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 

 

Austenland  (PG-13)

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 

 

Therese  (NR)

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