Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 2/24/12


Wanderlust (R)
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Kathryn Hahn, Ray Liotta, Malin Ackerman, Joe Lo Truglio

Directed by: David Wain, Ken Marino

If you expect a beginning, middle and end, look elsewhere. This film is a collection of short skits and lots of improv set in a time-warp where nudist communes dot the northern Georgia countryside. Like a Saturday Night Live drenched in patchouli oil, the story revolves around a couple who lose their jobs and fancy New York apartment and head south to live with the brother-in-law. The couple stops at a place called Elysium where the wife is captivated by the zany characters, freedom and openness, while the husband feels uncomfortable and foolish.

3 pieces of hippie-commune-style toast


Gone (PG-13)
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter, Wes Bentley
Directed by: Heiter Dahlia
Kidnapped a year ago, a young woman returns home from work to find her sister has been abducted—perhaps by the same guy. Another woman-in-peril, trapped in a dark and spooky place movie. Worthless.

Gil doesn’t review slasher films


Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds (PG-13)
Starring: Tyler Perry, Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton
Directed by: Tyler Perry
Confusion, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and a choice between familial expectations and love are Shakespearian themes—and they happen here when a wealthy businessman is attracted to the hard-working cleaning woman in his office building, and offers to help pay the rent.

2 pieces of Tyler Perry predictability toast 


A Separation (PG-13)
Starring: Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Peyman Maodi, Sarina Ferahdi
Directed by: Wim Wenders
The one to beat in the Best Foreign Language Film category at this year’s Oscars is a family story set in modern Tehran. A woman asks for a divorce because her husband because he refuses to emigrate to Europe and make a better life for their daughter. He says he can’t leave, because no one will take care of his senile father. When the wife moves out, the husband hires a female caretaker who tries to keep the job secret from her family. Things happen, lies are told, different points-of-view are explored, respect is elusive, and the audience leaving the theater can’t wait to discuss what they have seen.

4 pieces of must see (even though it’s subtitled) toast 


Act of Valor (R)
Starring: Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Nestor Serano, Jason Cottle
Directed by: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh
This controversial films stars real Navy Seals in a big-budget recruitment ad. To me, it felt a lot like watching an old Rambo movie crossed with the more PC-friendly Avatar (minus the blue-skinned folk) and shoved into a video game. The idea is to use a hand-held camera and take a sniper’s point-of-view to follow a group of highly trained “operators” as they hunt down kidnappers, terrorists, and drug smugglers. It gets the blood pumping, but for me, it got old, fast.

2 pieces of glorified recruitment poster toast




Puss In Boots  (PG)  

Starring the voices of: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Guillerom del Toro

Directed by: Chris Miller

It isn’t essential that you live with a cat to enjoy this movie, but if you do, you will love it. I got captivated by the suave but kittenish Puss In Boots in the Shrek movie, and wisely, the filmmakers have chosen to make this a prequel. Clad in a plumed, cock hat, leather boots, and a swashbuckled sword, this feline is both a lover and a fighter. Pursuing any kitty girl who catches his eye, he is still ready to combat his former friend from the orphanage, that hard-boiled arch villain, Humpty Dumpty. Playing fast, and breezy, with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, the actors have a field day portraying characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes with a twist. For example, Jack and Jill are greedy Southern gothics with accents to match.

3 and 1/2 pieces of I live with a cat toast

Tower Heist  (PG-13)  

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick. Tea Leoni, Alan Alda, Michael Pena

Directed by: Brett Ratner

In this ensemble heist movie, it’s Eddie Murphy who is the driving force—the one you watch the most and miss the most when he’s not on screen. The premise is drawn from today’s headlines. A billionaire whose Ponzi scheme stole from everyone else, lives above it all in his luxurious penthouse apartment. Several workers and residents in the same residential tower lost everything to the swindler, and they come up with an audacious plan to steal it all back. The fun is in their ineptness—sort of a “Mission Impossible” bloopers reel, aided and abetted by the backdrop of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

3 pieces of imagine Bernie Madoff here toast


Martha Marcy May Marlene (R) 

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes

Directed by: Sean Durkin

A young woman who joined a cult as a teenager where she was indoctrinated and ceremonially raped by the cult’s leader, escapes and returns to live with her socialite sister and her husband. At least four identities (each with its own name) reside within the young woman—the coping mechanism which allowed her to survive. Uncovering how these different facets combine is the task of the sister and the audience. Well acted by all involved (especially Elizabeth Olsen), the director finishes the film to soon, leaving too many questions, too many choices, and too many unfulfilled expectations.

2 and 1/2 pieces of vivid psychological thriller without an ending toast