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JOKER

Rated R/ 122 Minutes
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro

Showtimes

  • Tuesday, October 15 - Thursday, October 17:  (5:15), 8:00
  • Friday, October 18 - Sunday, October 20:  (3:00), 5:30, 8:00
  • Monday, October 21 - Thursday, Ocotber 24:  (5:30), 8:00

"Joker" centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fracturedsociety. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night...but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.

  • DUE TO STUDIO RESTRICTIONS, COMPLIMENTARY PASSES ARE NOT VALID DURING OPENING WEEKEND OF THIS FILM.

First-class clown: ‘Joker’ a chilling, absorbing supervillain origin story

Joaquin Phoenix creeps us out in an intense, bloody character study that never glorifies the violence.

Three Stars (out of four)

Richard Roeper / Chicago Sun-Times

As embodied by an emaciated, maniacal, wild-eyed Joaquin Phoenix, who dances like a life-size marionette, laughs uncontrollably at the most inappropriate times and feels alive for the first time in his life only after he kills, “Joker” is a chilling character study centered around the series of events in Gotham City that resulted in the transformation of the sad loner Arthur Fleck into one of the most storied (and psychopathic) comic book supervillains of all time. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips (best known for comedies such as the “Hangover” movies and “Old School”) has delivered a dark, intense, well-photographed examination of a damaged and dangerous soul who lashes out at a society that has stepped over him and looked right through him his entire life — that is, when they’re not making him the butt of their jokes. Borrowing elements from “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy”, “Joker” is bathed in dark, ominous tones of brown and deep blue and shades of gray — in sharp contrast to Arthur Fleck/Joker’s increasingly splashy wardrobe. With Phoenix appearing in virtually every minute of this movie and dominating the screen with his memorably creepy turn, “Joker” will cling to you like the aftermath of an unfortunately realistic nightmare.

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NOW PLAYING AT THE HI-POINTE BACKLOT

DOWNTON ABBEY

Rated PG
Directed by: Michael Engler
Cast: Matthew Goode, Tuppence Middleton, Maggie Smith

Showtimes

  • Wednesday, October 16 - Thursday, October 17:  (4:15), 7:00
  • Friday, October 18 -Thursday, October 24:  4:30 Only

This fall, the worldwide phenomenon DOWNTON ABBEY, becomes a grand motion picture event, as the beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance.

Due to studio restrictions, complimentary passes will not be accepted for any preview screenings or during opening weekend of this film.

‘Downton Abbey’ movie a happy homecoming

On the big screen, the highbrow soap opera’s improbabilities seem sillier and the highlights seem even more brilliant.

Three Stars (out of four)

By Richard Roeper / Chicago Sun-Times

A few years after all those memorable early 20th century British period-piece characters took their curtain call (or so we thought) in an audience-pleasing, unabashedly sentimental series finale, now arrives the “Downton Abbey” movie, which is the cinematic equivalent of taking a trip to Highclere Castle for old times’ sake and taking one last look around.

It’s an extravagant dessert after a six-course meal. Absolutely unnecessary, but still a real treat.

For all its sophistication and pinpoint attention to detail, for all the wonderful performances from one of the great ensemble casts in television history, for all the sharp-tongued dialogue and gorgeous visuals, “Downton Abbey” embraced its soap opera core from the very start — complete with arbitrary deaths, lurid affairs, dramatic marriage proposals, devious criminal doings, multiple instances of elaborate cover-up efforts to hide the biological truth about a child, etc., etc. Magnified to the big screen, some of the more implausible moments seem even more ridiculous.

But that also holds true for the highlights, from a genuinely moving conversation between the Dowager Countess and Lady Mary that reinforces their respective standings as perhaps the two most powerful, take-charge characters in the “Downton” canon, to the visual splendor of Downton Abbey aka Highclere Castle on the big screen.

What a lovely and welcome encore.

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