Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for 6/o7/13
The Internship (PG-13)
Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaugh, Aasiv Mandvi, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Max Minghella
Directed By: Shawn Levy
Two laid-off salesmen take unpaid internships at Google to prove to themselves, their families, and the world-at-large that they shouldn’t be sent to the scrap yard. The jokes are funny and poignant, the script is aw-shucks corny, and Google comes off like the star of the movie, (and perhaps the Universe?)
3 pieces of technological dinosaurs toast
Love Is All You Need (R)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrnholm, Sebastian Jessen
Directed By: Susanne Bier
This Danish import plays a little like Mama Mia, but fortunately, Brosnan does’t try to sing this time. When a beautician recovering from a mastectomy travels to an Italian villa for her daughter’s wedding, she discovers the villa’s owner is a Brit the-cellphone-is-always-attached-to-my-ear type we love to hate. Will love (or at least lust) blossom? This a rom-com—what do you expect?
3 pieces of a former Bond as a romantic older man toast
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (R)
Starring: Julian Assange, Adrian Lammo, Bradley Manning
Directed By: Alex Gibney
“The public has a right to know” mantra guides the assumptions behind a once shadowy internet whistle blower. But when a documentary Oscar-winner turns his camera on the founder of the information-sharing website, Julian Assange, we want to quickly text “TMI!” This doc is unfinsihed since history is still being written. At the end of the movie, Assange is escaping arrest by taking refuge in London’s Ecuadoiran Embassy, and Army private Bradley Manning is being court-marshalled for allowing Assange to publish thousands of classified State Department cables.
2 and 1/2 pieces of paying close attention to Assange behind the curtain toast
Midnight’s Children (NR)
Starring: Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor
Directed By: Deepa Mehta
Salman Rushdie turned his novel into a screenplay, but choosing a director steeped in Indian melodramas to direct it, has doomed the project. The story involves two infants switched at birth on the very night of separating the Indian subcontinent into modern-day India and Pakistan. Sadly, the beautiful allegorical imagery of the printed page has been turned into an instantly forgettable movie.
1 piece of bad choice of a director toast
The Purge ( R)
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane
Directed By: James DeMonaco
May Day was historically a time to let one’s inhibitions run wild, and this concept is taken to the max in a sci-fi speculation of “what would you do?” if you could do anything you wanted for one night—and never commit a crime? I almost wrote “and never pay the consequences” but that inevitably leads to a moral conundrum. Instead, this audience never has a chance to consider the rightness of “culling the streets” to lower the unemployment rate, because the onscreen 24-TV news personalities tell us what we should think about it every minute of the horror-filled night.
1/2 piece of morality play hypocrisy toast
NEW DVD RELEASES
Brooklyn Castle (PG)
Starring: Justus Williams, Alexes Paredes, Pobo Efekoro, Patrick Johnson, Elizabeth Spiegel, Michael John Galvin
Directed By: Katie Dellamaggiore
The chess team at an inner-city junior high has won more national championships than any other school in the country, but losses in the kid’s lives and the possible shut-down of their school have impacts far greater than any trophies. Never doubt the dedication of teachers, the creativity, vitality and resilience of youth, and the life-changing power of chess.
3 and 1/2 pieces of talented kids, chess, inner-city lives, and hope toast
Escape From Planet Earth (PG)
Starring the voices of: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Corddry, William Shatner, George Lopez, Ricky Gervais
Directed By: Cal Brunker
The Weinstein Company is pouring billions into making a name for itself in animated movies. So far, with mean-spirited bombs like Hoodwinked, and Hoodwinked 2, that name is spelled AWFUL. Fueled by behind-the-scenes lawsuits, multiple re-writes, and feuding animators, it’s surprising that Escape From Planet Earth finally earns the company the label “NOT TOO BAD.” The animation is amazing (but save your money and skip the 3-D version), Ricky Gervais as the computer is very funny, most of the sight gags work, and if you can avoid the fact that much has been stolen from Monsters vs Aliens, and Toy Story, the storyline works. It’s about a hotshot blue space-hero who fires his by-the-book Ground Control brother just before a mission to the “Dark Planet—the only known world where evolution is taking place in reverse.” (Spoiler alert—the Dark Planet is Earth).
2 pieces of NOT TOO BAD animated toast
Warm Bodies (PG-13)
Starring: Ias Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Cordday, John Malcovich, Analeigh Tipton
Directed By: Jonathan Levine
Being a teen-aged zombie isn’t fun—but it can be fun for the audience. The angst of this teen narrator is palpable, especially since his reason for being is just as a consumer (of brains) and he’s lonely and acne-plagued on top of that. The surviving humans exist in a walled enclave, where the nimblest foray out into the devastated city scape for much-needed medical supplies, canned food and the like (no Twinkies, however). When one gorgeous human girl’s boyfriend becomes a tasty snack, the angst-ridden zombie boy captures her, but, since he’s absorbed her dead boyfriend’s memories along with other guy’s brain, he has strong feelings for her. Well, whoever said love wasn’t complicated?
3 pieces of slow as a zombie walk toast
A Good Day to Die Hard (R)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yulia Sniger
Directed By: John Moore
Gritted-teethed John MacClane is back, in a cartoonish parody of himself that still thinks it’s playing things straight. Like the coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons, he gets smashed, crashed, bashed, and shot but bounces back with just an Acme brand adhesive bandage on his bald head to show for it. The storyline is trite, recycled from a hundred spinoffs, wannabes, and homages featuring the “regular guy” who (hold your breath) has an estranged son trapped by bad guys in Moscow. Only the bad guys may really be good guys and the son may really be a good guy acting like a bad guy and working for the good guys. Got that? Do you care? I don’t.
1 pieces of time for MacClane to die-off toast
Identity Thief (PG-13)
Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, John Cho
Directed By: Seth Gordon
The premise is promising—a seemingly wealthy woman named Sandy spends her money freely because she’s stolen the real Sandy’s identity and excellent credit rating. When the real Sandy (a guy of course) realizes his world is quickly disintegrating the authorities just shrug and say “it happens all the time,” so he decides to track the ersatz Sandy down in her Miami spending area. The movie, however, is nothing but a misuse of comedic talent, saddling the stars with caricatures, sight gags, bodily function jokes, and a road trip crammed full of quirky situations and extraneous characters. Skip it.
1 piece of excruciatingly unfunny toast