Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
Films Opening 4/25/14
The Other Woman (R)
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton, Leslie Mann
Directed by: Nick Cassavettes
This is one of those farcical looks at several Manhattan condo-style women. You may have seen their sisters on one of those Real Estate TV shows where people with more money than taste, grimace at the sight of white appliances. “I’ll have to rip everything out,” they tell everyone within shouting distance. The three women in this particular tale, discover they are involved with the same man (one is even married to him), but instead of using dueling iPhones to destroy their rivals (or the man), they get together at expensive restaurants to share glasses of “rich and buttery” Chardonnay. Sparks (of various types) fly across the table, and in this instance, the Klingon proverb should read, “Revenge is a dish best served warm.”
3 pieces of chatty Manhattan-style toast
The Gallapagos Affair: Satan Comes to Eden (NR)
Starring the voices of: Cate Blanchette, Sebastian Koch, Thomas Kretschmann, Diane Kruger, Connie Nielsen
Directed by: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
Secluded tropical islands have always been a lure to the “back to Eden” folks with enough money to get there. So too, with one of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Chili. Primarily thought of as the protected marine sanctuary where Charles Darwin formulated his theories on natural selection, in 1932, tiny Floreana, became “home” to a small group of Austrian/Germans fleeing their homeland. Sex and freedom from clothing and other trappings of civilization were the attractions for some of the people, but a baroness arrived with her two lovers and the intent to build a destination hotel on the beach. Somehow, three people vanished without a trace. This intriguing documentary uses recently discovered home movies to take us back to that utopian quest.
3 pieces of a bit long, but still fascinating toast
Starring: Tom Hardy, Ben Daniels, Andrew Scott, Olivia Coleman
Directed by: Steven Knight
Overacting must have been a constant dread for the people who made this film. Almost all of it takes place in the confined space of a luxury automobile heading down a British highway. The dialogue is between the driver and the people who call via Bluetooth (which is why he never gets stopped for using a cell phone while driving). In the course of ninety minutes, almost everything that could happen to destroy the man’s comfortable life does happen. It’s like that old story about the writer who returns home to be greeted with the news. “Your agent stopped by.” The fellow in that apocryphal tale learns that his wife was cheating on him, his house burned down with his priceless collection of first editions, etc. etc. etc.) Suffice to say, Tom Hardy makes this film work. Kudos to him.
3 pieces of a one-man movie toast
Railway Man (R)
Starring: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard,
Directed by: Jonathan Taplitsky
As a bookend to Alec Guinness’ performance in the Bridge Over the River Kwai, Colin Firth plays another survivor of the Japanese forced labor camps used to construct the Thai-Burma railway during WWII. No Colonel Bogey March here. The Bogeymen are real–the sadistic and jingoistic, propaganda-fed Japanese officers who whipped and starved and killed the “animals” to keep to a building schedule imposed by the Emperor himself. We meet this survivor long after the war is supposed to have ended. But it hasn’t. Not for this man and the hundreds of fellow prisoners whose honor he has a chance to avenge. Sadly, the scenes between the soldier and his Japanese tormentor seem hollow shells of what should have been the film’s central focus. I blame it on the director.
2 pieces of messes up the “core” of the tale toast
Walking With the Enemy (NR)
Starring: Jonas Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, Ben Kingsley
Directed by: Mark Schmidt
This film wanted to be good. It cast Ben Kingsley as the Hungarian regent who must work with the Nazi leaders Adolph Eichmann, and Col Skozeny, and he is such a good actor, we manage to feel sympathy for a fellow whose feelings regarding “the Jewish problem” are ambivalent at best. It tries to cram too much into a confined space. A Jew disguised as a Nazi officer searching out his family, torture, mass executions, and, of course, young lovers. In the end, the weight of historic reality crushes the good intentions to rubble.
1 and 1/2 pieces of the Holocaust comes to Hungary toast
Nymphomaniac 2 (NC-17)
Starring: Charlotte Gainsborough,Stellen Skarsgard, Jamie Bell, Wilem Dafoe, Shia LeBeouf
Directed by: Lars Von Trier
At the end of the first movie (the 4 and 1/2 hour original film was cut into two for theatrical release), Charlotte Gainsborough’s sex-obsessed character loses all feeling in her nether regions. It doesn’t prevent her from searching out sexual release—just shifts her perspective to the physical pain part of the spectrum, and the “cures” a so-called “therapist”inflicts on the woman, are criminal. At the end of this film, the director winks at his audience and lets them know everything that has gone before, is a joke. I assume this lets Von Trier off the hook for displaying torturous pain as sexual release. Graphic in a disturbing way, the whole exercise smacks of a fellow who made the film(s) just to raise his middle finger at the world.
1 and 1/2 pieces of seriously mixed-up toast
NEW DVD RELEASES
Nothing new this week above 2 and 1/2 pieces of toast