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Subject: "Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)" Previous topic | Next topic
bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Wed Apr-03-19 08:26 AM

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"Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)"
Wed Apr-03-19 08:27 AM by bwood

  

          

Holy shit this looks amazing!

https://youtu.be/t433PEQGErc

Started a new post cause well this is gonna be something.

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America from 9:00 on: https://youtu.be/GUwLCQU10KQ

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
I did a complete 180 on this
Apr 03rd 2019
1
Curiosity piqued, but looks like it could be slightly MAGA-y...
Apr 03rd 2019
2
If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick
Apr 03rd 2019
3
RE: If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick
Apr 03rd 2019
4
      RE: If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick
Apr 03rd 2019
5
      could you imagine if fight club came out today?
Apr 03rd 2019
14
      RE: If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick
Sep 03rd 2019
39
Looks INCREDIBLY MAGA-y.
Apr 03rd 2019
8
      RE: Looks INCREDIBLY MAGA-y.
Apr 03rd 2019
11
           Incels/MAGA aren't really focused like that tho.
Apr 03rd 2019
16
                RE: Incels/MAGA aren't really focused like that tho.
Apr 04th 2019
17
                     the alt rights new mascot is a clown.
Apr 05th 2019
19
                          Interesting.
Apr 05th 2019
20
                          yeah i didnt see the maga-y angle til it was brought up in here.
Apr 05th 2019
23
                          RE: the alt rights new mascot is a clown.
Sep 03rd 2019
40
Overwhelmed white guy joker. LOL. Y'all can keep that....
Apr 03rd 2019
6
Incredible, can't wait to see this.
Apr 03rd 2019
7
meh
Apr 03rd 2019
9
PaperBoi!!!
Apr 03rd 2019
10
dude is the new james franco.
Apr 03rd 2019
15
This is suppose is a minor point
Apr 03rd 2019
12
Damn.
Apr 03rd 2019
13
I'm Good love
Apr 04th 2019
18
So this is just a a one off story?
Apr 05th 2019
21
the original post covered this
Apr 05th 2019
22
JOKER - Final Trailer
Aug 28th 2019
24
looks good to me
Aug 28th 2019
25
looks like a classic NYC film
Aug 28th 2019
26
I hope it's the JOKER, not just a psychopath in a clown suit
Aug 29th 2019
27
Raves away out of Venice.
Aug 31st 2019
28
It’s mostly the geek blogger critics responding tho.
Aug 31st 2019
29
      I only trust Erlich on movies that look like garbage or I'm not sure abo...
Aug 31st 2019
30
The Hollywood Reporter's review
Aug 31st 2019
31
Variety's review
Aug 31st 2019
32
Glenn Kenny with the pan for Ebert Voices:
Aug 31st 2019
33
Some takes from some female critics
Aug 31st 2019
34
apparently its a hit with incels.
Aug 31st 2019
35
Pretty believable review by the typical venice film festival attendee
Sep 01st 2019
36
That guy was writing a satirical post. I think that's fairly clear.
Sep 01st 2019
37
even pluralsight is offering free passes
Sep 03rd 2019
41
Think/opinion piece writers are gonna eat off of this one
Sep 03rd 2019
38
9.7 on imdb
Sep 03rd 2019
42
Which is hilarious considering only a handful of people have seen it.
Sep 03rd 2019
43
      good idea for a film
Sep 04th 2019
44
Just got the highest award at Venice
Sep 07th 2019
45
Eric John's take
Sep 10th 2019
46

Innocent Criminal
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Wed Apr-03-19 10:03 AM

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1. "I did a complete 180 on this"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I was not looking forward to this at all, but that trailer just got me really hype. Bart Scott!

________________________________
There are dozens of us! Dozens!

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed Apr-03-19 10:14 AM

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2. "Curiosity piqued, but looks like it could be slightly MAGA-y..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

----

  

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Numba_33
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Wed Apr-03-19 10:23 AM

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3. "If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

I would have hoped Zazie Beetz would have given this flick the Heisman upon reading the script.

It will be pretty wild if this flick is better than the more DC based Joker movie that will drop.

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed Apr-03-19 10:32 AM

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4. "RE: If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick"
In response to Reply # 3
Wed Apr-03-19 10:34 AM by The Analyst

  

          

Not saying the movie itself will be sympathetic to the MAGA point of view, but the character (i.e. white guy feeling wronged/beat down by the world, going full domestic terrorist) instantly reminded me of the right-wing mosque shooters and the like. High potential for "bad fans" who will latch on to the movie for the wrong reasons.

Which has no bearing on whether the movie will be good. I could have made the same exact statement about Taxi Driver and it's obviously a masterpiece.

----

  

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Numba_33
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5. "RE: If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

>Not saying the movie itself will be sympathetic to the MAGA
>point of view, but the character (i.e. white guy feeling
>wronged/beat down by the world, going full domestic terrorist)
>instantly reminded me of the right-wing mosque shooters and
>the like. High potential for "bad fans" who will latch on to
>the movie for the wrong reasons.
>
>Which has no bearing on whether the movie will be good. I
>could have made the same exact statement about Taxi Driver and
>it's obviously a masterpiece.

That infamous Scorcese cameo from Taxi Driver definitely had some heavy MAGA tones to it.

You could be and probably are correct in your assessment for this Joker flick given these days and times. I do wonder how Todd Phillips and the actors/actresses will address if it mentioned in the media press run for this flick. Not to say the movie is responsible for folks twisting the movie's intentions for their own political bend, but I have to think folks working on the movie are well aware that could occur.

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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Reeq
Member since Mar 11th 2013
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Wed Apr-03-19 06:35 PM

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14. "could you imagine if fight club came out today?"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

woo boy.

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Original Juice
Member since Oct 03rd 2007
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Tue Sep-03-19 01:52 PM

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39. "RE: If a MAGA/right wing take is in this flick"
In response to Reply # 4


          

>Not saying the movie itself will be sympathetic to the MAGA
>point of view, but the character (i.e. white guy feeling
>wronged/beat down by the world, going full domestic terrorist)
>instantly reminded me of the right-wing mosque shooters and
>the like. High potential for "bad fans" who will latch on to
>the movie for the wrong reasons.
>
>Which has no bearing on whether the movie will be good. I
>could have made the same exact statement about Taxi Driver and
>it's obviously a masterpiece.


"Falling Down" is another one.

I love that movie.

I also realize it's totally on some pre-MAGA shit..

Which reminds me of the the bit from Random Acts of Flyness about the white anti-hero/white devil in which the pattern of championing the emergence of the white male antihero in pop culture as a sort of reclaiming of the white male's masculinity and dominance. I believe Breaking Bad and Falling Down were both referenced among other shows/films.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Wed Apr-03-19 01:24 PM

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8. "Looks INCREDIBLY MAGA-y. "
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

Every incel about to have a Joaquin Joker poster in his room.

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Numba_33
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11. "RE: Looks INCREDIBLY MAGA-y. "
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

>Every incel about to have a Joaquin Joker poster in his room.
>

I do think some of this will depend on how the turn to The Joker is handled. Will the character simply target his fury on those he felt wronged him (which I think ventures more in the MAGA territory) or will it be much more indiscriminant or far reaching?

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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Frank Longo
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Wed Apr-03-19 07:13 PM

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16. "Incels/MAGA aren't really focused like that tho."
In response to Reply # 11


  

          


>I do think some of this will depend on how the turn to The
>Joker is handled. Will the character simply target his fury on
>those he felt wronged him (which I think ventures more in the
>MAGA territory) or will it be much more indiscriminant or far
>reaching?

When they go on those shooting sprees or when they're chanting "build the wall," they weren't personally scorned by the shooting victims or immigrants. They feel scorned or bullied for one reason or another and think, "Fuck EVERYONE who isn't like me. Shake up the system." So then literally everyone who isn't a white Republican male can fuck off and die.

I'd have more faith that the obvious political climate parallel could work in a Joker movie if it wasn't Todd Phillips at the helm.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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The Analyst
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Thu Apr-04-19 08:17 AM

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17. "RE: Incels/MAGA aren't really focused like that tho."
In response to Reply # 16
Thu Apr-04-19 08:21 AM by The Analyst

  

          

>When they go on those shooting sprees or when they're chanting
>"build the wall," they weren't personally scorned by the
>shooting victims or immigrants. They feel scorned or bullied
>for one reason or another and think, "Fuck EVERYONE who isn't
>like me. Shake up the system." So then literally everyone who
>isn't a white Republican male can fuck off and die.

Exactly. The trailer makes the movie look like borderline propaganda from the alt-right message boards, i.e. peddling a white male victimization narrative, leading to radicalization and ultimately a warped justification for violence.

I highly doubt the movie itself is intentionally endorsing this parallel, but there's a high likelihood of it being misconstrued that way by predisposed right wingers. Kind of how drug dealers worship Scarface when it's supposed to be a cautionary tale.

>I'd have more faith that the obvious political climate
>parallel could work in a Joker movie if it wasn't Todd
>Phillips at the helm.

This is kind of a tightrope act and Todd Phillips probably isn't the guy to handle it with any level of delicacy and nuance.

----

  

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Reeq
Member since Mar 11th 2013
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19. "the alt rights new mascot is a clown. "
In response to Reply # 17


  

          

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/white-nationalists-adopt-clowns-as-their-next-racist-symbol-yes-seriously/

theyre identifying themselves with clown emojis in their profile.

there are a lot of them starting to use the joker too.
https://twitter.com/realhonkhonk

i could easily see them co-opting the character. i dont think any of this is a coincidence.

a failed mediocre white comedian...the type to make regular appearances on joe rogan...being radicalized into an alt right criminal mastermind...wouldnt actually be that unrealistic in todays climate.

if a more capable director wanted to make a controversial and socially/cuturally provocative joker origin like that...my interest would def be piqued.

------

  

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Numba_33
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20. "Interesting."
In response to Reply # 19
Fri Apr-05-19 08:53 AM by Numba_33

  

          

They way you folks are presenting this, it sounds as if it's going to be unsafe to see this flick in certain middle American cities.

Going to be interesting to see how this movie trends once it comes out.

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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Reeq
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23. "yeah i didnt see the maga-y angle til it was brought up in here."
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

but clearly the pepes are about to make it a thing. so *they* obviously see something in it.

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Original Juice
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40. "RE: the alt rights new mascot is a clown. "
In response to Reply # 19


          

Which begs the question.. Who's more MAGA? The Joker or the Batman?

  

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Castro
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6. "Overwhelmed white guy joker. LOL. Y'all can keep that...."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

------------------
One Hundred.

  

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Adwhizz
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7. "Incredible, can't wait to see this."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

If the movie can match the quality of that trailer, he might eclipse Heath and Jack as the best live action Joker

R.I.P. Loud But Wrong Guy
Dec 29th 2009 - Dec 17th 2017

  

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BigWorm
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9. "meh"
In response to Reply # 0


          

The cinematography looks great, the color palette looks great. BUT

I still think it's a mistake to go into The Joker's backstory. The Dark Knight showed that he is far more menacing when you don't know anything about where he came from or how he became the crazy MF he is now.

AT LEAST Nicholson's Joker was a dirty henchman before he became the Joker. He fell into the vat and lost his mind, but there was nothing sympathetic about it--just a bad guy becomes an insane, vicious bad guy.

While I don't think this falls into the MAGA/right wing area that the above poster thinks (I also disagree about Taxi Driver; even as the protagonist, I at least never lost sight of the fact that Travis Bickle was mentally unstable, not a martyr or fighting the good fight--which is why the climax was bloody and horrific, not shot like an action flick), I do think we've seen enough of the average white dude beat down so much that he snaps and rages out on everyone. I already saw Falling Down. I'm good.

  

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Ceej
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10. "PaperBoi!!!"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

http://i.imgur.com/vPqCzVU.jpg

  

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Reeq
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15. "dude is the new james franco."
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

------

  

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Numba_33
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12. "This is suppose is a minor point"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

but the fact Zazie Beetz is in this and Deadpool 2 speaks to just how much these comic book based flicks are dictating the stories told in Hollywood. I wonder if she'll return to the sequels for either this or Deadpool 2.

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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obsidianchrysalis
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13. "Damn."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

This looks good, the trailer at least.

As far as Zazie being in a potentially problematic movie, I think she's in a difficult spot.

She may object to the aspects of the movie, but she is an actor and she wants to tell stories. Sometimes even if the part isn't written well. Also, she's not at a point where she can dictate which parts she wants. That list of actors, (white actors included) is relatively small and wouldn't include an actor who has only begun to creep into notoriety. Mahershala only recently got on that list and it took winning an Oscar.

I say this because an woman actor, who's a friend and is Black, recently mentioned that she wouldn't mind playing a maid. Now the role she mentioned was an iconic role in a play, I believe. (I can't remember the name of the play.) She talked about her drive as an actor to play interesting roles and how limited the buffet for non-stereotypical roles is for Black women actors.

It made me rethink my arrogance regarding Black actors who play roles which don't subvert stereotypes and accept that blaming an actor for the role they choose isn't necessarily fair. Especially when people further up the food chain who approve scripts who could better influence positive representation.

  

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Dae021
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18. "I'm Good love"
In response to Reply # 0


          

Get out the room,
http://getouttheroom.podomatic.com

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/get-out-the-room/id525657893

Situation Podemy love

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/situation-podemy/id620232249

Situation Podemy : www.situationpodemy.wordpres

  

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xangeluvr
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21. "So this is just a a one off story? "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Like this isn't supposed to be apart of the bigger DC universe of movies, or is it?

GamerTag and PSN: PokeEmAll

  

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howisya
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22. "the original post covered this"
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

but you are correct, it's one off, separate, and different actor in the part as a break from what they were initially trying to do with these movies.

  

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j0510
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Wed Aug-28-19 11:56 AM

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24. "JOKER - Final Trailer"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

JOKER - Final Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAGVQLHvwOY

  

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Beamer6178
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25. "looks good to me"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

didn't think about the MAGA parallels, just looks like a dope flick to me

  

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High Society
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26. "looks like a classic NYC film "
In response to Reply # 0


          

I’m really anticipating this joint.
If it opens up a Joker-verse... so be it!
Meaning if a future Batman movie has a Joker villain
who was inspired by this Joker (who is old) that would be neat.

Would bring us another new Joker villain
but would bring us some continuity.

If the new Batman movie is going to be focused on
Bats as a detective in Arkham Asylum and dealing with numerous villains...
could cast a new Joker like I said, inspired by this Phoenix portrayal.

This looks like some Scorsese shit. I’m in.

--------------
soundshape.tumblr.com

  

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BigWorm
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27. "I hope it's the JOKER, not just a psychopath in a clown suit"
In response to Reply # 0


          

There's a distinction IMO.

I'm not interested in a story of some dude that goes crazy, puts on a clown suit and goes on a rampage.

But a guy who goes crazy, puts on a clown suit and becomes an unhinged crime lord with henchmen--I'm all in.

More Breaking Bad, less Falling Down.

  

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bwood
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Sat Aug-31-19 07:43 AM

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28. "Raves away out of Venice."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Man I hope it's as good as everyone is making it out to be.

------------------------------------------
America from 9:00 on: https://youtu.be/GUwLCQU10KQ

  

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Frank Longo
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29. "It’s mostly the geek blogger critics responding tho."
In response to Reply # 28
Sat Aug-31-19 09:51 AM by Frank Longo

  

          

And, like, Alex Billington, who literally raves over everything, lol.

I know that Ehrlich and Glenn Kenny hated it. I won’t be surprised if the critics who aren’t over the moon for anything comic-related don’t dig it at all.

I’m still tempering expectations.

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Sat Aug-31-19 10:37 AM

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30. "I only trust Erlich on movies that look like garbage or I'm not sure abo..."
In response to Reply # 29


  

          

That guy is weird and thinks Not Another Teen Movie rules so...

------------------------------------------
America from 9:00 on: https://youtu.be/GUwLCQU10KQ

  

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Sat Aug-31-19 12:36 PM

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31. "The Hollywood Reporter's review"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/joker-review-1235309

10:15 AM PDT 8/31/2019 by David Rooney

THE BOTTOM LINE:
Phoenix rising.
10/4/2019

Joaquin Phoenix boldly reinvents Batman's cackling arch-nemesis in Todd Phillips' dark new vision of the supervillain origin story, also starring Robert De Niro.
The clown prince of crime is alive and mentally unwell in Gotham City in Todd Phillips' grippingly atmospheric supervillain origin story, Joker. While a never-better Joaquin Phoenix paints on the famed maniacal smile with his own blood at one memorable climactic moment of messianic rebirth, what's most noteworthy about this gritty entry in the DC canon and the lead actor's sensational performance is the pathos he brings to a pathetically disenfranchised character — just like countless others in a metropolis in which the social chasm separating the haves from the have-nots has become a pit of incendiary rage.

This is very much tethered to the superhero universe and intersects in ways both familiar and not with canonical Batman lore. But Joker could also be a film for audiences who don't much care about the usual Hollywood comic-strip assembly line. The smart screenplay by Phillips and Scott Silver anchors the story in a fiercely divided city with echoes of a contemporary, morally bankrupt America, albeit in the dire economic straits of a decade ago, or the next crisis that's just around the corner, depending on which financial forecasts you believe.


Built around a credible spiral from lonely outsider to deranged killer, it's as much a neo-noir psychological character study grounded in urban alienation and styled after Taxi Driver as a rise-of-the-supervillain portrait. It's arguably the best Batman-adjacent movie since The Dark Knight and Warner should see mighty box office numbers to reflect that. The must-see factor of Phoenix's riveting performance alone — it's both unsettling and weirdly affecting — will be significant.

The film is also an obvious homage to another Martin Scorsese title, The King of Comedy, with Robert De Niro playing the host of Live with Murray Franklin, a network late-night show on which it's the dream of Phoenix's party clown and aspiring standup comedian, Arthur Fleck, to appear.

Arthur tunes in to the show religiously with his sickly mother Penny (Frances Conroy) in their dingy tenement apartment, drifting early on into a fantasy in which he's plucked out of the studio audience to be embraced on-camera by Murray, stepping in for the father he has never known. Arthur even studies guests on the show and rehearses his entrance and couch banter at home, Rupert Pupkin-style, though it's clear from the outset that his disillusionment with Murray will turn ugly.

Some brisk scene-setting via opening news reports announces a city-wide emergency as an ongoing strike has left trash piling up, attracting a plague of "super-rats," while fire-sale signs line the depressed retail streets. Arthur is first seen trying on a smile and then a frown, a tear streaking his white clown makeup before he heads out for work carrying an "Everything Must Go" discount sign for a struggling business. He's jumped by a bunch of teen hoodlums who steal his sign and give him a beating in an alley.

"Is it just me or is the city getting crazier?" he asks his social worker (Sharon Washington), while requesting additional meds on top of the seven he's already taking. She agrees these are tough times, people are out of work and struggling.

One key symptom of Arthur's mental illness is a kind of ha-ha Tourette's — a medical condition that prompts him to laugh uncontrollably, usually at awkward moments. He carries a card by way of explanation, reading "Forgive My Laughter." This has contributed to his reputation as a freak at work and pretty much confined his social circle to his mother. She nicknamed him "Happy" from a young age and told him he was "put here to spread joy and laughter." But Arthur most of the time feels barely alive.

When Randall (Glenn Fleshler), a colleague at the clown-for-hire service where he works, slips him a handgun to protect himself, Arthur starts showing a little more spark. This manifests in the first of several mesmerizing sequences of shirtless dance (this one to "Slap That Bass," from the Fred Astaire movie Shall We Dance), in which Phoenix's sinewy body contorts in twisted rapture. The actor's dramatic weight loss for the role gives him an emaciated, reptilian look. Later those moves will become more elegant — almost balletic as he celebrates his first kills in a grimy subway restroom, and most memorably as he struts down a stone staircase in full Joker finery, to Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part 2)."

The music choices throughout are invigorating and slyly ironic, including a double dose of Sinatra ("That's Life" and "Send in the Clowns") and some vintage Cream ("White Room") as Arthur surveys the mayhem he's unleashed.

Some of the best moments of Phoenix's highly physical performance are the transformative interludes in which the increasingly unhinged Arthur applies his clown makeup and later dyes his hair, becoming the Joker.

The protagonist's simmering psychosis is echoed in the unrest rippling through the city, given gritty, grubby textures and deep, rich hues by cinematographer Lawrence Sher. The look of Mark Friedberg's production design is very much pre-Giuliani New York, with porn theater marquees advertising titles like Strip Search and Ace in the Hole (not the Billy Wilder film), and the blend of authentic NYC locations with sets is seamless. All this is rendered even darker by the disquietingly melancholy mood of Hildur Gudnadóttir's brooding orchestral score, which cranks up into thunderous drama as the chaos escalates.

Stitching their original supervillain genesis story neatly into the classic Batman world, Phillips and Silver have prominent moneybags Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) announcing a run for mayor with a promise to set the fractured city back on the right path. Penny Fleck worked for the Wayne family for many years, but her letters appealing for help, especially as she worries more and more about the stability of her son, have gone unanswered.

When Arthur reads one of them, he learns a different history than the one his mother has shared, leading to a pair of uneasy encounters — one with a brusquely dismissive Thomas Wayne at a gala screening of Chaplin's Modern Times, and a creepily portentous introduction through the iron gates of Wayne Manor to the mayoral candidate's young son Bruce (Dante Pereira-Olson), in which an unidentified Alfred (Douglas Hodge) intervenes. The murder of Bruce's parents sticks to the version depicted in the Christopher Nolan movies and elsewhere. But the Joker's evolution feels freshly minted, partially driven by a now far more personal resentment of the Wayne family.

Given that the world created here is clearly modeled on New York in the not-too-distant past, it will be interesting to see how audiences respond to the alarming depiction of a city under siege. The growing wave of vigilante violence includes a mob assault of two detectives (Shea Whigham and Bill Camp), left in critical condition. And the choice of a trio of cocky young Wall Street jerks as the murder victims that trigger a chain reaction seems a deliberate provocation, especially once tabloid headlines start blaring: "Kill the Rich: A New Movement?"

The more graphic violence is confined to just a small handful of key junctures, though it definitely gets visceral and bloody. But the movie's chief fascination is the tempestuous soup in Arthur's head as he steadily disconnects from reality and lurches into an alternate dimension. One example of this is his projection of a relationship with the cool single mom down the hall (Zazie Beetz), whose neighborly elevator chit-chat and eye-rolling acknowledgement of the lunacy gripping Gotham make Arthur believe she's on his wavelength.

What's so compelling about the title role, both as written and in Phoenix's full-throttle, raw performance, is that we're encouraged to feel sympathy for the Joker even as he's clearly turning into a homicidal maniac.

An innocent part of him really does just want to follow his mother's guidance and make people smile. But the city pulls funding for its welfare programs, forcing him to go off his meds; a video clip of him laughing uncontrollably while doing a spot at a standup club gets mocked by his idol Murray on national TV; even his doting mother is perceived to have failed him when he filches her medical records and finds what's either a disturbing cover-up or fuel for paranoia.

The trajectory of innocence to evil is a tragic one. But watching Arthur exult as the crime wave crescendos is a chilling spectacle illustrating what all the ridicule, abuse and marginalization he's been subjected to have wrought.

Phillips is a long way from the Hangover trilogy, working confidently in a more ambitious vein akin to what he did as a producer with Bradley Cooper (who's also on board here) to reimagine A Star is Born for contemporary audiences. With editor Jeff Groth, he keeps the pacing steady and satisfying over two hours, fueling the suspense and modulating the peaks and climactic builds with assurance.

De Niro appears to get a kick out of playing a smarmy character in a film that references two of his iconic screen roles, making Murray a slick showbiz pro but also a morally questionable figure ready to exploit Arthur's fragility for good TV. And Beetz demonstrates more of the relaxed appeal that makes her such a winning presence on Atlanta. (Her crony from the Donald Glover show, Brian Tyree Henry, makes a brief appearance as an asylum records clerk.)

But this is Phoenix's film, and he inhabits it with an insanity by turns pitiful and fearsome in an out-there performance that's no laughing matter. Not to discredit the imaginative vision of the writer-director, his co-scripter and invaluable tech and design teams, but Phoenix is the prime force that makes Joker such a distinctively edgy entry in the Hollywood comics industrial complex.



Production company: Joint Effort
Distribution: Warner
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill, Douglas Hodge, Josh Pais, Marc Maron, Sharon Washington, Brian Tyree Henry
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenwriters: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, based on the characters from DC
Producers: Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
Executive producers: Michael E. Uslan, Walter Hamada, Aaron L. Gilbert, Joseph Garner, Richard Baratta, Bruce Berman
Director of photography: Lawrence Sher
Production designer: Mark Friedberg
Costume designer: Mark Bridges
Music: Hildur Gudnadóttir
Editor: Jeff Groth
Visual effects supervisor: Edwin Rivera
Casting: Shayna Markowitz
Venue: Venice Film Festival (Competition)

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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32. "Variety's review"
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https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/joker-review-joaquin-phoenix-todd-phillips-1203317033/

Joaquin Phoenix is astonishing as a mentally ill geek who becomes the killer-clown Joker in Todd Phillips' neo-'Taxi Driver' knockout: the rare comic-book movie that expresses what's happening in the real world.

By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
Chief Film Critic
@OwenGleiberman

Audiences, as we know, can’t get enough of a great bad guy — the kind we love to hate. The worse he acts, the more we stare. Of course, the fact that we relish a villain doesn’t mean that we’re on his side; getting off on the catchy, scary spectacle of bad behavior isn’t the same as identifying with it. But in “Joker,” Todd Phillips’ hypnotically perverse, ghoulishly grippingly urban-nightmare comic fantasia, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), the mentally ill loser-freak who will, down the line, become Batman’s nemesis, stands before us not as a grand villain but as a pathetic specimen of raw human damage. Even as we’re drinking in his screw-loose antics with shock and dismay, there’s no denying that we feel something for him — a twinge of sympathy, or at least understanding.

Early on, Arthur, in full clown regalia, is standing in front of a store on a jam-packed avenue, where he’s been hired to carry an “Everything Must Go” sign. A bunch of kids steal the sign and then kick the holy crap out of him. The beating fulfills a certain masochistic karma Arthur carries around, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we feel sorry for him.

“Joker” tells the story of Arthur’s descent (and, in a way, his rise), but it’s clear from the outset that he’s a basket case, a kind of maestro of his own misery. He would like, on some level, to connect, but he can’t. He’s too far out there, like Norman Bates; he’s a self-conscious, postmodern head case ­— a person who spends every moment trying to twist himself into a normal shape, but he knows the effort is doomed, so he turns it all into a “joke” that only he gets.

Arthur’s response to almost everything is to laugh, and he’s got a collection of contrived guffaws — a high-pitched delirious giggle, a “hearty” yock, a stylized cackle that’s all but indistinguishable from a sob. In each case, the laughter is an act that parades itself as fakery. What it expresses isn’t glee; it expresses the fact that Arthur feels nothing, that he’s dead inside. He’s a bitter, mocking nowhere man on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

For all two hours of “Joker,” Arthur, a two-bit professional clown and aspiring stand-up comic who lives with his batty mother (Frances Conroy) in a peeling-paint apartment, is front and center — in the movie, and in our psychological viewfinder. He’s at the dark heart of every scene, the way Travis Bickle was in “Taxi Driver,” and “Joker,” set in 1981 in a Gotham City that looks, with uncanny exactitude, like the squalid, graffiti-strewn, trash-heaped New York City of the early ’80s (you can feel the rot), is a movie made in direct homage to “Taxi Driver,” though there are other films it will make you think of. As the story of a putz trying to succeed as a stand-up comedian, it evokes Scorsese and De Niro’s satirical riff on “Taxi Driver,” “The King of Comedy.” There are also elements lifted from “Death Wish,” “Network,” “V for Vendetta,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Shining” and “The Purge.”

More than that, though, the whole movie, in spirit, is a kind of origin-story riff on Heath Ledger’s performance in “The Dark Knight”: the comic-book villain as Method psycho, a troublemaker so intense in his cuckoo hostility that even as you’re gawking at his violence, you still feel his pain.

Phoenix’s performance is astonishing. He appears to have lost weight for the role, so that his ribs and shoulder blades protrude, and the leanness burns his face down to its expressive essence: black eyebrows, sallow cheeks sunk in gloom, a mouth so rubbery it seems to be snarking at the very notion of expression, all set off by a greasy mop of hair. Phoenix is playing a geek with an unhinged mind, yet he’s so controlled that he’s mesmerizing. He stays true to the desperate logic of Arthur’s unhappiness.

You’re always aware of how much the mood and design of “Joker” owe to “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy.” For a filmmaker gifted enough to stand on his own, Phillips is too beholden to his idols. Yet within that scheme, he creates a dazzlingly disturbed psycho morality play, one that speaks to the age of incels and mass shooters and no-hope politics, of the kind of hate that emerges from crushed dreams.

Arthur and his mother sit around after hours, watching the late-night talk-show host Murray Franklin (played, by De Niro, as a piece of old-school Carson vaudeville), and as much as we think Arthur should move out and leave his mommy behind, we hardly know the half of it. When he gets fired (for revealing a handgun during a clown gig at a children’s hospital ward), there’s a suspense built into everything that happens, and it spins around the question: How will someone this weak and inept, this trapped in the nuttiness of his self-delusion, evolve into a figure of dark power?

At night, on the subway, Arthur, still wearing his clown suit, is taunted and attacked by three young Wall Street players. So he pulls out his gun like Charles Bronson and shoots them dead. The case becomes tabloid fodder (“Killer Clown on the Loose”), and the sensation of it is that the denizens of Gotham think he’s a hero. That sounds like a standard comic-book-movie ploy, but the twisted commitment of Phoenix’s performance lets us feel how the violence cleanses Arthur; doing tai chi in a bathroom after the murders, he’s reborn. And we believe in his thirst for escape, because Phillips, working with the cinematographer Lawrence Sher (who evokes “Taxi Driver’s” gray-green documentary seaminess), creates an urban inferno so lifelike that it threatens to make the film-noir Gotham of “The Dark Knight” look like a video game.


Of course, a rebellion against the ruling elite — which is what Arthur’s vigilante action comes to symbolize — is more plausible now than it was a decade ago. “Joker” is a comic-book tale rendered with sinister topical fervor. When Arthur, on the elevator, connects with Sophie (Zazie Beetz), his neighbor, the two take turns miming Travis Bickle’s finger-gun-against-the-head suicide gesture, which becomes the film’s key motif. It’s a way of saying: This is what America has come to — a place where people feel like blowing their brains out. The relationship between Arthur and Sophie doesn’t track if you think about it too much, but it’s a riff on one that didn’t totally track either — the link, however fleeting, between Travis and Cybill Shepherd’s Betsy in “Taxi Driver.” Arthur, in a funny way, hides his brains (they’re revealed only when he passes through the looking glass of villainy). He’s got a piece missing. But what fills the space is violence.

Many have asked, and with good reason: Do we need another Joker movie? Yet what we do need — badly — are comic-book films that have a verité gravitas, that unfold in the real world, so that there’s something more dramatic at stake than whether the film in question is going to rack up a billion-and-a-half dollars worldwide. “Joker” manages the nimble feat of telling the Joker’s origin story as if it were unprecedented. We feel a tingle when Bruce Wayne comes into the picture; he’s there less as a force than an omen. And we feel a deeply deranged thrill when Arthur, having come out the other side of his rage, emerges wearing smeary make-up, green hair, an orange vest and a rust-colored suit.

When he dances on the long concrete stairway near his home, like a demonic Michael Jackson, with Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” bopping on the soundtrack, it’s a moment of transcendent insanity, because he’s not trying to be “the Joker.” He’s just improvising, going with the flow of his madness. And when he gets his fluky big shot to go on TV, we think we know what’s going to happen (that he’s destined to be humiliated), but what we see, instead, is a monster reborn with a smile. And lo and behold, we’re on his side. Because the movie does something that flirts with danger — it gives evil a clown-mask makeover, turning it into the sickest possible form of cool.


Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Competition), Aug. 31, 2019. MPAA rating: R. Running time: 122 MIN.

PRODUCTION: A Warner Bros. release of a DC Films in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, BRON Creative, A Joint Effort production. Producers: Bradley Cooper, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Todd Phillips. Executive producers: Richard Baratta, Bruce Berman, Jason Cloth, Joseph Garner, Aaron L. Gilbert, Walter Hamada, Michael E. Uslan.

CREW: Director: Todd Phillips. Screenplay: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver. Camera (color, widescreen): Lawrence Sher. Editor: Jeff Groth. Music: Hildur Gudnadóttir.

WITH: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen, Brian Tyree Henry, Marc Maron, Dante Pereira-Olson, Douglas Hodge, Sharon Washington.

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Sat Aug-31-19 01:51 PM

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33. "Glenn Kenny with the pan for Ebert Voices:"
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https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/joker-movie-review-2019

In mainstream movies today, “dark” is just another flavor. Like “edgy,” it’s an option you use depending on what market you want to reach. And it is particularly useful when injected into the comic book genre.

Darkness no longer has much to do with feelings of alienation the filmmaker wants to express or purge, as was the case with a film like “Taxi Driver.” It’s not about exploring uncomfortable ideas, as was done in “The King of Comedy.” Do you think Todd Phillips, who co-wrote and directed “Joker,” which references those movies so often you might suspect that the director of those films, Martin Scorsese, was enlisted as an executive producer here as a way of heading off a plagiarism lawsuit, really cares about income inequality, celebrity worship, and the lack of civility in contemporary society, three of the themes ostensibly tackled in this movie? I don’t know him personally but I bet he doesn’t give a toss. He’s got the pile he made on those “Hangover” movies—which some believe have indeed contributed to the lack of civility in etc.—and can not only buy up all the water that’s going to be denied us regular slobs after the big one hits, he can afford the bunker for after the big one hits.

Which is not to go so far as to say that if you buy into “Joker,” the joke’s on you. (Except in the long run it really is.) If you live to see Joaquin Phoenix go to performing extremes like nobody’s business, this movie really is the apotheosis of that. As Arthur Fleck, the increasingly unglued street clown and wannabe stand-up comic down and out in what looks like 1980s Gotham (although who knows what period detail looks like in fictional cities), Phoenix flails, dances, laughs maniacally, puts things in his mouth that shouldn’t go there, and commits a couple of genuinely ugly and disgusting crimes with ferocious relish.

Much has been made, by Warner, and I guess DC Comics, of the fact that this is meant as a “standalone” film that has no narrative connection to other pictures in the DC Universe, but that’s having your cake and eating it too when you still name your lunatic asylum “Arkham” and your cinematic DC Universe is changing its Batmen every twenty minutes anyway. Maybe what they really mean is that this is the first and last DC movie that’s going to be rated R.

Which rating it thoroughly earns. The violence in this movie means to shock, and it does. Fleck’s alienation in the early scenes evokes Travis Bickle’s, but this movie is too chicken-livered to give Fleck Buckle’s racism, although it depicts him mostly getting hassled by people of color in the first third. Fleck is also fixated with a Carson-like talk-show host played by Robert De Niro, reversing the “King of Comedy” player positions. He also likes the black woman down the hall from him, played by Zazie Beetz. The casting is not just meant to give the movie bragging rights on the zeitgeist curve, but to evoke Diahnne Abbott in both “Taxi Driver” and “Comedy.” Fleck’s seemingly successful wooing of the character is a jaw-dropper that had me thinking Beetz ought to fire her agent, but a late-game clarification makes it … well, forgivable is not quite the word, but it will do.

As Gotham begins to burn (the civil unrest starts with a garbage strike), Fleck, who has been taken as a vigilante by much of the city’s 99%, doesn’t quite know what to make of his underground cult stardom. (The city is beset by rioters in clown makeup and clown masks; because this movie is rather suddenly behind the curve in “clowns-are-scary” awareness—only Pennywise gets a special dispensation these days—these sequences look like “The Revolt of the Juggalos” or something equally laughable.) His mom (Frances Conroy, the poor woman) has been writing letters to her former employer, the magnate Thomas Wayne, and Arthur opens one of the missives and reads them, learning something disturbing.

The storyline in and of itself is not a total miss. But once the movie starts lifting shots from “A Clockwork Orange” (and yes, Phillips and company got Warners to let them use the Saul Bass studio logo for the opening credits, in white on red, yet) you know its priorities are less in entertainment than in generating self-importance. As social commentary, “Joker” is pernicious garbage. But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s performance, it also displays some major movie studio core competencies, in a not dissimilar way to what “A Star Is Born” presented last year. (Bradley Cooper is a producer.) The supporting players, including Glenn Fleshler and Brian Tyree Henry, bring added value to their scenes, and the whole thing feels like a movie. The final minutes, which will move any sentient viewer to mutter “would you just pick a goddamn ending and stick to it?” are likely an indication of what kind of mess we would have had on our hands had Phillips been left entirely to his own cynical incoherent devices for the entire runtime. Fortunately, he gets by with a little help from his friends.

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Sat Aug-31-19 02:39 PM

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34. "Some takes from some female critics"
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https://twitter.com/FemaleCritics/status/1167852752422211586?s=19

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Reeq
Member since Mar 11th 2013
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Sat Aug-31-19 10:11 PM

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35. "apparently its a hit with incels."
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https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EDUkCxrU4AAf_TO?format=jpg&name=medium

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Hellyeah
Member since Jul 05th 2008
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Sun Sep-01-19 06:03 AM

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36. "Pretty believable review by the typical venice film festival attendee"
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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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37. "That guy was writing a satirical post. I think that's fairly clear."
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Not to say this movie *won't* be a hit with incels, as we're seeing the usual assholery in response to critics who didn't like it-- especially female critics.

But this was a pretty obvious joke imo. And the author said as much.

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Crash Bandacoot
Member since May 13th 2003
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Tue Sep-03-19 02:02 PM

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41. "even pluralsight is offering free passes"
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lol

  

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Adwhizz
Member since Nov 12th 2003
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Tue Sep-03-19 12:34 PM

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38. "Think/opinion piece writers are gonna eat off of this one"
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https://shadowandact.com/the-jokes-on-us-racism-ableism-and-more-in-the-new-joker-trailer

After reading the first few paragraphs I thought there was a different trailer released that I wasn't aware of.

The complaints about the Mom on the bus and Joker's psychiatrist seem like a reach (especially since the former is more than likely an inconsequential one scene character)

I've been seeing similar posts circulating on my FB timeline

R.I.P. Loud But Wrong Guy
Dec 29th 2009 - Dec 17th 2017

  

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Crash Bandacoot
Member since May 13th 2003
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Tue Sep-03-19 02:04 PM

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42. "9.7 on imdb"
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out of 7,000 votes, that's the highest rating i've seen. it's either going to be really
good or really deplorable.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Tue Sep-03-19 02:35 PM

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43. "Which is hilarious considering only a handful of people have seen it."
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And most of those people, critics at Venice Film Festival, aren't wasting their time ranking films on IMDB, lol.

No, this is just the usual brigade of losers who vote on IMDB for films without seeing them first.

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Crash Bandacoot
Member since May 13th 2003
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Wed Sep-04-19 08:20 AM

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44. "good idea for a film"
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Wed Sep-04-19 08:21 AM by Crash Bandacoot

          

>No, this is just the usual brigade of losers who vote on IMDB
>for films without seeing them first.

a movie about the psyche and surroundings. wouldn't be surprised if its a bot
either.

  

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Sat Sep-07-19 02:06 PM

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45. "Just got the highest award at Venice"
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Won the Golden Lion.

Wow.

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Tue Sep-10-19 05:39 AM

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46. "Eric John's take"
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Tue Sep-10-19 05:40 AM by bwood

  

          

https://twitter.com/erickohn/status/1171260869055041536?s=19

JOKER doesn’t reinvent the comic book movie, but it’s certainly the scariest one — a taut psychological thriller w/a few horror movie twists. Joaquin Phoenix, though, yikes: Looks like he stepped out of THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI, or maybe he’s still trapped there. Astounding.

https://twitter.com/erickohn/status/1171262170413305857?s=19

Yes, JOKER could be misconstrued in some troubling ways that will require plenty of scrutinizing, but it’s engineered to interrogate lunacy from the inside out, which is a much subtler mission than, say, JOJO RABBIT. #TIFF19

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America from 9:00 on: https://youtu.be/GUwLCQU10KQ

  

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