Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 7/06/12

The Amazing Spider Man (R)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Rhys Ifans, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary

Directed by: Marc Webb

In John Borman’s classic Arthurian legend film “Excaliber,” the magician reveals that he’s only the “current Merlin” and that there have been many others by the same name in the past. That’s the attitude behind the newest Spiderman film. We know that the guy in the suit is smarter and more emotional than Tobey Maguire was in the role, but we quickly adapt, and delight watching a re-boot of events we thought we had seen before. Since the style this time is “less-is-more,” some will miss the numerous whiz-bang action scenes from the previous films, but when the webs fly, it’s worth the wait.

3  pieces of a Spidey re-booted toast 


Savages (R)
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Salma Hayak, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Uma Thurman

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Director Oliver Stone has created a modern-day film noir by portraying all the sex, violence, and duplicity in the brighter than life hues of sunrises and sunsets. It is a tale of what happens when beautiful, decadent people who got-rich-quick selling super-strong marijuana cross paths with sadistic baddies from a Mexican cartel. The results are far from pretty in this over-the-top production. With full-frontal nudity, and gruesome violence this film is not for everyone, but it proves Stone still has his.

3 pieces of brightly-hued film noir toast


To Rome With Love (R)
Starring: Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Roberto Benigni, Fabio Armilato

Directed by: Woody Allen

Woody Allen continues his European travels by setting his latest film in Rome, where everything seems to be done in short cuts. His characters are played by actors who have played the same persona many times before, and the dialogue sounds like Woody Allen standup. One running gag involves Allen as an unhappily retired opera director overhearing a marvelous singer in the shower. Problem is, the tenor can’t sing as well anywhere else. This fuels a series of farcical scenes written on auto-pilot.  It’s not great Woody Allen this time, but they’ll be another one next year.

2 pieces Woody Allen in Rome toast


Safety Not Guaranteed (R)
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell

Directed by: Colin Treverrow

An internet ad seeking a partner “with weapons” to ride shotgun in a time machine is the basis for this Seattle-based film. Magazine interns seek out the guy and, since this is a rom-com, become involved in his quest while at the same time questioning his sanity. After meeting all the players, the film shifts to “correcting”mistakes each made in the past. But, that old conundrum of paradoxical results can just as easily make things worse instead of better.

3 pieces of indie time traveler or loonie? toast


Katy Perry: Part of Me (PG)
Starring: Katy Perry, Shannon Woodward, Bradford Cobb

Directed by: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz

Unfortunate timing means this documentary about the likable “Bubble-gum Girl,” Katy Perry is much more interesting to audiences than we expect. The “unfortunate” event is Perry’s crumbling marriage to narcissistic British actor Russell Brand. Following Perry’s rise to stardom from Pentacostal churches to the Candyland excess of her recent California Dreams Tour, the filmmakers sagely give us glimpses of the heartache roiling inside as the singer goes onstage. We quickly learn to like Katy Perry, and root for her to come out on top. We even end up humming some of her songs.

3 pieces of a musical documentary toast


Tyler Perry’s Medea’s Witness Protection (PG-13)
Starring: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, John Amos

Directed by: Tyler Perry

Writer/director/star Tyler Perry herds his cross-dressing alter-ego into a quickly made move about a nerdy Ponzi-schemer and his family hiding from the Mob with Granny Medea. There’s lots of Perry’s patented feel-good subplots, and one-liners about how Granny’s neighbor hood is “so Black, we don;t even have white cats.” Pretty lame, even by Lionsgate Studio (Perry’s own moviemaking factory) standards.

1 pieces of Medea’s getting old and tired toast




The Hunter (R)

Starring: TWillem Dafoe, Frances O’Connor, Sam Neil, Morgana Davies

Directed by: Daniel Nettheim

A scientist sent into the Tasmanian jungle to track down a supposedly extinct tiger, turns out to be a mercenary hunter hired to extract the beast’s genetic material. He moves in with a family whose dad has disappeared, learns to like them, and this complicates his deadly quest.

3 pieces of Willem Defoe toast