Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 3/11/11

Reminder: Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is next weekend

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is March 18-20.
Great films, great parties, great chance to meet filmmakers.sebastopolfilmfestival.org
4 pieces of cool film festival toast

Mars Needs Moms (PG)
Starring the voices of: Seth Green, Joan Cusak, Dan Fogler
Directed by: Simon Wells
Although Seth Green spoke his lines while wearing the motion-capture suit this style of filmmaking requires, the powers that be decided Green didn’t sound young enough, so they have replaced his voice with those from a child actor. This is all explained in the “during the credits” bits at the end of the film. You see, the motion-capture suits allow for computer-generated rotoscoping so that everyone has that creepy, cadaver look that the Tom Hanks’ character had in “Polar Express.” The story revolves around a what happens to a boy who does’t like broccoli when he wishes he didn’t have a mom and then watches in disbelief as a spaceship beams her up to be relocated on Mars. It overflows with heart, but lacks wit and laughter.
2 pieces of it’s just OK toast
Little Red Riding Hood (PG-13)
Starring: Amanda Seyfried,Gary Oldman, Julie Christie, Virginia Madsen
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
There are ten minutes of really good movie in this 99 minute film. This shows that with a little more time and effort, the filmmakers could have really done something special with their semi-plausible retelling of the classic fairy tale. Instead we are left with a realization that Neil Jordan’s “The Company of Wolves”  and last year’s Swedish import “Let the Right One In,” are in an entirely different league.
1 and 1/2 pieces of too grim a fairy tale toast


Battle Los Angeles (PG-13
Starring: Aaron Eckhardt, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Pena, Bridget Moynihan
Directed by: Jonathan  Liebesman
Aaron Eckhart is doing the talk show circuit to tell everyone that space aliens that invade Los Angeles don’t have a chance against a bunch of U.S. Marines. Of course, anyone who saw “Starship Troopers” knows the truth—those multi-podal insectoids can kick a… So, the body count goes higher and higher, and the audience tries not to notice that LA  the city looks more like LA the state (where this was filmed) until Michelle Rodriguez arrives to save humanityl.
2 pieces of where’s the wit? toast


I Love You Phillip Morris (R)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John Recqua
Those of us old enough to remember the TV cigarette ads where a short statured hotel bellman put his hand to his mouth and yelled “Calling Philip Morris,” will be surprised to learn this film has nothing to do with cigarettes. Instead, it stars Jim Carrey as a recently “out of the closet” fellow who who discovers “being gay is expensive.” So he becomes a con-man to support his new lifestyle, and eventually, the  lifestyle of the lover he first meets in prison.That man, played disarmingly by Ewan McGregor, is named Phillip Morris. See, it all finally makes sense.
3 pieces of Carrey and McGregor are great in this toast


All Good Things (R)
Starring: Ryan Gossling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella
Directed by: Andrew Jarecki
Since the title is only the first half of the well known proverb, the audience knows things are too good to be true in the set up for this film based on a real-life murder case. There’s this shaggy-haired young man, a pretty woman, and a chilly father-in-law with an agenda that even a jury couldn’t figure out. Documentary filmmaker (“Capturing the Friedmans”) Jarecki,  brings his “less is more” sensibilities to the director’s chair and it works well—very, very well.
3 and 1/2 pieces of well done toast


NEW ON DVD

Inside Job (PG-13)
Narrated  by: Matt Damon
Directed by: Charles Ferguson
It doesn’t matter if learning about derivatives intrigues your or bores you to death, this entertaining (yes I mean that) analysis of the economic meltdown stacked with charts, graphs, and mega amounts of information is still fueled with a passionate anger and ability to turn over some rocks and let whatever comes to light scurry for cover or turn around and baldly say “So what, We win.”
3 1/2 pieces of economics with a passion toast


(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (PG-13)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdamas, Diane Keaton
Directed by: Roger Michell
To those of us old enough to remember Ed Asner as Mary Tyler Moore’s boss in a fictional TV studio, all of this will seem overly familiar. But for younger audiences (and I don’t mean those in elementary school), this film tries so hard to be funny they may like it. Harrison Ford is the old curmudgeon newscaster and Rachel McAdams the bubbly young producer stuck in a story about a dying industry where nobody onscreen seems to know that sobering fact.
2 pieces of seen it before and better toast

The Next Three Days (R)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ellizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Russell Crowe looks drained and strained throughout the remake of this French film focusing on a distraught husband fed up with being a celibate, single tfather and so he decides to break his wife out of prison for a murder she did not commit, It is solidly directed, and well acted be all concerned, if only the intelligent members of the audience could stop asking “Why?”

2 and 1/2 pieces of crime she did not commit toast