Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 10/05/12
Tim Burton’s stop-motion Frankenweenie howlingly good
Starring the voices of: Charlie Tahan, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Conchita Farrell
Directed by: Tim Burton
Concerned that their son Victor is spending too much time in the attic with his science experiments, a couple encourages him to go out and meet new friends so, as the dad says, “no one gets what they want.” The lad gets involved in a baseball game, hits a home run, and watches in horror as his beloved dog Sparky chases the ball and gets killed by a car. Victor mourns for a bit and then decides to dig up his beloved pet and re-animate him like Dr. Frankenstein did with that tall fellow all those years ago. Made in classic stop-motion animation style by a director who loves working in this medium, this weird tale works—and, unlike last week’s dreadful Hotel Transylvania, it’s perfect for the Halloween season.
3 and 1/2 pieces of animated Tim Burton toast
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13)
Starring the voices of: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller
Directed By: Stephen Chobosky
Dateline,Pittsburg,1991—Charlie starts high school and records his thoughts about being depressed and lonely only to have those thoughts turn lighter and rampant when he decides to drag himself to a football game, talk with a senior in his shop class and gets introduced to the guy’s pretty step-sister. The film keeps the book’s sardonic point-of-view which isn’t that surprising since the director wrote the YA bestseller.
3 pieces of surviving Freshman year toast
The Oranges (PG)
Starring: Hugh Laurie, Katherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat, Adam Brody
Directed by: Julian Farino
If life gives you oranges—make orangeade seems to be the message of this movie about a college graduate forced to live at home because she can’t find a job. Instead of descending into early-20’s angst with an appropriate indie-band soundtrack, the young woman finds herself in a neighborhood decidedly different from the one she left. The catalyst of change is her across-the-street best friend. Life will never be the same.
3 pieces of slice-of-life voyeurism toast
Taken 2 (PG-13)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, D.B. Sweeney
Directed By: Oliver Megaton
The lesson to learn from this is “Never kill an Albanian with a big family.” The CIA hitman who killed numerous Albanians the first time they kidnapped his daughter, decides to take his family on a much needed vacation, but makes the mistake of choosing Istanbul, which seems to be swarming with angry Albanians. The first film had a certain kind of logic which is completely lacking in this one. The teeth-grinding, grim-faced father repeatedly makes choices which no sane person would do, and audience finally just doesn’t care anymore.
1 and 1/2 pieces of adding a “2” doesn’t make it good toast
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, Rob Cordrey, Ty Burrel
Directed By: Jim Field Smith
Can you become too good at butter sculpture? Apparently you can in Iowa, where the winner of this high cholesterol contest for the past 15 years is asked to “retire” so others can have a chance. His wife picks up the spatula and tries to fill her husband’s shoes, but when he runs off with a stripper, and the neighbor’s new foster child proves to be a natural molder and shaper of things well churned, The movie tries for the cheap seats, but Jennifer Garners character is inherently unlikeable, and everything melts.
2 pieces of not a film critics will like toast
NEW ON DVD
Dark Shadows (PG-13)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jackie Earl Haley
Directed by: Tim Burton
Using little from the cult-TV sop opera but the name and characters, this film plays more like “That 70’s Show” as the outdated hairdos, wardrobes and sound track take center stage. Director Tim Burton plays “Nights In White Satin” for the opening theme, uses Barry White in the seduction scenes, and even has Alice Cooper in concert. In summary, Barnabus was cursed by his former girlfriend/witch to live forever as a vampire and then has him entombed. Unearthed after 200 years, the pasty-faced but forever-youngish fellow meets his descendants who still live in the ruins of the familial mansion. The jokes wear thin but the movie inexorably moves on for 114 minutes.
2 and 1/2 pieces of not Burton’s best work toast
People Like Us (PG-13)
Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
A self-centered corner-cutter who was left out of his father’s will, suddenly gets handed a chunk of change and is directed to “take care of her.” The “her” is his half-sister, a secret that the father took to his grave. Keeping the truth from his newly discovered sibling, the two meet at her AA session, and he soon learns a lot about her life (and troubled son). Since this is a rom-com, a kind of love develops, with her being more flirtatious and him hiding the secret too long. But wait. It all pays off in the third act.
3 pieces of brother’s sister toast