Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 4/10/15

While We’re Young (R)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin

Directed By: Noah Baumbach

Writer/producer/director Noah Baumbach has created his While We’re Young, with amusing poignancy as a childless 40-something couple ( Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts) connect with the vivacious 20-something couple (Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver) who keep a pet chicken in their apartment. Intergenerational yearnings on both sides fuel the nuanced interplay as the “what-might-have been” (or should have been?) couple revel in the “what-might-be” potentiality of the youngsters. The artist/professor world of documentary filmmaking stands in for any creator/teacher environment as the sometimes messy complications of mentor/student hero worship and the frissons of sexual attractions co-mingle.

3 and 1/2 pieces of older-younger toast 

’71 (R)

Starring: James Randi, Penn & Teller, Alice Cooper

Directed By: Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom

There was a time—not that long ago, when NBC news reporter Garrick Utley gave a daily update on the bombings, street battles, and shattered victims of the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Yannn Demange’s ’71 uses the experiences of an Ulster-assigned, new recruit in the British Army to examine “the Troubles” as this internecine warfare was labelled. Using the time-tested, hunted for a crime he did not commit scenario, this young man’s life-or-death journey is an Irish-accented trip through Hell.

3 pieces of right up there with Sunday, Bloody Sunday toast

5 to 7 (R)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Berinice Marlohe, Glenn Close, Eric Stoltz, Frank Langella

Directed By: Victor Levin

The 5 to 7 in this film’s title, is the two hour period each weekday that a former Parisian model has been granted by her husband to “do with as she pleases.” Cigarettes shared with an aspiring New York writer 9 years her junior, quickly leads to several of these interludes spent between the sheets at the St. Regis Hotel. To the characters, the two-hour limitation soon proves to be a constraint rather than the freedom it purports to be, and complications become predictable. To the audience, director Victor Levin’s overly artsy camera work and seeming inability to film sex scenes sensually, quickly wears thin.

2 pieces of needs a lighter, more sensual touch toast 

Danny Collins (R)

Starring: Al Pacino, Annette Benning, Christopher Plummer, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner

Directed By: Dan Fogleman

An Italian singer whose concert fans sing-along to the hits he had 30 years ago, quits touring, dumps his wardrobe-challenged girlfriend, and heads “home” to reunite with the son he hasn’t visited since infancy. He checks into the local Hilton with lots of baggage (both real and metaphorical) and becomes interested in the savvy hotel manager (female of course). Meanwhile, his son has lots of anger, while his granddaughter may be a little too infatuated by the glitter of the spotlights.

2 and 1/2 pieces of Pacino is the perfect guy to play this character  toast 

The Longest Ride (PG-13)

Starring: Alan Alda, Scott Eastwood, Oona Chaplin, Jack Huston,  Brittany Robertson

Directed By: George Tillman Jr.

This latest old-letter-plot-device, Nicholas Sparks drama is supposed to be about the fate-cast rodeo cowboy whose Stetson flies off during a bull-ride and lands in a pretty girl’s lap. Instead, the romance between Alan Alda’s younger self and wife is what makes us suspend our disbelief. Alda adopts his curmudgeonly widower mode, and actors with other famous last names (i.e. Eastwood, Chaplin and Huston) fill out the credits.

2 and 1/2 pieces made for the “actively retired” set toast