Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 18, 2020

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 18, 2020

The Trip to Greece
Rated NR (but equivalent to an R)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86% (at the time of writing)
Available on Streaming

Until a few months ago, I was going to be in Greece this summer, but, like most of you, my plans were suddenly cancelled. So as a consolation prize comes this fourth comedy in the series by writer/director Michael Winterbottom about two friends (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon), playing themselves, who take a trip to Greece together to take in the food and the culture, while discussing their careers, lives and favorite movies. Having traveled with them to England, Italy and Spain, this new voyage is much of the same, which is a wonderful thing. Their vulnerabilities, passions and ego on full display, make us feel like we are not only just sitting at the table with them, but getting to know them as well, even if the film is scripted. And while they aren’t always likable, they most definitely come across as humans with a story that is believable, beautiful and heartbreaking. I loved this one as much as I did the first three, and hope to travel with them again in the future, hopefully when we are all traveling again ourselves. For now this will have to serve as an escapist fantasy. A-

Emma.
Rated PG for brief partial nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Having been done many times over, this Jane Austin classic about a young matchmaker who gets into many pickles while trying to manager her own love life, gets a vibrant facelift with this new adaptation. With an unknown director and writer (Autumn de Wilde and Eleanor Catton) and a relatively unknown cast including Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma and Johnny Flynn as George, the film had a long road to haul even without COVID-19, which killed its theatrical run. At first the film seems to shock the system when expecting a traditional Jane Austin flick. But the movie grows on you as the talent becomes apparent and the incredible production values start to shine. By the end, I liked the story, but I absolutely loved the costumes, sets and panache on display, to the extent that I will predict that the movie might just take home a couple of Oscars come next year. I found myself evolving in thought about the film, while I was watching, until I walked away smiling and feeling enriched. A-

The Way Back
Rated R for language throughout including some sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Once upon a time, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) was a legendary high school basketball player with a bright future deflated. But when his former high school asks him to come back to coach their losing team, he must find a way to pull himself out of his alcoholic depression to not only save a team destined to be failures, but maybe save himself as well. Affleck reminds us here that there is substance to his ability while at the same time bringing a tremendous amount of empathy to a character he admittedly has a real-life connection to. But it helps to have a such a tremendous director in Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Miracle), who knows how to tell a story using sports as merely a vehicle to put humanity on full display. Without a lot to show for 2020 thus far (this week is pretty awesome admittedly), The Way Back is still the best movie I’ve seen this year. A

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