Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of July 15, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of July 15, 2024


Rated PG-13 for intense action and peril, injury images and some language

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77% at time of writing

In Theaters

I have very fond memories of the original 1996 Twister as I was attending the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!) as it was being filmed.  And to give the film gravity, I saw a tornado as I was driving home from the theater.  Talk about a scary moment!  So now, almost 30 years later, we are getting Twisters, which sounds like a sequel, but actually doesn’t have any relationship with the original, other than it is about life-threatening tornadoes in Oklahoma.  Directed by Lee Isaac Chung (director of the multi-Oscar nominated film Minari) the film follows a young woman (Daisy Edgar-Jones) who is a smart young meteorologist who loses three friends during an attempt to do tornado research.  After her tragedy, she moves to New York but is lured back when one of her former research buddies (Anthony Ramos) gives her a new opportunity to finish her studies.  But while attempting to once again tame a tornado, she meets a tornado chasing YouTuber (Glen Powell) who seems like a dangerous villain at first, until she starts to get to know him better.  And of course, all of this is set in the middle of a bunch of storm chasing with maybe too many deadly tornadoes destroying everything in their path.  While I was looking forward to watching the film, based on seeing the trailer, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.  The original was a guilty pleasure, and I expected this one to serve as much the same.  But there is a lot to like here, and the two-hour experience should be a thrill for most audiences.  Yes, it is a big, loud roller coaster of a film, but I really liked the characters, the story and the special effects-driven adrenaline rush.  Director Lee Isaac Chung, who was so impressive with his film Minari, with help of The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith, infuse the action with organic but fun characters who really help you get invested in the plot, even if it is a bit unrealistic.  And while the acting is good throughout, actor Glen Powell really drives the movie through both action and romance as he attempts to both chase storms, while at the same time chasing the leading actress, pushing the audience to really hope they change the world and possibly even end up together.  The icing on the cake here is a terrific soundtrack that I can’t wait to check out in my car once it is released.  It has a Top Gun kind of feel, only with some rocking country music filling both the quiet and the action-packed sequences.  And by the end you get an even better Twister movie, with better action, better characters, and much better storytelling.  B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of July 8, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of July 8, 2024

Fly Me to the Moon

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and smoking

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

In Theaters

I always thought The Shining was a decent movie in my younger years, with some good scares and fantastic acting, but it wasn’t until years later, after I saw the documentary Room 237, that I truly started to put together what a crazy genius film it might be, and what I knew about the moon landing was potentially untrue.  I’m not one to jump into conspiracy theories at all, but the theory laid out in this documentary contends that Stanley Kubrick all but admitted through the film’s imagery that he filmed the moon landing as a contingency in case we couldn’t get good footage, or in case they didn’t make it at all.  In this way we could prove to the world, and more importantly to the Russians, that we were indeed first.  In Fly Me to the Moon, a similar story is laid out where Scarlett Johansson plays a slick New York PR guru who is hired by Woody Harrelson, a government shadow ops character who needs her to give NASA the much-needed PR they require to become the center of the world’s attention, rather than just an unnecessary bureaucracy.  Once in Florida, she goes to work with NASA launch director Cole Davis (a fictional character played by Channing Tatum) who tries hard not to fall in love with her but just can’t seem to resist.  But once crunch time kicks in, the decision is made to secretly film the moon landing so that the world will see that the Americans hold space superiority.  But being a romantic comedy, lots of things go wrong and hilarity ensues throughout.  While the film does have its slow moments and the NASA scenes aren’t nearly technical enough to be taken seriously, the movie is so damn cute that you hardly care.  I love a good rom com and there are so few of them nowadays, so I was thrilled that this one came along, even if not perfect.  The chemistry between Johansson and Tatum is solid and the film comes off as really sweet, without being sappy in the least.  And I love that someone had the idea to turn such a crazy (or not so crazy) conspiracy into a feel-good romance.  I really appreciated that it is almost a family-friendly movie as well.  It feels like a genuine PG movie until Woody throws out an F-bomb at the end, which I can only guess was put in to get a 13 added to the PG.  But overall, it’s a highly enjoyable film with largely forgivable faults.  B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of July 1, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of July 1, 2024

Despicable Me 4

Rated PG for action and rude humor

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%

In Theaters

It’s been seven years since the last Despicable Me film ( for which I honestly can’t remember anything about), and Gru (voiced again by Steve Carrell) and family are forced into witness protection when a supervillain named Maxime (voiced by Will Ferrell) who Gru put in prison, escapes with an intent to seek a brutal revenge.  While trying to live inconspicuously in his new home and community, Gru gets bored and attempts to do some side missions, while some of his minions are subjected to a treatment which turns them into a cross between the X-Men and The Fantastic Four.  When Maxime eventually discovers where Gru’s new location is, a Battle Royale commences.  There’s not a lot of great storytelling on display here, just as in the other films.  The plot is weak and old, and the dialog is neither funny nor clever.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  They think they are being clever which makes many moments rather painful, at least for adults.  For kids, it should still be a fun time, filled with lots of loud action, silly minion humor and enough familiarity to bring smiles to faces.  I just wish Universal was ambitious enough to create a good four-quadrant addition to their franchise.  Making the film great for kids but only nearly tolerable for adults, is just disappointing and frustrating.  Pixar did a great job of this with their recent sequel Inside Out 2 – and look how it is paying off.  I’m sure that Despicable Me 4 will make a decent box office, but much of its business is going to be from audience members who wish they were in another room while watching.  So once again, we get a film that falls short when it really doesn’t have to.  C

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 24

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 24, 2024

Kinds of Kindness

Rated R for strong sexual content, language, full nudity and strong violent content

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

In Theaters

Hot off his highly successful Oscar run with Poor Things, writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos returns to theaters with this triptych of stories, all with the same revolving cast which includes Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Hong Chau and Margaret Qualley.  The stories each revolve around control in relationships, however the interconnection is very much up to the interpretation of the viewer.  The first tale revolves around Plemons, who is asked by his boss (Dafoe) to commit a senseless act of violence or be out of his good graces.  The second finds Plemons distraught when his wife goes missing on a work trip only to find that he doesn’t think it’s actually her upon her return.  The third finds Plemons and Stone as colleagues working for a sex cult led by Dafoe, looking for a prophesied messiah.  I’m not saying The Favourite and Poor Things weren’t weird, as they absolutely were, but compared to his earlier works like the Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, they were quite normal narratives.  Here he seems to be going back to a world that is left up to the audience to decide on its meaning and value.  Is it about relationships?  Is it about religion?  There is nothing given easily here.  At first I even thought he was messing with us as the story was just that odd and elusive.  But once I got into it, it didn’t make more sense, but it certainly was entertaining.   It helps that the acting is top-notch, but it helps more that all three stories serve as grand dark comedies.  If you are like myself and much of the audience I saw it with, you will find yourself laughing out loud (many time out of pure discomfort) at scenes that you feel you shouldn’t be laughing at.  In this, its sense of humor is both perverse and pervasive, making the film rather enjoyable when maybe it shouldn’t be.  Will we be circling around this project again come awards season?  Probably not.  While the acting and production are definitely worthy, I doubt the reception will be strong enough to bring home any trophies.  But for fans of either Lanthimos or absurdist movies in general, this should find itself a popular enough film in certain circles.  B+


Rated R for language throughout, sexual material and brief graphic nudity

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

In Theaters

This low-budget indie stars Dakota Johnson as a New Yorker returning from a trip who gets into Sean Penn’s cab going from the airport to her apartment in Manhattan.  When the cab gets stopped in traffic, the two get into an intense conversation about relationships where Penn gets a load off his chest while serving as a pseudo-therapist doling out wisdom to a young woman in great need of receiving it.  What should be a dull, real-time story, turns out to be an interesting movie that circles around ideas that go mostly unsaid in polite society, as two people, who both know they won’t see each other ever again, open up in ways they could never do with a more familiar party.  Definitely not a date movie nor a project that will find a big box office, but it will be interesting to see who the audience will be, if it finds an audience at all.  But for the lone person who finds it, there a worth-while 100-minute journey to be enjoyed here.  B

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 10, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 10, 2024

Inside Out 2

Rated PG for some thematic elements

No Rotten Tomatoes Score at time of writing

In Theaters

It’s been almost 10 years since Pixar released the brilliant Inside Out, which was a risk-taking project about the emotions that go on inside a little girl’s mind.  Now, Riley is hitting puberty and several new emotions are added to the mix, including anxiety, envy, embarrassment and ennui (a feeling of weariness or dissatisfaction).  Hot off a big hockey win, Riley and her two best friends are invited to attend a 3 day hockey camp, where she will get to prove herself in the next level.  With these new emotions on board, which team up to kick the original emotions to the curb, Riley goes through a tremendously complex decision-making crises, which has the chance to either help her succeed, or possibly force her to make destructive choices.  Inside Out was such an unexpected hit, winning the Oscar for best animated feature film and even scoring a nomination for best original screenplay.  That being said, I was quite concerned when I discovered that much of the original production team was gone.  With only original co-screenwriter Meg LeFauve along for the ride this time, and a new, largely unproven director in Kelsey Mann, there was cause for concern that Pixar was either not putting their best foot forward, or they are changing up the guard.  While the shoes were a bit too big to fill for obvious reasons, including originality, the filmmakers did a very good job of continuing Riley’s journey with intelligence, heart and humor.  And just like the first film, the subject matter will cause you to get very self-reflective, causing you to constantly find relatable memories and emotions to go along with what is on screen.  There are some major plot holes, such as when they go into adult’s minds and all of the new emotions are missing, but they are forgivable given how much more complex that would have been to try to make sense of everyone’s individual brains.  Overall, I found the film to be short and sweet, and most important, relevant to any audience member regardless of age or gender.  B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 3, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 3, 2024

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Rated R for some sexual references, language throughout and strong violence

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

In Theaters

Trying to resurrect his career after the slap heard around the world, Will Smith reunites with Martin Lawrence for a fourth Bad Boys film.  As the film begins, Mike (Smith) is getting married as Marcus (Lawrence) has a heart attack while going a little crazy at the wedding.  While dead, Marcus has a vision of what is to come, with a premonition that things are about to get crazy.  And they do. Without much of a break, the plot starts to thicken as they find out that their deceased boss has been framed for working with the cartels and they must find a way to clear his name and stop a huge wave of crime from hitting both Miami and the police department.  My biggest concern going in was whether I would be able to separate my disgust of what Smith did in real-life enough to appreciate him again.  It’s not our job to forgive him, but it is a task just to forget what happened.  That being said, Smith, now an Oscar winner, is a very talented actor and he manages to allow you to sidestep his real life issues long enough to enjoy his new adventure.  And it helps that this new chapter of Bad Boys is very entertaining.  Just like the others, the action and comedy are both in full force, creating a scenario where your laughs and thrills hit in equal measure.  From the very beginning, the jokes hit, and the laughter penetrates between action sequence to keep you fully engaged and excited for nearly two hours.  Sure, there are some problems throughout, with silly script issues and some terrible character choices. But the movie allows you to ignore the issues just long enough to get you to the next plot point, and for the most part, this is a triumphant return for both Smith and Lawrence, each of whom was struggling coming into this project.  I must admit that I hardly remember a thing from 2020’s Bad Boys for Life, but thankfully, the movie doesn’t require much of a memory, and you are quickly tied up into the action before you can realize that you don’t really know exactly what is going on.  So honestly, I don’t see a need to rewatch unless you really get a hankering.  So while I still can’t condone Smith’s notorious Oscar night shenanigans, I still found a way to enjoy his latest outing, leaving the theater with a bigger smile on my face than I thought would be possible for this project.  B

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 27, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 27, 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Rated R for sequences of strong violence and grisly images

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

In Theaters

With the immense success of 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, writer/director George Miller decided to give us the backstory for Charlize Theron’s Furiosa with this huge prequel.  Set many years before the events of Fury Road, a young child Furiosa is snatched away from The Green Place of Many Mothers by an evil Warlord named Dementus (Chris Hemsworth).  Forced to watch her mother die trying to protect her, she must first find a way to survive before she can strategize her revenge.  If you love the world of Mad Max, then this is a film that should have you excited, and you’ll probably walk away very happy.  It is a big, epic revenge thriller with many of the elements from all of the previous films.  I’ll admit that many of the big set pieces are just grander visions of the chase scenes from the last film.  While they look new and cool, they are largely unoriginal and they take away from the real spirit of the film, which is about vendetta at all costs.  Surprisingly, much of the film follows Furiosa as a young girl and it takes half of the film before Anya Taylor-Joy steps into the role.  She looks a little frail and fragile for the part in all honesty, but she is a fantastic actress and manages to fill Theron’s shoes just fine.  The real star of the film is Hemsworth, who manages to be a perfect sadist with a warped sense of humor.  You couldn’t have asked for a better villain for such a project.  As you would expect, the production is stellar and Miller really wants to give the audience its money’s worth.  But it’s two and a half hour running time seems pretty long and there are many moments when the film drags where it shouldn’t.  It’s one of those “I liked it but didn’t love it” kind of features that has the bones of something much better, but does a good enough job in entertaining, even with its limitations.  B

Hit Man

Rated R for some violence, sexual content and language throughout

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

In Select Theaters Now, Streaming on Netflix on June 7

Texas writer/director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Bernie) brings us this great little comedy, based on a real life character, starring fellow Texan Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) as a school teacher who moonlights with the New Orleans Police Department as a fake hit man trying to set up people looking to hire one.  When a beautiful and vulnerable women (Adria Arjona) attempts to hire him to kill her abusive husband, he stops her before she can get arrested, and then ends up starting a steamy relationship in the process.  While the film is mostly a comedy, it certainly has its dark elements as the plot begins to twist, but it also turns out to be one of the most entertaining films we’ve seen this year.  And while the film could have ended up being a predictable farce, Linklater keeps the movie fresh and nuanced, with a huge amount of creativity combined with a constant eye on how real people could or would behave in similar situations.  This authenticity elevates the film while still delivering the laughs and the thrills.  The movie also gives Glen Powell a huge steppingstone to what will most likely be a huge career.  But more than anything, I especially loved how Linklater turned the life of a very interesting dude named Gary Johnson (who passed away in 2022) into such a wild and crazy adventure that, while it might not be completely true, you really want it to be.  A      

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 20, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 20, 2024


Rated PG for thematic elements and mild language

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 47%

In Theaters

This new family film from writer/director/actor John Krasinski (A Quiet Place, The Office) follows the life of a young girl (Bailey Fleming) who is going through a lot as she tries to process that her father (Krasinski) is about to have a major surgery (for an untold illness).  Having already lost her mother, she has been forced to grow up quickly and has lost all connection with being a child.  But when she moves in with her grandmother, she begins to see a group of Imaginary Friends (IF’s), and she goes to work with the man living with them (Ryan Reynolds) to help find them new kids to befriend.  For the most part, the film is filled with whimsey and creativity with a touch of magic.  There is a lot to like about it, with lovable creatures and a good message.  And the production is top notch with Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Schindler’s List) and Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Up) providing the marvelous sight and sound to the project.  Where the film falls short is the story and unfortunately, the directing.  The narrative is more than a bit confusing, until the end where they try to clear it up.  In fact, the film purposefully confuses, as if it was worried that actually being on the level might give too much away.  But this only serves to give the film a dreamy, make-believe quality that takes you out of the picture.  All of this leads to the point where you realize that this pre-teen has practically no adult supervision as she wanders around New York City on her weird little mission that appears to have more to do with mental health issues rather than coming to terms with adult problems using her imagination.  I can just picture how a CPS employee would view this project.  As for the presence of Ryan Reynolds, I expected more in the way of a sense of humor.  While there are a few chuckles, it is far from funny and unfortunately it gets a little manipulative, trying to make the audience cry way more than it makes them laugh.  As for the audience, I think it is best-geared for a much younger, less-discerning audience who can just get by with enjoying the lively characters and the wonderful music and not think too much about what is actually happening.  C

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 13, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 13, 2024

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence and action

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

In Theaters

Continuing the saga set up by the original Apes trilogy, several generations have passed since Caesar fell, and many different ape clans exist now , all with different laws, rules, and varying morals.  This story follows a young ape named Noa from a tribe of apes who have come to excel in raising and working with hawks.  As Noa and his two best friends find their eggs which will soon be their hawks to raise, they also discover a human female, who begins to follow them around in the shadows.  But one violent night, a clan of apes bearing superior strength and weapons, comes across their village while looking for the human.  Killing many and taking the rest as hostage, most of the apes are forced into slave labor by a ruler who calls himself Proximus Caesar.  Temporarily escaping capture, Noa finds the human but cannot elude the villain for long.  While in captivity, we learn that Proximus Caesar needs the slave labor to help open a vault built by the humans centuries before.  And the human, who goes by the name of Mae, will do anything to stop them from getting in.  Since we have lived through several of these stunning Planet of the Apes movies, we are already primed for what they can be.  With so many fantasy movies, the story serves the special effects, creating a mindless fantasy where not much thinking is involved.  But here, just like in the others from this newest edition of the franchise, the special effects serve the story, thus giving us a smart, thrilling drama that better captures our minds and our imaginations.  I really loved the characters here and what they were able to do with them.  I was also happy to see them start up something new now that the previous chapters have been told.  It certainly appears that a new storyline, whether it be a trilogy or even more ambitious, is coming our way, and I will park my nerdy butt in a chair for each one, with a tub of popcorn, ready to enjoy them.  A-

You Can’t Run Forever

Rated R for language, drug use, brief sexual content, suicide and violent content

Rotten Tomatoes Score: None at time of writing

In theaters and paid streaming

Oscar-winner JK Simmons (Whiplash) plays a man with a warped sense of humor, who goes on a random killing spree in the woods, killing nearly everyone he comes across, in a twisted sense of vengeance.  When he comes across a father and his teenage stepdaughter on a drive, he kills the father, but the girl escapes into the woods where he attempts to chase her down.  To be honest, almost all big actors make bad movies, and many even b-movies like this.  While it’s getting the big studio treatment from Lionsgate, this is ultimately a low-budget independent film with bad acting, bad writing and bad directing.  If you had seen it at a local film festival, sans Simmons, you might have enjoyed it for what it was, especially since the cinematography is good enough and the sound design is professional.  But it’s hard to remove all that with Simmons being so out of place within the context of nearly every other aspect of the film.  His motivation is silly, his actions are imprudently deadly without cause, and it feels like it is being violent just for violence’s sake.  The police response is comedically incompetent, and then there is the group of volunteers looking to find the girl, fully knowing that there is a gun-toting psycho on the loose nearby.  You want it be something it is not and it never delivers.  D  

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of April 29, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 29, 2024

The Fall Guy

Rated PG-13 for drug content, action and violence, and some strong language

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

In Theaters

From Deadpool 2 director (and former stunt man) David Leitch, comes this high-octane action comedy, loosely based on the 80’s television show of the same title.  Here, Ryan Gosling plays Colt Seavers, a legendary stuntman who gets spooked when a stunt goes terribly wrong.  Playing the part of Jody is Emily Blunt, a crew member Colt was in love with before his accident, only to ghost her afterward.  When he is called back into action again, this time to work for Jody, who is now a big-time director, he jumps at the chance of redemption and hopeful reconciliation, only to find that his life is in danger since the actor he stunts for (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is missing.  Packed with action and humor, the movie meanders between beats, never taking anything too seriously, but always having fun along the way.  Sure, the movie is essentially a series of big set pieces with the necessary story interjected to propel it, but even though the whole thing is ridiculous – it works.  Gosling is so perfect in this part, chewing up the screen with his very believable stunt man vibes, poking fun of Hollywood, while making you forget that he actually is Hollywood.  And with Blunt as his leading lady, you get fantastic chemistry and a believable romance.  The script never ventures too deep, but the surface-level courtship is more than enough to put a smile on your face.  And then there is Taylor-Johnson, who doesn’t really appear in the film until late in, but when he finally does show up, he gives us the frosting on the cake.  His Matthew McConaughey impersonation as the Space Cowboy is a riot.  While there are a few plot-holes and maybe a little too much tongue-in-cheek dialog at times, the faults of the project are largely forgivable, and the end result is a terrific date movie that should both excite you and at times even have you in stitches.  B+