Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 5/27/16
Love & Friendship (PG)
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Stephen Fry, Tom Bennett
Directed By: Whit Stillman
Famous anthropologists have built their careers studying the complex mating rituals of various tribal groups, and in his Love & Friendship, auteur director Whit Stillman shares similar techniques dissecting the intricacies of courtship in 1790‘s upper-crust England. Using Jane Austen’s novel as an outline, Stillman manages to go beyond a Masterpiece Theater costume drama to delight us with the scheming-for-a-husband mechinations in a time and place where mothers and daughters of a certain class were beholding to their relatives for costs-of-living—until they can find a financially sufficient spouse. It’s all fun and farce, and the scene where a suitor raised on Britain’s culinary staple called, “mushy peas,” comes face to face with the “jolly…little green balls” that are fresh peas, is worth the price of admission by itself.
4 pieces of Jene Austen as delightfully delovely toast
A Bigger Splash (R)
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Matthais Schoenaerts
Directed By: Luca Guadigino
A famous rock star has ensconced herself on a beautiful island with her boyfriend where she doesn’t talk—because she has literally lost her voice. They sunbathe, skinny-dip, feast on local foods and make love at least once a day. Then the singer’s former lover arrives with his recently discovered American daughter in tow. Things take awhile to percolate, but eventually an Italian policeman begins investigating the murder of….
3 and 1/2 pieces of murderous intrigue in Sicilian sunshine toast
X-Men: Apocalypse (PG-13)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne
Director: Bryan Singer
Director Bryan Singer must be tuckered-out, because his X-Men Apocalypse has none of the joie-de-vivre of the previous two sequels, and has instead become a pedestrian, paint-by-numbers, series of special effects. We open with Magneto and Raven living somewhere in Poland, and Mystique staging cage-fights in Germany while Xavier still runs his school for mutants. They come out of hiding when an ancient Egyptian mutant called Apocalypse is awakened from a very-long slumber and isn’t pleased with the modern world—so he vows to destroy it. The good-guy mutants respond with CG set pieces that seem overly familiar. Perhaps this is because we saw the characters use the exact same moves (with a different sound-track) in the last two films.
2 pieces of suffering from sophomore sequel disease toast
Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG)
Starring: Pia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: James Bobin
This sequel uses the title from Lewis Carrol’s second Alice book, but little else. Here, the little girl has grown up and her Wonderland friend the Mad Hatter is in a deep depression since learning his “long-dead” family may, in fact, still be alive. You might think that the manic/depressive extremes brought about by lead and mercury poisoning from the hat-making process might result in an exuberant display of Johnny Depp brilliance, but alas, the entire film is lackluster and uninspired
1 piece of this was made to make money off the reputation of Tim Burton’s entertaining Alice In Wonderland toast
The Lobster (R)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly. Olivia Coleman
Directors: Yorgos Lanthimos
Can a film that opens with a woman in a rainstorm shooting a donkey in the face be worth your time and money. Short answer: “No.” The premise is that the lonely and unattached are brought to a remote hotel and given 45 days to find a mate or be turned into an animal of their choosing. The only engaging thing about this movie is that it poses a question to the audience: “What animal would you choose to be?” This offers such a profound opportunity for daydreaming that for the rest of the film, nobody cares about the absurdities taking place onscreen. FYI, the title comes from Colin Farrell’s choice of animal. “A lobster,” he announces, “because they live to be 100 years old.” (Unless they end up as someone’s dinner).
1 piece of filmmaker obsessed with his own brilliance toast