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DCT Podcast Episode 15: Watchmen

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Da Couch Tomato podcast, Episode 15, discussing HBO's Watchmen, the great use of non-linear storytelling, and the awesomeness that is Doctor Manhattan.

Background music used is the Watchmen score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Hosts: Sting Lacson and Rachel

Rating: 8.9/10

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DCT Podcast Episode 14: Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

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Da Couch Tomato podcast, Episode 14, discussing Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker, the deterioration of the titles in the saga, and how hard it is to please the Star Wars fandom.

Background music used is the Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker score by John Williams.

Hosts: Sting Lacson and Rachel

Rating: 6.7/10

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DCT Podcast Episode 13: Jumanji: The Next Level

Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Da Couch Tomato podcast, Episode 13, discussing Jumanji: The Next Level, Kevin Hart's underrated performance, and the almost certain third installment.

Background music used is the Jumanji: The Next Level score by Henry Jackman.

Hosts: Sting Lacson and Rachel

Rating: 7.5/10

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Review: Joker, or Exploring the Untapped Potential of Superhero Movies

Somebody please give this guy an ashtray.

Much has been said about Joker, even before it was released in the cinemas. Mostly, they've been negative.

Most of the negative reviews for Joker are predicated on the same thing: That Joaquin Phoenix can never surpass Heath Ledger's Joker, and any actor who tries will surely fall flat on his face, as shown by Jared Leto's performance as Suicide Squad's Joker. First, that is a pathetic premise; second, that would be underestimating Joaquin Phoenix's acting prowess.

In order to understand superhero franchises and their penchant for casting new actors, we must go back to Elizabethan times, particularly the plays of William Shakespeare. More specifically, Hamlet. The very first actor to play Hamlet was Richard Burbage, yet there have been countless actors after him who have played the part, both on stage and on film, including Mel Gibson, Keanu Reeves, Jude Law, Christopher Walken... the list goes on. But do we cling to Daniel Day-Lewis's 1989 performance in London's National Theatre as the best Hamlet performance ever, the way we cling to Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight as the best Joker performance ever? Of course we don't. And that's why it's useless to rank Joker performances, because there really is no one true Joker. Even the comic books had different Joker iterations.

"I'm a clown in a clown mask. LOL"

What makes Joker great is that it doesn't feel like a superhero movie. It has the grounding of the Christopher Nolan Batman films, and it also has the character instrospection that brings this film out of the realm of superhero fantasy and into serious human drama. It tackles the issue of mental illness like no other superhero film before it, and it does so in a dark, sombre tone, without any explosive action sequences and high-speed chases. It's just pure, gritty human drama.

Director Todd Phillips, known for directing comedies such as Old School and The Hangover franchise, brings his comedy chops to work hand-in-hand with the drama. The result is masterful storytelling, striking just the right balance of drama and comedy that would probably not work were this film handled by another director. After all, the Joker has always had that element of absurdity to him, which is part of what makes him a lovable character.

To answer the question "Will this film have a sequel?", well, that's kind of a grey area. I hope they don't make one, to preserve the artistic integrity of this film. Joker is perfect as it is, a stand-alone film that doesn't quite fit well with the other movies in the DC cinematic canon, and I think that's a good thing.

"Already got the Globe. I'm waiting for that Oscar now."



Joker. USA/Canada. 2019.



Original rating: 8/10
Joaquin Phoenix's fingernails: -0.1
Robert De Niro: +0.1
Zazie Beetz: +0.1
Visual homages to the comic books: +0.1
Final rating: 8.2/10

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