Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 8/14/15

Listen To Me Marlon (NR)

Voice of: Marlon Brando

Directed By: Steven Riley

The audio recordings method-actor Marlon Brando used like a diary have been transformed into an often entertaining and occasionally white-washed tale of a talent unlike any other in Steven Riley”s Lilsten to Me Marlon. The filmmakers have edited the tapes thematically rather than chronologically and some material, such as Marlon’s attempts at self-hypnosis to help him lose weight, are surprising. Other segments, most notably the realities of the murder-suicide involving Marlon’s son Christian shooting his pregnant sister Cheyenne’s lover and her suicide in Tahiti five years later,  have been heavily redacted—but if this was by Marlon himself or by the film editors, we are left in the dark.

3 and 1/2 pieces of  Marlon was much more than a contender toast 

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (R)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey

Directed By: Woody Allen

Ritalin, the prescription drug that was widely used to treat hyper-activity in youngsters, comes off as the “causal agent” in the long downward spiral that was Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s life. If this seems a bit like a refrain from the “Gee Officer Krupke” song that places the blame for destructive behavior on everyone but the teen himself—well…. Cobain’s private journals reveal a troubled person, often depressed over the rejections by those who should have cared. Despite the fact that online casino Cobain epeatedly contemplated suicide, the film is constructed without a cohesive sensibility—relying too much on the footage of the 6-months Cobain and Courtney Love spent wasted on drugs in a rented apartment and mentioning his suicide with only a title card at the end.

1 and 1/2 pieces of another Rock Star mythologized toast

 

Straight Outta Compton (R)

Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge, Paul Giamatti

Directed By: F. Gary Gray

This bio-pic about the early days of the N.W.A. gangsta-rap artists is produced and guided by the Compton rappers Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, so there is an “older-but-wiser” verisimilitude to the film. The Compton teens creating lyrics and rhythms that will prompt detractors, imitators and fans nationwide are portrayed as “cool but clueless” as the exploiters circled while taking bigger and bigger bites from the cash cow.

3 pieces of when did gangsta-rap become Muzak? toast 

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (PG-13)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Arnie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Laurie

Directed By: Guy Ritchie

TV’s Man From U.N.C.L.E  (Universal Network Command for Law and Enfocement) was a tongue-in-cheek spy series featuring the dapper American spy, Napolean Solo (Robert Vaughn) teamed up with a blond Russian spy named Ilya Kuryakin (David  McCallum). They were sent on missions by the actor who played Topper on TV (Leo G. Carroll). In the movie update, its still 1963, and the Uncle men are played by actors who prove that their disastrous forays as Superman and The Lone Ranger were not a fluke—they are really terrible at their job. The campy bromance skims very close to being distasteful as the pair trade thinly disguised homo-erotic quips about who will “be on the bottom this time.”  In a plot device as old as Methuselah, Kuryakin must “go undercover” as the architect fiance of an East Berlin scientist. If you are over 15, you can predict the humorless “antics” that result.

1 and 1/3 pieces of disappointment from those of us who enjoyed the original shows toast 

 

Cop Car (R)

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Shea Whigam, Camryn Manheim, Haya Welford

Directed By: Jon Watts

The Stand by Me part of this movie involves two young Colorado boys who steal a cop car they find parked beside the road. The wannabe Fargo part involves the murderous sheriff who left the keys in the ignition while he buried a body. Problem is, the film lacks Fargo’s wit, intelligence, and style, so we are only left with a mustachioed Kevin Bacon hell bent on finding the car, and making the pint-sized witnesses disappear.

2 pieces of needed a director whose last film wasn’t about a cannibal clown toast