Gil Mansergh’s CINEMA TOAST

New Releases 12/10/10

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG)
Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter
Director: Michael Apted
The Pevensie kids (plus cousin Eustace) are off to Narnia again through the simple device of a marine painting that spouts water into a room and plunks them on the deck of a sailing ship. 3-D has been slapped on in an attempt to raise theater revenues, but obvious cost-cutting measures show onscreen. Repeatedly, the intrepid cast stands shoulder-to-shoulder to face an enemy looking like they are the second-string cast of a Renaissance Faire wearing costumes made for larger actors. Rumors are this may be the last of the series—it all depends on the box office.
2 and 1/2 pieces of not up to Harry Potter standards toast

The Tourist (PG-13)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
It sounds like a good idea—put two box office stars together and cast him against type as a junior college math teacher and her as a female James Bond and hire the German director whose film about domestic spying in Cold War Berlin won the Best Foreign Language Oscar and give them a “North By Northwest” style script and you get… a complete disaster. It’s as formulaic as they come, with speedboat races, explosions, gunfights, car chases and bedroom scenes clicked off like they were llisted on a clipboard. At least it lets us know Rufus Sewell is still alive and well.
1 piece of a should have been released in the February doldrums toast

Tamara Drew (R)
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Luke Evans, Roger Allum, Dominic Cooper
Director: Stephen Frears
Writers’ retreats are ripe and ready for farcical films, and this one, set in the English countryside “far from the madding crowd,” updates Thomas Hardy in ribald fashion. It seems that a nosejob has done wonders for the physical appearance (and sex life) of a young woman returning to her hometown as a successful writer. The others at the retreat are perfect foils in this comedy/drama that ends with every bad guy getting their just deserts and the good guys reaping the rewards.
3 and 1/2 pieces of you don’t have to be an English Lit major to enjoy this toast
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (R )
Director: Alex Gibney
There is something Shakespearean in the rise and fall of the married New York Governor who admittedly paid for the services of high-priced call girls. “I did what I did, and shame on me,” he tells the press. But the real story isn’t in the bedrooms, it’s in the boardrooms of NY Stock Exchange members aiming to shoot Spitzer down from his perch after he goes after the people behind the “Inside Job” that caused the economic collapse of 2008.
3 pieces of sex, lies and tickertape toast


Inception (PG-13)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard
Director: Christopher Nolan
You will either have to play very close attention to this movie, or see it again because the strong cast of international stars, the writer/director from “Memento” and “The Dark Knight,” the music of Hans Zimmer, the cinematography of Wally Pfister and the stunning special effects and visuals combine to make it fresh and exciting. In this future, ideas can be extracted from people while they sleep, but a Japanese businessman wants to reverse the process and implant an idea in a rival’s mind.  He recruits a team with the promise that they can return to their home country and family again.  Philip K. Dick would have loved this.
4 pieces of moveable future toast

Shrek Forever After (PG)
Starring: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Jane Lynch, Eddie Murphy
Director: Mike Mitchell
OK it’s no Shrek 2, but thankfully it’s no Shrek 3 either. It’s a little bit like seeing “whatever happened to?” shows on TV where young movie stars are old and very out of shape‑but that’s the set up as a feeling-left-out dad named Shrek asks Rumpelstiltskin to help and ends up in an “It’s a Wonderful Life” version of his past where wicked witches rule and Fiona hasn’t even met Shrek. And the Donkey? Well let’s just say he’s not as bloated as Puss-In-Boots.
3 pieces of I still like Shrek toast

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (PG-13)
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Director: David Slade
Falling into the problem besetting all book-based sequels, there’s too much crammed into the third film so that all of Stephanie Myers fans will be happy. Nothing was left out, but the rest of us are just  boreed waiting for a final confrontation that is ordinary at best.  The bare-chested, homo-erotic sub text between Jacob and Edward isn’t explored, and Bella remains a technical virgin.
2 pieces of vampires and werewolves in Seattle toast

Get Low (PG-13)
Starring: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Lucas Black
Director: Aaron Schneider
Southern eccentrics are Robert Duvall’s forte, and he nails another one playing a secretive Tennessee hermit (and folk hero) who spends all his money giving himself a heck of a funeral party—while he’s still alive. Bill Murray (as the unwilling undertaker), and everyone else involved is low key and top notch.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Duvall can do no wrong toast