Spielberg Produces Jurassic World

Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 6/12/15

Jurassic World  (PG-13)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, B.D. Wong

Directed By: Colin Trevorrow

In Jurassic World, the jaded teens of the near future aren’t content with carnivorous dinosaurs as night terrors personified. So the theme park developers follow chef Emeril Legasse’s advice to “kick it up a notch,”and the critter isn’t just a T-Rex, but a T-Rex that has been genetically modified with a bullfrog. (I guess the genetic designers didn’t see the obvious flaws of placing a high jumping T-Rex behind an “escape-proof” fence).  The film spends way too much time pointing fingers at corporate types more interested in profits than safe-and-sane amusement. Perhaps this was the seven script writers’ (yes, seven script writers)not-so-subtle satire of their movie studio executives, but one of them should have added some humor along the way. The end result is shaking leaves paired with less than scary, not John Williams music, followed by hungry beasts with big nasty teeth and screaming victims. Then, talking heads, more talking heads, CGI beast sequence, screaming victims, followed by talking heads tut-tutting over the “incident.” Can the next sequel be far behind?

3 pieces of popcorn munching to dino-crunching toast 

When Marnie Was There (PG)

Starring: Kierman Shipka, Hailee Steinfield

Directed By: Hiromasa Yonabayashi

To Western audiences, some of the mystery and tradition in Japan’s Studio Ghibli’s final  animated film, When Marnie Was There, will probably be missed. For example, it is significant that the orphan girl Anna’s first visit to the mysterious seaside mansion occurs on Toanabata (the evening of the seventh) when two mythological lovers (represented by the stars Vega and Altair) are no longer separated by the Milky Way. To sci-fi fans, this could be thought of as an annual “rift in the space-time continuum,” but whatever label you want to apply, this film presents a time when present and past meet in a lovingly rendered and magical story.

NOTE: The movie is shown either dubbed or with English subtitles. Check theater listings for times and versions

3 pieces of Studio Ghibli will be missed toast

Aloft (R)

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Cilian Murphy, Melanie Laurent, Zen McGrath

Directed By: Claudia Llosa

Something was lost in the translation of this Chilean/Canadian co-production. It starts with a single mom treking into the Canadian wilderness with her teen-aged boys. One is sick and the other has a trained hawk. Their quest is to join other families in an ancient healing ritual with a native shaman. Bad mojo interrupts the healing, and the film flashes forward to a reporter interviewing one of the now gown up sons about his “hybrid hawks.” The director handles the back-and-forth timelines and doles out his “secrets” so sparingly, that by the time the film finally grinds to a halt, we’ve lost interest.

1 pieces of really badly made toast 

NEW ON DVDs

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

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 (this includes everything from kissing to kinky), 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