Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 1/25/13


Quartet (R)

Starring: Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins

Directed By: Dustin Hoffman

A motley collection of elderly musicians are residents of a British retirement home with financial problems. The savior may have arrived in the form of an ex-wife, who would draw a large crowd if she will only agree to sing in public one last time. Unlike Les Mis, none of the actors in the film are trained singers, so Hoffman cleverly avoids the problem by never showing us the final concert.

3 pieces of Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut toast

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (PG-13)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen

Directed By:  Tommy Wirkola

The fairy tale siblings imprisoned by a cannibalistic witch understandably have a few “issues.” They decide to resolve their fears by hunting down and killing any witch they can find (I  don’t know if even Glinda the Good would be spared). Problem is, the modern-day weaponry, historical inaccuracies, wooden acting, in-your-face 3-D— CG effects, the over use of the “F” word, and a truly terrible script combine into a messy pot-full of “double, double, toil and trouble.”

1 and 1/2 pieces artless re-imagined fairy tale toast 


Parker (R)

Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chilkis, Nick Nolte

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

The anti-hero at the center of this action film has a well developed personal code of ethics—he only steals from the very rich, he only hurts people who don’t follow his instructions, and he will take revenge on anyone who “does him wrong.” That includes the double-crossing thieves who leave leave him for dead and take his share of the heist. The star keeps his patented cut stone facial expression throughout, says his lines through gritted teeth, and manages to make the audience like him all at the same time.

3 pieces of anti-hero action flick toast 

Movie 43  (PG-13)

Starring: Halle Berry, Kate Winslett, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Uma Thurman

Directed By:  Bret Ratner, Elizabeth Banks

I can add this movie to the handful of films I left after a few minutes. With all the big names, the budget must have been stupendous, but this collection of eleven intertwined shorts, is stupendously awful—tacky, tasteless, dumb, dumber and dumbest. The premise is how three “yutes” scour the internet searching for the elusive sex film of the title, and stumble across people literally covered in human and animal excrement and other bodily fluids. Ugh!

ZERO piece of  Gil walked out of this movie toast





Searching for Sugar Man (PG-13)

Starring: Sixto Rodriguez, Ilse Assmann, Clarence Avant, Malik Benjelloul

Directed By: Malik Benjelloul
Forty years ago, a singer/songwriter known as Rodriguez was hailed in the USA as “the Mexican-American Bob Dylan,” but soon after his album “Cold Fact” went platinum in, of all places,  South Africa, he was rumored to have set himself on fire onstage and then disappeared. This fabulously intriguing documentary starts out as a “whatever happened to?” mystery and ends up as a triumphant affirmation of talent as we travel from the construction yards of Detroit to the urban jungles of South Africa and lots of care-worn places in between.

3 and 1/2 pieces of good guys sometimes do win toast


End of Watch (R) 

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrara

Directed by: David Ayer
Just when you think you’ve seen every mismatched cops buddy movie, along comes this fresh look. It stems from the recent practice of police filming their work days—arrests, pursuits, donut breaks and all. The brilliance is in director David Ayer’s own screenplay. Having cut his teeth on “Training Day” and “S.W.A.T.,” he brings the right sound to the movie, and by using the “found footage” technique, he ramps up the “we are there” feel. We watch the partners in a series of increasingly high-publicity busts, but this notoriety also attracts unwanted overtures from a Mexican street gang. The unexpected results surprised this film critic—and that’s not an easy thing for a cop movie to do.

3 pieces of a new take on the cop movie genre toast


Imposter (R)

Starring: Adam O’Brian, Alan Teichman, Anna Rubin, Maria Jesus Hoyos

Directed By: Bart Layton
Jaycee Dugard’s incredible story proves that at least a few of the children on milk cartons do return home. This glimmer of hope is what fuels the certainty of the Texas family whose kidnapped son is found huddled in a phone booth in Spain years later. Except it is obvious to the audience that since this fellow now speaks with a French accent, is older than the missing teen, and has brown eyes instead of blue, that something about this is very suspicious. Presented in a quasi-documentary style, we learn of the tremendous psychological needs thrust upon the family, and how the desire to have a “happily ever after”conclusion can really mess things up.

3 pieces of fascinating “true story” toast