Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for the week of 2/06/15
Mr. Turner (R)
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Ruth Sheen, Marion Bailey, Leslie Manville
Directed By: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh likes to work with actors he knows, and, starting in Secrets and Lies (1996), Timothy Spall is (to my mind) the “best” of these. Usually cast in a secondary role, this time, Spall gets top billing and almost all of the screen time. The fact that he works with a script bereft of words (I wonder if they wrote down the grunts and whistles and grumbling sounds Spall constantly utters). He plays the part of British Romantic landscape painter, William Turner, in the last quarter of the man’s life. His increasingly eccentric behavior has the effect of shrinking his circle of friends and family while at the same time providing him various women to bed whenever he feels the need. It is a fascinating portrait of both the man and his time produced by the hands of a master director and actor and Mr. Turner is worth every one of its 149 minutes.
4 pieces of Romanticism, warts and all toast
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (PG)
Starring the voices of: Tom Kenney, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Antonio Banderas
Directed By: Paul Tibbitt
It is very difficult to write a summary of this film without making multiple puns referencing condiments—but I will try. The 2-dimensional inhabitants from TV’s undersea community known as Bikini Bottom become computer generated 3-D characters for the simple reason that the studio can extort more from parents for tickets to what is basically a slightly longer version of the TV show. The plot (as if one is really needed), involves the theft of the Kraby Patty secret sauce recipe by the Burger Beard the Pirate (Antonio Banderas) who escapes to (gasp) dry land. Will the characters who are mostly composed of saltwater follow the Pirate onto Terra Firma? Will the secret recipe be recovered? Will any of the rollicking kiddos in the audience care? Nope, the screeching voices, slapstick humor and terrible puns will keep everyone laughing too hard to notice.
2 and 1/2 pieces of Spongebob and his Bikini Bottom pals toast
Jupiter Ascending (R)
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth
Directed By: Andy & Lana Wachowski
Missing numerous release dates amid rumors of rewrites and reshoots, this film is such a rip off of the movie Dune, that it should include a disclaimer. It’s not set amid an arid desert, and instead of “spice” the most precious commodity in the universe is “time,” but that’s nit picking. The whole thing is: chase scene, exposition, chase scene, exposition, chase scene…you get the point. Mila Kunis plays a reincarnated alien queen like she has been zombified—using a catwalk prance every time she has to “run” away. The best line in the film illustrates the Wachowski’s latest attempt at profundity: “Bees don’t lie.” Sean Bean’s character pronounces with conviction. Well, duh!
3 and 1/2 pieces of “workers unite” toast
Seventh Son (PG-13)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Djamon Hounsou
Directed By: Sergei Bodrov
Major stars populate this “grade C” movie about a pig farmer’s son who is handy with a knife (well, how did you think those sausages, ham and bacon end up in the supermarket?) Along comes a hard-drinking cowboy (Ooops, sorry, this time Jeff Bridges is a knight/wizard), in need of a servant/apprentice. This archtype duo goes on a quest that will end with a battle against an Evil Witch (named so we won’t confuse her with a good witch, like Oz’s Glinda the Good). Unfortunately, Julianne Moore wears the witch’s cloak, and she is way too constrained to go to the campy side of things. Too bad, an over-the top performance would help break this film from the evil curse of BOOORING!
1 pieces of stars slumming toast
Newly Released on DVD
John Wick (R)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyquist, Willem Dafoe, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Set in some parallel universe place where cops see a dead body and walk away to allow the hitman to clean up his “work,” this film strives for the ultra-cool vibe of Sin City, but misses the mark with so much, ratcheted-up mayhem the audience loses interest—except for caring about the hitman’s dog.
2 pieces of hitman strives too hard to be cool toast
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff
Directed by: Stiles White, McG
A “planchette” (how’s that for a crossword word?) is the triangular-shaped, felt-footed board that players place their fingers on to spell out answers on a Ouija board. It also contains an “eye hole” which is perfect for seeing ghosts, or at least that is what the moviemakers of his dull, duller, dullest of pre-Halloween fright movies want us to believe. Olivia Cooke cements her claim to as most uninteresting actress to star in a fright-fest.
1 piece of skip this latest Olivia Cooke bomb