Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 7/27/12

The Watch not worth watching,  Crazy Wisdom biased


The Watch (R)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayode, Rosemarie DeWitt, Will Forte

Directed by: Akiva Shaffer

With a script by Seth Rogen and a roster of funny guys, it’s a shame they placed this “property” in the hands of a director so weak that he can’t keep a tight rein on the improv. The result is a schtick-filled movie where the stuff that should be on the outtakes part of a DVD is the main attraction. The story is about a group of neighborhood watch bozos who must grapple with a plethora of aliens—the outer-space kind. Originally called Neighborhood Watch, the film was shelved after the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Now renamed, all of the penis jokes unfortunately survive and the infamous Saturday Night Live “lets let the schtick go on way too long” style and less-than-inspired improv leaves us nothing but globs of alien slime.

1 and 1/2  pieces of limp and not very funny toast 


Step Up: Revolution (PG)

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Hamilton, Peter Gallagher

Directed By: Scott Speer
The franchise that made Channing Tatum a star, has the dancing daughter of a real estate tycoon fall in love with a waiter in a seedy salsa bar in Miami’s Little Havana. Everyone except the millionaire can dance and they do—often at improbable times. But forget the script. The actors just mouth the Juliet and Romeo words as set ups for the flash-mob dance sequences that are filmed for the glory (and cash) of getting a million hits on YouTube. Oh yeah, the dancers go political by shaking their booties in front of, in back of, and in the middle of the environmental havoc wrought by the big bad developer dad’s bulldozers.

2 and 1/2 pieces of bare-chested guys and bikini girls toast


Crazy Wisdom (NR) 

Starring: Chogyam Trungpa, Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg

Directed by:Johanna Demetrakas
This one-sided, fawning documentary proves that truth may be stranger than fiction but its packaging can be a hindrance. It uses photos and talking heads to share the tale of the Tibetan Buddhist leader Chogyam Trungpa, the eleventh descendent of a monastic dynasty who fled the Communist takeover of his homeland in a deadly escape over the Himalayan mountains. Studying comparative religion, fine arts and flower arranging at Oxford, a car accident left Trungpa partially paralyzed He began drinking heavily, renounced his monastic vows, eloped with a wealthy acolyte the day she turned 16, and eventually moved to the United States. Establishing the Naropa Institute in Colorado, he advocated “crazy wisdom” by drawing upon the diverse ecumenical teachings of the world’s religions. Trungpa drank himself to death at the age of 45.

2 pieces of needs a more balanced perspective toast



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


Deep Blue Sea (R)
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston
Directed by: Terence Davies

Rachel Weisz is astounding as the free-spirited wife of a passionless judge in post WW2 Britain. She starts an amorous relationship with a former RAF pilot and ignores the wise advice from an older friend, “Beware of passion…a guarded enthusiasm [is] safer.” Based on a Terrance Ratigan play, the lead role is considered “one of the greatest roles for an actress in  modern theater. Weisz makes it her own.
3 and 1/2  pieces of Rachel Weisz toast


Silent House (R)
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adan Barnett, Eric Sheffer Stevens
Directed by: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau
The sister of the famous twins is striving to extend her fifteen seconds of fame by hiding under furniture and screaming while wearing unbuttoned clothing throughout this Paranormal Activity clone. The filmmakers conceit is to shoot this “abandoned home with hidden family secrets” tale as one long (way too long) scene, without any edits. The gimmick shows why (except for Hitchcock’s “Rope”), movies aren’t made this way.

2 pieces of starts fine but filmmaker’s gimmick gets in the way toast