Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of April 18, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 18, 2022

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Rated R for violence, drug use, some sexual references and language throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
In Theaters

For a very long time, Nicolas Cage was the hottest actor in Hollywood, with huge tentpole films like The Rock and Gone in 60 Seconds, as well as little Indies like Leaving Las Vegas, which won him the Oscar. But in the early 2000’s his clout started to slip away and he started making films for the paycheck and most of them were pretty lousy. In the last few years he started making some excellent, highly reviewed films, and then came this one. The movie stars Cage as Cage, a busy working actor who wants to make great cinema, but alas a man who can’t catch a break to make it back into the A-list spotlight. So his agent talks him into heading to Spain to make a birthday appearance for a rich dude (Pedro Pascal) who wants his company for a few days. He slowly starts to develop a friendship with the guy when the CIA appears to tell him that he is an arms smuggler who has kidnapped a politician’s daughter, thus recruiting Cage to help rescue her. What transpires next is just a funny, exciting and exhilarating comedy full of self-reflection and knee-slapping hilarity. With Cage’s recent introduction back into important independent cinema, there is a desire to like the guy again and that really works for him here. He is self-effacing and vulnerable and you can’t help but cheer for him as the story develops. And by the end you get a brilliant buddy comedy that seems to hit all the buttons and manages to get everything right. While Cage is certainly the draw of this film, perhaps the biggest winner is relatively new writer/director Tom Gormican who puts on a serious show here, making a smart, lovable movie like a true pro, which should only propel his career to new heights. A

The Northman
Rated R for strong bloody violence, some sexual content, and nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
In Theaters

Writer/director Robert Eggers (The Witch, the Lighthouse) has truly made a splash in Hollywood with his unique and mysterious style of horror which leaves behind nightmares from his perverse vision. For his third film, he takes that style to Iceland for a movie that can only be described as a disturbing version of Hamlet set amongst vikings. Perhaps the most perfect-looking viking in movie history, Alexander Skarsgard plays a young prince who seeks revenge for the killing of his father and king (Ethan Hawke) and mother (Nicole Kidman) from an uncle trying to seize power. In a raw, bestial manner, he pretends to be a slave to his uncle only to slowly claw his way to the final act of vengeance. Stylistically the film is special and unusual, making you think you can predict the next action only to find out that you have no idea what will happen next. In that way it is a worthwhile journey to go on. That being said, the film is not mainstream and it will turn off much of its audience. It is weird and far from straightforward, with off-putting visuals and disturbing plot points. It’s the kind of material that critics and film snobs chew up but mainstream audiences might not be able to connect with. It’s like watching Braveheart on an acid trip, and personally, I dug that and will probably go see it a second time, maybe next time with a stiff drink in hand. A-