Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 11, 2020

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 11, 2020

The Photograph
Rated PG-13 for sexuality and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
Available on Disc and Streaming

When a famous photographer dies, she leaves her estranged daughter (Issa Rae) upset and full of questions. But when one of her photographs is discovered, it sets her off on a journey into her mother’s past, of self-discovery and a romance with a promising journalist (LaKeith Stanfield) covering her mother’s story. I had never heard of this film before, so going in blind, I didn’t know what to expect. But as I traveled through the story with Rae leading the way, I found myself moved and empathetic to all of its large cast of characters and their plights. It is a beautiful romance that might be more attractive to female audiences than male, but still worth a watch from anyone who in in the mood or those who enjoy the genre. While it might be a little on the quiet side, it is certainly not boring, but rather just incredibly thoughtful. A-

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
Available on Disc and Streaming

When we were first introduced to Margot Robbie’s version of Harley Quinn back in 2016’s Suicide Squad, I think most of us loved the actress and the character, but the material wasn’t exactly a great opportunity to shine. But with her new R-rated solo project, she is given the chance to prove there is something there worth watching. Here Batman villain Harley Quinn has just broken up with Joker and, telling the story herself, turns unlikely hero as she attempts to protect a young thief from the even worse villain Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) when he puts a target on her head. As expected, Robbie is exceptional as Harley Quinn. With a vibe much like Deadpool, she is a welcome addition to every scene, with a huge over-the-top presence that sparks joy. But while her character works, the other female fighters of her group pale in comparison with underwhelming abilities that only occasionally impress, and then only with the writing. The only teammate of hers I actually enjoyed watching was her pet Hyena. But still – there is a good time to be had here, even if it is fleeting. B-

Rated R for language and some sexuality
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
Available on Disc and Streaming

In 2019 Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots teamed for the extremely weird indie “The Art of Self Defense.” Now they are back together in an even stranger drama, and if you didn’t know better, you would swear this tale came from the same writer and director. Vivarium tells the tale about a young couple who move into a nightmare cookie cutter house only to find out they are completely alone with nothing but the same house and view eternally stretching out in all directions. Along the way a fast-growing baby appears whom they must raise, along with questions of purpose, reality and sanity. At first this appears to be biblical allegory, much like Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” And while not quite as alienating or upsetting, Vivarium still comes off as almost too uniquely bizarre to be enjoyed by a wide audience. That being said, it is at least memorable and another nice showcase for the duo. I didn’t hate it, but at the same time I wasn’t exactly dying to tell anyone about it afterward either. C+