Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases 8/22/14


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (R)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

The gruesomely bloody stylized comic book of artful mayhem and madness in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, has prompted me to create a new warning acronym—WEP (Wear Ear Plugs). This is because the visuals of gouged out eyeballs and samurai sword decapitations are brutal enough, but the slurrshy, sliccy sound effects takes things over the top. Apparently created for a niche audience of nihilistic young men, the story is told in a series of chapter-like tales held together by the setting—a seedy, smoke-filled strip club. It’s been nine years since the first Sin City collaboration, and the technical aspects in this one are even better, but the blood-fueled story is decidedly not for everyone.  NOTE: The MPAA has banned one poster for the film prominently featuring Eva Green’s breasts.

2 pieces of WEP (wear ear plugs) toast


If I Stay (PG-13)

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Lauren Lee Smith, Mirelle Enosa

Directed by: R.J. Cutler

This Kleenex fueled movie is aimed squarely at teens who have recently become aware of their own mortality. It is a told-through-flashbacks tale of a young cellist   in a coma because of a horrific auto accident. We discover that she is awkwardly in love for the first time ( the adolescent sex scenes are off screen), that her loving parents abandoned their rock-drummer and groupie careers to take a 9-t0-5 job and take care of their baby daughter, and that coma victims have the power to decide to stay alive, or go (presumably) to heaven.

2 and 1/2 pieces of essentially a faith-based film toast 


Alive Inside (NR)

Starring: Oliver Sachs, Dan Cohen

Directed by: Michael Rossato-Bennett

I have personally observed the phenomenon of music “waking up” the brains of patients with severe dementia when Bing Crosby crooned “White Christmas” to a small group of nursing home patients. People who spent most of their time staring into space or talking to themselves began to sing along to the words, and one woman even started to dance. This fine documentary profiles social worker Dan Cohen’s quest to unlock the memories in the minds of those who have seemingly lost the power to engage with the world.

3 pieces of the mind is a wondrous thing toast 




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