Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of  9/07/18
The Wife (R)
Starring: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Max Irons, Harry Lloyd, Annie Starke
Directed by: Bjorn Runge
Because of the time difference from Sweden, North American winners of Nobel Prizes receive their phone call just before dawn. So when the phone rings at 5 a.m. on a particular morning, the novelist and his wife may act surprised about him winning the Nobel Literature Prize, but in reality, they expected it. He has always been the one in the spotlight, and the Prize’s effect on his ego is all-encompassing. In contrast, her talents and identity have been overshadowed by her husband’s successes. A biographer follows the couple to Sweden, and his questions prompt flashbacks that reveal how the relationship began, how secrets were developed, and how the Nobel Ceremony will bring simmering feelings front and center. Glenn Close’s masterful performance in Bjorn Runge’s The Wife makes everything work as conflicting emotions roil through her body and are reflected in her face and voice.
3 and 1/2 pieces of see this for Glenn Close’s performance toast
The Nun (R)
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, Jona Bloquet, Bonnir Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Charlotte Hope
Directed by: Corin Hardy
Providing a partial backstory for the ghost hunter couple featured in The Conjuring series, a cloistered nun’s suicide prompts the Vatican to dispatch an exorcist and a beautiful (and virginal) young nun to a dark and dank Romanian abbey to investigate. With scenes reminiscent of other horror classics, the villagers they encounter believe the abbey is cursed, while the terrified nuns stage 24/7 prayer and penance marathons to keep Satan at bay, and accompany their piety with Gregorian chanting. In addition to holy water and Latin invocations, the exorcists trust their arcane knowledge of Catholic Church history, the nun’s visions and very big guns to fight “the demons from Hell.”
2 and 1/2  pieces of a a Catholic-based demon story with lots of genuflecting but little faith toast
Little Stranger (R) 
Starring: Domhnall Gleason, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling, Josh Dylan
Directed by: Lenny Abrahmson
An English country doctor makes a house call to one of those decaying manor houses where the people inside are as unhinged as the stuck and squeeking doors. The good doctor visited the mansion when he was a child and at the time, he let his imagination take him to what his life would be like if he lived there with his family. His patient is the sickly maid who is suffering from symptoms we would now classify as PTSD. This malady has been brought on by the “strange goings-on” that terrify her day and night, (and, quite possibly, the never-ending task of being the only worker responsible for cleaning and maintaining the crumbling pile of moldering bricks, rotten wood and shattered slate roof tiles. As if that wasn;t a full time job, she is also responsible for the care of the of needy family members—the dotty, sepulchural-looking mother, the wistful daughter, the WWII, shell-shocked, son, and the ghost of the long dead girl the doctor met way back in 1919. But the filmmakers weren’t content with all these perfect parts of a Gothic horror tale, and mess things up with unimportant side characters who pop in and out for no particular purpose. Too bad. At it’s core, The Little Stranger had the makings of a little gem.
2 pieces of uncertain filmmakers curse of mediocrity toast
Peppermint (R) 
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Richard Cabral, Juan Pablo Raba, Jeff Hephner
Directed by: Paula Eiseit
The director of Taken, casts Jennifer Garner as Riley North, the vengeance-fueled, vigilante in his truly not-worth-making film Peppermint. She plays an L.A. bank teller whose husband and daughter are gunned down in front of her at a Christmas carnival by stereotyped Mexican Mafia bad guys. Due to a corrupt judge and defense attorney, the killers avoid jail, and the angry woman “goes off the radar for five years.” During her sabbatical, she trains to be a body-sculpted assassin until she returns to the City of Angels to “honor” her husband and daughter by torturing and sadistically killing everyone who “deserves it.”
1/2 piece of nihilistic destructiveness, sadism, racism and sexism toast
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