Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 3/18/16

Hello, My Name Is Doris (R)

Starring: Sally Fields, Max Greenfield, Stephan Root, Peter Gallagher, Tyne Daly

Directed By: Michael Showalter

Sally Field plays dowdy in Hello, My Name Is Doris a film about the “plain Jane” in a hip advertising agency who falls for a much younger co-worker. Seems her mother (who she lived with) has just died, and so she no longer has om as an excuse for all the hoarding that crams every square inch of her house. She steps out of her comfort zone after attending a self-help seminar. Inspired by the recently learned “I’m Possible!” mantra, she begins stalking the object of her affection. Surprising in this day and age, almost everyone in the film is kind towards one another. They may not be interested in them, but they at least are empathetic, and that’s not a a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.

3 pieces of a film about nice folk for a change toast 

Miracles From Heaven (PG) 

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, Queen Latifah

Directed By: Patricia Riggen

Based on the “true story” told in Christy Beams popular book, a youngster who suffers from an unnamed but potentially life-threatening intestinal disease gets trapped in the hollow trunk of a tree. When finally rescued, she is not only free from cuts and scratches, but also, the girl’s illness has miraculously been cured.  Before that happens, the youngster has to endure numerous hospitalizations, tests and procedures. Scheduling and enduring all that’s involved with this medical adventure often interferes with the girl and her mom’s chance to take a breath and appreciate all the little kindnesses from others along the way. Filmed by the same director who made last years movie about the Chilean miners trapped deep underground, this film manages to throw in a little skepticism from those who question the miracle. Was it God or the Goddess (in the form of the tree) behind all this—or something else entirely?

3 pieces of miracles do happen toast 

Divergent: Allegiant (PG-13)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Octavia Soencer, Jeff Daniels

Directed By: Robert Schwendtke

I assume that the sole purpose of this sequel is to showcase the dirty, gritty, post-apocalyptic reality of those surviving outside Chicago’s insulated barrier. Other than that, the two young stars are still in a committed (aka sexual) relationship with (gasp) each other, and everything else from the first film is still in place. The plot provides an unnecessarily convoluted backstory involving the genetically modified proto-humans who started the nuclear civil war 200 years earlier. One new twist is the plethora of drones. In tried-and-true-suspenseful-films, the “Don’t open that door!” exhortation always raised the sense of impeding chaos (or delight). But in this franchise, people just send their drone ahead to find out what’s up. Where’s the fun in that?

2  pieces of getting duller by the sequel toast

Requiem For the American Dream (NR)

Starring: Noam Chomsky

Directed By: Kelly Nuks, Peter D. Hutchinson, Jared P. Scott

In a nutshell, this is a college lecture by M.I.T. linguistics professor Noam Chomsky about how the super rich have manipulated the system for their benefit over the past four decades. He does, however, have a list entitled “10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power”—with accompanying suggestions of how to curtail the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth. We are told that this is the “last of Chomsky’s long-term documented interviews,” but he’s pretty sprightly at 87 years, so there may be a few more.

3 pieces of Noam Chomsky toast