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Author Topic: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture  (Read 4220 times)

Keef Monkey

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #30 on: 07 October, 2019, 09:43:56 am »
Yeah I liked it but wasn't bowled over. The more I think about it the more it feels like quite a shallow film elevated by an amazing lead performance and an exceptional score, a lot of the time those elements are giving it a weight and gravitas that it otherwise perhaps wouldn't deserve.

I'm a bit uncomfortable with the depiction of mental health. The film doesn't seem to know whether it wants to help the audience sympathize with people with mental troubles who might fall through the cracks of the system, or whether it just wants to further stigmatize the mentally ill as crazed gunmen in waiting. Judging by the way the US media are reporting on the film it appears it's (perhaps unwittingly) doing a better job of the latter (a lot of those news outlets seem desperate for tragedy to strike at one of the screenings just so their hysterical angle on it can be justified).

There's also one moment that really hits one of my pet peeve nerves, the over-explaining of a twist. The romantic storyline always feels odd and as if it's not on the level, so when she finds him on the couch all we need is her reaction for the penny to drop. The film then does a very heavy-handed 'and now for the slow people in the room...' flashback sequence to bash you over the head with something you've realized already. Always bothers me when a film does that, and I think if it was the serious movie it really aims to be it would have had more respect for the audience's intelligence there.

For all that stuff that I don't like I definitely don't think it was a bad film - I was gripped throughout, because that performance and that music do such an incredible job of the heavy lifting that I was drawn in completely. It's got some really fantastic moments too, and as much as it spells out some things it shouldn't have, it does have quite an air of ambiguity about its ending (in talking to my wife after the movie we decided the closing asylum scene can be taken in a number of ways, and in one reading throws the whole events of the film into question).

It's only as the movie has settled in my head a bit that the niggles have grown and the things I was unsure about have grown a bit and it's become clearer to me why I wasn't as blown away as I wanted to be. I might need to give it another watch to know how I really feel about it, and that in itself is a pretty interesting thing to be saying about a DC movie at this point.

Hawkmumbler

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #31 on: 08 October, 2019, 04:03:26 pm »
Keef has pretty much my shared sentiments.

Twas fine, appropriately flawed, easily best Warner/DC movie since Batman Begins (controversial take I know), it most certainly isn't the second coming it will inevitably be held up as, but entertaining none the less.

Link Prime

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #32 on: 11 October, 2019, 01:26:07 pm »
Having no Twitter feed, Facebook feed or penchant for agenda driven websites I happily sidestepped 90% of the pearl clutching nonsense and marketing hype for the film (the fact it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival was difficult to ignore though).

The verdict; It was a really good film, but fell just short of superb in my estimation.
It goes without saying that Phoenix gave the expected career staple performance, but the supporting cast were no slouches either. Frances Conroy and Zazie Beetz and even good ol' Bob DeNiro - adding richly to every scene they were in. 
Even minor roles were perfectly cast. I don't think I've ever wanted a fictional character to make it out the door as much as I did Gary the dwarf.

The sleazy early 80's portrayal of Gotham city was pitch perfect too - grimier than even the sets from The Deuce. I loved that.

Overall a 9/10 for me, one point deducted for the inevitability of the lean-ish story.

Frank

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #33 on: 11 October, 2019, 06:07:16 pm »
... Phoenix gave the expected career staple performance

He's done a Depp/Downey Jr. Decades spent building up credibility and goodwill doing oddball roles in small indie films then cash in your chips with a showy turn in a corporate behemoth.

It'll be interesting to see whether he handles it like the former or the latter.



Hawkmumbler

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #34 on: 11 October, 2019, 06:10:10 pm »
Phoenix has been a, A-Lister for awhile now Frank. Her, The Sisters Brothers, The Master, Gladiator....

Frank

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #35 on: 11 October, 2019, 06:32:13 pm »
Phoenix has been a, A-Lister for awhile now Frank. Her, The Sisters Brothers, The Master, Gladiator....

Cheers, mate. My mistake.




radiator

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #37 on: 12 October, 2019, 03:30:59 am »
Agree with the point above - I felt that the civil unrest in Gotham hadn't nearly been foreshadowed enough for the sudden turn of events later in the film to really make sense. One of those things you just have to go along with.

Frank

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #38 on: 12 October, 2019, 11:04:14 am »
"I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire magazine about the Marvel movies. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Roger Murdock weighs in with an unusually thoughtful and well-argued piece for someone who once fought Bruce Lee:


Director Martin Scorsese’s claim to Empire magazine that Marvel films aren’t “cinema” is like saying the novel Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t “literature.” He’s technically wrong — but he’s culturally right.

And all the outraged defenders of Marvel films know he’s right. I include myself among Marvel’s defenders as both an enthusiastic fan and recent Marvel comics author. I’ve seen the entire Marvel Comic Universe pantheon multiple times. Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok are two of the most addictive movies ever made. If I’m channel surfing and even catch a glimpse of them, I’m riveted.

At the same time, several of Scorsese’s films (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas) are among my all-time favorites for their emotional power and thematic depth.

I’m aware that the international popularity of Marvel films makes them very influential in positively adjusting social attitudes about race, gender and sexual orientation. Every time I see Black Panther, I feel a rising swell of pride because we finally have a popular black superhero and he’s not just powerful, but also kind and compassionate. Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Wonder Woman (DC) are definite improvements from Barbie as role models for young girls. But influence, even for the betterment of society, isn’t the issue.

Scorsese wasn’t denigrating Marvel films so much as making a distinction between High Art (an accurate but cringe-worthy term) that we might see in a museum or featured on NPR, and regular everyday art that we might see on our T-shirts and tattoos.

Scorsese is stating the obvious: Rembrandt’s "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" is not on the same level as Coolidge’s "Dogs Playing Poker," no matter how much those dogs make us smile. Nor will Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws ever match the magnificence of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, despite selling millions more copies. Captain America will never be James Baldwin.

It’s an important distinction to make because wrapped up in our vision of High Art are the cultural ideals, moral values, and social vision that defines who we are and who we want to be. Our best art reflects our highest aspirations as well as our flawed approach in obtaining those aspirations. The angels of our reach, the devils of our grasp.

High school makes many of us resistant to definitions of High Art. We are forced to read poems, plays and novels we don’t understand and then are told there are “hidden meanings” that we’re just not smart enough to see. We feel dumb if we can’t figure out that Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” isn’t about stopping to appreciate a wintery wonderland, but about contemplating suicide. What the hell! Why should we have to work so hard just to read a poem or story?

Here’s why: High Art is basic training for teaching us to be more observant and insightful in our personal lives. People don’t always do or say directly what they mean, so sometimes we have to interpret their actions and words to avoid being manipulated. We learn through unreliable narrators the excuses and justifications people make to hinder their own happiness.

When we see them doing it, we can often recognize it in others — and ourselves. Great art heightens our ability to see more by widening our perspective on the world until those meanings are no longer hidden, but obvious. Popular art may thrill us, entertain us and bring us joy, but it rarely furthers our insights or understanding of ourselves or illuminates our path to greater happiness. They are shiny artifacts of our culture, but they don’t define who we are.

Celebrated British novelist and screenwriter Graham Greene (The End of the Affair) divided his fiction between “entertainments” and “novels,” with the latter being his serious art. He was making the distinction between melodrama (entertainment) and drama (art): Melodrama emphasizes plot over character, while drama (or cinema for Scorsese) emphasizes character over plot.

While it’s true that there is much great entertainment within the melodramatic genres of mysteries, thrillers, romances, science fiction and so on, most are just straightforward stories with the main intent of exciting the readers’ emotions: fear, joy, love, hate, etc. The “ride” must be as exciting as possible. Once you’re finished with the work, your memories will be of those exciting moments within the story. Which is why Scorsese sees Marvel films as “theme parks.”

Drama, however, focuses on how the main characters are changed — or not changed — by the events in the story. It asks us to examine those emotions so that we understand what they say about us. Sometimes writers are able to elevate a melodramatic genre into High Art, as Graham Greene did with the thriller film The Third Man, Francis Ford Coppola did with the gangster genre in The Godfather, Stanley Kubrick did with the sci-fi genre in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Robert Towne did with the detective genre in Chinatown.

And Joss Whedon’s Serenity, though not part of the MCU is within Scorsese’s intent, is a remarkably nuanced and thematically sophisticated film about defining good and evil and how our misperceptions can unwittingly further evil while destroying good. Deep stuff for a movie with rocket ships, laser guns and Nathan Fillion’s perfect hair.

Scorsese admitted that he’s never seen a Marvel movie all the way through and I feel sorry for him that he hasn’t experienced the sheer joy, humor and excitement of these films. That he didn’t see Robert Downey Jr.’s touching death scene as Iron Man or Tom Holland’s infectious wonderment at becoming Spider-Man or the delightful banter of Hulk and Thor. Marvel films have made me laugh, cry, jump, agonize and almost always leave the theater feeling lighter and more satisfied than when I went in. And that’s not nothing. But it’s also not everything. With Marvel melodrama we feel better. With High Art, we are wiser.

THR columnist Kareem Abdul Jabbar is an NBA Hall of Famer, the author of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes: The Empty Birdcage and one of the writers of Marvel #1000, a special comic book commemorating the company’s 80th anniversary.




GrudgeJohnDeed

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #39 on: 12 October, 2019, 07:41:50 pm »
I hate the concept of a high art/low art distinction, it's very snooty and just doesn't exist for me.

Funt Solo

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #40 on: 12 October, 2019, 08:09:17 pm »
It exists for me.

fate amenable to change

GrudgeJohnDeed

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #41 on: 12 October, 2019, 08:13:32 pm »
haha I retract my statement. :D

Frank

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #42 on: 12 October, 2019, 08:49:25 pm »
I hate the concept of a high art/low art distinction, it's very snooty and just doesn't exist for me.

I think that's mostly just the emotive choice of terminology and the value structure they imply.

If Kareem Abdul Jabbar* had opted for terms like affective and inductive storytelling, nobody would dispute that some films emphasise plot and eliciting an emotional and/or visceral response more than others.

Those are the films that dominate cinema, which was Scorsese's point. Netflix is where his kind of films live, now

Joker's done seven-times budget in a week, so even if Phoenix refuses to reprise the role some credible thesp's doomed to promote Jok3r at Comicon 2022, swearing they're excited to play opposite Finn Wolfhard's Batman.


* I can't believe I'm typing that

JOE SOAP

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #43 on: 12 October, 2019, 09:15:22 pm »
The idea that Marvel films are not 'cinema' is the issue some have with the sentiment. Cinema's origins are rooted in populist entertainment – films that were very rudimentary and centred around the basic thrill of the illusion but looked down upon by the literati as not being 'art'.

It was later film practitioners and their critics films who elevated it to café society but the basic entertainment aspect of cinema does not go away and it's no less of a theme-park ride than it was when Martin Scorsese was a nipper watching Epics, Westerns and B-movies which, as a practioner and critic himself, he now eulogises.







« Last Edit: 12 October, 2019, 09:21:33 pm by JOE SOAP »

Frank

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Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« Reply #44 on: 12 October, 2019, 09:33:18 pm »
The idea that Marvel films are not 'cinema' is the issue some have with the sentiment. Cinema's origins are rooted in populist entertainment – films that were very rudimentary and centred around the basic thrill of the illusion but looked down upon by the literati as not being 'art'.

It was later film practitioners and their critics films who elevated it to café society but the basic entertainment aspect of cinema does not go away and it's no less of a theme-park ride than it was when Martin Scorsese was a nipper watching Epics, Westerns and B-movies which, as a practioner and critic himself, he now eulogises.

Regret posting that Scorsese quote. This board is no place for old men who think everything was better when they were young.