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Joker (2019)
#41
I also have to apologize for the long ramble, as I'm just catching up with this thread...
(10-06-2019, 06:46 AM)TM2YC Wrote: Sorry for the following long ramble...

Joker (2019)
First of all it has to be said that Joaquin Phoenix's performance is incredible and surely a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination at the very least. The Cinematography is actually pretty nice and not anything like as horrid as it looks in the trailers but unfortunately everything else is flawed. The story and pacing is unfocused and random. As I said above, the film begins with Joker being beaten up, something that in another movie could be the cause of him flipping out. It's followed by a stream of personal crisis that could all have been portrayed as his final tipping point, if an editor choose to shuffle them up. They are all powerful moments due to Phoenix's performance but there is no arc to it. As a result the movie didn't know where or when to end either. Clearly referencing better 70s/80s films like 'The King of Comedy', 'Taxi Driver' and 'Network' only highlighted the deficiencies. The only moment of lightness and joy is a single shot from another better film, Charlie Chaplin's 'Modern Times' and I didn't know what that reference was trying to say anyway?


The love interest subplot is so badly handled. Director Todd Phillips hasn't exactly got a reputation for making brilliant films so at first I wasn't sure if we the audience were supposed to find it convincing but it was terribly written/directed/acted, or we were supposed to see it was phony, shallow and unbelievable. Then you realize, oh my god, we were supposed to be totally convinced by it and Phillips is so pleased with himself that he shows us a montage of his cleverness. That flashback montage was pandering to the dummies in the audience and that mentality is repeated when he has to slowly spell out that the kid living at Wayne manor is... Bruce Wayne! Other moments don't land because they are underdeveloped like "I'm letting you live character who I've spoken to once because you were the only person who was nice to me". The story more or less concludes with Joker on the run from the cops but they still somehow allow him to appear live on a prime-time TV chat-show because the Gotham cops are that incompetent or forgetful?

'Joker' is not to be missed because of the towering central performance but overall I found the movie to be an unnecessarily nasty and mean spirited affair. I just can't see the point of doing a comic superhero movie this dark, with mental illness, graphic/realistic killings and child abuse as subjects. A world where everybody is vile, Alfred Pennyworth is vile, Thomas Wayne is vile and every citizen of Gotham, whether they are part of a hate fueled mob cheering public shootings, or sitting on a bus being vile in person. It's not fun anymore.

Wow, I had a very different take on many of the elements of the movie compared to you, TM2YC.  I thought it was very clear what the tipping point was, and it was a steady progression up to that point.  The film is clearly meant as a statement on the society of Gotham (and we wonder, our real society as well?) that leads to the necessity of a Batman.  What kind of world would actually accept and sometimes celebrate a guy who dresses in a suit and dispenses vigilante justice?  And it answers that by showing you from Arthur's perspective.

The city doesn't provide services for the least among them.  The rich don't care for or respect the average citizen.  Even kids are violent and mean-spirited.  The divide between the Haves and the Have-Nots is profound.  But at least you can always depend on your family, right?  Unless you grow up without a father, and with a mother who doesn't nurture you, but whom you have to play parent to.  The clear final straw that breaks Arthur is

a rejection by both of his father figures.  Realizing that the man his mother idealized has (another?) son that he will give everything while rejecting Arthur, who wants so little.  And seeing Murray's image similarly shattered.  With his mother's deceit, he has no family, not a single person he can trust that cares about him in the world.  That's a world of difference from any of the previous slights, which certainly wouldn't have pushed him over the edge.

I don't really buy the people who say they knew what the romance angle was going to be early on.  I think most people's brains trick themselves after watching to say "I knew it!" but they weren't really thinking about it that carefully and actually had several guesses rattling around up there.  Odd couples with weird chemistry happen all the time in real life, so I don't think too hard about it in movies.  It's easy to say a scene here or there is for "dummies" until you take it out and see how well the story coheres for most people, as I'm sure all you great faneditors know.  

I also didn't get that everyone in the city was "vile".  It wasn't so clear cut imho.  What I liked about this film was that it was closer to real life.  Do you think that the Koch Brothers walk around every day thinking that they're huge villains?  Or that Kanye West has no redeeming human qualities?  No, every person thinks what they're doing is justified, even villains.  And even huge jerkwads can have some good qualities and be sympathetic.  It all depends on your point of view.  That's literally the point of the movie, delivered in the speech at the end.  "Nobody thinks what it's like to be the other guy anymore."
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#42
(10-06-2019, 06:46 AM)TM2YC Wrote: There is plenty of fanedit potential here.

Even though I enjoyed the film the way it is, I think some scenes here and there can be removed. Too bad that almost 30 min of deleted material won't be released.

You can see a lot of these deleted scenes in trailers.
 

Anyway, TM2YC I’m curious what would you change in that “potential” fanedit of yours Wink.
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#43
I just watched and enjoyed ze film. I wasn't put off by its "everyone sucks" tone because it's so clearly a POV story as experienced by an unreliable character, and, thankfully, the lack of any associated real-world tragedies such as the Aurora Theater shooting thus far has failed to validate concerns that the movie itself is dangerous, or encourages acts of violence. I think it's important to note that none of the movie's violent acts are objectively justified, let alone glorified, and, given that the necessity and beneficial effects of mental health services is perhaps the one political viewpoint the movie wholeheartedly endorses, if we condemn the movie for not being an overtly silly affair like Justice League, I'd say we've reached a worse place as a culture than one in which a single allegedly toxic movie came out. Those struggling with mental health ailments should be able to find treatment, period - and if we can't embrace that notion, I'd say we've got little to no right to complain when actual tragedies do occur.

What's more, I was surprised the movie ends up

such a straightforward Batman prequel, with yet another Thomas/Martha murder scene. Had child Bruce been the one to die, with Thomas and Martha surviving, that would have been shocking; as it stands, however, this could easily be considered in continuity with BvS, or even the Nolanverse if one squints a bit. Had that happened, I would almost be calling for a sequel in which Thomas becomes a Batman, so perhaps the irony is that this one-off, in being so in line with the mainstream Bat-mythos, paradoxically deprives itself of any obvious sequel hook.

Anyhow, this brings the number of live-action Batman-related movies I've enjoyed to a grand total of two: Joker and TDK. (In fairness, I think I'd like Batman Returns if I were to watch it full through, and I haven't seen Batman '66. Nor Suicide Squad or Birds of Prey, for that matter, but I'm in no rush there.) Indeed, I kinda wanted to put TDK on right after finishing this. In conclusion, it's a well-made movie with a striking lead performance that ends up being a much more traditional Batman film than not. Huh.

Grade: B+

Now, let's have some fun, eh? Tongue

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#44
^I agree with a lot of what you said here.  (Wrote a full review at https://nottheacademy.com/movie-review-j...o-serious/)
For me, this sets the stage very nicely for a decaying Gotham in Batman Begins, and with TDK, that makes up my Batman Trilogy.  What's that?  The Dark Knight Rises?  Nope, never heard of it.
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