Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 7/20/18
Mama Mia 2 (PG-13)
Starring: Cher, Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Stellen Skarsgaard, Christine Baranski, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Meryl Steep
Directed by: Ol Parker
Thanks to the magic of flashbacks, in Mama Mia 2 we get to meet the young sexy Donna we heard about from the diary her soon-to-be-married daughter, Sophie, shared in the first Mamma Mia film. To remind everyone, Sophia discovered (via three “dot-dot-dot” excerpts), that she had three potential fathers from trysts her mother had on Kolokari beaches. The set up is that Donna has died, so while giving tours of her island home, Sophie recounts her mother’s tales of lust and song. Although not quite as exuberant as the Phyllida Lloyd directed first film, the new one has the advantage of minimizing Pierce Brosnan’s attempts to sing. The audience waits with high anticipation for the arrival of Cher playing Sophie’s grandmother, and the final 20 minutes is an over-the-top celebration of Cher playing Cher.
3 pieces of a tad more melodramatic than the first Mama Mia, but still crammed with ABBA songs toast
Sorry To Bother You (R)
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tesa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Danny Glover
Directed by: Boots Riley
In Boots Riley’s alternative reality version of Oakland, a female artist twirls an advertising sign on the street corner to pay for her art supplies and anti-corporation anarchy. With his uncle demanding past rent, the artist’s boyfriend explores a “guaranteed for life” job offer from the Worry Free company, but, because of his so-called “white voice,” he takes a job as a telemarketer instead. Solid gold success changes everything for the couple, including the street riots directed against the meg-billionaire who controls an Oakland not that far removed from the one that exists today.
3 and 1/3 pieces of creative and enteraining social commentary set in an alternative reality Oakland toast
Unfriended: The Dark Web (R)
Starring: Betty Gabriel, Rebeca Rttenhouse, Colin Woodell, Andrew Lees, Stephanie Nogueras
Directed by: Stephan Susco
This variation on the “found-footage” trope takes place entirely on a computer screen. A group of young adults who essentially live online, Skype each other to play the Cards Against Humanity game. A deaf girl has just had a fight with her boyfriend, but he thinks his second-hand laptop will allow for better communication. However (there has to be a “however” in a set-up like this), the machine’s previous owner has left some pesky popups for a job offering huge payouts. This so-called “job” is a serious of increasingly sadistic attacks against the gamers via their computers. Too bad the film had to descend into depravity. Just think what a lighter touch could have done.
1 and 1/2 pieces of quickly sinks to the lowest common denominator toast
The Equalizer 2 (R)
Starring: Robert Shafran, David Kellman, Edward Galland
Directed by: Tim Wardle
I’d like the opportunity to ask Denzel Washington why he said “yes” to making not one, but two of these vigilante movies. This time, the widowed, former intelligence agency operative, is a Lyft-driver in and around Boston. He plots revenge against the bad guys who brutalized his friend and former co-worker, and dissplays just a little too much enjoyment from all the blood-soaked carnage he creates.
1 and 1/2 pieces of does watching Denzel act make up for his morally corrupt characterization? toast
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