Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 4/29/11
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (PG-13)
Starring: Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs, Peter Stormare
Directed by: Kevin Munroe
Based upon a 1986 Italian comic book, a New Orleans-based paranormal investigator and his undead assistant load their weapons with silver and wood-tipped bullets to battle the nightmarish creatures who populate the dark and damp back alleyways of the French Quarter.
Unavailable for preview, but online fans of the comic book hate it
Starring: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Siu Yin Chang, De’Vaughn Nixon
Directed by: Joel Nussbaum
Do dewy-eyed girls still dream of prom dresses and teen age rebels still style their hair and ride motorcycles? They do in this Disneyfied version of a high school rite of passage. Everyone has perfect skin, smiles while reciting jokes that aren’t funny and prances around like they were in a stage production at one of the firm’s amusement parks. It’s as lame as the “Starry Night” prom theme.
1 and 1/2 pieces of A Disney Channel TV special toast
Fast Five (PG-13)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jordana Brewster
Directed by: Justin Lin
If you like fast cars, pretty girls, macho men, smoking tires, car chases (and crashes) that defy the laws of physics, and a script peppered with one-liners, then this is the biggest, baddest, most outlandishly satisfying movie ever made. We know the characters from other car-crash movies, and here, each of their individual quirks are exaggerated as though they were characters in a Kabuki play. The audience is in on the joke, and the ratcheting up of one impossible crash into an even more impossible one is part of the testosterone-fueled fun.
3 pieces of guilty pleasure toast
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil (PG)
Starring the voices of: Hayden Panttiere, Patrick Warburton, David Ogden Stiers, Glenn Close, Martin Short, Amy Poehler, Andy Dick
Directed by: Mike Disa
I liked a few parts of the 2005 original retelling of the Red Riding Hood story but I hate this blandly-written and deadly dull sequel. The talented comedy writers who lend their voices to this project must have cashed their checks quickly while thinking how they could have written a much funnier film. Instead, they were saddled with Tony Leech’s screenplay, and the audience suffers from its lack of originality or single shred of humor.
1/2 piece of please take your kids to the park instead of sentencing them to 94 minutes of this dreck toast
Bill Cunningham: New York (NR)
Starring: Bill Cunnigham
Directed by: Richard Press
Bill Cunningham is 80+ years old, and he still loves clothes. He lives in an apartment with no TV, no kitchen, and a washroom down the hall and has never had a romantic attachment to anything other than the thousands of film negatives he keeps in innumerable file cabinets. Cunningham rides his bike taking shots of people on the streets of New York for the photo essays that appear every two weeks in the New York Times. He is a very private, enigmatic individual whose personality is revealed in these photo montages—as comfortable in the world of high fashion as he is with Manhattan working men and women, the homeless and other humans searching for something better. As for him, he doesn’t have time. His search is for more clothing to photograph.
.3 and 1/2 pieces of a glimpse at a unique artist toast
NEW ON DVD
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Dermot Mulroney, Donald Sutherland, Chaz Palmenteri, Denise Richards
Directed by: Dan Ireland
Based on a short story by E.L. Doctorow, this film did the film festival circuit in 2008 and then never really found a distributor. It follows the horrific sexual abuse that rains down on an artistically talented, freckle-faced, redheaded girl who marries young, is seduced by her husband’s uncle, is soon widowed, then exploited in prison, escapes only to prostitute herself, marries a heroin-addicted bigamist, leaves him to become a pole-dancing girlfriend of a Vegas gangster before finding a born again Christian to marry who is a closet sadist. Optimists will see Jolene as a Candide-like survivor who retains her sense of identity in her art, realists will see exploitive, soft-porn with a heroine who says: “Once you get going, it doesn’t matter who it is and what they’ve got —all you gotta do is close your eyes.” This movie kept making me close my eyes too.
1 piece of sexual exploitation disguised as “art” toast
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fannig,
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola’s films lack a beginning, middle and end. Instead, they show us bits of people’s lives. The focus in this darling of the Cannes Film Festival is a movie star completely disconnected from pleasure. He hires twin strippers to perform pole dances, but stares past their athletic activity to the empty wall behind them. HIs daughter comes for the visiting time negotiated in the divorce and despite a forced smile or two, the actor is still alone in the hotel room. It sounds depressing, but Coppola uses her personal experiences with celebrity to make it work.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Sofia Coppola style toast