Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 2/17/12
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence (PG-13)
Starring: Nicolas Cage Idris Elba, Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placidio
Directed by: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Nic Cage wont allow his films to be screened for critics, but this is a reprise of his cursed Johnny Blaze character—a motorcycle guy with such bad breath, he literally melts his enemies away. The idea is that by teaming up with the Devil’s monks, (robes, not fur) Johnny will free himself from the curse. Not likely, if this thing makes a dime more than it cost to produce.
Not available for preview
This Means War (PG-13)
Starring: Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy
Directed by: McG
Two male CIA operatives show little intelligence as their long time partnership is threatened by falling for the same woman. Director McG makes the same mistake he did in the Charlie’s Angels movie—beautiful, but extremely cardboard people parading around in expensive outfits and insulting the audience by stealing their admission dollars.
1 and 1/2 piece of you could fall asleep from boredom toast
The Secret World of Arietty (PG)
Starring the voices of: Bridgette Mendler, Amy Pohler, Will Arnett Carol Burnett
Directed by: Hiiromasa Yonebayashi, Gary Rydstrom
This delightful tale brings Mary Norton’s “The Borrowers” to life with Japanese-style animation. Arrietty is the diminutive girl who hides in the garden with her father and mother and subsists on scraps of sugar cubes and cake crumbs carelessly left unguarded by the human housekeeper. Then, when a 12-year-old-boy moves into the house, a secret friendship develops that could put the little folk in danger. The joy is letting yourself go and becoming enchanted with the whimsy of it all.
3 and 1/2 pieces of teeny-tiny toast
Starring: Pina Bausch, Regina Advento, Ruth Amarante, Jorge Puerta
Directed by: Wim Wenders
The director who created one of my favorite movies (1987‘s Wings of Desire) has created a lyrical, magical excursion into the world of dance and dreams and he masterfully uses 3-D to make it even better. While creating this time-capsule of the choreographer Pina Bausch and the dancers of the Tantztheater Wuppertal, his main subject died, but the dancers, and Pina’s ferocious and evocative work ethic continue on as a testimony to artistry and the spirit of creation.
4 pieces of a movie about dance for everyone (even those who don’t like movies about dance) toast
NEW ON DVD
Take Shelter (R)
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham Kathy Baker
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Just when you thought the armageddon-prophecy movie genre had been super-saturated, a taught, well-made thriller comes along to surprise you. At the center, is the character brilliantly played by Michael Shannon—an ordinary suburban Ohio dad drilling test holes in a sand quarry. This every-man starts having dreams—of black oil-rains, flocks of murderous birds, and a pet turned into a ferocious beast. Taking his dreams as a sign, he starts retrofitting the old, backyard storm shelter as a place of protection so his family can survive whatever is to come. Not surprisingly, his wife, friends and family think the man has gone crazy, but it all may come down to a misinterpretation of the dream’s true meaning.
3 and 1/2 pieces of wisely focused on one man and his family toast
Lady and the Tramp (G)
Starring the voices of: Barbara Luddy, Bill Thompson, Larry Roberts, Verna Felton, Stan Freberg, Alan Reed Sr., Peggy Lee
Directed by: Clyde Geronimi, Barbara Luddy
If you are feeling in a nostalgic mood, the DVD of the 1955 Disney animated classic Lady and the Tramp should delight your senses. This is a tale of a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady who escapes to the streets when a new baby competes for attention from John Dear and Darling. Lady soon discovers the joys and terrors of the outside world alongside a carefree mutt named Tramp. The mismatched pair share the famous spaghetti dinner and eventually end up in the city pound, where a hapless group of singing dogs moan and groan about their fate. The movie was introduced in a behind-the-scenes special on the Disneyland TV show which is included in the “extras” part of the disc. Here we learn how chanteuse Peggy Lee sang a duet with herself as the pair of Siamese cats, and we watch actors playing the “barking” chorus of dogs and serving as models for the animator’s pen and pencils.
3 and 1/2 pieces of shared spaghetti toast
The Rum Diary (R)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Amber Heard
Directed by: Bruce Robinson
Way back in 1988, Johnny Depp played his friend, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Since then, Depp has been trying to get the prequel made with himself in the lead. Set in Puerto Rico, the supposedly younger journalist pals around with other writers from the San Juan Star, and catches the attention of a latest land developer intent on pirating the island’s treasures. There’s a smattering of sex, casks of rum, and what must be a gallon of LSD consumed as the hero struggles with writers’ block—”I don’t know how to write like me.” But, although he’s trying to play younger than before, Depp is two dozen years older, and despite the choppy, gonzoish camera work, the film lacks any real energy.,
2 pieces of for those who love Thompson and Depp toast
Starring: Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson, David Thewles, Jamie Campbell Bower, Ed Hogg
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
The German director who specializes in end-of-the-earth-as-we-know-it films crammed with special effects (Independence Day, Godzilla, 2012) seems an odd choice for a film about a historic cover-up from the Elizabethan era. The premise is that a nobleman named Edward de Vere, is forced by his dour Puritan in-laws to hide the fact that he writes the increasingly popular, anti-establishment plays attributed to an itinerant actor named William Shakespeare. An equal-opportunity conspirator, de Vere lets Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlow take credit for a few of his plays as well. The whole thing is filled with shadowy darkness, soulful eyes, frantic scribblings and ink-stained fingers, but for me, it lacks the clever wit and whimsy of Shakespeare In Love.
2 and 1/2 pieces of unsubstantiated rumors toast