Rachel Weisz is superb in Cousin Rachel, while Tom Cruise stinks in The Mummy

Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 6/09/17

Cousin Rachel (PG-13)
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holiday Grainger, Ian Glen
Director: Roger Michell
The 1951 Daphne de Maurier novel, Cousin Rachel, was made into a movie a year later starring Olivia de Haviland and Richard Burton. Through 21st Century eyes, the story of a young woman whose husband dies in mysterious circumstances and the cousin who suspects his widow, is obviously, a morality tale about the challenges facing an intelligent, single woman in a decidedly male-dominated, patriarchal world. Using the “Dogma” directing style that uses only natural settings and available light, infuses the film with a reality that is in stark contrast to the well-lighted and decorated sets in the Victorian soap-operas we watch on PBS. And the acting… Weisz plays the heroine in classic de Maurier style as secretive and reserved yet oozing with carefully controlled passion, and Claflin is excellent as a man fueled by the conflicting feelings of vengeful anger and unrequited lust.
3 and 1/2 pieces of brilliant Gothic melodrama toast 

The Mummy (PG-13)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Russel Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney V. Vance
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Tom Cruise plays a grave robber (AKA egyptologist) whose girlfriend is there to explain ancient history to the audience—or at least the clever little bits that the narrator hasn’t already explained. This is just one example of the over-kill that haunts this movie. Jumping on the “recast with a woman” band-wagon, this particular Mummy is a mommy (or at least she would have been if she hadn’t been encased in a pool of liquid mercury for eternity), who roams the spider and rat infested streets of London literally kissing people to death and turning them into zombies. In fact, the film devolves into a zombie-chase-movie ending in an underwater chase. Lacking an intelligent script, directed with a heavy hand, and starring a pair of actors who obviously dislike each other, only the plane-crash scenes are worth watching, and you can probably catch them on YouTube.
1 and 1/2 pieces of makes you miss the tongue-in-cheek Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weisz version toast

Like Crazy (NR)
Starring: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Michela Rammazzotti, Valentina Carnelutti. Tomaso Ragno, Bo Messini, Srgio Albelli
Director: Paola Verzi
A pair of women who might have been called eccentric if they were wealthy, have instead been institutionalized and labelled as a bi-polar, and a depressive. This odd-couple escape in a convertible, and like an Italian Thelma and Louise, head off into the Tuscan sunset. The contrast between the two characters provides many of the film’s best moments, with one actress delighting in “chewing up the scenery” while the other adopts the “inner-turmoil” of a method actor.
2 pieces of beautiful scenery and Italians over-acting toast 

Meagan Leavey (R)
Starring: Kate Mara, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Fenton, Bradley Whitford, Will Patton, Edie Falco
Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Sebastopol screenwriter Pamela Gray and co-writers Annie Mumelo, and Tim Lovestedt have named their movie Megan Leavey, but perhaps they should have been named it “Megan and Sergeant Rex” after the handler and dog who saved hundreds of lives in Iraq sniffing out IED’s. Megan joined the Marines for many reasons, and the friendship she establishes with her K-9 companion filled several voids. But when all is said and done, this is not only a dog-story, it is a tale focusing on mental health issues like PTSD, grief, loss, identity and self-image.
2 and 1/2 pieces of pretty heavy subjects covered here toast 

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