by Gil Mansergh
Newly Released Movies for the Week of 2/26/16
Gods of Egypt (PG-13)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Rufus Sewell, Geofrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton
Directed by: Alex Proyas
This video game or cable series wannabe is set in an ancient Egypt that “never really happened” when the panoply of gods appeared on the sand dunes as rather tall, hunky white dudes whose muscular physiques are highlighted by makeup artists. It is obvious that the studio doesn’t care a fig for historical accuracy, as British, Canadian, Australian and American accents wrestle with all the “godly” pontification while they ham-handedly make the lives of mortals as messy as possible. The mortals we are supposed to care about are a pair star-crossed lovers. For some arcane reaosn, the beautiful girl convinces the handsome guy that he should join forces with the god Horus onboard a spaceship bound for Ra the Sungod’s home. Ra is played by Geoffrey Rush—the only actor in this thing who actually seems to get that the movie is an absurdist romp. Rush is sorely missed when he isn’t onscreen.
1 piece of wasted $140 million dollars toast
The Last Man on the Moon (NR)
Starring: Eugene Cernan, Allen Bean, Richard Gordon, Jim Lovell, Charles Duke, Chris Kraft, Martha Chaffee
Directed by: Mark Craig
With a catchy title, documentarian Mark Craig uses archival photos and film, updated with recently filmed talking heads, to board a nostalgia-fueled trip with US astronaut Eugene Cenan as he recalls what it was like to have “The Right Stuff” back in the 70’s. One of 14 pilots to make the cut for the elite brotherhood of Apollo spacemen, Cernan candidly talks about how life in the spotlight and the constant fear of death (his Apollo 1 friends are eulogized in a touching interview with Martha Chafee), took its toll on his family life. So the confession that as the titular “Last Man on the Moon, he left his daughter’s initials in the lunar dust is a psychological conundrum—why did he leave this timeless graffiti on the windless surface of our nearest celestial neighbor when he was frequently “missing in action” as a husband and father?
3 pieces of lunar nostalgia toast
Eddie the Eagle (PG-13)
Starring: Taran Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Keith Allen, Tim McInnerny, Rune Temte
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher
The underdog story of British ski jumper Michael “Eddie” Edwards crams almost every sports cliche possible in its 105 minutes, but it’s presented in such an engaging manner, you won’t really mind. Looking as nerdy as possible, the thick glasses and messy hair mask a talented and fierce competitor whose goal is simply to ski jump at the Olympic Winter Games. Hugh Jackman offers drama by playing Eddie’s medallion-grabbing, cocksure, nemesis to make the audience feel even happier when the film “sticks” its landing.
3 pieces of root for the underdog toast
Triple 9 (R)
Starring: Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Directed by: John Hillcoat
The tightly made opening sequence of a bank robbery and pursuit raise the audience’s expectations to a high level, only to have their hopes dashed as the screenplay becomes a muddled set of unanswered, “who is that guy, and what is he doing here?” questions. Blame it on the screenplay, for the talent is here, probably lured by the chance to play strong characters (Winslet as the mob boss, Ejiofor as her brother-in-law and ringleader). As it stands, the filmmakers should have provided a scorecard for the audience to keep track of the fumbled plays, miscommunications, and missed opportunities that pile up.
2 pieces of “What the heck is going on here?” toast
Boy and the World (PG)
Starring the voices of: Vinicius Garcia, Lu Horta, Marco Aurelio Campos
Directed by: Ale Abru
Aimed squarely at the international market, this exceptional Oscar nominated, feature length, animated film from Brazil has characters who communicate in an unidentifiable language. But this doesn’t matter, as sections of the hand-rendered film play out in silence—punctuated by a sound effect or two. The surreal tale is of a youngster with a minimally expressive button face, who wanders from place to place without any adult supervision. Along the way, the kid makes friends with adult strangers living in migrant encampments and favellas—places sure to raise alarm bells in even the most laissez-faire parents.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Oscar-nominated animation toast