Movie review: “Joker” (2019)

“Do I look like the kind of clown that can start a movement?”

Temper your effusive praise of Todd Phillips’ Joker for a moment and ponder what its $1 billion box office take (and counting) might have to say about the world in which we live and your place as an audience member within it. “The times maketh the man,” goes the wise, old, unattributable quote. Or did I mean to say, “the clothes”? For The Joker, maniacal ancient scourge of Gotham City, both catalysts apply. Every new wave of filmgoers seems to get the Joker it deserves somehow, be they glib, if sinister, inveterate pranksters in the animated mold of Mark Hamill or, applying a slightly sliding scale, Cesar Romero, ugly, enigmatic loose cannons as in the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal, or, to an obnoxiously lesser degree, whatever the trashy nu-metal hell Jared Leto was trying to accomplish, or slick, cruel, strutting peacocks like Jack Nicholson’s 1989 paradigm shifter. No matter how committed or complete the performance, in the end they are still just especially vivid aspects of an unknowable greater whole. Continue reading “Movie review: “Joker” (2019)”

Movie Review: “Her” (2014)

her

“We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself…joy.”

I am perfectly capable of being entertained by a film without being deeply involved either by or in it, which is a damned good thing for Hollywood. In this era of highly profitable but increasingly empty spectacle, most filmmakers seem neither inclined nor, frankly, equipped to invest their characters with recognizable human traits, desires or motivations, unless that motivation is to not be blown up by alien attack or murdered by Tom Cruise, which I think everyone can relate to and rally behind. Characteristics that do happen to be assigned are often arbitrary, and seemingly designed to help the audience tell terminally bland pretty people apart from the rest of their test marketable group. Continue reading “Movie Review: “Her” (2014)”