Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 4/08/11
Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner, Nick Nolte, Luis Guzman
Directed by: Jason Winer
Acting on the assumption that younger audiences don’t know who Dudley Moore was, and do know Russell Brand, Hollywood has made a remake of “Arthur,” the 1981 classic story of a pampered, billionaire who never really grew up. Remembered most for John Gielgud’s droll delievery of the line “I’ll alert the media,” when Arthur says he will take a bath, the butler has inexplicably been transformed into an older woman. The script stays annoyingly true to the original film while throwing some “updated” set pieces on screen. For example, Arthur dresses as Batman while his chauffeur is Robin, and the two race around the streets of Manhattan in their own Batmobile. (How much funnier it would have been if Arthur played Arthur, Batman’s butler). Another “update,” has Arthur grappling with his alcoholism—with the help of crude one-liners.
2 pieces of unoriginal remake toast
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Banna, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander
Directed by: Joe Wright
In an amalgamation of “Kick Ass,” “La Femme Nikita,”” “Run, Lola, Run,” and “Atanajurat—The Fast Runner,” a girl is home-schooled by her secret agent dad who teaches her to hunt, stay fit, and survive attacks in the remote wilderness of Finland (which, if you think about it, isn’t a wise choice of locations to eventually do battle against your arch-enemy in deserts and cityscapes). With her training complete, she is kidnapped by bad guys, only to escape, running, and then keep running from Morocco to Germany bent on revenge against the big, bad, Freudian mother-figure in business suits.
2 pieces of haven’t we seen a female assassin before? toast
Soul Surfer (PG)
Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Kerrie Underwood, Kevin Sorbo
Directed by: Sean McNamara
Bouyed by her faith, Bethany Hamilton is a rising star on the surfing circuit until a shark bites off her arm. Her life is saved through quick action by her dad and other surfers, but the prospect of “getting back on my board,” seem slim. However, a good doctor, a can-do attitude and prayer combine to turn the impossible into not only possible, but incredible.
3 pieces of one-armed surfer girl toast
No Eres Tu Soy Yo (PG-13)
Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Alejandra Barros, Martina Garcia
Directed by: Alejandro Springall
This film comes to the U.S. after earning last year’s biggest box office in its native Mexico. But, as anyone who has watched Mexican-TV shows knows, soap operas are very popular south of the border, and this story of a man devastated by the loss of his one true love who marries another and then regrets it, begins psychoanalysis and then regrets it, and has numerous affairs which are instantly regretted, is, at its heart, a big budget soap opera.
2 pieces of Mexican soap opera toast
Queen of the Sun (NR)
Starring: Michael Polan, Gunther Hauk, Vandana Shiva
Directed by: Taggart Siegel
Local Waldorf School families probably know that educator Rudolph Steiner predicted the collapse of honey-bee colonies over eighty years ago. Advocating bio-dynamic agriculture, Steiner paved the way for a world-wide organic movement in which honey-making pollinators form an essential role. While other recent bee-keeping documentaries (including the one shown at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival) focus on commercial beekeeping, this doc travels the globe to share 10,000 years of historic and sacred human/bee interactions while sounding the alarm bells.
3 pieces of global bee crisis toast
Starring: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel
Directed by: David Gordon Green
In addition to the fabulous “Monty Python’s Holy Grail,” there are a number of lesser-known British comedies made about the age of chivalry and filled with varying degees of frat-boy humor. Now the American stoners who brought us “Pineapple Express” have created a “Princess Bride” meets Cheech and Chong-inspired tale of armor-clad knights fueled by certain apothecary herbs. The result is an ill-conceived mish-mash of crude sexual jokes interspersed with monotony.
1 and 1/2 piece of skip this until you can watch at home, and then skip it again toast
I Am (NR)
Starring: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Like the character in his movie “Bruce Almighty,” this filmmaker headed on a spiritual quest after a personal crisis (a concussion-causing bicycle accident). The result is a sincere but uneven film propelled by a very personal search for the meaning of being. Treking to the tops of metaphorical mountains, Shadyac poses questions to wise men like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn but finds the closest thing to an answer from his own father.
2 pieces of new, new-age toast
NEW ON DVD
Tron Legacy (PG)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Bruce Boxleitner
Director Joseph Kosinski
A visual triumph with a familiar storyline, thanks to CG master Joseph Kozinski, this film captures the same gee-whiz feeling of animated technology pushed to the brink that the original did 28 years ago. Geeks will love it, others will enjoy the ride, and the easily seen luminous pinstripes on the retro-futuristic uniforms and vehicles should be adopted immediately for safety reasons.
2 and 1/2 pieces of gee whiz animation toast
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG)
Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter
Directed By: Michael Apted
The Pevensie kids (plus cousin Eustace) are off to Narnia again through the simple device of a marine painting that spouts water into a room and plunks them on the deck of a sailing ship. 3-D has been slapped on in an attempt to raise theater revenues, but obvious cost-cutting measures show onscreen. Repeatedly, the intrepid cast stands shoulder-to-shoulder to face an enemy looking like they are the second-string cast of a Renaissance Faire wearing costumes made for larger actors. Rumors are this may be the last of the series—it all depends on the box office.
2 and 1/2 pieces of not up to Harry Potter standards toast