Joker (dir. Todd Phillips, 2019) – Aspiring comic Arthur Fleck descends into a life of violent crime as he comes to terms with his inner darkness.
Conceptually, a new take on the Joker screams bad idea. Once driven mad by chemicals in the vat, the villain has since evolved into a more complex character and a powerful emblem of the chaos that he creates. His very mystery and absence of reasoning had made him all the more unpredictable and terrifying.
Rewriting him as a troubled social misfit seems too obvious an origin story, which might just undo the good work that Jonah and Christopher Nolan had done. Besides, another Batman reboot? Even the most avid fan has to be tired of watching Thomas and Martha Wayne get shot in the alleyway.
But the man who laughed this time, is not the same Clown Prince we have seen before. The layered character study justifies his on-screen existence, ironically with the help of Martin Scorsese, who had so recently confessed his disdain for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Ad Astra (dir. James Gray, 2019) – Astronaut Roy McBride goes on a deep space expedition to uncover the truth about his missing father, whose mission now threatens the Earth.
A meditative and thoughtful space odyssey, Ad Astra is beauty to behold on the surface and within.
Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) steps out of his spacecraft, and perches on a towering antenna on a regular maintenance mission. All appears to go well. Then, a power surge strikes with sudden force. He floats to a neighbouring rig, attempting to shut off the voltage, but the damage is done. His pulse remains steady. He looks down at the majesty of the Earth beneath.
It is a heart-stopping opening that does well to introduce the man of the hour in Ad Astra. His stoicism wavers not even in face of death, revealing a hardened heart of a difficult past.
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Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2019) – Star Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth navigate the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Quentin Tarantino pays tribute to the golden decade of Hollywood with excessive enthusiasm, spinning a contemplative and poignant fairy tale out of tragic history.
Years following the end of Bounty Law, actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is now struggling with his alcoholism and fading Hollywood career. He spends most days on the road with his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), whose reputation, too, grants him little luck in the business.
This is their story, as much as it is of their neighbours. Living next door to the pair is successful director-actor couple, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). In 1969, how their lives may intertwine invites dread of what is to come, as history pages would show.
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Alter Bridge – Wouldn’t You Rather
Between big tours and album releases, does Myles Kennedy ever get time to sleep? While we may never know the true answer, we say cheers to the tireless music man for never failing in his delivery of consistent bangers.
Following his solo debut, he returns to Alter Bridge, working towards their sixth studio album Walk the Sky. Their first single Wouldn’t You Rather proves an explosive anthem, with Kennedy’s impossible vocals on an addictive refrain matched by Tremonti’s stunning heavy riffs.
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Vloggers often seek out decidedly dangerous thrills in the constant chase for views. Some perform stunts on skyscrapers, others stage elaborate ploys. Backpacking adventurer Laurel Rhodes (Abigail Wilson) finds her own special draw in going on hidden trails alone.
Trouble is eventual, and happen it does when she takes a wrong turn and ends up in a derelict cabin. Strange markings on the wall tease a malefic ritual in the making. But in face of the cold rain outside, Laurel chooses to take the risk of staying.
Directed by Dan Robinette (Tethered, Nervous Breakdown), Psycho Path promises more than just a madman in wait. The twist remains effective in his hands, even if dedicated horror connoisseurs might have an inking towards the ritual in question.
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Yesterday (dir. Danny Boyle, 2019) – Following a road accident, musician Jack Malik wakes up to find himself in an alternate timeline, where the Beatles do not exist.
Leaving the cultural legacy of the Beatles to the sidelines, Yesterday serves up its charming romance with a disappointing side of missed opportunities.
Imagine there’s no Beatles. What would the world be without Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Yellow Submarine? Who, if anyone, would have led the cultural revolution in place of the Fab Four?What of the myriad bands influenced by John, Paul, George, and Ringo to begin playing music in the first place?
Oddly enough, no major changes occur in this alternate timeline of Yesterday. That is at least in the aspect of music, which continues to thrive with the gaping hole in cultural history. The whimsical concept remains uninterested in exploring the lasting legacy of the Beatles, operating on arbitrary rules of logic.
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