Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of September 9, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of September 9, 2019

Rated PG for some action/peril
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%
Available on Disc and Streaming

This year has been an excellent year for movie musicals, and this rehash of the original Aladdin from Disney is no exception. Part of what made this project so immensely difficult lies in replacing the irreplaceable Robin Williams as the genie. But in a genius move, Disney brought in an almost equally iconic actor in Will Smith to fill his pointy shoes and even though the rest of the cast is largely unknown, you’d hardly recognize that due to the superb job Smith does here. Sure the film isn’t entirely original and can even be a bit cheesy at times, but Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie brings a frenetic energy to the movie that makes it play like the true action film it was meant to be, while the production team creates a magical world for the story to thrive. And in spite of its predictability (who hasn’t seen the original a hundred times before), the film still manages to surprise several times, putting me in my happy place while watching it. A-

John Wick 3
Rated R for pervasive strong violence, and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Keanu Reeves has had a huge career revival with this strange little franchise about an assassin who is wanted by every other assassin on the planet after seeking revenge for the death of his dog. In this third installment, a price of $14 million has been put on his head and he crosses the planet to avoid getting whacked by the world’s greatest killers. Once again, the film is a fun exercise in extreme violence with countless creative ways to die popping up every few seconds. The story continues to be weird, and I’m not so sure we needed Halle Berry here (although she’s always welcome to the party), but by the end you feel lucky to be alive, since practically everyone else didn’t make it. I was kind of hoping that that this would be the last film in a trilogy, going out in a blaze of glory with some nice closure thrown in, but – spoiler – the movie does not end the series and there is more to come for sure. B

Rated R for strong sexual content and language throughout, drug use and drinking – all involving teens
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Every few years we get a great end of school party movie that doesn’t just revel in debauchery, but rather really explores the life of the modern teenager who is about to move on to their next major life-step. For me, the first film to explore this was American Pie. It gave me a view of the high school I wanted to be at and the party I would have loved to have attended to cap off my public school experience. Of course my own life was much more tame and would have made for a rather lousy motion picture – which is why we watch these types of films. So here comes Booksmart (20 years after American Pie) where we get to experience the night before graduation, as lived by two bold and ambitious, yet secretly insecure girls who figure out that their dedication to school could have been filled with parties and fun instead of brown-nosing and books. With a great script and a very fun cast, the movie shows us a night that I wouldn’t necessarily want to be part of, but at least one that is extremely fun to watch. B

The Dead Don’t Die
Rated R for zombie violence/gore, and for language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%
Available on Disc and Streaming

Famed indie auteur Jim Jarmusch gives us his take on a zombie film as he and his A-list friends take on the walking dead. In this American small town, Bill Murray and Adam Driver are cops who quickly discover that their city is getting overrun by zombies, while the town’s residents, including Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover and many other well-known figures fight off the invading horde. What starts off as a clever take on the genre ends up as a rather artsy self-aware morality tale that provides some twisted laughs, but lacks the content to provide a memorable film-going experience. C+