Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 8/23/13

Santa Rosa 48-Hour Film Festival Premier shines, The World’s End is fun

SPECIAL EVENTS  Sold Out Santa Rosa 48-Hour Film Festival Prompts Second Showing Friday Night!  (PG-13)

Starring: Your Friends and Neighbors

Directed by: Dedicated Amateurs

Fifteen local film crews put in late hours last weekend making their entries for the first ever, Santa Rosa 48-Hour Film Festival. Now they see who will win the chance to screen their film in Los Angeles—and possibly Cannes. The 8:00 to 10:00 pm screening is sold out, so another screening follows from 10:-00 to midnight at the Summerfield Theater in Santa Rosa tonight.

4 pieces of root for the home teams toast


The World’s End (R)

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsdan

Directed by: Edgar Wright

My “spent-his-junior year at U. of Nottingham” son shared the concepts of a British “pub crawl” with me, and the idea is simple. You stake out a series of pubs within walking distance of each other and hoist glasses at each one in turn as your footsteps grow increasingly unsteady. In this film, the last pub is called The World’s End, and the crew that brought us Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead slyly reveal that the pub’s name means just what it says. The 40-somethings know how to set up a joke, how to be sentimental and raunchy in the same moment, how to make audiences who “get” British humor, roar with laughter and make a thoroughly satisfying alien invasion/we’re not getting any younger flick.

3 and 1/2 pieces of British drinking buddies toast 


Drinking Buddies (R)

Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Jason Sudeikis

Directed by: Joe Swanberg

Although the title looks like a perfect double-bill with The Word’s End,  this is a story about two drinking buddies who work for the same Chicago brewery. Thing is, they are guy and gal. She is the scrub-faced, no-nonsense marketing gofer who sets up tents at street fairs. He works on the production line. Soulmates, they both are in relationships with others. The pitfalls are obvious, the way things are handled are not, and the results offer a few delightful surprises for the audience.

3  pieces of don’t assume you know where this is going toast 


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (PG-13)

Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jemima West, John Rys-Meyers, Lena Heady

Directed By: Harold Zwart

Those of you who want to attend film school can get a glimpse into the robotic goings-on in some studios by viewing this movie. Everything is ripped off from something else, it’s rated PG-13 for the widest demographic, it dresses its actors in skin tight leathers, and it has them ride motor cycles through gloomy New York landscapes while reciting pseudo-black magic. angel/demon runic nonsense. Then it packages the result with the following description: “Based on the first of a series of six [planned] novels, Clary is a modern-day descendent of a secret group of half-angel warriors battling to protect the world from demons.”  ‘Nuff said.

2  pieces of assembly-line angel/demon flick toast


Prince Avalanche (R)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault,

Directed by: David Gordon Green

This Indy was an audience favorite at film festivals, and it’s easy to see why. Based on a Scandinavian short story, we follow two guys wandering through a blackened Texas landscape where a forest grew just one season earlier. Now, there’s just the two guys, the long-haul trucker who encounters the pair, and an old woman sifting through the ashes of her homestead. Metaphors abound, and just in case you don’t get this, one character intones: “Past tense—Everything’s past tense now.”

3 pieces of blackened Indy toast 


The Act of Killing (NR)

Starring: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Ari Zuldakry

Directed by: Joshua Openheimer

This documentary pushes the boundaries of the genre, good taste and morality. When the Indonesian government was overthrown in 1965, the newly empowered Suharto government recruited street gangs to carry out the executions of over 2 million intellectuals, artists and ethnic Chinese who they branded Communists. When documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer began constructing his historical narrative of these events, he filmed detailed accounts of the techniques one particular death squad leader used to perform his grisly task. During the interview the man (Anwar Congo) told how he liked to go to movies before a killing spree so that “Elvis Presley’s music could play in my head” as he wrapped fishing line around people’s necks and threw them over the edge of a roof to strangle to death. Then, in a controversial move, the director had the idea of letting Anwar Congo and other murderers reenact their most creative killing methods in different movie genres—musicals, crime dramas, horror movie, etc. The result, is to some critics, brilliant. To me, it crosses over the line into exploitation.

? pieces of when does a documentary filmmaker go too far toast


The Spectacular Now (R)

Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

The final coming-of-age film this summer begins in a clunky manner with the male character typing his college essay on a computer. According to real world timing, that would make the guy about 17-years of age, but this guy has a plastic cup of booze seemingly super-glued to his hand. Based on Tim Tharpe’s 2008 novel, the story slowly evolves into a tale of a nice girl falling for a high school drunk. We’re supposed to swoon for their blossoming love, but the father in me just cringed with with the life-learned lesson that this can only end badly, and wished that the girl (who’s name is Aimee Finickey), had been more finicky about her boyfriend.

3 pieces of the father in me reacted too strongly toast 


The Attack (R)

Starring: Ali Suliman, Evgenia Dodena, Raymond Amselem, Dvir Benedik

Directed by: Ziad Doueiri

A respected Tel Aviv surgeon is an apolitical Arab—until the police inform him they think his wife is the suicide bomber responsible for a deadly attack. Vilified as a con-conspirator by the Israelis and as a Zionist dog by the Palestinians, the doctor placates his own grief and disbelief by searching out what really happened. The lesson learned is education and skill can never trump ethnic identity.

3 and 1/2 pieces of fearless realizations toast 



Amour (PG-13)

Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Riva

Directed By:  Michael Haneke

“Please don’t let them take me back to the hospital,” the aging, wheelchair confined stroke victim pleads to her husband, and the reality of his loving promise to care for her needs soon takes its toll in this unflinching look at the realities of end-of-life decisions. Adding to the drama, is the woman’s desperate declaration “ I don’t want to go on.” Some are calling this a love story, but in reality, it is a story about what can happen beyond the “happily ever-after” part.

NOTE: When Amour appeared in theaters, my 104-year-old father died a “natural death” at my Sebastopol home last week under hospice care. Like the woman in this movie, he also asked to stay away from the hospital or nursing home. Since he was in excellent health for someone his age—with his humor and memory (and savings) mostly intact, I was able to make the conditional promise to keep him in his home (with 24-hour caregivers), “as long as you don’t fall and break a hip or get really sick.” But my dad’s mental sharpness was rare for someone past 85. This movie showcases a much wider reality—one that will occur more and more as millions of Baby Boomers age up and need care.

3 pieces of realistic end-of-life toast 


Scary Movie V (PG-13)

Starring: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan

Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

The former “girl you love to hate” from Disney’s High School Musical franchise has made a career move to become a screaming horror movie spoof star in this film. Other than that, there’s little I know about the movie beyond the tabloid headlines about her co-stars.

Not made available to critics and I haven’t bothered to see it since