Popcorn Perspectives – Week of January 8, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives

Week of January 8, 2018

Rated R for strong violence, and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
In theaters
The very thought of the title Hostiles brings about a feeling of racism and a thought of shame about the way Native Americans were treated when American was first settled. In Scott Cooper’s new western, Christian Bale portrays an Army Captain who, in spite of stubborn resistance, is force to escort a Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family safely back to their tribal land. Along the way, they come across a young wife and mother (Rosamund Pike) whose entire family was killed by a Comanche war party. Much like many of the more modern western films, this movie paints a brutal picture of the old west, much more so than the classic westerns of yesterday. From the opening moments where you are forced to experience the young mother’s fate, you quickly judge the term “hostile” to be applied towards the attackers on the frontier. But throughout the film, this term is reexamined and reapplied throughout the storytelling. Is hostile referring to white men, the natives, the land or maybe just the very frontier itself as a collective plural? Regardless of the title and theme, the film, while dark and crushing, is also engrossing and thought-provoking. The production is absolutely top-notch with a sometimes ethereal quality, much enhanced by the score by composer Max Richter. Yes its a bleak landscape filled with danger and pitfalls, but it will suck you in and leave you haunted. A-

The Foreigner
Rated R for violence, language and some sexual material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
From Casino Royale director Martin Campbell comes this vigilante film about a Chinese businessman in London (Jackie Chan) who attempts to take on a British government official (Pierce Brosnan) after his daughter, and only remaining family member, is killed in a senseless, politically-motivated terrorist attack. With a director who knows action, and two major action stars, you can be assured that film is high-energy and emotionally-driven. The addition of Jackie Chan does give the film a different edge and at least makes you believe that this was the story all along and that it wasn’t just rearranged when Liam Neeson fell off the casting list. I do wish that more attention was given to Chan’s backstory as it seems to be a major driver that is merely examined as part of the exposition. But most will enjoy the adrenaline-driven revenge flick in spite of the lack of any character-building. B-

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and some strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Based on an early trial of famed civil rights litigator Thurgood Marshall, long before his appointment to the Supreme Court, the young Marshall, played by Chadwick Boseman, travels to Connecticut to defend a black man charged with sexual assault and attempted murder, only to be forced to work behind a local Jewish attorney (Josh Gad) who is actually allowed to defend the man. While the film isn’t exactly dull, and the movie does possess a talented cast of big actors, it ultimately has a movie-of-the-week feel to it and never reaches to the level of a riveting theatrical courtroom drama. Ultimately, the combination of script and production keep the movie from achieving its potential. C