Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
Films Opening 9/13/13
deNiro isn’t funny in The Family, Austenland is “intolerably stupid”
The Family (R)
Starring: Robert deNiro, Michelle Pfifer, Tommy Lee JOnes, Dianna Argron
Directed by: Luc Besson
Robert deNiro plays a “nice guy who has to control my sadistic urges better” in this comedy wannabe. The set up is that this former crime boss and his family have been relocated to France as part of the US witness protection program. Despite the hit guys after him for a $20 million bounty, the guy is writing a book about his life as a gangster, while his family members think the way to settle in to the French lifestyle, is to instantly react with violence. The results are supposed to be funny, but miss the mark by a mile.
1 and 1/2 pieces of “fugeddaboudit’ toast
Rising From the Ashes (NR)
Narrated by: Forest Whitaker
Directed By: T.C. Johnstone
Rwandan Ccyclists are the unlikely stars of a documentary about building a team out of personal suffering. The team members are survivors of the million-plus Rawandans hacked, burned, shot or garroted to death in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Their coach is the first American to ride in the Tour-de-France, but who is just been released from prison for sex with an underage girl. The filmmakers follow the team from their creation in 2005 to their appearance at the 2012 London Olympics, and results are painfully candid at times.
3 pieces of sports doc toast
Starring: Keri Russell, J.J. Field, Jane Seymour, Jennifer Coolidge
Directed by: Jerusha Hess
The world of Jane Austen is recreated for well-healed fanatics who want to learn needlepoint, dress in Empire-waisted gowns and be courted by handsome actors playing the part of fictional characters drawn from various novels—”but no touching!” This is the directorial debut by the writer of Napolean Dynamite, and it’s obvious. Despite all the boxes ticked on his checklist of Austen-tacious scenes, the film lacks the spark that make Ms. Austen’s novels so good.
1 piece of funny concept badly executed toast
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lalouche, Anais Demoustier
Directed by: Claude Miller
This period piece is set in 1920’s provincial France when wealthy landowners made business deals called marriages. Bad direction has some characters played like a single noted dour-phone, while others shrilly trill like a Glockenspiel. The result is a disaster.
1 piece of sour French toast
NEW DVD RELEASES
Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13)
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cho, Alice Eve
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Opening with Kirk and Bones being chased by spear throwing natives while Spock is trapped inside an eruptive volcano on a planet labelled as forbidden by the United Federation of Planets, the crew of the Enterprise literally gets sent back to school. Not for long however. As soon as a British -accented villain makes Starfleet’s London database evaporate, all hands are on deck for a rip-roaring action adventure loaded with great characters, a strong script, and a little Spock/Uhura style romance.
3 and 1/2 pieces of still “Boldly Going” toast
Love Is All You Need (R)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrnholm, Sebastian Jessen
Directed By: Susanne Bier
This Danish import plays a little like Mama Mia, but fortunately, Brosnan does’t try to sing this time. When a beautician recovering from a mastectomy travels to an Italian villa for her daughter’s wedding, she discovers the villa’s owner is a Brit the-cellphone-is-always-attached-to-my-ear type we love to hate. Will love (or at least lust) blossom? This a rom-com—what do you expect?
3 pieces of a former Bond as a romantic older man toast