A Joke With No Laughs: “Joker” is the Worst Movie of the Year

October 26, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Todd Phillips) (2019) Joker is All Dog, from snout to tail. It displays a breathtaking conceit as to its own importance, a delusion, in fact, of grandeur, and of relevance. It shamelessly rips-off much better films such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. It is completely tired and lustreless; it is neurotic and incoherent; it is inept, pretentious and self-indulgent; it has no insights to offer, just tritely psychologised solemnity that gets so murky it’s (almost) funny. In fact there is a special kind of unredeemed awfulness throughout the entirety of what we might loosely call…

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Parasite

October 20, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Bong Joon-ho) (2019) Mercury Cinema, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide, October 2019 Parasite begins as broad comedy, turns dark, and ends in ambiguity. The down-at-heel Kim family, ‘semi’ basement dwellers living in squalor, inveigle themselves, one by one, into the retinue of the rich and flashy Park family. The machinations by which they become attached, in turn, as tutor, art therapist, chauffeur and housekeeper are amusingly (though improbably) done. (We particularly liked the references to over-hyped abstract expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat, the ‘artist’ referenced by Kim’s ‘art-expert’ daughter after a brief surf on Google). For a while, all is well, and…

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Amazing Leonardo

October 20, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jesus Garces Lambert) (2019) Made to mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, “Amazing Leonardo” has its moments but seems to suffer from constraints of more than budget. This is potted dramatic biography of the great artist, of which much is known through his notes and the art history of Vasari; here we tend to focus mainly on work during his patronage in Milan by its Duke, Ludovico Sforza, (informed by the work of art historian Pietro C. Marani of the Politecnico di Milano, who assisted Walter Isaacson in his recent book.) Italian A-lister Luca Argentero…

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The Conformist

October 13, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci) (1970) Italian Film Festival, Adelaide, 2019 “Judas hanged himself, or at any rate thought he could not avoid hanging himself, because the people who had suggested the betrayal and paid him for it did not then have the courage to support and justify him; but he would not kill himself nor give himself over to despair, because behind him…he saw the crowds collected in the squares to applaud the man under whose command he served, and, implicitly, to justify him, the man who obeyed orders. His final thought was that he was receiving nothing, in the…

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mother!

October 1, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Darren Aronofsky) (2017) -1* Directed into a stinking ditch by Aronofsky (whose Black Swan at least one of us in the TVC office quite liked), mother! is a complete whackadoodle of a movie. Whack. A. Doodle. (But not in a good way like, say, Aronofsk’s Requiem for a Dream or  The Lobster). After meretriciously deluding the sad, unsuspecting viewer with a set-up that invokes Rosemary’s Baby, The Others, the Book of Genesis and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Darren goes completely off piste, off his head and off the (exhausted and ravaged) planet.  The metaphoric Garden of Eden gives way to…

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