Joker (2019)

Joker: Expectations were riding high on this character, with references to the performances of Heath Ledger and the legendary Jack Nicholson.

Joaquin Phoenix makes the character his own from the very beginning, holding a mirror to society’s perception and treatment of mental illness, physical symptoms of injury or just being vulnerable.

As the story progresses, we see what motivated him to become the Joker, what were his feelings and emotions that led him to rely on anarchy as a coping mechanism.

Not only is it a commentary on the breakdown of society, but a true reflection of the current scenario in many countries that pride themselves on their supremacy.

A disturbing yet insightful watch.

4/5

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Joy (2016)

The eccentric team of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’ is back with ‘Joy’. Director David O. Russell presents a semi fictional story of a woman who became an overnight success with an invention of hers.

The path to success is often paved with challenges and obstacles. While professional hurdles were aplenty, it was her family who created drama which was difficult to digest.

Spanning four generations, it’s the story of Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), her parents, grand mother, sibling, husband, friends and children. It is a very trying film to watch, with constant pressure on the protagonist and tension on her life and work. You physically feel the stress mounting as the film goes on.

Jennifer gives another startling performance at the age of 25. She handles difficult scenes with ease and communicates the void she experiences, where only she can save herself. Robert De Niro is her supportive father who himself needs support most of the time. Virginia Madsen plays her soap opera obsessed mother who doesn’t face her reality, choosing to hide behind the convoluted never ending story lines on television. Diane Ladd plays her strong, prophetic grandmother who also narrates the story. Edgar Ramirez plays her ex-husband and good friend, while Bradley Cooper (whose appearance on screen got a collective sigh from the audience) Elisabeth Rohm and Dascha Polanco ably support the proceedings. Isabella Rossellini is the surprise element, a sugar coated, selfish opportunist who represents many people of the modern world.

Metaphorical for ‘cleaning up your life’, Joy is not only her name but the feeling you get when you do the right thing and get rewards. When you speak the truth and stick to it, for ‘truth will always out’. When you face the difficult people and situations in your life with patience and silence and emerge triumphant.

A dose of reality served with love and support from unexpected corners. Much like life.

3.5/5

The Intern (2015)

A nuanced and sensitive film, its strength lies in the way it brews. Slowly, full of aroma, it becomes potent over time, establishing connections with the characters in surprising ways.

Anne Hathaway is layered and vulnerable in a way she hasn’t portrayed before. She is every bit her character, Jules, as she expresses her flaws in passing, as well as her ambitions.

Robert De Niro as Ben exudes calm. He is the epitome of patience, understanding and wisdom in the film. All this and more, with little dialogue. His demeanour is solid but soft. He represents perfect balance.

A new take on the concept of an Intern, this film will keep you wanting more. It’s warm and real, showing new insights in professional and personal relationships. Bravo director Nancy Meyers!

3.5/5

American Hustle (2013)

When so much awards buzz surrounds a film expectations tend to run high. The reason why this film, its actors and team are winning is evident when you watch it.

The strength of this film is that it was NOT trying so hard to convince you of anything, paint a picture about the era or force you to feel for the characters. The characters are so brilliantly written, and acted, that you don’t know which lines to take home. Usually, you take home a few, but here there are quite a few.

The pace of the film and its many agendas quickly blur into the journeys of the characters and the mission they are up against, where the audience knows full well that some cards have yet not been revealed.

Director David O. Russell has put together such an explosive cast and rightly so, as the eccentricities of their characters demand so much. Christian Bale has changed his entire physical being for Irving Rosenfeld, whereas Amy Adams charms and cons as Sydney Prosser. Jennifer Lawrence shows yet again why she won the Oscar last year and why she may win again this year too. Her instability and the way she copes with her mental space is displayed for all to see as Rosalyn Rosenfeld. Bradley Cooper plays the obsessed FBI agent Richie DiMaso, who is blinded by a self proclaimed mission.

This film, unlike its characters, wont hustle you! Get your guard down and watch it!

3.5/5

Last Vegas (2013)

We have seen many ‘coming of age’ movies, here’s to a ‘comic of age’ film which manages to capture every nuance of aging, gracefully or otherwise. 4 powerhouse talents play distinct characters with a complete balance of humour, wit, friendship, love and emotion.

Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro are going on a ‘senior bachelor trip’ to Vegas, and 60 years of friendship shows beautifully in a 3 day story. What this film manages to do so well is maintain the dignity of aging but weave in comedy in every scene, subtle or in your face. Nothing comes across as crass or vulgar, yet the fun element is high and the emotional quotient even higher.

To communicate a chemistry between age old friends isn’t easy, but we have a cast of ‘legends’ who speak of each other and their friendship very highly 😉 Their adventures become ours and we get a great insight into how it would be at that age, especially with the company and support of close friends. The Aria hotel and the famous strip transported the audience to gamble town, eliciting many hoots and cheers, complete with all elements of entertainment you expect to find there 🙂

This is what you get when a mid-life crisis, a stroke, a grouch and Mr. Replacement decide to throw a party!

You’re Invited!

4/5