Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Release For the Week of 2/10/17
The Lego Batman Movie (PG)
Starring the voices of: Will Arnett, Zach Galafanakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carey, Billy Dee Williams
Directors: Chris McKay
Imagine Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), as a self-absorbed, plastic-block, megalomaniac prone to temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way and you immediately understand the brilliant concept underlying Chris McKay’s clever and very funny film entitled The Lego Batman Movie. We first met this particular incarnation of the Caped Crusader as one of the “cast of thousands” in The Lego Movie (2014). This time a Lego Robin (voiced by Michael Cera) is by his side as the pair race from the Lego Wayne Manor in a Lego Batmobile to do battle against a tear-streaked, whiny, “nobody loves me” Lego Joker (voiced by Zach Galafanakis). In the first film, the snap-together (and apart) figures knew they were toys. This time, everyone acts like they are flesh and blood instead of ABS plastic, and this minor shift makes some scenes even funnier. NOTE: Be sure to pay attention to the “home movie” the Lego butler, Alfred (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), uses to show how his boss used to enjoy life and was more fun to work with.
3 and 1/2 pieces of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene toast
John Wick: Chapter 2 (R)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Bridget Moynihan, Peter Stormare
Director: Chad Stahelski
A year ago, I wrote the following about the first John Wick film: “there’s so much, ratcheted-up mayhem the audience loses interest—except for caring about the hitman’s dog.” The hitman is the title character (played by Keanu Reeves at his pseudo coolest) and the dog was his cute pet. In the new movie Wick must avenge the house filled with mementos of his dead wife. Yep, that’s correct—he must avenge the house filled with mementos of his dead wife. Since Reeves only grunts or mumbles, and his dialogue is often drowned out by gunfire or motorcycle engines, they’ve added a Russian assassin as the narrator/explainer. This guy is obsessed with how Wick “killed three men in a bar with a pencil,” which made me wonder if Wick instructed his Siri to “list bars with a pencil.” It doesn’t really matter. The plot is only there to hang the excessive real-time violence and pad the movie’s interminable length.
1 and 1/2 pieces of the storyline is way too complex for this mumbler’s franchise toast
Paris 05:59 (NR)
Starring: Geoffrey Couet, Francois Nambot, MArio Fanfani, Bastien Gabriel, Miguel Ferreira
Director: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
Grunts and groans and slippery slapping noises accompany the writhing, red-lighted orgy in the basement of a gay Parisian sex club. Carefully choreographed to make sure that the audience understands everything is “real,”, the tumbling sexuality fascinates and repels a “first-time visitor” named Theo (Geoffrey Couet). Hugo (Francois Nambot) captures Theo’s lustful eye, and the other orgiers melt into the darkness as the camera records Theo and Hugo’s coupling. Sated, the lovers leave the club and rent-a-cycle through the beauty of Paris in the early-morning. The mood abrubtly shifts when Hugo admits he is HIV-positive, and didn’t use a condom. So the couple and adjourn to the emergency room where the doctor explains the risks and treatments involved with unprotected gay sex. For some reason, the doctor doesn’t suggest that Theo consider using Truveda or other PrEP medicines-and so those in-the-know, will see the film is in a time-warp.
2 pieces of artfully filmed gay loving with a health message storyline toast
The Space Between Us (PG-13)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Guigno, Britt Robertson, B.D. Wong
Directed by: Peter Chesom
Gardner ( Asa Butterfield), the first child born on Mars makes a visit to Earth to meet up with his cyber-pen-pal girlfriend. Upon arrival, he she accompanies Gardner as he experiences many “ordinary, everyday things” for the first time. Using the classic trope of “misunderstood orphan” (his astronaut mother died during childbirth), it is elaborated by the lad identifying with the the angel who fell to Earth in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (one of my all-time favorite films). To further complicate things, Mars’ lower gravity means that Gardner’s organs will soon fail. I can only assume that the filmmakers own stock in Kimberly-Clark (the Kleenex manufacturers) for the weepiness of a film aimed directly at the tween and teen market.
1 and 1/2 piece of badly done “Starman as a teenager” toast