Recently Seen

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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:49 am

High Life - 9/10

Another great example of sci-fi that's more interested in esoteric pursuits.


Park Row - 7.5/10

Early and earnest Sam Fuller broadside about the importance of independent journalism. Sincere muckracking, but not as developed or provocative as his later more familiar work.


Joker - 2/10

A ton of garbage strewn with trash.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:43 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:49 am

Joker - 2/10

A ton of garbage strewn with trash.
Nah
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:08 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:43 am
Nah
Yeah, that's about the level of thought put into this movie.

I appreciated this positive review from Kerry Lengel: "It's a film about cinema, made by and for pop culture sophisticates. It doesn't have to mean anything."

Sounds about right. This film seems designed to appeal to people impressed by meaningless oxymorons.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:17 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:08 am
Yeah, that's about the level of thought put into this movie.

I appreciated this positive review from Kerry Lengel: "It's a film about cinema, made by and for pop culture sophisticates. It doesn't have to mean anything."

Sounds about right. This film seems designed to appeal to people impressed by meaningless oxymorons.
The amount of shitty reviews I’ve seen that assert that appreciating this film makes you have lesser intellect or taste says a great deal more about those that dismiss it than those that connected and engaged with it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:20 am

I'm simply saying there's not a lot of thought in it. I agree that it doesn't mean anything (or more accurately is incoherent in what it thinks it's trying to mean).

I'll let the fans work out their own motivations.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:36 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:20 am
I'm simply saying there's not a lot of thought in it. I agree that it doesn't mean anything (or more accurately is incoherent in what it thinks it's trying to mean).

I'll let the fans work out their own motivations.
I didn’t say that it doesn’t mean anything, as I think it takes themes from Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and blends them with metatextual observations on pop iconography giving way to simulacrum. I think a great deal of thought was put into that, the aesthetics and Phoenix’s performance.

I think saying that it’s garbage and that only the easily impressed/stupid/alt-right/incel/whateverpejorativepeoplefeelliketossing in shows the insultingly low level of thought critics of the film are accusing it of being.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:54 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:36 am
I didn’t say that it doesn’t mean anything, as I think it takes themes from Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and blends them with metatextual observations on pop iconography giving way to simulacrum.
Hm-mm.
ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:36 am
I think saying that it’s garbage and that only the easily impressed/stupid/alt-right/incel/whateverpejorativepeoplefeelliketossing in shows the insultingly low level of thought critics of the film are accusing it of being.
I just read through the reviews, and I haven't seen one that begins to make sense of the film's muddled take on populism. That would be an issue even without the snotty spite.

I like the criticism that Phillips made "a movie all about the emptiness of our culture, but really, he's just offering a prime example of it". I think that about nails it. It can wallow in late-capitalism memes, but it's still more of a late-capitalism example than an indictment.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:05 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:54 am
Hm-mm.


I just read through the reviews, and I haven't seen one that begins to make sense of the film's muddled take on populism. That would be an issue even without the snotty spite.

I like the criticism that Phillips made "a movie all about the emptiness of our culture, but really, he's just offering a prime example of it". I think that about nails it. It can wallow in late-capitalism memes, but it's still more of a late-capitalism example than an indictment.
What in particular is muddled? There are fairly straight forward indictments and themes within the film that aren’t contradictory nor contrived i.e. mental healthcare, access to firearms, media, classism, etc.

I wouldn’t decry someone for calling these “obvious” but they’re far from muddled or nonsensical.

All of those are in service of the way in which our pop culture projects meaning and purpose onto simulacrum that have no real bearing on the “reality.” It’s as much about the right projecting Trump’s meaning despite his constant admittance to the opposite as it is about the Joker as a comic character that’s been repeatedly co-opted by ideologies and subcultures, like “Gamer Joker,” whom project themselves onto his enigmatic figure. Using a comic book film as a vessel to explore this element is thoughtful and a fairly brilliant subversive use of the genre.

But nah. Only those easily amused by its muddled oxymoronic nature could like this garbage heaped with trash. Because we’re stupid, you see.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:12 am

I'm still kind of chewing over my thoughts about Joker (I think I found Phillips' dabbling in Scorsesean textures a little self-conscious, even if it was put to thematically appropriate uses and he uses better reference points than the average flashy wannabe Goodfellas crime flick), but the interneting around it has been an absolute trash heap.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:20 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:05 am
What in particular is muddled? There are fairly straight forward indictments and themes within the film that aren’t contradictory nor contrived i.e. mental healthcare, access to firearms, media, classism, etc.
Well, for one the correlation of violence and mental illness is just one contrivance. Muddling progressive protest with "watching the world burn" might be another. The film has this kind of splatter-like focus on things.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:05 am
our pop culture projects meaning and purpose onto simulacrum that have no real bearing on the “reality.”
Pop culture doesn't do shit. We project culture because that's how culture works. I understand that the inability to discern the cultural projection from the reality is the basis of psychosis, and this is hardly the first film breaking that epistemic ground. I'm just amused at the number of the film's positive reviews that have decided to validate the film because of "pop culture", end quote.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:05 am
Because we’re stupid, you see.
"Defensive" may be the more choice word.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:58 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:05 am
What in particular is muddled? There are fairly straight forward indictments and themes within the film that aren’t contradictory nor contrived i.e. mental healthcare, access to firearms, media, classism, etc.

I wouldn’t decry someone for calling these “obvious” but they’re far from muddled or nonsensical.

All of those are in service of the way in which our pop culture projects meaning and purpose onto simulacrum that have no real bearing on the “reality.” It’s as much about the right projecting Trump’s meaning despite his constant admittance to the opposite as it is about the Joker as a comic character that’s been repeatedly co-opted by ideologies and subcultures, like “Gamer Joker,” whom project themselves onto his enigmatic figure. Using a comic book film as a vessel to explore this element is thoughtful and a fairly brilliant subversive use of the genre.

But nah. Only those easily amused by its muddled oxymoronic nature could like this garbage heaped with trash. Because we’re stupid, you see.
Speaking as someone who thought Joker was a pretty good (not great) movie, due primarily to just how deep it got inside Arthur's head, with its particular stylistic flourishes probably making it a more psychologically intimate and immersive experience than any other superhero movie/comic adaptation I've seen, I still have to say that, despite that (and other) positives in the film, on a thematic/characterization front, it was a definite mixed bag; on the one hand, the way that the Anonymous/"Occupy" Gotham clowns mindlessly rallied around a completely unintentional figurehead who himself admitted that he believed in "nothing", politically or otherwise, feels like it was possibly meant as a preemptive, self-aware criticism of the kind of fans this sort of story may attract, the kind of stereotypical, mindless "movie bros" (who may or may not actually exist in significant numbers) that hang up posters to A Clockwork Orange, Scarface, or Fight Club in their dorm rooms because they apparently feel that the protagonists of those films are so badass and alpha, without caring that they're psychotic rapists, murderous drug lords, and borderline fascist terrorists, etc., and if that was intentional on the part of the makers of Joker, then it was a genuinely clever, self-aware bit of meta-commentary.

But, on the other hand, the film did have a noticeable tendency to try to have its cake and eat it too when it came to Arthur's characterization, especially when it tried to make him look overly cool or empowered in a manner that feels like Phillips and company genuinely weren't aware of the contradiction, such as the extremely smooth manner in which he rage-quit his job; comparing the one-liner spewing badass in that scene to the obviously unstable loser he was for most of the rest of the film, it feels like we're watching two completely different characters, and that scene feels like it was just there to sneak in some early, classic Joker-style shenanigans when they didn't fit his character at that point. It's kind of hard not to attract the wrong sort of fans to your film, the ones that like it just because the Joker "don't take no shit" when you go out of your way to make him look so cool, y'know? The same thing goes for the aforementioned scene where Arthur claims to not believe in anything politically, which more or less completely vibes with everything we've seen of and learned about him for the entire running time up to that point, so he has no credibility at all when he goes into his big, Dark Knight Rises-style rant on class warfare on the talk show, and how no one would've cared if it had been an impoverished person like him that was killed on the subway. It's like that part in T2 when John gets philosophical all of a sudden when he sees two kids play-shooting at one another, and says "We're [the human race] not going to make it, are we?"; it's like, where the fuck is this coming out of this character?

Like I said, I thought it was a pretty good movie overall, but again, it's a mixed bag when it comes to its execution of its characters & themes. At any rate, Moviebob actually just uploaded a really good vid on this exact subject, one that, while I don't necessarily agree with everything he said in it, still gave a lot of food for thought on the topic:

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:54 pm

The Seventh Victim - 8/10 - This is a Val Lewton production and even though it doesn't get as much love as something like Cat People or I Walked With A Zombie it's still pretty good. It does try to cram in a few too many twists and plot details for it's 75 minute run time but it still has plenty of that trademark Lewton atmosphere. This stars Kim Hunter in her debut role as an orphan in an unspecified boarding school. Her older sister pays for her tuition but she's gone missing in NYC and Hunter's character goes looking for her. She stumbles across a satanic society and meets various other characters including one played by Hugh Beaumont, AKA Beaver Cleavers dad. This is one of the few sticking points I had with the movie. Hunter is basically a schoolgirl or at the very least a minor of sorts and Beaumont's grown character quickly and somewhat implausibly falls in love with her. But I suppose it's a minor point in an otherwise satisfactory story. I did especially like how the "society" of devil worshipers were portrayed. Not in the usual lurid or sensationalistic way but as a nondescript, albeit sinister, group of people who'd be able to blend into the background. This is worth catching if you haven't already. It'll be rerun on TCM on the 30th of this month.

EDIT: Another sticking point is the ending. I didn't mind that it was
bleak as fuck but it was also way too abbreviated. They should have devoted a little more time to it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:29 pm

As for Joker, I thought it did a fine job with handling Arthur's arc as, instead of mimicking Taxi Driver, it was able to stand well on its own with the social commentary on how the failures of the institutions around Arthur caused him to end up the way he did. This was represented in the film in a number of different ways which I found compelling. With the addition of some of the visuals and Phoenix's performance, I feel like this is legitimately a really good film, and I think it deserved more than the mixed critical response it received.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:49 pm

A Hole in the Ground, 2019 (B)

A movie about a mother convinced her child got replaced, in relation to a huge hole in the ground in a forest. Well made, initially intriguing, but ultimately not super satisfying.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by IPlayTheBlameGame » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:33 pm

I saw Joker a while back and wasn't impressed by it in the slightest. Here are the rambling, incoherent thoughts I committed to paper almost immediately after.

----------
Joker

Well, this wasn't what I was expecting, not after all those glowing reviews. I'm not normally in a hurry to see a DC movie, but the trailers captured my attention like no DC property (well, mainstream property, because I still love you, Vertigo!) has ever managed before, so I went for it. I saw a DC movie in theaters! And based on the first batch of responses, I was expecting (quality-wise, at least) a Taxi Driver for the current generation, but instead we got a reasonably handsome-looking/sounding, yet hollow and largely ineffectual indictment of various societal deficiencies, real or imagined/straw-manized.

The film's main course is, of course, the central performance by Joaquin Phoenix, an actor who has in the past proven himself to be quite adept at portraying mentally ill people of the nastier kind. And.....Well, his shtick does initially seem to do the trick here as well, because I found his presence appropriately grand and overbearing right out of the gate. But then, as the film went on, I slowly began to realize what he was really doing and it led to some degree of disillusionment. You see, Phoenix and the movie are, essentially, just giving us a kind of "greatest hits collection" of mental illness cliches, tropes and conventional wisdoms, that, more often than not, left me playing "spot the movie cliche" games. That is NOT my preferred kind of mental activity while spending a couple of hours in the theater, I can tell you.

And that brings me to my biggest gripe, because Phoenix's portrayal of Joker was clearly meant to either conceal or elevate a disappointingly flabby, aimless, derivative, pedestrian script and a lack of coherent directorial vision. Sadly, his rapidly unwinding try-hard performance only serves to further highlight such meager foundations, which is a crying shame. A film like this is supposed to enthrall the viewer from start to finish with its depictions and insights, but there's just nothing here to inspire the necessary dedication or to provoke legitimate thought. It's all just so generic and, dare I say, safe. I also got the distinct impression that all parties involved are far too self-conscious about making a supposedly "non-conventional" comic book movie, which, in my mind, renders the film even more shallow.

Like I said, the film does look and sound good, with Lawrence Sher's intimate cinematography and Hildur Guðnadóttir's bombastic score being neatly on point for a stylized work about a colorful villain. The pair roundly succeeds in an area where director Todd Philips and the plot mostly flounder: raw atmosphere. It would've been nice if the actual content of the film was on par with it, but I guess it does prevent me from tossing this overall junker completely out the window. I'll wait for the inevitable reboot to get it really right.

And hey, for all its failures, it can still pride itself on being better than any of the DCCU entries that aren't Wonder Woman and (maybe) Aquaman!

5/10
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:51 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:54 pm
The Seventh Victim - 8/10 - This is a Val Lewton production and even though it doesn't get as much love as something like Cat People or I Walked With A Zombie it's still pretty good. It does try to cram in a few too many twists and plot details for it's 75 minute run time but it still has plenty of that trademark Lewton atmosphere. This stars Kim Hunter in her debut role as an orphan in an unspecified boarding school. Her older sister pays for her tuition but she's gone missing in NYC and Hunter's character goes looking for her. She stumbles across a satanic society and meets various other characters including one played by Hugh Beaumont, AKA Beaver Cleavers dad. This is one of the few sticking points I had with the movie. Hunter is basically a schoolgirl or at the very least a minor of sorts and Beaumont's grown character quickly and somewhat implausibly falls in love with her. But I suppose it's a minor point in an otherwise satisfactory story. I did especially like how the "society" of devil worshipers were portrayed. Not in the usual lurid or sensationalistic way but as a nondescript, albeit sinister, group of people who'd be able to blend into the background. This is worth catching if you haven't already. It'll be rerun on TCM on the 30th of this month.

EDIT: Another sticking point is the ending. I didn't mind that it was
bleak as fuck but it was also way too abbreviated. They should have devoted a little more time to it.
Seventh Victim is so, so good.

At times it feels more like a drama, and that's a compliment. The horror of the film is so based in internal demons (the figurative kind), to the point that the satanic society adds leverage to the plot but the heart of the film never strays from the protagonists.

I didn't mind the pace of the ending. I felt that it added to the tone the film was aiming for.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:08 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:20 am
Well, for one the correlation of violence and mental illness is just one contrivance. Muddling progressive protest with "watching the world burn" might be another. The film has this kind of splatter-like focus on things.




Pop culture doesn't do shit. We project culture because that's how culture works. I understand that the inability to discern the cultural projection from the reality is the basis of psychosis, and this is hardly the first film breaking that epistemic ground. I'm just amused at the number of the film's positive reviews that have decided to validate the film because of "pop culture", end quote.




"Defensive" may be the more choice word.
Would you call the correlation of violence and mental illness a contrivance with Taxi Driver? Joker is a mentally ill character by default and there are many murderers whose killings were at least partially motivated by delusion. It doesn’t make a grand sweeping statement that the mentally ill are inherently violent but rather that they are neglected and facilities are underfunded. Neglect is the commonality between the few mentally ill characters in the film.

Does it combine progressive protest with “let the world burn?” It has progressive protest attach itself to an icon that doesn’t actually represent their ideals and his actions spur on a riot, but that’s hardly the film confusing which is which. Many riots have occurred in America in outrage towards the establishment over an incendiary incident.

Do you really think I’m speaking as though pop culture is a separate entity from “us?” What other mainstream Hollywood films deal with simulacrum in a similar fashion? It sure as hell isn’t present in the films people use to criticize Joker for being a pale imitation of. Does not being the first to ever explore a theme suddenly mean that a film is devoid of thought? You just flushed most great cinema down the toilet.

Defense is warranted when a discussion of this film hardly occurs on the internet without a hyperbolic detractor trying to personally slam anyone that found value in the film, as you did. Defense is necessary when deviations of “a dumb persons idea of a smart movies” are attached to nearly all negative criticism of the film. It shows that the majority of detractors, like yourself, entered this film in bad faith and assessed not the film itself, but your estimation of its social value.

Stu- I 100% believe that Joker saying he isn’t political was a metatextual comment on how the character is used by those that claim to identify with him. As I’ve brought up, the film has an undercurrent of simulacrum, where Joker is reduced to an idea, an icon, and projected upon rather than being an accurate conception of the pathetic, mentally ill, murderer that he is. Look up “Gamer Joker” to see an instance of this in real life.

I also don’t see anything wrong with depicting the Joker as feeling powerful and good. It’s no different than the depiction of virtually every antihero ever. Is Breaking Bad flawed because of the “You’re goddamn right” scene?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Eminence Grise » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:55 pm

With Antonioni, the cultural context was always just a shell to tell a much larger story. You could watch L'Avventura many times and still get something new each time. Or get something old and still appreciate the quality.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:20 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:08 pm
Would you call the correlation of violence and mental illness a contrivance with Taxi Driver?
Not at all, for several reasons relating to the quality of that film. Bickle's mental illness, while clearly evident, is not used as a specific plot point of instigation (ie, cutting off his meds). What we see in Taxi Driver is a much more natural development of Bickle's illness and the many factors and influences that play into that. The violence is equally attributed to his veteran experience (briefly mentioned but not dwelled upon) as to his mental illness. Joker is contrived in no small measure precisely because of the weight it leans on Taxi Driver as a reference point (as per the definition of contrivance). We're already cued into Joker in ways that Taxi Driver could not have relied on, but rather had to develop for itself.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:08 pm
Does it combine progressive protest with “let the world burn?” It has progressive protest attach itself to an icon that doesn’t actually represent their ideals and his actions spur on a riot, but that’s hardly the film confusing which is which. Many riots have occurred in America in outrage towards the establishment over an incendiary incident.
Right. It's the kind of muddled concept of populism that confuses the disparate impetus between supporters of Trump and Bernie Sanders. Not to offend anyone, but I imagine that Joker is more of a Trump guy (himself being a simulacrum of a successful businessman and stable genius). By specifically referencing the iconography of the modern (as opposed to circa 1980) left movements like Anonymous and Occupy, it shows several flaws of historical sociopolitical understanding. (This has been somewhat corroborated now that I've read where Todd Phillips is basically blaming "the left" for hating his movie, confirming this bias.)


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:08 pm
Do you really think I’m speaking as though pop culture is a separate entity from “us?”
I wasn't quite sure what you meant by attributing the agency of value projection to pop culture. Pop culture is the projection itself, not the source of the values of meaning and purpose. It's not the first time that I've seen "pop culture" referred to as some kind of autonomous force, so I didn't know if that's where you were coming from.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:08 pm
What other mainstream Hollywood films deal with simulacrum in a similar fashion? It sure as hell isn’t present in the films people use to criticize Joker for being a pale imitation of.
I would definitely qualify King of Comedy - a frequently cited Joker prototype - as dealing with celebrity simulacrum, and the breakdown of the distinction between fame and infamy, reality and fantasy. Although I haven't seen it mentioned so much as a direct influence on Joker, I would have to say that Natural Born Killers stands as the most obvious "mainstream Hollywood film" that was entirely concerned with pop simulacrum in such a sociopathic context.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:08 pm
Defense is warranted when a discussion of this film hardly occurs on the internet without a hyperbolic detractor trying to personally slam anyone that found value in the film, as you did. Defense is necessary when deviations of “a dumb persons idea of a smart movies” are attached to nearly all negative criticism of the film. It shows that the majority of detractors, like yourself, entered this film in bad faith and assessed not the film itself, but your estimation of its social value.
I would say it's defensive to make up things I said in order to validate your persecution here. I have not really "slammed" those who enjoyed the film. I gently suggested that they work out their motivations for themselves, which is fine advice for anyone. What I more definitively asserted is that the film itself is dumb, I would say objectively so in its lame politics, and I provided an amusing positive review of the film which - defensively - supported its right not to have to any meaning because, apparently, in pop culture sophistication = meaninglessness (and I agreed that this film is a perfect reflection of that cultural trend). Pretty much from the start, you've been rabble-rousing about these poor, presumably hungry fans who are being so shat upon by the elite for allowing y'all to have the record-setting October box office, which is typical fanboy bluster.

To be perfectly clear - yes, I had quite a bit of trepidation going into this film. Yes, I had no need or desire for a Joker origin film. No, I definitely wasn't welcoming of such a Joker film with a muddled take on current (although somehow 1980) partisan/class divides. And I guess you'll just have to take my word that there have been many films in which I entered trepidatiously only to have my fears absolved, so I reject the idea that this film could not have turned me around. More importantly, I think concerning your implications here, I actively avoided online discussion of the film until I saw it. In fact, I'm actively avoiding the majority of it as we speak. I saw the film, and I read a choice sampling of reviews. I am blissfully unattuned to Twitter. So while I do believe that something about my "trash" comment may have triggered this ongoing social media struggle, I can only promise that I am not interested or involved in that social media world. I just honest to god think this film is a load of trash. *shrug*
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:20 am
Not at all, for several reasons relating to the quality of that film. Bickle's mental illness, while clearly evident, is not used as a specific plot point of instigation (ie, cutting off his meds). What we see in Taxi Driver is a much more natural development of Bickle's illness and the many factors and influences that play into that. The violence is equally attributed to his veteran experience (briefly mentioned but not dwelled upon) as to his mental illness. Joker is contrived in no small measure precisely because of the weight it leans on Taxi Driver as a reference point (as per the definition of contrivance). We're already cued into Joker in ways that Taxi Driver could not have relied on, but rather had to develop for itself.




Right. It's the kind of muddled concept of populism that confuses the disparate impetus between supporters of Trump and Bernie Sanders. Not to offend anyone, but I imagine that Joker is more of a Trump guy (himself being a simulacrum of a successful businessman and stable genius). By specifically referencing the iconography of the modern (as opposed to circa 1980) left movements like Anonymous and Occupy, it shows several flaws of historical sociopolitical understanding. (This has been somewhat corroborated now that I've read where Todd Phillips is basically blaming "the left" for hating his movie, confirming this bias.)




I wasn't quite sure what you meant by attributing the agency of value projection to pop culture. Pop culture is the projection itself, not the source of the values of meaning and purpose. It's not the first time that I've seen "pop culture" referred to as some kind of autonomous force, so I didn't know if that's where you were coming from.




I would definitely qualify King of Comedy - a frequently cited Joker prototype - as dealing with celebrity simulacrum, and the breakdown of the distinction between fame and infamy, reality and fantasy. Although I haven't seen it mentioned so much as a direct influence on Joker, I would have to say that Natural Born Killers stands as the most obvious "mainstream Hollywood film" that was entirely concerned with pop simulacrum in such a sociopathic context.




I would say it's defensive to make up things I said in order to validate your persecution here. I have not really "slammed" those who enjoyed the film. I gently suggested that they work out their motivations for themselves, which is fine advice for anyone. What I more definitively asserted is that the film itself is dumb, I would say objectively so in its lame politics, and I provided an amusing positive review of the film which - defensively - supported its right not to have to any meaning because, apparently, in pop culture sophistication = meaninglessness (and I agreed that this film is a perfect reflection of that cultural trend). Pretty much from the start, you've been rabble-rousing about these poor, presumably hungry fans who are being so shat upon by the elite for allowing y'all to have the record-setting October box office, which is typical fanboy bluster.

To be perfectly clear - yes, I had quite a bit of trepidation going into this film. Yes, I had no need or desire for a Joker origin film. No, I definitely wasn't welcoming of such a Joker film with a muddled take on current (although somehow 1980) partisan/class divides. And I guess you'll just have to take my word that there have been many films in which I entered trepidatiously only to have my fears absolved, so I reject the idea that this film could not have turned me around. More importantly, I think concerning your implications here, I actively avoided online discussion of the film until I saw it. In fact, I'm actively avoiding the majority of it as we speak. I saw the film, and I read a choice sampling of reviews. I am blissfully unattuned to Twitter. So while I do believe that something about my "trash" comment may have triggered this ongoing social media struggle, I can only promise that I am not interested or involved in that social media world. I just honest to god think this film is a load of trash. *shrug*
How does Taxi Driver impact the artificiality of Joker in regard to correlating violence with mental illness? If you remove mental illness from both films, the primary causal force of violence is gone. You're arguing that one uses the idea better rather than that the idea is a contrivance of its own.

When other people talk about pop culture, is it necessarily them asserting that it has agency or you demanding that people explicitly state something that need not be said for most?

How does King of Comedy deal with the concept in a similar manner? NBK is a more fitting example but it has the defining difference in that the icon in question (Joker) is a projection for Arthur as well, and something that he uses to find autonomy and power where otherwise he doesn't have it. Mickey and Mallory are simplistic, sociopaths. The worship and projection placed upon them by society could definitely be a reference point (unfortunately, outside of this conversation, I've seen NO review bring up this element but rather dismiss it for obvious homage).

I didn't make up things you said. After my dismissive "nah" you evoked the character that one would need to be impressed with this film. You may not be plugged in to Twitter and other social media, but you're doing a damn fine job of echoing the discourse.

There may be films that have overcome your preconceptions but it doesn't necessarily reflect a film's failure in anything other than overcoming them.

I just won't take any accusations of "trash" for a film with Phoenix's performance, Sher's cinematography and Hildur's score (and yes, Phillips' direction) as anything more than hyperbolic nonsense.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:20 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:51 pm
Seventh Victim is so, so good. At times it feels more like a drama, and that's a compliment.
Yeah, this was Mark Robson's first directing gig but even his later horror related projects like Isle of the Dead and Bedlam were careful not to go overboard on the more macabre elements. It works though and serves to ratchet up the tension.
Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:51 pm
The horror of the film is so based in internal demons (the figurative kind), to the point that the satanic society adds leverage to the plot but the heart of the film never strays from the protagonists.
Yes again. That scene with the
society trying to "persuade" Jacqueline to take her own life is so remarkable. They eventually resort to more conventional methods sending the guy with the switchblade after her but for a while there it looked like they'd achieve their ends through sheer force of will. And that was so much spookier than the usual horror tropes.
Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:51 pm
I didn't mind the pace of the ending. I felt that it added to the tone the film was aiming for.
I agreed with what host Ben Mankiewicz said in his post movie comments about
them maybe stretching those few seconds out a little more when Jacqueline's neighbor hears the sound of the chair being kicked over. No additional dialogue needed or anything like that.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:29 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:20 pm
Yeah, this was Mark Robson's first directing gig but even his later horror related projects like Isle of the Dead and Bedlam were careful not to go overboard on the more macabre elements. It works though and serves to ratchet up the tension.

Yes again. That scene with the
society trying to "persuade" Jacqueline to take her own life is so remarkable. They eventually resort to more conventional methods sending the guy with the switchblade after her but for a while there it looked like they'd achieve their ends through sheer force of will. And that was so much spookier than the usual horror tropes.
I agreed with what host Ben Mankiewicz said in his post movie comments about
them maybe stretching those few seconds out a little more when Jacqueline's neighbor hears the sound of the chair being kicked over. No additional dialogue needed or anything like that.
While I haven't seen Isle of the Dead I have seen Bedlam.

I would say that both films earn a lot of spook factor from evil that is, and I'm struggling for the right word here, "casual."

The thing that haunted me in Bedlam was the scene where the young man from the asylum was
painted gold and then suffocated. And the people at the party just laughed as his lifeless body was carried away.
It's not that it's banal, it's the idea of someone's death just being a blip on someone else's radar. The idea of the lack of empathy required for that kind of suffering to take place.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:03 pm

The Devil's Bride (The Devil Rides Out in the U.K. version) - 9/10 - This is a Hammer studios film starring Christopher Lee so it's a no-brainer when it comes to deciding whether or not to watch it. And as if that wasn't enough it's also supposedly Lee's personal favorite among his many Hammer films. It's also directed by Terence Fisher who directed 29 films for Hammer, 13 with Peter Cushing and 12 with Lee. Plus it was adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson from the novel by Dennis Wheatley. Lee plays the Duke De Richleau who's a nobleman/WWI veteran/adventurer. He's a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Allan Quatermain. It's a great role and it's quite clear that Lee is having a great time playing it. He inhabits the role so completely and does such an outstanding job that even though the film isn't the usual Hammer fare it's still intriguing. De Richleau has to rescue the son of a deceased friend who he swore to protect and a young woman from the clutches of a satanic cult. Without giving too much away there are also more than enough occult flourishes to differentiate the story from other standard offerings.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:17 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:29 pm
While I haven't seen Isle of the Dead...
I liked Isle Of The Dead, had a very Val Lewton kinda feel to it.
Hmmm... I wonder why...?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:17 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:03 pm
The Devil's Bride (The Devil Rides Out in the U.K. version) - 9/10 - This is a Hammer studios film starring Christopher Lee so it's a no-brainer when it comes to deciding whether or not to watch it. And as if that wasn't enough it's also supposedly Lee's personal favorite among his many Hammer films. It's also directed by Terence Fisher who directed 29 films for Hammer, 13 with Peter Cushing and 12 with Lee. Plus it was adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson from the novel by Dennis Wheatley. Lee plays the Duke De Richleau who's a nobleman/WWI veteran/adventurer. He's a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Allan Quatermain. It's a great role and it's quite clear that Lee is having a great time playing it. He inhabits the role so completely and does such an outstanding job that even though the film isn't the usual Hammer fare it's still intriguing. De Richleau has to rescue the son of a deceased friend who he swore to protect and a young woman from the clutches of a satanic cult. Without giving too much away there are also more than enough occult flourishes to differentiate the story from other standard offerings.
Yeah, I enjoyed this one quite a bit myself, largely for the reasons you state.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:23 pm

Hereditary, 2018 (B)

The best parts of the movie are good. Like, really good. The family stuff was absolutely outstanding. The issue I have with it is that the movie feels like two scripts mashed together. An incomplete drama and a horror movie that could use more meat. It's the same issue I had with 10 Cloverfield Lane, really. According to Imdb, the movie is definitely not that, but it feels like that and neither halves are satisfying. I'd say it's weaker than the sum of its parts, but there's some very strong parts in there.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:38 pm

Charles wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:23 pm
Hereditary, 2018 (B)

The best parts of the movie are good. Like, really good. The family stuff was absolutely outstanding. The issue I have with it is that the movie feels like two scripts mashed together. An incomplete drama and a horror movie that could use more meat. It's the same issue I had with 10 Cloverfield Lane, really. According to Imdb, the movie is definitely not that, but it feels like that and neither halves are satisfying. I'd say it's weaker than the sum of its parts, but there's some very strong parts in there.
I've seen it three times and it's a film that grows on me with every watch. It's very meticulously put together. Bergman meets Polanski. It seems a shitty response but my advice for people who liked but didn't love it is to watch it again. It's a completely different experience.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:32 pm

Charles wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:23 pm
Hereditary, 2018 (B)

The best parts of the movie are good. Like, really good. The family stuff was absolutely outstanding. The issue I have with it is that the movie feels like two scripts mashed together. An incomplete drama and a horror movie that could use more meat. It's the same issue I had with 10 Cloverfield Lane, really. According to Imdb, the movie is definitely not that, but it feels like that and neither halves are satisfying. I'd say it's weaker than the sum of its parts, but there's some very strong parts in there.
Huh.

I feel like the drama and the horror halves actually compliment and accentuate each other.

For example, when she goes to the grief meeting and talks about
her being distanced from her family and the fact that her father starved himself to death and her brother committed suicide because he thought the mother was putting "voices in his head", you realize that this woman's brother killed himself because he was going through what Charlie and the brother are experiencing.
I think that every aspect of the family drama is nicely paralleled by the horror stuff. The brother feels like
the mother hates him and wishes that she had the daughter back. Well guess what?
What about the drama parts did you feel was incomplete? I felt like as the film went on, all of the drama just morphed nicely into the horror stuff.

My only real complaint was the
general passivity of the father character. I wish his character had been stronger and better-defined. As it is, he does very little from a narrative point of view and it was frustrating watching him fail to protect his son when things clearly go way downhill. And I'm not comfortable hand-waving that away with the powers of the coven/cultists.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:48 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:32 pm
What about the drama parts did you feel was incomplete? I felt like as the film went on, all of the drama just morphed nicely into the horror stuff.
I wouldn't say morphed, I would say consumed. It sort of stopped the progression that was going on between the mother and the son. And yeah, the father was underdevelopped. They apparently cut like one hour from what they wanted of family stuff before releasing. Who knows what's in there.

But I'll follow MKS' advice and watch it again in a week. We'll see what I think about it then.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:56 pm

Charles wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:48 pm
I wouldn't say morphed, I would say consumed. It sort of stopped the progression that was going on between the mother and the son. And yeah, the father was underdevelopped. They apparently cut like one hour from what they wanted of family stuff before releasing. Who knows what's in there.
See, I saw it as a natural progression.
The mother is so blinded by her own grief and unable to resolve her anger toward her son that she cannot see what is happening to him.

Suppose that instead of possession, her son was becoming seriously depressed/suicidal. Consider the things we see: self-harm, isolating himself, nightmares, etc.

I think that the horrific notion of one child causing the death of another (albeit unintentionally) sets the stage for an equally horrific supernatural "solution" of the offending child being replaced by the deceased child's returning spirit. It's almost like the dark thoughts/desires of both mother and son come true in the worst way possible.
While I did have a few issues with the movie, I thought that the writing was pretty on-point.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:36 am

The Uninvited - 8/10 - I had heard of this but never seen it but it turns out it's considered a classic of the genre with directors like Guillermo del Toro and Martin Scorcese listing it as one of their favorites. Siblings Rick and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) buy an old vacant seaside home on a whim. They purchase the well-kept mansion for a ridiculously low price which should raise alarm bells but, in keeping with these types of movies, doesn't. It also doesn't take long for the pair to realize that there's something else in the house with them. They meet with the owner of the home and his granddaughter and come to learn the tragic history of the house. From there it turns into an interesting blend of mystery and haunted house. This also features the first onscreen use I can recall of a homemade Ouija board during a seance. Milland does a great turn as the affable hero, providing moments of welcome humor. Like The Seventh Victim this features yet another May-December romance but I suppose this was considered routine at the time. The only thing I had a problem with is that
the young woman at the center of this seems quick to accept the facts of her true parentage. Having said that, it's still a satisfying conclusion to the prevailing mystery.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:30 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:32 pm
My only real complaint was the general passivity of the father character. I wish his character had been stronger and better-defined.
I felt that this passive exhaustion was the definition of the character, someone who has long since reached his wits' end on how to deal with his wife and her family's traumas to where eotional withdrawl and rote comfort are his default settings. I don't see this as poor writing so much as the weakness intended in the character.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:26 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:32 pm
My only real complaint was the
general passivity of the father character. I wish his character had been stronger and better-defined. As it is, he does very little from a narrative point of view and it was frustrating watching him fail to protect his son when things clearly go way downhill. And I'm not comfortable hand-waving that away with the powers of the coven/cultists.
I liked the scene where he did almost nothing but listen to Annie rattle off a clunky, unnecessary, Chris Nolan-style stream of endless exposition about things we already saw firsthand:
"Hey, I went in the attic and found the headless body of what I think is my mother." "Hey, I conveniently just found a picture of the woman who taught me that seance in my mom's old photo album." "Hey, there's this cursed notebook that belonged to Charlie that I tried to burn, and I caught on fire myself when I did so."
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:53 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
How does Taxi Driver impact the artificiality of Joker in regard to correlating violence with mental illness? If you remove mental illness from both films, the primary causal force of violence is gone. You're arguing that one uses the idea better rather than that the idea is a contrivance of its own.
The contrivance is in the execution, which is a qualitative distinction. Yes, I'm arguing that one uses the idea better, because one presents it in a less contrived fashion (ie, by not making it such an explicit rationale for instigation). With neither Bickle or Pupkin are their respective mental illnesses defined as their "primary causal force". Again, it's evident that they are ill, and they probably wouldn't have pursued their actions if they weren't, but the films are less concerned in designating their illness or using their illness to rationalize their actions. In short, they don't contrive to explain the violence via "'cause crazy".


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
When other people talk about pop culture, is it necessarily them asserting that it has agency or you demanding that people explicitly state something that need not be said for most?
When other people talk about pop culture, my eyes start to glaze a little, because over the last 10-15 years, there's been a lot more academic woo infused into its purported significance. I have seen people talk about it as if it were some kind of independent force that endows people with values (rather than the other way around). I'm not saying you believe any of this, and it just might be a pet peeve for me when I see pop culture mentioned in a sentence as a singular agent. I don't know what else to say, except, I kinda hope that maybe Joss Whedon is paying off all of these people's student loans. That's only fair.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
How does King of Comedy deal with the concept in a similar manner?
Specifically the simulacrum concept? I think that's fairly clear. Jerry Langford is the simultaneous simulacrum of father/fame, everything Pupkin wants to fulfill in himself, likewise between Arthur and Murray Franklin, setting up his Oedipal coup. You have a remarkably similar breakdown of the things I mentioned, the line between reality and fantasy and the allure of the latter for delusion, the line between fame and infamy where things like talent or experience are less important than raw attention. You have Pupkin becoming "a star", not really a person of frailty but transcended into an idea that captures the public's imagination in a rather amoral manner. All you don't have is some kind of ill-advised plunge into pseudo-Purge orgy tacked onto it. (I also see the Purge films as being more of a symptom of our current social dissolution than a comment on it.)


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Mickey and Mallory are simplistic, sociopaths.
Neither of them are quite so simplistic, they are both products of abuse and neglect (and fantasized TV projections) as Arthur is. They weren't "born bad", which is an important thread through the film. They are also just as apolitical as Arthur while also attracting a political following, and the riot kindling of a prison already on the verge of meltdown is far more plausible than a Gotham society that's filthy, yes, but doesn't seem as tense with the threat of spontaneous violence as, say, Scorsese's New York of Taxi Driver, where spurts of sudden danger seethe through the sidewalks in random unassuming ways.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
(unfortunately, outside of this conversation, I've seen NO review bring up this element but rather dismiss it for obvious homage).
I haven't seen NBK mentioned in any Joker reviews either, but I feel the comparison is perfectly adequete.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
After my dismissive "nah" you evoked the character that one would need to be impressed with this film.
I evoked who the film was designed to impress, which is really more of a shot at the filmmakers. Pretty much all of my criticisms have solidly centered on the the film's writing, its approach to its appropriated themes and, yes, contrivances toward shoehorned topical politics (mental health/violence; populism/anarchy; an indifferent, mostly minority, government bureaucracy) which manage to rile typical right-wing grievances into Purge-like surrogate sadism. That's my take of the film, not of its fans. I think the film is patently stupid in its feigned politics. And I reject the nonsensical logic that criticizing a film, or even criticizing some specific defenses of that film, is by extension an attack on anyone who happens to disagree with that critique. This is also a symptom of our hyperpartisan times, and Joker isn't the first film to facilitate this reflexive defensiveness.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:15 pm
I just won't take any accusations of "trash" for a film with Phoenix's performance, Sher's cinematography and Hildur's score (and yes, Phillips' direction) as anything more than hyperbolic nonsense.
I'll give you Phoenix, who's fine in the role. The technical stuff? Sure, what the hell, great. I wish someone had spent a little more than a couple of xanex writing the script.

And Phoenix is inadvertently a liability, because it only reminded me, constantly due to the parallel themes of abuse and neglect and violent impluses, that You Were Never Really Here was an exponentially better film at exploring and expressing these anxieties. It's also the superior heir for Taxi Driver's legacy. The only thing that film appears to be missing is the comic book iconography. Because pop culture or some such.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:27 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:53 am
The contrivance is in the execution, which is a qualitative distinction. Yes, I'm arguing that one uses the idea better, because one presents it in a less contrived fashion (ie, by not making it such an explicit rationale for instigation). With neither Bickle or Pupkin are their respective mental illnesses defined as their "primary causal force". Again, it's evident that they are ill, and they probably wouldn't have pursued their actions if they weren't, but the films are less concerned in designating their illness or using their illness to rationalize their actions. In short, they don't contrive to explain the violence via "'cause crazy".




When other people talk about pop culture, my eyes start to glaze a little, because over the last 10-15 years, there's been a lot more academic woo infused into its purported significance. I have seen people talk about it as if it were some kind of independent force that endows people with values (rather than the other way around). I'm not saying you believe any of this, and it just might be a pet peeve for me when I see pop culture mentioned in a sentence as a singular agent. I don't know what else to say, except, I kinda hope that maybe Joss Whedon is paying off all of these people's student loans. That's only fair.




Specifically the simulacrum concept? I think that's fairly clear. Jerry Langford is the simultaneous simulacrum of father/fame, everything Pupkin wants to fulfill in himself, likewise between Arthur and Murray Franklin, setting up his Oedipal coup. You have a remarkably similar breakdown of the things I mentioned, the line between reality and fantasy and the allure of the latter for delusion, the line between fame and infamy where things like talent or experience are less important than raw attention. You have Pupkin becoming "a star", not really a person of frailty but transcended into an idea that captures the public's imagination in a rather amoral manner. All you don't have is some kind of ill-advised plunge into pseudo-Purge orgy tacked onto it. (I also see the Purge films as being more of a symptom of our current social dissolution than a comment on it.)




Neither of them are quite so simplistic, they are both products of abuse and neglect (and fantasized TV projections) as Arthur is. They weren't "born bad", which is an important thread through the film. They are also just as apolitical as Arthur while also attracting a political following, and the riot kindling of a prison already on the verge of meltdown is far more plausible than a Gotham society that's filthy, yes, but doesn't seem as tense with the threat of spontaneous violence as, say, Scorsese's New York of Taxi Driver, where spurts of sudden danger seethe through the sidewalks in random unassuming ways.




I haven't seen NBK mentioned in any Joker reviews either, but I feel the comparison is perfectly adequete.




I evoked who the film was designed to impress, which is really more of a shot at the filmmakers. Pretty much all of my criticisms have solidly centered on the the film's writing, its approach to its appropriated themes and, yes, contrivances toward shoehorned topical politics (mental health/violence; populism/anarchy; an indifferent, mostly minority, government bureaucracy) which manage to rile typical right-wing grievances into Purge-like surrogate sadism. That's my take of the film, not of its fans. I think the film is patently stupid in its feigned politics. And I reject the nonsensical logic that criticizing a film, or even criticizing some specific defenses of that film, is by extension an attack on anyone who happens to disagree with that critique. This is also a symptom of our hyperpartisan times, and Joker isn't the first film to facilitate this reflexive defensiveness.




I'll give you Phoenix, who's fine in the role. The technical stuff? Sure, what the hell, great. I wish someone had spent a little more than a couple of xanex writing the script.

And Phoenix is inadvertently a liability, because it only reminded me, constantly due to the parallel themes of abuse and neglect and violent impluses, that You Were Never Really Here was an exponentially better film at exploring and expressing these anxieties. It's also the superior heir for Taxi Driver's legacy. The only thing that film appears to be missing is the comic book iconography. Because pop culture or some such.
If Bickle and Pupkin aren't mentally ill, those narratives cease to exist. Pupkin even implies his illness stems from a neglectful, alcoholic mom and abusive dad. Jerry explicitly says that Pupkin's excuse will be he "was crazy at the time."

I can't see how it's contrived in Joker. It's developed over the course of the entire film and by nature, is about a famously insane character. It's given far more focus but I feel like you're slapping a pat criticism onto that element for shifting it's focus away from what the homage does. It's comparable to You Were Never Really Here, which correlates abuse and dysfunction. It focuses on it far more than Taxi Driver, even including flash backs. That doesn't make it a contrivance.

Fair enough on pop culture. We all have pet peeves that are brought about by dissatisfying discourse with others. With me, I've found the discussion surrounding Joker to be particularly fruitless online (in person has been a significantly different experience) with many content to dismiss it, shit on it and those that like it, then move on. It's grown a suspicion within me that if the film weren't called "Joker," while it would have made significantly less money, it would have gotten far more uniform praise (post-Gold Lion) in the States. The amount of people that seemingly wanted the film to bring out the worst audiences and illicit violence is pretty astounding. I did enjoy seeing the self righteousness of a Twitter user that got banned from AMC for posting a sign saying that AMC would only be allowing couples in to see Joker and no single white men would be admitted.


I think that KoC is significantly different as he's not projecting onto Jerry, exactly. It is more in the correlation of Jerry with fame than Jerry as an icon himself. He wants what Jerry has, not to be Jerry. It's similar to the usage of De Niro, which is a transparent connection, but very different from the use of Joker. Society's projection onto the icon is a far cry from one man's extended delusion.


That's why I appreciated the NBK comparison. I think it's apt and it reflects how shallow the criticism for this film has been. Professional critics were content to say “Taxi Driver did it better” and call it a day. I could certainly toss that at You Were Never Really here but that wouldn’t make it a bad film nor would it acknowledge other influences and ideas that make it unique from Taxi Driver. I think making Arthur a mix of Bickle, Pupkin, and Mickey makes for a unique character, if derivative in nature.

“ This film seems designed to appeal to people impressed by meaningless oxymorons.” while more mild than “a dumb person’s idea of a smart movie,” it does carry the same connotation of minimizing the audiences intelligence because they’re impressed by something meaningless. In the context of criticizing say, YWNRH, it certainly wouldn’t create the same response from me. In the context of the cacophonous attempt to shame and slander any defender of the film as matching the lowest of the fan base (idiot, incel, bigot, etc), it doesn’t come off well. There’s similar social media movement to paint all The Last Jedi detractors with the same brush. I find it to be one of the more frustrating of all current film criticism as it implies that all who criticize have the same beliefs and that one can not be intrigued or fascinated by art unless it aligns with ones ideology.

I think if you can give it technical and performance merits, you can give the film more props than garbage and trash. I figured you’d watched enough films to not value narrative unilaterally over craft and recognize that redundancy doesn’t negate quality. Italian cult cinema would implode on sight if that were the case. Yojimbo did it first and better but Fistful of Dollars is still great. Psycho did it first and better but 80 percent of giallo that ripped it off are still wonderful pieces of entertainment.

In comparison to YWNRH, I’d give Phoenix and the cinematography the edge in Joker but Ramsay is significantly stronger and more intelligent director than Phillips. They’re both great.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:16 pm

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a well-crafted, meandering, and emotionally moving character study about a man who longs to own a Victorian home his grandfather built which is topped with a strong central performance from Jimmie Fails and some good cinematography. The occasional awkward bits of humor and absurd bits occasionally undermine the serious moments of the film (and this gets more noticeable as the film goes on), but this is still an interesting film and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Talbot's next film.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:53 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:36 am
The Uninvited - 8/10 - I had heard of this but never seen it but it turns out it's considered a classic of the genre with directors like Guillermo del Toro and Martin Scorcese listing it as one of their favorites. Siblings Rick and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) buy an old vacant seaside home on a whim. They purchase the well-kept mansion for a ridiculously low price which should raise alarm bells but, in keeping with these types of movies, doesn't. It also doesn't take long for the pair to realize that there's something else in the house with them. They meet with the owner of the home and his granddaughter and come to learn the tragic history of the house. From there it turns into an interesting blend of mystery and haunted house. This also features the first onscreen use I can recall of a homemade Ouija board during a seance. Milland does a great turn as the affable hero, providing moments of welcome humor. Like The Seventh Victim this features yet another May-December romance but I suppose this was considered routine at the time. The only thing I had a problem with is that
the young woman at the center of this seems quick to accept the facts of her true parentage. Having said that, it's still a satisfying conclusion to the prevailing mystery.

You're watching such great stuff this month!! This is another one that I love. Agreed on your gripe, and I find that generally speaking there's a passivity to female characters in classic horror that's inescapable.
Jinnistan wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:30 am
I felt that this passive exhaustion was the definition of the character, someone who has long since reached his wits' end on how to deal with his wife and her family's traumas to where eotional withdrawl and rote comfort are his default settings. I don't see this as poor writing so much as the weakness intended in the character.
But he seems to start that way. I'd have been okay if we saw more of him shying away from confrontation, but there's a point where his children are being harmed and he just sort of stands back and lets it happen and that was challenging for me. Especially when he acknowledges stuff is going wrong, but then (seemingly for the sake of the script) doesn't act on it. It almost feels like his character was unnecessary to the film except as a witness to the madness.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:05 pm

I think it's fitting that the father starts exhausted. This has been going on LONG before and we hear that he'd previously put his foot down only to have the grandmother's illness supercede that. He's been worn down by the grandmother's presence and his wife's dysfunction long before the film starts and it's the tragedy of his character that he only reaches his threshold for baring it when it's far too late.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:31 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:05 pm
I think it's fitting that the father starts exhausted. This has been going on LONG before and we hear that he'd previously put his foot down only to have the grandmother's illness supercede that. He's been worn down by the grandmother's presence and his wife's dysfunction long before the film starts and it's the tragedy of his character that he only reaches his threshold for baring it when it's far too late.
But he never
does anything!

And while I can understand his passivity and his peace-making tendencies earlier in the film (like in the awkward dinner conversation that turns really angry), it just made less and less sense as it went on.

By the time his son is self-harming and/or having seizures, watching him drive that child home to his crazy wife was a bridge too far for me.

For another example, why do they stay in the house after Charlie dies? You'd think that it would be a good idea to get away. But this is never even suggested. Too often, it felt like the father was just there as a sort-of audience stand-in and also just so someone could articulate, "Hey this seems kind of crazy."

The best thing about his character was him accidentally getting set on fire. But even that abrupt death means that we never get to actually see him realize the full scope of what has happened to his wife and children.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:47 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:31 pm
But he never
does anything!

And while I can understand his passivity and his peace-making tendencies earlier in the film (like in the awkward dinner conversation that turns really angry), it just made less and less sense as it went on.

By the time his son is self-harming and/or having seizures, watching him drive that child home to his crazy wife was a bridge too far for me.

For another example, why do they stay in the house after Charlie dies? You'd think that it would be a good idea to get away. But this is never even suggested. Too often, it felt like the father was just there as a sort-of audience stand-in and also just so someone could articulate, "Hey this seems kind of crazy."

The best thing about his character was him accidentally getting set on fire. But even that abrupt death means that we never get to actually see him realize the full scope of what has happened to his wife and children.
He grows closer and closer to the verge of breakdown (The car scene) and...
Tells the mother he’s taking his son and leaving. He refuses to burn the book, actually and says he’s had enough. Then she throws the book and burns him.

He DOES finally take action but it’s not enough and it’s much too late.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:01 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:47 pm
He grows closer and closer to the verge of breakdown (The car scene) and...
Tells the mother he’s taking his son and leaving. He refuses to burn the book, actually and says he’s had enough. Then she throws the book and burns him.

He DOES finally take action but it’s not enough and it’s much too late.
It came off as kind of
anti-climactic to me.

There should be more heft behind that realization of "too little, too late".

His character just didn't work for me.

And it doesn't harm the film too much, since generally speaking he's pretty incidental to the plot. But his character was the weakest element of the film in my opinion. I felt like he served very little function. Maybe it's that he doesn't seem to have the emotional depth of the other characters. For example, I would have loved even one scene showing how HE felt about his daughter's death. A moment of regret or anger that HE had. But instead he just acts as a sounding board for his wife and son.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:07 pm

The scene that, for me, exemplifies Gabriel Byrne's character in Hereditary went something like:
Dad: You doing alright?

Son: ...

Dad: Yeah, I know ... Hang in there, sport *finger guns*
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:15 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:01 pm
It came off as kind of
anti-climactic to me.

There should be more heft behind that realization of "too little, too late".

His character just didn't work for me.

And it doesn't harm the film too much, since generally speaking he's pretty incidental to the plot. But his character was the weakest element of the film in my opinion. I felt like he served very little function. Maybe it's that he doesn't seem to have the emotional depth of the other characters. For example, I would have loved even one scene showing how HE felt about his daughter's death. A moment of regret or anger that HE had. But instead he just acts as a sounding board for his wife and son.
I can get that. They could have and maybe should have gone even bigger with his anger at his wife right at the end to pay off how passive he is. I think it's a danger in writing a passive character in general. It's his defining characteristic and ultimately that's going to be what he is.

It's sort of like the pitfall of writing an annoying character. If you succeed, your audience is annoyed with your movie.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:17 pm

Ergill wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:07 pm
The scene that, for me, exemplifies Gabriel Byrne's character in Hereditary went something like:
Let's not forget:

*Finds decapitated mother-in-law's corpse in attic*
*Descends attic ladder*
*Sighs*
"I've just about had enough of this."
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:20 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:15 pm
I can get that. They could have and maybe should have gone even bigger with his anger at his wife right at the end to pay off how passive he is. I think it's a danger in writing a passive character in general. It's his defining characteristic and ultimately that's going to be what he is.

It's sort of like the pitfall of writing an annoying character. If you succeed, your audience is annoyed with your movie.
I think that I wouldn't have minded him being passive (because, hey, some people are passive), if he'd just had more depth.

Like I said before, we never see
his reaction to the daughter's death. Passive people might not assert themselves, but they do have feelings. In fact, if we saw that he blamed himself (for being at work when this all went down or whatever), it could go toward explaining why he allows things to progress as far as they do.
And for me, that's a big missing point, emotionally, for that character.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:30 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:53 pm
You're watching such great stuff this month!! This is another one that I love.
As far as TCM goes October is by far my favorite month.
Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:53 pm
Agreed on your gripe, and I find that generally speaking there's a passivity to female characters in classic horror that's inescapable.
They do seem to randomly and casually throw them into relationships for seemingly no other reason than audience expectations. In the case of The Uninvited both female leads fall prey to this with Pamela Fitzgerald inexplicably, and with very little basis, appearing to end up with the much older doctor.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:02 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:30 pm
As far as TCM goes October is by far my favorite month.

They do seem to randomly and casually throw them into relationships for seemingly no other reason than audience expectations. In the case of The Uninvited both female leads fall prey to this with Pamela Fitzgerald inexplicably, and with very little basis, appearing to end up with the much older doctor.
I just watched Burn Witch Burn with my sister and her husband today. A rewatch for me, first time for them.

It is STRIKING in that film just how much Norman (the husband) doesn't seem to deserve his wife's incredible devotion. He basically says that all women are essentially insane, superstitious creatures. Tansy, his wife, is literally prepared to die for him, and it's like . . . why? There are several sequences where she's handling business while he's literally sleeping on the couch.

I think that the film is a little self-aware of this (especially in the way that Norman is repeatedly haunted by his own dismissive words throughout the film), but the assumption that Tansy's extreme devotion is the "correct" thing is kind of laughable. A lot of horror films suffer from this contradiction where they want to put the female characters front and center (to be terrorized), and yet later need the male characters to be the heroes who spring into action. It's actually hard to think of an older horror film that's an exception to this dynamic.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:19 pm

Joker - 8/10
Ain't no grave gonna hold this body down
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Stu
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:28 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:17 pm
Let's not forget:

*Finds decapitated mother-in-law's corpse in attic*
*Descends attic ladder*
*Sighs*
"I've just about had enough of this."
100% agreed, although, lest we forget...

Image

:D
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:36 pm

Stu wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:28 pm
100% agreed, although, lest we forget...

Image

:D
Well, to be fair, you were (rightly) pointing out the way that he's just used as a recipient of exposition.

I was referring to the same scene as an example of the absurd limits of his passivity. Or maybe that's also what you kind of meant in your post?
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