Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 5/12/17
Starring: Ricardo Darin, Javier Camera, Dolores Fonzi, Eduard Fernandez, Alex Brendemuhl
Director: Cesc Gay
Friendship is the center of this loving movie about death with dignity. Tomas boards a plane in Canada and travels to Spain to spend some quality time with his long-time actor friend Julian. The impetus is that Julian’s rapidly spreading cancer dictates he has only a few days left to live. Tomas is surprised to discover that much of their time together is spent making arrangements for how and where Julian’s elderly dog Truman will live out his life. Sparkling with insightful bits of humor, Cesc Gay’s Truman is astoundingly simple yet profoundly acted and well made.
3 and 1/2 pieces of love me, love my dog toast
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (PG-13)
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Aiden Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, Eric BAna, Annabelle Wallis, Astrid Berges-Frisby
Director: Guy Ritchie
Notoriously unsure of themselves, the quest to be “original” seems to engulf ego-driven Hollywood filmmakers like an invasive virus. Guy Ritchie, who freely admits to feelings of “self-doubt,” is the latest to become infected, and his muddled version of King Arthur’s origins has elicited a collective “MEH?” from critics and audiences alike. Tangentially centered around the fabled “sword in the stone,” trope, this “buddy picture” is over-edited and time-shifting to such a degree that audiences can’t keep track of the all-important WHO and WHEN. Characters pop up and disappear, storylines start in one direction but never reach a conclusion, and it doesn’t matter if a woman is a mother, daughter, sister, wife or girl friend—they are all trollops. It left me with a craving to enjoy yet another dose of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
1 and 1/2 pieces of “self-doubt” doth not a movie make toast
Starring: Amy Shumer, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack, Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bateman
Director: Jonathan Levine
Billed as a “mother-daughter kidnapping comedy” this film feels like a pile of post-it note suggestions that fell on the Comedy Central writer’s-room floor. The scriptwriter, director, makeup artist and costume designer all fail to create something worthy of the talented females attached to this project. The plot involves a self-obsessed woman who invites her mom to join her on an Ecuadorian vacation because the tickets are unrefundable, but the pair end up being kidnapped for ransom and need to escape through the dangerous jungle. Along the way, the audience suffers with a racist, sexist, sloppily made movie where the crowning comedic glory is Amy Shumer using a bloody slab of meat to lure a tapeworm out of her gut.
1 and 1/2 pieces of women being raunchy because it made money in other movies toast
Starring: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Directed by: Laura Poitras
Given unlimited access by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras uses the opening of her film to expand upon the concept of free-flowing information—including classified information. But to the delight of arm-chair psychologists everywhere, as real-life questions about Assange’s Swedish rape accusation escalate, the tone shifts from altruistic aggrandizement to paranoid defensiveness, and, suddenly (to quote a famous line), “you are there.”
3 pieces the man behind the curtain toast
3 Generations (PG-13)
Starring: Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan, Linda Emond, Maria Dizzia
Director: Gaby Dellal
This movie’s filmmakers decided the best way to show the inner thoughts of Ray, a transgender teen, is by using a smartphone video diary. Problem is, they don’t have the courage of their convictions, and so the film shifts its point-of view from Ray to the mother and grandmother instead. This results in a familiar indie-style drama on the challenge and difficulty of being a mother. Too bad. It makes me want to see the original cut that was pulled from distribution. That one was called About Ray, and I imagine it was something quite different from the 3 Generations movie we have now.
2 pieces of well acted, but might have been something quite different toast
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