Popcorn Perspectives – Week of April 30, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives by Danny Minton

Week of April 30, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
In Theaters
This much-anticipated franchise addition to the Avengers universe basically adds almost every character we’ve seen so far (minus a couple of ones no-one will miss like Hawkeye and Ant-man), in an ultimate battle against Thanos, an Alien invader who wishes to collect the full set of Infinity Stones in order to decimate half of the universe. If you don’t follow the plot, don’t worry, it’s a silly copycat of Lord of the Rings that Marvel has been pushing out for years. Chances are, most of the folks reading this review have already seen the movie. But if you haven’t, I’ll try not to give away any major spoilers that will upset you, although I bet your friends have already given everything away. What I can safely say is that the film is extremely funny and full of non-stop action. While there are plot turns that have the potential to make you mad, I can also declare that you will get your money’s worth here. I will also say that these plot turns are easy to see through and fairly easy to predict if you are familiar at all with their films past and what they have coming out in the future. While I don’t think the movie is worth repeat viewings, it is a solid piece of entertainment and a great addition to the series. It shows the progression of an impressive vision from producer Kevin Feige and Disney, and should thrill pretty much anyone who buys a ticket. Are there some major problems? Sure there are. I saw several opportunities for the story to just end and be set right. But these issues are easy enough to ignore as long as you are forgiving to the fact that Disney still has billions of dollars to earn off its audiences. B+

Rated R for strong violence, and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Christian Bale plays a decorated Army Captain who is tasked with escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their tribal lands, only to discover a woman (Rosamund Pike) who is the lone survivor from her family after a brutal Comanche attack. I have to admit that this film is really growing on me. The production is quite amazing with breathtaking cinematography by Masanobu Takayanagi (Warrior) and a haunting score by Max Richter (The Leftovers). But most impressive is the directing and script by Scott Cooper, with a story both disturbing and relevant. Emotionally, it is a tough one to watch for sure, but worth putting in the time. A-

12 Strong
Rated R for war violence and language throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Based on the recently declassified true story about a group of soldiers sent in for a first strike on the Taliban after 9/11, Thor and General Zod (Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon) lead a small group of men who must learn to ride horses in order to navigate the treacherous terrain and confront the enemy. The story itself is interesting but the way it is told here is a let down. It is overlong and underwhelming, with great actors badly phoning in their parts. C

Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Rated PG for some action and thematic elements
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (former key animator at Studio Ghibli) Mary and the Witch’s Flower is a hand-drawn animated fantasy which follows a young girl who discovers a hidden world in the clouds where she is enrolled to become a witch in training, only to reveal secrets hidden by those she knows on Earth. The film is rich in both storytelling and artistry with a lush beauty you would expect from one with such a background. Personally, I found it to be the best animated film from Japan not to come from Studio Ghibli, which is still quite a compliment. B+

The Insult
Rated R for language and some violent images
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This Oscar-nominated foreign film from Lebanon tells the story of a Christian and a Muslim, caught up in a battle over a careless insult that is thrown out during a stubborn and unwinnable argument. It is a fascinating look both at a different culture but also at a relevant situation given today’s chaotic political and religious climate at home. It is a bit preachy and a little full of itself in regards to its message and theme, but is still an important and memorable story worth watching. B