Popcorn Perspectives – Week of February 12, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives by Danny Minton

Week of February 12, 2018

Early Man
Rated PG for rude humor and some action
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% (at time of writing)
In Theaters
Aardman, the UK stop motion animation studio behind Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, are now tackling caveman soccer in this new project about a tribe of neanderthals who are forced out of their valley by their technologically superior neighbors, only to challenge them to a football match to win back their land. While Pixar used to hold the trophy, I will throw it out there that Aardman is consistently the best quality animation studio running right now and their talent is certainly on display here. The storytelling is quite bizarre and unconventional, but the enjoyment is undeniable. And just like their other films, adults and kids will find this equally entertaining, but in different ways. I can’t think of a better way to spend two hours at the movies with my family. A-

The Ballad of Lefty Brown
Rated R for violence and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Yet another decent Western this year, The Ballad of Lefty Brown stars Bill Pullman as the titular character: a cowboy who witnesses the death of his partner, only to be blamed for the crime and forced to both prove his innocence and bring the real criminals to justice. For those who like their Westerns a little less dark than the recent Hostiles, this might fit the bill perfectly. It plays more like an old fashioned cowboy film in both production and storytelling. The highlight here is most certainly Pullman who is just fantastic as Lefty. I’ve always liked the iconic actor, but with this film I have a new-found respect for his talent. B+

Blade of the Immortal
Rated R for bloody violence and carnage throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
In Japanese with English Subtitles
Available on Disc and Streaming
In this newest sword fighting thriller from prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike, a samurai is cursed with immortality after a legendary battle and left for the centuries to kill off evil men until he can regain his soul, and hopefully meet his end. Determined to help a young girl seek revenge for the killing of her family, he hopes his deeds will lead to the end of his curse. If you enjoy uber-violent samurai flicks with a strange twist – this one is certainly for you. It’s a little long at 140 minutes and the story does get confusing at times (perhaps a little lost in translation), but it sure does pummel through its weak spots with tons of gore and an eerily fun and perverse sense of humor. B-

Not Rated
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Available on Disc and Streaming
For decades, Richard Turner has been one of the premier up close magicians at the infamous Magic Castle in Hollywood, wowing audiences with his unbelievable sleight of hand. What most audiences don’t realize, though, is that he is completely blind. This terrific documentary takes a close look at Richard’s fascinating life and how he overcame the bad hand that was dealt to him with extreme perseverance and determination. It will leave you, amazed, impressed and most definitely inspired. A