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New This Week (12/09/2022): Spoiler Alert, Empire of Light, The Eternal Daughter, & More!

December 9, 2022

By John Corrado

New releases for the week of December 9th, 2022.

Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge in Spoiler Alert

Theatrical Releases:

Spoiler Alert (Wide Release): Jim Parsons stars as TV writer Micheal Ausiello in this Christmas dramedy from director Michael Showalter (The Big Sick). Based on Ausiello’s memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, the film tracks the months he spent caring for his partner Kit (Ben Aldridge) as he was dying of cancer. Not every narrative choice works equally well, but this is still a decent and touching holiday weepie carried by good performances. (Full Review)

Empire of Light (Limited Release): Sam Mendes directs and Olivia Colman stars in this drama centred around the employees of an old movie theatre in England in the 1980s. Colman is expectedly excellent as a woman struggling with mental illness, and Michael Ward does strong supporting work as a young Black man who comes to work at the theatre. While Empire of Light has some script problems, and its treatment of themes involving mental health and racism can feel a bit simplistic, I largely enjoyed the film when I saw it at TIFF. The production design, cinematography by Roger Deakins, and music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are all excellent. (TIFF 2022 Review)

The Eternal Daughter (TIFF Bell Lightbox): Tilda Swinton delivers a dual role as a middle-aged filmmaker and her mother in The Eternal Daughter, the latest film from director Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir Part 1 and Part 2). Set around Christmas at a seemingly deserted old manor in the English countryside, Hogg’s film is a haunting mother-daughter story that is infused with elements of Gothic Horror. It’s a moody, slow-burn drama about the power of memory, and I admired the slightly spooky atmosphere and Swinton’s fascinating double performance. (TIFF 2022 Review)

More Releases: Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (TIFF Bell Lightbox), Framing Agnes (TIFF Bell Lightbox), The Grizzlie Truth (Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)

Streaming Releases:

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix): After a limited run in theatres (including at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto), Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is now available to stream on Netflix. Del Toro’s stop-motion passion project is a dark, enchanting, and emotional retelling of the classic story. It’s an outstanding technical achievement that comes highly recommended on Netflix. (Full Review)

Emancipation (Apple TV+): Will Smith makes his comeback following “the slap” in this runaway slave drama. Antoine Fuqua directs the story of Peter (Smith), a slave who escapes to find freedom in Baton Rouge following Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, while being pursued by a sadistic slave owner (Ben Foster). I watched this the other night, and it’s a real mixed bag. It’s okay as an action movie, but feels heavy-handed as awards bait, and the desaturated colour palate hurt my eyes. (Full Review)

More Releases: Decision to Leave (Mubi), Amsterdam (Disney+), It’s a Wonderful Binge (Disney+), Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again (Disney+), Something from Tiffany’s (Prime Video), Fisherman’s Friends: One and All (VOD/Digital)

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