With a record $96 million at the domestic boxoffice and $248 million worldwide, Warner Bros. Joker clearly triumphed in theaters this weekend, but how did it do with Oscar voters? In the kind of early-October release slot the studio has used successfully to launch such boxoffice and awards magnets as A Star Is Born, Argo and The Departed, to name a few, there clearly are hopes that this film can land a number of nominations come Oscar time. And that was only amplified when the Todd Phillips-directed film — controversial for the very dark places it goes and uncomfortable realities of todays society it reflects — won the top award at the Venice Film Festival last month, recently a harbinger of good things at the Academy Awards. Last years winner Roma went on to 10 nominations and three Oscars, while the 2017 winner, The Shape of Water was the eventual Best Picture champ.
So how did the Academy respond? Joker was shown to membership on Saturday night at the Academys Samuel Goldwyn Theatre with an estimated turnout of around 700 (perhaps a bit less), I am told by two different members who were there. That isnt a turnaway for the 1,000-plus-seat house, as some highly anticipated films get, but it certainly is respectable considering Joker isnt exactly the kind of film this group usually embraces. Reaction, at least from what I heard, was mixed, which is not surprising since it mirrors critical response now sitting at 69% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It got a B+ from moviegoers according to CinemaScore.
One member with no connection to the film emailed: “Turnout was very good and reaction was as well. About three quarters full. Maybe 700. There were several walkouts, though. Good applause at the end. Good applause. Including for the tech credits including Cinematographer.” Another told me many of the older members did not like it, but it seemed like a younger crowd than usual with one particular section delivering strong applause at the end credits. Another older member I spoke with said she had a hard time getting anyone to go with her, but that the person who did accompany her felt the movie made some “salient points” about mental illness. Her opinion, on the other hand, was less generous, calling the applause at end credits “tepid” and said the trailer for the Student Academy Awards shown before the film rolled got a bigger hand. She said she didnt like the film beRead More – Source
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.