Looper gets director's commentary MP3 for cinema listening

Looper director Rian Johnson has recorded a commentary for his time-travelling movie jaunt.

Looper director Rian Johnson has recorded an audio commentary for his time-travelling jaunt, designed to be listened to in cinemas.

Nimbly skirting around DVD and Blu-ray release norms, Johnson has uploaded his commentary to MP3-hoarding site Soundcloud. The 38-year-old director hopes you'll download the track online, load it onto an MP3 player and listen to it while you're sat in the cinema.

The recording has a do-it-yourself vibe, with Johnson starting the commentary track by setting a sync-point -- a place to press play on the audio file. After the instructions you're told to hit pause, then start the clip playing when you see the Tristar logo fade away at the start of the movie.

The clip is intended to accompany a second trip to see the film, which sees Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt mucking around with the space-time continuum. "Needless to say," Johnson writes on the film's blog, "this is NOT to be listened to on a first viewing, or before you've seen the film."

Johnson, who also created a commentary MP3 for earlier movie The Brothers Bloom, is keenly aware that listening to the commentary track has the potential to wind up fellow cinema-goers, and advises in-ear or on-ear headphones to spare those around you from suffering leaky noise.

Johnson also pleads that those attempting the audio-syncing stunt refrain from having a glowing iPod screen out of their pockets. That would be more annoying in the cinema than someone noisily rustling a bag of Revels, or the projector not being quite in focus, or the lights not going down on time, or someone kicking the back of your chair, or everyone laughing at the horrible Orange advert just before the film because they haven't seen it a million times before.

A different commentary track will be on the DVD and Blu-ray version of Looper when it's released -- Johnson says the downloadable version is "a bit more technical and detailed", so may suit the kind of movie fanatics who'd pay to see the film at the flicks a second time.

My critical compadre Rich 'Reviewin'' Trenholm reviewed Looper and called it, "the smartest and most enthralling film to hit cinemas since Inception". So y'know, go see it.

Would you listen to an MP3 in the cinema? Would you like to see more directors trying something like this? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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