Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 13, 2019

Fighting with My Family
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material, language throughout, some violence and drug content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Based on the real-life story of WWE female wrestling Superstar Paige, this tale follows a young girl in England whose family life revolves around professional wrestling, and when she is given a chance to join the WWE, she must leave her family behind to chase her dream. It is practically unimaginable that a film about pro wrestling could be this good, but due to a fantastic cast including Vince Vaughn, Lena Headey, Nick Frost and Dwayne Johnson, as well as a fantastic turn from the relatively unknown Florence Pugh in the starring role, the film is elevated to a different level of quality than would be expected. It also helps to have the brilliant Stephen Merchant writing and directing this script that is crammed with inspiration and heart rather than the expected mindless ring action. It didn’t do much to make me want to turn to wrestling for my regular enjoyment, but it did help me better appreciate their world and I finished the movie having been thoroughly entertained. B+

Apollo 11
Rated G
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Apollo 11 is a documentary recently released into IMAX theaters as an event film that follows the events of the Apollo 11 moon landing from the moments just before the astronauts left Earth to the moments after their return. Using never-before-seen color footage, the film floats along without narration, making you feel like you are a first-hand observer of the momentous events taking place. Unfortunately, the film isn’t nearly as good at home as it was on a giant screen. While the content is the same, the experience is night and day. But it still a film worth watching, if not for the remarkable documentary style, then for its historical value. A-

Cold Pursuit
Rated R for strong violence, drug material, and some language including sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
Available on Disc and Streaming

In this remake of the much better Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance (both directed by Hans Petter Moland), Liam Neeson goes after a drug cartel after his son’s death leads him down a successive path of violence to find and kill the man ultimately responsible. While quirky and at times slightly humorous, the movie ends up being just a long string of creative revenge killings and ultimately lacks the heart to make you apply much empathy to Neeson’s character. Also, the cast of Lauren Dern as his wife and Emmy Rossum as an investigating cop are both subjected here to minor and unimpressive roles not worthy of their names and talents. I’m pretty sure that the filmmakers really thought they had a Fargo on their hands here, or at least a film as good as its Scandinavian predecessor, but the project doesn’t even come close and instead we get a mediocre, unnecessary and forgettable crime pic. C-

Popcorn Perspectives – Week of May 6, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 6, 2019

Pokemon Detective Pikachu
Rated PG for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73% at time of writing
In Theaters

While I kind of like the Pokemon Go app, especially the bonding time it gives me with my family, I have always abhorred the animated Pokemon cartoons. The frenetic energy and nonsensical repetitive plots have always made me leave the room when someone is watching them. So I was apprehensive at best about this new Pokemon movie. But this one is truly different. The story follows a young man (talented newcomer Justice Smith) who goes on a search for what might have happened to his father when he mysteriously goes missing and is presumed dead. But when he discovers his father’s Pokemon partner Pikachu, voiced here by the amazing Ryan Reynolds, the two go on a journey to figure out what might have happened. There is a lot of silliness everywhere you look here, but the plot is strong enough to satisfy most film lovers while still creating an eye candy environment that will be adored by any child watching it. Will you understand the Pokemon universe after watching it? No – and trust me – you don’t want to. But you should have an appreciation of it when all is said and done, and also a greater tolerance to their strange little world. B-

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Five years after the events of the box office smash that was the first Lego Movie, all is well in Bricksburg when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space wreak havoc on their world, forcing Emmett (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and friends to go on a new adventure to try to save their homeland. Once again, the story is clever (although not as much as the first) and the tie-in to the toys’ human owners is surprisingly heartwarming. Much of the plot is a bit random (which probably makes sense due to who in the story is in control of what will happen) and at times you just have to go along with it, much like you would if you were watching your own kids play. But thankfully the movie is overall enjoyable, while at the same time providing good clean entertainment for the kids. B

What Men Want
Rated R language and sexual content throughout, and some drug material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%
Available on Disc and Streaming

In 2003, Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show had a raunchy but hilarious bit about what would happen if the 2000 Mel Gibson film What Women Want flipped and had a woman who could hear the thoughts of men. The sketch is a short elevator ride with a beautiful woman hearing the dirty thoughts of every man surrounding her and the point is well-taken: men can be pigs with one-track minds. This film expands that as Taraji P. Henson gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts and while disgusted at first, she learns to use it to her advantage in her job as a sports agent. Unfortunately, the project turns out to be a predictable and sloppy comedy with very few laughs as you watch Henson move through her arc, one misstep at a time. I’m sure there’s a better film to be made here, but this one is mediocre at best, and far less funny than the 46 second Chappelle’s Show segment. C-

Popcorn Perspectives – Week of April 29, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 29, 2019

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki
Unrated but equivalent to G
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Available on Disc
In Japanese with English Subtitles

Arguably the greatest living animator, Hayao Miyazaki, has retired from his day to day of making some of the worlds most famous animated films such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. This documentary literally follows him around his home in Japan as we learn from his simple life lessons and observe his desire to go back to work to keep creating and reshaping his art. So in order to not go away silently, he makes his way back into the studio to create a new short story using his traditional hand-drawn style crossed with computer-aided graphics. While non-fans might find the movie quite a bore, the targeted audience here will discover much excitement in this incredibly intimate portrait. You don’t necessarily get the recipe for the secret sauce, but you do get a truly great glimpse of the life behind the legend. A-

Rated R for language throughout, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%
Available on Disc and Streaming

This downer of a cop drama stars Nicole Kidman as a modern homicide detective who constantly flashbacks to her younger days as an undercover cop infiltrating a California gang after the two worlds intersect. The storyline follows a convoluted and confusing plot down a path this isn’t much fun to tread. There is certainly some good drama here, and once the story become more clear, it does basically come together, but it is definitely not an enjoyable journey. Still, Kidman tackles a role here that is very different for her and she does it well. The rest of the cast is strong also, but the darkness of the film almost overpowers it. It’s a good enough crime drama as long as you are in the right mood to take it in. C+

Alien: 40th Anniversary Edition
Rated R for sci-fi violence, gore and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Available on Disc and Streaming

It’s hard to believe that this sci-fi horror classic is now 40 years old, but when I thought back to the countless times I’ve watched it over the years, I realized that I’ve never seen a non-grainy version. Even on blu-ray. It has always looked old to me. Still a great film – but old. If that’s what you are used to – you must check out this new 4K version. Every frame looks pristine, almost like the movie was made yesterday. This stunning look and sound, applied to both the original theatrical and the 2003 directors cut, as well as several deep-dive features, make this a must own masterpiece that you will love to keep revisiting. A