Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the Week of 2/13/15


Still Alice (PG-13)

Starring: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth

Directed By: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

Alzheimer’s is insidious enough when you are elderly, but early-onset Alzheimer’s attacks people in the prime of life and quickly robs them of their unique self. In Still Alice, Julianne Moore plays the title character (a dynamic professor researching the astonishing language acquisition ability of infants) who just turned 50. She starts forgetting little things like where she put the car keys or the passwords to her online banking accounts, but in a very short time, these lapses in memory become more distressing —like struggling to recall her pregnant daughter’s name. Fearing a brain tumor, she sees a doctor who diagnoses early-onset Alzheimers. Alice doesn’t need to Google the disease to know she has only a year or so to retain her short term and long term memory functions. She also knows that a miracle cure is very, very unlikely, and the best she and her family and co-workers can do is to live life as completely as possible in the brief time she has as “Still Alice”.

3 and 1/2 pieces of Moore is Oscar-bound toast


50 Shades of Grey (R)

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dorman, Jennifer Ehle, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Hardin, Eloise Mumford

Directed By: Sam Taylor-Johnson

I understand that as many tickets pre-sold for this film’s opening as there were for the first Twilight film. Perhaps this is because they both involve naive and virginal women seduced to the dark side by a Macho-male on the edges of society. The fact that one is a vampire and the other a reclusive billionaire is moot, for both want to dominate a young woman by teaching her to respond sexually to pain and loss of control. I find it strange that such a poorly written book based on a ludicrous, self-contradicting personal contract should become a bestseller. Even more puzzling, is that a plot centering on an untouchable Alpha-male who builds a torture chamber in his lavish penthouse for the sole purpose of debasing women captured the imagination of so many American females. Onscreen, the book’s tawdry dialogue is laughable and the eyes-dilated male lead seems to be acting in an ad for those Restasis prescription eyedrops. I don’t see how he stopped admiring himself in the mirror long enough to capture and subjugate his latest victim. Much has been written about the fact that 40 of the film’s 110 minute running time is comprised of sexual activities, but don’t be suckered into paying good money for a series of loveless set pieces.

1 piece of why all this hype about torturing a woman? toast 


Kingsman: The Secret Service (R)

Starring: Collin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Hamil, Sophie Cookson, Mark Strong

Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

With all the talent assembled for this spy spoof, you would think it would be better. Unfortunately, the supposedly toungue-in-cheek banter about what would happen next “if we were in a in a spy movie,” wears out its welcome very quickly. The plot is straight out of Moonraker, but made “hip” by the director of Kick Ass by having the cast shout four letter expletives while avoiding massive dry cleaning bills caused by the Tarantinoish amounts of spouting, dripping, oozing and gushing blood.

2 pieces of would work better after a strong edit toast


Newly Released on DVD

Nightcrawler (R)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Rick Garcia, Bill Paxton

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

A petty thief arms himself with a cheap video camera to make big bucks filming crime scenes and selling them to the local news station. His edge? Blood and guts, nudity and mayhem — the stuff of checkbook journalism for over a century. Ethics be damned, this guy will do and say anything for the juiciest footage — even setting up the crime he will eventually film.

3 pieces of Gyllenhaal as an amoral videographer toast.