THE WHALE* * * * * (Joyce) * * * * ½ (Don)Psychological Drama
Brendan Fraser stars as Charlie, a reclusive, 600-pound internet writing teacher with all kinds …
* * * * * (Joyce) * * * * ½ (Don)
Brendan Fraser stars as Charlie, a reclusive, 600-pound internet writing teacher with all kinds of personal issues.
To start with, he is so overweight, he can’t get out of his chair or into bed without help from his nurse and friend, Liz, or mechanical devices.
Estranged from his wife and teenage daughter when he becomes involved with one of his male students, it has been eight years since he has seen them.
He is visited by a missionary, with whom he has deep conversations about life and death and the existence of God.
He teaches his writing class by Zoom, with his screen image black so they can’t be turned off by his morbid obesity.
He finds a way to have his daughter visit him by helping her write an essay in order to graduate.
There is much symbolism in the story, centering around the whale and Melville’s classic tale of Moby Dick.
Charlie has congestive heart failure and tempts death at every turn, binge eating pizza and pushing his bloated body and psychotic mind to extremes.
There is so much more in this two-hour plus movie, taken from Samuel D. Hunter’s play.
Fraser is terrific, as is the supporting cast. Makeup must have taken hours.
The screen is square, emphasizing
the confinement of Charlie’s cluttered house.
Major issues of homosexuality, suicide, religion, estrangement, resentment and obesity are dealt with intensity, leaving the viewer emotionally exhausted.
Joyce said that for the first time since “Saving Private Ryan” that a movie brought tears to her eyes.
If you want to immerse yourself in a whale of a movie (I can’t imagine an actor doing this every night live on stage), see “The Whale.”
I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY
* * * ½
(Whitney Houston Biopic)
Naomie Ackie makes a believable Whitney Houston, lip syncing dozens of the singer’s hits and depicting her up and down career and life with passion.
Stanley Tucci, who can play any role he is handed, plays Clive Davis, Houston’s producer, who knows the moment he sees her that she will be a star.
Davis is also a producer of the biopic.
While we pretty well know the ups and downs of Whitney’s tragic life, we do get a closer look of her relationship with her “girlfriend” and subsequent marriage of 15 years to Bobbie Brown.
Brown’s abusive treatment of Whitney seems to be underplayed, from what we remember from the media.
The movie plays out like many biopics, with the difference being the music, which is terrific.
There is no doubt that Whitney Houston was one, if not the, best singer of her generation, and we get to hear her actual voice.
* * ½
(Epic, Often Offensive Comedy/Drama)
Less than 15 minutes into the over three-hour movie, the couple next to us stormed out of the theatre.
I guess the elephant defecating and the woman urinating was a bit too much. They missed the full-frontal nudity, vomiting, spitting and kinky sex. Like to watch a freak show with tasteless sex and a guy eating rats? Stick around!
What would have been X-rated a few years ago now becomes a decadent display of what supposedly was common back in the Hollywood of the twenties.
In the center of the depravity is Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), actor/director of epic silent films.
Diego Calva plays his Mexican gofer, who rises in responsibility, becoming a success when the silent film industry changed to the talkies and Jack is left in the dust, along with his leading lady, Nellie (Margot Robie).
Both profane and profound, “Babylon” is often an epic depiction of the movie industry with all its flaws, innovations, and racism.
We are sure that we have either turned you on or turned you off with this review. We have certainly raised your curiosity level.
We learned the fate of all the main characters before the film comes to a screeching halt.
GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY
* * * (Joyce) * * ½ (Don)
Joyce loves the genre and I like it.
I like it more when the writers give you clues that make you a participant in solving the murder.
While this one throws some red herrings at you to throw you off from solving the mystery, it also changes the game by adding some scenes that were not shared with the audience earlier.
If the actors were playing it straight, there’s some poor acting. If they were being farcical, there is some bad acting… including Daniel Craig as the self-proclaimed Benoit Blanc, best detective in the world.
Edward Norton plays a wealthy high tech entrepreneur who invites his old friends whom he hasn’t seen for years (there’s a reason for that) to his posh Greek island for a weekend game of solving a murder.
Somebody dies. Who and why?
By this time, I didn’t care.
The host has numerous expensive objects in his mansion, including the Mona Lisa, which plays a major role in the story.
The problem is, we’ve seen the famous painting at the Louvre, and it is about the size of the one in the movie.
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