Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 10/11/12
Starring: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Taylor Schilling, Tate Donovan
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck stars and brilliantly directs a taut thriller that tells a story so incredible it has to be based on reality. When the Shah of Iran was deposed in 1979, insurgents stormed the US embassy and took dozens hostage. Another six people found refuge in the residence of the Canadian Ambassador. Fearing they would be discovered and killed, the CIA hatches several rescue plots. The “best bad idea” is to send a Hollywood film crew into Iran to make a Sci-Fi movie, and whisk the hidden Americans out of the country as members of the film crew. Taking cues from a Hollywood make-up artist, the CIA recruits a “real” producer with “real” Hollywood movie credits to become part of the rescue. The rest is nail-biting suspense as one thing after another goes wrong.
4 pieces of must see toast
Here Comes the Boom (PG)
Starring the voices of: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Bas Rutten, Harry Winkler
Directed By: Frank Coraci
Like a primer about how schools can save music and art programs from the chopping block, the answer provided is to have your overweight biology teacher don spandex and enter the ring to fight for big bucks in mixed-martial-arts competitions. The audience doesn’t just wince at the physical pain the would-be music program savior has to endure, we cringe at all the belabored sight gags dragged in from the old Zookeeper script (which had the same star and director).
2 pieces of what genre is this movie? toast
Seven Psychopaths (R)
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits
Directed by: Martin McDonough
The fact that we cared about what happened to the two Irish hit men from In Bruges, made the film work. But in this plodding movie from the same director, we don’t give a “flying expletive-deleted” about most of the weirdos who populate the screen. The storyline involves a Hollywood screenwriter who snatches his next plot from newspaper stories about a gangland-style murder. He then manages to get mixed up with some inept dognappers and the murderous gangsters from the newspapers. Staccato bursts of gunfire, pyrotechnical explosions, vapid one-liners, andgallons of Max Factor’s best fake blood follow. Walken, as the dog napper whose wife is terminally ill, is what makes the film watchable.
2 pieces of only Christopher Walken is worth watching toast
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 (PG-13)
Starring: Samantha Mathis, Jason Beghe, Esai Morales, Patrick Fabian
Directed By: John Putch
The second installment of Ayn Rand’s novel of a future where “the looters” (Romney’s 47% ?), threaten the world. Confusingly, the movie starts at the end of the story with a dogfight straight out of Star Wars. We then flashback to find out how our heroine ended up in the twisting, speeding, tumbling star fighter. Unfortunately, the new director and new faces stay true to the mid-century-modern sound and feel of the novel, and the result is underwhelming.
1 and 1/2 pieces of once again, adding a “2” doesn’t make it good toast
Starring: Etan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Clare Foley
Directed By: Scott Derrickson
When a crime writer neglects to mention that their new home is the scene of several gruesome murders, you might expect them to be scared when horrible things start happening—but their not, and neither is the audience. Oh they scream, and hold their hands in the air like the kid in Home Alone, but that just isn’t enough.
1 piece of keep your money in your wallet toast
NEW ON DVD
Starring: Noomie Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Way back in the late 60’s, a couple of Brits named Kubrick and Clarke made a movie they called “2001.” It posed the question of who (or what) put the signal beacon on the Moon and Mars and beyond? Then in the late ‘70’s another Brit named Scott, made a terrifying movie that may have partially answered the first question, by presenting us with huge, horrific, insect-like beings in “Alien.” Now Scott provides an alternative mythology in a prequel of sorts, with “Promethus.” The quest begins when two spelunking archeologists discover cave paintings portraying humans having contact with “what can only be interpreted as alien beings.” This is the same rationale a guy named Eric Van Danikin used in his book (that came out the same time as “2001”), to posit prehistoric human contact with “ancient astronauts.” But, no matter, it’s enough “evidence” to convince a super secret and super rich conglomerate to fund an manned exploration of another solar system in search of a planet “remarkably like Earth.” Once they arrive, and are awakened from the suspended animation pods, the crew discover fossilized alien remains, red-shirts start to die, scary things start to happen and the female archeologist becomes pregnant with an alien’s baby. If this seems ridiculously implausible, then this movie’s not for you. If you are intrigued, it will definitely grab your attention.
3 pieces of a Rosemary’s Alien Baby toast
Rock of Ages (PG-13)
Starring: Julian Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige
Directed by: Adam Shankman
My suspicion is that the filmmakers who made “Rock of Ages” really don’t love Rock and Roll. It’s 1987, the day that rock music began its pot bellied and wrinkled death. The premature wake is held in the infamous Bourbon Room on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip where an Axl Rose-type rocker named Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise wearing bottomless chaps) is giving his farewell performance. Based on a hit Broadway musical, the movie inexplicably drops lots of the storyline to focus instead on a semi-talented groupie from Oklahoma who repeatedly demeans herself in her quest for “stardom.” She certainly won’t become famous for her voice, which is thin and reedy. In fact, despite all the pyrotechnics and the amps turned up to 11, the whole thing is thin and reedy. Now that it’s on video, you can fast forward the dull bits.
2 pieces of a Tom Cruise seems to be having a good time toast
The Raven (R)
Starring: John Cusak,
Directed by: James McTigue, Brendan Gleeson, Luke Evans, Alice Eve
Vincent Price brought a certain campiness to Edgar Allen Poe’s macabre tales that is sadly missed this time around. Falling into the trap of rewriting history, the grisly stories Poe relates are supposedly based on a real-life series of murders in 19th century Baltimore. John Cusak is terribly miscast as Poe and the absurd script has him playing Sherlock Homes to a city detective in the mold of Inspector Lestrade. It’s “R” rated to boot, so all the terrible things are shown in gruesomely bloody closeups. They should have followed the raven’s “Nevermore” advice before making this mess.
1 and 1/2 pieces of gross-out toast