Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases 9/o5/14
A Summer’s Tale (G)
Starring: Amanda Langlet, Aurelia Nolin, Gwenaelle Simon, Melvil Poupaud
Directed by: Eric Rohmer
French filmmaker Eric Rohmer created this movie 22 years ago, but it is now in American theaters for the first time. It is a disarmingly simple tale of a young mathematics student on a beach vacation for the purpose of running into a girl who casually mentioned she may be headed that way. She is nowhere in sight, but the student/waitress is friendly, and she introduces her customer to a wildly sensual young woman—which is the moment the previously absent girl appears. It is a lyrical, poetic film, with no dialogue for long stretches broken up by casually intense conversations that may not lead anywhere. Rohmer once said he wanted to look at “thoughts rather than actions”, dealing “less with what people do than what is going on in their minds while they are doing it,” and that precisely defines A Summer’s Tale.
4 pieces of La Neuvelle Vague toast
Starring: Oscar Jaeneda, Michael Imperioli, Ilse Salas
Directed by: Sebastian del Amo
I only know the Mexican comic actor, Cantinflas, from his role as Phileas Fogg’s valet Passepartout in Mike Todd’s 1956 technicolor extravaganza, Around the World in 80 Days. As this often slow-moving biopic tries to tell us, the man was much more than that—a world-famous, Latin American comic who portrayed a slew of improvised characters with regional Mexican accents in over fifty films. Set in the mid-50‘s when Todd is trying to sign on the “Mexican Chaplin” for very little money, we see the star’s life in flashbacks. Because much of the humor derives from the regional accents, to American audiences, the earlier clownish scenes in silent pantomime are the most effective. But since Cantinflas once said his profession was “a way with words,” and the “way” of those words doesn’t translate well, much of the vitality and spontaneous humor goes right over our heads.
2 pieces of in Spanish, Passepartout is called Juan Picaport toast
The Congress (NR)
Starring: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm
Directed by: Art Folman
Predicting a near future when idiosyncratic movie actors (and their high salaries), will be replaced by digital avatars who look, sound and act exactly like the real thing, but never age and never demand Perrier chilled to 33.6 degrees, Robin Wright portrays both her real-life self and her digital counterpart. Flash forward to when she has been “recorded” for over 20 years, the digitized Robin Wright is an international mega star, and at this point, The Congress morphs into an undigestible blender shake—really. The studio boss dreams of capturing various movie star’s essences and infusing them into cans of soda. What? Are you kidding? Nope, it’s all deadly serious. Coconut water is out—Tom Cruise water is in.
2 pieces of the first half works but them it becomes a fizzy soda toast
The Last of Robin Hood (R)
Starring: Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Max Casella
Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Always the psychological educator, I want you know that ephebophilia is the correct term for an adult whose sexual interest is mid-to-late adolescents. Movie star Errol Flynn, the fabled “Tasmanian Devil” wrote in his autobiography, “I never slept alone,” and The Last of Robin Hood opens with a teenaged, child actress pursued by the Paparazzi because she was in the Canadian hotel room when Flynn died. I suggest that instead of spending money on this truly uninteresting film, with overacting by some and underacting by others, that you grab a copy of Margaret Cezair-Thomson’s The Pirate’s Daughter, a fictionalized account of an island romance Flynn had with a 13-year old Jamaican girl.
1 piece of I blame the directors for this mush toast
NEW DVD RELEASES
Night Moves (PG-13)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, James Le Gros
Directed by: Kelly Reichert
Portraying eco-terrorists as kid-next-door archetypes (the loner, the true believer, the liar, etc.) is a tricky business, and this movie is unconvincing as a result. Yes, there may be strong reasons against damming remote rivers (endangered fish, endangered farmers, endangered fishermen, endangered scenery, etc.). but there are strong reasons for having the dam in the first place (non-polluting electricity, flood control, recreational lakes, etc.). However nuance is wasted on these particular “back to the Earthers,” and that’s why they intend to “bomb the Hell” out of that nasty hydroelectric dam (the one with all the people living downstream).
2 and 1/2 pieces of eco-terrorist toast