Popcorn Perspectives – Week of November 19, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of November 19, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Rated PG-13 for some sequences of fantasy action
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%
In Theaters
What started out as a side story for the Harry Potter series has taken on a life of its own in this second film of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. In this new adventure, the infamous pre-Voldemort baddie Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped from Azkaban Prison in the hope of going to war with the muggle world. Meanwhile, Newt Scamander and a younger Albus Dumbledore (Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law respectively) are doing everything in their power to stop him. I am impressed with the storytelling and ambition on display here, especially since it came under the guise of much more frivolous pretenses. And as you’d expect, the production values are top notch as the special effects keep improving and the imagination has stayed true to the original Potter vision. What sadly lacks here is energy. While it is directed by David Yates, who is on his sixth Harry Potter film here, and the screenplay is written by JK Rowling herself, the film has humongous pacing problems throughout and at times is just plain boring. I would still recommend it to fans as it will prove to be a necessary piece of the overall puzzle of its universe, but it’s certainly one of the least impressive films from this franchise so far. C+

Crazy Rich Asians
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Available on Disc and Streaming
I love a good romantic comedy (there are so few these days) so I was excited and surprised when this Asian romcom hit theaters this summer. Based on the best-selling books by Kevin Kwan, it follows a young NYU professor who finds out that her new fiancé comes from a super rich family in Singapore who is determined to break up their relationship once they travel there. With a clever screenplay that keeps you on your toes and an absolutely hysterical supporting cast, the movie turns out to be a winner on all levels. I’m not sure if the planned sequels will be able to churn out this much joy, but I’m glad to have this one for now. A

The Meg
Rated PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%
Available on Disc and Streaming
When the world’s greatest deep-sea diver (Jason Statham) is hired to rescue the crew of a submersible at the bottom of the Mariana trench, they come under attack, and allow the escape of, the thought-to-be-extinct 75 foot Megalodon shark, who just can’t wait to eat the oceans full of people. This is a true guilty pleasure with very little in the way of horror and only mild thrills to be found. The special effects are pretty cheesy but the actors pull it off, even when you can tell they hate being on set, which is apparently the case with Statham according to his rantings after the film’s theatrical release. That being said, The Meg turns in a mindless yet somewhat fun adventure. You won’t regret wasting your time on it but you certainly won’t consider two hours well-spent either. C

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