Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases 12/17/10
The Fighter (R)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams
Directed by: David O. Russell
Mickey Ward, a boxer who can “take a punch,” is surrounded by Monday-morning-quarterbacks. His drug-fueled half brother, his frying pan wielding mother, his seven harping sisters and everyone in the bars and pool halls of Lowell, Massachusetts constantly offer advice on how he should have fought his last bout. But he meets this girl see…and Mickey’s brutal business and loveless lifestyle could change for the better. Oscar-worthy performances elevate this dark and depressing film to its “must see.” status.
3 and 1/2 pieces of brutal fighting toast
Tron Legacy (PG)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner
Director: Joseph Kosinski
A visual triumph with a familiar storyline, thanks to CG master Joseph Kozinzki, this film captures the same gee-whiz feeling of animated technology pushed to the brink that the original did 28 years ago. Geeks will love it, others will enjoy the ride, and the easily seen luminous pinstripes on the retro-futuristic uniforms and vehicles should be adopted immediately for safety reasons.
2 and 1/2 pieces of gee whiz animation toast
Yogi Bear (PG)
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh
Director: Eric Brevig
They did it with “Garfield” and “Scooby Do,” and they again foolishly combine animated 3-D versions of 2-D icons with live actors and backgrounds because……? I don’t have the slightest idea. Dan Aykroyd is only marginal as Yogi’s voice and Justin Timberlake was cast as Boo Boo because he “imitated various cartoon characters when I was younger.” If you’ve seen the TV ads, you’ve seen the funny bits. All seem to involve Yogi flying through the air and then smashing into something. Rent the original Hanna-Barbera cartoons instead.
1 and 1/2 pieces of only good for babysitting the kids toast
How Do You Know (PG-13)
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson
Director: James L. Brooks
A recently retired softball player is romantically involved with a nice guy and a cad, but since the nice guy is going to jail for something his father (Jack Nicholson) did, she’s stuck with the smiling womanizer. To keep things simple, let’s just say the words “It’s Bad?” should be added to the film’s title.
2 pieces of not really that interesting toast
Black Swan (R)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Director: Darren Aronofsky
If you, or someone you love, wore ballet slippers when they were young, and embraced the lurid bits in the original Grimm Brothers fairy tales, then this dark, and moody and Freudian-filled stage-door story is perfect. For like the wrestler in Aranofsky’s earlier critical success, the main characters shouldn’t be doing what they are doing‑but it is all they know and all they ever dreamed about. Lyrical and nightmarish at the same time, this is an intense psychological thriller designed to trigger the long-buried horrors of body image, eating disorders and obsessive mothers.
4 pieces of “en pointe” toast
NEW ON DVD
The Town (R)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner
Director: Ben Affleck
Bank robbery is a family business, and the current generation uses some techniques from watching CSI to avoid the lifetime prison sentence earned by their dad. Into this mix of brutal professionalism, comes a pretty bank teller, and a equally professional group of Feds. There is, of course, the “one last job” that heist pictures love, and it’s a corker.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Affleck-style toast
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hool (PG)
Starring: Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, David Wenham, Emily Barclay
Director: Zack Snyder
The studio “suits” reportedly told director Zack Snyder that his film was “too dark” and should be cute and humorous instead. As a result, new scenes were added and the film seems choppy and hastily put together. Of course a movie where all the characters look identical (except for some helmets or hip-boots) and where baby owlets are kidnapped and forced to collect “pellets” (which are the regurgitated balls of indigestible bones and fur from mice and other rodents), and pry the minute quantities of magical metal from these dried bits of scat, is a hard-sell at best. I for one, spent much of the movie wondering how the owls managed to put on the helmets and boots without hands.
2 pieces of beautiful 3-D flying sequences buried in a mish-mash of pellets toast
Exit Through The Gift Shop (R)
Starring: Banksy, Rhys Ifans, Thierry Guetta
Directed By: Banksy , Shepard Fairey
On the surface, this is the tale of an amateur French filmmaker who travels to the US to find and film a street-artist and then assembles a messy movie from his footage. So the street artist takes over the miles of outtakes, and makes a film attempting to answer the question “What is Art.” The result, which may be a documentary or may be a carefully constructed artistic hoax, is amazingly intriguing and comes as close as may be possible to answering the original question
4 pieces of you know art when you see it toast
Despicable Me (PG)
Starring the voices of: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Gru is the self -labelled “greatest criminal mind of the century” and this Addams Family style character has an audacious caper in mind—steal the moon. His nefarious deed requires that he adopt three small girls and use their cuteness for evil but….. Fresh and original, this animated 3-D tale has an ending that will dazzle and surprise you. Even I didn’t see it coming.
3 and 1/2 pieces of delightfully despicable toast