Popcorn Perspectives – Week of April 1, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 1, 2019

Shazam!
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
In Theaters

With DC trying to fill out their theatrical comic universe, it was a great shock that Shazam! was going to get the big screen treatment, but the studio brilliantly came up with a tongue-in-cheek plot to make up for the cheesiness of its subject. Here a young boy living in a foster home finds himself mysteriously whisked away to a hidden cave where a wizard turns him into an adult and gives him super powers. Not knowing what to do with those powers, or even the extent of them, he does what many a fifteen-year-old would do: buy beer and go to a strip club. But when a super villain comes along to steal his powers and possibly harm his foster family, he grows up and faces the challenge head on. When I heard that this was one of the most talked-about films at Comic Con this past year, I thought it was a joke, but sure enough – Warner Brothers and DC took a huge chance and I think it will pay off big time. The movie is thrilling, funny, juvenile (in a good way) and warm-hearted. I think the trailers make it look a lot more kid-friendly than it actually is, but even its scary nature is more like Scooby Doo or Ghost Busters than Dark Knight. The movie is quite literally an unexpected blast! B+

Bumblebee
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Available on Disc and Streaming

This Transformers prequel lays out the story of Bumblebee’s introduction to Earth as he escapes the planet Cybertron and hides out in a junk yard until a young girl (Hailee Steinfeld) takes him home in the hopes of fixing him up. Of course the two make friends and all is well until a couple of evil Decepticons find him and attempt to destroy him before he can accomplish his mission. To me, this is a real head-scratcher. While it did fairly well world-wide, in the US it had a relatively poor showing. And yet this is easily the best Transformers movie we’ve been given to date, with a fun retro-style story, better than decent acting, a plot that at least makes sense and a reasonable running time. It’s the film we’ve been waiting for since the franchise started – and yet few folks went to see it. Perhaps its audience is a bit burnt out due to the overlong and mediocre offerings we’ve been given so far. But hopefully a larger audience will get to watch it now that it’s hitting living rooms. B+

The Mule
Rated R for language throughout and brief sexuality/nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score 70%
Available on Disc and Streaming

This latest adventure from director and star Clint Eastwood follows a retiree with familial regrets who is offered a job from a Mexican cartel to carry drugs across the country in his inconspicuous truck. Seeing an opportunity to buy his way back into his family’s lives, he does more and more trips, each with increasing danger. In the bones of this project is a decent movie with an interesting story, but unfortunately, for every good decision in the process, a bad one exists also. The film feels sloppy at times, showing the mark of a director who just wants to do one take and move on, rather than get the scene right. Also, the family moments feel contrived and messy, showing signs of bad writing throughout. Finally, and I’m sure I’ll get roasted for saying this, but Eastwood might not have been the best choice to star here. He has some great moments, but there is inconsistency in his acting, just as there is in his directing. Like he just wants to get though with the damned thing and call it quits for the day. C

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