Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 5/02/14



Only Lovers Left Alive (R)

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright, John Hurt, Mia Wasilkowska

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmush, the director who brought us Forest Whitaker as an urban Samurai hit-man in Ghost Dog, and Bill Murray as a never married, middle age man seeking out past girlfriends in Broken Flowers, takes us into the world of vampire lovers who have been intimate since Shakespeare’s time. He is a reclusive Detroit underground musician. She lives in book-lined luxury in Tangiers. She flies to Motown (at night, of course) to visit, when his younger, prettier party-going sister arrives and shakes things up a bit. The music, the atmosphere, and the acting is as chilling and original as the type-O popsicles they share.

3  and 1/2  pieces of stylish vampirism toast 


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (PG-13)

Starring the voices of: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Jim Carrey

Directed by: Marc Webb

Spidey’s body is supposed to have been transformed into a hominid-shaped creature with arachnid characteristics, such as inhuman strength, spiderweb spinning capability, and a strong exoskeleton. But we all know that spiders squash easily underfoot, so even though their carapace may be sturdy for their size and weight, it is not built of adamantine (that particular attribute is given to other superheroes). At the turn of the century, filmmakers decided to gloss over these biological facts and have Spidey plummet from high buildings, crash through windows and walls at the end of his web, and then just shake it off. So, should I bring up what happens to people when they are encased in protective gear (even a battle tank) and are engulfed by a sudden explosion? Their brains and organs get scrambled. In this movie, Spidey still shakes off deadly confrontations with inanimate objects and explosive debris, but there are far too many non-spiderish humans torn and splattered about for my taste. Apparently, the director assumed all of the glitches and improbabilities would be drowned out by the deafening music and objects hurling towards you in their 3-D awesomeness. It’s not enough, and the end result is completely underwhelming if not off-putting.

1 and 1/2 pieces of imagine what should have been done with this huge budget toast 


Blue Ruin (R)

Starring: Macon Blair, Amy Hargreaves, Devin Ratray, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb

Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier

This Indy award-winner may single-handedly push the “Lets think of the homeless as people like us” movement back several decades. The “hero” of this tale, lives off the Delaware grid in his immobile, bullet-riddled car, through a combination of dumpster-diving and petty theft. When he learns the man who killed his parents is getting out of jail, he pops a battery under the hood, the car starts up, and he takes off. This journey is ostensibly made to protect his sister, but he ultimately finds himself playing a murderous game of cat-and-mouse with the killer and his crazed relatives. Despite scenes of intensely close-up images of death and dying, the film keeps the same, matter-of-fact sensibility exhibited by the central character. I’d place it in the Southern Gothic genre, even if some of the action takes place in New England

2 and 1/2 pieces Indy Southern Gothic toast 




Labor Day (R)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Tobey Maguire, Gatlin Griffith

Directed By: Jason Reitman

“Frankly, this needs to happen,” is the line an escaped convict uses when he corners a teen-aged boy in a rural market. It is the same line the bloodied man uses when he meets the boy’s single mother at her secluded house. Apparently neighbors were either stupider or blinder circa 1987, because nobody notices that the handyman who appears out of nowhere, without any truck or tools, looks remarkably like the escaped convict plastered all over the TV news. Or maybe folks just decided to let sleeping dogs lie, and let the poor fellow and the lonely woman and her desperate for-a-father-figure son just enjoy a Labor Day barbecue together?

2 pieces of unrealistic romance toast 


The Legend of Hercules (PG-13)

Starring: Kellen Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Liam McIntyre

Directed by: Renny Harlin, Roxanne McKee

It is now obvious why they wouldn’t show this movie to critics. It earned a 3% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site, so I have not bothered to waste a couple hours of my time seeing it. All I know is that it stars a former Abercrombie & Fitch model who played a were-bear in the Twilight movies, and is directed by guy who makes sequels to horror films. It’s safe to say that this version of Hercules isn’t the klutzy teen-age demi-god created by John Musker and Ron Clements for Disney’s animated version.

1/2 piece of I’ve not actually seen this movie toast