'Joker,' 'Miles Davis,' 'War,' 'Wrinkles the Clown' and more films opening in Orlando

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Opening this week: Joker You'll have to visit orlandoweekly.com to find out if our Cameron Meier thinks this unexpected event picture is indeed "the movie of the year," or just a Scorsese-aping apologia for incels. For my part, I'll admit I gotta hand it to director Todd Phillips. Twenty years ago, I never would have guessed he'd one day have a Golden Lion-winning film under his belt – and one based on a damn DC offshoot property at that.

That's because 20 years ago, Phillips was just a first-time documentarian seated at my table at a Florida Film Festival awards gala, snarking about the "lame" tour of Church Street Station some festival volunteers had taken him on earlier in the day. I'd like to think we've both learned something since then: I've learned that making a reputation for oneself on the festival circuit as a prize dick, as Phillips had been doing that year with some zeal, is not an automatic career killer. And hopefully, he's learned you can never really tell when there's a reporter around. (We're sometimes cuter than you'd expect!) Anyway, congratulations, Todd. You're definitely the man of the hour. And I hope the staff of the Venice Film Festival took you someplace real nice. (R)

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool The influence of the revolutionary jazzman is revealed via archival footage and tributes from the likes of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and ... Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I know, I know; that's like trying to find out how great Hitchcock was by asking Rob Zombie. (NR; tentatively scheduled to open Friday at Enzian Theater, Maitland)

War Indian action stars Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff face off in a story that sees a soldier dispatched to take out his renegade mentor. Director Siddharth Anand is proud to have imported an action choreographer from the U.S. city that's practically synonymous with thrilling shootouts and fisticuffs. Chicago? No, silly, Hollywood! Meanwhile, the worldwide release of the film has been carefully timed to coincide with the holiday of Gandhi Jayanti, better known as the International Day of Non-Violence. That last part actually isn't a joke I made up, but who the hell can tell anymore? (NR; opens Wednesday at AMC West Oaks 14 and Universal Cinemark at CityWalk and XD)

Wrinkles the Clown In every generation and every culture, there's a legendary monster that's meant to frighten children into behaving: The Boogeyman, Spring-Heeled Jack, Rudy Giuliani. In the Florida of the 21st century, that monster is Wrinkles the Clown, the mysterious mountebank-for-hire who will come to your place for a price and terrorize your little hellspawn like some sort of tricked-out Supernanny. This doc purports to explore Wrinkles' rise to viral stardom, but the timing of its release couldn't be more calculated: Magnolia Pictures, the parent company of distributor Magnet Releasing, even issued a press statement comparing Wrinkles to Pennywise and the Joker. Jesus, does everybody want to be Todd Phillips now? Talk about your terror on Church Street. (NR; tentatively scheduled to open Friday at Enzian Theater, Maitland)

This story appeared in the Oct. 2, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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