Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
For the week of 5/06/16
Captain America: Civil War (PG-13)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Sebastian Stan, Tom Holland
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Captain America: Civil War is the 13th film in the Disney/Marvel universe and it has war-machine manufacturer Tony Stark (Ironman) develop a conscience after helping decimate Africa in a battle of super-heroes. In contrast, Captain America maintains his certainty in the correctness of fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way” (even though that phrase is copyrighted by Superman). The Captain is a time-warped holdover from “the last good war” (AKA WWII), and so the nuances of hegemonic ascendence are simply absent from his mind-set. This internal juxtaposition is what sets ihis movie apart from other, similar ventures into superherodom. The filmmakers (and the venerable Stan Lee’s original storylines) go past the Ironman armor, Frisbie-style shield and spandex suits to reveal the human beings inside. What we discover, is that these guys and gals are funny—stand up comic funny. These humorous interludes provide the necessary time to breath before the next big battle scene.
3 and 1/2 pieces of superhero movie the way it should be done toast
Sing Street (PG-13)
Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Maria Dioyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Kelly Thornton
Director: John Carney
Irish musician/writer/director John Carney has made an infectious musical drama about Dublin’s 1980‘s teen pop culture. Utilizing an ensemble of talented youngsters who experiment with various personas on a daily basis, the cavalcade of hairstyles, clothing, makeup and attitudes is a stylistically excellent device to let the performers shine. Backed up by a series of Carney’s original songs purposefully written in the styles of Duran Duran, Joy Davison and Hall & Oates, the teens confront the realities of survival amidst Dublin’s Catholic/Protestant battles, and parental fighting, divorce, abuse, neglect and apathy. What a tunefully marvelous and uplifting adventure it turns out to be.
3 and 1/2 pieces of John Carney does it again toast
Director: Alaksandr Sokurov
This badly named documentary tells a tale of France’s Louvre Museum by focusing upon two historic figures: Jacques Jaurard, Deputy Head of the museum during WWII, and Count Franziskus Wolf-Metternich, the Nazi art expert assigned to loot the museum for the Third Reich who found it empty instead. What happened between these two men is unrecorded, so reenactments are provided . More intriguing however, is how Sokurov uses the empty galleries, storerooms and hallways to pose a question to audiences familiar with the destruction of art and history by today’s zealots—what is a museum for?
3 pieces of suppose the Louvre is empty toast
Family Fang (R)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman, Christpher Walken, Kathryn Hahn
Director: Jason Bateman
If you think the Bluth family from TV’s Arrested Developement is dysfunctional, imagine what it would be like to be the children of performance artists who dress you as preteen robber and policeman in a “steal the lollipops” caper at a bank where the unsuspecting guards have real guns. Now flash forward forty years to a time when the daughter is faded star appearing in a series of increasingly dreary rom-coms, and her brother is a failed novelist two years past his deadline. Using Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsey-Abaire’s screenplay, Jason Bateman directs an original film crammed with farcical activity, unintended (and perhaps deadly) consequences, and Christopher Walken stealing the movie as the one-of-a-kind father.
3 pieces of perfect for fans of Arrested Development toast
Rio, I Love You (R)
Starring: John Turturro, Emily Mortimer, Vincent Cassell, Vanessa Paradis, Harvey Keitel, Fernando Montenegro
This is another of those assemblages of shorts by different directors and played by different actors who ostensibly celebrate a world-class city. Since Paris, London and NYC have already been done, it’s Rio De Janeiro’s turn. Despite the vampire waiter, one-armed boxer, a kid talking to jesus (on the phone) etc. etc., the collection is (to put it politely) uneven. The glorious photography verifies that the vested interests who want to make the Rio Olympics successful have had a not-too-subtle-hand in all of this, but pretty pictures do not a movie make.
1/2 piece of potentially a harbinger of the disaster called the Rio Olympics? toast
Ratchet & Clank (PG)
Starring: the voices of James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Paul Giamatti, John GoodmanBella Thorne, Rosario Dawson
Director: Kevin Munroe, Jerrica Cleland
Adapted from a popular video game, the main character in this noisy sci-fi cartoon is a cat-like being named Ratchet who dreams of joining the Galactic Rangers. When planetary stabilities are threatened by a slug who rides a Segway, (i didn’t make this up!), Ratchet falls into a plot astoundingly similar to the Luke Skywalker story from Star Wars—complete with a British-sounding robot and a gruff but avuncular father figure who teaches Ratchet about his “destiny.” NOTE: There are enough guns used in this aimed-at-kids cartoon to delight the NRA while terrifying members of groups like the Parents Television Council.
1/2 piece of take your kids to the beach or museum instead toast