Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of September 16, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of September 16, 2019

Ad Astra
Rated PG-13 for some violence and bloody images, and for brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
In Theaters

In the near future, space exploration and the search for intelligent life has become of paramount importance. After a series of dangerous, life-threatening power surges, the U.S. military sends astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) to send a message to his father (Tommy Lee Jones), who is on a space station near Neptune, when they fear that his father’s mission is responsible for the damage on Earth. From the very beginning, you are treated to some really incredible special effects and sci-fi visions never before seen on film. In fact, the project comes across as tremendously ambitious, with many memorable moments and huge set pieces. So for the pure audacity of the film, I’d have to recommend it. The story is also very strong with a script that keeps you on your toes. Where I would have liked to have seen a change is in the cast. Pitt and Jones are both very, very good – in the right roles. But neither of them excel in emotional parts, and while the characters are both rather coldly written, more emotional fuel is needed here to get us to where we need to go. My eyes and ears appreciated and enjoyed what they were taking in, but my heart was not attached at all. When I think of similar films over the last couple of decades, like Interstellar, Contact and Gravity, that emotional pull made all the difference in the overall quality of the film. Unfortunately, this one turns out to be mostly candy for the senses. B

Dark Phoenix
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%
Available on Disc and Streaming

In what is said to be the last X-Men film in its current form, the X-Men head to space for a rescue mission when Jean Grey is hit by a dark cosmic force that slowly corrupts her after she makes it back to the planet. As the group starts to unravel, Jean spirals out of control, allowing an evil Alien presence to try to weaponize her powers. Sure we’ve had a couple mediocre X-Men films, but for the most part the franchise has been a dependable series in regards to action, story and overall entertainment. But this one just goes nowhere and not only is it too dark – it’s also too boring, creating an atmosphere of apathy for its characters, rather than the empathy we are so used to. It’s a real shame that the filmmakers couldn’t have figured out a better way to tell this story – or maybe even scrapped it and gone for a different narrative altogether. C-