Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 2/21/14


Gloria (R)

Starring: Paulina Garcia, Serge Hernandez, Alejandro Goic, Diego Fanticella, Liliana Garc

Directed by: Sebastian Lelio

Chilean-born actress Paulina Garcia won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for playing the title role in Gloria.  The story is about a drab 58-year-old divorcee who decides to blossom over after she meets an amusement park owner at a seniors dance. Their time together is passionate, intensely sexual and not without a taste of reality as each person’s obligations to their families begins to intrude.

3 and 1/2 pieces of senior advocate Joan Price should love this film toast


Pompeii (PG-13)

Starring: Kit Harrington Emily Browning, Jared Harris, Keifer Sutherland, Carrie-Ann Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

This sword and sandals epic begins like Gladiator, and ends like a volcano/tsunami disaster flick. Much is made about the 3D special effects as the ubiquitous sword and spear aims for your eye, and the flaming magma engulfs you. The acting and the script are ludicrous, with people striding onscreen and obviously finding their marks before looking straight into the camera to recite their lines. I couldn’t tell if this was a result of performing before a blue screen for all the CG effects, or TV actors out of their depth. The teen demographic should love it.

3 pieces of “Hey, that volcano’s going to explode” toast


About Last Night (R)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Julian Torres, Connie Nielsen, Hailee Steinfield, Amber Heard, McG

Directed by: Luc Besson

Kevin Costner doesn’t clench his teeth as well as Liam Neeson, but this story about a  CIA  assassin dad who want’s to reconnect with his wife and daughter seems awfully like Taken. The only difference, this dad’s been diagnosed with the Big C (cancer). There’s lots of product placement for a particular brand of French automobile with car chases across Paris at its most picturesque. All in all, its pretty generic.

2 pieces of disappointing redux toast 



The Past (PG-13)

Starring: Jessica Lange, Elizabeth Olsen, Laurent LeClaire, Oscar Isaac, Matt Lucas

Directed by: Charlie Stratton

Based on an Emil Zola novel with refrains added from The Postman Always Rings Twice, this is one of those dark and brooding melodramas shot with a blue-grey filter to add to the icy ambiance. Because of the dampening down of light, the flare of a match, the flickering of a candle, and the glory of unfettered sunshine are useful in shedding a little light on the muddled goings on. Suffice to say, the illegitimate children from one generation continue the extra-familial tradition, with all the accompanying hand wringing, soulful looks, and tragic outcomes.

2 pieces of what was new and fresh in the 19th century is predictable today toast 



Wadjda (PG)

Starring: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Ahd Kamel

Directed by: Haiffa Al-Mansour

It is considered immoral for Islamic girls to ride bicycles in Saudi Arabia, and the fact that the shiny green bike in the shop window is a girl’s model explains part of the obsession 10-year-old Wadja has about owning it. Clever, creative, and a natural born rule-bender, the girl comes up with a novel way to earn enough money for her prize—win the traditionally male-only school competition memorizing and singing the text of the Koran.

3 and 1/2 pieces of you’ll like this girl’s spirit toast