Gil Mansergh”s Cinema Toast
New Releases 6/05/09
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham
Director: Todd Phillips
Todd Phillips, the man who created the likeable guys in absurd situations genre with “Old School,” returns to his tried, true, and gross-out funny formula once again. The set up is that three guys trundle their soon to be married friend off to Vegas for the biggest, crudest bachelor party of all times and when they wake up the next day, the groom-to-be has disappeared. So the guys turn into hungover detectives who grope their way from clue to clue set up like dominos on a gym floor “each one ready to topple and start the next funny bit happening. P.S. stay for the crude, but amusing bits in the credits.
3 pieces of crude, but consistently funny toast
Land of the Lost (PG-13)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel, Jorma Taccone
Director: Brad Silberling
Said to have cost over 100 million dollars, none of the money shows up onscreen. This parody of the cheesy “Land of the Lost” TV series is sleezy, humorless and just plain gosh awful bad (but not bad enough to make it good). I got tired of Farrell stripping to his underwear and acting goofy several movies ago, and he should have worked with Todd Phillips again instead of signing on for this one.
1 piece of bassackwards time travel toast
My Life In Ruins (PG-13)
Starring: Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss, Maria Adanez, Sheila Bernette
Director: Donald Petrie
The writer and star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” tries to have lighting strike once again, but this clichéd collection of stereotypes (boorish Americans, stuffy Brits, over-sexed Spaniards, beer-guzzling Australians, etc.) is like Dolmas without any stuffing “and that”s just soggy grape leaves.
1/2 piece of Ric Steves travels to Greece are more fun toast
Summer Hours (PG-13)
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Rénier, Edith Scob
Director: Olivier Assayas
Anyone old enough to have dealt with their parents deaths and the “what do we do now” choices about houses, furniture and family “treasures” will immediately identify best online casino with this French masterpiece. Three siblings living in different parts of the world gather to consider what to do with the summer house outside Paris and all the paintings and furniture and knick-knacks and memories trapped inside and around it. There”s no bad guys in this piece, just thoughtful, intelligent, and occasionally sad bits of give-and-take as the realities of globalized living impose the need to make decisions.
3 and 1/2 pieces of nuanced French toast
Goodbye Solo (NR)
Starring: Souléymane Sy Savané, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo, Carmen Leyva
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Winston-Salem, North Carolina is the setting, and a Senegalese cab driver and a tired old geezer asking for a one-way fare to mountain top in a nearby National Park, are the characters in this sorrowful, evocative and eventually redeeming masterpiece that is a must-see for those who the like the Mike Leigh-style of carefully constructed yet entirely natural-feeling filmmaking.
3 and 1/2 pieces of perceptive moviemaking toast
Every Little Step (PG-13)
Director: James D. Stern, Adam Del Deo
Two stories in different times and places are told in this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Broadway”s “A Chorus Line.” The first part seems like a cable channel version of how the 1974 musical took shape, and it makes the mistake of using clips from Richard Attenborough”s seriously flawed movie version to tell the tale. But the second half, in which the documentary makers got permission to actually film the auditions of the almost 3000 people trying out for the 26 parts in the 2006 Broadway revival, is “marvelous, simply marvelous.” The only criticism is that except for a few emotional people, we never really get to know any of the dancers very well “perhaps there were just too many of them.
3 pieces of Broadway hoofers toast
NEW ON DVD
Revolutionary Road (R)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn
Director: Sam Mendes
Apparently the boat didn”t sink after all “at least we have three of “Titanic”s” stars reuniting in a movie about a marriage that makes you sort of glad that the other boyfriend died. The concept is that living the suburban life with the required commute, station wagon, kids and pets isn”t as much fun as it appears in advertisements. Imagine taking a quiet stroll one evening and overhearing the bickering and shouting of various neighbors and- you get the idea. It”s brilliantly acted and even has a message of sorts, but is it the way you would choose to spend your time? With the book, you can put it aside and take a break between the battle scenes, but here, it just relentlessly keeps spiraling downward.
2 pieces of well acted but too much for the audience to handle
He”s Just Not That Into You (PG-13)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Ken Kwapis
Overwritten by the “Sex and the City” guys, and starring the people from the front pages of the tabloids, this series of interconnected tales is carefully crafted to lure dating twenty-somethings into the theater and not alienate either the girls or the guys. People don”t talk this way in real life, and perhaps the predictable plot won”t seem so obvious to others in the audience
2 pieces of too much or too little toast