Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 10/25/12
Fun Size (PG-13)
Starring: Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Johnny Knoxville, Josh Pence, Jane Levy
Directed by: Josh Schwartz
“Fun Sized” is what they call those mini Snickers and Mounds Bars that come in big bags for Halloween treats, but aren’t as fun as the real thing. In this movie, its what they call the people from Nickelodeon who hop onto the big screen, but, like their candy counterparts, make people want the real thing. The supposed advantage of having all these sugar-fueled guys and gals on the big screen is they can get away with some PG-13 stuff that the TV network would never broadcast. The story involves a high school senior who pines to go to NYU but is stuck with babysitting her 8-year-old brother on Halloween instead of making out with her hunky, musician boyfriend. It’s all played for laughs, but very little is funny.
2 pieces of perhaps they plan on making money with the DVD? toast
Chasing Mavericks (PG)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Leven Rambin, Elisbeth Shue
Directed By: Curtis Hansen, Michael Apted
There is a documentary feel to portions of this action/drama about the mythologized monster waves that occasionally appear above a hidden reef south of Half Moon Bay. This time, the man to match those mountains is a talented youngster trained by the gruff older, master of his craft (surfing this time), who has the requisite scruffy family background, and the do-or-die cockiness of a truly gifted, and fine looking young athlete. The result is a visually amazing, and occasionally uplifting but sadly too long movie with some righteous dude surfing in it.
2 and 1/2 pieces of needs to be edited tighter toast
Cloud Atlas (R)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent
Directed by: Tom Tyker. Lana and Andy Washowski
The list of actors (which includes four Oscar winners) is notable, and each must have been cajoled into this project with the conceit of getting to play multiple characters of differing ancestry in several different time periods. Halle Berry, for example is at one time a San Francisco newspaper reporter then an ancient Chinese revolutionary, a post-apocalypse primitive and the nude, red-headed wife of a 1930’s German-Jewish composer. Say what? Like 1963’s The List of Adrian Messenger, the audience spends to much energy trying to figure out who is under all that makeup, and the reveals itself for the gimmick that it is. It’s Jim Broadbent, who has displayed his talent for playing dastardly villains and blow-hards before, who wears the least amount of makeup and turns in the most memorable performances. The story? It’s like Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits on steroids, only without any sense of fun.
2 and 1/2 pieces of overly ambitious and way too gimicky toast
All Together (NR)
Starring: Jane Fonda, Geraldine Fonda, Guy Bedos, Daniel Bruhl, Claude Rich, Pierre Richard
Directed By: Stephan Robelin
A group who was decidedly counter-culture in their youth are now in their 70’s and decide to live together under the same roof in a kind of living experiment documented by a grad student. The result is very Golden-Girlish with a little bit of the real problems of growing old acting as counterpoints to the one-liners. It’s very French in it’s sensibilities and it’s slices of realism
3 pieces of people aging (mostly), like good French wine toast
Liberal Arts (NR)
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Josh Radnor, Zach Efron, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney
Directed By: Josh Radnor
An admissions counselor at a college in NYC learns the beloved professor from his Ohio alma mater is retiring, so he goes “back home” for the party. Once there, a quirky (but pretty) college student comes on to this
35-year-old. When the hapless fellow returns to the Big Apple, he decides to rekindle what he felt was a budding romance, and she felt was just a spur-of-the-moment thing. It’s all terribly low key, with Alison Janney’s couger-style literature professor and Zach Effron’s hippie guru adding a little humor.
2 pieces of modest film fare toast
War of the Buttons (PG-13)
Starring: Gerard Jugnot, Guillaume Canet, Ilona Bachelier, Jean Texier
Directed by: Christoffe Barratier
Louis Pergaud wrote his French, absurdist novel about rival groups of children who steal each other’s buttons to humiliate them by having their pants fall down around their ankles three years before WW1. It has been made into a movie twice before, the first in 1962 rural France, and the second in 1994 Ireland. This time, the setting is France during WW2, and the rival gangs of kids are made up of children whose parents are collaborators or resisters. There’s even one family who is hiding a Jewish girl. In other hands, this extra level of murderous threat from real-life Nazis could seem too much, but director Christoffe Barratier avoids melodrama and instead gives us a riveting tale of love, honor, and betrayal.
3 and 1/2 pieces of no button pushers here toast
NEW ON DVD
Magic Mike (R)
Starring: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
After Channing Tatum told Steven Soderbergh a couple of stories about working as a 19-year-old-male-stripper, a script was created that fit Tatum’s chiseled abs to a “T.” Designed for the female demographic which enjoys spending a couple of hours admiring men’s physiques, the film also titillates by providing an insider’s view to a seedy sexy world where the largest tips come from the neediest women, and a guy’s younger replacement is already queued-up.
3 pieces of male stripping ain’t all glitz and glamour toast
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (R)
Starring: Steve Carrell, Keira Knightly, Connie Briton, Adam Brody
Directed by: Loren Scafaria
What would you do if the street corner prophet turned out to be correct, and the end of the World is nigh? This question has provided rich background material for dozens of doomsday sci-fi movies, including several that include the same “meteor will soon destroy Earth” scenario as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. But this is supposed to be a romantic comedy with all of the requisite meet-cutes, and misinterpreted snatches of overheard conversations and intentions. Unfortunately, there are no zombies around to distract the audience’s attention, and the morbid inevitability derails any comic mood. Take for example, when a friend tells the Steve Carell character “You’re going to die alone,” and her husband says “No he’s not. He’s going to die with everybody else.” Does the audience laugh at this punch line—or cry?
1 and 1/2 pieces of the end of the world just ain’t funny toast
Take This Waltz (R)
Starring: Michelle Willams, Seth Rogan, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman
Directed by: Sarah Polley
Margot (Michelle Williams) is a Canadian freelance writer who is happily married to her aspiring chef husband Lou (Seth Rogan). On a business trip, Margot innocently flirts with a handsome stranger named Daniel (Luke Kirby). Sharing a cab from the airport, it turns out the two are neighbors, and this geographic accident has a much to do with what follows as any rom-com meet cute. But this is a drama—an onscreen erotic novel, and Take This Waltz doesn’t follow cinematic conventions. Instead, it creates a visceral appreciation for the sensuality and nuance of the little things in life—like love and lust.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Canadian eroticism toast
Crooked Arrows (PG-13)
Starring: Brendon Routh, Crystal Allen, Chelsea Ricketts
Directed by: Steve Rash
Lacrosse, the sport invented by Native Americans, is given a “Bad News Bears” style storyline in this cliched and not very well acted movie. We have the failed coach trying for a comeback, the roster of players with troubled pasts and family secrets, snobbish, prep-school rivals, and a climactic final game. We’ve seen it all before, just with different kinds of balls, sticks and ethnicities.
1 and 1/2 pieces of badly cooked fry-bread toast