Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 10/21/16

A Man Called Ove (PG-13)
Starring: Rolf Lassgard, Bahar Pars, Tobias Almbourg, Ida Engvoll
Directed By: Hannes Holm
In Hannes Holm’s A Man Called Ove, a Swede’s numerous suicide attempts keep getting postponed by the goings-on of his rule-bending next-door neighbors. Ove’s only joy in life was provided by Sonja, a full-of-life woman who died and left him alone again. Now his days are filled with maintaining order in his pedestrians-only cul-de-sac—including berating the afore-mentioned neighbors for driving their car to their house to unload the groceries and two cute kids. The story arc is predictable (misanthrope is coaxed back into living life again by the love and honesty of ordinary folk), but the flashbacks of Ove railing against the bureaucratic “white shirts” and the tender scenes of loving Sonja, make this import very special.
3 pieces of Swedish dramady toast

Keeping Up With the Joneses (PG-13)
Starring: Zach Galifanikis, Jon Hamm, Gal Godot, Matt Walsh, Maribeth Monroe, Patton Oswalt
Director: Greg Mottola
With the director who made Superbad and Adventureland at the helm, and a parade of well-known comedic actors, I expected much more than I got. There are flashes of brilliance buried under the bad timing and miscues, but they really aren’t worth your time and money. I imagine the pitch session promised “Mr. and Mrs. Smith meet The Hangover, with the tale of an American secret agent couple’s identity blown by their bumbling next door neighbors. But without a decent script or tight direction, the result is lackluster at best.
2 pieces of where’s the laughs? toast

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (PG-13)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, Patrick Heusinger
Director: Edward Zwick
When we played cops and robbers or cowboys and indians as kids, the youngster who had just been shot would lay down on the ground for a few seconds and then bound up shouting “I’m a new man,” thus engaging what we now call a “reset button.” The Jack Reacher series of movies always features Tom Cruise getting beaten to a pulp before he miraculously jumps up and beats his antagonists to an even bloodier pulp. However, since he doesn’t yell out “I’m a new man,” so it’s just the same old, same-old. This dreary continuation of the series should be labelled old, older, oldest. It simply regurgitates scenes from much better films (like the Jason Bourne series), and places Tom Cruise’s grimacing visage in the middle of at least three and often a dozen-or-more stunt people armed with knives, guns, rocket launchers, barbed wire and box cutters who are there to get tromped by good-old Jack Reacher himself. Dull. Duller, Dullest.
1 piece of keep your money in your wallet toast

Ouja: Origin of Evil (PG-13)
Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Lin Shaye
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
This is the prequel to 2014’s very successful film, Ouija and manages to bring a freshness to the oft-told-tale of a young girl possessed by the Devil. People old enough to remember what 1967 was like, should delight in the nostalgic recreation of that pre-Trump era. Closely following the set-pieces explored in The Exorcist, a demographically well-matched older sister has been added to the mix to provide a welcome bit of snarky, world-wearied teen-aged angst. Logicians will despair at the gaping holes in the so-called plot, but that’s not the point. This is a “made for the Halloween season” ticket buyers, and as such, its not too bad.
2 and 1/2 pieces of The Exorcist redux toast

Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (PG-13)
Starring: Bella Thorne, Tyler Perry, Brock O’Hurn
Directed By: Tyler Perry
As a movie producer, Tyler Perry knows exactly what his audiences like to see. So here is yet another of him cross-dressing to play the indomitable, grey-haired old lady whose most famous line may be: “Well when you gettin’ got and somebody done got you and you go get them, when you get ’em, everybody’s gon’ get got.” The title for the film came directly from a joke made by Chris Rock, but the story (about Medea babysitting her boy-crazed niece while fighting off zombies) is direct from Perry’s imagination. “As a Christian,” Perry explained, “I’m not a big fan of Halloween and all it stands for…but this movie’s funny.”
3 pieces of a Halloween-centric Medea comedy toast

Harry & Snowman (R)
Starring: Harry DeLeyer, Tom Haney, Harriet DeLeyer, Andre De Leyer
Directed By: Ron Davis
We’ve already seen mosvies about horses who narrowly escaped the glue factory to become winners at the race track, and this documentary is in the same mold. What makes this one a little different, is the candid way in which we learn that Harry DeLeyer’s obsession with horses was at the expense of his family. Snowman, the horse purchased from the slaughterhouse for $80, received all of the trainer’s love and attention, while, as his daughter explains onscreen, “A lot of times [Harry’s eight children] went without.” Snowman’s lovable personality captures the audience’s heart as he spends summers swimming with kids on his back and winters pulling them around in a sleigh before revealing his unexpected talent as a steeplechaser.
2 and 1/2 pieces of loving horses more than family toast