Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 11/18/11
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part One (R)
Starring: Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Directed by: Bill Condon
People too young to remember Mia Farrow’s pregnancy in “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), may have a difficult time with the labor pains in this film. Finally married, Bella chooses to remain human for the wedding night and ends up with a very hungry vampire-child inside her. Kristen Stewart does a lot more than just bite her lower lip this time around. Except for the astounding lack of acting skills from the Quilett werewolves (guys who were obviously hired for their bulging muscles), and cheesy CG effects, this part of the franchise offers a few surprises and some genuine emotion.
3 pieces of fans will still flock to see this toast
Happy Feet Two (PG)
Starring the voices of: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Alecia “Pink” Moore, Hank Azaria, Matt Damon
Directed by: George Miller
Lacking most of the good-natured humor and pretty good storytelling of the original “penguin who likes to dance” movie, this film seems like it was defrosted in the microwave and forgotten for a week. Stressing interspecies cooperation, a Norwegian puffin sets himself up as Sven, a self-help guru determined to fleece penguins into believing they can fly, while talking krill (the bottom of the food chain) desire to be whale food, Mumbles (our star). is a daddy so he inexplicably runs off to join the Adelie penguins, who for some reason, have Latino accents. Did I say inexplicably? The real reason is that the randy Adelie penguin named Ramon is voiced by Robin Williams, and he offers the movie’s only real funny bits.
1 and 1/2 pieces of fast frozen toast
Like Crazy (PG-13)
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by: Drake Doremus
Based upon bits of life experienced by the director, the tale is that an American furniture maker and a British writer meet at an LA college, make some hasty, love-fueled choices, and then end up separated by logistics. The result is a tour of a long-distance relationship with actors improvising many of the lines from situations suggested by the director. Fresh, inventive and quite real, this film won the Grand Jury prize for the film and a Special Jury prize for Felicity Jones at Sundance.
3 and 1/2 pieces of romantic love can conquer all toast
NEW ON DVD
Larry Crowne (PG-13)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, George Takei, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valdarrama
Directed by: Tom Hanks
The fickle finger of fate has selected Larry Crowne for the three BIG D’s—Divorce, Downsizing, and Default and he can’t do anything about it—except by going back to school. I liked how Larry spent little time wallowing in his fate. He collects information, considers his options, and then makes decisions and acts on them. For example, when he notices that a motor scooter fills up at the gas station for under four dollars, and his SUV guzzles over $75 for a fill up, Larry haggles for the nifty scooter Lamar has for sale.
In a true transformation, the scooter not only saves Larry a lot of cash, it also opens up the whole new world of pocket chains, Feng-Shui, hip haircuts, groovy threads, and a vivacious group of young people who teach a middle-aged man almost as much as his Community College classes do.
3 pieces of nice and corny toast
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, Christopher Plummer, Goran Visnjic
Directed by: Mike Mills
Don’t let the premise of this film scare you away. A graphic artist reconnects with his father soon after his mother’s death, when he learns
1.) His 75-year-old father has cancer and will die soon.
2.) His father is gay.
3.) His father has a new, much younger, lover.
The director wrote the screenplay based on his own father’s late life revelations, and he cleverly uses photo montages and flashbacks to let us get to know the father and son over the years. It’s very well done, and Christopher Plummer’s Oscar-worthy performance makes it thoroughly enjoyable.
3 and 1/2 pieces of out-of-the-closet late-in-life toast