Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 6/17/16
Finding Dory (PG)
Starring the voices of: Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Ed O’Neil, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Sigourney Weaver
Directed By: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Pixar’s astoundingly touching and beautiful animated film Finding Nemo is a tough act to follow, and Finding Dory is just a bit to derivative to be as fresh and exciting. Dory (Ellen Degeneres) the blue tang with short-term memory loss problems was inspired in the first film, but the “What was I doing?” bits grow tiresome when the entire movie is built on that schtick. Which isn’t to say the movie isn’t fun—it just depends too much on the “lets do it again” concept. Once again, an adorable little fish heads on a quest across thousands of miles of ocean to track down parents. There are plenty of side-trips plenty of unusual sea creatures to interact with in funny ways and unsubtle sequences comparing and contrasting what it’s like to “be free and potentially somebody’s next dinner,” to “being safe and protected and taken care of (in a dentist’s office fish tank or multi-habitat sea-quarium). With all the new faces, it’s easy to find a character you love. I pick Hank the grouchy octopus (voiced by Ed O’Neil) as my favorite. What’s your choice?
3 pieces of enjoyable “under the sea”revisitation toast
Sunset Song (R)
Starring: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullen, Mark Bonnat, Daniela Nardini, Jack Greenlees
Directed By: Terrence Davies
You know how Amazon and Netflix make suggestions for other movies to watch based upon some top secret algorithm, well I’m going to transparently suggest that Terrence Davies’ Sunset Song is for those of you who like artful tone-poems, featuring lonely women, in remote, beautifully shot, wind-swept places. The heroine is Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn) the sixth child of a dour Scottish farmer and his cowering wife. The girl works hard at school under the belief that her native intelligence will will provide an exit from this hard-scrabble place. Instead, she stays rooted to the land, as the loving farmwife to a kind man and mother to their children. Then the “War to End All Wars” scoops her husband away to the Western Front. In other words, this is a film about life itself, in a particular time and particular place. It’s well worth the visit for those of us who appreciate such things.
3 pieces of stark Scottish beauty toast
Starring: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pearce, Dominic West
Directed By: Michael Grandage
I’ll have to ask Pulitzer Prize winning biographer A. Scott Berg what he thinks about casting Brits and Aussies as writers and editors from America’s golden age of writing. Berg’s monumental book, Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius, has been mined for flashy bits of creative interaction between Scribner’s chief fiction editor and literary lions like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Ernest Hemingway. The actor’s non-American diphthongs add to the Masterpiece Theater feeling that’s the end result. For high school students writing an essay about these novelists, some scenes will play great on YouTube. Unfortunately, there’s an awful lot of talk-talk-talk in between those scenes.
2 pieces of Fitzgerald and Hemingway were much more fun in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris toast
Central Intelligence (PG-13)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Megan Park, Jason Bateman
Directed By: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Except for the title, there isn’t a shred of intelligence involved with this film— yet another in the growing line of “ordinary guy” is forced to do slapstick while fleeing from bullets, bombs and car crashes movies. It is one long series of chase scenes without payoffs—a “lets throw another by-the-numbers car chase at the audience so they won’t have time to realize how pointless this movie really is. The set up is that two guys who attended the same high school reunite in the middle of a spy movie. It doesn’t matter that the two were in such different cliques back in the day that they are unlikely to have been pals. For the premise is an unnecessary conceit by the four screenwriters who threw their ideas into a cement-mixer to come out with this stolid as concrete movie. But what do I know? It will probably steal gazillions from audiences looking for an escape from the day’s catastrophes.
1 and 1/2 pieces of chase scenes going nowhere toast