Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 24, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 24, 2021

A Quiet Place Part II
Rated PG-13 for terror, bloody/disturbing images and violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
In theaters

This sequel to the unexpected 2018 smash follows the now fatherless Abbott family, now with a crying baby in tow, as they attempt to stay alive in the company of murderous alien monsters with severely acute hearing. But of course now they know that the feedback from their deaf daughter’s hearing aid gives the monsters a debilitating weakness, allowing for a bit of a chance to fight back. As they run into an old family friend hiding in an abandoned factory, they get wind of the possibility of a commune off the coast where they might finally be safe. Just as in the first film, there are loads of tension-packed scary moments worthy of gobs of popcorn and a hand to hold. I especially loved the opening sequence which tells the story of how it all started as they were all just trying to enjoy a small-town little league game. It was a great way to jump in, and as long as you’ve seen the first film, it will get you truly reinvested in the Abbott’s plight. With a strong screenplay and a much bigger budget than the first (I’m assuming) the film further showcases writer/director and star John Krasinski’s immense talent. And it helps to have his equally gifted real-life wife (Emily Blunt) in the lead role as well as veteran actor Cillian Murphy helping out. My biggest complaint is the length. While most films feel overly long due to poor pacing, the quick pacing on this one makes its 97 minutes zoom much too fast and it feels like you are about to hit the third act when you find out the film is over. It feels abrupt. I’m sure that is purposefully done in order to steamroll into Part III, whenever that comes out, but I would have liked the narrative to last a little longer. B+

Cruella
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: None at time of writing
In theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access

Getting her origin story told is famed 101 Dalmatians’ villain Cruella de Vil (Emma Stone), showing how she got her start in crime. The film begins with a child version of Cruella watching her mother get killed by a pack of Dalmatians. Then she grows up a mischievous orphan only to wind up working for the very woman who was talking to her mother when she was killed. But all the while, she attempts to show up her boss under her secret identity, first to get ahead and later for deeper intent. If artist Banksy was a 60’s female fashion designer, you’d have Cruella. The film has a nice underground tone with an impressive style and quite the incredible soundtrack which primarily uses classic old rock hits rather than an orchestral touch. And while they don’t downplay the evil nature of the character, they definitely try to make you forget that she’s going to one day attempt to kill dozens of puppies to make a coat. But at least here they make Thompson out to be even more evil and thus, Cruella doesn’t seem too bad. And while on the subject, both Emmas are tremendous in their parts. The casting is absolutely perfect. The film does have pacing problems throughout though, and it definitely runs a half hour too long, but overall it is a surprisingly likable live-action Disney feature. B-

Army of the Dead
Rated R for some sexual content, gore, language throughout, graphic nudity and strong bloody violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%
Available on Netflix

Director Zach Snyder is on a roll this year after just releasing his historic new cut of Justice League and now this high-octane zombie flick. The story begins as a super zombie escapes from a military transport and manages to infect the entire city of Las Vegas. But when a mercenary turned fry cook (Dave Batista) is recruited for a highly profitable casino heist, he puts together a team which can hopefully get in and get a ton of cash before the deadline hits and the US military nukes the city. It’s an original enough story with fun new type of zombie that we aren’t used to seeing. But unfortunately the cast is sub-par and proves to be not up to the ambition of the project. Were it headed up by The Rock or Arnold, the film might have really worked, but Batista just isn’t the right actor to lead a film like this and the whole thing suffers from the casting mistakes. There are some good scares and nice action, but the production and creativity are just not enough to overcome the weakness of the main cast. C

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