Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 3/31/17
Love and Taxes (NR)
Starring: Josh Kornbluth, Sarah Overman, Helen Schumaker, Warren Keith, Harry Shearer, Robert Reich
Director: Jacob Kornbluth
Stand-up comic and former “Red Diaper Baby” Josh Kornbluth has grown up so much in Love and Taxes, that he’s actually going to pay his income taxes and become (horror of horrors), “part of the system!” I’ve appreciated Kornbluth’s wry whimsy ever since he played the “temp guy” secretary who is covertly writing a novel at work in Haiku Tunnel (2001). In fact, Kornbluth’s lifelong battle against the IRS began when he became a “perm” (permanent employee) at the same San Francisco law firm where he was as a “temp.” As a result, many of the supporting roles are played by the same actors from the original film. One new face is former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, playing a former I.R.S. Commissioner. I admit that Kornbluth’s style of acting is as unkempt as his clothing, but I really like the guy (and hope you will too).
3 and 1/2 pieces of Haiku Tunnel revisited toast
NOTE: Josh and Jacob Kornbluth will have a Q&A session at tonight’s 7:15 showing at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas!
Ghost In the Shell (PG-13)
Starring: Scarlett Johanssen, Michael Pitt, Takeshi Kitano, Christopher Obi, Pilou Asbaek, Phillipe Joly
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
This live-action version of a 1995 Japanese anime film will probably become a hit among latex body suit fetishists. That’s because that’s the garb Scarlett Johanssen wears as Major, the human-brain, cyber-robot body lead character. Criticized for its lack of diversity, and the fact that the “beautifully perfect” cyborgs are all Nordic types, the real problem lies in the fact that the movie’s regurgitated storyline should sparkle with inventiveness, but is just plain dull. For example, the animated Major was a lithe, constantly flexing machine, while Johanssen plays her character like a stiff, wind-up toy. Maybe the latex suit keeps her too “buttoned up?”
2 pieces of disappointing—especially for fans of the original toast
The Zookeeper’s Wife (PG-13)
Starring: Jassica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Bruhl, Michael McElhatton, Iddo Goldberg, Shira Haas
Directors: Niki Caro
We all know that when the Nazis occupied a country, they shipped everything they coveted back to Berlin. Apparently, wild animals were snapped up as well as artworks. That’s the backstory of the Warsaw Zoo, where before the stormtroopers arrived, the lady in the movie’s title skipped among the grounds wearing a prom dress while a camel followed at her heels. But with most of the “important” animals loaded onto railcars and sent to Germany and the “ordinary” ones shot and buried, what is she to do? Why save her Jewish friends from extermination of course. Strangely sanitized (the death of animals is presented as worse than the off-screen Holocaust), the Disney-Princess-style love the the woman has for animals gets in the way of her empathizing with brutalized humans.
1 and 1/2 pieces of the real story is probably worth a movie, but this isn’t it toast
Land of Mine (R)
Starring: Roland Moller, Michael Bol Folsgaard, Loouis Hoffman, Joel Basman
Director: Martin Zandvleit
Nazi intelligence told Hitler that Allied troops would land on a Danish beach (instead of Normandy), so over 45,000 explosive mines were buried in the sand. After the war ended, a Danish Sergeant is put in charge of German POWs assigned to dig up and disarm the mines. The hate-filled sergeant doesn’t care that these German prisoners are young teenagers, he assigns them to their deadly tasks with contempt. Much of the film is without dialogue, focusing only on the boys slowly sifting through sandy soil and trying to stay in one piece. One particular POW acts respectful to the sergeant, and a rapport slowly develops between the two. But will this ever grow into trust?
3 pieces of mining mines for drama toast
Song to Song (R)
Starring: Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Holy Hunter,
Directors: Terrence Malik
The old standards, Sex, Drugs, and Rock-and-Roll, are the driving forces of an Austin, Texas music festival love triangle. The girl is an up-and-coming vocalist, the guys are a Ferrari-driving movie producer and a good-old-boy songwriter. Along the way, they stumble into Malikesque vignettes featuring a muscular blonde, a teacher, a French artist, and an uber-rich single woman. These short stories are supposed to meld together like a deck of playing cards, but the film ends like a game of 52-card pickup.
2 pieces of these great actors must have really wanted to work with Malik toast