Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 6/06/14


Edge of Tomorrow  (PG-13)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Riley

Directed by: Doug Liman

Although the Edge of Tomorrow sounds like it should be a TV soap opera, it offers something much better—Tom Cruise dying a million ways. (Well, not that many, but I just hadda write it that way ‘cause, ya-know…). Think of Cruise as Wile E. Coyote in a futuristic war version of Groundhog Day. Since the film was released on the 50th anniversary of D-Day, the future space alien invasion has bogged down on the Normandy coast where Cruise and his fellow exoskeleton wearing comrades must storm the beaches. But over and over again, Cruise’s character is swallowed up by an ink-blot-like baddie and dies. Somehow, he must learn to fight better to survive. Improbable? Think of this as a video game where the gamer learns which dead end alleys, fire swamps, and gator filled streams to avoid the next time they play the game.

3  pieces of see it for Tom Cruise dying over and over toast 


The Fault In Our Stars (PG-13)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Anson Elgort, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff, Wilem Dafoe

Directed by: Josh Boone

We learn from flashbacks that the plucky 16-year old at the center of this life-affirming tale, is hooked up to a portable oxygen tank because she almost died from thyroid cancer when she was only 8. The chance of a relapse is quite strong, so the teenager must live every day to the fullest—including falling in love, having sex, and traveling to Amsterdam to meet the author of a book she cherishes. Instead of pieces of toast, this one should be rated by boxes of Kleenex.

3 pieces of lots of sniffles and some outright sobs from the audience  toast 


Ida (PG-13)

Starring: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kuleza

Directed by: Pavel Palikowski

Amid the grayness of Poland’s Communist era, this Polish-made film takes us for a car ride with a novice nun named Ana, and a chain-smoking judge on a journey to the past and future. The orphan girl is searching for her family history starting with a visit to an aunt she didn’t know existed. This opens up the proverbial can of worms as we uncover the anti-semitism of the war years while tracing Ana’s mother and father. The road-trip is jarring at times, taking short cuts and side trips the audience may not be prepared for, but it is superb filmmaking.

3 and 1/2  pieces of Polish history toast 


Test (NR)

Starring: Scott Marlowe, Matthew Risch, Kristofer Cusick, Katherine Wells

Directed by: Chris Mason Johnson

This is another one of those “not quite ready for prime time” movies about Gays, but despite its lack of budget, the dance scenes make it worth seeing. That’s right, a film set amid the terror of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, focuses on professional dancers in a manner that brings people closer to an understanding of what things were like when headlines threatened quarantines for Gay men.

3 pieces of ”gotta dance” toast


Cold In July (NR)

Starring: Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard

Directed by: Jim Mickle

Don Johnson’s career is reinvigorated by him playing a pig farmer and private eye who drives a ruby-red Cadillac with longhorns attached to its grill. In a film noir not for everyone (in addition to the corrupt cops and gangsters, there’s a “snuff film” ring), this is a story of revenge killings, mistaken identities and testosterone fueled contrariness.

3 pieces of murderous small town toast




Robocop (PG-13)

Starring: Joel Kinneman. Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton

Directed by: Jose Padilha

It has been almost thirty years since Paul Verhoeven released a human-brained robot to tame the Detroit streets controlled by civil-liberty-smashing government agents and sadistic gangsters. The before the credits prequel in the new film shows what might have been by featuring the ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson (not, as some believe, Laurence Fishburne), as a CNN news anchor reporting on how the good old USA controls Iran with drones and killer robots. Instead, we have a modernized version of RoboCop who is more focused on exacting revenge on the bad guys who destroyed his family than paying attention to the over-the-top excesses of the mind-controlling government. Sadly missed is the opportunity to extend the potentials of using drones and NSA spying to clamp down on any original thoughts from ordinary citizens in the near future. Instead, we have a reboot of Transformers-style mayhem.

2 pieces of it doesn’t even look like Detroit toast