Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

11/26/10

Tangled (PG)

Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman

Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

The classic Grimm Brothers fairy tale has been updated by Disney in their 50th animated feature film. The girl with the long blonde tresses has been locked away in a remote stone tower since she was a baby and is discovered by a travelling rogue. Comic antics and several songs follow.. Even though John Lassiter’s Pixar sensibilities can’t overcome the classic Disney formula) a feisty, doe-eyed heroine, a memorable villain, and a generically forgettable hero) it’s still good family fun.
3 pieces of Disney animation toast


Burlesque (PG-13)

Starring: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Cam Gigandet, Stanley Tucci

Director: Steve Antin

Although the talented singers are good, the cliche-ridden plot of an Iowa farm girl heading to LA to make it big in show business (even if it’s only a basement burlesque club), is laid on with a heavy heavy hand and except for the production numbers,the whole thing quickly sinks to the bottom.

1 and 1/2 pieces of just watch the songs toast

Love and Other Drugs (R)

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria

Director: Edward Zwick

  • Set in the fast-paced world of prescription drug salesmaen at a time when Viagra was a new product, what could have been new and fresh and interesting is, instead, a traditional Hollywood love story with cute meets, misunderstandings, sexy romps and , fortunately for the audience, a genuine chemistry between the stars.

3 pieces of unoriginal but still enjoyable romantic toast

Faster (R)

Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino

Director: George Tillman Jr.

  • For some reason, the TV ads for this formulaic action-adventure shifted from identifying the star as Dwayne Johnson to “The Rock” Johnson but his label in the film is “Driver,” and the just released former convict is bent on revenge. As single-minded as a bulllet. Driver meets (and dispatches) a diverse collection of odd-ball characters on his quest and even makes a stop in a tent-church for a glimpse of religiosity in what is essentially one kill followed by another.

2 pieces of let’s shoot another bad guy and pretend we are good toast

The Nutcracker in 3D (NR)
Starring: Hunyadi Aron, Pepe Balderrama, Jonathan Coyne, Frances de la Tour, Fernanda Dorogi
Director: Andrey Konchalovskiy
Cruelly disguised as the familiar fairy tale, this misguided film is actually a warped retelling of the Holocaust with the rat king’s jack-booted army tossing children’s dolls and toys into blast furnaces. WARNING! Do not take children to see this film!
Minus 4 pieces of toast (the first time I have ever given this rating)

127 Hours (R)

Starring: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Treat Williams, Clemence Poesy
Director: Danny Boyle
A gonzo rock climber falls into a claustrophobic crevasse whith his arm pinned down by a huge boulder. Despairing of being rescue, his only option is to use his Swiss Army knife to cut off his arm. (P.S. Not for the squeemish, the arm in the movie is prosthetic, but it looks real).
3  pieces of nail-biting, one-armed toast

Fair Game (PG-13)
Stars: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Noah Emmerich, Sam Shepard, Bruce McGill, David Andrews, Tim Griffin, Adam LeFevre
Director: Doug Liman

In a story that made newspaper headlines, the cover is publicly blown for CIA agent Valerie Plame, who just happens to be married casino online to the former US Ambassador Joe Wilson. Seen by many as a target of the Bush White House because her husband was questioning the “real” reasons for the invasion of Iraq, the film is very good until the last ten minutes when we are  beaten over the head by how evil it is when a government throws its own operative to the wolves for political points. As if we couldn’t figure that out for ourselves.

2 and 1/2 pieces of well-acted toast

  • NEW ON DVD

The Expendables (R)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Charisma Carpenter, Eric Roberts, Giselle Itie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gary Daniels
Director: Sylvester Stallone
I guess the title “The Over the Hill Gang” was already taken, but this guts-and gore-filled movie mayhem is about retired (aka, ancient) mercenaries who still know how to hoist a hundred pound machine gun and fire a thousand rounds from the hip. Problem is, the good guys are just as bad as the bad guys (or is that the bad guys are just as bad as the good guys? Take your pick.
P.S. A former San Diego Chargers cheerleader also stars…guess why?)
1 and 1/2 pieces of creaky-joints toast

Eat, Pray, Love (PG-13)
Starring: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins
Director: Ryan Murphy
Elizabeth Gilbert’s escapist bestseller about a New York woman who decides her life is meaningless so she gets a divorce and heads to Italy, India and Balli to eat a lot, pray a lot, and sample attractive men seems perfect as a Julia Roberts vehicle but…
When reading a book, the reader can populate the story with her own ideas of beautiful food, beautiful men, and spiritual awakenings but in a movie…
Short scenes of Julia Roberts chanting in Lotus position isn’t spiritual enough, the food was more appetizing in “Julie and Julia,” and the sex? Lets just say that the director is from the TV show “Glee” and his idea of a sexy scene is decidedly PG-13.
1 and 1/2 pieces of read the book instead toast