By Original-Cin Staff
This week’s ultra-topical movie theme is corruption, kicking off with the new origin story of Batman’s nemesis, Joker (Rating: A).
The movie, directed by Todd (The Hangover) Phillips, channels early Martin Scorsese films to depict a befouled Gotham City, where social services for mental health are being slashed, masked protesters are raging against income inequality, and a demonic clown has seized the media’s attention. Joaquin Phoenix offers one of the best performances of the year, says our reviewer Karen Gordon, in a movie that “may be a little too close to home for comfort.”
The Laundromat (Rating: B-) from Stephen Soderbergh is a light-rinse anthology of vignettes inspired by the Panama Papers, the 2016 data leak that exposed the money-hiding schemes of the world’s most wealthy. This star-studded exercise (Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone) combines direct-to-camera commentary and dramatized vignettes on a global iniquity tour though unfortunately, says reviewer Liam Lacey, it all feels like so many outrages ago.
For some background on how we got here, there’s the documentary Where’s My Ray Cohn? (Rating: C+) about the unscrupulous New York lawyer and fixer, who was dark arts mentor to Donald Trump and Roger Stone. Roger Waters Us + Them (Rating: C) is a one-night-only concert film from the former Pink Floyd frontman that’s half-concert, half political rally of resistance against the war-mongering, climate-ruining “pigs.” Finally, there’s the Canadian noir-thriller Robbery (Rating: C) with Art Hindle as an ex-con suffering from early stages of dementia teaching his son how to be a better (meaning worse) criminal.
But why so serious? When it comes to on-screen violence, few can match Japan’s Takashi Miike (Ichi The Killer) but, says reviewer Thom Ernst, his First Love (Rating: A) — a drama about a boxer facing death and a meth-addicted sex worker — is crowd-pleasing “plain good fun.”
For something even sweeter, there’s the lightly melancholic Sometimes Always Never (Rating: B) starring Bill Nighy as an absent-minded, Scrabble-loving tailor trying to find the right words to mend his broken-family fences while on a quest for a missing son.
Have an irreproachably wholesome weekend.