Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 8/10/12
The Campaign (R)
Starring: Will Farrell, Zach Galifanikis, Jason Sudeikis, Katherine La Nasa
Directed by: Jay Roach
An incumbent North Carolina congressman seems a shoe-in until he makes an incredible political gaffe, and finds himself in a real contest against a pudgy, naive idealist backed by multi-gazillionaire brothers named Motch. In a series of Saturday Night Live style-set pieces, the candidates’ ratings rise when they do things like shoot the other one with a crossbow. Problem is, the people who made this satire inexplicably pulled their punches during a surreal campaign season that provides so many opportunities for humor (as Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert know so well). Too bad. This could have been something special.
2 and 1/2 pieces of political satire light toast
The Bourne Legacy (PG-13)
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Stacy Keatch
Directed By: Jeff Kinney
Paul Greenglass, who directed Bourne #2 and #3 quipped that #4 should be called “The Bourne Redundancy,” but he forgot that the franchise is reaching the $1 billion mark in box office sales, so a sequel seems almost inevitable. Cleverly adverised with the tag line, “There never was just one…” Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon as another pre-programmed man-on-the-run, and he has been written with a more complex genetic manipulation and a blue pill and green pill dependency. But the story is just a framework for all the whiz-bang action sequences in the Alaskan wilderness, Maryland laboratory, and a Philippine pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. Great with popcorn and a cold drink
3 pieces of Jason Bourne replaced by Aaron Cross toast
Hope Springs (PG-13)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carrell
Directed By: David Frankel
Vanessa Taylor’s great script non-judgementally showing things as they are is the secret behind the success of Hope Springs. A suburban Nebraska couple married for 31 years have settled into familiar patterns and routines, but underneath, rekindled intimacy awaits. At least that’s what the wife (Meryl Streep) hopes when she signs them both up for a week-long couples therapy session—in Maine. The husband (Tommy Lee Jones) resists (after all, it’s a rom com), she heads off by herself, and he boards the plane at the last moment. The therapist (Steve Carrell) is earnest but insistent—the couple will try some new things together—and the resulting transformative process is surprisingly insightful—for the couple and audience alike.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Can This Marriage Be Saved? toast
Nitro Circus: The Movie (PG-13)
Starring: Travis Pastrana, Gregg Godfrey, Jolene Van Vugt, Jeremy Rawle
Directed by: Gregg Godfrey, Jeremy Rawle
Designed to make money from people stupid enough to pay to see this laugh-at-the-guy-getting-hurt infomercial for this group’s traveling roadshow.
Not available for preview
NEW ON DVD
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ((PG)
Starring the voices of: Danny DeVito, Zach Efron, Betty White, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle
Directed by: Chris Renaud
Ted Geisel is probably rolling over in his grave because the timelessness of his book has unwisely been transformed to a film filled with set-pieces, dull songs, and never-before seen characters intent on selling toys and fast-food combo-packs. Two preteens have been added to capture a wider demographic (with “hip” young stars voices attached), with the boy trying to impress the “little red-headed girl” (where have I heard that phrase before?) by escaping their plasticized city only to discover a depressing “real” world. Here is where Dr. Seuss’ original characters reside —a place where the greedy Once-ler systematically destroyed the planet. Casting Danny DeVito was a mistake too, since he plays the Lorax as a clown rather than the tragic figure from the book, with shallowness the result.
2 pieces of Seuss deserves better toast
Bel Ami (R)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristina Ricci, Kristen Scott Thomas, Colm Meaney
Directed by: Declan Donnellan, Nick Omerod
I’ll say it up front—Robert Pattinson is completely miscast as a nineteenth century Parisian social-climber who beds women who can provide him money, power and influence. In addition, there are too many over-stuffed bodices, scraps of inane dialog, swelling music and Pattinson’s patented “I am thinking” look. The film is a silly waste of time.
1 and 1/2 pieces of a complete waste of time toast