Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 5/13/11

Bridesmaids catches the bouquet, Meek’s Cutoff very strong

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (PG-13)
Starring: Morgan Spurlock, Ben Silverman, Brett Ratner,  Quentin Tarantino,  Ralph Nader
Directed by: Morgan Spurlock
Did you ever stop to wonder how the Flintstones could be drinking Pepsi tens of thousands of years before the aluminum can was invented? Or why James Bond drives a particular brand of car or flies on a particular airline?
The guy who got sicker and sicker eating only McDonalds meals for a month (and made a documentary about it), has set his eyes on the “dirty little secret” in Hollywood—product placement. The result is a sometimes funny, sometimes awkward, sometimes disingenuous movie about making a movie completely financed by and filled completely with product placements.
3 pieces of did Morgan sell out? toast

Bridesmaids (R)
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthyJill Clayburgh
Directed by: Paul Feig
Just when you thought the marriage comedy had died, this film comes along to prove how talent can set things right. Despite the trademark Judd Apatow scenes of grossness and ribaldry (Apatow is the producer), this is a sweet, slightly off-kilter view of the rite-of-passage of being a bridesmaid. Doomed to wear ill-fitting, unflattering outfits (so you won’t upstage the bride) and thrust together with a random group of women who happen to be friends or relatives of your friend (or relative), this film tells it like it is with a mixture of humor and honesty from the bridesmaids point-of-view. How refreshing.
3 and 1/2 pieces of here comes the bridesmaids toast

Meek’s Cutoff (PG)
Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano
Directed by: Kelly Reichardt
I can’t remember if Ward Bond ever reached California in TV’s old “Wagon Train” western, but at least he seemed to know which way to go. The crusty wagonmaster in this film hasn’t a clue and there’s nary a GPS system or map in sight. The three 1845 families in Conestoga wagons have finally realized how desperate their plight is when they encounter a Native American who obviously does know which trial leads to safety. So do they ask for advice or threaten to kill him? Loaded with the boredom, hard work and danger inherent in a real trek across the Oregon Trail, this journey is well worth taking.
3 and 1/2 pieces of “Wagons Ho!” toast


The Illusionist (PG)
Starring the voices of: Eildh Rankin, Jean-Claud Donda
Directed by: Sylvain Chomet
Hand-animated, with pointillist backgrounds of European cities and landscapes, and a script by the long-dead French actor/filmmaker Jacques Tati, this delightful, and melancholic movie is a throw back—perhaps the last of its kind. The story involves an itinerate stage magician whose profession is vanishing as quickly as the music halls where he used to perform. He begins traveling with an orphaned, teenage girl—a youngster more interested in what’s new than what used to be—and it is this dualistic view of  the world that adds poignancy to the questions “What is real?” and “What is important.”
4 pieces of nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar toast

Blue Valentine (R)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Originally given an NC-17 rating for its graphic sexuality, a 5-year-married couple checks into the “Futureworld” theme room of a sex motel to rekindle their earlier passion. Flashbacks revealing happier and more violent parts of their relationship as spouses and parents,  provides context to the muddled mess they are in today. Essantially a two-actor movie, Gosling and Williams create an improvised honesty that poignantly makes us wonder what her real life with the late Heath Ledger might have been.
3 and 1/2 pieces blue means sad toast

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (G)
Starring: Justin Bieber, Usher, Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith
Directed by: Jon Chu
The singing teen-age heart throb du jour appears to be a really nice guy in this “no warts at all” documentary leading up to Bieber’s sold out concert at Madison Square Garden. Fans wanting songs will be delighted, but anyone looking for something from the singer’s mouth that hasn’t been vetted by his image makers will be disappointed. The closest thing to a revelation is when the star-maker who signed Bieber after seeing him on YouTube video says he thought: “Wow. It’s the Macaulay Culkin of music.”
2 and 1/2 pieces of sing, sing a song toast