Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for 6/28/13

What Maisie Knew  (R)

Starring: Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgaard, Onata Aprile, Steve Coogan

Directed By: Scott McGhee, David Siegel

Two truly unlikable characters have a child together, but never bothered to marry. Now they want a “divorce,” and we see their mutual destruction society through the eyes of their seven-year-old girl. Updated from Henry James novel, the result is unsettling. 100 years ago, the zeitgeist was that children were tabula rasa (a blank slate) where adults could write or draw anything to shape a kid’s personna. Today, we have a different perspective, and the child as observer feels off-putting, as though a 2nd grader can’t construct her own structure from the sum of the shattered pieces which surround her.

3  pieces of brilliantly portrayed but emotionally draining toast 

White House Down (PG-13)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Garcelle Beauvais, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins

Directed By: Roland Emmerich

When Roland Emmerich makes a “terrorists attack the White House” movie, you know its a popcorn, sodas and candy kind of flick. Imagine Die Hard with a D.C. cop thrust in the position of saving his daughter, the White House and, along the way, the leader of the free world. Light humor is thrown in by a tour guide thrust into the thick of the terrorist assault,. There are homages to Independence Day, and lots and lots of explosions, stars with clenched teeth, and bad guys you love to hate.

2 and 1/2  pieces of popcorn terrorism toast 

The Heat (R)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy,Tony Hale, Bill Burr

Directed By: Paul Feig

The set up is an FBI agnet unwillingly partnered with a break-the-rules cop. The twist is that they are female. The problem is there is no plot—merely a series of improv-like scenes strung together to make a disposable, pop-bead necklace of a movie. Too bad. These gals are really talented.

1 and 1/2 pieces of terrible script toast



The Call (R)

Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Imperioli, Morris Chestnut, Roma Maffia

Directed By:  Brad Anderson

I am upset about this film on so many levels that I need to enumerate them:

•  This woman-in-peril scenario is presented like it is soft-core porn.

• Halle Berry has a Best Actress Oscar, and Abigail Breslin was nominated for one, so why iare these the only roles Hollywood could offer them?

• The psycho-serial-killer is played like he is there for comic relief.

• The ending (which I gladly spoil), involves the 911 operator (Berry) dashing from her war room of a call center to single-handedly defeat the bad guy. Come on. Is that all they could dream up?

1/2 piece of save your money to show the studio what you think of  them making this dreck toast 


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (PG-13)

Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Brad Garrett

Directed By: Don Scardino

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton are a pair of superstar Vegas magicians who go through lovely lady assistants so frequently that they call all them “Nicole.” But competion arrives in the form of a “freak” former stuntman who bills himself simply as “Steve Gray.” “He’s not a real magician,” Burt whines. “He doesn’t even have a costume.” But presto-chango happens, and Burt ends up doing small tricks at retirement homes while Gray rakes in the big bucks. Unfortunately, Burt Wonderstone sounds better on paper than it is onscreen. One of those “how could this be so lame with all that talent available?” movies I’d like to re-edit.

2 pieces of not really that incredible toast