JOKER (2019) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

Comment below and tell me what you thought of Joaquin Phoenix as THE JOKER!!!


SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★


IMDB STORY LINE:

In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck embarks on a downward-spiral of social revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his infamous alter-ego: “The Joker”.

WARNER BROTHERS STORY LINE:

Joker centers around an origin of the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Todd Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.

MY 2 CENTS:

This film is fantastic. It probably isn’t for everyone. I know it received a lot of negative reviews and a bunch of criticism for the amount of violence. However, it I feel that it also deserved some praise – both for the writing and the acting. I think the risks taken by writers Todd Phillips and Scott Silver were great. Before seeing the film, I was a bit concerned. I had heard that there was talk about extreme unnecessary violence. I had no idea what to expect. However, after seeing the film, I can honestly say that wasn’t the case at all. After watching the John Wick movies, which are just riddled with violence to the point that it is hard to remember a scene without violence, this film is more drama than violence. In fact, the first time Arthur Fleck ever kills anyone, it is in self-defense. Sure, it is clear in that moment you can tell he is enjoying it… and that is where you start to see the typical evil of The Joker come through.  

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

WOW! The origin story for The Joker has always been a bit confusing for me. I never really understood it and it has always seemed a bit unrealistic and contrived. However, writers Todd Phillips and Scott Silver really developed a believable, heart wrenching backstory that allows the audience not only to understand why and how Arthur Fleck becomes The Joker, but to also sympathize with his situation and even root for him at times.

This film really forces the audience to think about mental illness, how we as a society often fail to give the appropriate care, attention, and medical treatment to those that really need it. Arthur Fleck is functioning in society, it’s a struggle but he is doing it. Then, when the funding for his state funded therapy is cancelled and he can no longer talk to his therapist and get his medications he spirals downhill.

Cinematography ★★★★★

The camera angles used during some of the scenes were truly beautiful and helped to pull the right emotional strings of the audience. One scene in particular was when Arthur was dancing down the steps and the camera is lower down, staring up at him. The joy he is portraying is both frightening and delightful at the same time.

Another case would be when Arthur has been beaten down and the camera is low on the ground with him. As an audience member, being down there on the ground with him, you feel his pain, his fear, his anger, and just a complete rush of helplessness.

The way this movie was filmed really made me feel like I was watching a Martin Scorsese film, such as Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, or even Raging Bull. After seeing the film, I read some reviews that said this same thing. However, were other people complained about this, I really liked it. I’ve always really liked Martin Scorsese’s film style.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Joaquin Phoenix was brilliant in this film. I can’t think of another actor that could have played this role in quiet the same way or with the same amount of emotional connection. There are so many moments throughout the film where I was just swept away emotionally, and brought to tears even, because of what Arthur was going through. It isn’t because I agree with the violence and the killing, but its in the moments, such as the first time he attempts standup comedy, or when he is beaten down in the street (more than once) where as an audience member feel his fear, his pain, and his torment.

In an interview, Phoenix stated that perfecting the Joker’s laugh was the toughest part of playing the character and I can completely see why. Laughter is usually associated with joy and delight and comedy, however, when he laughs you see his struggle with pain, depression, and anxiety. It is in complete conflict with the act of laughing. He stated that he watched videos of people who suffered from pathological laughter in order to get it just right.

Joaquin Phoenix stated that he had been “interested in the light of Arthur for lack of a better word. It wasn’t just the torment, it was the joy, his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected. To have warmth and love. I don’t think of a character as tormented.” Ultimately, I feel that Phoenix was able to bring out all of Arthur’s deepest emotions and make him a character that audience members can both related to and sympathize with.

FUN FACT:

Robert De Niro‘s role as Murray Franklin, the talk-show host who gives Arthur Fleck his big break, and even the name The Joker, is an ironic role reversal from De Niro’s role in The King of Comedy (1982). In that film, De Niro played Rupert Pupkin, an unsuccessful, mentally-unstable comedian who stalked and kidnapped his favorite talk-show host, Jerry Langford (played by Jerry Lewis).

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”

“I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a comedy.”

TO SUM IT UP:

This film is a dark, terrifying, gritty, raw, and often uncomfortable character study of a man who has been mistreated, abused (both emotionally and physically), and overlooked by everyone in his life. This film dives into how the circumstances of life and long-term abuse have affected Arthur Fleck physically, emotionally, and mentally. I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen so you can get the full effect of the amazing camera angles and larger than life closeups.

Have you seen JOKER? If not, you should. If you have, let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. As always, I recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

JOKER (2019) Trailer:


Week 33 – #WritingWednesday #writingprompt Challenge

Today is the 33rd Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.


 Today I am writing in the voice of Phoebe, the main character in PURSUIT (Book 4 in the Blood Angel Series)… BONUS – She also makes an appearance in my upcoming novel The Beast Within!

Today’s writing prompt:

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you get it?

I’m a tracker. I work for the High Council. Unlike most trackers, I wasn’t born with the blood. My sister was; she was naturally talented. I had to learn the skill, through the taking of the blood ritual. To be honest, blood tastes disgusting. The first time I tried it, I nearly vomited. But that isn’t want you want to know about. You asked about my tattoos. Yes, I have them. Many, in fact.

Most are runes. They are mostly along my arms, but I have a few on my back and my upper thighs. They help protect me from the evils I encounter while I’m hunting. They also help remind me of my roots, where I came from and where, someday, I might return.

In my family, I was always the most artistically inclined. That earned me the privilege of branding those that came after me with our family’s mark. I won’t share that with you, but I will tell you this; there is power in my bloodline and those that recognize the mark respect it. It gives me strength and courage. Its my moral compass.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you get it?


What books have made your October reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out the OCTOBER 2019 New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


Here come the ZOMBIES!!!

The other day, I was asked, ‘The Apocalypse is Coming, What Do You Stock Up On?

An apocalypse, taken from the Greek language, actually means a disclosure of knowledge, hidden from humanity in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation. However, today we think of an apocalypse in reference to the End Times, or the end of the world.

Considering the question at hand, I was torn between writing about what I would stock up on if someone was going to bestow unto me information – a disclosure of knowledge… or writing about a Zombie Apocalypse. Obviously based on the title of my blog I have chosen the Zombie Apocalypse approach.


However, I did feel that the ‘disclosure of knowledge’ concept deserved further review as well. So here it is in a nut shell…

Not knowing if the information/knowledge would make me happy, sad, angry, hurt, frustrated, excited, or any other emotion one could feel when learning something… I had no idea what to stock up on. So this was my final list:

  • Tissue (in case I cry)
  • Chocolate (in case I find myself and my children locked in a closet and scared.)
  • Tennis Shoes (in case a fight ensues – yes I said tennis shoes – you need comfortable feet if you’re going to fight.)
  • Paper and Pen (in case the information leads to a creative outburst and I feel the need to write or draw.)
  • Ice (Because you always need ice.)

Okay… now onto the Zombies…

In today’s society, when we hear apocalypse we think of the End Times… or the end of the world. So, because I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead, I love reading and writing YA novels, and because Zombies are just plain cool… Other than making sure my family was with me, this is what I would stock up on if the Zombie Apocalypse really was upon us:

FOOD:

  • Bottled Water
  • Canned foods – to include vegetables and pre-cooked meats
  • MREs (Military pre packaged ready to eat meals)
  • P-nut Butter (good for protein and yummy in my tummy)
  • Powdered Milk – Yes, I would still make my kids drink their milk!
  • Vitamins – Hello, most likely we’re going to run out of food at some point, and vitamins are essential

WEAPONS:

  • Wooden Chair Legs – They can easily be sharpened to a point to be used as a stake – Stake them in the eye and through the brain!
  • Knives, axes, pretty much anything with a blade – if I need to explain this one, you are not even close to ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Matches and lighters – Zombies can be killed if set on fire – just make sure you have room to get away so they don’t grab you and kill you in the process.
  • Shot Gun, Handgun, bullets (Yeah, I think this is pretty obvious)

CLOTHING: (Just the basics)

  • A couple pair of underwear (in a backpack)
  • Clean socks
  • Good hiking boots
  • Comfortable clothes I can move quickly in

OTHER:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Walkie Talkies with extra batteries
  • Rope
  • Wire
  • ______________________

I left one open… just in case

Comment below and tell me; the apocalypse is coming, what do you stock up on?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

Watch the movie on NETFLIX! Buy the book HERE!

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (3.75)
Writing/Story: ★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★ | Sound: ★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Lara Jean Covey writes letters to all of her past loves, the letters are meant for her eyes only. Until one day when all the love letters are sent out to her previous loves. Her life is soon thrown into chaos when her foregoing loves confront her one by one.

MY 2 CENTS:

Now, I need to read the book! I’ve read a number of online reviews that say the movie stayed true to the book and if that’s the case, then like I said… I need to read the book.

Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was light hearted and fun. It’s not a “think piece” by any means. It isn’t meant to strike up political debate… or any debate for that matter. It’s just a cute, high school centered, feel-good movie… Well, feel-good in the ‘I’d never want this situation to happen to me, but watching it on screen is a lot of fun’ sort of way.

Since watching the film, I’ve read a lot of reviews… some good and some not so good. Honestly, I don’t get it. This movie is meant to entertain, and it does that. It’s a cute romcom and it seems like the actors are having a great time in their roles.

Cinematography ★★★★

There really wasn’t anything spectacular about the cinematography in this film, but there wasn’t anything bad about it either… so it gets 4 stars!

Sound ★★

Ok, I don’t usually put ‘Sound’ on my list, but this one stood out and not in a good way. There were a couple of times when the sound just went a little wonky, but the one that stands out the most was when Lara Jean confronts her bully in the girl’s bathroom. It sounded like a movie video that was recorded on a very old VHS tape recorder. Not good.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

I think what I liked most about this film was the characters. They felt real and they were relatable. Now, most of that has to do with the writing, I know that. The author of the novel as well as the screenwriter, who adapted the novel, did a great job with character development. By the end of the film, you feel like you know these characters and you can probably relate to at least one of them.

With that said, some of the credit also has to go to the actors. I thought this cast did a great job brining these characters to life.

Lana Condor, as Lara Jean, was cute, spunky, awkward, and the perfect girl next-door.

Noah Centineo, who I have to admit is hit or miss with his acting, did a much better job in this film than in Swiped (2018) a disaster of a film.

Janel Parrish, who played Lara Jean’s older sister Margot, commanded the screen even though her roles was rather small.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life was a mess… but I could clean my room.”

TO SUM IT UP:

If you like relaxing with a feel-good movie, then you should watch this one. Grab your popcorn and get cozy. Its 99 minutes of pure enjoyment, where you don’t have to think about all the other pressures in life!  

Have you seen ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) Trailer:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (the novel)

Lara Jean’s love life gets complicated in this New York Times bestselling “lovely, lighthearted romance” (School Library Journal) from the bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


#Theredheadedauthor Presents the October 2019 New York Times TOP 10 Best Sellers – YOUNG ADULT

As an avid reader of fiction (and an author who one day hopes to make the list) I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE checking out the New York Times Best Seller list. So, here it is… The independently ranked top 10 YOUNG ADULT selections for Oct. 2019!

If you’ve read any of the TOP 10 selections and recommend them, please comment below and let me know. If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the title, the book cover, or the [BUY IT HERE] button.


#1 The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

A 16-year-old girl sees a police kill her friend.


#2 Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott

Stella and Will are in love, but they can’t get within five feet of each other.


#3 Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Zelie fights to restore magic to the land of Orisha.


#4 American Royals

by Katharine McGee

George Washington is crowned king instead of president and centuries later, The House of Washington still sits on the throne.


#5 Frankly In Love

by David Yoon

Frank fakes falling in love in order to fall in love for real.


#6 One of Us is Lying

by Karen M. McManus

For five students, a detour into detention ends in murder.


#7 On The Come Up

by Angie Thomas

Bri strives to become a hip-hop star despite numerous obstacles.


#8 Permanent Record

by Mary H. K. Choi

A chance encounter between a college dropout and a pop star turns into a budding romance.


#9 LOKI: Where Mischief Lies

by Mackenzi Lee

Loki is sent to Earth to investigate a string of murders that used Asgardian magic.


#10 With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Emoni juggles school, work and motherhood while pursuing her dream of becoming a chef.


When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


#Theredheadedauthor Presents the October 2019 New York Times TOP 10 Best Sellers – FICTION

As an avid reader of fiction (and an author who one day hopes to make the list) I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE checking out the New York Times Best Seller list. So, here it is… The independently ranked top 10 Fiction selections for October 2019!

If you’ve read any of the TOP 10 selections and recommend them, please comment below and let me know. If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the cover, the title, or the [BUY IT HERE] button.


#1 The Institute

by Stephen King

Children with special talents are abducted and sequestered in an institution where the sinister staff seeks to extract their gifts through harsh methods.


#2 The Testaments

by Margaret Atwood

In a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” old secrets bring three women together as a Republic of Gilead’s theocratic regime shows signs of decay.


#3 Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

In a quiet town on the North Carolina coast in 1969, a young woman who survived alone in the marsh becomes a murder suspect.


#4 Land of Wolves

by Craig Johnson

The 15th book in the Longmire series. Back from Mexico, Sheriff Longmire must deal with a wolf and a killer on the looses.


#5 The Goldfinich

by Donna Tartt

A painting smuggled out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a bombing becomes a boy’s prize, guilt and burden.


#6 The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

In the Republic of Gilead’s dystopian future, men and women perform the services assigned to them.


#7 IT

by Stephen King

The fears of seven teenagers are rekindled in their adult lives by the terrifying title character. Originally published in 1986.


#8 The Girl Who Lived Twice

by David Lagercrantz

Mikael Blomkvist helps Lisbeth Salander put her past behind her in the latest installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.


#9 Killer Instinct

by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

The second book in the Instinct series. When an act of terror strikes New York, Dr. Reinhart and Detective Needham go after a sociopath.


#10 The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris

A concentration camp detainee tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners falls in love with one of them.


When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


I want to be Sandra Bullock when I grow up!

When I grow up, since I can’t be Stephen King… I’d like to be Sandra Bullock!

I have to say, I have been a long time fan of America’s Sweetheart – Sandra Bullock! My husband says it’s because she looks like my mom, but I don’t think that is it. She is just an amazing actress, in my opinion.

I went to college to be an actress, and shortly after graduation headed out to Los Angeles, CA with big dreams. I always saw Sandra Bullock’s career as the ideal acting path for a woman. Why? Because she has done it all… Comedy… Drama…Romance…Action…

I mean just look at this list:

  • Bird Box (2018)
  • Ocean’s Eight (2018)
  • Our Brand is Crisis (2015)
  • Minions (2015)
  • Aningaaq (2013)
  • The Heat (2013)
  • Gravity (2013)
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2012)
  • All About Steve (2009)
  • The Proposal (2009)
  • The Blind Side (2009) – ACADEMY AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS!!!
  • Premonition (2007)
  • Loverboy (2006)
  • The Lake House (2006)
  • Infamous (2006)
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)
  • Crash (2004)
  • Murder by Numbers (2002)
  • Two Weeks Notice (2002)
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
  • Miss Congeniality (2000)
  • 28 Days (2000)
  • Gun Shy (2000)
  • Forces of Nature (1999)
  • The Prince of Egypt (1998)
  • Practical Magic (1998)
  • Making Sandwiches (1998)
  • Hope Floats (1998)
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
  • Two If by Sea (1996)
  • In Love and War (1996)
  • A Time to Kill (1996)
  • The Net (1995)
  • While You Were Sleeping (1995)
  • Speed (1994) – THIS IS WHERE SHE REALLY GOT NOTICED!
  • The Vanishing (1993)
  • The Thing Called Love (1993)
  • Demolition Man (1993)
  • Fire on the Amazon (1993)
  • Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993)
  • When the Party’s Over (1992)
  • Who Do I Gotta Kill? (1992)
  • Love Potion No. 9 (1992) – CUTE ROMANTIC COMEDY!!!

(NOTE: This is not a complete list of all of the movies/TV appearances of Sandra Bullock – for a complete list visit her IMDB site HERE!)

While I will admit that not every movie she has done has been a home run… you can’t deny that she has done it all. She started out just like a lot of other want to be actresses (myself included) doing B-movies that were unsuccessful and embarrassing at best! Although, she had something – that thing called talent, and she refused to give up. When she finally did SPEED she got the recognition she deserved. People started taking notice. Since then she has done everything from action, to comedy, to fantasy, to dark comedy, to melodrama, to romantic comedies, to thrillers, to serious drama… Plus… SHE WAS A WITCH!

Gravity, although she didn’t win the Academy Award was by far, in my opinion, the best female performance of 2013. She was amazing… heart-breakingly good in that film.

The other night, I re-watched the 2013 movie, The Heat… OMG I laughed so hard!!! She had such amazing comedic chemistry with her co-star Melissa McCarthy (WHO IS HERSELF AWESOME). They bring THE HEAT and all the laughs with them!

Sandra was named Entertainment Weekly‘s 2013 Entertainer of the Year after the success of The Heat and Gravity. A MUCH DESERVED TITLE!

She was also named Entertainment Weekly‘s Entertainer of the Year for her roles in The Blind Side and The Proposal in 2009.

Why she didn’t win anything for her performance in Bird Box is beyond me. She was fantastic in that film. The way she dives into a role, without apology, is beautiful!

Okay… one last comment – She is beautiful! At 55 years old this woman doesn’t look a day over 35.

WHAT IS HER SECRET?