Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 10/28/16
Certain Women (R)
Starring: Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristin Stewart, Jared Harris, James LeGros, Lily Gladstone, Rene Auberjonois
Directed By: Kelly Reichart
Three women coping with the physical and emotional limitations imposed by living in Montana’s Big Sky Country, intersect in Kelly Reichart’s Certain Women. Laura Dern plays a lawyer who finds herself smack in the middle of a hostage situation. Michelle Williams is a wife and mother who is refocusing her thwarted dreams by building a house using “the finest local materials available.” Kristin Stewart teaches a night class where a cowgirl has a crush on her. Propelled by superb acting, a literate script and a director who knows exactly what she is doing, you shouldn’t expect a Hollywood-type resolution. We are only allowed carefully chosen glimpses into these lives—leaving us wanting to know “what happens next.”
4 pieces of simple stories are the best toast
Starring: Sonia Braga, Thaia Perez, Humbero Carreo, Barbara Colen, Julia Bernat
Director: Kleber Mandonca Filho
Comforted by the sensual memories lovingly stored in her aunt’s wooden chest-of-drawers, a retired music teacher plans on spending the rest of her days in the art deco apartment she owns in an historic building on Brazil’s coast. Unfortunately, politically connected developers want to tear the building down. When the woman refuses to sell, they initiate a series of increasingly violent harassment actions, to which she retaliates in kind. Filmed during an era of political unrest in Brazil, the filmmakers used the Cannes premiere to garner support from the world. When the government refused to consider the film as Brazil’s official selection to the Oscars, the filmmakers saw this as another attack on the movie and everyone involved.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Sonia Braga is astounding toast
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrifan Khan, Omar Sy, Ben Foster, Sidse Babett Knudson
Directed By: Ron Howard
Inferno is based on Dan Brown’s latest bestseller featuring the always running through scenic cities symbologist Robert Langdon. Waking up with amnesia in an Italian hospital, Langdon recruits his doctor to join him on a fast-paced European jaunt while deciphering the complex allegorical writings of Dante. Although the great Italian poet died in 1321, he somehow knew that a madman would be threatening to unleash a deadly virus 695 years later, and thoughtfully hid clues in his books on how to track the guy down. If this sounds almost identical to the crash course in art history and religion covered in The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons, it is.
2 pieces of generic chase story toast
Director: Michael Moore
Documentary Oscar winner Michael Moore filmed the one-man show he gave in a deeply Republican town in Clinton County, Ohio. Timed for release just before the election, Moore takes humorous swipes at the Republican Presidential candidate to rapidly gloss over the inadequacies of his film’s hasty construction.
2 pieces of Moore’s no stand-up comic toast
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo
Directed by: Jonas Cuaron
This deadly tale of cat and mouse is designed to be a fierce political statement. The “cat” is a deranged sniper intent on picking off the “invaders” who illegally cross into “my country.” The “mice” are the unfortunate (and unarmed) Mexicans forced to trek across a barren Southwestern desert after their truck breaks down while sneaking into the USA. “The game” begins when one of the migrants is shot and the sound of a high-powered rifle is heard a few seconds later. It continues, inexorably for 94 grueling minutes as the same scene plays out over and over while the camera pans upwards to focus on the blazing sun slowly making its way across the sky.
1 and 1/2 pieces of relentlessly hammered-in political message toast