Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases 11/28//14

Horrible Bosses 2 and Penguins of Madagascar are so-so sequels


Penguins of Madagascar (PG)

Starring the voices of: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Peter Stormare

Directed by: J.P. Simon, Simon, J. Simon

As local Pearls Before Swine cartoonist Stephan Pastis knows, a good pun is artfully constructed from a series of seemingly non-connected parts into a groan (and chuckle) inducing whole. Puns also have to grounded in this century. Unfortunately, the filmmakers who made this “Penguins of Madagascar do Mission Impossible” rip-off, have completely ignored this sage advice and have crammed the not particularly original goings-on with outdated puns. The result will amuse easily entertained youngsters long enough to allow their moms and dads to do some holiday shopping (if the parents use roller skates). In addition to some very cute penguins, the script is filled with pithy messages about teamwork, how scientists in lab coats are evil, how wild animals shouldn’t be trapped in zoos or marine parks, and how puns scuttle this franchise.

2 pieces of  pun-filled animated action that wants to be a comedy toast  


Horrible Bosses 2  (R)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Chris Pine, Jason Suedeikis, Jamie Fox, Jennifer Aniston, Christopher Waltz

Directed by: Sean Anders

The buddies from the first Horrible Bosses film invent a shampoo releasing shower head (no, I’m not making this up),  and try to market it by kidnapping the owners of a home shopping network while screaming and shouting at each other. Along the way, the stars spout crude sexual jokes in tangential, unscripted “riffs.”If you think this premise is funny, then you should be sure to stick around for the outtakes during the closing credits. Some of the best bits ended up on the cutting room floor.

2 pieces of made for fans of the first movie toast 






The One I Love (R)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Eizabeth Moss, Ted Danson, Marlee Matlin, Mary Steenburgen

Directed by: Charlie McDowell

You can’t help but grow fond of the two main characters in this look at the challenges a youngish couple face after the man scratches a seven-year-itch. Following their counselor’s advice, the pair have a weekend getaway at a bucolic retreat where they recall the “honeymoon phase” while grappling with the ‘what’s going on with us now?” phase. I don’t want to give too much away, but the spontaneity of the filmmaking style, and the on-screen chemistry between the stars is wondrous. Okay, just one hint — bacon plays an important role in this film.

3 pieces of “bringin’ home the bacon” toast.


November Man (R)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Will Patton, Luke Bracey, Eliza Taylor

Directed: by Roger Donaldson

By appearing in this film, Pierce Brosnan has lost my respect as an actor (even more than his terrible singing in “Mamma Mia”). In “November Man,” the former James Bond plays an assassin brought out of retirement who shoots anyone who he thinks might be a threat to him or to the Russian defector he is trying to protect or to the street hot dog vendor—in short, anyone who comes into his line of vision). I use clips from James Bond films to show how women have become more and more victimized in movies over the past 50 years. No longer content to just show a gold-plated woman dead on a bed, in this film, director Roger Donaldson (and too many other filmmakers) include up-close-and-personal torture and rape scenes of unclothed female victims. Ugh!

1/2 piece of Pierce Brosnan, I’m disappointed in you toast.