Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for the week of 4/15/16
Jungle Book (PG)
Starring: Neel Sethi and the voices: of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito
Directed By: Jon Favreau
The jarring response many in the audience experienced seeing “real” looking, sharp clawed and toothed jungle beasts interacting (and most upsetting, speaking English) with a puny almost naked boy is called “cognitive dissonance” As a result, those who treasure Disney’s 1967 animated version of the Rudyard Kipling classic The Jungle Book, may find it challenging to relax long enough to enjoy this feast for the eyes. CGI imagery has advanced so much, that the familiar black-outlined versions of Mowgli the man cub, Baghera the panther, Baloo the bear, Sher Khan the tiger, and Kaa the python we know and love have been transformed into beasts so real they could have wandered in from a National Geographic Special. But the biggest contrast between Mowgli and his beast friends is how constructing complicated tools comes easily to a big-brained kid with opposable thumbs. As Balloo sings “You don’t need to use a claw when you pick a pear from the big paw-paw.” Especially since Mowgli doesn’t really have a “claw.”
3 pieces of much, more than just the bare necessities toast
Midnight Special (PG-13)
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jaeden Lieberher, Joel Edgerton, Kirtn Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard
Directed By: Jeff Nichols
In Midnight Special, director Jeff Nichols has once again cast the powerful Take Shelter actor Michael Shannon as his lead. This time, Shannon plays a father who literally shields his son with his body as the pair escape from religious fanatics and the FBI. They are pursued because the boy has “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men,” but to let you know what those powers are, would be to give too much away. Lets just say that the escape-thriller transmogrifies into Spielbergian awesomeness.
3 pieces of Twilight Zone-style toast
Starring: Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Tey Edward Schults, Bill Wise
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults
Real family members play the dysfunctional family that reunites at their Texas home for Thanksgiving. The result is searing and painful, and astoundingly raw primarily because the actress named Krisha is spot-on playing her onscreen doppleganger—the in-and-out of rehab prodigal daughter on the cusp of familial disintegration. Spending 82 minutes with this tribe may be too much for some, but those who enjoy family sturm und drung will be rewarded by fine acting, creative direction, and an understanding why this film won the John Cassavetes statue at the Independent Spirit Awards.
3 pieces of a Thanksgiving reunion rapidly disintegrating toast
Everybody Wants Some (R)
Starring: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell, Ryan GUzman, Zoey Deutch
Directed By: Richard Linklater
In Everybody Wants Some, director Richard Linklater mines his frat-boy college days for the Animal House-style antics we see onscreen. It opens with a freshman driving onto campus with his eyes darting from one curvy coed to another—sure of himself because he is the newest pitcher on the school’s championship baseball team who already has a place to live. College is the time when boys and girls try out different iterations of self—a cowboy one night, a disco dancer another, and a deeply philosophical seeker of cannabis-fueled truth late in the evening. Consistent throughout this film is the “80’s” macho vibe—a different girl every day of the week, a laissez-faire attitude towards studying and attending classes, a quest to find the perfect combination of beer and weed, and the self-proclaimed “right” to sleep in late.
3 pieces of a trip down Linklater’s memory lane toast