Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of November 12, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton
Week of November 12, 2019

The Irishman
Rated R for pervasive language and strong violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%
In Theaters; Streaming on Netflix November 27

In Martin Scorsese’s latest epic mob film, Robert De Niro plays Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, an Army veteran who starts with the Teamsters, moves his way up through the mafia (with the help of his friend and mob boss Joe Pesci, to eventually find himself working as the right-hand man for famed Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Throughout decades of stories, we see the arc of Sheeran from a young man to his dying days. From day one, this was a controversial film, but not for the reasons you may think. First off, Scorsese, instead of using younger actors to play Sheeran and Hoffa, chose to have Industrial Light and Magic digitize their faces to look the appropriate ages. Secondly, the film was made by Netflix rather than a big studio, largely because Netflix volunteered to foot the reported $200 million dollar budget to make it, without flinching at the three and a half hour running time. My only qualms come from both of these things. While the faces looked good, both of these actors had old-man bodies and movements. When De Niro is involved with anything physical (i.e. fighting or throwing guns in the river), it looks like an arthritic, older man with a young man’s face. Also, the running time is long for a theatrical viewing. I enjoyed the film immensely, but my bladder felt otherwise. This might be the perfect reason to watch on Netflix, in a home theater, as you can pause it anytime you like for a bio break. Aside from these two items, the film more than makes up for it in storytelling and acting. The performances from the plethora of amazing actors are tremendous. I can easily see De Niro and Pacino being seriously talked about for Oscar wins and Pesci could sneak in as well for his understated performance. Also, the screenplay by Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List) is just brilliant. There is so much dialog, that on the outside seems like empty time-filler, but in reality creates a deep dive into the characters and the actions about to happen. And then of course there is Scorsese who is at the top of his game in regards to directing the story. I am going to guess that the same two problems mentioned here will come up in conversations about the film, but this ultimately should not take away from this monumentally epic film. A

The Peanut Butter Falcon
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language throughout, some violence and smoking
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Available on disc and streaming

A young man with Down syndrome escapes from his nursing home in order to become a professional wrestler, and on the way befriends a criminal with a heart of gold (Shia LaBeouf) as they try to help him accomplish his dream. Like a modern-day Tom Sawyer, the story is absolutely fascinating with many nice surprises throughout. Making the film sing is the terrific cast including LaBeouf, newcomer Zack Gottsagen and Dakota Johnson. A-

The Angry Birds Movie 2
Rated PG for rude humor and action
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
Available on Disc and Streaming

While I absolutely hated the first Angry Birds movie, I heard decent things about this new one, so I went in with an open mind. The story finds the birds and pigs in the need to team up to take on a newly-discovered third island, ruled by an Eagle who wants to kill them all and take their land. While not nearly as bad as the first film, this one is far from good and will still, more-than-likely, be a movie you let you kids watch on their own. I think I chuckled three times, which I admit is an improvement, but I never want to be in the same room with it again. C

Spirited Away: Collector’s Edition
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

This much beloved Oscar-winning animated film from the legendary Hayao Miyazaki is getting a nice repackaging this week with this new set including blu-ray, cd soundtrack by Joe Hasaishi and a new rather thick booklet. The story follows a young girl swept away into a weird fantasy world after her parents are turned into pigs. It’s a bizarre universe that will appeal to your eyes, ears and heart as you wander through her Alice in Wonderland-like journey. And for those like me who are in to movie music, this score is one of the best in recent years. A