Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 5/20/16
The Nice Guys (R)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Keith David, Kim Bassinger
Director: Shane Black
The Nice Guys plot is simple: in the early 70‘s, an LA private eye reluctantly teams up with an enforcer-for-hire to find a missing girl and solve the suspicious death of a porn star. Almost everything you learned about this genre from Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii 5-0, and The Rockford Files is thrown on the screen, but with a knowing wink to the audience, (and under Shane Black’s deft direction), Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling make the scripted screw-ups sing.
3 pieces of star-powered, 70‘s throwback, toast
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (R)
Starring: Seth Rogan, Zav Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz
Director: Nicholas Stoller
An expectant couple thinks it’s finally safe to put their home on the market after the fraternity house next door was shut down. As soon as the “For Sale” sign goes up, the party-hearty, pseudo-feminist girls from Kappa Nu sorority move in. It’s supposed to be a gender-reversed reprise of all the shticks we saw the stars do in the original Neighbors (which I gave 2 and 1/2 pieces of toast) but it comes across as a badly-edited, what-were-they-thinking? mess. The sophomoric humor feels like the out takes from the five screenwriters’ weed-infused, late-night “joke sessions” including the “how about having the pregnant mom vomit on her husband when they make love?” scene the “lets have the kids play with plastic sex toys,” scene and the “why don’t the sorority girls TP their neighbors’ house using soiled tampons?” scene. How funny is that?
1 piece of only Zac Efron is having any fun in this one toast
The Angry Birds movie (PG)
Starring the voices of : Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, Jason Sudeikis, Peter Dinklage, Maya Rudolph, Romeo Santos, Anthony Padilla
Directors: Clay Katis, Fergal Reilly
Set on an island crammed full of flightless birds, Red (Jason Sudeikis) fails at his task of taking care of the new hatchlings because of his uncontrollable temper, and gets arrested , The judge (Keegan-Michael Kay) sends him to anger management classes where he interacts with birds of different colors—each of which expresses anger in different ways (i.e. Bomb the Blackbird (Danny McBrude) literally explodes). A boatload of green porcine critters from Piggy Island come ashore, and disrupt the status quo. The soundtrack is crammed with pop tunes—most of which are appropriate to the on-screen shenanigans.
2 pieces of a so-so animated movie built upon an app toast
New On DVD
Where to Invade Next? (PG-13)
Directed By: Michael Moore
The iconoclastic documentarian Michael Moore is summoned to the Pentagon and given the task of “invading” other countries to “steal back” American-originated ideas that didn’t work in the U.S.A., but flourish on foreign soil. He travels to Italy to showcase the faces of Italians who “look like they just had sex,” and how they get five months of paid maternity leave. “In all the world, only Papua New Guinea and the U.S.A. don’t have paid maternity leaves,” Moore tells the audience. He compares the school lunches eaten by French children and those served (and mostly thrown away) in the U.S.A. In Norway, it’s the criminal justice and prison system. In Iceland, it’s how the majority of the businesses and banks and government jobs are held by women. In Portugal, it’s how the use and possession of small amounts of drugs isn’t a criminal offense, and so resources can be used to combat drug trafficking. While looking at the tuition free college education offered in Slovenia, Moore is invited to visit with the country’s justifiably proud President. Moore’s humorously presented point is that these different approaches work well elsewhere, and the U.S.A. could (and should) adapt this more “global” approach,—since what we are doing now isn’t really working that well.
3 pieces of a sincere but lighthearted Michael Moore toast