Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
For the week of 4/29/16

Keanu (R)
Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peels, Method Man, Tiffany Hadish, Luis Guzman, Nia Long, Will Forte, and the voice of: Keanu Reeves
Director: Peter Atencio
Keanu is a kitten. A cute little guy who appeals to the inner child of everyone in this movie—including the cousins played by comedy duo Key & Peele, and the South-Central druglords they must confront to get the kidnapped feline back (I thought of using “catnapped” in this sentence, but if I do, it has an entirely different meaning). Underneath it all is a comedy sketch stretched to 100 minutes, and two fine actors who can change their personas from “Suburban Sam” to “Downtown Brown” with a wink and smile. And then there’s that kitten. Did I already mention he’s really cute?
3 pieces of it took 7 cats to play the lead toast

Green Room (R)
Starring: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Tate Donovan
Director: Liza Johnson
Patrick Stewart plays against type as the Chief Nazi in a nightclub hidden deep in the woods. Through their manager’s incompetence, a rock band called The Ain’t Rights has a gig at this secluded rendezvous. The mood quickly shifts to Gothic horror when the band enters the green room (dressing room) and discovers a neo-Nazi girl with a knife stuck in her head. The dead girl’s friend convinces the band to contact the police, but the Nazis decide to kill them before they can blow the whistle. WARNING: This is a blood-soaked, terror-fest complete with the most vicious dog attacks since Cujo.
3 pieces of far, far from Captain Picard or Professor Xavier toast

Marguerite (R)
Starring: Catherine Frot, Andre Marcon, Sylvain Dieuaide, Astrid Whetnail
Director: TXavier Giannoli
This French farce is based on the true story of a talentless woman who always dreamed of being a singer, and who has the money to make her wish come true. The problem is that she is profoundly tone-deaf—unable to sing Freres Jacques or Happy Birthday to You, let alone operatic arias. The movie audience may find it odd that the woman is so clueless regarding her truly dreadful singing style, but I had a great aunt who loudly sang off-key in her church choir for over 60 years—despite numerous attempts by the rest of the choir to have her “retire.”
3 pieces of French “Fa lah lah” sing-along toast

Dough (NR)
Starring: Jonathan Price, Jerome Holder, Phillip Davis, Ian Hart, Pauline Collins
Director: John Goldschmidt
This puff-pastry is filled with good intentions as a Jewish baker hires a Muslim from Darfur and teaches him the secrets of baking magic. The set-up is so predictable that the movie makers inject a laundry list of useless plot twists (gangsters, urban renewal, a know-it-all kid, a heist, a montage homage, etc.) that only makes what should have been light and fluffy into something sodden and unpalatable.
1 and 1/2 pieces of don’t waste your dough on Dough toast

Mother’s Day (PG-13)
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Timthy Olyphant
Director: Garry Marshall
This horribly unfunny movie is only tangentially about Mother’s Day and much more about product placement of everything from a luxury car to the brand of table salt used by the stars. The rest of the time, the screen is littered with thoroughly unlikeable people pontificating their noxious beliefs about Native Americans, lesbians, beer guzzling, using tampons, texting and wearing shorts.
1/2 piece of don’t take your mother anywhere near this bomb toast

Sold (PG-13)
Starring: Jonathan Price, Jerome Holder, Phillip Davis, Ian Hart, Pauline Collins
Director: John Goldschmidt
Several rape scenes form the centerpiece of this film about sex-trafficking, but they are shot so that the movie could manage to get a PG-13 rating. It ostensibly shares the plight of a Nepalese girl who is sold by her family as a “housemaid” in India, but is trapped in a brothel instead. Scenes of the girl playing like a child are sprinkled between her repeated sexual assaults as if to show… I was going to write “she hasn’t lost her innocence,” but, of course, she has, so the filmmaker’s intent eludes me. These blatant attempts to “personalize” the victim are manipulative and really quite distasteful, and the scenes with name-brand actors riding in to be her “saviors” left me…perplexed? Angry? Confused?
1/2 piece of smarmy in its righteousness toast

Papa: Hemingway In Cuba (R)
Starring: Giovanni Ribisi, Adrian Sparks, Jowly Richardson, Minka Kelly
Director: Bob Yari
This is the first American movie to have been shot in Havana since Castro came to power, and it may single-handedly sink any attempt to remove the cultural embargo. It is supposedly based on the true story of a newspaper reporter who pals around Cuba with “Papa” as he goes fishing, drinks rum, rushes into pre-revolutionary gunfights, smokes cigars, fondles beautiful women, bellows profundities, and places the barrel of a loaded revolver in his mouth whenever he gets writer’s block.It you turn off the amateurish dialogue, the lush photography makes a nice travelogue
1/2 pieces of “Papa” must be rolling over in his grave toast