Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 10/27/17

Suburbicon (R)
Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, Oscar Isaac, Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell, Karimah Westbrook, Leah M.Burke, Tony Espinosa
Directed by: George Clooney
George Clooney and Grant Heslov had a good idea—make a movie about the problems with integration in the suburban, post-WWII, cookie-cutter communities like Levittown. Then Clooney recalled a Fargoesque Coen brothers script he had read entitled Suburbicon. Sadly, this Clooney/Coen marriage is doomed to fail. The appearance of an African-American family in the whites-only neighborhood leads to murderous racisim., while at the same time, a white family is chloroformed during a home invasion that results in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers style replacement of the wife and mother by her twin sister. Got that?
1 piece of tiny little bits are brilliant but this just doesn’t work toast

Thank You For Your Service (NR)
Starring: Miles Teller, Beulah Koale, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Scott Haze
Directed by: Jason Hall
The kiss-of-death phrase “well-intentioned,” sums up this film about the physical, psychological and emotional Hell returning Operation Iraqi Freedom vets (and their families) suffer through. The tropes are overly familiar: a couple’s post-coital bliss is shattered with the husband screaming in terror; the questionnaire administered by the psychologist triggers PTSD, and the mysterious question of “Whatever happen to Doster?” haunts everyone. The wives come across as harpies, the Vets Administration as marginally competent, and the “real” enemy turns out to be a drug-crazed fellow veteran who is (can you imagine?) an African-American!
1 and 1/2 pieces of feels like a PSA about PTSD toast

Breathe (PG-13)
Starring: Andrew GArfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville, Diana Rigg, MIranda Raison, Dean-Charles Chapman
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis, the astoundingly gifted motion capture actor who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films and Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes series, gets to direct this feature-length biopic. Robin Cavendish is the polio-paralyzed disability advocate who, despite being tied to a mechanical breathing machine, lives a fully actualized life. We see this through a series of set pieces; the dashingly handsome couple who travel to Kenya; the sudden onset of the disease at the same time his wife announces she is pregnant (with producer Jonathan Cavendish who is Andy Serkis’ business partner); the confinement in an iron lung; the creative involvement of a wheelchair designer; the perennial problems with power outages, a mechanical failure on a trip to Spain, and innumerable times where doctors and other specialists sadly shake their heads at the inevitable. Finally, are the series of painful complications that result in the decision to “pull the plug.”
2 pieces of paralysis doesn’t mean giving up on life toast

Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG-13)
Starring: Domhnall Gleason, Margot Robbie, Kely Macdonald, Will Tilston, Stephen Campbell Moore
Director: Simon Curtis
I must sadly tell you that this biopic about the creator of Winnie the Pooh is astoundingly depressing. A.A. Milne is portrayed as a dour, war-weary author striving for literary success and distraught that it comes from his books for children. His son, the basis of his Christopher Robin character, receives scant affection from his parents, and depends upon the kindness of his nanny. The best part of the movie is a bucolic interlude between father and son set in the “real” hundred acre wood. In contrast, the rest of the movie is downright dreary
2 pieces of only Eeyore could like this movie toast

Three Documentaries of Note:

Faces Places (PG) 4 pieces of toast
Octogenarian Agnes Varda makes another compelling “slice of life” documentary as she travels across the French countryside with photographer and street artist JR. This time, she confronts remnants of her Nouvelle Vague previous life

Jane (NR) 3 and 1/2 pieces of toast
Paleoanthropologist Jane Goodall’s career as a professional “wait and watcher” is beautifully preserved in Brett Morgan’s astounding doc. The audiences gets the chance to wait and watch as Jane finally gains acceptance from her beloved chimpanzees, and the primate rituals observed in the wild are mirrored by Jane and her National Geographic photographer husband. One flaw is the jarring music and fast-paced editing techniques Morgan unwisely uses to “jazz things up a bit.”

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton (NR) 3 pieces of toast
Big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton is showcased in Rory Kennedy’s documentary as a world-class innovator who didn’t know how to cope with fame—especially the negative vibes from fans who thought he was the self-obsessed jerk he played in the film North Shore. Now 53-years-old, Hamilton prefers to be thought of as “the old dude still riding perfect waves,” while his wife (pro-volleyball star Gabrielle Reece) and his orthopedic surgeon “hang ten” through it all.