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hugeposuer's avatar

hugeposuer

A man finds meaning in life through his love for dance.
1 week 4 days ago
Siskoid's avatar

Siskoid

I am quite ambivalent about the Joker movie, so don't expect a glowing review from me. First, let me say that Joaquin Phoenix's performance is unimpeachable. And sure, the picture's look is strong, with Gotham City being played by a well-reproduced 1970s New York. But I have two problems with the flick, and they bothered me well beyond the 2-hour experience. First is how derivative it is. Todd Phillips' hard-on for 70s cinema is obvious, and at his most clever, he uses the Exorcist stairs to evoke something (well, almost, we'll get to that), but otherwise, as everyone's said, he's doing Scorsese (in particular Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy), but also Fight Club, Frank Miller (ugh, can't we get away from Year One's specifics even once in these movies?), and a couple seasons of Gotham. In fact, I often felt like this was just a Gotham episode writ large. The other more important problem is that Joker pretends to have a message, or messages, but it's really not about anything (so the very meaning of the word "pretentious"). It never closes the deal on anything it might have to say. It's not really about we treat the mentally ill, because it's ultimately a cartoonish and negative portrayal of mental illness. It's not really about the making of a serial killer, as it's so keen on Joker staying sympathetic, it avoids any real shock to the audience's system (and does a hit job on the Waynes so he can never ever stop being a victim no matter what). It's not about how we should be kinder to one another and punch up rather than down, because the film itself makes fun of a minority character in a "punch-down" kind of way, a darkly comic moment that is sadly one of the only moments of comedy in the film. Because it's not a comedy, not even a dark one, and Joker's line about his life that's in the trailer comes out of left field and isn't earned. It's not even really a subversive Joker origin story, chickening out of its twist connection between Joker and the eventual Batman (then still polluting Batman's origin story by not understanding the power of its simplicity as part of a by-that-time interminable coda because WE NEED THAT MONEY SHOT! No we don't). Hey, I would probably have criticized that too, but at least it would have meant Joker completed a pass on SOMEthing. I think the film is actually summed up in the preachy but confused scene where Joker denies twice that he's not political and doesn't care about anything, as bookends to a sermon that's entirely political. I kept waiting for the movie to decide what it was about, but it isn't about anything but itself as a product (look at me! I'm a serious alternative to MCU-type, four-color action comedies!). Whatever dude, I'm not buying it.
6 days 6 hours ago
Paravail's avatar

Paravail

It was...okay.

Joaquin Phoenix turns in a stellar performance, several interesting themes are explored, and there are quite a few plot twists in the middle of the film. It is a sophisticated picture, but not an especially deep one. The movie is oddly hesitant to commit itself to its own themes. At times the message seems to be that rich people are evil and capitalism is to blame for all of society's problems. At other times it is critical of mob rule and casts Joker as a dangerous anarchist sowing destruction and misery. I think the attempt was to make Joker a nuanced character and make it difficult to say for sure whether he's a hero, villain, or victim. But pulling off such subtly takes extreme writing talent, which is just not present here. The end result is a film that contradicts itself and says little of substance. It is still worth a watch though, because as a character study it is excellent. As a critique of any major issue, it fails.
1 week 2 days ago
gbpxl's avatar

gbpxl

I just left the theater about 20 minutes ago (and walked past a private security truck parked outside the theater during a matinee. Had never noticed that before in all the times Ive gone here.) I don't know how this film got made. I have seen hundreds of movies over the years but this one just knocked me on my ass. I was wide-eyed throughout most of the film, and fighting back tears watching this character suffering from severe mental illness go from sweet and innocent to just absolutely f***ing stark raving lunatic. I have never seen an actor so dedicated to his performance in all my life. If there were ever a film that deserved an R-rating, THIS IS IT. It is not only possibly the darkest film I have ever seen but the film's messages are likely to be interpreted as a justification for violence for many of the wayward souls watching this film. And not only that but in an era where people have been dressing like clowns in real life, scaring people, shooting up theaters dressed as the *JOKER,* and the heated political rhetoric of "us vs. them," "rich vs. poor" and the omnipresent bullying and stigma against mental illness that seems to have always been around, it just absolutely floors me that this film was made.

It's not for the faint-hearted and I actually saw a theatergoer jump at one of the more particularly violent scenes. That is something that is very hard to do these days with so many of us being desensitized to violence. But it's a testament to how realistic and dramatic this film is.

I hung on every word of dialogue in the film, and Im not sure if I blinked during the entire two hours. I have never felt empathy for a character who does the most unspeakable things on film, and so for that I'd say it is easily the ballsiest film ever made. And I feel privleged to be able to say I was able to see this film. Bravo.
1 week 2 days ago
SemirGenetics's avatar

SemirGenetics

A masterpiece
1 week 5 days ago
BoiledFish's avatar

BoiledFish

DC's renaissance!
6 days 1 hour ago
WanderingSoul's avatar

WanderingSoul

A mixed bag if ever there was one... a sometimes visceral curiosity, but a curiosity nonetheless.

It does look and feel the part, even if there’s not much bubbling beneath the surface. When you hire Joaquin Phoenix you know you’re getting something good, and the man offers an intense, physical performance that while maybe not his finest work (that’d be something like The Master or You Were Never Really Here or Her - the man boasts one hell of a CV) is definitely a hell of an effort nonetheless. Just a full-on, physically gruelling performance. The film looks and sounds good for the most part - never as good as the many films it explicitly and implicitly draws influence from, but nonetheless a big step up as far as modern comic book films go. I saw it on a proper IMAX screen, and I appreciate how the camera focuses so much on Phoenix’s distorted expressions. And it does boast the sort of discordant, invasive soundtrack that has you quietly squirming throughout. It looks pretty cool throughout all round, especially since it takes a few opportunities to step beyond just being a vision of grim urban despair.

Speaking of comic book films... It seems mental to type this about a film based on one of the most iconic comic characters ever created, but bear with me a second: One of Joker’s major flaws is that it misjudges how isolated it wants to be from its comic book origins. At times this could be any grubby, bleak New York psychological character study. But the spoiler.

At worst, I think it only serves to demystify the Joker somewhat - given the character is at his very best when there’s a sense of mystery around him (like Heath Ledger’s take, with the ever-shifting, never-reliable backstories).

On the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s too hesitant to address real world issues as anything other than background colour - and this is only an issue because it wades straight into the territory. spoiler. This film wants to be provocative, but it’s too shallow to say much of substance - a reminder that we’re firmly in the realm of mainstream studio movie. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t hint at this stuff - but it does, and therefore left me feeling quite unsatisfied with where they went with it (i.e. nowhere).

There’s a point explicitly referenced in the film (quite rightly) that Joker as a character is without ideology beyond chaos - but this film, on the whole, comes across as confused rather than artfully chaotic. This is also all compounded by the film’s rather underwhelming vision of Gotham - basically just 1970s New York, but with the odd CG enhanced building with a sign saying ‘Gotham XXXX’ on it.

The film is most effective then, as a sort of psychological spectacle film - a raw, persistently bleak portrait of a broken man being pushed over the edge into the realm of a psychopath, all done with a more cartoonish style than that type of material usually gets. It’s like Taxi Driver or King of Comedy, but defanged. While there are definite accomplishments here in that regard, there are limits too. The first act is the strongest, because that’s when you’re not quite sure what to make of everything. spoiler

There’s also a busyness here that you usually see in messy first features or overindulgent sophomoric ones, even though this is neither. The film has four or five different strands going throughout - this means it’s unfocused, but again not in an artfully chaotic way that would befit the character. Instead, there’s a sense of interesting subplots battling for space, and key ideas can be pushed to the side for reasonably long stretches before feeling somewhat under-explored.

It’s not a bad film, but it’s far from a great one - often pleasing in the moment, but frustrating as a whole. Todd Phillips isn’t Lynn Ramsey or Martin Scorsese, and for the superficial similarities to other, better works there’s just not the depth here to push it to another level. Don’t get me wrong: I’d take this over pretty much any other comic book movie of the past half decade (Spiderverse, as ever, excluded). It’s pushing in the right direction, and lower budget (although let’s not pretend for a second this DC, Warner Bros film based on an iconic character is an underdog ) oddities are a better idea than dozens of virtually identical hyper-blockbusters. But if movies like this want to play in the same territory as some giants of modern cinema, they’re going to be held to the same standard. Joker is, in that respect, an interesting failure.
1 week 1 day ago
aniforprez's avatar

aniforprez

ok i don't know what some of the people commenting here expected or watched. someone calls it a failure as a ""batman"" movie. wut? someone says it fails to say anything about capitalism?? HUH???

spoilers it's about a man's descent into madness but portrayed beautifully as someone whom society, people, life and loved ones failed miserably and how someone who was already cracked completely broke down and became a product of their circumstances.

INCREDIBLY depressing and deeply moving, the film executed the theme it wanted excellently. it's not about capitalism or the evils of it, it's not about society, it's about how someone could very realistically be so crushed by the weight of their circumstances that once they see life as endless misery, it turns into a comedy of errors

9/10 this was a really horrifying watch
3 days ago
Pauljt1980's avatar

Pauljt1980

Probably one of the best portrayals of mental illness I’ve ever seen. Not to be treated as a Batman film or you’ll struggle to enjoy it. Gripping from start to finish and you sympathise with the antagonist-one of the top films of 2019.
3 days 21 hours ago
greenhorg's avatar

greenhorg

As it's own story I think this film succeeds on its grimy aesthetics, deft cinematic callbacks, and of course Phoenix's magnetic performance. It's interesting. However as a BATMAN movie, I would call it a failure, the crucial problem being that it has no relationship to the character it exists to portray. Whoever this "Arthur Fleck" fella is, he is obviously not arch-nemesis material. The Joker has actual defining character traits/abilities and isn't just any fictional murderer dressed like a clown (Pennywise isn't the Joker, etc).

Let's leave aside the fact Fleck is an anorexic grandpa that, we can only assume, the much younger Batman will one day accidentally kill with one punch. The Joker character, in all his adaptations, is a criminal genius because Batman is a crime-fighting genius. It takes a Moriarty to challenge Batman's Holmes. But Fleck is a fuckup; a clumsy simpleton with no discernible skills or gifts. In fact almost every defining trait of the character is reversed: The Joker is a sadistic psychopath who you are supposed to hate (Fleck is a sympathetic "anti-hero" who only harms those that harm him), the Joker is extroverted and domineering (Fleck is withdrawn and socially inept), the Joker is disturbingly mirthful (Fleck is deeply depressive). These are not expendable traits, they purposely define the Joker in yin-yang counterbalance to the virtuous, cloistered, sullen Batman. This contrast is what makes these characters and their dynamic appealing, yet Arthur Fleck (mediocrity aside) is basically the same emo avenger as Bruce Wayne.

I mean this almost seems intentional. With the Joker depicted as the REAL sympathetic vigilante hero (and official spokesclown of the new BLM/Antifa/Pepsi Resistance™) and the Wayne family as callous robber barons, it kind of seems like we're supposed to think the Joker is giving you his own fair and unbalanced version of events here. They should've added a Duck Amuck style pull back after the end credits with the Joker decked out as Cecil B. DeMille: "Ain't I a stinka?"

Not only does Mark Hamill remain the best movie Joker, but Paul Dini's no-frills Joker backstory in Mask of the Phantasm -- a cunning mafia thug -- is still the least gimmicky and most rewarding one available (See also). Dini keeps Joker's origins mysterious, but not overtly shrouded a la Nolan. I know that 'vicious gangster used to be a vicious gangster' is kind of an anti-backstory, but that’s kind of the point. Writers are so eager to make a character “interesting” that they tack on any dramatic absurdity at the expense of authenticity. It’s the writing equivalent of bad CGI: unless it looks real, less is more. (And to be fair, I do appreciate how Todd Philips has moved beyond the corny traditional "chemical vat" storyline, like Nolan who also implied Joker simply wears makeup.)

image

Indeed if you want to see the best non-animated prequel version of the Joker just watch Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death (1947). Same character! In the unreleased sequel the Batman freak shows up, energizing the chaos, and Widmark (and other savvy criminals) successfully co-opt his crazy formula. As Joker he is more terrifying and this gives him an additional edge over the more ordinary, less adaptable crime bosses. Batman didn't fix crime in Gotham, he injected it with steroids.

image
1 week 1 day ago
EvelinTekla's avatar

EvelinTekla

Can't get it off my head, amazing, masterpiece to be honest.
1 week 4 days ago
ZEDG's avatar

ZEDG

A powerful and emotional movie, that brought me to tears at the end. Bravo.
7 hours 38 minutes ago
MordredMS's avatar

MordredMS

Not being much of a superhero fan, I found this film surprisingly deep and inspiring. It doesn't go as deep as it could have into a proper critique of the system, but the hints are there, and I found many dynamics of these thematic elements to be surprisingly realistic. spoiler

But more than anything, it's simply a man's descent into madness, as each of his hopes and points of support betrays him, and finds the hilarity he's always wanted to feel and inspire into chaos and vengeance.

Having seen most Batman movies and Arkham games, i always considered Batman nothing more than sociopathic, spoiled rich guy with delusions of grandeur, who acts as an above-the-law vigilante by only acting against small street crime because that is what took his parents from him, for nothing but a desire for vengeance, hiding behind an hypocritical and fake sense of superior morality just because he "doesn't kill" (usually); all the while doing nothing to combat corruption, white collar crime or the other causes that make Gotham the dirty, unjustifiable hellhole of inequality that it is, becoming the personification of bourgeis power fantasy, the Silent Protector of the Status Quo. In other words, he is just the same as the Joker, he simply had the luck of being born healthy and into a rich family rather than into the working class.

Well, this film finally agrees with me.
1 day 22 hours ago
baraka92's avatar

baraka92

“The world is shit... the world is shit... the world is shit... the world is shit...”

Wait! He’s finally going to make a speech.

...of course... “THE WORLD IS SHIT”.

Not awful but I found it monotonous and derivative. It really doesn’t say much about anything. Just watch The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver.

Also, I liked Phoenix better in The Master.
1 week 1 day ago
SpacedJ's avatar

SpacedJ

Incel Passion of the Christ.
5 days 22 hours ago

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