Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of August 31, 2020

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of August 31, 2020

Mulan
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence
Available on Disney+ Premier Access

Based on the 1998 Disney animated movie, Mulan follows a young Chinese girl with great fighting ability, who pretends to be a boy in order to join the military. But instead of following the path of its predecessors Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, with big musical numbers throughout, Mulan skips the songs and silliness to present an all-out action flick with a tremendous unknown talent (Yifei Liu) leading the way. Fighting alongside her (and against her) are some of martial arts greats legends: Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Gong Li and Jet Li – and there abilities are put to great use here. But personally, I miss the songs here. While Matthew Wilder’s music wasn’t the best of the big Disney musicals, a couple of the tunes are noticeably absent here – especially the song “Reflection” which only shows up in this version during the credits. But artistically that is not what they were going for here and I can appreciate that. I can only imagine how hard it is to find a young actress capable of this kind of action role, who can also sing her brains out. But for what the film misses in its Broadway feel, it more than makes up for in pure intensity. The action sequences are big and bold with lots of creative choreography and impressive stuntwork. Also, the production is out of this world with sets and costumes that are sure to garner some nominations when awards season finally hits. The film doesn’t have the emotional punch that I expected, but it certainly satisfies throughout and provides for at least one big epic film we get to enjoy as summer winds down. Originally slated for a theatrical opening on July 24, Disney obviously grew tired of pushing it back, and instead opted to make it their first movie for a new tier of Disney+ called Premier Access, where you can watch at home for an additional $30. B

Bill & Ted Face the Music
Rated PG-13 for some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Available in theaters and paid streaming
It’s been almost 30 years since Bill and Ted (Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter) graced the screen and advanced the story where their music would ultimately be responsible for saving the world. But now, decades later, the future has come back to them again, and this time they are under the gun to write that hit song which will ultimately be the savior of the universe. But with only an hour and change to write it, they opt to visit future versions of themselves to try to find out more about the song. After all – its not stealing if you are stealing from yourself. And as they are on their journey, their daughters (also named Bill and Ted) travel through time to put together the greatest band in history. As in both of their previous outings, the film is stupid and silly – but good stupid and silly. It takes a bit of effort to get through the beginning, especially the weird and out of place wedding scene, but once it does, it manages to be a funny and refreshing comedy. I’m guessing that this movie exclusively belongs to its fans, meaning that if you haven’t seen or didn’t like the first two – this might not exactly entertain you. Fortunately there are enough of us who love Bill and Ted, making this a most welcome return of our time-traveling heroes. B+

Irresistible
Rated R for language including sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40%
Available on Blu-ray ray and paid streaming

Former Daily Show host John Stewart wrote and directed this political comedy about a Democrat political consultant (Steve Carell) who discovers a potential goldmine candidate in a small farm town (Chris Cooper), thus sweeping in to sign him up for the town’s mayoral race. But when his arch nemesis Republican consultant (Rose Byrne) discovers his plot, she comes in to start a circus by throwing big money behind the opposing candidate. The story seemed like a winner, as did the cast with three huge names at the top of the ticket, but not having seen it until now, I was confused about all the bad reviews. The problem with the film is that it works way too hard to try to fool you. Rather than being a sweet predictable comedy about a super relevant issue, it forgoes that pathway to pull a Fight Club, which winds up to be unwelcome rather than mind-blowing. It’s interesting how Stewart tries to tie it all together during the credits, but that’s just not enough to cast the shadow of relevancy needed to rework the narrative in your head. C

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