Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 10/14/16

Denial (PG-13)
Starring: Timothy Spall, Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott
Director: Mick Jackson
I’ve enjoyed watching (and writing about) British actor Timothy Spall for decades. His Mr. Potato Head face has never been more rotten-looking than playing Holocaust denier David Irving in Mick Jackson’s Denial. In 1996, Irving sued historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and her publisher for libel for branding him with that term in her book. Adhering to British law, Irving must prove to the Court that the Holocaust did in fact, occur. Seems simple right? Except that the Nazis painstakingly expunged all records of genocide, and modern day Germans, Austrians and Poles are convinced that so-called “death camps” never existed. Filmed in a “just the facts,” style that would have pleased Jack Webb, Spall provides the much-needed emotion as he chews up the scenery playing a man so sure of his own belief system, that he could run for office as Britain’s Prime Minister in today’s political madhouse.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Holocaust? What Holocaust? toast

American Honey (R)
Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LeBeouf, Riley Keough, Arielle Holmes, McCaul Lombardi, Crystal Ice. Will Patton
Director: Andrea Arnold
I live in the outskirts of Sebastopol, so the so-called “mag crews” don’t appear at my front door. But in Hermosa Beach, they were a several-times-a-week fixture. These magazine hucksters were always young, always vulnerable, and always poised for the “kill” of getting you to sign up for unneeded magazines. Writer/director Andrea Arnold has fleshed out a NYTimes article by Ian Urbana into the artfully-filmed, sex, drugs and hip-hop filled, cross-country odyssey taken by Star (Sasha Lane) a rootless, midwestern teen who quickly learns that to make sales, you lie—a lot. College tuition, sick mother, travel expenses to go home—whatever scam works to tug at the conscience and heartstrings of the sucker standing in the doorway. Arnold plucked most of the non-actors (including Sasha Lane) from beaches, street corners, alleyways, and homeless encampments, and their freshness adds a zing to the proceedings.
2 NOTES: If close-ups of bugs or the 162-minute running time make you squirm in your seat, this movie’s not for you
3 pieces of engaging but too long toast

The Accountant (R)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, Jon Bernthal, John Lithgow, Jean Smart
Directed By: Gavin O’Connor
Ben Affleck shares a Best Screenplay Oscar with Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting. The math genius in that film was played by Damon, and now Affleck gets to play the nerdy-mathematician-role-de-jour. Like Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, Affleck’s character is an autistic math-savant, but instead of helping to crack WWII’s infamous Enigma Code, Affleck uses his genius as an accountant to the Mob. The fun part of the film is watching the lead character’s childhood tics and verbal outbursts become adult quirkiness—aided and abetted by his military psychologist father training him to be a skilled Ninja-fighter who enjoys shooting cantaloupes with anti-aircraft cannons. This super-nerd’s undoing is (surprise, surprise) a woman. The woman is played by Anna Kendrick in her trade-mark, neurotic style, and she highlights how the acting is what makes The Accountant worth watching. As the end credits roll, you realize it’s like we are watching the origin story of a superhero franchise, and this film is the set up for a string of sequels, with multiple story-lines “to be continued…”
2 and 1/2 pieces of entertaining but without a real ending toast

Kevin Hart: What Now? (R)
Starring: Kevin Hart, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Ed Helms, David Meunier
Directed By: Leslie Small, Tim Story
Philadelphia’s largest outdoor venue is the setting for a one-man show featuring the always diminutive and always entertaining Kevin Hart. Using multiple cameras, we are treated to both up-close-and-personal and far, far away shots of the comedian commanding the stage and captivating this record-breaking (53,000 tickets sold), crowd. Following on the heels of his previous stand-up films (which earned $32 million in theaters and many more millions on the small screen), this show has added lots of whiz and bang, and even a giant toilet for Hart to perch on while worrying aloud about the dangers of airport bathrooms. Hart is at his best when lamenting the first-world problems of being a movie star and having kids in private schools. In contrast he shows the facade of the Philadelphia house where he grew up—and was afraid to take out the trash after dark. In his new home, his biggest fear is the marauding wildlife that meander through his property. One stand-alone piece is the introduction sketch directed by Tim Story. Hart plays secret agent 0054 who sports Halle Berry as his arm candy while facing off against Don Cheadle at the “Black Tie Only” poker table
2 and 1/2 pieces of just a little too slick on the quick-cuts editing toast