Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 11/22/13

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a fashion show, The Delivery Man muffles Vince Vaughn


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (PG-13)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

President Snow orders a decidedly different Hunger Game to eliminate the rebellious threat posed by Katnis Everdeen’s celebrity-status popularity—a game where our favorite bow-and-arrow weilding Amazon competes in a battle to the death with other recent “winners.” 1/3 fashion show, 1/3 poli-sci  lesson, 1/3 a playbook of media manipulation, the eventual battles on a jungle island look remarkably like a kill-or-be-killed version of TV’s Survivor.  In the end, it’a all a set-up for the finale (which will be divided into two movies for even more box office bucks).

3 pieces of more precise and manipulative (both onscreen and off) than the original toast 


The Delivery Man  (PG-13)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt, Britt Robertson

Directed by: Shawn Levy

Vince Vaughn eschews his patented cynicism and instead plays a sperm donor who unwittingly fathered over 500 children as a loser of a teddy-bear. Shooting for warm and cuddly with a smidgen of hard-knocks thrown in for dynamic tension, the director of the original French-Canadian film uses many of the same moves, but loses the accented charm along the way.

2 and 1/2 pieces of  Vince Vaughn as a cuddly teddy-bear toast 




The World’s End (R)

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsdan

Directed by: Edgar Wright

My “spent-his-junior year at U. of Nottingham” son shared online casino the concepts of a British “pub crawl” with me, and the idea is simple. You stake out a series of pubs within walking distance of each other and hoist glasses at each one in turn as your footsteps grow increasingly unsteady. In this film, the last pub is called The World’s End, and the crew that brought us Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead slyly reveal that the pub’s name means just what it says. The 40-somethings know how to set up a joke, how to be sentimental and raunchy in the same moment, how to make audiences who “get” British humor, roar with laughter and make a thoroughly satisfying alien invasion/we’re not getting any younger flick.

3 and 1/2 pieces of British drinking buddies toast 


The To Do List (R)

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele

Directed By: Maggie Carey

“I’m a method actress,” Aubrey Plaza explains for why she didn’t use a body double in the topless scenes. The latest entry into the “lose my virginity” summer comedy genre is told from the female perspective. This particular girl is obsessed with making lists—including a list of ten things to do the 1993 summer she started lifeguarding at her local Boise, Idaho pool. The list includes all the usual things needed for a raunchy teen sex comedy—including actors way too old to be in high school—but what do you expect—it’s R-rated.

3 pieces of raunchy, post-Bridesmaids, females like sex too toast 


Planes (PG)

Starring the voices of: Dane Cook, Julia Louise Dreyfus, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, John Cleese, Val Kilmer

Directed By: Klay Hall

The folks at Pixar/Disney have been lured by  the “dark side” into churning out mediocre animated fare for the sole purpose of merchandising toy tie-ins. It’s a reworking of the “final race” scenario of Cars, but without the well-crafted script or good jokes. It has the feel of an assembly-line project slated for airing on the Disney Channel, but they are charging theater prices. The plot involves a crop duster plane who longs for the celebrity lifestyle. If you need a good animated plane story, I suggest you search out the 1940’s Disney South American-themed film Saludos Amigos (Hello Friends) and take a look at the segment called Pedro, about a plucky Chilean mail plane that has to fly over the Andes.

1 piece of animated assembly-line toast 


2 Guns (R)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, James Marsdon, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, Fred Ward, Paula Patton.

Directed By: Baltasar Komakur

The plot is a confusing tale of double-crosses and triple-crosses in this cordite and plasma-fueled testosterone pumping film. To prove all this macho-posturing doesn’t have a “gay agenda,” the captured female DEA agent is quickly stripped naked.

1 and 1/2 pieces of ugh toast