Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 17, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 17, 2019

Toy Story 4
Rated G
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98% at time of writing
In Theaters

Many have thought of Toy Story as an unforgettable trilogy with the third one serving as its crowning achievement, leaving zero need for any more films. But Pixar saw a fourth adventure for Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) and their new human Bonnie, and now a new group of friends. As little Bonnie goes off to her first year in kindergarten, Woody plays protector-in-chief and helps her “make a friend” when she has trouble making friends. Her creation, using trash found in her class bin, is a spork named “Forky,” and seeing her love for her new toy, Woody makes it his mission to keep Forky safe from harm and by Bonnie’s side, even if by force. But the journey is ultimately Woody’s as he must make decisions and sacrifices he has never considered before. While Buzz is definitely left to be a supporting character, and the rest of the gang is only there for a few bits, the new characters Forky (Tony Hale), Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves), and Ducky and Bunny (played hysterically by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), all prove to be great additions to the Toy Story universe. And then there’s a wonderful turn for Bo Peep (Annie Potts) who takes on a much larger part in this new adventure. The story is every bit as good as you’d expect from the brilliant story artists at Pixar and while I didn’t see anything extraordinarily new from the animation, the attention to detail in the world they created is staggering. So while I’m sure people will be overall pleased, they will also want to see this door finally closed. But I say if they can keep giving us heartwarming adventures that are this well-told, I’ll keep giving them a chance to impress me like they did here. A

Rated R for violence/terror, and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Writer/director Jordan Peele (Get Out) is back with another Hitchcockesque pic that from the outside looks like a straight out horror movie, but in reality is an arthouse intellectual thriller. The story follows Lupita Nyong’o and her family as they visit her childhood home, and namely a place of severe historical trauma for her. Once there, a family that looks exactly like them, begins to torment them. I was actually a little frightened going into this one, as the trailers are simply terrifying. But once I discovered that this was a social and political commentary, my brain quickly energized and I started to have a great time trying to figure out the deeper meaning behind each beat. If you can disengage your brain, you might find this to be just a weird scary movie, but I would highly advise taking the other path. Peele is proving himself to be a brilliant filmmaker with a much deeper thought process and vision than we could have possibly given him credit for from his comedic work. A-

Wonder Park
Rated PG for some mild thematic elements and action
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%
On Disc and Streaming

This animated box office flop follows a young girl who, along with her mother, dream up a magnificent amusement park, which her friends and her try to recreate in real life. But when her mom gets sick and goes to the hospital, she lets their creation die until one day she accidentally wanders into the park and must face the degradation the park has been through with her absence. Using her creativity she must try to bring the park back to vibrant life. Now don’t get me wrong – I love creativity. But there’s a point when things just get stupid and this film crossed that line. The characters aren’t well-thought out and the plot is moronic. And then there’s the whole mom dying thing, which could have gone in the direction of Guardians of the Galaxy or A Monster Calls, and instead forgets about the very premise of the mom being sick in the first place, leaving us a giggly girl who never really shows any emotion aside from excitement and so-called creativity. The whole thing turns out to be a lousy kids film hoping to fill a gap left by a vacancy of family films in theaters. D

Hotel Mumbai
Rated R for disturbing violence throughout, bloody images, and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Based on a horrific true story, Hotel Mumbai recounts the 2008 siege of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India, where a group of Pakistani terrorists killed dozens of innocent people while holding the hotel in lock down for several days with little support from the Indian government. The movie looks at the sacrifices made by the hotel personnel and the guests in order to save as many lives as possible. While I had seen a blurb or two about this, I had no idea how horrible the event was, to the point that I spent a large chunk of time after going online just to find out how much really was true. It shocked me how relatively little information about it aired stateside. I was truly terrified watching the events unfold on screen and sickened by the senseless loss. While the characters were largely fictionalized, much of the drama was based on real stories and real people. My main problem was that while I’m sure this was a fairly faithful recreation, there was so much bloody violence that it almost seemed like a snuff film rather than a social and historical thriller. That being said, it’s a powerful piece of filmmaking that will bring you through a range of emotions including a great deal of empathy for the victims and a much larger amount of anger towards the terrorists. B+