Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
NOTE: To capture audiences, studios released films on Wednesday the 22nd and on Christmas Day too.
True Grit (PG-13)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Hailee Steinfeld
Directed by: Ethan & Joel Coen
John Wayne earned an Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in the original 1969 version of this tale. Now the Coen brothers hand-pick the comic, ironic and most violent parts of the Charles Portis novel and plunk Jeff Bridges in Rooster’s well-worn saddle and let-out jeans. The story is one of revenge, as a 14-year-old girl hires a worn-out lawman to track down her father’s murderer but it is the combination of mood, style, and honesty that mark this film as outstanding.
4 pieces of Coen Brothers Toast
Little Fockers (PG-13)
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner
Directed By: Paul Weitz
The young couple from the hits “Meet the Fockers,” and “Meet the Parents” get lots of unsolicited advice from her father on how to raise their mischievious son. Laughter is supposed to follow, but the studio hasn’t shown this to film to critics, which is not a good sign.
Unavailable for screening
Made in Dagenham (R )
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Jamie Winstone, Miranda Richardson, Bob Hoskins
Directed by: Nigel Cole
In what turned out to be a world-altering event, in 1968, the female workers at the Ford assembly plant in Dagenham, England went on strike for equal pay for equal work. What starts as a simple protest, escalates into a battle of labor vs management, women vs men, wives vs. husbands and England’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson vs. the electorate. Playing like a cross between “Norma Ray,” and “The Full Monty,” this British import educates and enlightens while it entertains.
3 pieces of us vs. them toast
Gulliver’s Travels (PG-13)
Starring: Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Billy Connelly, Amanda Peet
Directed by: Rob Letterman
An aspiring travel writer heads off to the Bermuda Triangle and ends up on the shores of Lilliput, where its 6-inch-high inhabitants first tie the guy up and then have him be a match-maker for the king’s daughter. Except for the title and big guy/little-people concept, little of the classic Jonathan Swift satire remains and the studios are so afraid of the result that they won’t show the film to critics.
Unavailable for screening
The King’s Speech (R )
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall
Directed by: Tom Hooper
The shy and stuttering Duke of York never online casino expected to be crowned King of England, but when his brother abdicates to marry an American divorcee, that’s exactly what happens. Like some really good reality TV show, this film shows us not only the glitz and glamour of the royals, but the behind closed doors reality of the pressures and challenges of facing down Hitler’s rapidly rising Nazis. The King’s secret weapon is a commoner—a failed actor hired to make George VI lose his stutter and give a sepech that will unite a nation in this time of crisis. Brilliant all around, “The King’s Speech” has been nominated for dozens of awards.
4 pieces of stiff upper lip toast
NEW ON DVD
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andre Braugher
Director: Phillip Noyce
Remembered as the Australian director who brought us “The Quiet American” and “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” Noyce also did the Jack Ryan films with Harrison Ford (“Clear and Present Danger,” and “Patriot Games)”, so he’s in his element. Originally green-lit for Tom Cruise, the hero became a heroine, so now, the CIA officer is called Evelyn Salt (Jolie) who is outed as a Russian sleeper agent, (Gasp, Russian sleeper agents in the USA!). Despite the sex-change, the violence directed at the hero remains just as brutal (i.e. when Salt is “interrogated” by North Koreans). Forget reality, this is a popcorn movie and, if you can accept the unisex violence, and don’t mind killing brain cells for a couple hours, it’s exactly what you expect.
3 pieces of take this with a huge grain of salt toast
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (PG-13)
Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Frank Langella, Carey Mulligan
Director: Oliver Stone
The financial meltdown should be a perfect foil for Oliver Stone in this update of his original “Wall Street.” As Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas valiantly tries to sell his book and tries to make us believe that greed is still good, and Shia LeBeouf as Jacob Moore, is the Street’s latest whiz-kid. But halfway through, after meeting various set-piece characters (including Gekko’s estranged daughter who coincidentally happens to be Jacob’s girlfriend), what should have been an interesting film about the NINJA generation (no income, no job, no assets), morfs into uninteresting.
2 pieces of tired and worn out toast
Step Up 3-D (PG-13)
Starring: Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stone
Director: Jon Chu
The third installment in the star-making urban dancing series includes holdovers from episode 2, and some fresh faces who look like they were plucked from wherever because they are specialists in their particular dance style (break dancing, mechanical movement, hip-hop, etc.). There’s a shift of scenery as the dancers emigrate to the Big Apple from Baltimore but other than that, it’s formulaic, as each dancer competes with or for another’s affection, appreciation or partnership.
3 pieces of Disneyfied dancing toast
Easy A (PG-13)
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd
Director: Will Gluck
Brainy, funny and pretty under those glasses and greasy hairdo, Olive Penderghast lies about losing her virginity with a mythical college man and ends up wearing the proverbial scarlet letter on her high school sweater. A parade of virginal (or gay) guys ask Olive for a date so they can claim to be former-virgins too.
3 pieces of the first half works better than the second half toast