This is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He used to be "that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun." Then he started making movies. Angels in the Outfield, anyone? He played Demi Moore's kid in a weird little thriller called The Juror. He did a few relatively smart teen movies, including the Shakespeare riff 10 Things I Hate About You. Then, suddenly, he was an indie darling, making smart, twisty little movies like The Lookout, Brick, and Mysterious Skin. The critics took notice, even if audiences were slow to catch up (Speaking of which, if you haven't seen a little thriller called Killshot, in which Gordon-Levitt co-starred as a junior hitman with Mickey Rourke, get on it). And then...hello, Christopher Nolan. I'm skipping a lot of steps along the way, of course, but suddenly (and I keep using that word because he's a guy who kind of sneaks up on you), Joe is on the cover of every men's magazine, looking Old Hollywood as hell, with monikers like "The Next Leading Man" next to his picture. 

(500) Days of Summer, Inception, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises. And now Don Jon, which Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and stars in alongside Scarlett Johansson. This movie probably won't make a mint at the box office, and there will still be people a year from now who don't know who Joseph Gordon-Levitt is. But this guy is for real. The photo shown above, of Joe at the Oscars...? Get used to shots like that.

And now, faithful readers, this week's What to Watch.


Rush (Savoy 16 IMAX): The story of the Formula 1 rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

Why to Watch: This film is the first Ron Howard film in a while not based on a book by Dan Brown, which is a nice change of pace. (Although, to be fair, I understand a director’s impulse to make a sequel, and it’s not like Howard was going to make Apollo 14.) I think Rush is about so much more than a rivalry between two high-profile racers. The ideas of seeking glory and the emotional toil that losing can take on highly competitive people are fascinating to see depicted. Expect exciting racing action as well as powerful turns by both Chris Hemsworth (as Hunt) and Daniel Bruhl (as Lauda).

Showing @ 4:20 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:40 p.m., and 10:10 p.m.

 

In A World… (The Art Theater Co-Op): A young woman struggles to break into thevoice acting business; meanwhile, her father is the king of movie trailer voices.

Why to Watch: Lake Bell stars in and wrote the screenplay for this indie film. The film looks like a quirky adventure into the world that is voice acting and also sheds a light on how much energy an actor has to have in such a demanding profession. All of this has to be figured out by the protagonist while she decides whether this is a worthwhile profession to pursue. A great, original premise and an outstanding comedy cast. This has gotten a lot of critical praise and promises to be a lot of fun.

Showing Tuesday @ 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; showing Wednesday @ 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Act of Killing (The Art Theater Co-Op): A documentary crew poses an interesting challenge to heads of former death squads, with unexpected cinematic (and emotional) results.

Why to Watch: Quite simply one of the most fascinating concepts I've ever heard. In countries where death squads and dictators perpetrated the genocide of thousands of innocents, the men behind the killings lived like celebrities and fancied themselves heroes. The creators of this film have approached these despots and murderers and offered them the chance to reenact some of their crimes (of which they have boasted for years) as scenes from their favorite films. It's a mind-bending and disturbing idea--one that the killers embraced, to stunning effect. Over the course of becoming the movie stars they always imagined themselves to be, new insight into their own crimes surfaces. Visit the film's website for more information on what has to be considered an important film and a true Must See.

Showing Tuesday night @ 7:30 p.m.

Don Jon (Savoy 16 IMAX): Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut tells the story of Jon (played by JG-L), his addiction to porn, and how his addiction influences his viewon relationships and what love is to him.

Why to Watch: JG-L wrote, directed, and stars in this film about what love means to someone who finds more enjoyment in porn than he does in actual intimacy. This film is superb because it carefully explores how women and men view love differently. No sides are taken; everyone is equally justified and absurd, right and wrong. This film reveals what ticks both genders’ boxes without suggesting that every person requires the same thing to be happy. Scarlett Johansson pulls off a great performance as Barbara, Jon's "chick flick"-obsessed girlfriend. This film is a great date movie and will surely have you either valuing what you have with your significant other or questioning why you're in the relationship to begin with. See it.

Showing @ 3:00 p.m., 5:10 p.m., 7:20 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. 

The Art Theater Co-op's SHOCKTOBER: The Art's celebration of all things creepy kicks off Wednesday night with an audience party and marathon of the TV show Are You Afraid of the Dark?. After that, check out Ridley Scott's Alien on Thursday and John Carpenter's The Thing on Friday. Go to the Art's website for more information on the whole schedule, including old-school horror and Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods.

STILL PLAYING

Prisoners (Savoy 16 IMAX): Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, an ordinary husbandand father  on a quest to find his kidnapped daughter and her friend.

Why to Watch: This film is incredibly tense and a great thriller. I absolutely love Jackman's performance as well as Paul Dano's work as prime suspect Alex Jones. Gyllenhall continues to define (and redefine) his acting career with more interesting role choices. In the case of this film, Gyllenhall plays a tortured cop who heads the investigation into the kidnapping. This film is definitely worth seeing--especially if you think you can solve the case before everyone else.

Showing @ 2:50 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 6:35 p.m., 9:20 p.m., and  9:50 p.m.

COMING SOON

Gravity: Alfonso Cuaron's visually stunning trip to outer space stars George Clooney as a seasoned astronaut and Sandra Bullock as a scientiest rookie. The two-person crew is sent on a relatively simple mission (if there is such a thing in zero-gravity) when, naturally, Something Goes Wrong. From there on, the film follows Bullock's character as she attempts to save herself and return to earth. Early buzz on the film is that Bullock's work is tremendous and that the film's look and effects are very much worth seeing on the big screen.

National Theatre Live: Othello: The Art once again presents the best of London'stheatre scene as Shakespeare's tale of jealousy and revenge gets a modern military update. There will be more coverage of this and other NTLive productions in the coming weeks, and this one looks like an emotional powerhouse. Starring Adrian Lester as Othello and Rory Kinnear as the sinister Iago, this stage performance will arrive at the Art on October 20.