Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 6/16/17
Cars 3 (G)
Starring the voices of: Owen Wilson, Cristelo Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shaloub, Cheech MArin, Paul Dooley, Larry the Cable Guy
Directed by: Brian Fee
Its been eleven years since Lightning McQueen was the fastest race car on four wheels but that’s like 100 years in the high-stakes world of auto racing. Just like the venerable Hudson Hornet was labelled a “classic” (AKA Old Fashioned) in the first film, Lightning is past retirement age. Except (there’s got to be an except here or there wouldn’t be a movie), that he won’t retire gracefully. Cue the homily-spouting old-timers and the whiz-bang, “we can mold you into shape” newcomers vying for Lightning’s attention. Underlying everything is the savvy marketing genius of Disney/Pixar who understands how much a baton-passing theme makes demographic sense. Face it, some of the kids who went to the movie in 2006 already have kids themselves. On the plus side, Cars 3 has a welcome moral-to-it-all: that even an egocentric car like Lightning can have a breakthrough moment and realize that he can become mentor to a (gasp of disbelief) Latina hotshot.
2 and 1/2 pieces of a franchise low on gas toast
The Book of Henry (PG-13)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Leiberher JAcon Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler, Dean Norris
Director: Colin Trevorrow
This movie crashes while attempting a delicate balancing act between the joys of childhood and the realities of child abuse, sudden death and murder. It starts out focusing on a true genius named Henry whose waitress single mom keeps him in a neighborhood school so that he can be a “regular kid.” The scheme works well enough that Henry can have friends his own age who just shake their heads and shrug whenever he says or makes something incredible. This Spielburgian story line works fine until Henry develops a crush on the girl next door and starts “observing” her. He quickly discovers that she is bing abused by her stepfather, who just happens to be the police chief. Before Henry dies from a brain tumor, he writes down his observations for his mom and younger brother, and includes detailed, step-by-step plans to either have the abuser arrested, or, if that doesn’t work, to shoot him and make his body disappear. Yep, you read that correctly. Now direct this dysfunctional and truly terrifying story in a twinkly-light-hearted, over-acted manner with jingle-bell background music to keep everything as twee as possible.
1/2 piece of there needs to be a thoughtful movie for kids about child abuse, but this is not it toast
Rough Night (R)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Ty Burell, Demi Moore
Directed by: Lucia Aniello
Rough Night is presented as “the first R-rated, major studio comedy directed by a woman starring women and about women,” and although this is all true, it neglects the fact that the story is stolen from the 2006 Jeremy Piven dark comedy, Very Bad Things. In Piven’s film, a prostitute dies during a rowdy bachelor party and the male guests unwisely decide to dispose of her body. The story line in Rough Night is quite different. This time, it’s a bachelorette party, the victim is a male stripper and the body disposal artists are the female party guests. The movie quickly becomes a rip-off of Weekend at Bernie’s, as the bachelorettes whisk the corpse from one impossibly funny situation to another.
2 pieces of would have been funnier with some surgically precise editing toast
Starring: Demitri Martin, Kevin Kline, Gillian Jacobs. Mary Steenburgen
Director: Demitri Martin
An indie coming/of-age film combined with a coming-to-terms-with -grief film has been done before (i.e. Zach Braff’s Garden State) and the challenges of coping with the death of a parent is a logical life event for a movie. Similarly, when a comedian who is a cartoonist writes, directs and stars in his own film, you can be almost certain it will be filled with cartoons. In that sense, Dean doesn’t disappoint. Confounding the young man’s inability to focus and move forward after his mother’s death, his father has adopted the “clear out, move on” mode of grief—even going so far as to start a relationship with the realtor selling the family home.
2 pieces of nothing really new here, but Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen seem to be enjoying themselves toast
All Eyez On Me (R)
Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Kat Grahame, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Jamal Woolard, Annie Ilonzeh, Dominic L. Santana
Directed by: Benny Boom
Most of the hype about this movie is how closely its star, Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks like Tupac Shakur. This is probably because there is little else to brag about. The story of the self-described revolutionary who sold over 75 million of his rapper albums and was killed in a Ls Vegas drive-by shooting is as stolidly presented as a series of powerpoint slides.
1 piece of uninspired biopic toast
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