Popcorn Perspectives – Week of March 26, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives by Danny Minton

Week of March 26, 2019

Pacific Rim Uprising
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%
In Theaters
Years after the events of the first film, John Boyega (Finn from Star Wars) is a promising young Jaeger pilot who has abandoned his military career to explore a life of crime. But when he is forced back into the program, he is faced with the first Kaiju attacks since the Earth was almost destroyed the first time they came. If you didn’t see the first film, then you are probably confused by my description. But trust me – you will be more confused by the film. I saw the first Pacific Rim, directed by the now Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, maybe 3 or 4 times. But there were still things I forgot or took for granted. Surprisingly enough, here they don’t give you exposition or background – they just jump in like you should remember every little detail. Since the movie comes in at less than 2 hours, I feel a dab of exposition would have been nice. In the end though, they are treating the franchise like the silly plot doesn’t matter. All that does matter are giant robot soldiers (Jaegers) fighting giant monsters from another planet (Kaiju). Its big and silly and sometimes fun when its not tedious. Story-wise the film should have been much stronger with less predictability and a better thought-out villain. But if all you are going for is big monster battles, you will probably leave somewhat satisfied. Personally I would have loved to have seen a continuation of del Toro’s vision, rather than the vision of a studio merely trying to breathe life into a franchise. C

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on Disc and Streaming
In this official 8th Star Wars movie (not including the spin-off Rogue One of course) The Last Jedi continues the saga as we watch Rey gets some training from the unconventional teacher Luke Skywalker while Kylo Ren makes his move to take over the galaxy. Having missed the press screening, I was thrilled to find out that all of my critic buddies were stirring up all kinds of buzz. They were declaring it highly original and one of the best of the entire series. But all that buzz might have hurt my enjoyment. I started to tear it apart when I started witnessing all of the movie’s imperfections, of which there were many. I was not surprised that while the Rotten Tomatoes critics score was 91%, the Audience Score was 48%. The movie just didn’t mesh for me like I was hoping it would. That being said, I liked, but definitely didn’t love it. I was even more disappointed after seeing the deleted scenes on this blu-ray release. There were scenes that should have been left in but were instead removed for pacing and runtime. But if they were really concerned about pacing and runtime – they should have removed the entire casino heist scene with Finn and Rose, which was a long sequence of wasted space (no pun intended). Fortunately, a lot of the film did work for me and the overarching story choices, I firmly believe, will lead to an amazing 9th film. B-

Popcorn Perspectives – Week of March 19, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives by Danny Minton

Week of March 19, 2018

Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphs nudity and drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%
Available on Disc and Streaming
When Alexander Payne’s (Sideways, The Descendants) latest dramedy was released during the holiday, I actually expected it to be a competitor for awards season, but was greatly surprised when the reviews and buzz spiraled down. With all of the films being released at the same time, I missed the critic screening and they never sent an awards screener, so I dismissed it immediately. But I was still intrigued by the story. The film takes place in a world where technology has allowed people to become small in order to save dwindling resources. The benefit to the small is that they can live in luxury for a fraction of the price it takes when you’re big. The downside is that you leave the world you knew forever to take on the new life. Here Matt Damon becomes small and goes on a life journey that you just can’t see coming. Honestly, the film has an epic feel to it and after finally seeing it, I just can’t conceive how this movie was not considered one of the best of 2017. I loved the writing, the storytelling, the acting and pretty much everything about it. Most of all I loved its incredible creativity. The world is extremely well thought-out with with a grandiose vision. A-

I, Tonya
Rated R for pervasive language, violence and some sexual content/nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Based on the true story, I, Tonya takes place in the world of figure skating where the very talented but brutish Tonya Harding was known more for her involvement in the assault of competitor Nancy Kerrigan than her actual skating. There has always been a dark cloud over Harding, and while this film does nothing to lift it, it actually brings empathy to its title character rather than shame. Margot Robbie is wonderful as the damaged hero and Allison Janney is magnificent as her mother, and awarded with an Oscar because of it. Overall this is a terrific movie that sheds light on a story that we only thought we knew. B+

Lady Bird
Rated R for language, sexual content, brief graphic nudity and teen partying
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%
Available on Disc and Streaming
While it’s hard to pinpoint and describe the actual plot of Lady Bird, it’s easy to describe it as one of the best movies of 2017. With a host of big Oscar nominations including best picture, best director/best screenplay (Greta Gerwig), as well as best actress (Saoirse Ronan) and best supporting actress (Laurie Metcalf), the buzz should be enough to interest most audiences. The story follows the life of a precocious and entitled high school senior (Ronan) whose over-extended confidence more than makes up for her lack of abilities. It is a grand coming-of-age story full of verve, but again, not full of plot. But that really doesn’t matter here. Personally, I just loved watching her go through the motions, exploring the limits of her relationships and mostly – appreciating that she is not my daughter. A