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Joey’s Home Movies For the Week of September 18th – ‘Biosphere’ Surprises While ‘Past Lives’ Brings the Emotions

Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, we have one of the most surprising films of the year in Biosphere, as well as one of the most beloved in Past Lives. Throw in a rock solid movie in Dreamin’ Wild, as well as a Criterion Collection release within the slate, and there’s plenty to choose from this week. Read on for more…

Joey’s Top Pick

IFC Films


Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass are terrific in this incredibly surprising movie. Biosphere has something up its sleeve I’d dare not spoil, but it’s one of the best twists in several years. I spoke to filmmaker Mel Eslyn here about the flick, so definitely check that out. Also check out my rave review here, which includes the following bit:

I can’t remember the last time a film threw me for a loop like Biosphere did. Independent cinema periodically threatens to come up with something as original as this, but it rarely happens. When a movie zigs as much as this one does from the presumed zag, it’s either going to fail spectacularly or soar magically. For me? This is decidedly the latter and one of my favorite things so far in 2023.

Biosphere consistently surprises you, while never feeling like it’s cheating. You may think that what’s going on is ridiculous, but it feels right and natural for this particular story. Considering what it’s doing, that’s not nothing, either. Throw in some surprising humor and a pair of spot-on performances? That’s a recipe for an indie success.

Recommended Viewing

Roadside Attractions

Dreamin’ Wild

This low-key musical drama is anchored by a strong turn by Casey Affleck. The fact that it’s based on a lovely true story only adds to the good vibes that you end up with by the time the credits roll. My positive review here on the site for Dreamin’ Wild began like so:

Watching a true story means that the end result is preordained. When it comes to a musical biopic of sorts, it’s no secret that it works out for the characters we’re following. So, it’s imperative that things feel natural, with the outcome minimally telegraphed. Dreamin’ Wild does an excellent job of this, allowing the real-life story of the Emerson Brothers to never feel like it’s simply going through the motions. At the same time, nothing here is overly Hollywood, making for an effective and tender experience.

Dreamin’ Wild is a low-key musical watch. The strong acting, empathetic filmmaking, and overall vibe make it easy to sink into. There’s a specific rhythm to the film, much like with the musicians here, and the fact that it’s as immersive as it is really helps make the work sing. By the end, it’s almost impossible for this movie not to win you over.


Past Lives

One of the early year gems of 2023, Past Lives hits shelves today as well, ahead of a presumed awards campaign. Greta Lee and John Magaro will be pushed for Oscar attention, while you’re sure to hear plenty of Celine Song‘s name during the precursors. If you haven’t seen this one yet, now is a perfect opportunity to rectify that…

Also Available This Week

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Little Mermaid

The Prisoner’s Daughter

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Criterion Corner


The Trial

From The Criterion Collection: “A feverishly inspired take on Franz Kafka’s novel, Orson Welles’s The Trial casts Anthony Perkins as the bewildered office drone Josef K., whose arrest for an unspecified crime plunges him into a menacing bureaucratic labyrinth of guilt, corruption, and paranoia. Exiled from Hollywood and creatively unchained, Welles poured his ire at the studio system, the blacklist, and all forms of totalitarian oppression into this cinematic statement—a bold, personal film that he himself considered one of his greatest. Dizzying camera angles, expressionistic lighting, increasingly surreal locations—Welles unleashed the full force of his visual brilliance to convey the nightmarish disorientation of a world gone mad.”

Stay tuned for more next week…


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Written by Joey Magidson

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