Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 6/21/13
World War Z (R)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Marielle Enos, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse
Directed By: Marc Forster
Our fascination with zombies continues in a film which touts itself as the ultimate in the genre, but even with its Contagion-style search for the viral nexus, it still doesn’t top 28 Days Later. Airplanes provide vector distribution as the brain-sucking hordes expand across the globe, and only Israel and North Korea manage to hold the zombies back. But all that brainpower (eaten and otherwise) means the undead are clever little beasts, so even the most insular parts of the planet…Wait. I almost wrote a spoiler. I suggest you find out yourself.
3 pieces of zombie pandemic toast
Monsters University (G)
Starring the Voices of: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi
Directed By: Don Scanlon
In this prequel, bug-eyed, wide-mouthed, green-skinned Mike Wazowski heads to Monster University to earn a degree from their celebrated Scare Program. He and blue-furred Sully find themselves on the outs with the dean, and so, reminiscent of Revenge of the Nerds or a G-rated Animal House, the two monsters-in-training end up in a frat filled with misfits with the only way to earn respect is to win the annual Scare Games competition.
3 pieces of more not quite up to Pixar standards toast
Much Ado About Nothing (R)
Starring: Jillian Morgese, Fran Kranz, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker
Directed By: Joss Wheadon
Using his rambling LA home as his set, casting familiar faces from his TV series as his actors, having them wear modern dress, shooting in black and white, and using The Bard’s original dialogue, the “Nothing” in the title is obviously “SEX.” Double entendres are de rigueur in Shakespearean comedies, and the juxtaposition of the modern with the Elizabethan makes the words sparkle.
3 pieces of cleverly done update of Shakespeare toast
The Bling Ring (PG-13)
Starring: Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang
Directed By: Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring was inspired by a news item about a gang of SoCal teens who “shop” in celebrities’ homes to surround themselves with “famous stuff.” The director’s films are very personal pieces, and this one obviously struck a cord with its very obvious reveal of the shallow side of the glitz and glamor of the famous and the wannabes. But in an Emperor’s-new-clothes sort of way, we come to realize (in this film at least), there’s nothing there.
2 pieces of oddly vapid storyline toast
The Bling Ring (PG)
Starring: Hadas Yaron, Irit Sheleg, Hila Feldman, Chayim Sharir, Raziiia Israeli
Directed By: Rama Burshtein
There’s no Tevya in the background singing “Tradition,” to lighten the mood in this glimpse into living an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic lifestyle in modern-day Tel Aviv. A young woman is destined for an arranged marriage until fate steps in in the form of her sister’s death in childbirth. She quickly learns to love her infant newphew. but realizes this connection will be lost when her brother-in-law remarries. Unless…
2 and 1/2 pieces of tradition can be stifling toast
NEW DVD RELEASES
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
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
Jack the Giant Slayer (PG-13)
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Bill Nighy, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci
Directed By: Bryan Singer
In the TV ads, the computer-generated giants, windmills and boulders that hurtle through the air look fake, but trust me, on the big screen they are “boffo.” The familiar story of the lad who trades the family cow for magic beans, has fresh faces as Jack and the princess, but it is the primarily British character actors who make this fairy tale magic work so well.
3 pieces of fe-fi-fo-fum toast
21 and Over (R)
Starring: Jonathan Keltz, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin, Miles Teller, Sarah Wright
Directed By: Jon Lucas
Despite the title and the college setting, this film is designed for hormone-driven teenage boys. Cobbled together by the guys who did The Hangover, there’s lots of binge drinking, projectile vomiting, soiled underwear, gratuitous nudity, and remakes of cringe inducing outtakes from Jackass videos. The story involves a couple of buddies arriving unannounced to party with their pal on his 21st birthday. The inserted dramatic tension comes from this event coinciding with the next-day med school exam and the familial expectations of another doctor in the family. The laughter level is proportional to how “relaxed” you are while watching this film
2 pieces of probably best watched in the comparative safety of your own home toast