Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast



New Releases for 4/06/12


Jiro Dreams of Sushi (PG)
Starring: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Takashi Ono

Directed by: David Gelb

If Guy Fieri searched Japan to find little out-of-the-way places to eat, he would certainly uncover the ten-seat sushi-bar in a Tokyo subway. For behind the tiny counter at Sukiyabashi,  the 85-year-old Jiro Ono and his son Yoshiko, chop, slice and roll, perfect compositions of raw fish, seaweed and rice. With a 3-star rating from the Michelin Guide (the highest possible), dinner prices sometime soar above $300 each, but, imagine, just imagine what sublime perfection must taste like.

3 and 1/2 pieces of sushi documentary toast


The Salt of Life (NR)
Starring: Gianni Di Gregorio, valerie De Franciscis, Alfonso Santgata
Directed by: Gianni Di Gregorio, Murat Duzgunoglo
It must be challenging to try to live up to the Italian stereotype of philandering, sex-obsessed lothario, when you would much rather take a nap in the afternoon sun—alone. This NR-rated Italian parable about male menopause sadly lacks the joie-de-vivre the late Marcello Mastroianni brought to similar roles and we are left with sadness rather than wry humor.

2  pieces of “is that all there is?” toast


American Reunion (R)
Starring: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy

Directed by: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlosberg

American Reunion is the anemic last gasp (hopefully) of the “American Pie” teen-sex franchise where the now 30-something, former teens obsess about getting enough sleep, finding the right blender, or making sure every office cubicle gets a memo on-time. It’s all sit-com set-ups and no pay-offs in a film that seems as set in a time-warp as the old “Porky’s” movies. Only Eugene Levy, as the hapless, newly-widowed dad, is worth seeing, and he’s mostly stuck at the end of the film.

1 pieces of not teens anymore (or funny either) toast 


Titanic 3-D (PG-13)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stewart, Billy Zane

Directed by: James Cameron

To honor the destruction of the “unsinkable” ocean liner 100 years ago, James Cameron has re-released a 3-D version of his mega-blockbuster, Titanic. The lines are just as corny, the setups still as melodramatic, but the iceberg strike, botched evacuation and sinking of the great vessel are worth the extra dollars for those 3-D glasses. Coincidentally, the National Geographic Channel airs an investigative recreation of the Titanic’s final moments this week. Hosted by the redoubtable James Cameron, computer technology examines the wreck at the bottom the sea in detail, and comes up with some surprising new information.

3 and 1/2 pieces of Titanic redoux toast






War Horse (PG-13)

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

The soul of this film, and the book that inspired it, is the love of a boy for his horse. Problem is, history intercedes with a cast of thousands. The story opens in Pre-WW1 Britain when a father buys a colt for his son, but when war is declared, the horse is bought by an appreciative Army officer. A horrible cavalry charge, places the horse in clutches of animal-hating Germans, and eventually into the care of a French farmer’s daughter. Set pieces along the way play like scenes from movies made when the people on the battlefields were flesh and blood, not CG images, and the true horror of medieval-style armies facing machine guns, tanks and mustard gas, comes across strongly. But, and this is a big but, the Spielburgian pathos comes across as audience manipulating sentimentality and the result is very disappointing

2 and 1/2 pieces of  I expected better toast


We Bought a Zoo (PG)

Starring: Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Johnsson, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning

Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Recent movies about someone running a zoo (0r aquarium, circus or museum) always seem include poop jokes and a critters acting like humans. Surprisingly, this film manages to avoid those clichés, and offers us heartfelt, family fare. The protagonist is a recently widowed newspaper columnist who decides all of the squabbles he has with his kids will be settled if they buy a zoo. So he does. Coming along with the animals, huge food bills and lots of biologicals, is a group of hippie-style workers including a beautiful female zookeeper. The resulting movie is fine. But with Cameron Crowe in the director’s chair, it’s surprisingly ordinary.

2 and 1/2 pieces of animals act like animals instead of humans toast


Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (G)
Starring: Kevin Clash, Frank Oz, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney, Rosie O’Donnell
Directed by: Constance Marks
Spoiler alert! You will see that the muppets have hidden people attached to them who keep out of sight.

Kevin Clash knew what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he got to live out his dream. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this made-for-TV documentary is a fun and often quite moving portrait of the mega-talented people beneath the fur and feathers who bring the Sesame Street Muppets to life. We discover that Cash resurrected a little-used caveman type muppet covered in red fur by giving him a squeaky voice and bubbly personality, and created a star. Home movie footage of the Baltimore-born, African-American puppeteer add depth and delight to a “sunny day, chasing the clouds away” kind of story.

3 and 1/2 pieces of tickle me Elmo toast