Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 2/25/11
Rango (PG)
Starring the voices of: Jonny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
The man who directed Johnny Depp in the three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, creates an animated spaghetti western landscape (the Nevada desert), filled with bug-eyed monsters (chameleons and other reptiles) riding feathered steeds (roadrunners and other desert birds) while wearing cowboy garb and six-guns. Unlike anything I have seen or imagined, and filled with humor directed at adults (but, not what is called adult humor) the story is about a pet lizard who is dumped into a desert town populated by indigenous reptilian, mammalian, avian and arachnid denizens of the desert and quickly has a sheriff’s tin star pinned to his vest. Strange, bizarre delightful, surreal, and occasionally brilliant (like the galloping posse ride accompanied by banjos playing Wagnerian opera), I loved it.
3 and 1/2 pieces of now for something completely different toast

Take Me Home Tonight (R)
Starring: Dan Fogler, Topher Grace, Anna Farris, Teresa Palmer
Directed by: Michael Dowse
The 80’s rock soundtrack and the older Topher Grace lead me to believe that this was going to be an R-rated “That 70’s Show,” but instead, it is a familiar retread of raunchy material from other, much funnier films. The year is 1988, and Grace plays a recent MIT graduate without a clue about what to do next, so he moves back with his California parents and works in a video store. Sound familiar? Just under lethal quantities of alcohol result in a series of sexual encounters, misadventures and embarrassing situations supposedly redeemed at the end by sudden sincerity.
1 and 1/2 pieces of another raunchy comedy that misses the mark toast

Tha Adjustment Bureau (PG-13)
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily llunt, Anthony Mackie, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Directed by: George Nolfi
This week’s film about paranoia, starts with a story by Philip K. Dick combining science fiction with a mushy, love-at-first-sight romance. Our protagonist is a Senate candidate who meets the girl of his dreams in a hotel men’s room because, we believe, she crashed a wedding and is hiding from hotel security. In reality, this meeting was organized by two fedora and top coat wearing guys who know what the future will bring. Their next assignment is to make sure our hero never sees the girl again. Top notch performances and great direction allow us to forget the logical plot questions that haunt the back of our brains and allow us to enjoy the ride.
3 pieces of Philip K. Dick-style toast

Nora’s Will (NR)
Starring: Fernando Lujan, Ari Brickman, Veronica Langer
Directed by: Cecelia Suarez
After many failed attempts, a woman successfully kills herself, but even after her death, her family and friends are still under her control. A dispute over Jewish law delays her burial, so she is wrapped in a shroud, iced, and stored on the bedroom floor for a few days. She has also left a will, and this dark comedy parses out bits and pieces of her requests and bequests in a farcical manner.
3 pieces of Mexican made toast

Carlos (NR)
Starring: Edgar Ramirez, Alexander Scheer, Alejandro Arroyo,Juana Acosta
Directed by: Olivier Assayas
Five and a half hours long, and shown in two parts, this epic film about the Argentine-born, Marxist terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is the centerpiece of the Rialto Cinemas Film Festival. Screened at the 6th Street Playhouse on March 8th, the film begins with a bang (a 1973 car bombing in Paris) and ends with a fat, sick old man standing alone and naked in front of a mirror. With the freedom allowed from being made as a three-part miniseries for French TV,  director Olivier Assayas shows Carlos’ murders, bombings, kidnappings and hostage takings with as much detail as his sexual conquests—including his marriage to the Beider-Meinhoff revolutionary Magdalena Kopp.
3 and 1/2 pieces of truly epic toast


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

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 Gyllenhall, Oliverr 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, Olivier Jackson-Cohen, Carla Guigno

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