Joker – Review

The world has waited a long time for an origins story of quite possibly the most iconic antagonist in comic book and story-telling. We’re used to seeing the ‘business end’ of most ‘bad guys’ without their journey really being acknowledged. The hero swings in and they get beaten, the end… 

‘Joker’ breaks that mold in what I could only describe as a pure cinematic journey into a level of madness and depravity most would find some level of discomfort in – but that’s why it’s so good and even with this story unfolding before our eyes this is just the tip of a much deeper and realistic iceberg.

*There aren’t any specific spoilers in this review *

joker.PNG

A huge player in the theme of this story is privilege versus the downtrodden in a Gotham city where hard times are showing no end and this is where you’ll find the motive and choice behind our title character. Joaquin Phoenix or ‘Arthur’ brings so much to the table in this film; if it wasn’t titled ‘Joker’ it could easily be the tragic tale of a man with a history of being abused who has an abundance of issues while he slips through the cracks of care and society. Very early on you cannot help but back this man who is like everyone else in this world trying to make it through with aspirations and dreams.  

In places the film is awkward to watch and this a deliberate move to highlight ‘Arthur’s’ struggle socially and there will be moments that first appear funny but are actually tragic. This is a man who has been downtrodden his whole life in a world where everyone is sick of struggling while the elite prosper. Eventually these two concepts or themes meet in what is a culmination that is both shocking and incredibly powerful.

Just as the final thirty minutes of this film unravel the whole thing turns on it’s head and becomes a tale of pure anarchy. And even after this ‘Joker’ became apparent and did what he did, it’s portrayed in a way where his choices may have actually been justified for the life he has led. We see the grit of his story on his side of the fence and for everything he does it will leave you thinking, maybe he isn’t the bad guy after all.

I think this film is going to get my number 1 of 2019 and personally I think awards don’t mean much but Phoenix at least needs a nod. Robert De Niro was also fantastic in this film and played a role I never imagined to see him in. Throughout it felt like old school cinema with just a hint of independent film making and a dusting of Tarantino all wrapped up with a great soundtrack and some good cinematography.

5/5 – It’s harrowing, depraved, violent and graphic in places, it isn’t for the faint of heart but I highly recommend this film! By far the best ‘DC’ universe film since the ‘Dark Knight series’. 

 

 

My writing heads to the stage

And so the dust begins to settle after a rip roaring successful run of pantomine shows for my dear Iver Heath drama club. The time has come to ask what happens next?

Well to answer that question would suggest that a new era for me and the club is on the horizon. I say new era because since I have had involvement with this growing community drama club the depth and wealth of talented and helpful people has grown immensely.

Some very loyal followers will know that a few years ago in between drafting books I took a little time out to pen a single act comedy play.

imageHotel dOOM was born! Inspired by the variety of talented personas I share the stage with my characters came to life on the page. Driven by quick to and fro gags with witty humour the play soon took shape. From what appears by name to be something along the lines of horror actually unfolded into a barrage of silliness. There’s mystery, intrigue, innuendo and screams a plenty. Something even the most humour detached will find something to at least smirk about (I hope).

But that’s the ultimate challenge with writing a play. Not only will I be watching the characters I have written face the third dimension, I will also be watching the audience and how they react. Maybe seeing how the audience do react when seeing my writing in action will answer the ultimate question for me.

Can I write?

A very personal question to me that can only be answered by the cast I put on stage to say those lines and be those characters. It is a very self centred question to be seeking an answer for but that isn’t the only thing I am looking for. In the nearly seventy year history of Iver Heath drama club it is believed no one has ever written their own material. Again a self centred feat or with the help of my friends a brilliant achievement for all of us.

Either way to see what I have created from just a simple idea to full on ensemble play in the living flesh is something I am incredibly excited about. To make someone laugh is to live and for me living is telling meaningful stories. That is all I have ever wanted to do. Just hearing the lines read out of the past few weeks has been exciting and the group I have in mind to play these parts are perfect.

Even with my show being directed by me there is also a youth offering for some very talented and awesome kids who some day will find their way into the highest billing for pantomine and summer shows.

Casting for hotel dOOM is this Wednesday and so my #YearOfWriting begins its next chapter. On the horizon of course is my first book Open Evening which arrives at the end of September.

My final note will be to thank my wonderful followers of this blog. Over the weekend my hall of information crossed over 60 followers. Thank you to all.

 

Battling the After Show Blues

Where do we go from here? For many of my dear friends this is the question they will be facing right now. Some will handle it better than others whilst some will find ways to distract themselves from after show blues.

From bright lights and audience gratification to a level of isolation. Now that is a culture shock to everyone who had involvement with Iver Heath Drama Club’s shows over these past two weekends (and for any other amateur dramatic). Whilst many including me are saying this may have been our best offering ever, that’s lovely but for us after that curtain has fallen for the final time so has the personas that made up such a good show. We say those lines for the last time and we do that dance once more.

Life for the amateur dramatic is of extreme highs on occasion followed by a somewhat even more extreme low. We can wallow and ponder about it for as long as we like but that isn’t the long term solution. Moving on is!

Many of my wonderful followers will know that over the past few months I have been planting many seeds that will hopefully grow over the course of this year, my #YearOfWriting.

The first book Open Evening arrives in just over half a year but before that my writing aptitude gets its greatest and hardest challenge yet. The next adult play for Iver Heath Drama Club has been written by me and will also be directed by yours truly. It’s a rather daunting task considering Hotel Doom, my play is a one act comedy and hopefully people will laugh. After all this time, my writing will be given another dimension by the wonderful performers of the drama club. It may be worth mentioning that according to the club’s 60 plus year history nobody has ever written and directed a play from scratch.

A lot is to happen from now and curtain up of Hotel doom. Much like more is to happen before my first book hits the shelves, but that’s the beauty and thrill of life to me. Not knowing what will happen is something we should all embrace as the unexpected is what we must cling onto so we can make our future what we want it to be. Without sounding too motivational speaker on you all I have found the unexpected to be the place where all my greatest success come from.

So where do we go from here? Into the unknown with every hope something wonderful could emerge at any moment. That is how I get myself out of that black hole of after show blues. We did it and it was awesome. Our memories of the stuff much of the audience don’t see will be what we share as memories. We did this as a team and through the fire we went and out to the other side.

I would like to take this opportunity now to thank everyone who has supported me with my writing and my book announcement last month.

And last but by no means least I would like to thank my drama club family IHDC for this wonderful journey we have been on together. It means the world to me even though sometimes I do moan. The depth and variety of wonderful personalities we have is something that should be celebrated and credited. The best thing we do it what we do together.

A special mention to my good friend Matt Streuli who works ever so hard in publicising the drama club and hopefully someday soon an OBE will be coming his way. In his words and after reading this ‘Get back to work!’ He also has a page on facebook that you should like. 

That’s it for this week. Hopefully my lacking of blog posts will stop from now and the cobwebs have been fully shaken off.

 

New Year Same Momentum

Like everyone else I am going to say that 2016 is here! It does seem like quite a while since my last entry as I decided not to review 2015 simply because I didn’t fancy recycling old posts and linking them. It’s boring to me if you are recycling old crap and shoving it towards loyal readers. Saying that 2016 and 2015 are just both numbers to me. For many it’s a clean slate to start things again, for the Chinese it probably doesn’t mean a lot and for me well I actually count my years via my birthday.

Momentum is something I want to briefly talk about as I have been gaining a lot of it since my year started back in august. I hope to carry that momentum into this year. Open Evening my latest project ( young adult in genre) has been written, edited, edited again by myself and now it is in the stage of organising a professional edit. I have envisioned the release to be around September time, hopefully.

Whilst that is in motion of back and forth emails I have taken steps towards drafting another project. I won’t reveal any more details other than that as I am still unsure at this stage if it will go any further than the 800 words currently drafted.

Over the festive break I had the pleasure of going to the cinema and yes you guessed right it involved jedi Knights and Storm troopers.

ar wars

Star Wars: the force awakens was a fantastic few hours spent and well worth the over priced popcorn and beverages. As an audience we are introduced to a group of new characters who will later become the heroes much like the original trilogy. We are then re introduced to some favourite characters who then interact with the new. Simply put, this film is a re introduction of star wars for the generations who haven’t had the chance to see it on the big screen and just as important, a carrying on of the original story. One top thing I have heard about this film is mainly from people who are strangers to the Star Wars universe and they themselves say its good, so I recommend it. The force is definitely awake and has out shone the prequels to say the least. I would even argue that this is the best Star Wars offering yet.

 

Moving on, the beginning of a new calendar year means one thing for me and group of talented performers. That’s right, Iver Heath Drama Club are back on stage this month for their annual pantomine show Dick Whittington.

Ticket sales are doing well but could be better, so if you are in the UK and can get to greater London then I suggest you come and see me in a show! Tickets are available online here. You will catch me working alongside fellow blogger Matt Streuli who is the resident dame and chairman of IHDC. A lot of voluntary hard work goes into these performances and it shows when the curtain finally comes up.

Year of writing

My final note will be about the campaign I began late last year called #YearOfWriting . Basically using this hashtag will group all of my stuff together on social media platforms so go ahead and use it when sharing my stuff, that’s if you do share my stuff. Anyway thanks for reading, drop me a comment sometime, share my stuff and thanks to old and new followers. Here’s to a productive new year filled with success and good things.

 

dick