script?

Johnson said he explicitly didn’t want Joe and Sarah to fall in love because Joe’s decision at the end has to be because he sees himself in Cid, not out of love for Sarah. Instead, their love scene is just “two lonely people in an intense situation together.” Johnson did admit, though, “There are hints that if Joe had lived, something might have happened, but in the context of the story? No.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Now a Bruce Willis Impressionist

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are both starring in Looper, the new film from the Rian Johnson, the madman behind the mind-bending Brick. Johnson’s going balls-out on this one, casting Gordon-Levitt and Willis in what is essentially the same role. Sit down for this one, because it’s going to take a lot of effort to make your silly little brain believe that Gordon-Levitt could be cast as a young Bruce Willis.

Take a peak at the trailer below:

Well! That’s certainly a taco wrapped in a burrito wrapped in a pizza stuffed into Ryan Gosling’s gym bag from Drive, isn’t it? Gordon-Levitt’s fake-Willis look is subtle enough, meaning if you went to the movies without your glasses on or, maybe, high, you might say, "Yeah, sure, that looks like a young Bruce Willis, but 40 pounds lighter and a full head of hair!" (We all remember what Bruce Willis looked like 30 years ago, right?)

According to Yahoo, the process of transforming Gordon-Levitt into Willis actually took a team of people who made casts of their faces and stuff:

The task of changing Gordon-Levitt’s look went to makeup designer Kazuhiro Tsuji, who had previously worked with the actor on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Johnson said that Tsuji started by taking casts of both Gordon-Levitt’s and Willis’ faces, and then "he started sculpting clay onto this perfect model of Joe’s face." The process of finding the correct balance of facial features took several months, and Gordon-Levitt ended up spending three hours a day in the makeup chair getting the prosthetics applied.

Meanwhile, Gordon-Levitt perfected (not my term, btw) Willis’s voice by recording and listening to "dialogue from movies like Sin City." Because when one thinks of a classic Bruce WIllis film, the first title is obviously Sin City. Anyway, this movie could be great and I will probably see it and just throw up my hands at the absurd premise because, you know what? Time travel. All bets are off. 

‘Looper’ Trailer: Time-Traveling Joseph Gordon-Levitt Hunts Himself

Here’s one for heavy concepts: In Rian Johnson’s Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a type of assassin — naturally called a looper — whose job it is to kill people sent to him from the future. As in, criminal mobs from 2072 time travel the person they want gone back to 2042, where JGL pumps them full of lead. Everything’s going fine until he’s tasked with a killing out of the ordinary: His future self, played by a grizzly Bruce Willis. In the moment where he hesitates for the kill, Willis escapes and hijinks ensue, because nothing’s worse in a sci-fi film than someone from the future meddling in the past. 

It’s definitely ambitious: Director Johnson, previously known for quirky genre exercises like Brick and The Brothers Bloom, has never been shy about breaking convention and doing something strange. In this case, it means slicking JGL with makeup to make sure he resembles a younger Willis, an effect which is partially believable and partially absurd, especially when they try to make the same grumpy guy facial expression.

But the mystery of what remains to be seen — why Willis is up for assassination, and how time-travel can be retroactively achieved — seems to make Looper as interesting as any other movie you might see this year, assuming science fiction is your bag. Which, why the hell not? Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Piper Perabo also star. It’s out on September 28.

Links: Denise Richards’ Bags of Fun, Evan Rachel Wood Sucks (Blood)

● What happened to Billy Corgan? He was once an icon of alternative rock … but now? He’s using former lyrics to promote PPV wrestling matches. [Youtube] ● Pharrell Williams has decided to laser all the tattoos off his arms off. [Twitter] ● Denise Richards has filmed a segment for Funny or Die about what’s she’s known for: her “funbags.” [FunnyorDie]

The Brothers Bloom has been delayed for almost a year, but director Rian Johnson is previewing the opening sequence of the Mark Ruffalo & Adrien Brody film on Hulu. [Hulu] ● Is there a Clueless sequel on its way? Evidently Alicia Silverstone and director Amy Heckerling have nothing better to do, as they were seen talking about the script while shopping. [Star] ● Evan Rachel Wood will be doing a two-episode stint on HBO vampire show True Blood. She’ll be playing Sophie-Anne, the 500-year-old vampire Queen of Louisiana. [EW]
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