Gil Mansergh’s CINEMA TOAST
New Releases 1/14/11
The Green Hornet (PG-13)
Starring: Seth Rogan, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson
Directed by: Michael Gondry
Filled with off-again-on-again, press releases, the back-story to this film would make a better movie than what finally ended up on the screen. Seth Rogan plays a playboy who becomes a caped crusader because his British father was insufferable, and Kato, his chauffeur is a marital arts barista whose thickly accented English is either profound, or indecipherable, or both.
1 and 1/2 pieces of “and you thought casting Michael Keaton as Batman was odd” toast
The Dilemma (PG-13)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly
Directed by: Ron Howard
I think this was supposed to be a buddy movie comedy, but when one of the guys discovers his best friend’s wife is having an affair—should he tell? Even if telling will mean the important project they are creating for Chrysler could be derailed? Ryder is so good as the wife, that the film should have been about her, but instead, we have a real dilemma: should we pay theater prices to watch this confused mess or wait a few months and use our remotes to fast forward past the slow, unfunny parts?
1 and 1/2 piece of a true dilemma toast
Blue Valentine (R)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Originally given an NC-17 rating for its graphic sexuality, a 5-year-married couple checks into the “Futureworld” theme room of a sex motel to rekindle their earlier passion. Flashbacks revealing happier and more violent parts of their relationship as spouses and parents, provides context to the muddled mess they are in today. Essantially a two-actor movie, Gosling and Williams create an improvised honesty that poignantly makes us wonder what her real life with the late Heath Ledger might have been.
3 and 1/2 pieces blue means sad toast
The Rabbit Hole (R)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Sandra Oh
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross would instantly recognize the alternative reactions the Corbetts have to the senseless accidental death of their four-year-old son. She is angry—lashing out when someone tries to offer consolation by suggesting: “God needed another angel.” He is in denial—still keeping a car seat strapped in the back of his car. She bakes and gardens obsessively. He tries to establish a connection with another woman in their support group. But by the end of the film, we know the couple is going to emerge from the rabbit hole and begin to live again.
3 pieces of strongly acted toast
NEW ON VIDEO/DVD
The Social Network (PG-13)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones
Directed by: David Fincher
Aaron Sorkin’s crisp (and often funny) dialogue sparks the events that coalesce into the development of a computer app we millions of users call Facebook. Although the real people involved call it fiction, the story of how a socially-inept, nerdy boy (And his friends) created a world-wide pehenomenon is cleverly juxtaposed between two court cases and flash backs to events seen from differing points of view. Did billionaire Mark Zuckerberg steal ideas and start up money from his friends like any good robber baron, or are his former associates just trying to hitch a ride on the gravy train?
4 pieces be sure to favorite Cinema Toast on your Facebook page toast
Touching Home (PG-13)
Starring: Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Ed Harris, Brad Dourif
Directed by: Logan Miller, Noah Miller
As chronicled in their bestselling book “Either You’re In Or You’re In the Way.” West Marin twins Logan and Noah Miller, bombed out in their baseball careers and decided instead to make a Hollywood movie. The very personal story written, directed, produced and starring the twins is about brothers who return home to touch base with their homeless, alcoholic father as they work at a rock quarry and save for a trip back to Arizona for another try at being professional baseball players. With every shot choreographed to save time and money, a fabulous cinematographer, careful casting of professional actors and locals, and bushels of guts and determination, the guys have made a really good movie. As I told them during a recent interview, “I’d change a few little things, but it’s strong—surprisingly powerful.” The story about a self destructive, loser of a dad and the kids who stick together against all odds should resonate with lots and lots of people.
3 and 1/2 pieces of no hot tubs in this Marin County story toast
Alpha and Omega (PG)
Starring the voices of: Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Danny Glover, Dennis Hopper
Directed by: Anthony Bell, Ben Gluck
Watching cartoon wolves drool in 3-D is not enough reason to see a movie, but that’s about all the filmmakers offer as this “lost without a script” film tries to steal some time and money from American families who should have better things to do with both. In the end, this tail of two wolves relocated from Canada to repopulate Idaho is only noteworthy because it contains Dennis Hopper’s last movie role (as the voice of Tony, the leader of a rival wolf pack).
1 piece of this sure isn’t a Pixar film toast