Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 12/16/11
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Naomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Jared Harris
Directed by: Gut Ritchie
Dr. Watson is getting married, but if he thinks Holmes will let him have a suitable bachelor party, wedding and honeymoon, then he underestimates his mercurial friend. For Professor Moriarty has resurfaced, and the arch-fiend has aligned himself with bomb-throwing anarchists bent on toppling the crown heads of Europe. Quick witted one-liners, slo-mo shootings and explosions, a Holmes fueled by “a diet of coffee, tobacco and coca leaves,” and the spark between Downey and Law makes this work.
3 pieces of high school (aka, post-elementary) toast
Young Adult (R)
Starring: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Jill Eikenberry
Directed by: Jason Reitman
A prolific writer of YA novels, is fixated on the “high-school boyfriend who got away” and become a happily married father. The single-minded writer returns to her home town to steal the guy from his musician wife, and she allies herself with the nerd who was bullied all through school. The film works because Theron plays the caustic, amoral, former prom queen straight, and if you expect her to learn something about what’s really important in life, you’ll discover why this film, with the same director and writer who made “Juno” work so well, is headed for an Oscar nod.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Charlize Theron toast
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G)
Starring: Jason Lee, David Cross, and the 78-RPM voices of: Justin Long, Gray Gubler, Alan Tudyk, Jesse McCartney
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Carnival Cruise Lines is trying for a new demographic with this 87 minute commercial featuring the squeaky-voiced, rock star rodents collectively known as The Chipmunks. The squeaky-clean ship almost sinks beneath the groan-inducing puns and pop culture references obviously written by septuagenarians who still think “shaken, not stirred” is a funny line.
1 and 1/2 pieces of this ain’t no Love Boat toast
NEW ON DVD
Kung Fu Panda Part 2 (PG)
The Voices of: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman. Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu, James Hong
Directed by: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Using the tried and true combination of wit, talent and intelligence, this sequel is often better than the original. Despite his less than supportive parents, Po the chubby panda is now a full-fledged warrior and when an invading peacock general and his wolves threaten all of China he uses a combination of kung-fu, ancient wisdom, fireworks and a climactic battle at sea to save the day.
3 and 1/2 pieces of 3-D visual delight toast
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: James Franco, Frida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Those of you who recall the Charleton Heston Planet of the Apes with fondness, should revel in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a technologically superior prelude to those events. Andy Serkis dons his dotted performance-capture suit to create Caesar, a rescued lab chimp raised by humans. Graced with super intellect, Caesar is angered by all the zoos, circuses and laboratories our primate cousins have had to endure. And since apes and monkeys are stronger, faster, and even more violent than human beings, given the opportunities…
NOTE: The sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge could become as iconic as the one with the Statue of Liberty in the first film.
3 and 1/2 pieces of apes in charge toast
The Hangover Part II (R)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifanakis, Justin Bertha
Directed by: Lynn Roth
Two years after the gang’s Vegas trip celebrating Doug’s last days of bachelorhood, it’s Stu’s time to head to the altar. The result is more like a Fright Night remake with the same actors than a sequel and by relocating the crudity to Bangkok (complete with sex clubs prostitutes and a smoking monkey), it slips pretty close to an NC-17 rating. Second time around, it’s more depressing than funny.
1 and 1/2 pieces of warmed over toast
Fright Night (R)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
“Twilight” taught us that vampires can smell how good (or bad, I guess) a particular human will taste, but in this remake of the 1985 film, the “vampire as food critic,” goes over the top. Perhaps this is because of the leering grin that seems plastered on Colin Farrell’s face, or perhaps it is because the filmmakers thought they were making a fun, camp, vampire comedy with lots of implied sexuality. If so, it never quite happens.
1 and 1/2 pieces of another attempt to make more money by selling you those 3-D televisions and glasses toast