"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is having an action-packed summer on-screen. He can still be seen as John Blake—the young police officer who deduces Batman's true identity—in The Dark Knight Rises, and he now appears as Wilee the NYC bike messenger in the David Koepp action film Premium Rush, which opens in theaters today.
Most people first noticed young Gordon-Levitt as Tommy Solomon on 3rd Rock from the Sun and from other TV appearances such as on Roseanne, but since then Gordon-Levitt has developed a taste for roles that are anything but boring. He had a small part in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later in which he checks out the house of the nurse from the original Halloween after Michael Myers breaks in only for Gordon-Levitt to steal some of her beers and end up with an ice skate blade in his face. In 2001's Manic, Gordon-Levitt plays a troubled teen with serious anger-management issues who is admitted to a juvenile psychiatric ward after bashing another kid with a baseball bat during a game.
In his early 20s, Gordon-Levitt continued to be fearless in his acting choices. In Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin, Gordon-Levitt plays a young man working as a petty thief and male prostitute in NYC who was sexually abused by his coach as a child along with another boy. The film has several sexually explicit scenes and difficult subject matter, but Gordon-Levitt realistically portrays the psychologically scarred character. Speaking of scarred, Gordon-Levitt appears opposite his Dark Knight Rises costar Anne Hathaway in Havoc, an ugly-to-watch cautionary tale about a group of wealthy L.A. teens whose affinity for hip-hop culture makes them imitate the gangster lifestyle, which leads to disaster.
More recently Gordon-Levitt has stepped up the action on-screen. In 2007's The Lookout, Gordon-Levitt plays a man with anterograde amnesia (think Memento) who is unable to form new memories after suffering brain damage in an accident yet gets sucked into a scheme to rob a bank. In Killshot, however, Gordon-Levitt willingly robs stores and goes on assassination assignments with fellow Mafia hit man Blackbird (Mickey Rourke) until the latter gets tired of Gordon-Levitt mouthing off.
Gordon-Levitt got into action years ago, but then his body caught up to his big-screen life and he started to muscle up accordingly. He reteamed with his Havoc and Stop-Loss buddy Channing Tatum to play the Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Then, in Christopher Nolan's Inception, Gordon-Levitt had one of the most memorable scenes in a gravity-defying battle as Leonardo DiCaprio's trusted partner. Nolan cast Gordon-Levitt again in The Dark Knight Rises, a movie that ends with the suggestion that Gordon-Levitt has finally graduated from sidekick to leading man.
The extreme really does make an impression. All of the Gordon-Levitt titles mentioned above are available on DVD and/or Blu-ray except, of course, The Dark Knight Rises and Premium Rush, which are still in theaters. What do you think is Gordon-Levitt's most extreme role on-screen?