Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 3/23/12

Hunger Games nothing special, Crazy Horse has topless dances

 

The Hunger Games (PG-13)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks

Directed by:Gary Ross

In a post-revolution North America, a feisty archer-girl named Katniss Everdeen saves her sister from death by volunteering to take her place in the televised annual “survival of the fittest” (and luckiest) called the  Hunger Games. 24 contestants begin the games, and only one will come out alive. We watch Katniss hunting for food before the games, see her waxed and styled and given fighting tips from a Games survivor, and then watch her run and jump, and empty her quiver as others die around her. The story-line, settings and costumes are re-hashed from films like “The Running Man, “The Most Dangerous Game,”  “Logan”s Run,” and even “The Wizard of Oz,” but it will still be widely popular with this new generation of film-watchers.

3 pieces of perfect allegory for this generation toast

 

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (R)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked, Emily Blunt
Directed by: Lasse Halstrom
Set in a Middle East where geopolitical realities don’t seem to exist, this desert-island fairy-tale revolves around a mystical sheik who dreams of turning a much-needed water project into a fly-fisherman’s paradise. He corrals a stuffy, uppercrust, and unwilling  Scotsman to oversee the project, and the females who come along for the ride provide wit, backbone and romantic interest.

3  pieces of everyone is top-notch in this toast

 

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (PG)
Directed by: Dori Bernstein
The constantly moving woman with the huge eyes, wide mouth and Bennington diction is literally alive and kicking at 91 (despite her fondness for cigarettes). There is a “let’s put on a show” sprightliness to this documentary which traces the dancer/singer/comedienne from her onstage debut at the age of 7 to the present. Channing was Broadway’s original casino online Lorelei in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and the two-time Tony Award-winner continued to play the part for over 60 years. Although the movie could have cut out some of the “trailing after her” sequences, it’s still a noble and entertaining glimpse of a one-of-a-kind star.

3 pieces of brotherly magic toast 

 

Crazy Horse (NR)
Directed by: Fredrick Wiseman
You won’t find any “talking-heads” in this documentary about the topless dances at Paris’ fabled nightclub. The director takes us through the meticulously detailed and physically demanding preparations for a new show called “Desirs,” where the self-labelled “soldiers of the erotic army” create impossible-seeming dances and tableaus.

3 pieces of “the Crazy” French toast 

 

 

NEW ON DVD

The Muppets (PG) 

Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo

Directed by: James Bobin

The lights have been dark in the former Muppet theater for over a decade, and the furry, feathered and Velcroed stars have scattered to the four corners of the Earth. But when a Texas Billionaire threatens to tear the place down and drill for oil, Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and their fans gather together to stage the Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever! Written by Jim Henson, Jason Siegel, and Nicholas Stoller, this feature-length movie captures the humor, joy, laughter and love that propelled the TV-show and the first Muppet Movie to greatness.

4 pieces of it’s not easy being green toast 

Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy (R)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
What took almost seven hours in the 1979 BBC-TV miniseries starring Alec Guinness, runs two hours and eight minutes in this anti-James Bond cold-war spy thriller. Based on John Le Carre’s novel, director Tomas Alfredson, has tightened the tension while leaving the buttoned-down bureaucracy intact. Gary Oldman is superb as George Smiley, the disgraced secret agent called out of retirement to find the double agent from a list of suspects with the code names in the title. Everything is understated stiff-upper-lip stuff—no bimbos, bombs, or high-tech gadgets. It’s chilly, plodding detective work in wet, dreary back alleys where paranoia fuels the bleakness. Riveting.
3 and 1/2  pieces of spy back out in the cold toast

 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (R)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Elodie Young, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright

Directed by: David Fincher

What could have been a tepid, Hollywood remake of a cold-blooded Swedish film manages to remain icily Scandinavian, and the result is astoundingly true to Steig Larson’s mega-bestselling novel. The girl in the title is the victimized product of abuse, rape and incarceration by the family and welfare system that should have been her protectors. To get revenge, this wizard of a hacker searches for and finds the perfect person to aid her quest—an investigative journalist recently hired to uncover the truth about the murder of a millionaire’s daughter.

3 and 1/2 pieces of iced leather and tattoos toast

 

Hop (PG)
Starring: James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Elizabeth Perkins
and the Voices of: Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie
Directed by: Xavier Beauvois
Apparently, the Easter Bunny is British (at least he speaks with a British accent). It’s also time for his retirement, and the passing of the baskets to the younger generation, but the plot isn’t important here. Instead, the folks who brought us the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies where live actors interact with animated animals, go through the motions once again. It’s just 89 minutes of babysitting time filled with jokes that occasionally manage to be funny (but most often aren’t).
1 and 1/2 pieces of this bunny poops jelly beans! toast