Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 10/23/13

 

Escape From Tomorrow (NR)

Starring: Roy Abramsohn, Elana Shuber, Danielle Safady, Alison Lees-Taylor

Directed by: Randy Moore

Shot “guerilla style” (without permission) at Disney theme-parks, this film portrays the mid-life crisis of a husband and father who receives news of being fired while on vacation in “the happiest place on Earth.” Seen in black-and-white, ordinary experiences like waiting in lines that snake around hidden corners with barf-prone children who vomit on darkened roller coaster rides become paranoid fever dreams. Funny, paranoid fever dreams, about a place where extravagantly-costumed security forces appear and disappear via secret passages, crowd control is paramount, and the mouse behind the curtain really isn’t there at all.

3 and 1/2 pieces of  gutsy,  you’ll never view Disneyland the same way again toast 

 

The Patience Stone (R)

Starring: Golshifteh Farahani, Hamidez Javdan, Hassina Burgan

Directed by: Atiq Rahimi

An abused and destitute wife and mother in some unnamed Middle Eastern city tends to her comatose, much older husband. With war raging all around, she places her young daughters in the care of her prostitute sister, and returns to care for and talk to her dying husband. Hiding him when soldiers search their apartment, wearing the garb of a prostitute to lessen the chance of getting raped on the streets, dodging recent bomb blasts, witnessing deaths of neighbors and friends, she perseveres by railing against injustices and savoring the recollected  rare times of sweetness and love.

4 pieces of unveiled truths toast 

 

Muscle Shoals (R)

Starring: Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bono, Percy Sledge, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood

Directed by: Greg “Freddy” Camalier

If you’ve listened to the words to “Sweet Home Alabama,” you’ve heard of Muscle Shoals. This tiny spot on the Tennessee/Alabama state line incubated the careers of many great singers. Through old photos, movies and newly recorded interviews, we learn how it all began way back in the 60’s when the son of a sawmill worker founded Fame Studios, made a record with Percy Sledge, and transformed America’s musical landscape. Much of this is because of the fusion of black and white musicians who played backup for each other as they traded singing into the microphone. Wilson Picket, the Osmond Brothers, the Alman Brothers, Aretha Franklin, and even the Rolling Stones owe a great debt to this teeny, tiny town—and we do too.

3 and 1/2 pieces of  “songs that come out of the mud” toast 

 

A.C.O.D.  (R)

Starring: Adam Scott, Catherine O’Hara, Richard Jenkins, Amy Poehler

Directed by: Stu Zicherman

It is patently obvious that nobody asked for an unbiased opinion anywhere in the evolution of this film. If they had, this sloppy, unfocused, squandering of real talent, and pointless so-called-comedy would never have been made. Unfortunately, this tale of a grown up Adult Child of Divorce who tries to reunite his parents for his brother’s upcoming wedding has been brightly packaged as a “fun” date-movie. Trust me. It isn’t.

1/2 piece of why didn’t someone say NO! toast

 

The Counselor  (R)

Starring: Adam Scott, Catherine O’Hara, Richard Jenkins, Amy Poehler

Directed by: Stu Zicherman

A Texas attorney who seemingly has everything going for him decides to become involved in the deadly cross-border drug trade just because it says so in the script. But that is the only part of a script which is visible. Sparkling with a list of really good actors, director and writer, something went horribly wrong and the result is an improbable series of stupid mistakes involving characters we don’t give a hoot about (with apologies to any owls who may read this).

1/2 piece of what the heck were they thinking toast

 

I’m In Love With a Church Girl  (PG)

Starring: Jeff ‘Ja Rule’ Atkins, Adrienne Bailon, Marjorie Mann, Stephen Baldwin, Martin Kove

Directed by: Steve Race

This misguided,”faith-based” film includes a pastor who drives a Lamborghini, a drug-trafficker turned concert promoter, and a beautiful woman who is as annoying as a shrilly proselytizing evangelist loudly knocking on your front door.

1/2 piece of too long, too flamboyant and too generic toast

 

 

NEW DVD RELEASES

Before Midnight  (R)

Starring: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Seamus-Davey Fitzpatrick

Directed By: Richard Linklater

The couple who first met in Vienna and reunited in Paris years later, are now married with children and wistful about their past. He is a novelist, she an environmentalist, and they are guests at a friend’s  gorgeous Greek villa. The setting prompts some introspection—did they ever really love each other that much? Do they still? Can they ever rekindle that fire? Should they? For an audience who has grown up with these people, the choices made and the answers given are important—not just for the fictional couple, but for the audience’s romantic soul.

4  pieces of deftly created toast 

 

The Way Way Back (PG-13)

Starring: Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Liam James

Directed By: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Even though we’ve never been to this Massachusetts vacation town, the setting and characters seem comfortably familiar in this coming-of-age comedy. Befuddled by his single mom’s infatuation with a new boyfriend and their alcohol-fueled partying, the boy learns from another teen that, “It’s like Spring Break for adults.” But the amusing goings-on are still PG-13 rated. as most of the laughs come from the excellent timing of the ensemble cast and the wry observations of human behaviors. It’s worth a visit.

3 and 1/2 pieces of comfortable comedy toast

 

Only God Forgives (R)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristen Scott Thomas, Yayaying

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Gosling and Scott-Thomas seem to be slumming in this low-budget, corner cutting film about a drug dealer and wannabe Thai boxer who is urged by his Oedipal-complex-style mother to murder the Bangkok gangsters who killed her other son. Lots of weirdness. Lots of bloody violence. Lots of opportunities to go to the snack bar or restroom during the often plodding goings-on.

1 and 1/2  pieces of dark and dirty toast 

 

The Internship  (PG-13)

Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaugh, Aasiv Mandvi, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Max Minghella

Directed By: Shawn Levy

Two laid-off salesmen take unpaid internships at Google to prove to themselves, their families, and the world-at-large that they shouldn’t be sent to the scrap yard.  The jokes are funny and poignant, the script is aw-shucks corny, and Google comes off like the star of the movie, (and perhaps the Universe?)

3 pieces of technological dinosaurs toast