Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast

New Releases for the week of 3/25/16

Batman vs Superman (PG-13)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gail Gador, Jesse Eisenberg Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne

Directed By: Zack Snyder

The caped “superheroes” whose names are in the  Batman vs Superman title aren’t anything like the ones you remember from your childhood—and that’s not a good thing. In fact, the movie should be called Batman AND Superman AND Wonder Woman since these three end up fighting side by side to defeat the nuclear-fueled, indestructible being called Doomsday. Picking up after Superman’s destructive temper tantrum demolished Gotham in the Man of Steel movie, Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) lost a lot of friends and colleagues from the collateral damage when the Wayne Enterprises building collapsed, so he hates the alien from Krypton. This provides the rationale for the “vs” in the title. However none of this really matters, since the “male demographic” buying tickets are as familiar with all the twists and turns of the parallel DC universe as young girls are with all the Disney Princess story lines. For the rest of us, its about as engaging as watching an iPhone when the battery is dead.

1 pieces of crammed full of “meh” toast 

Knight of Cups (R) 

Starring: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Wes Bently, Brian Dennehy, Frida Pinto

Directed By: Terrence Malik

Terrence Malik’s latest film seems to have been made for presentation at a graduate school seminar on “Allegorical Medieval and Biblical References.” Presented in a mind-numbing, anti-chronological style which confounds attempts to determine “which came first,” the story revolves around a hedonistic movie-maker locked into a personal quest for love and understanding fueled by how his father treated him when he was a kid. In between the overacted portions are a series of beautifully filmed set pieces (cinematography by three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki) which would probably win a stand-alone Oscar Short if they were submitted in that category. Unfortunately, they only make the feature length film more disjointed.

1 piece of what the heck is going on here? toast 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (PG-13)

Starring: Nia Vardakos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Joey Falcone

Directed By: Kirk Jones

This movie plays like it was written when the 2002 film with a similar name was a big success. Fashions and cellphones have been updated slightly to make things more up-to-date, but the wrinkles and face-lifts on the actors reveal the true amount of time that has passed. The main problem is that the jokes, and set ups for the jokes are as stale as 14-year-old Pita bread. There was a time when “the Greeks” were stand-ins for all the “outsider” ethnic groups, but new ethnicities have taken over the “other” category, and the schtick has worn thin. The film does get better by the time the second half rolls around, but the audience has grown bored, and its hard to win them back.

2  pieces of at least Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine are still great together toast

Trapped (NR)

Directed By: Dawn Porter

Fresh from the evening news, this unapologetically one-sided expose of the war against a woman’s right to choose an abortion, travels from state-to-state as conservative lawmakers nibble away at the Supreme Court’s  landmark Roe v Wade decision. “The tide is turning” anti-abortion believers chant alongside the parade of legislators claiming they are “protecting” women by passing laws restricting access to clinics, hospitals, and other reproductive health services.

3 pieces of a thoughtful, single-sided look at anti-abortion politics toast