Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

“My life isn’t a tragedy it’s a fucking comedy!”  – Arthur Fleck 

Love him or hate him, but Joaquin Phoenix is Gotham’s new Clown Prince of Crime!

Todd Phillip’s reimagining of the iconic comic book villain is a disturbing look into human psychology. One that will leave you feeling increasingly unsettled as the story unfolds.

Read more: How to destroy your cinematic universe

The Plot

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

Set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. 

Other characters who play a significant role in Arthur’s descent into madness are eccentric talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy) Arthur’s Mother who is both mentally and physically ill and Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beets) Arthur’s love interest.

Joker isn’t your typical action-packed popcorn flick. But a cinematic journey that gives us a chilling insight into the Joker’s origins while still paying homage to the Batman mythology.

A unique take on Joker

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

While Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was a representation of anarchy and social unrest, Phoenix’s interpretation of the role deals with themes of alienation, depression and personality identity and a character that audiences can sympathize with on a more realistic level.  

While we’ve generally come to understand the Joker from the Batman movies as a psychotic, mass-murdering criminal with complete disregard to human life, Phoenix adds another layer of depth to the character, revitalizing the Joker as a symbol of discrimination and a reflection of the daily oppression we struggle within society.   

The verdict

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

The film itself is a refreshing break from the star-studded CGI superhero movies we’ve generally been accustomed to in recent years and DC has done justice by introducing a story that is entertaining but at the same time pragmatic and grounded. 

All things considered, Joker is not for the faint-hearted.

It’s a fascinating character biopic and a gripping tale on a character we’ve all known more or less since childhood. It doesn’t have the jaw-dropping moments of Infinity War or Justice League. But Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-worthy performance alone enough satisfies your appetite by keeping you at the edge of your seat from start to finish. 

Joker is now running in Star Cineplex and Blockbuster Cinemas.

The DCEU: Does it exist? How the Joker’s success influences it

I think we can all agree that comic book movies in recent years have left a massive influence in pop culture. The excitement and buzz whenever a trailer of an adaptation starts trending on social media is an emphatic feeling that we all share to a certain extent.

Regardless of how the superhero genre has evolved over the years, when it comes to delivering sheer, blockbuster entertainment on the big screen nobody does it better than DC and Marvel.

But that also raises the question as to who has the edge when it comes to their respective media franchise?

Read more: How to destroy your cinematic universe

Marvel vs DC: The long rivalry

While Marvel Studios is known for their decade-long cinematic universe interconnected with a cohesive storyline, their rival DC Films attained their success by releasing stand-alone adaptations that left their own legacies. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Watchmen and Superman being a few notable examples.

Establishing a cinematic universe takes time, patience and thoughtful planning, something which Marvel figured out early on.

The swift introduction of the Justice League via e-mail in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice indicated that DC wasn’t willing to go that way.

Unlike Marvel’s Avengers where the heroes crossed paths after going through phases of character development in their respective solo films.

In all fairness, although DC did make an attempt to flesh out their characters by giving them a backstory to grow like in 2013’s Man of Steel, they were still struggling to find a consistent tone in subsequent DCEU instalments. Only exemplified by the commercial and critical failure of Suicide Squad – A movie that was disappointing on so many levels that even Oscar winner Jared Leto couldn’t salvage with his brief appearance. 

Individuality: DC’s stronghold

However not everything is doom and gloom as it looks. The enormous success of solo films such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam! prove that there’s still much anticipation and promise in the DC Extended Universe. It could even be a sign encouraging DC to go back to playing to their strengths. Which is, crafting individual stories with a strong focus on character development and exploration of intimate themes.

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

DC’s latest project this year is the highly anticipated Joker starring the versatile Joaquin Phoenix. The film could be seen as a turning point for the company as it’s intended to launch DC Black, a line of DC-based comic book films separate from the DCEU with darker and more experimental material.

Read more: Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

In hindsight, DC is at their creative best when they stick to their roots instead of taking notes from its rivals. Although the future of the DCEU is uncertain Todd Phillip’s Joker and Joaquin Phoenix’s interpretation of the iconic role could be the “revival” DC has been looking for.     

Why networking is important and how to do it right

Networking isn’t too difficult despite what some of us may think. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone and venturing from one social circle to the next. Eventually, you will come across people who share the same interests as you.

It’s pretty straightforward. The more you connect with people the more your network grows. And so do the perks that come along with it. When you see an opportunity to foster friendships with people from the same career path, just take a deep breath and go for it.

If you’re still not clear on what do, here’s a quick starter’s guide to get things moving.

1. Establish a rapport

Networking is essentially all about building genuine relationships with people within the industry. It makes life easier when you’re able to “click” with someone instantly without too much effort. And that’s always a great confidence booster.

You can break the ice with anything that comes to mind; it doesn’t necessarily have to be a work-related topic. Just be yourself. Make each other feel at ease by exchanging jokes, talking about hobbies or other common interests. Try to eliminate as much awkwardness as possible.

The whole point of networking goes beyond making good impressions. It’s about forming lasting friendships so you don’t end up becoming just another name on a business card.

You want the person to remember you wholeheartedly so grab every chance when it comes to mingling; whether that means a lunch invitation, a meeting over drinks or something unexpected. Like, a random encounter in an elevator.

2. Keep in touch

Keeping in touch with your contacts is a vital element of networking. Once the foundation is laid you want to retain and strengthen all those new relationships you just built. And that’s best done by maintaining active communication.

Reach out to your new friends every so often with the occasional phone call, text or e-mail. Interact with them on social media. Post on their wall, comment on their status updates or drop a quick “Hi!” in their inbox every once in a while.

Once all the formalities are out of the way you can plan more personal meets. Like a coffee date or brunch that can help create a closer bond. This will ultimately grant you more insight into the world you work in.

If you fail to keep in touch then there’s no point reading the next chapter. Your story ends right there.

3. Helping hands

Networking is basically a two-way avenue. The more you help out the more favors you’ll get back in return.

It’s like playing a co-op video game. You can’t complete certain missions without a partner providing occasional assistance to help you along the way. By the same token you want to help out when your partner is in need.

In a professional context always offer before you ask and take a genuine interest in other people’s projects.

Reach out from time to time and ask your friend if he/she needs a few helping hands; this will greatly enhance your reputation and credibility as people will start to observe a more attractive personality in you.

If you don’t have intimate knowledge in your friend’s project, provide a contact that can out help out instead. Having a contact in your pocket that can help a friend is synonymous with helping them yourself.

Words can have a powerful influence on people. Remember to thank or show gratitude in any shape or form when your friend agrees to help you.

4. Bring a wingman

Attending an event alone can be daunting when you’re in a crowded room full of new faces.

Having a buddy by your side when you’re networking will boost your confidence and help take away some of the awkwardness. Bringing a friend from a different company is even better. It’ll break the ice more quickly and will stir up more interesting topics to discuss.

Finally, a friend can help take some of the load off if you notice the conversation is becoming one-sided. Talking about yourself all night can get a little redundant. That’s when your friend enters and spins the conversation and stops you from bragging about your own agenda.

5. Mix and match

Make an effort to attend a variety of events as much as possible.

Going to summits and seminars allows you to connect with influential people on a more personal level. The more you explore the greater access you’ll get to people from other relevant fields in the industry. That’s a valuable asset to have in your arsenal.

Speaking out at different summits and seminars gives a platform to offer your thoughts and ideas to others even if it’s an event you wouldn’t normally consider attending.

Doing all this strengthens your reputation and eventually, you’ll be able to influence others to join your cause.

RECAP

All in all networking is a make-or-break game, but once you’ve mastered the ropes it’s a lot less intimidating.

There is no substitute for relationship building. Think of it as a long-term investment, the more hands you shake the more benefits you’ll receive in return.

Be confident and come dressed with a smile. And as long as you have this basic toolkit the rest will come naturally.

How Cartoon Network has grown over the years

There’s no denying that Cartoon Network has been the cornerstone of our childhood. It was that one TV channel many of us couldn’t wait to watch.

The current generation might argue it’s just another entertainment channel for children. But for millennials, shows like Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Ed ,Edd n Eddy were an endless source of laughter and joy. It was like having a surrogate sibling. It helped us find common interests, nurture friendships, create bonds and bring out a smile after a really bad day.

But is today’s Cartoon Network the same one as we grew up with?

The days gone

When Cartoon Network debuted in 1992 it didn’t produce much original programming. Its early success came from classic Hanna-Barbera shows like Tom and Jerry, The Flinstones, The Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo and others.

But once the network attracted mainstream attention, it started to produce its own original content. And each of these had its own distinct flavor.

Shows like Captain Planet and Space Ghost Coast to Coast were not only breakout hits for kids. They appealed to older audiences as well – teenagers and adults alike.

The success of these programs clarified that there was a market beyond the demographic CN were catering to.

The limelight : Early 2000s

At the height of its success in the late 90s to the early 2000s, Cartoon Network gained tremendous exposure. So much so that it became popular across the globe. More so than its rival networks of the time like Nickelodeon.

The Powerpuff Girls was one of the most popular shows on CN during early 2000s

The early 2000’s marked a change in style and tone of the network. In an effort to adapt to the growing demographic and changing tastes, Cartoon Network revamped its look. It introduced an edgier format with animated series like Samurai Jack, Megas XLR and Justice League being the most prominent.

The mature writing and “larger-than-life” storytelling in these show turned out to be a ratings boost for the network . Writers and animators drew inspiration from real-life events to express their creativity.

Mid 2000s and beyond

When 3-D animation started trending in the mid-2000s Cartoon Network also began producing content in the same visual style.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was one of the major hits. Not just for Cartoon Network but also Lucas films. It revived interest for hardcore Star Wars fan and made the seemingly dying franchise relevant again in popular culture.

By the latter half of the 2010s decade Cartoon Network once again refreshed its look. This manifested with new bumpers, graphics, sounds and an overall vibrant presentation.

The new look reflected the change in demographic as Cartoon Network went back to basics. It started producing shows that were more kid-friendly in nature. There was reduced focus on mature themes found in previous programming.

Present day

Now flash-forward to 2018 and onward. Cartoon Network continues to keep its target audience entertained with a variety of content suitable for children.

The era that most of us grew up with is now a thing of the past. But the spirit and nostalgic memories of our childhood favorites can still be found in today’s cartoons. Although it might not evoke the same feelings for everyone.

It may feel like Cartoon Network has moved on from us to the next generation. But has Cartoon Network grown too fast for us or have we grown too fast to appreciate Cartoon Network?

A Noob’s guide to the horror universe

You know the weekend is just around the corner when you’re mindlessly staring at that desktop calendar and daydreaming about what to binge-watch on Netflix or getting that much-needed good night’s sleep when Friday strikes.

Speaking of Netflix, when was the last time you saw a good horror film with your friends?

It’s not surprising that some of us are afraid to watch horror movies, especially at night when we get this sudden burst of paranoia and last minute jitters as soon as the lights darken in the hall and our anxiety levels peak right before that first jump scare.

That being said, this particular genre is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re new to the world of horror I suggest we balance out the “fear metre” by starting out with the nail-biting popcorn flicks and then gradually moving on to the grittier stuff that causes trauma-inducing nightmares.

1.The Shining

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If you’re fascinated with the occult and supernatural themes then this timeless classic should be #1 on your watchlist!

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Stephen King, The Shining tells the story of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who becomes mentally unstable after moving in with his family to an isolated hotel that is seemingly haunted.

As Jack grows more psychotic, his wife and son desperately try to escape the hotel while fleeing from a murderous Jack who relentlessly chases after them.

Watch this cinematic masterpiece at your own risk! Or better yet be smart and don’t watch it at all.

2. The Sixth Sense

A Noob’s guide to the horror universe 6

If you felt The Shining wasn’t supernatural enough for you then this pick will definitely make your skin crawl!

The Sixth Sense is a nerve-racking movie that’ll leave you feeling more disturbed than scared.

This nostalgic classic from the 90’s tells the story of a gifted, but troubled boy named Cole Sears (Haley Joel Osment) who has the ability to see and converse with the dead and an equally troubled child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) who tries his best to help him.

If ghosts give you the creeps then I recommend you stick with this movie till the very end and spoiler alert! There’s more than one twist to this story.

3.  The Ring (2002)

A Noob’s guide to the horror universe 2

Since we’re moving along with the supernatural horror category, I’d say it’s only fair we add The Ring to the list.

When I mentioned earlier that horror is not for the faint-hearted I really meant it! If this film doesn’t send chills down your spine then the scream of the person sitting next to you will.

A remake of the 1998 Japanese movie of the same name, the story of The Ring is about a mysterious videotape that leaves a deadly curse hanging onto whoever watches it, eventually causing that person to brutally die within 7 days.

Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a journalist who attempts to uncover the truth behind the video and in the process ends up fighting for her own life and her son’s.

If you’re bored on a Friday night and got nothing else planned then you can trust this film to liven the atmosphere. But be warned though! You might get more than what you asked for.

4. Get Out

Coming back to the more grounded and realistic movies, here’s an off-beat story that’ll certainly give newcomers a few goosebumps.

While ghosts and haunted houses are recurring themes in the horror universe they aren’t necessarily the most frightening.

Sometimes the best dread comes from psychological horror and that’s exactly what Get Out is all about.

The film centers around a young African-American named Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) as he accompanies his Caucasian girlfriend to meet her parents at a secluded estate in a remote countryside. But Chris soon encounters unusual occurrences within the isolated community; particularly the strange behavior he receives from her parents.

This movie isn’t your typical screamer; it’s a weird mix between satire and psychological thriller infused with some old school horror clichés but with a storyline that’ll keep you invested at all times.

5. Hush

A Noob’s guide to the horror universe 1

Now let’s take a look at a film that takes horror back to its basics: “blood and gore”

If there’s one film that today’s generation can relate to on a personal level it might as well be Hush.

This heart-pounding slasher pick will raise your anxiety levels to unexpected heights as you struggle to keep your eyes open without gasping every few minutes.

The plot follows a young female author named Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) who retreats to an isolated cabin in the woods after a failed corrective surgery resulted in the loss of her ability to both hear and speak.

As night falls, a masked figure quietly stalks Maddie from outside the cabin, stealing her phone and threatening her by sending photos of her typing on the computer using her own social media account.

Once Maddie realizes she’s in danger it quickly becomes a cat-and-mouse game, as she attempts to survive the night by searching ways to outwit and ultimately escape her potential killer.

If you want the full jump scare experience then this is it! But that’s only half the horror the other half is realizing the fact that sometimes the best person to protect you is yourself.

6. The Conjuring

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Warning! Don’t watch this movie alone unless you’re planning on getting a series of panic attacks.

Circling back one last time to the supernatural theme leads us to The Conjuring.

Loosely based on historical events, this sinister tale follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they attempt to help the Perron family understand the increasingly disturbing incidents which plague their rural farmhouse in Rhode Island.

As the story unfolds, more light is shed on the history of the house and the gruesome details concerning the previous family who resided there.

RECAP

All things considered, the horror genre is pretty unique in the sense that you never know what to expect.

Follow this guide and take the baby steps or puff your chest and go straight for all the A-list titles if you think you’re strong enough to survive one heart attack after another.