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Joey’s Home Movies For the Week of March 13th – Bring Home the Power of Brendan Fraser in ‘The Whale’


Welcome back to my Home Movies! This week, the Best Actor winner from Sunday night comes home in Brendan Fraser and The Whale. Easily my top pick, it’s also paired with a couple of other strong films today. Throw in a Criterion release and we have a pretty packed slate for a change. Read on for more…

Joey’s Top Pick


The Whale

Brendan Fraser gave the performance of the year in The Whale and rightly took home the Academy Award for Best Actor on Sunday night. I was utterly blown away by him in Darren Aronofsky‘s demand for empathy. You can listen to me talk to Fraser about the role here, and I do recommend doing so. Plus, my rave out of the Toronto International Film Festival (here) includes this bit:

Well, damn. Watching The Whale is about as tough an experience as it gets, even for a veteran and fan of Darren Aronofsky. There’s no way around the ringer that this film puts you through, which has been a hallmark of Aronofsky’s career time and time again. The Whale pairs well with Black SwanRequiem for a Dream, and The Wrestler, even if it looks very different. Once again, he also has an Oscar worthy performance under his belt, with this as much of an acting showcase as ever before. Playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, it’s a memorable experience, but just know going in, the movie is going to challenge and test you.

The Whale shattered me, of course led by the work of Brendan Fraser. It truly is the performance of a career, which Aronofsky accentuates at every turn. It’s impossible not to be blown away by the work. Now, for a film so full of empathy, it also can come off as mean to some as well. I didn’t have that issue, but it’s a movie that will generate a range of reactions. The only emotion that everyone will share? Fraser’s pitch perfect work.

Recommended Viewing


A Man Called Otto

Tom Hanks proves why even remakes deserve a fair shake with this charming crowd-pleaser. There’s a reason the dramedy has been so financially successful. It’s the type of movie adults still love to go to see in theaters. I spoke to producer and songwriter Rita Wilson about the project here, while this here is some of what I said in my A Man Called Otto review:

Remakes are not generally where you go to find surprises. In fact, their very nature largely prevents it. So, it was kind of a small-scale delight to find out just how appealing A Man Called Otto turns out to be. This remake of A Man Called Ove isn’t especially necessary, but when you’re enjoying a well told bit of cinema like this, you rarely end up caring much. You’re just enjoying the ride, familiar as it might be.

A Man Called Otto is an old-fashioned charmer. It’s the type of mainstream Hollywood movie that’s designed to make you laugh and to make you cry. Well, even if that seems a bit manipulative and shameless, this film has got the goods, because readers, I laughed and I cried, even having been familiar with A Man Called Ove.


Alice, Darling

Anna Kendrick has rarely been better than she is in Alice, Darling. Playing a complex and complicated role, she aces it. It’s tough subject matter, but she’s an able guide through dark waters. You can listen to me chat with Kendrick here about the themes of the flick, if you missed it the first time around. My review of the film here includes this bit:

Emotional and psychological abuse attacks a victim in a different manner than physical abuse. The scars may not be outward, while the stress and trauma can linger even longer. The new drama Alice, Darling, puts you right in the midst of a young woman dealing with just such abuse. It’s vivid, clearly depicted, and deeply upsetting. Not only does Alice, Darling establish a new filmmaking voice, the movie also showcases some terrific acting from its leading lady.

Alice, Darling soars thanks to Anna Kendrick, who has rarely been better. Tasked with showing you a woman wracked by psychology of being caught in an abusive relationship, Kendrick never once hits a wrong note. It’s such a well realized turn, regardless of your experience with this type of abuse, you’ll completely engage with what Kendrick is doing.

Also Available This Week


Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero


The Good Fight: The Final Season (TV)

Walking Dead: Season 11 (TV)

Criterion Corner


Last Hurrah for Chivalry

From The Criterion Collection: “Before he became known as the master of the bullet-riddled heroic tragedy, John Woo sharpened his trademark themes and kinetic action choreography with this whirlwind wuxia spectacle. Unaware they are caught in a deadly game of deception, a pair of rambunctious swordsmen (Wai Pak and Damian Lau) join forces to help a nobleman (Lau Kong) in his quest for vengeance. Paying thrilling homage to his mentor, martial-arts innovator Chang Cheh, Woo delivers both bravura swordplay set pieces and a bloodstained interrogation of the meaning of brotherhood and honor in a world in which loyalty is bought and sold.”

Stay tuned for more next week…


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Written by Joey Magidson

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