Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 5/08/15

Salt of the Earth (PG-13)

Starring: Sebastian Salgado, Julio Ribiero Salgado, Leila Wanick Salgado

Directed By: Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribiero

For the millions of us pondering a gluten-free existence, it is jarring to realize that thousands of humans scrabble in mercilessly difficult conditions to coax a living from the bowels of the Earth or find enough water to allow their children to exist for a few more hours. Still photographer Sebastian Salgado’s life work has been to share the faces of those toilers and marginal survivors, and Wim Wenders Oscar-nominated documentary, The Salt of the Earth lets us meet this extraordinary artist of the human condition. But chronicling all this misery has taken its toll. As Salgado says after his last visit with Rwandan refugees: “What is there left to do…after you’ve stared into the heart of darkness and decided mankind doesn’t deserve to exist?”

4 pieces of art as social conscience toast

Hot Pursuit (R)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon. Sofia Vergara,

Directed By: Anne Fletcher

I blame the director (and the script writer, and the studio execs, etc. etc.) for this feeble attempt at yet another dumbed-down, so called comedy pairing of opposites.  This time, it’s a well meaning but inept cop escorting a brassy, Latina wife of a mob boss through the absurdist challenges of staying alive while fleeing from hired assassins. Funny premise, eh?

1 piece of keep your money in your wallet toast 

5 Flights Up  (PG-13)

Starring: Diane Keaton, Morgan Freeman, Cynthia Nixon

Directed By: Richard Loncraine

Those who aren’t addicted to those house-buying shows on cable TV, may not know that downsizing in New York City is like being thrown into a carnival sideshow—populated with opinionated know-it-alls who passionately “Hate!” white appliances and formica countertops or wimpy, unable-to-make a decision wafflers whose future revolves around a charming sleeping space for their aging wolfhound. Mix in a truck accident that may be part of a terrorist bomb-plot, a so-subtle-you-almost-miss-it flashback to being a mixed-race couple forty years ago, and a series of comic set ups that fall as flat as a thin-crust pizza, and you have this mess of a movie.

1 and 1/2 pieces of really not that interesting toast

The D Train  (R)

Starring: Jack Black, James Marsden,

Directed By: Robert Kenner

The schlubby, nerd responsible for organizing his Pittsburgh high school’s 20th year reunion tries to persuade the actor in a suntan lotion commercial to attend the event because he is the only “success” the class produced. Problem is, this wanna-be comedy slides all too often into tastelessness like advising a 14-year-old what to do (and not to do) in a sexual three-way. They should have cut 20-minutes of the “did they really say that?” sequences and then have a marginally okay movie.

1 and 1/2 piece of Marsden has his moments in this toast 

3 Hearts  (PG-13)

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni, Benoit Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve

Directed By: Benoit Jacquot

A missed train in a provincial French town throws two people together. He is a middle-aged tax inspector, she a mysterious beauty. They fall hard for each other promising to reunite a week later in Paris. Only fate intervenes and he eventually finds someone else who, the audience knows, is the first girl’s sister. The women’s mother narrates the goings-on as farcical plot twists keep throwing obstacles into the path to true love (or is it the path not taken?)

3 pieces of French toast