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cinema:english Essay

Joker (2019)

The immediate message that got to me after watching Arthur Fleck slowly descend into madness is that I should get out of my head for good. 

Joker’s a really well made film, thoughtfully so in the departments of art and cinematography, but something about this record of madness doesn’t sit well with me. This was one of the reasons, I gave myself for skipping the film, until today.

Another reason is that I don’t really like the Joker character. 

There, I said it. 

Enough hot takes, I would like to elaborate a little, what I really mean is that I don’t really appreciate the modern interpretations of the character- starting from Heath Ledger’s take in the Dark Knight.

The character (in the movies) has traveled far from the camp that Jack Nicholson literally painted on screen. Now all the fun is gone. 

Well it’s been a generation since 1989. Things change, people tend to be attracted to different things. 

Maybe they do prefer this interpretation, where a comic prince of clown is moulded into this thinning frame which has nothing in its heart, but only itself ( and self pity of course). Maybe there is a reason why Arthur Fleck is a stand up comedian- a profession that requires a lot of suppressed anger (on society and on self) to be converted into jokes. And when those jokes don’t work? It turns into the descent, that I touched upon earlier. 

Drawing directly from Scorsese’s influential work in the 70s & the 80s that also featured decaying characters in cities of decay, Todd Phillips, adds too little. By throwing in Robert De Niro in as a funny talk show host, Phillips ensure that the Scorsese references don’t go unnoticed.

Gotham now has a rat problem, there is garbage everywhere and they hate the rich. The city then erupts into protests with people wearing clown masks because billionaire Thomas Wayne made an offhand comment, an indication that protests may not always have its origins in meaning.

But there is one thing, it doesn’t seem like a usual super hero(or villain) based film, and kudos to the director for that and Phoenix is in his usual great form; but after a point it becomes difficult to back the delusions of a depressed guy. 

Joker, the character itself is quite diabolical and is in constant need of space and adoration, it almost stole the movie from Batman in the Dark Knight; now it wants it’s own movie and going by the box office collections, it could have its own franchise. 

A franchise for those who feel they are disenfranchised. God, help me.

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cinema cinema:english Parking Lot Notes

God Among Small Things

Parking Lot Notes #3 : Wonder Woman

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It is one of those ‘just-go-wow’ in the theater but nothing much afterwards film that Hollywood manufactures at a healthy rate, the operative keyword here is healthy because the success of these films totally depends on how much we are willing to forget similar films of the past. Since the superhero origin module (probably a template document stored in the vaults of Warner Bros and Marvel) involves ever useable intangibles such as love, hope and discovery,(very difficult to have a superhero movie without stressing on this) the core of an origin is a known one.

Frankly I’m a bit tired of this, also I don’t really follow comic books, hence I have lost the WooHoo! enthusiasm that the comic book t-shirt target audience display in the theaters (I was young once), because in every super hero movie there is difference in only specifics.

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Patty Jenkins- breaking the glass ceiling

Here in Wonder Woman, it is about preventing the wrath of Ares upon earth by the Amazonian goddess Diana. Of course it is the single point of view narration which means that we get to hear the story in her own voice is the differentiator and how well the film races back in time (WWI, but of course Germans are the villains) by just the show of a photograph. A moment framed in time could be a trigger for an entire lifetime, also striking was the use of oil paintings to tell the tale of Zeus and the creation the island of the Amazons.

The film then goes the ‘it’s the same thing mister Sivam’ after that, there is the training montage, the charming love interest (I pine for Chris Pine), the ragtag group, the need to fight their own battles, a loss of hope, a couple of mad villains, a death of a dear.

Yet, it’s all so wonderful to see things from the perspective of a God and Gal Gadot brings the innocence which is very difficult to fake on screen and I did buy the idea that even Gods can feel that we lesser beings are not deserving of their kindness and grace. Good to see that they have retained the uplifting Zimmer and Junkie XL’s Wonder Woman theme. Repetitions like these when done well, shows. It all comes together nicely.

But when the lights came back on and when I walked back home my old friend memory, returned.

Parking Lot Notes covers the thoughts that go about in our writers’ mind when they walk back from the movies, sometimes they take Ola Auto also, but that is not the point.