Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 8, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 8, 2018

First Man
Rated PG-13 for some thematic content involving peril, and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
In Theaters
From the Oscar-winning director of La La Land, Damien Chazelle, and executive producer Steven Spielberg, comes this retelling of the early days of the Nasa space program, culminating in Neil Armstrong’s iconic landing on the moon. Unlike most previous versions we’ve seen of this legendary piece of history, this narrative focuses on one man and what he had to go through to accomplish the impossible. Ryan Gosling reteams with Chazelle as the iconic Armstrong, a character from history who is as famous as any American, but whom we know little about. Using modern special effects with a visionary young filmmaker at the helm, the story comes off as both fresh and relevant while at the same time monumental. My only disappointment is in the disconnected score by Justin Hurwitz, who created amazing music for La La Land and Whiplash, but just couldn’t pull off the score needed to propel this movie to true greatness. But even with mediocre music, the film still manages a successful lift off, making you feel like you are a part of one of America’s greatest accomplishments. A-

Skyscraper
Rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this Die Hard knock off about a security expert who must come to the rescue of his family when they are trapped in Hong Kong high-rise after a terrorist attack. Sure the plot is thin, but the action is huge as Johnson, once again playing the hero with a heart of pure gold, sets out to do anything to rescue his family. So while it’s nothing you haven’t seen before, this variation on a theme does provide some movie comfort movie food which is certain to entertain a large portion of viewers. I can’t say it’s my style, but it certainly isn’t horrible or anything you’ll be embarrassed about for enjoying. C+

Rodin
NR, but would be a strong R
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This look at the famous sculptor’s life shows the careful balance between his art, his warm relationship with his lifelong partner, Rose Beuret, and his passionate affair with his mistress and student Camille Claudel. It is unfortunate that the film comes off as cold and disjointed rather than passionate and truthful like Rodin’s art. I enjoyed seeing the artist at work, and even some of his moments of play, but the narrative just sits and stalls, never really accomplishing the masterpiece it tries to be. C

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 1, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 1, 2018

A Star is Born
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
In Theaters
Bradly Cooper here does a little showing off as writer, director and star of this new take on the tragic love story. Cooper here plays a well-known singer who gets through his days with the help of drugs and alcohol. But when he runs into a talented singer/songwriter, played by Lady Gaga, in a late night bar visit, he quickly falls in love and in the process gives his new girl a boost to her musical career. While I didn’t find the film to be an experience I want to duplicate, I did leave with a huge appreciation for talents I would have never attributed to Cooper. Sure he is a great actor, but the guy can sing, direct and write like a master. And he generously allows Lady Gaga to shine in a role that steals the show and might even give the film the biggest chance for Oscar buzz. For anyone who has ever been deeply effected by a loved one with substance addiction, the film has the potential to take you to dark places that are beyond uncomfortable as Cooper all too realistically portrays this. But while the darkness and sadness take over the story, the music does find a way to elevate emotions to counter the drama. B+

Leave No Trace
Rated PG for thematic material throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Ben Foster plays a veteran who has taken his teenage daughter, played by fantastic newcomer Thomasin McKenzie, off the grid to live in the woods of Oregon. But when they are discovered by authorities, the two of them are placed in social services where they must decide to either assimilate or make their way back to the wild. This is a tough, authentic drama with rich performances that really pull on your heart. And with 185 reviews in, it has actually remained at a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score which is an almost impossible feat in itself. And while it has a PG rating, I wouldn’t call it a family film. It is simply an adult film with zero in the way of objectionable material, which is completely unique in this day and age. A-

Three Identical Strangers
Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Available on Disc and Streaming
In 1980, three young adopted men in New York discover that they were identical triplets, separated from birth and given to thee different families. Years later they start to understand why. This documentary follows the unbelievable and almost inconceivable true story in a way that moves from pure joy to fascination to despair. It’s a story that I’m glad I was able to experience, but one which you almost wish was untrue afterward. In a year full of absolutely incredible documentaries, this is truly one of the best and one that you will be recommending to friends long after you’ve seen it. A

The First Purge
Rated R for strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This prequel to the hit horror franchise follows the first purge experiment where the government makes all crime legal for one night, in the hopes that they can thin the herd of urban Americans. While the movies in this series have come off as more cheesy and cheap horror than riveting narrative, I’ve always thought that the basic story here could make for a pretty fantastic look at our society and where it could be heading. With this prequel to the other three mediocre films, I was actually holding out hope that they could deliver a story that would almost serve as a warning rather than just a few scares and lots of blood. Unfortunately, the filmmakers took the path of quick and easy violence rather than a shot across the bow. The script and the acting are the only horrific acts on display here and any potential for redemption for the franchise’s past mistakes is unfortunately left for dead. C-