Popcorn Perspectives – Week of October 29, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 29, 2018

Sorry to Bother You
Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This Sundance favorite follows an ambitious but undereducated poor young black man who discovers the secret to success by using an overly white voice during his telemarketing job. But as his success starts to mount, the lifestyle he works his way into becomes a giant rabbit hole with little dream of a way out. What starts out as an hysterical social comedy evolves into a strange and perverse fantasy that works mostly because you don’t see it coming. To say more would take away the surprise, and this film works best off of surprise. It is refreshing to see such a bold vision from a relatively unknown writer/director in Boots Riley and such a talented up-and-coming cast. The creativity here is off the charts and the cast just goes along with it likes its a normal script, making the unbelievable tale work that much better. Sure it’s obscure and surreal, and not for everyone, and I’m not really certain what the overall message is that is trying to be conveyed, but I sure did enjoy the fantasy. A-

Teen Titans Go!  To the Movies
Rated PG for action and rude humor
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This movie version of the Cartoon Network hit follows the less-respected DC superheroes Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy as they desperately attempt to become A-list heroes rather than sidekicks. When a maniacal supervillain uses his vain ambition in an attempt to take over the world, they must step up to the plate and prove their worth. The story here isn’t going to impress many folks, but what has won over the relatively small audience who saw this in theaters is the super-strong writing full of jokes that hit over and over again. The filmmakers were able to tap into a wealth of comedy success, almost making it look easy. This creates an environment which is enjoyable for both kids and adults. But mostly kids. I took my eight-year-old and while I did have fun, he had an absolute blast. B

Popcorn Perspectives – Week of October 15, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 15, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action and violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Available on Disc and Streaming
With the moderate success of Ant-Man, Marvel added a second feature, this time with his new side-kick and love interest The Wasp. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly star as the titular team, along with Michael Douglas as the dad/boss as they go searching for The Wasp’s mother, and original Wasp, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Her you get a healthy dose of back story and a somewhat fun adventure to bide your time in between the big Marvel tentpoles. As you’d expect, the film has some exciting and rather funny big set pieces with lots of humor and mild drama thrown in the gaps. Paul Rudd has always been the perfect choice for this role and any lack of substance is quickly made up with his charm and wit. And while I love Evangeline Lilly, her role here is too much the straight man, which is especially sad since the film is basically about her. The film just feels like a minor movie and definitely not quite the blockbuster type. But it did make an impressive amount of money at the box office and it has certainly won over a lot of fans, so they are obviously doing something right. B-

The Evil Dead 4K
Not Rated but would be strong R
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Just in time for Halloween is this 4K restoration of the classic 1981 horror film by Sam Raimi. The ultra low-budget film which started the franchise stars Bruce Campbell as he and classmates make an unplanned stopover gone wrong at an abandoned cabin in the woods. The film came to notoriety due to its humor mixed with gore, which later led to the sequels and television series which got even funnier and twistier over the years. The new 4k version looks and sounds as good as it can (it was originally shot on 16mm after all) but the fun and horror will bring back fond memories for some and maybe even find some new fans. Also available this week is the complete collection of the Ash vs Evil Dead series from Starz which furthers the adventures of Bruce Campbell’s character, Ash, as he attempts to save the world from the evil within. A-

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 8, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 8, 2018

First Man
Rated PG-13 for some thematic content involving peril, and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
In Theaters
From the Oscar-winning director of La La Land, Damien Chazelle, and executive producer Steven Spielberg, comes this retelling of the early days of the Nasa space program, culminating in Neil Armstrong’s iconic landing on the moon. Unlike most previous versions we’ve seen of this legendary piece of history, this narrative focuses on one man and what he had to go through to accomplish the impossible. Ryan Gosling reteams with Chazelle as the iconic Armstrong, a character from history who is as famous as any American, but whom we know little about. Using modern special effects with a visionary young filmmaker at the helm, the story comes off as both fresh and relevant while at the same time monumental. My only disappointment is in the disconnected score by Justin Hurwitz, who created amazing music for La La Land and Whiplash, but just couldn’t pull off the score needed to propel this movie to true greatness. But even with mediocre music, the film still manages a successful lift off, making you feel like you are a part of one of America’s greatest accomplishments. A-

Rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this Die Hard knock off about a security expert who must come to the rescue of his family when they are trapped in Hong Kong high-rise after a terrorist attack. Sure the plot is thin, but the action is huge as Johnson, once again playing the hero with a heart of pure gold, sets out to do anything to rescue his family. So while it’s nothing you haven’t seen before, this variation on a theme does provide some movie comfort movie food which is certain to entertain a large portion of viewers. I can’t say it’s my style, but it certainly isn’t horrible or anything you’ll be embarrassed about for enjoying. C+

NR, but would be a strong R
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This look at the famous sculptor’s life shows the careful balance between his art, his warm relationship with his lifelong partner, Rose Beuret, and his passionate affair with his mistress and student Camille Claudel. It is unfortunate that the film comes off as cold and disjointed rather than passionate and truthful like Rodin’s art. I enjoyed seeing the artist at work, and even some of his moments of play, but the narrative just sits and stalls, never really accomplishing the masterpiece it tries to be. C

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 1, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 1, 2018

A Star is Born
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
In Theaters
Bradly Cooper here does a little showing off as writer, director and star of this new take on the tragic love story. Cooper here plays a well-known singer who gets through his days with the help of drugs and alcohol. But when he runs into a talented singer/songwriter, played by Lady Gaga, in a late night bar visit, he quickly falls in love and in the process gives his new girl a boost to her musical career. While I didn’t find the film to be an experience I want to duplicate, I did leave with a huge appreciation for talents I would have never attributed to Cooper. Sure he is a great actor, but the guy can sing, direct and write like a master. And he generously allows Lady Gaga to shine in a role that steals the show and might even give the film the biggest chance for Oscar buzz. For anyone who has ever been deeply effected by a loved one with substance addiction, the film has the potential to take you to dark places that are beyond uncomfortable as Cooper all too realistically portrays this. But while the darkness and sadness take over the story, the music does find a way to elevate emotions to counter the drama. B+

Leave No Trace
Rated PG for thematic material throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Available on Disc and Streaming
Ben Foster plays a veteran who has taken his teenage daughter, played by fantastic newcomer Thomasin McKenzie, off the grid to live in the woods of Oregon. But when they are discovered by authorities, the two of them are placed in social services where they must decide to either assimilate or make their way back to the wild. This is a tough, authentic drama with rich performances that really pull on your heart. And with 185 reviews in, it has actually remained at a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score which is an almost impossible feat in itself. And while it has a PG rating, I wouldn’t call it a family film. It is simply an adult film with zero in the way of objectionable material, which is completely unique in this day and age. A-

Three Identical Strangers
Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Available on Disc and Streaming
In 1980, three young adopted men in New York discover that they were identical triplets, separated from birth and given to thee different families. Years later they start to understand why. This documentary follows the unbelievable and almost inconceivable true story in a way that moves from pure joy to fascination to despair. It’s a story that I’m glad I was able to experience, but one which you almost wish was untrue afterward. In a year full of absolutely incredible documentaries, this is truly one of the best and one that you will be recommending to friends long after you’ve seen it. A

The First Purge
Rated R for strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%
Available on Disc and Streaming
This prequel to the hit horror franchise follows the first purge experiment where the government makes all crime legal for one night, in the hopes that they can thin the herd of urban Americans. While the movies in this series have come off as more cheesy and cheap horror than riveting narrative, I’ve always thought that the basic story here could make for a pretty fantastic look at our society and where it could be heading. With this prequel to the other three mediocre films, I was actually holding out hope that they could deliver a story that would almost serve as a warning rather than just a few scares and lots of blood. Unfortunately, the filmmakers took the path of quick and easy violence rather than a shot across the bow. The script and the acting are the only horrific acts on display here and any potential for redemption for the franchise’s past mistakes is unfortunately left for dead. C-