Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 4/06/18
Quiet Place (PG-13)
Starring: Emily Blunt, Jon Krasinski, Millicent Simmons, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, Leon Russom
Directed by: John Krasinski
John Krasinski, who most people remember as the “nice guy” from The Office TV show, is the talented actor/director/producer/co-writer behind the creepy and very original sci-fi horror film A Quiet Place. The family at the center of the movie communicate with sign language, creep about barefoot, and have even created a sand-covered path to town for the sole purpose of remaining as quiet as they can. So instead of talking heads, the movie is filled with the ambient sounds of the house and surrounding woods—or no sound at all when we see through the deaf daughter’s POV. We learn the underlying reason for all this stillness is one of simple survival. The BEM’s (bug-eyed-monsters) who have invaded Earth may not see very well, but they they utilize their helluva sense of hearing to track and eat whomever happens to make noise. I don’t want to reveal anything else except to say that Emily Blunt’s version of wife and mother steals the film.
4 pieces of a something new and fresh toast
Starring: Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonaton Shiray, Dekel Adin, Yehuda Alma
Directed by: Samuel Maoz
There are no heroes in this Israeli film about the death of a son “in the line of duty.” Other critics seem willing to overlook the watching-paint-dry pace of the first half as the military bearers-of-grief meet with the dead soldier’s parents. The pace picks up in flashbacks of the events that lead up to the death—the posting of three soldiers in a desert wasteland tasked with ‘protecting’ the border. I assume the idea behind all this was to show the futility of moving forward when every interaction with “the enemy” is filtered through the experiences of generations of victimhood. At least that’s what I think Maoz is trying to do. He may have something completely different in mind.
2 pieces of only for the very patient and/or ideological viewer toast
Starring: Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, Bruce Dern
Directed by: John Curran
It is interesting that this film gets a rating-warning for “historical smoking.” Considering the number of Biblical Commandments that are bent and broken here, smoking is the least of the issues to cause concern. On the surface, this is a docu-drama re-creation of the night that the woman Senator Ted Kennedy was traveling with drowned when he drove off a rural bridge into Chappaquidick River. The supposed heir-apparent to John Kennedy’s Presidency, Ted is a hero flawed in the mode of a Shakespearean historical drama. There are numerous versions told about “what really happened that night.” Numerous attempts to “massage” the story. Numerous times to observe Ted, his family (including his frail, dying father), and the circle-the-wagons mentality of the denizens of many smoke-filled-rooms. Too bad everything is presented in such a way as to leave the audience expressing a collective “MEH.”
1 and 1/2 pieces of Ted got a 2-month suspended sentence for Mary Jo’s death toast
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (NR)
Starring the voice of: Hedy Lamarr
Directed by: Alexandra Dean
While staying in a rented house on the Sonoma Coast, I picked a book off the shelf entitle Ecstasy and Me. It was the autobiography of the Austrian-born film star, Heddy Lamarr, and included her recollections about the scandalous nude appearance and sexual climax scene in her first movie, as well as her relocation to Hollywood, her carefully crafted identity as a “sulky siren” in a dozen films, and her six marriages and numerous love affairs. A talented and brilliant inventor, Lamarr patented a radio-controlled guidance system for underwater torpedoes that eventually formed the frequency-shifting concept used in wi-fi and smart-phones. This documentary mines the tape recorded interviews Lamar made for a magazine article in 1990. It also has talking-head iof friends and family members, biographers and film historians, and interruptions by film actress Diana Kruger, who plans to star in a biopic about Hedy Lamarr. Except for the tapes of Lamarr’s own thoughts and words, director Alexander Dean manages to make an only mildly interesting documentary featuring a woman who deserves much more than this.
2 pieces of an ordinary documentary about an extraordinary person toast
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