Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 4/01/11

Source Code (PG-13)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhall, Vera Farmiga, Michael Arden, Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Duncan Jones
This week’s physics-bending, paranoid thriller starts aboard a Chicago-bound commuter train a few minutes before it is destroyed by a terrorist bomb. A passenger wakes up surprised to be onboard and becomes agitated and confused when a beautiful stranger starts talking to him like she has known him a long time. It seems he has volunteered for a military experiment where he can go back in time and replace someone for the last eight minutes of their life. He has replaced the terrorist, and like “Groundhog Day” he keeps going back over and over again until the outcome is a positive one. The woman, however, is a complication. He falls in love with her and wants to save her life which may mess up other things in the future.
3 pieces of the laws of physics don’t apply toast

Hop (PG)
Starring: James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Elizabeth Perkins
and the Voices of: Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie
Directed by: Xavier Beauvois
Apparently, the Easter Bunny is British (at least he speaks with a British accent). It’s also time for his retirement, and the passing of the baskets to the younger generation, but the plot isn’t important here. Instead, the folks who brought us the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies where live actors interact with animated animals, go through the motions once again. It’s just 89 minutes of babysitting time filled with jokes that occasionally manage to be funny (but most often aren’t).
1 and 1/2 pieces of this bunny poops jelly beans! toast

Win Win (R)
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Adams, Alex Shaffer, Burt Young
Directed by: Thomas McCarthy
New Jersey attorney Mike Flaherty pockets $1500 extra each month by violating his fiduciary duty to an elderly man. So when the man’s teenaged grandson appears at Mike’s door, he figures its only fair to let the guy move in. Turns out the kid is a whiz of a wrestler, and Mike coaches the high school wrestling team. Victories on the mat go hand in hand with mistakes off the mat as this slice-of-life movie engages us with its low-key humor and heart.
3 pieces of Giamatti is perfect in this toast

Insidious (PG-13)
Starring: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannel
Directed by: James Wan
“Heavy and Weird” is how Rose Byrne describes the haunted house movie “Insidious.” Soon after a family moves into an old house, the eldest son falls into a medically unexplainable coma, bloody handprints appear on sheets, ghostlike figures appear in doorways, and everything in the house creaks, groans and squeaks. So whaddayagoanna do but call some goofy ghostbusters to ratchet up the humor level?
3 pieces of pieces of almost bloodless horror movie toast


Tangled (PG)

Starring the voices of: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman

Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

The classic Grimm Brothers fairy tale has been updated by Disney in their 50th animated feature film. The girl with the long blonde tresses has been locked away in a remote stone tower since she was a baby and is discovered by a travelling rogue. Comic antics and several songs follow.. Even though John Lassiter’s Pixar sensibilities can’t overcome the classic Disney formula) a feisty, doe-eyed heroine, a memorable villain, and a generically forgettable hero) it’s still good family fun.

3 pieces of Disney animation 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

Fair Game (PG-13)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Noah Emmerich, Sam Shepard, Bruce McGill, David Andrews, Tim Griffin, Adam LeFevre
Director: Doug Liman
In a story that made newspaper headlines, the cover is publicly blown for CIA agent Valerie Plame, who just happens to be married to the former US Ambassador Joe Wilson. Seen by many as a target of the Bush White House because her husband was questioning the “real” reasons for the invasion of Iraq, the film is very good until the last ten minutes when we are  beaten over the head by how evil it is when a government throws its own operative to the wolves for political points. As if we couldn’t figure that out for ourselves.
2 and 1/2 pieces of well-acted toast

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