Joker Cinematography Explained

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, learn about the creative decisions behind the cinematography for the box office sensation Joker. Plus, watch as visual effects artists react to Lawnmower Man, Godzilla (1998), Children of Men, and others. And finally, listen as Avengers: Endgame and Dark Waters star Mark Ruffalo breaks down the most memorable characters from his career. Read More »

joker 70mm

If there’s one thing you can say for certain about Joker, it’s that it certainly looks cinematic. Director Todd Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher drew inspiration from several classic ’70s films to form the look and feel of their villain origin story, particularly Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. But one thing they could not imitate from that era was the celluloid film the movies were shot on. However, Sher reveals that the original plan for Joker was to shoot the film in 70mm film — before those plans were shot down by Warner Bros.

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Joker Bathroom Scene

Director Todd Phillips and his longtime cinematographer Lawrence Sher knew their latest film, Joker, would have more eyes on it than usual. But neither expected the runaway success train it has become, winning a prestigious Venice Film Festival award, making over $740 million at the worldwide box-office, and attracting awards heat for its star, Joaquin Phoenix.

Sher, who’s an economics major with a background in still photography, has been working with Phillips since the Hangover trilogy. Before the duo’s first collaboration on that hit series, Sher shot Garden State and I Love You Man, to name just a few. This year, he played on a huge, beautiful canvas with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and was able to make a comic book movie that’s a throwback to the ’70s and the Martin Scorsese movies that made him want to be a cinematographer in the first place. It’s a big year for Sher, who recently talked to us about some of Joker‘s most memorable sequences, working with Joaquin Phoenix, and the line between fantasy and reality in the movie.

This interview contains major spoilers for Joker.

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BASTARDS trailer

You may not know the name Lawrence Sher, but you’ve almost definitely seen his work. He’s the cinematographer behind the Hangover films, as well as Garden StateDue Date, and the recent War Dogs. Now he’s stepping up to make his directorial debut with Bastards.

Owen Wilson and Ed Helms lead the comedy as twins who’ve spent their lives believing their father died when they were young. But when their mother (Glenn Close) reveals she doesn’t know who their real dad is, the brothers set out to find the truth about their past. J.K. Simmons and Terry Bradshaw (as himself) are among the candidates they consider, and Katt WilliamsJune SquibbKate Aselton, and Ving Rhames also star.

Watch the Bastards trailer below.

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