Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

Films Opening 6/13/14


How to Train Your Dragon 2 (PG-13)

Starring the voices of: Jay Baruchell, Kate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou, America Ferrara, Gerard Butler

Directed by: Dean Dubois

It is doubtful that when threatened by a “madman without any conscience or pity” that any of my Viking ancestors ever said “Let’s go find him and change his mind,” but that is exactly what the now one-legged Hiccup say in this animated sequel. There’s lots of great animation, lots of dragons acting like puppies and other familiar pets, lots of sight-gags, and lots of missed opportunities for one liners. The result is entertaining enough, but perhaps a little too heavy on the “can’t we all just get along even if we are differently-abled?” morality message.

3  pieces of pretty good toast 


22 Jump Street (R)

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Ice Cube

Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

This may be the rare instance of a sequel being funnier (and raunchier) than the first four bromance-cop movies in this series. The mismatched duo have relocated to the even numbered side of the street, and enroll in college to discover who is behind the gang the drug related death of a coed. They may be the least convincing undercover cops in history, and the gags riff on this fact. The jokes come so fast, you may wish you had instant replay. It fades in the third act, but stick around for some over-the-credits guffaws. WARNING: The language is really dirty.

3 and 1/2 pieces of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum bromance toast 


Night Moves (PG-13)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, James Le Gros

Directed by: Kelly Reichert

Portraying eco-terrorists as kids next door archetypes (the loner, the true believer, the liar, etc.) is a tricky business, and this movie is unconvincing as a result. Yes, there may be strong reasons against damming remote rivers (endangered fish, endangered farmers, endangered fishermen, endangered scenery, etc.). but there are strong reasons for having the dam in the first place (non-polluting electricity, flood control, recreational lakes, etc.). However nuance is wasted on these particular “back to the Earthers,” and that’s why they intend to “bomb the Hell” out of that nasty hydroelectric dam (the one with all the people living downstream).

2 and 1/2  pieces of eco-terrorist toast 


Words and Pictures (NR)

Starring: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Amy Brennerman

Directed by: Fred Schepsi

A faded, alcoholic poet is adored by the kids at the prep school where he teaches English. The newly-arrived art teacher is a once famous painter who can no longer hold a brush because of a debilitating disease. The two jostle for the kids (and each other’s) attention pitting “words” against “pictures.” Unfortunately the audience doesn’t care if either person “wins.”

3 pieces of ”gotta dance” toast




Tim’s Vermeer (NR)

Starring: Penn Gillette, Tim Jenison

Directed by: Raymond Joseph Teller

Inventor Tim Jenison has a theory about how the master Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer managed to include such light-infused detail into his works.  Jenison convinces his famous magician friends to create a documentary about his search for a scientific answer to this puzzle—one as the onscreen interviewer, the other behind the camera. The trio spend 1,825 days on the project, and create an ersatz Vermeer masterpiece in the process. Inevitably, parts of the documentary are like watching paint dry, but the personalities, the unexpected failures and the eventual successes make the trip worthwhile.

3 pieces of what makes a painting a masterpiece? toast 

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (PG-13)

Starring: Chris Pine, Keira Knightly, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Costner, David Paymer

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Forget that President Reagan was a fan of Jack Ryan, the newest reboot has the multi-faced CIA analyst  joining the Marines after 9/11, and surviving Afghanistan only to be covertly set up as a Wall Street Banker. With the uncanny ability to see dastardly plots before anyone else does, our ageless hero uncovers a Russian plan to buy up U.S. Treasury bonds and then sell them at a loss to prompt rampant inflation in U.S. markets. In other words, released when the Sochi Olympics were only weeks away, the screenwriters reverted to having Jack Ryan battling his old nemesis—the Russians. It’s deva-vu all over again.

2 pieces of Jack Ryan rebooted toast 

Non Stop (PG-13)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Anson Mount, Corey Stoll

Directed by: Jaume Collett-Serra

By the time the air marshal receives a text message announcing a “murder in 20-minutes,” on this cross-Atlantic plane ride, the guy has already had his daily share of booze and pills. Problem is, this fellow hates to fly, but, being Liam Neeson, he is doggedly determined to find the bad guy within the movie’s hour-and-a-half timeline. The only unexpected thing to happen along the way is that Downtown Abbey’s sad widow has reincarnated as one of the flight attendants. Other than that, it’s just another notch in Neeson’s “I’ll save the day” belt.

2 and 1/2 pieces of not very original toast