Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 7/04/14


Snowpiercer (R)

Starring: Chris Evans, Song Kang Ho, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Jame Bell, John Hurt

Directed by: Bong June Ho

17-years-ago, global warming catapulted the Earth into a frozen wasteland. The only survivors exist in a hermetically sealed fusion-powered train that (like a shark), must keep moving or die. The first class passengers are the elite onepercenters who had the money and connections to procure a comfortable space onboard. The “tail-enders” are the unwashed proletariat surviving on the trickle-down largesse of their Fascistic “betters.” They are on the train essentially by accident, but also because the ones in front need to periodically replenish their ranks of servants and objects of hedonistic excesses. When some minions from The Front head back to take measurements on Tail-Ender children and select two to “upgrade,” a revolt begins. But this is only the latest in a series of takeover attempts, and The Front’s thugs have developed bloodier and bloodiest defenses.

3 pieces of satirical post-apocalyptic train to nowhere toast 


Tammy (R)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Allison Janney, Dan Ackroyd, Kathy Bates, Gary Cole, Susan Sarandon, Toni Collette

Directed by: Ben Falcone

The lure of being your own star, producer, writer and director captured Oscar-winner Melissa McCarthy and her husband Joe Falcone and then hand-cuffed them into an unfunny disaster of a movie. McCarthy’s title character is a mercurial manic-depressive on bi-polar pills. Sweet and funny one moment, mean-spirited, gross and obnoxious the next, the audience’s collective heads are whipped around like they are on the roller coaster ride from one fat-lady joke or old lady joke after another. In the end, it’s just sad.

1/2  pieces of somebody should have stopped this mess toast 


The Grand Seduction (PG-13)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Lian Balaban, Gordon Pinsent

Directed by: Don McKellar

We’ve seen the set up before as a remote small town tries to lure a doctor to move there and serve their community, The formula is familiar as the locals use various gambits (including the pretty lass), to make the place quirkily irresistible. It is, of course a con-job, and Irish actor Brendan Gleeson is the bewhiskered con man extraordinaire. You know what’s coming, but can still enjoy the ride.

2 and 1/2 pieces of quirky Canadians toast 



Earth to Echo (PG)

Starring: Alga Smith, Astro, Cassius Willis, Ella Wahlestedt, Reese C. Hartwig

Directed by: Dave Green

This offspring of E.T. and The Goonies has been updated so today’s tech-savvy youngsters will instantly identify with their onscreen counterparts. A cluster of Nevada buddies makes videos of their last night in a suburb slated for demolition and happen upon a cute space alien along the way. Trying too hard, and plugging square pegs into their respective square holes, it’s entertaining enough, but think what might have been if he filmmakers included some counter-culture creativity (like that found in The Bridge to Terabithia) into the mix.

2 pieces of entertaining enough but lacks originality toast




The Lunchbox  (PG)

Starring: Irfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Denzil Smith, Nawazuddin Siddiqul

Directed by: Ritesh Batra

A housewife creates an aphrodisiac lunch to spice up her marriage bed, but when she sends it to here husband via one of Mumbai, India’s lunchbox delivery services,  it ends up going to the wrong man. Passions are inflamed; notes are delivered; and the audience is given a delightful view into a hundred-year old oddity— Mumbai’s army of dabbawallas who daily deliver tens of thousands of lunch boxes from wives to husbands in a system that defies logic. You will enjoy this movie.

3 and 1/2 pieces of tasty, spicy toast


Like Father, Like Son (NR)

Starring: Mashaharu Fukuyama, Ono Machiko, Keita Ninomiya

Directed by: Hirokazu Koreeda

We’ve seen the news stories about children accidentally switched at birth, and sent home with the “wrong” parents. Now imagine that your son is six-years-old when you hear of this mistake. One set of affluent parents has raised their child to be a success-focused high achiever sure to go to the best schools and career. The other family lives modestly but with boisterous humor and joy.  The parents struggle with what will be best for their sons—leave them as they are with the only parents they have known, or switch them back and immerse them in a dynamically different family ethic. The story is elegantly and movingly told reminding us that Japanese sensibilities may not be as different from ours as we thought.

3 pieces of moral dilemma toast