Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 1/08/16
The Revenant (R)
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Dominhall Gleason
Directed By: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Some men are just too (pick one: ornery, mean, cursed or lucky) to die. That is indeed true for a fur trapper named Ace Glass in the snow and ice of 1823 Montana. His pelt-grabbing crew is attacked by a band of Native-Americans, and Glass is mauled (in vivid closeups) by a protective mother bear and left for dead. After another trapper kills Glass’ half-Native son, the badly wounded man refuses to die and faces repeated obstacles as he tracks down his son’s murderer. Beautifully filmed, directed and acted, this one is not for the squeamish.
3 and 1/2 pieces of frontier brutality toast
Mustang (PG-13)
Starring: Gunes Sensoy, Aberk Peckan, Bajar Kerimoglu, Baruk Yigi, Suzanne Marrot, Aynur Komocoglu
Directed By: Deniz Gamse Erguyen
It is interesting that the title is only a single wild horse, not a herd. In this French/Turkish film, five orphaned sisters stop to play with their classmates beside the Red Sea. A busy-body neighbor is offended when the beautiful girls school uniforms get wet and complains to their grandmother that she is not raising them “correctly.” In response, the grandmother first whips the girls, and then forces them to learn how to be suitable for marriage. The youngest sister is the most “modern,” recording events in their prison-like home with her hand-held camera, she is also stubbornly independent. Sisterhood is powerful, especially when the patriarchy refuses to concede an inch.
3 and 1/2 pieces of mustang manifesto toast
The Forest (R)
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt
Directed By: Jason Zada
Apparently there is a forest at the base of Japan’s Mt. Fuji where suicides go to die. In this supernatural horror film, a young woman enters the forest to find her sister. Despite being warned to “stay on the path,” she doesn’t and the souls of the dead retaliate. Japan would not let the filmmakers use the real forest, so one in Serbia is used as a stand-in (although cost considerations may have influenced this decision).
1 piece of not much to scream about toast
The Masked Saint 
Starring: Brett Granstaff, Lara Jean Chorostecki, T.J. McGibbon, Diahann Carroll, Roddy Piper
Directed By: Warren P. Sonoda
With a title card telling us this story was “inspired by true events,” this pseudo-bio-pic shares the unlikely tale of a professional wrestler who retires from the ring to become a Baptist pastor. Horrified by the injustices he uncovers in Michigan, and prompted by a parishioner who asks “where does it say in the Bible ‘Thou shall not wrestle’?” he dons a masked-man identity and prowls the streets as a do-gooder vigilante. Not surprisingly, this causes consternation at home, in his church, and with the town’s only policeman.
1-piece of the professional wrestler-turned Baptist minister is true, the avenging vigilante part isn’t toast