Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 12/16/16
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PG-13)
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donny Yen, Forest Whitaker
Director: Gareth Edwards
Just as the title, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, says, the story is straight out of the Star Wars mythology—albeit with a murkier, darker underbelly. One major change is that multicultural casting has finally caught up with the ubiquitous, multi-racial bonhomie that Star Trek had from its beginnings. Crammed into a timeline roughly tied to the Rebel Alliance history casually mentioned in Episode 4 (The first movie released), the talking heads sequences feature a feisty daughter of a weapons scientist who teams up with a lifelong Rebel and his droid, and a spiritual warrior, with his blind, master martial artist buddy. Chasing after a McGuffin reputed to have world-saving powers, the film quickly shifts to the flying dogfights, explosions, near-misses, and girl-boy bumping-into-each-other events fans love—not only in deep space, but on the sands of a beautiful tropical-beach-like planet.
3 pieces of comfortably familiar Star Wars storyline toast
The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened (NR)
Starring: Stepehen Sondheim, Harold Prince, Jason Alexander, Tonya Pinkins, Jim Walton
Directed By: Lonny Price
In Broadway history, the 1981 Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along, is a legendary flop best remembered for closing after only 16 performances. Using footage from a “making-of” doc that was never completed, the musical’s star turns director, and presents a remarkably fresh perspective on the “men behind the curtains” who create Broadway shows.
3 and 1/2 pieces Broadway secrets toast
Collateral Beauty (PG-13)
Starring: Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Michael Pena, Kiera Knightly, Kate Winslet, Naomie Harris
Director: David Frankel
This film provides proof that despite an amazing cast, Hollywood can work hard and long yet still produce a major flop. Will Smith (whose name supposedly “guarantees” boffo box office receipts) is cast as a sad, mopey guy mourning for the loss of his daughter who uses the Nicholas Sparkes method (aka writing letters) to complain to Death, Love and Time—who then respond. Well, actually, several actors hired by the guy’s business partners respond. Their plan is to record the guy interacting with his fake pen pals, prove he’s incompetent, and then steal the company.
1 piece of good, golly, gosh what a horrible waste of talents toast