This week we are moving into the 10th month of 2019 (where has the time gone?), and October is kicking off with one of the year's most buzzed about titles. There's only one movie hitting the big screen in wide release this week, but it's already garnered a bunch of attention in the film world, and a touch of controversy. We're getting a new origin story for the Clown Prince on the big screen; get ready for Joker.
For much of his career, Todd Phillips has made his bones in the R-rated comedy world with flicks like The Hangover (78%), Old School (60%), and other raunchy flicks that, while garnering a following, mostly struck out with critics.
But his recent career turn now has him making new kinds of films. It started with War Dogs (60%), an adaptation of the real story of a couple of dudes who got caught up in illegal gun running. Sure, there were some laughs, but those were secondary. And it continues with a wholly different kind of film, this one an origin story about maybe the most iconic comic book villain ever: the Joker
It’s tough to say if Todd Phillips is totally out of the comedy game, but Joker might spell a definite, and (possibly) symbolic break from the genre. Considering it’s about a failed clown/comic who ends up the physical embodiment of evil and a foil for a certain beloved superhero, that might just be the case.
Working in a seedy Gotham City and on the back of Joaquin Phoenix’s outstanding portrayal of the Clown Prince, Joker has scored well with critics (77% – 127 reviews) even if the tone is a bit polarizing. I doubt the score moves much at this point, and it will be interesting to see if this film’s success ushers in a new wave a comic book films: those less concerned with canon and more bent on an artistic/psychological approach to characters we thought we knew.
There were 14 reviews in already when I made the prediction for Abominable (Predicted: 80% Actual: 80%), and it was holding strong with an 86 percent. I thought the score would drop over the course of the week, and as of right now it’s sitting right on the bullseye. DreamWorks Animation is mostly in the game of turning out hits both at the box office and on the Tomatometer, though they’ve had just enough stumbles along the way to hurt its larger reputation. But Abominable represents their third hit in a row after How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (91%) and Captain Underpants (88%). Upcoming sequels like Trolls World Tour and Croods 2 could ultimately undo that good juju considering the originals were just hanging around “fresh” ratings. But for now they are in a good place.