Tag Archives: Todd Phillips

Cinema Dispatch: Joker

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Joker and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Todd Phillips

Are we ready to do this?  Alright, let’s do this.  So Joker always seemed like an odd choice for a movie as his defining moments have always been in relation to Batman.  Take him away, and what are you left with?  Well if the trailers are any indication, you get something akin to Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver by way of Krusty the Clown.  I mean I was at least interested to see where they were GOING with it since the trailers did a solid job of obscuring what the actual plot was, but the last few weeks of bad press have really drained any enthusiasm I could muster for what was already seeming to be a novelty at best.  Does this manage to rise above the controversy surrounding it, especially the controversies cynically generated by those who have an active stake in the film’s success, or will this all be for a movie that ultimately isn’t worth the time and effort?  Let’s find out!!

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is one of many residents in the city of Gotham who is barely getting by and can feels that life has given him a rather crappy lot.  All he wanted to do was be a comedian and make people smile, but street punks keep beating him up at his job, the rich politicians and lobbyist keep cutting social services that he needs, and on top of all that he has to take care of his elderly mother Frances Conroy) who’s unshaking belief that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) will help her and her son has only become more and more obnoxious as the years have gone by.  Why… it’s almost enough to drive someone MAD isn’t it!?  Like say… if someone got so tired of this that they started wearing clown makeup and robbed banks!  Well leave those fantasies at home as this is the REAL Joker for the modern age in that he’s really angry all the time but doesn’t do a heck of a whole lot about it and what he DOES do about it isn’t as… let’s say FLAMBOYANT as his comic book persona would have you believe.  Still, the walls are closing in more and more as Arthur’s life goes further and further into chaos to the point that he may just be forced to fight back in a way that no one could possibly expect; least of all himself.  Will Arthur’s miserable life come to some sort of hilarious denouement that gets all the squares to pop their monocles?  What effect will his actions have on the rest of the city, and is he really so different from all the normal people out there?  Seriously, is this REALLY the guy Warner Bros wants to be spouting his manifesto on the big screen right when they’re getting the DCCU back on track?

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“I call it… MY JOKE BOOK!”     “…”     “Seriously?  Nothing?”     “Oh, uh… no, that’s clever!”

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Cinema Dispatch: War Dogs

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War Dogs and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Todd Phillips

The guy who burned out after the FIRST Hangover movie has decided to try and go the Adam McKay route; mainly by making a comedy that ALSO has brains and a message about contemporary America.  I mean, at least this will probably be better than giving him time to do Hangover 4: The Revenge.  Not only that, but the trailers look like there might be something there to enjoy.  Maybe not great, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this mildly amused me the same way Our Brand is Crisis and Whisky Tango Foxtrot did which seem to be covering some of the same ground, albeit with a lot more violence in this one.  Can this movie manage to be a fun and engaging exploration into the world of weapons contractors, or is this just a guy who probably peaked seven years ago drying desperately to jump on a bandwagon?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows David Packouz (Miles Teller) who’s some twenty something loser bumming around Miami; working as a massage therapist while trying to get a bed sheet business off the ground.  Right off the bat it’s clear that this guy is a Grade-A loser, but opportunity comes knocking when an old friend from middle school Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) moves back to town and has started a weapons contracting firm to sell supplies to the military.  David, having nothing else going on and a kid on the way with his girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas), agrees to work for him despite his… moral objections I guess?  Well whatever makes him hesitant about the job quickly falls away as the small company starts winning tiny contracts from the government; slowly building up their clout and influence.  Over time though, it’s clear that Efraim wants to go really big really fast and is willing to do whatever it takes to get there, even working with Henry Girard (Bradley Cooper) who’s well known and respected in the industry, but is shady as all hell and is even on the US Terrorist Watch List.  Will the two be able to keep their head above water as they sink deeper and deeper into the seedy and dangerous world of illegal gun trading?  Will the government turn a blind eye to this duo just so they can get the weapons and ammo they need to fund the war on terror?  Are these REALLY the faces of people you would trust with multi-million dollar contracts paid with the use of taxpayer money?

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Hell, they’re probably a lot less dangerous than BP, and we give those guys a SHIT load of money!

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