Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 11/04/16
Dr. Strange (PG-13)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, Benjamin Bratt
Director: Scott Derickson
Famed for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet, and the mathematician who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma Code, Benedict Cumberbatch dons the “Marvelous Cloak of Levitation” playing the Marvel Comic super-magician, Dr. Strange. The first two-thirds of the film are great fun, as a slew of instantly recognizable actors add their skills to the astounding feats of legerdemain. The last third falls into the seemingly unbreakable requirement that all movies in the so-called “Marvel Universe” end with senseless CG battles between “Good” and Evil” that cause inestimable amounts of collateral damage to hapless “mortals” (like you and me).
On a positive note, the horrific car crash that destroys Dr. Strange’s surgical skills, is a strong public service message for avoiding texting while driving.
3 pieces of inventive and magical toast
Starring the Voices of: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Ceschanel. Christine Baranski, Jeffrey Tambor, John Cleese
Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Since filmmakers insist on conflict, the little wire-haired Trolls can’t be allowed to be the happiest creatures living in the happiest tree in the happiest forest. No indeed, there has to be some bad guys intent on eating the Trolls so they can ingest a little of that happiness. Labelled “the Bergens” these happiness devourers miss their once-a-year Troll feast when the Troll King leads his flock to safety. The result is sustained happiness for the Trolls and decades of unhappiness for the Bergens. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of sustained happiness with fireworks, the Troll’s hiding place is revealed, and the Bergen’s Chief Chef captures a few Trolls for her recipes. Will some Trolls launch a rescue mission? Will the moral that you don’t have to eat Trolls to be happy be invoked? Do the Trolls launch glitter into the air when they “pass gas?” The answers are obvious.
3 pieces of the residents of Bergen, Norway should picket this movie toast
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzla
Directed By: Antonio Campos
The big difference between Antonio Campos’ film, Christine, and Sidney Lumet’s 1976 black comedy Network, is that the fictional TV host (played by Peter Finch in his Oscar-winning performance) announced his on-air suicide in advance. And Network was fiction while Christine is based on a tragically real event. Rebecca Hall is exceptional as the increasingly distraught Sarasota, Florida TV reporter who begins providing voyeuristic “juiciness” in a quest for ratings “Why won’t anyone listen to me?” Christine wails as the pressures mount and the world crumbles around her. Of sourse, the audience sees that is Christine who has stopped listening.
3 pieces of myriad emotional triggers toast
Hacksaw Ridge (R)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Rachel Griffiths
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Desmond Doss was a WWII conscientious objector and Army medic who received a Medal of Honor for bravery under fire. As a Seventh Day Adventist, he was hated by other recruits for his refusal to carry a gun. Surviving basic training and physical harassment, Doss is grudgingly accepted by his platoon for his exceptional bravery and devotion to his moral beliefs. Gibson tells the tale of this unlikely hero with so many gallons of blood and guts, that it almost drowns this man’s exceptionally heroic story.
2 pieces of a hero’s tale compromised by the filmmaker’s excess toast