Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases for the week of 1/15/16
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengghazi (R)
Starring: John Krazinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Toby Stephens
Directed By: Michael Bay
There’s not much here for the conservative pundits to chew on and spit out. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is only obliquely mentioned in Michael Bay’s “recreation of true events,” but the studio has made sure to include the red-flag-word Benghazi in the title. Using (sometimes conflicting) eyewitness accounts, it is the effete (and anonymous) CIA station chief who is the bad guy here—issuing confusing orders too late, and repeatedly placing people into harm’s way. In typical Michael Bay fashion, the soundtrack is cranked up to 11, with up-close and personal grunts, curses, and sounds of incredulous disbelief from members of the Navy SEAL team interspersed with explosions that turn the murky darkness into sensory-overloads of fire and fury. The 147 minute film is way too long, confusingly edited, and intellectually unchallenged, but if you liked Transformers, this one’s for you.
2 and 1/2 of pieces of “real-life,” video game action movie toast
Ride Along 2 (PG-13)
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Simpter, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt
Directed By: Tim Story
The “by-the-book” detective and the wannabe cop of the first film are back playing the same roles, only now, Kevin Hart’s character has just graduated from the police academy. It’s a week before his wedding, so his future father-in-law (Ice Cube) takes him to Miami where bikini-girls populate the backgrounds, a philanthropist is really a bad guy, and a series of comedic misunderstandings, miscommunications and mistakes ensues—oh yeah, car chases, explosions, a sex-obsessed Asian hacker, and an annoying wedding planner are thrown in as well.
2 and ½ pieces of a fun sequel with a bigger budget toast
Starring: Ron Pearlman, Rupert Grint, Tom Audenaert, Erika Sainte
Directed By: Antoine, Bardou-Jacquot
Conspiracy theorists have long argued that the moon landings were faked by the Disney Studios. This film posits that the CIA wanted Stanley Kubrick to do the fakes (because of the weightless sequences he filmed for 2001). This supposed comedy turns deadly when a CIA agent hands a suitcase of money over to the wrong guy and then threatens to kill the schlub when he realizes his mistake. In response, the schlub hires a German director to make the Top Secret moon-landing film using members of a free-love commune. It’s about as funny as green cheese.
1 piece of avoid this bomb of a movie toast
Norm of the North (PG)
Starring the voices of: Rob Schneider,Heather Graham, Bill Nighy, Colm Meany, Ken Jeong, Gabriel Iglesias
Directed By: Anthony Bell, Trevor Wail
Assembled from not-funny-anymore animated movie tropes, this film is about a polar bear named Norm trying to save his arctic home from becoming a condo housing project while searching out the whereabouts of his grandfather. How will he do this? By signing on as the spokesmodel for the company that wants to build the homes. This will work of course, because Norm (and his granddad) can speak human (English no less, but probably other languages when this film is played in other countries). The plot is so nonsensical, that the kids in the audience will have a hard time swallowing any of the goings-on, especially because the movie is littered with ridiculous twerking music videos of pop songs.
1 piece of put your money in your kid’s bank account instead toast