Popcorn Perspectives: Week of October 30, 2017

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 30, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
In Theaters
It’s Halloween week and the scariest thing about October is that we had the weakest box office in a very, very long time. But coming to the rescue is this wild and crazy Thor movie from Marvel and Disney. In his newest adventure, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must face his sister (Cate Blanchett) who is determined to first take over Asgard and then the universe. It is common for big franchises to find unconventional directors with promise but in this case, Disney found Taika Waititi, a relatively unknown New Zealand director, more known for his work on the cult favorite Flight of the Concords than for his terrific but quirky independent films. But boy did they make the right move. The film is different in so many ways, giving Thor a much-needed facelift and giving the audience a big ball of fun to stare at for two hours. While not as hysterical as Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy, it is a blast to take in and that same quirkiness he infused into his own small projects blows up on screen, in a good way, with this mega-budget. A-

The Florida Project
Rated R for language throughout, disturbing behavior, sexual references and some drug material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
In Theaters
Like a modern day version of The 400 Blows, director Sean Baker (Tangerine) brings us a look at life across several low cost motels in Orlando who would love to bring in tourists needing a cheap stay for Disneyworld, but instead provide homes to extremely low income and desperate families. Of primary focus is a six-year-old girl who wants nothing more than to have fun and get in trouble while her mother struggles to keep a roof over their head. It takes a while for this pic to get going as you are trying to figure out if there is actually a narrative or if it is just one big slice of life movie. But the narrative does take hold before it wallops you over the head, leaving you with the notion that you just witnessed a pretty spectacular little film. One of my favorite things about the movie is the incredible performance by Willem Defoe as the superintendent. While he’s been nominated for two Oscars (last one in 2001 for Shadow of the Vampire), he just might come away with the trophy this year for his very human and heroic turn here. A

Annabelle: Creation
Rated R for horror violence and terror
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%
On DVD and Blu-ray
After only one spinoff film, the scary doll from The Conjuring gets her own origin story as a group of orphan girls move into the house of a doll maker with a tragic and frightening past. While superior to its 2014 predecessor, the scares are just same old, same old as the girls one by one succumb to the threats and the jumps seem way too easy to predict. What frightens me the most about The Conjuring films is that they are based on real accounts, and they actually feel real. This Annabelle doesn’t even try to capitalize on that strength, probably because it can’t. It isn’t a bad film, and I can see how it can be popular with kids who don’t really know their horror films yet, but for the most part, this is a nicely-produced but generic scarrer. C