Gil Mansergh’s Cinema Toast
New Releases For the Week of 8/24/18
Mile 22 (R)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey, Terry Kinney, John Malkovich, Emily Skeggs
Directed by: Peter Berg
Director Peter Berg and actor/producer Mark Wahlberg have teamed up again for another heroic “based-on-a-true-story” tale of survival against impossible odds. Only this time, there is no “true-story” to confine them, so Mile 22 can be quick and easy with minor things like the laws of motion and other pesky facts. The film makers overuse choreographed POV shots, surveillance footage and drone camera perspectives which gets in the way of telling the basic story about: “driving someone to the airport.” The “someone” supposedly knows the location of a stash of highly radioactive explosive labelled “fear-powder,” and since the actor playing this guy (Iko Uwais) is a master of the deadly Indonesian martial art called “silat,” you kind of know what will happen next. Having Uwais perform his moves while handcuffed, just adds to the “Gee Whiz” feel.
2 pieces of a 99 minute ride to the airport toast
The King (R)
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Tony Brown, James Carville, Chuck D., Radney Foster, Emmylou Harris, Ethan Hawk
Directed by: Eugene Jarecki
Since the government has granted the owner of the National Enquirer immunity from prosecution, you might think that a documentary about Elvis Presley would finally reveal the truth about his being “alive and well and living in…” Instead, Eugene Jarecki’s overly-edited doc uses family photos, newsreel footage and movie clips and then editorializes them using a series of opinionated talking heads. The premise is that the Tupelo, Mississippi-born singer who “co-opted” Black music and marketed it to White-folk with a smirk and swinging hips is a stand-in for the downfall of America. Parts of the film are brilliant, but the last few minutes (a 1970-style, jumbled cacophony of multiple images) leaves the audience feeling cheated.
1 and 1/2 pieces of an unnecessarily bloated doc that would be much better if someone else had done the final cut toast
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek, Yorick van Wageningen
Directed by: Michale Noer
Once again, the quest for money has overshadowed common sense, art, and creativity, by making a remake of a classic film that doesn’t need to be re-made. This time, it is the 1973 film Papillon starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in a Dalton Trumbo/Lorenzo Semple Jr. scripted morality tale of convicts confined to the Devil’s Island hell-hole off the coast of French Guyana. Using talk shows to promote their more sadistic portrayal of prison hardships, the stars of this Czech/Anglo movie argue that “it is much more relevant today than it was in the 70’s” My response is simple—Avoid this travesty of a movie, and rewatch (or watch for the first time) director Franklin J. Shaffner (Patton, Planet of the Apes, Boys From Brazil), vastly superior original with Jerry Goldsmiths music, and outstanding performances by Hoffman and McQueen (who insisted on doing his own cliff-jumping for an escape sequence and earned a Golden Globes nomination for Best Actor).
1/2 pieces of see the original instead toast
The Happytime Murders (R)
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Bill Baretta, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph
Directed by: Brian Hensen
Following Hollywood’s recent realization that movies can star Asians, (Crazy Rich Asians), African-Americans (Black Panther), gays and lesbians (Moonlight, Carol), and even marionettes (Team America: World Police), it is no wonder that furry, Muppet-like characters are the main attraction in The Happytime Murders. Trying to make sure that parents won’t take their little kiddies to see this
crude, tasteless and thorougly un-funny film with its hard “R” rating, the creative “geniuses” behind the scenes insist it was made by Chinese-funded, Henson Alternative instead of the confusingly similar-named Jim Hensen Company. Melissa McCarthy spends screentime with puppets shooting-up drugs, gambling, killing others and having sex while she gamely tries to make this seem amusing. It isn’t. To make things even worse, Jim Hensen’s son, Brian Hensen is the director. I imagine Jim is literally “turning over in his grave.”
1/2 piece of a astoundingly boring waste of a $10 million budget toast
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