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An insult to the original. A really mediocre, by the numbers, movie that fails to bring anything interesting to the table. 4.5/10

Can't say I was ever particularly enamoured with the original, but what was most disappointing is how much of a missed opportunity this was. The first act was pretty solid, however it lost it completely from there.

How much better would it have been had it tied more in with the realms of Burton's Big Fish... I mean what better tie in could there be as a tall tale than a yarn about a flying elephant?

Instead it was delivered very much by the numbers with only the faintest hint of it being subversive to Disney, which left it all very unsatisfying and a whole lot of 'meh'.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



The Last Sunset (1961)




Blind watch from the current westerns list that turned out to have a good cast. Joseph Cotten was wasted and almost unrecognizable but Dorothy Malone was hot as always. Kirk Douglas and Rock Hudson did what they do. I thought it felt a bit melodramatic for a western and sure enough there was an unusual turn towards the end. It was pretty good.



In Cold Blood (1967)



Movie adaptation on the Truman Capote book on the 2 men who perpetrated the murder of the Clutter family. Good, strong performances with a case (subtly put) against the eventual demise of the criminals by the rope. It's pretty downbeat but that suits the subject matter perfectly.




Joker (2019)


If one considers Joker to be a superhero or supervillian comic book type film, then it has a wider brush of plausibility it can use, rather than if it is saddled with the confines of a potential true to life story. However, despite its title, Joker is not comic book material, but an R-rated psychological thriller. The story grabs one’s attention right out of the chute, but by the third act (about the point that the clown masks appear), it has gone off the rails. From that point on, there is not a shred of plausibility, even to the level of a comic book; and it brushes right up against triteness.

To be sure Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the title character was first rate, memorable, and certain to be Oscar nominated, although to my taste a greater performance was his Freddie Quell in The Master. Phoenix has a natural affinity for, and an ability to portray weird, threatening, or stoner/druggy type characters. His role in You Were Never Really Here was in many ways similar to his Joker role. Arthur Fleck was right squarely in Phoenix’s wheelhouse-- a perfectly thrown pass which he ran with to a touchdown.

Hildur Guonadottir’s music score was sneaky-good, and perfectly captured the mood of the action. But it was the phenomenal cinematography by Lawrence Sher that really aced the film’s tone and era. Liberty was taken with the story’s time period, which should be in the 1930s/40s, but of course there was no television then, nor would the settings be nearly as undemanding to portray as were the early 1980s.

One wonders who besides Warner Bros./D.C. needed another Joker portrayal. The character has been well featured many times since the 1940s. Will the figure become part of one’s necessary repertoire? “Have you done Hamlet? Macbeth?" "No, but I’ve done the Joker.”

So it was the screenplay itself which capsized the film.
The schizophrenic, likely hebephrenic, Arthur Fleck was pushed too far beyond what would be capable of the character introduced in the film’s first half. The uber violent scenes were unnecessary, and likely inserted simply to satisfy the blood, gore and sadism seemingly required by today’s younger audiences. And what was the story’s message? That poor, disenfranchised and envious folks should dispatch with anyone who has made it in society; sort of like Antifa on steroids? Storm the Bastille. Off with their heads. Comparisons were made between Fleck and Travis Bickle of Taxi Driver. Bickle was an oddball, but he had a moral code. And his sense of right and wrong forced him to rescue a girl forced into prostitution, which culminated in a happy ending.


There must have been a lot of indecision and argument about Joker’s ending, because it felt like it was ending 3 or 4 times. The final selection seems to be wide open for a sequel, although Phoenix has stated that he would not entertain another. Still, if a big enough pile of millions were stacked in front of him…


Doc’s rating: Acting 9/10, production 8/10, screenplay 4/10



Girl on the Third Floor (2019)

Boring and bland horror where the most interesting thing is to try figure whether CM Punk looks more like Bruce Campbell or Ted Raimi (still can't say for sure, he's like a hybrid of them). Production values and acting are fine but the script is awful. And since when has the attic been called a third floor?

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Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)


I didn't think I would enjoy this but it was more disappointing than I thought, and the biggest frustration is that I was watching it thinking that the film could have been good. Everything about it was over done, oversaturated colours, non-existent mise-en-scene, an annoying overacting performance. I thought the film was going to show a descent into evil behaviour, or make us sympathise with the Joker (seeing as most who love this film seem to praise it as a portrayal of isolated individuals or people struggling with mental health) but it did not do either of those things for me. He was crazy and unsympathetic from the start, the violent scenes seem to want make statements but I'm not sure what. It seemed like it was trying so hard to be something, but in the end was nothing. When I was watching this in my head I just kept thinking about the film M and what a masterpiece of cinema that is, and how I should rewatch it again.
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You make some good points, Daniel. I think Warners/D.C., Todd Phillips, et all, hit all the right buttons for a big commercial success. J. Phoenix alone, the nature of the story, along with the superb previews, teasers and publicity almost guaranteed the film a robust return.

I also agree that the movie's screenplay was mediocre, and really was equivocal about what it wanted to do and say. TBH, I felt as though I were watching the film more as an assignment, rather than in anticipation of an enjoyable film. I think I liked it more than you did, but it was a bit of a let down-- likely due to the tremendous build up.

~Doc



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

The Addams Family (Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2019)
6/10
Road to Utopia (Hal Walker, 1945)
6.5/10
My Favorite Brunette (Elliott Nugent, 1947)
6/10
Frozen II (Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, 2019)
+ 6.5/10

I do have some experience.
Alias Jesse James (Norman Z. McLeod, 1959)
.6/10
Mad Dog Coll (Burt Balaban, 1961)
5/10
Address Unknown (William Cameron Menzies, 1944)
6/10
Things to Come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936)
6.5/10

The Space Gun prior to firing.
The Whip Hand (William Cameron Menzies, 1951)
5/10
The Conquest of the Air (5 Directors, 1936)
6.5/10
A Fortunate Man (Bille August, 2018)
6/10
Chopping Mall (Jim Wynorski, 1986)
5/10

Not a spoiler - it's part of the end credits.
Westerplatte Resists (Stanislaw Rózewicz, 1967)
6.5/10
Drug Stories! (Multiple Directors, 2018)
6/10
Narcotics: Pit of Despair (Mel Marshall, 1967)
5/10
Beuys (Andres Veiel, 2017)
- 6.5/10

Documentary about radical German performance artisi/political theorist Joseph Beuys.
Villains (Dan Berk & Robert Olsen, 2019)
6/10
King Solomon's Mines (Robert Stevenson, 1937)
- 6.5/10
Brian Banks (Tom Shadyac, 2018)
6/10
Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold, 2019)
7/10

Legendary race driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) talks to his son (Noah Jupe) about cars and life.
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It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page





Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) - 7/10. Brilliantly shot (8K I believe). It is a slow burn, but never boring. A nice story.
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My Favorite Films



Welcome to the human race...
1917 -


Deakins, you magnificent bastard.
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Way too much stupid talk on the forum. Iroquois, I’m thinking about you.




AD ASTRA
(2019)




HUSTLERS
(2019)

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“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!” ~ Rocky Balboa



The Irishman (2019)



Really, nothing much new to see here if you're a Scorsese fan but still an engaging film. The aging of the actors worked well at some points but was pretty clearly apparent at others. De Niro, Pesci and Pacino were all excellent, especially Pesci in a refreshingly un-manic role for him.




Don't let go (2019)



Sharp little psychological thriller. Solid and well made.






Marriage Story (2019) - 8/10. What a brilliant movie. Simple yet moving. Kinda wonder, the legal system is sorta stacked against a father in a divorce! The direction, story and the acting everything was just right!



A Jester's Tale aka Blaznova Kronika (1964) - 82/100
A solid adventure movie with some plot contrivances but tons of pizzazz. The art style and comedy gave me strong Wes Anderson vibes.
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I'm the Yugoslav cinema guy. I dig through garbage. I look for gems.



Legend in my own mind


Little Monsters (2019)

This hasn't been that well received, but I found it to be a lot of fun.

It's no 'Zombieland' but it is a decent watch and has some very funny bits.

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"I don't want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me" (Frank Costello)



Short Term 12 (2013)



Good, involving piece about the supervisors in a Vulnerable children home. Brie Larson acquits herself well in her first main role. Feels quite indie but "indie-lite" if that makes sense.Strong performances and just let down by a slightly mawkish ending.