No Joking, It’s An Oscar Version Of A Comic Book Movie

           Joker Poster

The comic book movie craze has gotten a bit out of hand with all the latest stunts and money wars that have led to the universes getting a little out of control.  In regards to the DC universe, again the movies are hit or miss in regards to the true comic book movie prose.  Yet, deep in the nest of Hollywood, there are still writers and directors that are willing to diverge from the common trend in an effort to bring a more artful style to the genre.  Tonight, DC attempts to do just that, with a character profile movie on one of their most legendary villains the Joker.  After multiple cameos, the world of comics looks to a new retelling to bring more quality to the comic book world.

 

Movie:  Joker (2019)

 

Director:

Todd Phillips

Writers:

Todd PhillipsScott Silver

Stars:

Joaquin PhoenixRobert De NiroZazie Beetz

 

 

LIKES:

  • Fantastic Profiling
  • Great Cinematography
  • The use of music
  • Dive into the madness
  • Great Acting

 

 

Dislikes/Warnings

  • Violence
  • Pacing
  • An Open Ending
  • Timeline differences
  • Not feeling Very Joker Esque
  • Some plot points that are vague

 

 

Summary:

First off this movie is not really a superhero, or in this case a supervillain film.  Instead, the movie feels like a film that is more of dive into the psychiatric profile of a man trying to make it into a chaotic world and wearing a supervillain mask at the same time.  One of Joker’s key strengths is that film manages to capture the insanity of psychiatric disease amazingly, blending a number of symptoms and transforming them into a mixed-up world where reality and fiction dance a twisted tango.  Utilizing great cinematography, the visuals by Phillips guidance somehow manage to take an internal perspective and personify it on the screen, sort of trapping you into the dimension of Artie’s mind.  Dark filters, contrasting light, and an element of dismay even in bright lit rooms build up the premonition of safety does not exist even in the light of day, which somehow adds to the horror of this disease.  Throw in all the use of music that not only coordinates with general pan over scenes of Gotham’s descent into madness, but  also in coordination with Phoenix’s dance moves that seem built amidst this classical, haunting music that represents the auditory hallucinations.  It’s all brought to the front though with the acting primarily with Phoenix carrying the pillars of which this movie is built on.  He’s got the laugh down, the smile, the bizarre mannerisms, and much more, in what almost feels like a natural extension of his self on the screen and he runs with it like an Olympic Sprinter.  It’s this acting that sort of takes everything mentioned previously and exemplifies it in human form, opening the world to another disturbing mind of a serial killer whose lethality can only be imagined.

 

Yet, there are things that will mix up the audience’s reception of it depending on what expectation you walk into the theater with.  In regards to the promotion of violence, it’s not quite as terrifying as people think (believe me there have been worst movies).  Still a warning to the audience is some rather realistic twists to the violence that may sort of promote the behavior, so impressionable minds beware, you’re in for a scare.  Past this though, the pacing of the Joker is mixed for me.  On the one hand I appreciate the slow timing to allow for the buildup and development of Joker’s origin.  Yet, the ending did not quite deliver the finessed ending this pacing did, given the world they based it.  True, it’s still terrifying and a great start to a serial killer’s reign, but the question is whether the tale lived up to the name the movie borrowed.  In addition, despite the movie being self-contained, the ending is one of those that leaves it semi-open for interpretation as to what happened/ did not happen in the story.  I myself am not a fan of such openings, so it’s a dislike for me, but for others you might just enjoy its fitting with the psychotic principal of the movie.  Finally, the story components are technically all there, but there are some elements that feel a little bumpy in this smooth transverse to psychotic zones.  Some elements are a little on the back burner, primarily in regards to some other back stories about his previous experiences with facilities.  Other points are almost not needed at all, given the direction they did, but that may just be my over analyzing nature.  Nevertheless, the one element that bothers me is the “age” difference of the world they set.  Again, the Joker name, and my comic book history, sort of scratches at the itch of a timeline established in this movie between him and his future nemesis.  For the general audience it won’t be an issue, but for those lore based comic book fans, well you’ve been warned.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Joker is indeed a film festival movie, that utilizes all the elements that the Academy Awards love, and tries to bring it into the world of comic book-based movies.  On the plus side it’s different, fantastically shot, and a portrayal of the madness that a literary icon has gotten in his graphic novel forms.  Again, I feel this movie is like a twisted version of A Beautiful Mind, with once more a fantastic actor driving home the point of the character.  Still, the use of the Joker name almost is a misnomer, because the grandiose antics, that classic insanity of cunning plans and foresight for moves, and even the big bang are sort of missing for me.  I think had they integrated a few more of the comic book qualities into the film the name works, or drop the name altogether and just be a psychological profile.  Still, this mad production requires at least a once over in my opinion, and can be enjoyed at both the theater or home viewing depending on your expectations. 

 

My scores are:

Crime/Drama/Thriller:  8-8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Feel Good Movie that Gets the Job Done

The Intern

            Robbie K back again with another movie review. This time I’ll be focusing on the latest Comedy entitled the Intern starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. These two actors are legends for bringing roles to life, and from the trailers promise to bring their talents back to the silver screen for a heartwarming adventure. Does this movie live up to that promise? As always please read on to find out.

The story of the Intern is a simple tale about two lost people in need of something to help get their lives back on track. It’s plot is very formulaic, lacking any twists or turns to offset the predictable path it follows. Both characters backgrounds are very typical of Nancy Meyers’ work involving some unbalanced, dramatic family dynamic that is in need of some tuning up. Despite the familiar plot dynamic, The Intern somehow stands out from the mire of comedies that currently flood the market. For one, the movie is very relatable and realistic, with characters you latch on to within twenty minutes of the film’s start. Ben (De Niro) and Jules (Hathaway) are characters who have morals and qualities fans of all ages will love, such as diligence, compassion, and rationality that many comedy/drama characters lack. And for once I wasn’t annoyed by characters in a comedy/drama, but rather interested in seeing where their stories would go. In addition, the story kept taking different avenues, mixing up the drama to provide different obstacles for our characters to overcome (much like life), keeping things fresh. The major flaws with this story are small gaps that arise in the plot, things conveniently being settled at a drop of the hat, and some transitions that were a bit to random for me.

But while the story is not the most unique, or exciting for that matter, The Intern does provide a handful of life lessons wrapped in a heart string tugging package. Ben’s morals are motivating, traditional values from a dying generation that are designed to motivate and inspire one to work hard and help others. Jules characteristics are meant to be empowering, breaking the traditional stay at home mom role and portraying women kicking modern day business in the can. While these morals may seem cheesy, and overdone, Meyers manages to deliver them in a very appropriate manner that bypasses the preachy, in your face lessons. Even the romantic dilemmas are professionally portrayed, bypassing the movie magic and instead giving a realistic approach as to how to handle problems. Perhaps the biggest, unrealistic component is the fact that everyone actually listened to them without much resistance, seeing as humans are so open for taking advice these days.

No matter how well a character is designed though, you need an actor to bring it to life, which this assembled cast more than accomplishes. De Niro continues his impressive track record, somehow playing epic characters, yet somehow playing himself. He brings that warm smile that brings confidence and wisdom, no matter the situation. Hathaway as well impressed me, as she wears the multiple hats of boss, friend, mother, and wife. She covers the emotional spectrum and manages to sell the pain and pressure that Jules suffers from. Separate these two are strong, but when acting together they are on an even higher level of quality. The supporting cast is fantastic as well, each well balanced into the grand story to play their parts and provide the laughs we so need.

Speaking of laughs, the Intern’s comedy was a nice break from the overacted and ridiculously stupid stunts many comedies take these days. Instead it is witty, loaded with clever dialogue that is well timed and simplistic and for once not over done or drawn out in length. It branches across the age generations covering topics like love, balancing life with career, morals between old and new generations and bridging the technology gap. Each of these topics was tastefully done, relying on the actor’s delivery to be funny instead of just some stupid catchphrase meant to be posted on memes.

The Intern is not the most unique movie to grace the theaters, and it feels very much like a typical Nancy Meyer’s work. However, this movie throws at a lot of the movie magic and melodramatic drama for a film that is fun, positive, and a good bridge across generation gaps. The little family established in this picture will pull you into movie, and the two hours will fly by as you become engrossed in the characters’ lives. For quality acting and a fun movie, The Intern is worth a trip to the theater, despite it’s lacking of special effects. I encourage many to check it out when it comes out on Netflix or RedBox in the future.

My scores for the Intern are:

Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0