Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

NOTE: A handful of of 3 and 1/2 and 4 pieces of toast films from last week have been held over because of a strong response from local audiences. This includes: 

The Muppets (4 pieces of it’s not easy being green toast)

Hugo (3 and 1/2 pieces of more enjoyable in 2-D toast) 

Arthur Christmas (3 and 1/2 pieces of claymation Christmas toast)

The Descendents (3 and 1/2 pieces of Oscar-bound toast)

My Week With Marilyn (3 and 1/2 pieces of an Oscar nod to Michelle Williams toast).

 

New Releases for 12/02/11

Mozart’s Sister (PG)

Starring: Marie Feret, Lisa Feret, Clovis Fouin, David Morea
Directed by: Rene Feret
The director has cast his two young daughters in a dreamlike, what-if tale of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s older sister, Anna Maria. Born five years apart, the two precocious prodigies were paraded around the courts of Europe by their father like flesh-and-blood wind-up toys. Filmed through guaze as an 18th-century reality show, we are taken behind the scenes where the youngsters literally let down their hair. When they are forced to reside for a time near the court of France’s King Louis XV, the two are befriended by the king’s three daughters, and eventually, the recently widowed heir apparent, the Dauphin (an adolscent here, but 25 years older than Ana Maria in real life). Bi-sexual adolescent sexuality and religious passion are intertwined, but ambiguously enough that the film has a PG rating.
2 and 1/2  pieces of pretty fuzzy history toast

 

Pastorela (R)
Starring: Jaquin Cosio, Carlos Cabos, Ana Seradilla
Directed by: Emelio Portas
I haven’t seen this Mexican import about a fellow who loses his traditional part playing the devil in his town’s Nativity Play, when the church gets a new priest., but I am wary of films that list an actor in the credits who plays God.
Not available for preview 

 

NEW ON DVD

Friends With Benefits (R)
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Shaun White
Directed by: Will Gluck
In case you didn’t know it, there is an ongoing battle between the NYC types and the LA types. Maybe it started with the Yankees vs Dodgers cross- town feud before one of those baseball teams moved west. Maybe it began even earlier when the movie studios left the bad weather in New York and New Jersey for sunny Hollywood. Whatever. When an intelligent and pretty NY headhunter recruits a quick-witted and handsome LA magazine editor for GQ Magazine, sparks fly. In an updated version of the great chemistry of Bogart/Bacall or Tracy/Hepburn, the two become friends—with benefits (meaning SEX). The only condition, no emotions are allowed, and the LOVE word must never be mentioned. But underneath it all is the constant challenges to the laid-back LA guy trying to fit into the fast-tracked NYC lifestyle. Great fun, and sexy too.
3 and 1/2 pieces of sexy in the city toast

The Smurfs (PG)
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and the voices of: George Lopez, Jonathan Winters, Paula Kay Perry, Katy Perry, Fred Amison
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
I actually thought Jonathan Winters had died years ago, but he voices Papa Smurf and joins the other blueberry-hued critters Grouchy and Brainy and the unnamed Smurfette in a 3-D driven homage to a kinder gentler time before the Smurfs had to contend with this weak script and some over-acting humans. Wait for the video, then let the kids watch it without you. You won’t miss a thing, but will gain an hour and 42 minutes of time to do something for your soul.
1 and 1/2 pieces of uninspired but generally sweet toast

Our Idiot Brother  (R)  
Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer
Directed by: Jesse Peretz
Sofas play important roles as the places where slacker-brother Ned spends his days. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer (he sells pot to a uniformed cop), his existence has been a constant source of friction to his three sisters.     We are, I guess, supposed to like the lost-puppyness of the guy, and dislike the increasingly selfish sisters, but in reality, you don’t care about any of the characters very much and might want to wait for the video (or just skip it altogether).
1 and 1/2 pieces of the brother as shlub toast 
One Day (PG-13)
Starring: Ann Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Tom Arnold
Directed by: Lone Scherfig
The set up is that two college friends find themselves sharing a bed graduation night, and spend the time talking into the wee hours of the morning. They wonder where  they will be, what they will be doing and who they will be with 40 years later, and promise to check in every few years. The audience is helplessly dragged through the ups and downs of the next 18 years, until his multiple affairs and her crying alone in bed at night settles into a depressing sameness. We expect the couple to eventually spark onscreen and discover that what they are searching for is their long-term college chum, but the sparks never fly and the ending is unbelievable.
1 and 1/2 pieces of spark-free toast