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Smile and put on a happy face with the Joker

Joaquin Phoenix could very well be that next great Joker. We can only hope the new Todd Phillips film will stay true to the first trailer.

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DC Films, what a strange and tangled picture you weave. After the poor critical reception of blockbuster efforts like Justice League (awful) and Aquaman (even more awful than Justice League), DC is riding a critical renaissance with the freshly opening Shazam!. The film is a blast and once that seems to have the DC ship pointing to more critically prosperous waters.

Then comes the Joker. A character with a rich cinematic history, portrayed by some illustrious names (and Jared Leto) to varying degrees of success. We can only hope future Jokers can crawl their way up to the Nicholsons and the Ledgers- but it starts with the setting, the tone, and the gravitas in which the actor brings to the table.

Joaquin Phoenix could very well be that next great Joker. The tone and setting helps too- Joker, the new film by Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover), is set in 1980s Gotham. With that comes the analog feel of 80s New York– the styles, the colours, the structures – and all that paints a dour looking restless city, one that looks and resonates with authenticism.

Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a struggling stand-up comedian, bullied by life’s hardships, he turns into a life of crime as everyone’s favorite broken clown.

Joker looks darker than previous DC outings, and not in the Zack Snyder kind of way. It looks like there’s substance behind the burden and the pain, one that feels missing from previous DC Films. The film is already spurning the usual hot takes, but for me, the aesthetic and the ambiguity of trying to figure out just what the hell this film will be about spikes my interest.

Will Phoenix’s Joker be better than what Nicholson and Ledger brought to the character? We won’t find out for a few months, but from the trailer, it already feels more significant than the cartoonish caricature of Leto’s most recent turn.

Joker co-stars Robert DeNiro, Frances Conroy, Shea Whigham, and Marc Maron. It opens in cinemas October 4th in the United States. Watch the trailer above.

Why so serious?

Trailers

Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt in the Blink of An Eye

The lives of former NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and legend Dale Earnhardt are forever entwined

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The lives of former NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and legend Dale Earnhardt are intertwined. The incredible and tragic story of that fateful day was told in the 2011 Michael Waltrip book In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything, and now the story has been turned into an upcoming documentary titled Blink Of An Eye.

Waltrip’s incredible career was forever changed on February 18, 2001, the day of the Daytona 500. Waltrip had at that point, gone 462 races without a win. But on that day racing legend Dale Earnhardt had positioned himself at the close of the race to help Waltrip, and his son Dale Earnhardt Jr., finish in 1st and 2nd place respectively as both were members of his team. It would have been a story unto itself except that would be the last race Earnhardt Sr. would ever race. In a tragic accident that reverberated across the nation, Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the final lap.

Blink Of An Eye tells the story of Waltrip’s remarkable career, as well as the guilt and grief he felt after the events of that fateful day. The film features interviews with Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Richard Petty, and was directed by Paul Taublieb (who had previously produced the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau).

The film is set for limited release September 6th in New York and Los Angeles before its nationwide release September 12th.

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Driven and the fall of John DeLorean

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

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Are you surprised that a feature film hasn’t been made about John DeLorean?

It’s a question we asked just months ago when the trailer for Framing John DeLorean dropped; a bizarre film that’s part documentary, part recreation of the life of one of automotive history’s most charismatic characters. Now for whatever reason, we’re getting two John DeLorean films in one year. The second one, titled Driven, is even more bizarre; a comedy/heist/buddy film starring Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy) as DeLorean and Jason Sudeikis as a con man looking to set DeLorean up for the fall.

Is this fiction? Is this an exaggeration? Well, we know that DeLorean’s career was ultimately derailed by the less than stellar cars the DeLorean Motor Company was producing, but his drug bust (set up or not), certainly did not help. By the end, once the dust had settled, even DeLorean himself said; “Would you buy a used car from me?”

So we’ll take this movie as one of those “Based on True Events” type of movies that leans into a little bit of truth for the idea but happily flaps its gull-wing doors away into the land of fiction.

Driven is directed by Nick Hamm (Killing Bono) and co-stars Judy Greer, Michael Cudlitz, and Corey Stoll- the perfect “oh yeah! That guy/girl!” trio of co-stars. The film opens in-theatres and on-demand on August 16th.

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