Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 4/14/17
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (R)
Director: David Fairhead
In Mission Control: Th Unsung Heroes of Apollo, British documentary filmmaker David Fairhead blends archival footage, talking head interviews and CGI reconstructions to tell the nail-biting reality of NASA’s quest to land on the moon. The real-life faces are different from those of actors with the same names in Ron Howard’s astounding 1995 film, Apollo 13, but just like actor Ed Harris did in that movie, space mission flight director Gene Krantz wears his signature tie and vest in the Control Room. Following close to last years Unsung Heroes film about female, African-American NASA mathematicians, Mission Control looks like a whites-only boy’s club, so Fairhead begins and ends his film with shots showing that some modern-day controllers are women.
3 and 1/2 pieces of real history can be fascinating toast
The Fate of the Furious (PG-13)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Chaerlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
The overly-publicized pseudo-feud between film stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson harken back to Johnson’s wrestling days as “The Rock.” Since Diesel was the original thief/mechanic in the first of eight Fast and Furious films, he has a right to claim he invented the franchise, but it doesn’t explain why he leaves his new bride, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), alone on their honeymoon to join forces with a computer hacker with blond dreadlocks (Charlize Theron) and a cluster of old buddies from the previous films. THE BEST is the scene where a phalanx of cars race across an ice field to stop the submarine cruising through the sea below. THE WORST has got to be the clunky dialogue. Fans needn’t worry that this film follows through on what the title announces. There’s two more films in the hopper.
2 and 1/2 pieces of an utter disregard of the laws of physics toast
After the Storm (NR)
Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Taiyo Yoshizawa, Yoko Maki, Kirin Kiki, Satomi Kobayashi
Director: Hirokazu Kore-Eda
Wearing the hangdog expression of a loser, Hiroshi Abe plays a gambling, down-on-his-luck Japanese mystery writer behind on his child support. He has alienated his ex-wife, exasperated his ailing mother, angered his sister, and tries too hard to connect with his son. Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda plays everything in a minor key until a typhoon traps the the dad, ex-wife and son in a Tokyo apartment. As the movie’s title suggests, this unexpected closeness has the potential for life altering futures for all three but…
3 and 1/2 pieces of “if wishes were horses” toast