Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Release For the Week of 1/13/17

Patriots Day (R)
Starring:, Mark Wahlberg, J. K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, Michelle Managhan
Director: Peter Berg
The Southie accents are laid on thick in this recreation of the horrific bombing during the running of the Boston Marathon. Like he did in Deepwater Horizon, director Peter Berg again has Mark Wahlberg play the “everyman” character—this time a composite of several “real-life” cops who were working that fateful morning. Berg follows the classic disaster film formula, allowing us to meet the individuals who will be literally and figuratively “blown apart” by events we know are coming soon. We even visit the two terrorist brothers who build and plant the bomb. The choice in presenting the pair in the same “here’s the facts ma’m” style as everyone else is sure to ruffle some people’s feathers. The movie is divided into four parts—the before, during, immediately after the bombing, and the hunt for the “perps.”
3 and 1/2 pieces of “that was the way it was” toast

Silence (R)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Ken Watanabe, Issey Ogata
Director: Martin Scorcese
Christianity was outlawed for centuries in Japan, yet Jesuits still dispatched missionaries to preach to “the heathen.” When one priest goes missing, two others are sent to find him and bring him home. Acting like a 17th Century “Mission Impossible” force, the two hide in plain sight among a group of “converted” villagers. Those who remember the TV mini-series Shogun shouldn’t be surprised at the culture clashes and the single-mindedness of the Shogun’s chief torturer. Underlying everything is Martin Scorcese’s theological conundrum: “What happens when you pray to God and nothing good comes of it?”
3 and 1/2 pieces of Scorcese the theologian toast

Live By Night (R)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Sienna Miller, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleason, Chris Messina, Zoe Saldana
Director: Ben Affleck
The contrast between Peter Berg’s Patriots Day and Ben Affleck’s Live By Night is palpable. Both focus on Boston cops and cop culture, but one is uplifting and heroic, the other is slimy and anti-heroic. Affleck stars in his own movie as the son of a dirty cop—a family tradition. He makes one amoral decision after the other, but smiles at the camera with his signature lopsided grin as if to say “Underneath it all, I’m really a nice guy.” Only he isn’t, and the film suffers from this split personality.
1 piece of Boston Irish mob vs the Boston Italian mob with an few Cubans thrown in too toast

Elle (R)
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Cosigney, Charles Berling
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Director Paul Verhoeven continues to create his violent, misogynistic movies with one disguised as a French Art House Film. So far, it’s worked, Elle won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the best movie and best actress at the Golden Globes, and is France’s entry to this year’s Oscars. All this despite the fact that Elle is a “rape film” that opens with a a ski-masked man violently raping a woman among the broken glassware on her kitchen floor. After he leaves, she cleans up and plots revenge on her rapist. We are shown that her matter-of-fact reactions are the result of her being a designer of violent video games who has insulated her feelings behind spread sheets. Her fantasy life melds with her “real” life as repeated instances of doors being forced open become a sexual fear and desire, and flashbacks show that her imprisoned father sexually abused her for decades.
1 piece of just because it’s in French, doesn’t make brutal rapes palatable toast