Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 11/20/15

Spotlight  (R)

Starring: Marc Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber. John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup

Directed By: Tom McCarthy

Spotlight is a true story of journalistic integrity in the face of almost insurmountable stonewalling from victims, families, cops, churches, politicians and even the Vatican. Starting with a few leads, the Boston Globe’s investigation into Catholic priests seducing and sexually abusing young boys and girls inexorably mushrooms into a full-fledged scandal with hundreds of victims and thousands of lawsuits. Everyone involved in this film is at the top of their game, and comparisons to Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate story about President Nixon in All the President’s Men (1976) are warranted. This is a film filled with potential Oscars. Be sure to catch it.

  4 pieces of but wait…there’s more toast

Brooklyn  (PG-13)

Starring: Saoirise Ronan, Julie Waters, Emory Cohen, Jane Brennan, Domhnall Gleeson

Directed By: John Crowley

Nick Hornby’s story of a 1950‘s woman torn between two lives (one in America, one in Ireland) is artfully told. At first, Brooklyn is strange and wondrous to a young Irish immigrant, and soon, romance with a young Italian plumber promises that everything will be great. Then her mother needs her, and she travels “back home” to where a man from her past offers her the future she was sure she wanted only a year ago.

4 pieces of is home where the heart is? toast

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (PG-13)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence,  Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Phil Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone

Directed By: Francis Lawrence

It will be interesting to see if the terrorist attacks in Paris have any impact on the audiences watching this dystopian future. This is because our Fearless heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is tasked with finding and killing President Snow (while, at the same time, choosing between two romantic interests, Gale and Peeta). Trouble is that the simple story was sliced into two movies for the sole purpose of sucking as much out the the HG fans as possible. So it takes a very long time (and lots of close ups of Katniss pondering her next move) for anything to happen. So the denouement lasts too long and the climax, when it finally does arrive, it lacks a satisfying punch.

2 and 1/2 pieces of we waited all this time for this? toast 

Secret In Their Eyes (PG-13)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts

Directed By: Billy Ray

When an FBI agent’s teen-aged daughter is brutally murdered, her team spends thirteen years searching for the killer. The results are a “shocking secret” that nobody (except everyone in the movie audience) can predict.

1 and 1/2 pieces of what a waste of time and talent toast

The Night Before (R)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, Anthony Mackie, Lizzie Caplan

Directed By: Jonathan Levine

This attempt at becoming a raunchy Christmas Classic that fans bring out each year to watch with egg-nog and popcorn works because it has some really great people who know how to let the gags steep awhile before sailing it home.  The R-rated film is a series of comic sketches about a group of 30-somethings trying to recapture their semi-mythological pasts by having an annual Christmas Eve reunion with plenty of booze, bodily fluids jokes, and full frontal nudity.

3 pieces of enough gags work to make it worthwhile toast