Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
Films Opening 9/27/13
Don Jon, Enough Said and Rush are great
Don Juan (R)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julienne Moore, Tony Danza, Brie Larson. Glenne Headley
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and stars in this modern-day update of the classic tale of the self-obsessed libertine, Don Juan. Except this New Jersey lothario’s Dona Ana is a idealized composite of the silicon-breasted, instantly orgasmic porn stars he addictively watches every single day. Along comes a “real, live, girl,” who prompts a moral (and physical) dilemma—give up porn and have a life, or… The surprising dark comedy turn in the third act brings everything to an unexpected climax (pun intended).
3 and 1/2 pieces of interesting and intriguing toast
Enough Said (PG-13)
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Katherine Keener, Toni Collette, Toby Huss
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
The rationalizations and self-delusions of a middle-aged romance between two divorced parents form the core of this very likeable comedy. After a disatrous first meeting, the unlikely pair tentatively begin a relationship that is both burdened and lightened by the woman’s friendhips with other females. Like a female Woody Allen, writer/director Nicole Holofcener creates a distinctive and occasionally screwball-comedy of a world where searching for a soul mate is a real act of courage.
3 and 1/2 pieces of cleverly courageous toast
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara
Directed by: Ron Howard
The “based-on-a-true-story” rivalry between a British and Austrian formula one race car drivers is superbly told as a tale of two opposites. The Brit is a partying, swelled-headed, macho type. The Austrian is a cool, mathematically inclined tactitician. The pair often compete for the checkered flag—most notably in the 1976 World Championship race which includes a firey crash which burns off the Austrian’s face. But it is what happens after the crash which helps make this film exceptional
3 and 1/2 pieces of gasoline-powered toast
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG)
Starring the voices of: Bill Hader, Anna Farris, Neil Patrick Harris, Will Forte, James Caan, Andy Samberg
Directed by: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
The crazy edginess of the original, favorite kid’s book based movie is sadly absent from this colorful but uninspired sequel. The machine that made food-weather, has started making food=animals and the characters from the original film are drafted to battle the “eco-system of living food.” Imagine a Jurassic Park filled with hungry Tacodiles and Shrimpanzees and you’ve got the idea.
2 pieces of lacks a reason for being other than to make money toast
Herb & Dorothy: 50 x 50 (NR)
Starring: Herb & Dorothy Vogel
Directed by: Megumi Sesaki
A postal clerk and school librarian with a distinctive eye for artistic talent created an impressive personal art collection and donated it to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There were so many pieces in the collection, that the couple decided to donate 50 works to a museum in each state. This is an attempt to chronicle the people and the process involved in such an undertaking. Unfortunately, the film lacks a script and a strong editor who was uninvolved in the filming to make things work. Instead, the result is haphazard at best.
1 and 1/2 pieces of infuriating to watch toast
In A World (R)
Starring: Lake Bell, Fred Melemed, Rob Cordry, Michaela Watkins
Directed by: Lake Bell
The “friendly” world of voice-over actors becomes compettive when the famous voice who intoned “In a world of…” for a thousand genre movies dies, and studios scramble for a replacement with just the right inflection, tone, and gravitas to say the famous line for this generation of moviegoers. The only female in the mix is the daughter of a man whose meliflulous tone seems a “shoe-in” to take on the lucrative job, but in this comedy, things don’t go the way they seem.
2 and 1/2 pieces of a humorous look at the men (and one woman) behind the curtain toast
Baggage Claim (PG-13)
Starring: Paula Patton, Adam Brody, Taye Diggs, Derek Luke, Christina Milan, Djimon Hounsou
Directed By: David E. Talbert
A flight attendant with a penchant for choosing feckless men to date, resolves to latch on to a wed-able male to escort her to her younger sister’s wedding. With a “seen-this-all-before” feeling, the parade of well-exercised and shirtless males who parade through the Bachelorette-inspired shenanigans all lack real depth, except (of course) for her long time friend—a lowly TSA employee.
1 and 1/2 pieces of overly cliched toast
Starring: Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell
Directed by: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
David Sedaris publicly announced that he wouldn’t sign over the rights to any of his short pieces to a movie maker because of his fear of how Hollywood would pasteurize his distinctive humor. Somehow, he relented on this simple tale of a Yale grad who dumps all his electronic gizmos and escapes to the simple life as an Oregonian apple picker. The resulting film proves that Sedaris’ fears were well founded but that the collaborative effort of making a film has advantages in other ways.
2 pieces of loses something in the translation but is still an interesting film toast
NEW DVD RELEASES
The Kings of Summer (R)
Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Allison Brie, Erin Moriarty, Eugene Cordero, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman
Directed By: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
This modern-day, but still nostalgic coming-of-age film manages to present the hormonally driven raunchiness and sense of infallibility of three teen boys without resulting to sophomoric humor—and that’s no small accomplishment. Instead, we have a tale of three runaways with distinct personalities who build a fort in the woods with the intent to live off the land. Needless to say, their parents and the police have a decidedly different take on all this, and the parental concerns, overreactions and terrors provide the audience with glimpses of just why the kids turned out the way they have.
3 pieces of evocative and well-made toast
Iron Man 3 (PG-13)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Colbie Smulders, Paul Bettany, Sam Elliott
Directed By: Shane Black
Imagine if an Old West gunslinger could stop the fight a a second past high noon, and ask his assistant to bring him a cannon. That’s the sensibility of Iron Man 3, supposedly last of the Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man films. Tony Stark’s latest suit of armor isn’t the Swiss Army Knife it used to be, but instead is a series of interchangeable suits clamped on like accessories on a Kitchenaid mixer. Paltrow keeps proving she is intelligent a well as beautiful, and Downey is still spot on with his one-liners, but the latest version of Tony Stark is less resilient, more neurotic and often depressed. In addition, the inclusion of a juvenile sidekick (presumably to appeal to a younger demographic) comes out of left field, the aforementioned multiple suits of armor lead to too many armor-donning sequences, and the bodies stack up like cords of firewood. Still, IM3 has already wowed audiences worldwide, and as a kick off for the summer blockbusters, it was pretty good.
3 pieces of it’s got PEOPLE magazine’s “most beautiful woman in the world” in it toast