Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 10/07/11
The Ides of March (R)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giammati, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Directed by: George Clooney
This Democratic Presidential nominee and his handler can both be Mr. Cool, because of the sweat, blood and tears dripping behind the scenes by others. Big egos, big money, and big lies fuel the campaign, with dollops of sex and betrayal thrown in for good measure. It turns melodramatic in the third act, but all the Oscar-worthy acting makes up for it.
3 and 1/2 pieces of great ensemble acting toast
Real Steel (PG-13)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Anthony Mackie, Evangeline Lily
Directed by: Shawn Levy
In the not to distant future, robots populate professional boxing and wrestling rings, and an ex-boxer cobbles together an existence by rebuilding junked machines to fight again. Suddenly saddled with his biological son, the fighter must win the boy’s heart the only way he knows how—by building the biggest, baddest fighting robot ever seen. Although the writer/director of this film appears human in photos, the screenplay unfolds like it was constructed Lego-style by a computer, using scenes from previous fight movies.
2 pieces of rock-em, sock-em robots toast
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Harry Hopper, Schyler Fiske, Ryo Kase
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Since it’s my birthday today, I am officially old enough to remember Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in Hal Ashby’s 1971 cult classic “Harold and Maude.” That film about a funeral-obsessed young man and a woman who will die soon was poignant and coherent, “Restless” is anything but. Made in a pseudo-Indie-style for people who never discovered the TV show “Six Feet Under,” it’s too much artifice and not enough heart.
1 and 1/2 pieces of Hal Ashby is rolling over in his grave toast
NEW ON DVD
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
Starring: Craig Roberts, Yasmine online casino Page, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine
Directed by: Richard Ayoade
Wearing the dark-colored school uniforms de-rigeur, angst-filled Welsh teen-agers cope with their burgeoning sexuality (and that of their parents) in novel and anarchic ways. The girl is a pyromaniac, the boy’s life is made up of cliches learned from American TV shows, and the two of them have sex to cross it off their respective “To Do” lists. Reminiscent of other films (i.e. “Gregory’s Girl,” and “Rushmore”), this one still has a core all it’s own, and the parents, (played by Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) make it memorable.
3 pieces of of Welsh coming-of-age toast
Starring: Buck Brannaman
Directed by: Cindy Meehl
The real-life horse whisperer who served as consultant on Robert Redford’s 1998 movie by the same name, is featured in this documentary.. As shown onscreen, most often, horses are brutalized and literally “broken” in body and spirit by traditional “cowboy’ methods. I have a nephew who travelled the world learning how to train horses using “gentling” techniques similar to those Buck employs, and the results captured on film are truly amazing. Unfortunately, too many things are about than actually captured for the audience to see. This first-time director, could have used a more seasoned hand behind the camera and in the editing room.
2 pieces of interesting for the horsey set toast
African Cats (PG-13)
Narrated by: Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
Walt Disney transformed nature films when he told his editors that “all seals look alike” for his “Seal Island” film. So ever since, tales of animal “families” contain shots of different, but similar-looking animals. This same technique works with lions, so Mara the lion cub has stand-ins for some of her scenes. Loaded with amazingly photography, this 21st Century movie adroitly manages to put the reality of predation front and center while keeping a kid-friendly tone.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Kenyan cats toast