Professor Marston & The Wonder Women
Revealing Biopic Chronicles Career And Scandalous Private Life Of Wonder Woman Creator
William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) was a Renaissance man with an impressive array of talents. After earning his B.A., Ph.D. and law degrees, the Harvard grad was hired to teach psychology at Radcliffe, his alma mater’s sister school. Despite a demanding academic career, this jack-of-all-trades, inter alia, found time to write self-help books and to invent the precursor of the lie detector.
To this day, however, he remains best remembered as the creator of Wonder Woman. Selling the idea to a comic book publisher in 1941 was no mean feat, since until then, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Captain Marvel, The Green Lantern and all the other superheroes had been male.
The character Dr. Marston envisioned was not just a powerful crime-fighter, but an attractive, scantily-clad Amazonian displaying an eroticism and a dominance her detractors would deem to be sexual and sado-masochistic in nature. Yes, Wonder Woman wore a skimpy outfit a la Superman, and she did use a rope to subdue and restrain adversaries, but the comic was far from pornographic.
Truth be told, Marston had ostensibly been motivated by the success of the Suffrage Movement to further advance the feminist cause. In fact, he once stated, “The only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women.”
Another source of inspiration were the two women sharing Dr. Marston’s bed, his wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), and their longtime lover, Olive (Bella Heathcote). He would father a couple of kids with each, and they all lived under the same roof, although the scandalous arrangement would lead to the family’s being shunned by polite society.
Written and directed by Alexandra Robinson, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is an intriguing and informative biopic belatedly giving a brilliant visionary previously marginalized by history his due. Thanks to these more enlightened, LBGTQ-embracing times, William Moulton Marston can finally be fully appreciated, polygynous relationship and all.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, graphic sexuality and lewd images
Running time: 108 minutes
Production Studio: Stage 6 Films / Boxspring Entertainment / Topple Productions
Distributor: Annapurna Pictures
The Mountain Between Us
Plane Crash Survivors Bond While Battling The Elements In Romance Drama Reminiscent Of The Revenant
Bride-to-be, Alex Martin, is in a rush to return home where she and her fiancé (Dermot Mulroney) are getting married in the morning. The only reason the dedicated photojournalist was even in Idaho so close to her wedding was out of a sense of duty to cover a potentially-incendiary demonstration by skinheads and neo-Nazis. Elsewhere in the same airline terminal, Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba), is just as eager to get to Denver where he’s urgently needed to perform potentially life-saving surgery on a critically-ill child.
So, it’s easy to imagine both passengers’ frustration upon learning that their commercial flight has been canceled due to a forecast of inclement weather. The two strangers soon commiserate over their plight before deciding to charter a private plane.
Unfortunately, their pilot (Beau Bridges) has a fatal heart attack en route, and the plane crash-lands atop a snow-capped mountain. Their cellphones useless, Ben with broken ribs, and Alex with a fractured leg, suddenly find themselves stranded far from civilization in the middle of nowhere.
That is the scary setup of The Mountain Between Us, a harrowing tale of survival based on the Charles Martin best seller of the same name. The visually-captivating production is superficially reminiscent of The Revenant, which won a trio of Oscars, including Best Cinematography.
The Mountain Between Us revolves mostly around the protagonists’ battle against the elements while lost in the frigid wilderness hundreds of miles from civilization. During their perilous trek they must negotiate their way through a dangerous gauntlet marked by ravenous cougars, slippery cliffs, lakes with thin ice and more.
However, the film also features a romantic angle, as Ben and Alex gradually grow increasingly fond of each other over the course of their ordeal. But the burning question eventually becomes whether these feelings will continue once they’re saved. After all, he’s married and she’s engaged.
A riveting disaster flick and a steamy bodice ripper rolled into one!
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality, peril, injury images and brief profanity
Running time: 103 minutes
Production Studio: Chernin Entertainment
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening Oct. 13, 2017
BIG BUDGET FILMS
The Foreigner (R for violence, profanity and sexuality) Jackie Chan handles the title role in this action thriller as a businessman-turned-vigilante who embarks on a revenge-fueled vendetta across Ireland in search of the terrorists behind the London bombing which claimed the life of his teenage daughter (Katie Leung). With Pierce Brosnan, Rufus Jones and Mark Tandy.
Happy Death Day (PG-13 for violence, terror, profanity, crude sexuality and drug use) Rewind horror flick about a college coed (Jessica Rothe) forced to relive the Friday the 13th on which she was murdered over and over until she figures out her killer’s identity. Featuring Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine and Rachel Matthews.
Marshall (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, violence and mature themes) Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall in this profile recounting the events surrounding a high-profile case the future Supreme Court Justice handled early in his legal career. With Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Jussie Smollett and James Cromwell.
Professor Marston And The Wonder Women (R for profanity, sexuality, ethnic slurs and graphic images) Revealing biopic about the scandalous private life of the Harvard professor-turned-cartoonist (Luke Evans) who was inspired to create Wonder Woman by his wife (Rebecca Hall) and their longtime, live-in lover (Bella Heathcote). Cast includes Connie Britton, Oliver Platt and Chris Conroy.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
78/52 (Unrated) Cinematography documentary dissecting director Alfred Hitchcock’s weeklong shoot of the iconic shower scene in Psycho involving 78 camera angles and 52 edits. Featuring commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Jamie Lee Curtis and Guillermo del Toro.
Breathe (PG-13 for mature themes and graphic images) Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with this inspirational biopic recounting the real-life story of a young married couple (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy) who ignored their doctor’s dire diagnosis after the husband contracted polio en route to sharing a rich life together. Supporting cast includes Diana Rigg, Hugh Bonneville and Tom Hollander.
For Ahkeem (Unrated) Coming-of-age documentary about a 17-year-old African-American girl’s attempt to finish high school for the sake of her newborn son.
Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG for bullying, war images, mature themes and mild epithets) Literary biopic revisiting the relationship of children’s author A.A. Milne (Domnhall Gleeson) and the young son (Will Tilston) whose toys inspired him to write Winnie the Pooh. With Margot Robbie, Vicki Pepperdine and Richard McCabe.
M.F.A. (Unrated) Tale of female empowerment about a grad student (Francesca Eastwood) raped by a classmate who moonlights as a vigilante to exact revenge on behalf of fellow victims of sexual assault on campus. Featuring Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael Welch and Peter Vack.
The Secret Scripture (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity and mature themes) Poignant character portrait of a mental patient (Rooney Mara) forced to vacate the psychiatric hospital she’s called home for a half-century because it’s slated to be flattened by a wrecking ball. Ensemble cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Eric Bana, Aidan Turner and Theo James.
Signature Move (Unrated) Out-of-the-closet dramedy, set in Chicago, about a lesbian Pakistani (Fawzia Mirza) who falls in love with a Mexican gym rat (Sari Sanchez) she meets in the ring after taking up Lucha-style wrestling. Featuring Shabana Azmi, Audrey Francis and Mark Hood. (In English, Spanish and Urdu)
Swing Away (PG for drinking, smoking and mild epithets) Tale of redemption about a professional golfer (Shannon Elizabeth) who goes to her grandparents’ tiny village in Greece to recover away from the limelight after having a very public meltdown in the public eye. With Manos Gavras, John O’Hurley and Viktoria Miller. (In English and Greek with subtitles)
Wasted! The Story Of Food Waste (Unrated) Eco-documentary extolling the virtues of adopting a sustainable approach to buying, eating and cooking food. Featuring commentary by celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali and Christopher Collins.