Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 12/02/16

Jackie (R)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Caspar Phillipson
Director: Pablo Larrain
Jackie is a film about finding inner strength, grace, and courage at the exact time millions of us need much of the same. For the youngsters among you who don’t know, the single name “Jackie” identified First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy long before the fateful “day in Dallas” when her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed. Director Pablo Larrain recreates that fateful day—and the somber minutes, hours and days that follow, with nuanced artistry. Shot on 16 mm film, the images are reminiscent of ones shot at the time, but artfully constructed in the director’s masterful collaboration with screenwriter Noah Oppenheim, cinematographer Stephane Fontaine, composer Mica Levi and lead actor, Natalie Portman.
4 pieces of once there was a Camelot toast

Manchester By the Sea (R)
Starring: Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, Gretchen Mol, Lucas Hodges
Directed By: Kenneth Lonergan
When a family crisis prompts Boston condo custodian Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) to flaunt the admonition, “you can’t go home again,” flashbacks reveal the myriad complications of this loner’s past life. In the immediacy of the present-day, Lee must cope with instantly becoming a pseudo-parent for his sarcastic high-school-aged nephew while longing to return to the safe-haven of his rent-free, studio apartment. Unlike many family dramas, instead of focusing on screaming interchanges between family members, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan infuses the quiet moments with words and facial expressions that convey the subtle subtexts of what is happening onscreen. One word of warning, bring the Kleenex with you. The tragic ending is devastating.
4 pieces of “just regular folks” toast

Elle (R)
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Anne Consigney, Jonas Bloquet, Christian Berkel
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Elle is a filmed in Paris rape movie that is crammed full of cluster bomb triggers beginning with the brutal opening sounds of violence and hatred that eventually reveals a half-naked victim cowering in fear on a floor littered with broken dishes. Reaction to this movie is, (to put it mildly) mixed. Some see it as a natural extension of the BDSM-chic presented in 50 Shades of Grey. Others see it’s revenge-seeking heroine as a feminist hero in the Towanda mode. But to do so glosses over the fact that the movie is directed by Paul Verhoven, the same man who brought male fantasies to life in Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Starship Troopers. When Slate asked about the violence against women in his films, and especially the rape scene in Elle, the Holland-based Verhoven answered: “There is in general a feeling that I get in the United States that it’s very dangerous or very not done to use the word rape, which is replaced by sexual assault…If you look at the statistics, they say that someone is raped about 1,800, 1,900 times a day in the United States, so that means a rape a minute… If you express that violence, then you can only express it in what it is. If you aren’t honest about that then I think that’s very dangerous, because then it becomes banal, it makes it smaller than it is. It’s really something where people are traumatized for the rest of their lives.”
Which doesn’t explain why Verhoven refers to his latest film as a “comedic social satire.”
1 piece of yet another of Verhoven’s sadistic and perverted violence against women movies toast

Miss Sloane (R)
Starring: Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Gugu Mbatha Raw,
Directed By: John Madden
Audiences should assume that Miss Sloane’s filmmakers thought Hilary Clinton would be elected president when they created this tale of unbridled self-interest focusing on a take-no-prisoners Washington lobbyist. Intelligent, sharp-tongued and elegant, Miss Sloan takes on the NRA as she lobbies for “common sense safety laws,” but we learn little about what motivates this woman. Comparisons to the three lobbyists labelled MODs (Merchants of Death) because they are shills for Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol and Big Guns, in Jason Reitman’s superb satire Thank You For Smoking are obvious. Unfortunately, the third act of Miss Sloan devolves into a tepid thriller which undercuts the validity of the film’s “talking points.”
3 pieces of lobbyists as empowered females toast