Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 6/05/15

Love and Mercy  (PG-13)

Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Paul Giamatti, Elizabeth Banks,

Directed By: Bill Pohlad

There are several different Brian Wilsons (of Beach Boys fame), and two of them are presented (by different actors) in the musical biopic Love and Mercy. Paul Dano plays the young Brian fueled by sun, surf and bikini-girls as he transforms the signature sounds in his head to the records we still sing along with today. But we also see the sadistically abusive father, Brian’s escapes into booze and drugs, and the mental breakdown that “instant” success (and the constant pressure to create something new and fresh) can bring. The older, post-breakdown Brian is played by John Cusack (playing John Cusack). Still talented, still mercurial, looking for love, he found it when he answered a “For Sale” ad for a used Cadillac. And through all this is the music. The incomparable, instantly identifiable music.

3 pieces of  “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Papa-Ooom-Mow-Mow” toast 

Sunshine Superman (PG)

Starring: Carl Boenish, Jean Boenish, Kent Lane

Directed By: Marah Strauch

This doc focuses on BASE jumping pioneer Carl Boenish, the skydiving cinematographer whose 16mm films of ariel artistry and beauty captured the public’s attention. Carl died in 1984 from crashing into a rocky outcrop on the side of Norway’s so-called “Troll Wall.” If (like me) you don’t know that BASE jumping is the acronym for jumping off Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges) and Earth (cliffs) then you probably don’t care very much about this so-called sport. Instead of those tired old parachutes (so 1970’s) or paragliders (so 1990’s), those in the know now use wingsuits (aka squirrel suits) to allow them to “fly” through the air. Over 250 jumpers have already died doing this, and the number keeps climbing as Go-Pro cameras and YouTube makes “instant heroes” out of the reckless people who do the jumps.

3 pieces of accidents waiting to happen toast

Insidious 3 (PG-13)

Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Lin Shaye, Stefanie Scott

Directed By: Leigh Whannel

It’s a hundred years since Arthur Conan Doyle believed he had talked with his deceased soldier son and spiritualism (seances to talk to the dead) became popular. In this flick, a high school girl wants to communicate with the mother she lost to breast cancer. It seems she wants to be an actress and she needs her mother’s advice. Her greif and longing convince a “real” medium to come out of retirement long enough to let the dialogue with the dead begin and release a bonafide demon in the process.

2 pieces of horror film with grief and pathos added toast 

Spy (R)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jeremy Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney

Directed By: Paul Feig

I wonder if we will ever get to see a Melissa McCarthy film where she isn’t foul-mouthed? Based on the box office figures—probably not. This time she’s a “basement” CIA agent—one of the faceless people who communicate with “real” agents (via earphones) from the top secret underground maze in Langley, Virginia. After the agent she has a crush on is killed, McCarthy’s boss lets her go after the terrorists behind the guy’s death. Travel to foreign capitals, swearing contests with villains sporting Boris Badanov accents and McCarthy’s signature pratfalls abound.

2 pieces of Melissa McCarthy in a spy spoof toast 

Entourage  (R)

Starring: Adrien Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon, Kevin Connelly,  Jerry Ferrera

Directed By: Doug Ellin

The hit HBO series with the same name showed the behind-the-scenes drama inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s movie career when he brought his homeboy posse along with him to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Problem is, the Entourage TV show already had a satisfying ending (at least compared to the fizzle of The Sopranos), so this movie was unnecessary. Only thing new is that the background, foreground, and both sides of the big screen is usually populated with attractive eye-candy often clad (sometimes illogically) in bikinis. Go figure.

2 pieces of unnecessary toast