Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 7/22/16
Star Trek Beyond (PG-13)
Starring: Chris Pine, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba
Directed By: Justin Lin
Star Trek Beyond is directed by the man who made Fast and Furious must-see fan-fare, with lots of humor and a story that would have worked in Gene Roddenbury’s original TV shows. This lizard-guy attacks the USS Enterprise to reacquire the so-called “death machine” and leaves the away team stranded on a uninhabited planet with a landscape similar to Mono Lake. There’s a domed city straight out of Logan’s Run (if created by M.C. Escher), a motorcycle race between Kirks from different timelines that’s reminiscent of the race in the Tron reboot, and, with a nod to 2016 sensibilities, a brief interlude where Sulu and his husband bond with their adopted girl. Despite the one-liners and visual jokes, the film is a somber reminder that well-loved actors Leonard Nimoy (who appears briefly as Spock) and Anton Yelchin (who plays Chekov) have recently passed away.
3 pieces of entertaining in a retro sort of way toast
Captain Fantastic (R)
Starring: Vigo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn
Directed By: Matt Ross
A father has been raising his 6 children off-the-grid while his bi-polar wife is institutionalized in New Mexico. When the wife commits suicide, her family must confront the difficulties in the outside world as they travel to her funeral. Viggo Mortensen is the main reason to see this movie playing the dad as an innovative, industrious, arrogant, quick to criticize yet still loving and caring individual, but the six kids are the ones who “sell” the story. Don’t be scared away by the “R” rating. It is for “strong language and brief nudity” that blends into the storyline.
3 pieces of you’re gonna like this one toast
My Love, Don’t Cross the River (NR)
Starring: Byeong-man Jo, Kang Gye-Yeoi, Mo-young Jin
Directed By: Mo-young Jin
Every culture has its collection of metaphors for death and dying, and the title of this film is one from Korea. The story opens with a funeral and then flashes back a year or so earlier when the couple who have been together for over 75 years are going through daily rituals defined by habits and assumptions refined over decades of loving familiarity. Celebrations with children and grandchildren are intermixed with cooking and doing laundry and falling asleep while holding hands. Korean audiences are familiar with this couple because of a multi-part, 2011 TV documentary, and fans of that series have made this film the biggest hit of all time at home. Labelled a “documentary,” Western audiences will notice that some scenes are obviously staged for the cameras as the couple pretends the film crew isn’t there but dresses in newly purchased traditional Korean garments that complement the backgrounds.
2 and 1/2 pieces of long-lived love and death toast
Ice Age: Collision Course (PG)
Starring the voices of: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Lequizamo, Adam Devine, Keke Palmer, Queen Latifah
Directed By: Brad Furman
Despite Scrat the squirrel accidentally boarding an abandoned space ship and sending asteroids hurtling towards Earth, the upcoming marriage between two Wooly Mammoth families takes center stage. With plot devices blatantly stolen from both Spencer Tracy’s and Steve Martin’s Father of the Bride films, the interfamilial bickerings, misunderstandings, and marriage anniversary celebration is disrupted when one of Scrat’s asteroids crashes to Earth. Neil deBuck Weasel (voiced by Neil deGrasse Tyson) explains that this crash is just a tiny little one, and that a gigantic asteroid (similar to the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs) is “coming soon to a planet near you.” The solution (and I didn’t make this up!) is to harness the crashed asteroids’ electromagnetic properties by hurling them back into space from a volcano made to erupt by filling it with gigantic icicles.
1 and 1/2 pieces of trying too hard to be funny toast