Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 10/20/17
Only the Brave (PG-13)
Starring: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, Andie MacDowell
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Locals brave enough to watch this bio-pic of the Arizona “Hot Shots” firefighting crew can learn a great deal about how puny little humans fight a monstrous firestorm. One thing that stands out, is the contrast between those who fight rural wildland fires and those who confront urban structural fires. The tactics, skills, techniques and equipment are quite different. Which is part of the reason the response to our local “once in 150 years catastrophe” as so unique. In this film, the Prescott, Arizona fire crew are the underdogs striving to become “Hot Shots.” The crew is capable, but are assigned “mop-up” jobs and therefore don’t get the frontline experience they need to go up a grade. The underdog story is predictable, but the actors involved elevate stock characters into individuals you feel for. Kudos to cinematographer Claudio Miranda. Only the Brave should add another Oscar to his wall of trophies.
3 and 1/2 pieces of may be difficult for locals to watch toast
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Ron Livingston, David Lynch, Ed Begley Jr. Bertla Damas, Beth Grant, Tom Skerritt
Directed by: John Carroll Lynch’s
This slice of life Indy would probably have remained on the festival circuit if it didn’t star the craggy-faced character actor Harry Dean Stanton in his final role. Stanton plays the title character, a cantankerous old geezer whose daily routines should chart the rest of his days on Earth. Until the flashing number display on his coffeemaker triggers a blackout, Lucky’s days had been boring and benign, but after the “incident,” memories rush back and the old guy lashes out against whoever happens to cross his path. It is Stanton who makes all this work so well.
3 pieces of a fitting end for Harry Dean Stanton toast
Ex Libris (R)
Starring: New York City Library System
Directed by: Fredrick Wiseman
Master Cinema-Verite documentarian Fredrick Wiseman has created a loving and insightful look at the patrons, collections, and passions of libraries and the people who use them. Without narration, the system presents itself as we travel the stacks, reading rooms, storerooms, meeting spaces, and outreach activities to watch and listen to those impacted by books, recordings, internet connectivity, artworks, and interactions with other patrons.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Fredrick Wiseman presents toast
Starring: Pedro Almodovar, Miguel Bose, Laura Garcia Lorca, Mariana Gyalul, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Eugenia Leon
Director: Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyl
Ranchera singer Chavela Vargas moved from her native Costa Rica to sing on the streets of Mexico City when she was 14. Finding fame in Acapulco nightclubs, she adopted the persona of a drunken macho male by wearing a poncho, trousers and boots, smoking cigars, toting a gun and drinking heavily. She recorded over 80 albums while touring Mexico, the U.S., France and Spain. After four decades of excess, she retired from performing and was nursed back to health by Indian shamans who were unaware of her fame. When she was 81, the legendary seducer of women publicly announced that she was a lesbian. Her career rebounded—including a concert at Carnegie Hall. Archival performances, and interviews with those who knew her and performed with her present Chavela in a straightforward manner that she probably would have liked to see.
3 pieces of the subtitles only detract from the performances toast