Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 8/03/12
Total Recall (PG-13)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine
Directed by: Len Wiseman
The director who brought us the completely forgettable “Underworld” trilogy, has hauled a couple of the actors from that series over to work with him in a completely unnecessary remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi classic (which starred Arnold Schwartzenegger). Both are based on a story by Philip K. Dick, but the one thirty years ago had humor, satire, intelligence and underlying questions of what exactly does make up our personal identities. The new one is flashy but lacks any warmth or humanity. We don’t care what happens to the 2012 version of a guy named Doug Quaid or his wife or even the three-breasted prostitute (who looks even more realistic this time).
1 and 1/2 pieces of great production values, vapid storyline toast
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG)
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Devon Bostick
Directed By: Jeff Kinney
The demographic who find slapstick funny will approve of the newest in the Wimpy Kid franchise. The rest of us won’t even know it exists. Dog days are the hot, sticky, doldrum period of late summer when city dwellers escape to the cooler countryside or sea shore to relax and recharge. The exact opposite occurs in this movie. Everyone reverts to stereotypical, over-reactive behaviors and then mugs at the camera while cartoonish music plays so the audience thinks it’s funny.
1 and 1/2 pieces of wimpy movie toast
The Intouchables (NR)
Starring: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy. Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot
Directed by: Eric Toledano, Oliver Nakache
In this international blockbuster, an aristocratic, wheelchair-bound, French millionaire hires an Islamic ex-con as his unwilling caretaker. This oil and water combination shouldn’t work but the intervention of basic humanity whips everything into a splendid mayonnaise of a based-on-a real-life-story movie. It’s engaging, simplistic, funny, sentimental, sweet, and very uplifting.
3 pieces of very popular French toast
Starring: Frida Pinto, Rizwan Ahmed, Roshan Seth, Harish Khanna
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Thomas Hardy’s tragic novel Tess of the D’Ubervilles is moved to modern-day India where the poor but beautiful heroine falls in love with a rich and handsome hero but the parents, fate and the novel doom the lovers to a tragic end. Beautiful in parts, the two stars never seem to click, and as a consequence, the tragic third act seems artificial.
2 and 1/2 pieces of Thomas Hardy-style toast
Ruby Sparks (R)
Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Elliott Gould, Chris Messina, Annette Benning, Antonio Banderas
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Remember John Hughes 1985 comedy Weird Science, where the two nerds create the girl of their dreams on a computer and she mysteriously comes alive? Or the Greek myth of the sculptor whose statue of PYgmalion comes alive? Now make those geeks or the sculptor into a guy who writes his novel on a typewriter—and you have the premise behind this movie. But this film will sneak up on you. It starts out in typical rom-com fashion, and cleverly morphs into a story with depth and heart. Part of this is due to the real life chemistry going on between the guy (Paul Dano) and the girl (Zoe Kazan, Elia’s grandaughter, who also wrote the screenplay). They are a couple behind the camera too. Then there is the excellent work by the big name supporting cast. But, as always, it’s the screenplay that makes this work so well. Savor, enjoy and tell your friends about Ruby Sparks.
3 and 1/2 pieces of talented toast
NEW ON DVD
Starring: Bob Marley, Rita Marley, Ziggy Marley, Cedella Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Livingston,
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
Dead for almost as long as he lived, Rastafarian-Reggae-Superstar Bob Marley has left an enormous legacy—with 11 kids from 7 different mothers as one of his stats. The director, known for his award-winning dramas, presents Bob Marley’s story almost as if the musician’s life was shaped by prophecies—a series of disconnected, almost unbelievable events, all encapsulated into one man’s brief life. We learn about the dreadlocks-wearing, charismatic man, the loving but often absent father, and the mystical dancing poet from his family and his fellow musicians and we love it. After all, even white guys think they can dance when they hear Marley’s music.
3 and 1/2 pieces of master musicality toast