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New This Week (12/23/2022): The Whale, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Women Talking, & More!

December 23, 2022

By John Corrado

New releases for the week of December 21st, December 23rd, and December 25th, 2022.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Theatrical Releases:

The Whale (Limited Release): Brendan Fraser delivers the performance of a lifetime – and the comeback story of the year – in director Darren Aronofsky’s stunning and devastating character drama The Whale. Aided by prosthetics, Fraser takes on the complicated and intensely emotional role of a six hundred pound gay man trying to reconnect with his troubled teenage daughter (Sadie Sink). While the film has courted controversy and proven divisive with many critics, it left a huge impact on me when I saw it at TIFF. No film or performance has moved me more this year, and it’s still one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2022. (TIFF 2022 Review)

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Wide Release): Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is back and down to the last of his nine lives in this shockingly good and visually inventive sequel from DreamWorks that improves upon the first film in every way. What works so well about Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is that the story is firmly grounded in being about mortality and second chances, while still functioning as a very enjoyable (and family-friendly) fractured fairy tale. Easily the best movie in the Shrek franchise since the first two, and the way it blends different animation styles is dazzling. (Full Review)

Women Talking (TIFF Bell Lightbox): The latest from Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley, Women Talking is a conversation piece following a group of Mennonite women gathering in a barn to figure out what they are going to do about the sexual abuse they have faced from the men in their colony. I’ve seen the film twice now, and still don’t love the desaturated, washed out colour grade, but the performances and dialogue are more than enough to make this an engaging, empathetic drama. Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy and Ben Whishaw are standouts of the excellent ensemble. (TIFF 2022 Review)

Babylon (Wide Release): I haven’t seen director Damien Chazelle’s three-hour Old Hollywood epic starring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt yet (I had to miss the press screening a few weeks ago due to a last minute scheduling conflict), but I am very much looking forward to checking it out over the holidays, mixed reviews and all. Playing in 70mm at Varsity in Toronto. (Review coming soon!)

More Releases: No Bears (TIFF Bell Lightbox), I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Wide), The Pale Blue Eye (Limited)

Streaming Releases:

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Strange World (Disney+): A month after it released in theatres, and failed to really do much at the box office, Disney’s latest animated film Strange World is now arriving on the streaming service in time for Christmas. It’s a throwback to old school adventure movies that has some story problems and doesn’t live up to its full potential, but is still mostly entertaining as an unremarkable but enjoyable enough B-movie tribute. It’s no classic, but still fine for what it is, especially on streaming. – December 23rd (Full Review)

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix): After a week-long exclusive run in theatres, Rian Johnson’s whodunnit sequel is now available to watch on Netflix. I’m already on record as not being the biggest fan of this one when I saw it at TIFF, and think it got overhyped by festival excitement, but I’ll give it another go at some point. Feel free to check it out on streaming. It always felt like a Netflix film anyways. – December 23rd (TIFF 2022 Review)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Apple TV+): An adaptation of British artist Charlie Mackesy’s bestselling 2019 book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is an animated short film that was produced for BBC One in the UK, and is releasing internationally on Apple TV+ for Christmas Day. I watched it, and it’s wonderful. The story of a lost boy (Jude Nicoll) searching for a home, who encounters an inquisitive mole (Tom Hollander) who loves cake, a scared fox (Idris Elba), and a wise horse (Gabriel Byrne) on his journey, the simple but hugely effective narrative unfolds through a mix of charming little moments and wise ponderings about life and home. I would describe the book as a mix of The Little Prince and A.A. Milne, and this short – produced by J.J. Abrams – captures the look and feel of it perfectly, through gorgeous, illustrative 2D animation. – December 25th

More Releases: Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount+), Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (Netflix-December 25th), The Swearing Jar (Digital/VOD)

-Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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