Joker is a psychological thriller directed by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film is based on DC Comics’ character, the Joker produced by Warner Bros. Pictures. An origin story set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. The trailers were vague but issued warnings of a dark movie that earned Joker an ‘R’ rating. While dark, Joker gave an in-depth look into an infamous character we never imagined.
In 1981, party clown Arthur Fleck/Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) lives with his mentally ill mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy), in Gotham City. Penny is always asking Arthur to check the mail for a response to her letters, hoping that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), her former employer, who is “rich and kind,” will rescue them from poverty. Gotham is rife with crime and unemployment, leaving segments of the population disenfranchised and impoverished. Arthur has hopes of making it big one day in a comedy club as a stand-up comedian. Arthur doesn’t know his mother is mentally ill or that he’s adopted or that she thinks Thomas Wayne is his father. Additionally, Arthur is suffering from malnutrition and has no friends or any other family. He also suffers from a neurological disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times and depends on a social services program for his medication. Funding cuts close the social services program, leaving Arthur without any meds. While working as a hired clown, a gang of young boys attacks him causing Arthur’s co-worker, Randall (Glenn Fleshler), to lend him a gun. While entertaining at a children’s hospital, the gun falls out of Arthur’s pocket and he is fired. After being questioned by police, Randall lies and says that Arthur bought the gun himself. While on the subway, still in his clown makeup, Arthur was beaten once again, this time, by three drunken Wayne Enterprise businessmen. This is the beginning of the end for Arthur who becomes the Joker. There is a lot more story to come as his transformation becomes final.
Joker is a dark and sad story of the life of Arthur Fleck and how he becomes one of DC Comics’ most popular villains. While I’m not a fan of Batman, origin stories can be a good way to revitalize a story that’s been told over and over, enticing new fans to the franchise. Joaquin Phoenix is a tremendous actor, who has really shown the depth of his acting talent in Joker. Every frame was so believable, I really felt as if I knew Arthur/the Joker. In comparison to the TV series, Gotham, I could now relate to the chaos and living conditions in this story. From the riots to the murders, Gotham’s mayhem is understandable. Joaquin has joined the best of the best-played Jokers: Jack Nicholson – Batman (1989); Cameron Monaghan – Gotham TV series – (2015-2019) and Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (2008). I was shocked to see how thin Joaquin had become, as he lost a whopping 52 pounds to create an authentic character and based his laugh on videos of people suffering from pathological laughter. Joker has grossed $272 million worldwide and set box office records for an October release. I think Joker was brilliantly acted, told a great and haunting story, created excellent cinematography scenes, made Phoenix’s make-up look awesome, and was directed flawlessly. I highly recommend Joker to those who love comic series and those who are not bothered by the warnings of darkness and violence in a movie. Check It Out!
[JOKER is Oscar-Nominated for Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay — Totaling 11 Oscar nominations]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alfred pennyworth, Arkham State Hospital, Arthur Fleck, Bill Camp, Brett Cullen, brian tyree henry, bruce wayne, Bryan Callen, Dante Pereira-Olson, douglas hodge, Frances Conroy, gary, Gene Ufland, Glenn Fleshler, gotham, Hoyt Vaughn, joaquin phoenix, joker, Josh Pais, justin theroux, Leigh Gill, Marc Maron, Murray Franklin, Penny Fleck, Randall, robert de niro, shea whigham, Sophie Dumond, thomas wayne, Zazie Beetz
Justice League is a superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. The film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. There are many reasons I’m glad Justice League was created. I was a very unhappy camper when they decided to kill off Superman, especially by the likes of Batman, who actually has no super powers. That was the biggest injustice in super hero history, in my opinion. Justice League redeemed that unfortunate event, which made my day. I also got to see Aquaman in all his glorious action, which also made my day. So much eye candy, so little time! I was well entertained as well.
Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), an alien military officer from Apokolips and his army of Parademons attempted to conquer and remake Earth through the combined energies of three “Mother Boxes”. They were foiled by a unified army that included Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, humans, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes were separated and hidden in three locations around the world.
In the present, all the world is in mourning over the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), which has triggered the Mother Boxes to reactivate along with Steppenwolf’s return to Earth in an effort to regain favor with his master, Darkseid. When Steppenwolf retrieves a Mother Box from Themyscira, Amazonian Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) warns her daughter, Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), of his return by lighting the invasion fire located in the palace. As a result, Diana joins Bruce Wayne / Batman (Ben Affleck) in an attempt to unite other Meta-humans. Bruce Wayne goes after Arthur Curry / Aquaman (Jason Momoa), a member of the Justice League and heir to the throne of the undersea nation of Atlantis and Barry Allen / Flash (Ezra Miller), also a member of the Justice League and a Central City University student, who can move at superhuman speeds due to his ability to tap into the Speed Force. Diana Prince tries to locate Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher), another member of the Justice League and a former college athlete who, after being cybernetically reconstructed after a near fatal car accident, has powers that allow him to fly, turn his arms into cannons, and manipulate technology. Once the team is assembled, they go into action to keep Steppenwolf from acquiring all three of the Mother Boxes, but fail. The team receives intel from James Gordon (J. K. Simmons), the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and close ally of Batman, leading them to Steppenwolf’s army, based in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor.
As usual, I’ve said enough. The story gets even more interesting and how the Justice League keeps Earth from being destroyed by Steppenwolf is exciting. Flash and another member of the Justice League have similar powers and are always in competition. There are many funny scenes, as well as lots of muscle flexing. Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) stepped up his role as Bruce Wayne’s butler, chief of security and trusted confidant. Also Diane Lane reappears as Martha Kent and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Justice League is a great super hero film with an all-star cast and a good story to back it up. I recommend it to all – check it out for yourself!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alfred pennyworth, amy adams, aquaman, arthur curry, barry allen, batman, ben affeck, bruce wayne, ciaran hinds, clark kent, connie nielsen, cyborg, darkseid, diana prince, diane lane, ezra miller, flash, gal gadot, henry cavill, james gordon, jason momoa, jeremy irons, jk simmons, justice league, lois lane, martha kent, mother box, queen hippolyta, ray fisher, steppenwolf, superman, victor stone, wonder woman
As a loyal fan of Superman, especially the last remake “Man of Steel” I am truly upset with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. There’s a lot to be said about this film, which is actually a follow-up to Man of Steel. I will try to be as fair as I can in bringing you the facts as I know them. Both films were directed by Zack Snyder (how could he do this to us?) Both films starred Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Superman’s adoptive parents, Jonathan & Martha Kent, respectively and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. Somehow, Jimmy Olsen was pretty much left out except for a voice in Dawn of Justice as a CIA agent.
Some 18 months after Superman destroyed General Zod in Man of Steel, he has moved in with Lois Lane and is seen as a threat to humanity by Batman. However, after learning of Batman’s (Ben Affleck) intentions and accusations against him, Superman believes Batman is also a threat and plans to stop him by using the Daily Planet articles as Clark Kent. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) CEO of LexCorp has his own set of ideas to take down Superman. Lex Luthor’s plans also include creating meta humans which would include Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) who is also the daughter of Zeus.
While all plans are put into motion by Batman, Superman and Lex Luthor, the audience is left to be confused and bored to death by the rantings and ravings of Lex Luthor. Some of his speeches were so long, I began to doze off. Things really got out of control. I didn’t know where I was at times. Jesse Eisenberg is a fantastic actor but one cannot help the script they’re handed. It was brutal and ambiguous. It was never made clear why Superman was targeted as a villain. It didn’t make sense why someone who fought the good fight for decades suddenly was deemed bad. Batman was so angry throughout the entire movie that I thought he was going to bust a gasket. Ben Affleck made the worst Batman I’ve seen, bar none. He looked fat and stocky in the Batman suit and his face seemed so fat under the mask, I couldn’t help but laugh. He seemed gigantic and reminded me of Humpty Dumpty. And who’s idea was it to cast Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth? That was a mismatch I couldn’t quite understand. In conclusion, because I know the future of the next sequel, I’m no longer upset with the outcome of this film but I will say Batman V Superman was a bad idea. I absolutely hated the Batman character and wasn’t too thrilled with the movie. I really felt the Batman character killed the movie plus the long Lex Luthor speeches finished it off. The script made little sense and the ending really pissed me off. I for one, am looking forward to “The Justice League Part I”, starring Henry Cavill as Superman, now in production — due to be released in 2017.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alfred pennyworth, amy adams, batman, batman v superman: dawn of justice, ben affleck, diana prince, diane lane, gal gadot, henry cavill, jefemy irons, jesse eisenberg, jonathan kent, Kevin costner, laurence fishburne, lex luthor, lexcorp, lois lane, martha kent, perry white, superman, wonder woman, zack snyder
The acting is a little funky but Gotham turned out to be a very good series. The story starts with the killing of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wayne. Master Bruce Wayne is still a young child played by David Mazouz (known for the series Touch) who is way ahead of his years. His role is minimal right now but we all know that he becomes Batman with his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth played by Sean Pertwee who is raising him, at his side. Gotham is a complete mess. Crime and bribery everywhere, cheating, stealing, murder, you name it, Gotham has it. The police aren’t very effective because most of the cops are on the take along with most government officials. A new recruit and rookie detective named James Gordon played by Ben McKenzie seems to be one of the few straight cops left. He has vowed to find the Wayne’s murderer. Police Captain Sarah Essen, played by Zabryna Guevara seems to be on the straight and narrow but I’m not sure at this point. Jada Pinket-Smith stars as a corrupt night club owner named Fish Mooney, who favors women over men. There are 2 major crime families fighting for territory and James’ partner Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue is far from 100% legit. The show is very good and action packed. There’s one other character named Oswald Cobblepot, played by Robin Lord Taylor, who I’m sure is going to corrupt things even more in the future and probably the most dangerous of all. He’a work in progress. The acting is a little premature — it will most likely get better with age. Future villains include The penguin, the Riddler, Cat Woman, The Joker, Poison Ivy, Scare Crow, Hugo Strange, Havey Dent, Mr. Freeze and Victor Zsasz. Gotham airs on FOX and is a very good series, worth seeing.
Posted in Action, Dramas, Horror/monsters, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged alfred pennyworth, batman, ben mckenzie, bribery, bruce wayne, captain sarah essen, cat woman, corrupt, david mazouz, donal logue, fish mooney, fox, gotham, harvey bullock, harvey dent, hugo strange, jada pinket smith, james gordon, joker, martha wayne, mr freeze, murder, on the take, oswald cobblepot, penguin, poison ivy, riddler, robin lord taylor, scarecrow, sean pertwee, thomas wayne, victor zsasz, zabryna guevara