Popcorn Perspectives – Week of April 23, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives by Danny Minton

Week of April 23, 2018

Paddington 2
Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Part of the above description should have given you pause. 100% Rotten Tomatoes score? Not one critic out of almost 200 (including me) didn’t recommend it? You read that correctly. This almost perfect family film beat out the first’s almost perfect 98% score in grand fashion. Based on the popular English stuffed animal, Paddington 2 continues the adventures of the lovable bear as he is falsely arrested for stealing a priceless pop-up book, only to find himself and his human family hot on the heels of the despicable real thief, played by the versatile Hugh Grant. Just like the first, the film is cuddly, cute, clever, funny and surprisingly smart. And if you have kiddos, it is one of the most family-friendly films you can enjoy with them without feeling guilty. The whole thing is simply an enjoyable way to send nearly two hours. A-

Den of Thieves
Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 41%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Gerard Butler plays a flawed and ferocious cop, hell-bent on taking down a ring of criminals determined to be the first to ever rip off a federal reserve bank. The film has a big-time Michael Mann vibe to it, but lacks the substance and talent, even though the attempt is admirable. So while Heat it ain’t, there are some respectable qualities. The premise itself is original and almost works, especially towards the end when the actual crime takes place. But where the film fails is the long, meandering path to get to the climax. It’s a slow burn with little reward or even justification as to why it takes so long to show us the money. Still Gerard Butler is believable as the sort of good guy and Pablo Schreiber is convincing as the street savvy gang leader ready to take on the biggest heist in history. I just wish the film didn’t waste so much of my time getting to the well-executed third act. C+

The Post
Rated PG-13 for language and brief war violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Available on Disc and Streaming
After watching this film in theaters last December, I felt certain that I had just seen the movie that would win Best Picture. After all, it had two of America’s most-loved actors (Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks), in addition to America’s most-respected director Steven Spielberg telling the most relevant of stories about the Washington Post in the 70s going against all odds to print a story that would eventually bring down a president. But while it brought in a slew of nominations, it didn’t win a thing and eventually fizzled. Still – this is a movie that needs to be seen, even if it will not be seen or appreciated by the audience most in need of its message and theme. It is a tale of caution and courage, meant for far greater ambitions than it was able to achieve. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a masterful film worthy of America’s attention. A

Grease: 40th Anniversary Edition
Rated PG for adult situations/language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Since this film came out when I was six, I was unable to see it in theaters and had to rely on VHS, TV, and eventually DVD for my limited exposure to it. But now remastered in this new 4K edition, the film looks pristine to the point where it’s almost uncomfortable. Since this musical, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John as two teenagers in love, relies more on its iconic nostalgia for its success rather than its art; this new and stunning-looking film might throw you off quite a bit. I’m actually anxious to discuss with fans of the film to see if they prefer this or the dirty, lower resolution version of the pic we are used to seeing. B-

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