Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 6/03/16
Maggie’s Plan (R)
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Marianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph
Directed By: Rebecca Miller
Maggie’s Plan, Rebecca Miller’s modern day screwball comedy includes all of the fixtures needed for this genre—a parody of a rom-com that veers off into unexpected directions and becomes a farcical battle-of-the sexes where the world is constantly on the brink of chaos. The titular heroine, Maggie (Greta Gerwig) is a 30-something woman who “dresses like a Quaker” and decides to become a mother. She sets her eyes on the “ficto-critical anthropologist” who is unhappily married to a successful author who quashes any attempts her husband makes at becoming a writer. We think we know what will happen next, until Maggie decides to become a “kiss and make-up matchmaker” for the couple. Delightful chaos follows (including an on-cue snowstorm).
3 and 1/2 pieces of screwball comedy rides again toast
Directed By: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman
You may recall the historical asterisk that was the meteoric end to a one time rising star in Democratic circles. Anthony Weiner was the youngest New York City councilman turned House of Representatives member who resigned in disgrace after e-mailing a picture of his underwear-covered penis to a girl he was trying to impress. Two years later, the remarkably still married Weiner launches an ego-fueled campaign to be the Mayor of NYC. It is on the day of this announcement that the filmmakers start making their documentary, and they are shooting as the sudden appearance of yet another recipient of sexting messages claims Weiner had phone sex with her “at least five times a day.” We watch every cringe-worthy moment as Wiener does flip-flops worthy of a freshly caught flounder, and his steely spouse plays her part like she is on the TV show “The Good Wife.”
3 pieces of fascinating in a flaming car-crash sort of way toast
Conjuring 2 (R)
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe
Directed By: James Wan
Paranormal investigators travel to England to confront terrifyingly violent horror. I am told that this sequel is better than the original.
Gil does not screen violent horror movies
Time to Choose (NR)
Narrated by: Oscar Isaac
Directed By: Charles Ferguson
95 of the 100 minutes in this global warming disaster documentary is involved in the absolutely positive assumption that the end of the world as we know it is just around the next bend—and that mankind is the cause of of the problem. To make things easier, the filmmakers have divided things into three easily assimilated sections; coal and electricity; oil and gas; land and food. Scenes of devastation in various parts of the planet are juxtaposed with beautifully filmed images of wind farms and solar arrays. And although these alternative energy sources actually produce power without pollution at costs comparable to using fossil fuels, the powers-that-be refuse to open their minds. As the chairwoman of California’s Air Resources Board tells us “People deny that there is a solution…[and] if there is a solution, then it’s too expensive.”
3 pieces of reminiscent of Al Gore’s movie, but still important toast
Now You See Me 2 (R)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Franklin, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
Directed By: Jon M. Chu
Despite all the hard work by the actors involved, I gave the original Now You See Me film only 1 and 1/2 pieces of toast. This was because the “magicians pull off a complicated heist” plot required the audience to be distracted by the mirrors and sleight-of-hand so they wouldn’t see through the trick. Except today’s sophisticated audiences caught on to the illusions really, really quickly, so the pay-off was accompanied by a collective ”Okay. So now what?” The sequel is more of the same except the magicians (now called “the Horsemen”) are lured out of hiding by the FBI to thwart a fiendishly evil plot by a tech company to mine and sell customers’ private information (gasp!). So it’s off to Macau (where location filming is cheaper) to help someone who looks and sounds like Harry Potter. Once again, Morgan Freeman’s voice-over explains everything for those of us who didn’t catch the trickery the first time.
1 and 1/2 pieces of repackaged “ain’t magic cool” toast
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, Toby Kebbel
Directed By: Duncan Jones
Puerile is the word that comes to mind for the movie Warcraft. Puerile and confusing. (Okay, two words.) This is the made from a video-game where everyone picks an avatar by their attributes. Although both people and places are assigned names, they should be called by their descriptors i.e. Peaceful Kingdom, Orc Homeland, Good Guy King, Good Guy Warrior, Fiendishly Evil Orc, Magician’s Apprentice, Half Breed, etc. etc. etc. This film’s opening date was pushed forward over and over, and the outstanding special effects show the reason, Unfortunately (why does there always seem to be an unfortunately?) the plot is hackneyed and obtuse, the dialogue seems written by a first grader with very quick thumbs, a love story featuring Homo sapiens and a green-skinned woman was old when Captain Kirk hooked up with the Orions, and the only way to sort out everything is to (wait for it) have a sequel!
1/2 pieces of only for die-hard fans of the video game with too much time on their hands toast