Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 10/13/17
Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (R)
Starring: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote
Directed by: Angela Robinson
Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston & the Wonder Women would make an excellent double-bill with Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman. I’ve written before about how the creator of the Wonder Woman comic book hero was a psychologist who co-invented the lie detector, and lived in a mange-a-trois with his psychologist wife and their female student. Adroitly handled, the polyamorous relationship is presented onscreen as one based on honest, open, sexual desire, fetishism and role-play where the women make the decisions. In many ways, Marston’s lovers were real-life Wonder Women.
3 and 1/2 pieces of powerful women toast
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling Brown, James Cromwell
Directed by: Reginald Hudin
Director Reginald Hudin says there is a sub-text to his bio-pic about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall: “When good people come together—dedicated to the truth, the truth will set you free.” As a catch-phrase in the X-Files, the powerful forces that kept the “truth” hidden away, are very evident in Hudin’s film. In 1941, Marshall was intent on fighting institutionalized racism. The criminal case that brought his name to (some) front pages was a rape and attempted murder case where an African-American chauffeur is accused of attacking his Connecticut-white employer. The knee-jerk reaction was that Bridgeport families fired their “colored” employees. Barred from the courtroom by the racist presiding judge, Marshall had to use a local defense attorney to defend his client. It is astounding how a movie without explosions and car crashes and tumbling buildings can still feature a superhero.
3 pieces of historic courtroom drama toast
The Foreigner (R)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Michael McElhatton, Rufus Jones, Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Jackie Chan (the action star famous for doing his own seemingly impossible stunts), is cast as an obsessed father seeking vigilante retribution against the London bombers who killed his daughter. Seeking the names of those directly involved, he eventually faces off with a former IRA operative and current Irish Deputy Minister. In interviews, the now older Jackie Chan has said he wants this film to be the first in a series (similar to Charles Bronson’s Death Wish or Liam Neeson’s Taken series). Unfortunately, Chan is paired off against Pierce Brosnan who plays the villain as a very slippery and morally corrupt politician with a back story much more compelling that of Chan’s character. Fans of Brosnan as 007 will love it. In the end, however, the script lacks a third act, and all of Chan’s somersaults and Brosnan’s duplicity fade into the oblivion of bad writing.
2 and 1/2 pieces of watch the first two-thirds for Chan and Brosnan, and then leave the theater toast
Happy Death Day (PG-13)
Starring: Jessica Roth, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, RAchel Matthews
Director: Christopher Landon
This is one of those “new style” horror flics using the Groundhog Day trope to present the grisly death of a sorority girl over and over again. Ugh!
Gil doesn’t screen slasher films (especially deja-vu slasher films)